Camera Upgrade?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kaitlynnbell, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. Hello!

    I am a beginner photographer who has been shooting with a NiKkon D3300 for the last 7 months. I didn't invest much at first because I wasn't sure if I would enjoy photography as a job, rather than a hobby. However, after the last few months and after doing 30 portrait and newborn shoots it seems I do love it. I would like to upgrade my camera, but I feel I am not ready for a full frame as I am still learning lots of basics lighting, composition ect--also I don't feel I could afford to replace all my lenses with FX equivalents. Having said all that what Nikon crop sensor would you recommend while I continue to work on my basics and grow over this next year.

    Thanks in advance!

    Edit for typos
  2. Umm! Do you really need to upgrade the D3300?

    There's no doubt IMO that full-frame is a better tool for portraits. It allows a shallower depth of field and therefore more isolation of the subject from the background. It also has the potential to render skin tones more smoothly at higher ISO speeds.

    Personally, I'd put my money into full-frame compatible lenses at this stage, and worry about upgrading the camera body later.

    "I don't feel I could afford to replace all my lenses with FX equivalents.."

    - What lenses do you already have? If you're comfortable with manual focus, then most of Nikon's older MF lenses are excellent, and can be picked up cheaply used. All of the old 'film' lenses are obviously FX compatible.

    The 85mm f/2 and 105mm f/2.5 primes are both classic portrait lenses that would work equally well on DX as FX. However, I'm not familiar with the D3300's lens compatibility. It may not be capable of using those lenses - there's a lens compatibility list in the manual, I'm sure.

    If you feel you really can't live with the D3300, then a D7200 probably represents the best 'bang for your buck' that Nikon currently offers in the DX format. But IMO it would be cash spent and gone that you could be saving towards a full-frame body.
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  3. Where are you finding yourself limited, Kaitlynn? The D3300 is very capable, for all of its lowly market position.

    The D7x00 range were, for a while, Nikon's "high end DX" bodies. The D7100, for example, provides 14-bit uncompressed (and losslessly compressed) raw files for the maximum flexibility in digital editing; it supports older Nikon lenses (with an AF motor and an AI follower ring), and (compared with the D3x00 and D5x00 ranges) it adds a second dial which makes it faster to change some settings. It also has a pentaprism, giving you a brighter viewfinder view. The D7200 is similar, with the most significant difference being a larger buffer, so you can shoot more frames in a hurry without waiting for the camera.

    The D500 is Nikon's current top-of-the-line body. It has a body in the style of the prosumer D8x0 range, a touchscreen, Nikon's latest autofocus, a very fast frame rate, 4K video and the ability to use fast XQD (and UHS-II) cards. It weighs quite a lot more than the D3300.

    The D7500 is unusual - it's an update to the D7200 and has some advantages (such as AF fine tune), but it also misses out on some features (such as the AI follower ring) compared with the D7200. Look carefully if you end up deciding between the two.

    The D5x00 range are far more similar to the D3300, with the major difference being some extra flexibility and the flip-out screen, and the improved autofocus system (which is the same as the D7000 but a step behind the D7100/D7200/D7500's).

    If you want to upgrade your camera body for heavier use and stay with DX, I'd be inclined to suggest the D7100 or D7200 are the place to start; they're very capable and usable for what they are.

    But... are you sure you need to upgrade the body? Normally the better way to start spending your money is on lenses or (if you're doing newborns) lighting. What other lenses do you currently have? Something like an f/2.8 zoom might help you; you might also consider a macro lens (such as the Tamron 60mm or 90mm). You may find a tripod helps, and you might want one or more flash guns, or at least reflectors. You may already have all this - I'm just checking.

