Advice needed for DSLR purchase soon.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by miss_snottypants, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. I'm turning 40 next week, I'm taking advantage of it by asking for a MUCH needed & very overdue upgrade to my D70s, that Ive had since it was released, when I was managing a Ritz Camera store way back in the day. I've been really out of touch with the latest Nikon DSLR technology & have been researching, but I have to make a decision by early Saturday afternoon (3-18).

    My passion has always been no flash, low light, live music events, occasional weddings, street, & product photography.
    I fully understand the importance of lenses, but my equipment has always been limited & gifted new. Im used to working with what I've got.
    Budget $700-800 MAX.
    I want a camera I'll be satisfied with for a good 5 years at least and realize I own a dinosaur!
    My gut tells me to choose the D7100 body w/wifi adapter. Do you agree or suggest a newer cheaper body with or without kit lens & if so, please tell me why. It's been over a decade since I've frequented, but I miss the experienced advice here!
    I prefer wifi capable, a solid body & the more of my lenses I can use w/autofocus & metering, is huge.

    ALL equipment is NIKON:
    N90 35mm
    D70s DSLR
    AF 50mm 1.8D
    AF 28-80mm 3.5-5.6D
    AF 70-300mm 4-5.6G
    AF 85mm 1.8D
    AF-S ED 18-70mm 3.5-4.5G
    SB-600 Speedlight
    SB-50 DX Speedlight

    P.S. I shoot relatively fast, I do not use burst mode & being able to shoot low light situations without flash IS important to me.

    Mary Doo likes this.
  2. I would look for a Nikon refurbished D7200. It is supposed to have better low light performance than the 7100. And Nikon refurbished will keep the cost down. I just do not know what the refurbished 7200s run, and if will fit your budget.

    Then you can really use the fast glass lenses you have 50/1.8D and 85/1.8D.
    polizonte and miss_snottypants like this.
  3. I don't usually consider refurbished or new, but It wouldn't hurt to look into it! Thanks!
  4. The D7200 has wifi built in, and a larger buffer so you can shoot faster for a longer time. I run into the buffer with the D7100 quite a lot even in single shot mode. If you shoot raw, this may be something to consider though the D7100 is certainly workable. If you can find a D7200 used or refurb, that would be ideal.
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  5. Find a used D7200 on ebay. Virtually everything I own (thousands of $$) has come from ebay and I've had no problems over the past 14 years. The past month I bought a used Nikon D5300 for $325, used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS for $210, used Nikon 70-300mm AF-P VR for $140. The Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS is EXCELLENT! It's better than the Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 I used to own and use for weddings. My advice, based on my own personal experience, is to sell your 28-80 and 18-70mm and buy a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8. You will gain three things. First, the lens is f2.8 and is faster. Second, the lens has OS, which is their version of VR. Third, the lens is just flat out sharper than anything you currently have! I mean noticeably sharper here. Oh, and fourth the Sigma has HSM which is their version of AFS. This gives the lens pretty much instant focus. On a D7200 this lens will be a killer--it will have the speed for low light, sharpness beats anything you have, and the focus is rocket fast. No-brainer here. I see used D7200 sometimes selling for ~$650 on ebay. body only (no lens.) That is the way to go--again no-brainer for what you want. I think you'll be stunned by just how much better a D7200 + Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM OS is than what you have. Be advised that prices on used gear is still close to a seasonal low right now but will quickly start to rise as people begin to think more about spring and summer photography.

    Kent in SD
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  6. Did a quick check on eBay, there are New D7200 cameras for under $800, and Sold used ones at lower prices. If you read the seller description carefully and only buy from sellers with excellent feedback, you will be fine.

    Happy Birthday in advance!:)
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  7. Welcome back! I'm going to agree that, it by "shooting fast", you mean you'll be rattling off a number of shots in a short-ish time, somehow getting a D7200 is your friend. If you just mean you need the camera to be responsive, there's nothing wrong with a D7100 - the buffer size while it writes to card is considered by far the biggest issue with that camera. It's likely fine if you shoot JPEG, btw, it's the raw buffer that's an issue. But noise reduction software working on raw (I use DxO Optics Pro, which also does a good job of lens corrections; alternatives exist) means you might want raw even just for bad light.

    Lest we be over-stating this: A D7100's raw buffer is still bigger than the D70's, and with the buffer full it can write raw to a decent SD card nearly as fast as the D70's burst shooting rate.

    Regarding cheaper bodies, at cheapest you're probably looking at a D90 if you still want to use most of your lenses (the D5x00 and D3x00 series won't autofocus without AF-S). That's quite a step back in sensor performance and autofocus compared with a D7100. So the most practical step back would be a D7000 (still not quite the sensor or AF of a D7100, but closer). A D7100 or D7200 is much closer to state of the art, though.