    I hope that's a start. Good luck, and I'm glad you're enjoying photography!
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  4. I believe the D3300 would use them fine, but you wouldn't have metering (since the D3300 has no aperture following ring). The D3300's EE post detector collapses into the body (I think), so it shouldn't get squashed no matter you put on it. Those are, I believe, manual focus lenses though? That may be tricky with moving subjects, but they're certainly a valid budget option; I'd be inclined to go with newer glass myself, especially given the viewfinder limitations of the D3300's pentamirror, but I'm from the autofocus generation (which makes me 43...)
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  5. Thanks so so much for the input! I obviously have the 2 kit lenses, 50mm 1.8D which to be honest, I find tricky with little kids as it is manual focus, and cpuld due to be upgraded to thr G. 35mm 1.4G which I seem to like much more. and recently got a 24mm 2.8 micro. My limitations are mostly getting more unique angles. Of course this could be more about my lack of technique and lenses.

    I did conptemplate buying FX lenses but worried about distorting my images.
  6. Thanks for the insight. That actually seems to make a lot more sense for the time being while I continue to learn the basics.

    I had thought about buying some FX lenses for when I do eventually upgrade but worry about distorting my images. I do have a very basic, and I emphasize basic lightlighting kit and soft box, but I agree better lighting an reflectors will go a long way with my images.

    My current lenses are (sorry thinks a copy and paste from the previous reply)I have the 2 kit lenses, 50mm 1.8D which to be honest, I find tricky with little kids as it is manual focus, and cpuld due to be upgraded to thr G. 35mm 1.4G which I seem to like much more. and recently got a 24mm 2.8 micro. My limitations are mostly getting more unique angles. Of course thiscould be more about my lack of technique and the lenses I have.

    Tomorrow I have a boudior shoot and while I have read, and reseached the angles and lenses to use I don't feel they will soften her skin as much as an FX camera would, also coloring seems to be an issue-again though maybe I'm just doing white balance wrong. Luckily, my client is away I have never done a boudior shoot before and that this is a learning curve for me-she is just willing to take a chance on me.
  7. You already have a full frame lens, the 50mm f/1.8 D, and it will auto focus on a full frame camera. If you were to buy the 35mm f/1.4G (which is a very expensive lens in my opinion) and it too is a full frame lens. I don't think there is a 24mm f/2.8 micro. So I think you should keep using the D3300 until you can switch to full frame.
  8. IMHO, you do not NEED to go FX. That is a marketing thing to get people to spend more $$$$.
    A good DX setup is just fine for what you are doing. If you really want to, the D7200 or D7500 would be more than adequate.

    The trick is to determine what issues/problems you are running into and address the problems.
    • It may be a better body, or it may not.
    • It may be a different lens, or it may not.
    • It may be that you need portable lighting, and accessories.
    The 50mm D lens is a screw drive autofocus lens. It will auto focus on the 7000 series cameras. There is a 50mm f/1.8 G lens that would work on your D3300.
    I have the 35mm f/1.8 G DX, and I like it when shooting indoor sports (basketball).
    Did you type 24mm micro correctly. 24mm is awfully short for a micro lens. I would use a 55 or even 105 micro.

    FX lenses will NOT distort your images. A 50mm DX lens and a 50mm FX lens will behave the same on your camera.
    What you don't want to do is the reverse, put a DX lens on an FX body, because the DX lens has a smaller image circle than the FX lens.
  9. "IMHO, you do not NEED to go FX. That is a marketing thing to get people to spend more $$$$."

    - It absolutely is not a 'marketing thing'. Professional photographers are not stupid (on the whole). They put their money where it gets them the best results, and for portraits, still-life and landscape work that's generally into a full-frame, or even medium format digital camera.

    There's no way to get an equally shallow depth of field on DX without buying lenses of ridiculously wide aperture; with a ridiculously high price to go with it. Not to mention the aberrations that go with ultrawide apertures.

    It's been that way since film days. Anyone with an eye to quality absolutely shunned miniature film and worked with medium or large format.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  10. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Get the best tools you can afford, and update when the work income justifies the expense. Years ago I built a piece of equipment into every job that paid well. Fairly quickly I had everything I needed without breaking the bank. DX / FX - both can do excellent work. I have two FX cameras but just bought a DX to add to the collection.
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  11. Yeah I mistyped 40mm micro...typing a forum and having a toddler crawl on you don't mix well.
  12. I said SHE does not need to go FX.

    Yes for the pros, if they have a need, FX is the way to go.
    It is all about matching the gear to the requirements.
  13. Is the OP a pro?
  14. Oh - yes, 40mm makes sense! While it's useful to have the field of view of a 40mm, it is a bit limited in working distance if you really want to get up close - as others have said, slightly longer macro lenses tend to be more useful. I'd suggest swapping the 50mm f/1.8 (which is tack sharp stopped down, if with slightly ugly bokeh, and extremely soft wide open) either for the AF-S version (which behaves better and will focus on your D3300), or getting the Tamron 60mm f/2 macro, which is not ridiculously expensive, will autofocus, and makes for a nice portrait lens as well as being a macro lens with a bit more working distance than your 40mm. However, that Tamron is a DX lens; if you want to be future-proof and want a bit more reach, the 90mm f/2.8 is also decent and has FX coverage - the non-VC version is also pretty affordable. There's a lot to be said for getting up close, as with the lenses you have, but something longer would give you a mix - and 60-90mm on DX gives you roughly the classic "portrait lens" range.

    As Gary said, FX won't distort anything - it'll just give you the field of view you'd get by using a lens that's 1.5x shorter. Shots with very wide lenses viewed at a normal distance do look distorted in the corners (they don't if you put your eye close enough to the image - it's the difference between shooting angle and viewing angle that matters, and it's not strictly "distortion", just geometry). However, a 50mm lens on FX is no more distorted than a 35mm lens on DX (give or take fractions of a mm), with the distinction that, with a 50mm f/1.8 on FX compared with 35mm f/1.8 on DX, more than twice the light is hitting the sensor (so you have less noise in the image at low light with larger sensors) and the entrance aperture of the lens is 1.5x larger (so you have a shallower depth of field and increased blurring of the background with the FX lens). If you're worried that an FX camera would make your current range of lenses wider than you'd like (without cropping the images), that's valid - and solved by putting longer lenses on the FX body. But 35mm isn't all that wide - I wouldn't be scared. You might even like the look (and you could try looking through a wider lens on a DX body, at least in a store, and seeing how you like it).

    But I'd see where exactly you feel limited in your photography first. I'd give very wide or much longer lenses a go (even if you're doing the former with an 18-55 kit lens), then concentrate on lighting and learning before you throw lots of money at glass and camera bodies. But this is very much a case of "do what I say, not what I do"!
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  15. This is great advice. I have been trying to constantly re-invest all sessions into either equipment, or props for newborns/studio ba. But
    I would eventually like to be a pro, but ar the moment I am taking clients, learning more about lighting and basics. I do charge but as we all know, that means nothing.
  16. That depends on your definition; she's making money out of shooting, so I'd say yes, but if she's still fairly new and not committed to photography, you may read that differently. For the "FX vs DX" discussion, I've only ever owned FX Nikon DSLRs, and I'm very much an amateur. FX has some advantages, but there's no harm in being sure you need them before you worry about switching, especially in the context of a business expense.
  17. We're all still learning, or we're doing something wrong (often both, in my case). No shame in that, and best to be honest with your level of expertise. It sounds like you're doing the right things (clearly right enough that people are willing to pay you) - I'd just suggest taking small steps and buying equipment only when you feel you need it to make a difference to a shot you were able to get. The "I'd have got this shot better if only I had..." moment is when I go shopping (give or take a period of saving up and self-justification).
  18. Incidentally, Kaitlynn - just to be clear, which "2 kit lenses" did you mean? 18-55 + 55-200? While they're not very fast in terms of aperture control, they'll give you a lot of ability to experiment with what different focal lengths can do for you. If you're after a different look, I'd start there.

  19. Your last line actually has me laughing. Great advice! I hadn't thought about a 60mm and 90mm tamron until you just mentioned it. That could be fun to experiment with. I actually might now that you've said that, rent one For a week and use it on shoots just to see how I like it before investing in the whole thing.

    Sorry my replied are typo city, as stated before forums, toddlers and cell phone typing is not at all my fortay.
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  20. Yes those were the two!

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