    The one other camera I'd throw into the mix is a D600 - KEH list one (admittedly a beater) for just over your $800 budget. That's not as nice a camera in most ways as the D7100/D7200 and the AF module is D7000-grade, but it's full frame. That means your 18-70 won't be as useful, but you're getting more light out of your other lenses. (A D700 gives you better build and D7100-grade autofocus, and would meet your budget, but it's an old camera now and you're giving up a lot of resolution and low-ISO dynamic range compared with modern bodies - and the D600 sensor is just better in low light.)

    But basically I still say D7200. :) And yes, rationalising the lenses would also get you some improvement when you can. It depends a bit on how keen you are still to use your N90, though - DX or G lenses aren't going to work so well. (If you give up on it, at least mostly, then the AF-S version of the 50mm f/1.8 is much nicer than the AF-D, especially at larger apertures...but it's a G lens so you'll only have aperture control on the N90 via P and S modes.)

    Good luck shopping!
  8. My recommendation is always to buy for the future - don't put yourself into the past any more than absolutely necessary.

    And since the D7200 is a current production body, it has up-to-date features and capabilities, which offers you the best performance going forward. As others have said, the D7200 will handle higher ISOs so much better than your D70 that you'll be amazed, and that's what you need for your low light shooting. It also has a more sophisticated and capable autofocus, something that will also be valuable for your low light shooting.

    Places like KEH, Adorama, and B&H sell used gear and stand by their gear very well, but buying something from them is dependent on whether they the item in stock at the time you want to buy. I just took a quick look online, and KEH and Adorama don't have a D7200 at the moment, but B&H does does, for $800, which hits your range. They warranty the body, which is a good thing for the customer, and their price can be used as a bargaining tool if you seek to buy a used D7200 locally.
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  9. BTW,

    Happy Birthday to You :D
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  10. +1 to spending a bit more to get a D7200. I don't think you'll regret it.

    Enjoy your 40th year!
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  11. I thought about the same question for about three years (see, until I could afford a refurbished D750. Here is a table comparing Nikon low light performance; all data are from DXO, and are scaled to the same resolution (8MP) for all cameras. You see that for low light you are better off (by one full stop) with an old full frame 35mm camera than with a new 24mm APS-C DX. Maybe a refurbished or used D600 or D610 is in your range.
    Ignore the prices in the table; they are from 2013.
    miss_snottypants likes this.
  12. Wow, thanks for all the wonderful advice & birthday wishes!
    Kent in SD- I seen that you've been buying used, from eBay for a long time and it encourages me to go that route. Even though I've gone with Nikon, I've always trusted Sigma (especially thier higher end lenses). Very good advice thank you.

    Bob_flood- I also agree with buying for the future! It's funny, because when I got the D70s, I thought I would be set. Of course, I was in my early 20's then, and I wasn't thinking about client expectations as technology advanced.

    Mary Doo- thank you! And I'll be headed to eBay after re-reading all these replies again!

    Andrew- Yes, I just need the camera to be responsive. With what I'm used to, I think I'll be blown away by the advancement of the newer models, period. Besides the 6mp, teeny tiny viewing screen on my D70, and not owning a laptop 100% of the time, I was quite content with it, to be honest.

    So I just really want to thank each and every one of you that took the time and went into detail with your advice. It's EXACTLY what I needed, and much appreciated. So after I re-read your comments and let it all sink in, I'll follow up on those 7200 price leads.
    Because let's face it.. I'd LOVE to have the 7200! I rarely get these kind of opportunities, so I do what I can to take full advantage!
    Mary Doo likes this.
  13. The D7100 and the D7200 have significantly better autofocus than the D600/D610. This is particularly important in low light. The better system will "hunt" less and yield more accurate results at a time when you are likely to be shooting at large apertures, with little depth of field. Another reason to not even think about going to full frame is that you will almost certainly want a lens to replace your 18-70mm, which would put you way over budget.
    polizonte likes this.
  14. If it is the 7200 you want then that's the one to get. Anything else is a compromise and you'll always wonder. I'm still back a few years on my digital bodies as they do everything I ask of them but I think an upgrade is coming soon. I looked through your lens list and can also recommend the Tamron 28-75/2.8 as an excellent choice. It will work on anything you have and is versatile and super sharp. I call it my money maker. Happy birthday!!

    Rick H.
  15. It seems that you would benefit from the highest possible dynamic range and since most of your lenses are FX a modern FX camera would be ideal. D600/D610 are your cheapest options. D600 had issues with sensor contamination, D610 is basically similar with this remedied I believe. I disagree with the previous post suggesting any older FX camera. You can look up the respective dynamic range measurements at this site( You will see that D3/D700 offer no advantage over D7100/D7200 at high ISO and at low ISO these new DX bodies are much better. That matches my own experience (I've owned D300, D700, D7000, D7100 and D7200 cameras). D7100 and D7200 are almost indistinguishable in image quality and would be the next cheapest option to the D600/D610. If you do not need to shoot bursts or have built-in wifi, D7100 is virtually as good as D7200. Some people reported some banding artifacts with the D7100 when trying to push underexposed images (eg by 4-stops or more). I never experienced this with mine but it was very rare that I would try to push this much, only after a significant exposure mistake. I've never used D600/D610 and can't comment on the AF speed or accuracy, but doubt it can be worse than a D70. D7100 is compatible with Capture NX2, but D7200 is not.
  16. You have only 1 DX lens. I hate to use FX lenses on DX body. If not because anything else I think it's a waste. The extra coverage of the FX lenses I don't think they come free and not being able to use them all make me feel bad.
  17. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

  18. Miss_SP
    Technology will keep moving, in 5 years the D7200 will seem obsolete. So you make the best decision that you can, within your budget, and move on.

    Lenses on the other hand can be used for decades. I use some of my old AI lenses (30+ years old) on my D7200, just fine. Being an old film shooter, focusing a manual focus lens is easy, so I am not crippled by not having an AF lens. As far as I am concerned, the only major lens change came with the VR lenses. Depending on what and how you shoot, a VR lens can be worth upgrading to, to reduce hand-held camera movement effect at LOW shutter speeds.

    Back to the camera. It just depends on what YOU want to get out of the camera. Personally, if my D70s had not died, I would still be using it, as it did everything that I wanted it to do. I even shot a 100 person company group shot, and the 16x20 print looked just fine on the wall. Everybody could easily seem themselves.
    But yes the max 1600 ISO was limiting when I shot in dim light inside a church. I would have loved another 2 stops of ISO (6400). Handholding a non-VR 210mm lens at 1/60 sec took all the tricks in my book to pull off. Though I rarely run into that issue, cuz I'm not so much a low light shooter.
    If I shot more in low light, then I would definitely have upgraded from the D70s, to get a higher ISO level. That my D70s died, just forced the upgrade.
  19. I look at camera gear as a system, not just a pile of pieces. All the pieces must have a "job" to do and work well together as an efficient system. After re-reading what your goals are, here's my recommendations:

    N90 35mm--keep. Won't bring much $$ anyway.
    D70s DSLR--keep. If you are shooting weddings for pay, very foolish to not have a back up camera.
    AF 50mm 1.8D--keep or replace with Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX.
    AF 28-80mm 3.5-5.6D--sell. Not a good lens for weddings
    AF 70-300mm 4-5.6G--keep. A much better choice would be the new Nikon 70-300mm AF-P with VR ($150 to $200.)
    AF 85mm 1.8D--keep. It's fast and OK.
    AF-S ED 18-70mm 3.5-4.5G--sell. Has no VR. You are far better off with a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM OS. No-brainer.
    SB-600 Speedlight--keep.
    SB-50 DX Speedlight--replace with Nikon SB-700 (or another SB-600). Easier to use, compatible with Nikon CLS, and you need a better back up flash.
    D7200 (used)--add. You will wonder why you didn't buy one earlier.

    Doing the above would better align your system with your needs, and be a much more efficient use of the money you have tied up. If you are shooting weddings for pay, your next big advance will come from replacing 70-300mm with a used 70-200mm f2.8 type lens (Tamron, Nikon, Sigma.) Huge advance, budget ~$500. Don't be so hung up on cameras--your lens selection is also weak.

    Kent in SD
  20. Aloha miss_snottypants, if you want a responsive low light camera you may want to look at a used full frame such as a d750 for shooting indoors with low light. I like my D7200 ok and the image quality is the best available for a dx camera but even my older 12 mp D3s shows it up when I crank the ISO up to 6400 which is where you may live if your using indoor ambient light. I've shot in candle light with my full frame cameras. If you prefer a dx sensor then d7200 is the best available though the newer d500 is a faster shooting camera. Your going to see a very big jump in image quality with a d7200 that includes resolution and dynamic range and will need to have a computer with a enough RAM and processing speed to manage the 24 mp files you create that will open up huge by comparison with the 6 mp sensor on your venerable d70. You will also need more storage, terabytes of storage to back up your images. Hope you have a great time with your new camera. Happy birthday and good hunting.

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