I have a D80 should I upgrade for what I photograph

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by nancy_koch, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. Hello,
    Below is my current equipment:
    Nikon D80
    Nikon 70-200mm F2.8G ED VRII
    Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 IF-ED
    Nikon AF-S 18-135mm DX
    Tokina SD 12-24mm F4 DX
    Plus a great Gitzo Tripod
    I have NO flashes
    Here is my question: Should I add another camera to this and which one (D300 or D700) or do I need a different lens?
    My MAIN goals is excellent quality landscapes, wildlife and micros of flower, bugs, frog etc.
    I'd like to carry 2 cameras on my treks with different lenses to give me maximum shot opportunities.
    And having one of those cameras able to shoot night sports shots would be a huge plus in the short term.
    What I shot: I live on the water in Florida and also have a mountain home in NC so I like to shoot sunsets, sunrises with sail boats or pelicans sailing by. Sometimes a blue heron is sitting on the piling and that makes a nice shot.
    I also shot vast mountain-scapes or waterfalls in NC but might notice a deer or bird or bear that I want to get a closer shot of at the same time. I have sold about 15 of these photos online so that is a start.
    Adding to my dilemma, my son plays high school lacrosse and those games start at sunset and into the night with very poor high school stadium lighting. I can usually get decent action photos for the first half hour but after that, they are terrible. I can't seem to get the ISO high enough or setting adjusted to take photos that are decent.
    I don't do any portrait photography other than my granddaughter playing in the pool etc but those photos come out great. People are not my thing. I do not shoot indoors.
    I'm thinking about getting another camera so I CAN get have 2 "ready" cameras with different lenses. Being at the beach taking sunset photos with a wide lenses set on a tripod waiting for the light to be just right and having a separate camera to shot photos of the birds or a wave or a dolphin would be ideal. Or a mountain-scape and a micro-wildflower without changing lenses in the wind or mist.
    Should I get a D300 or the D700. I fear a D300 won't give me any better sports photos then I'm getting now with the D80. But then again in a few years, my son will graduate in 3 years and the need for night sports my disappear.....
    All suggestions are greatly appreciated........
  2. I have a D80 and I would like another camera too, so I don't have to switch lenses all the time (I actually enjoy carrying lots of gear around -- its fun!). Maybe pick up another another used D80? they can be found for cheap. If I upgraded bodies I would go for a D7000 because of the low light capabilities, which you would need for sports as you say, but not for landscapes.
  3. I use my Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 IF-ED when I shot sports.
    Maybe the better Nikon 70-200mm F2.8G ED VRII with a monopod would give me the light I need.... Don't know.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My MAIN goals is excellent quality landscapes, wildlife and micros of flower, bugs, frog etc.​
    Those subject matters are not demanding on AF capability and high ISO. You may be able to use more pixels for landscape. Unless you feel constrainted by the D80 for whatever reason, I think the D80 is just fine for those purposes.
    Now, once you start talking about sports, especially night sports, the D80 will show its limitations. You can certainly take advantage of faster AF speed and better high-ISO results at night. The D700 can fit you quite well but once again, as soon as you get into FX, you need new lenses on the wide side.
    The D300/D300S should give you better sports images than your D80 since they have much better AF and high-ISO capabilities. I would also consider the new D7000; it has much newer technology, even better high ISO results but not quite as good AF. It will give you better frame rate than your D80 but not as fast as the D300 and D700.
    If your budget is within $1500 or so, either the D300S or D7000 would be a good choice. I would get the D700 only if you have budget for not only the camera body but also additional lenses. Please keep in mind that the D300, D300S, and D700 are all "old technology" from about 3 years ago. Digital camera are merely specialized computers. A 3-year-old computer is very old in "dog years" or I should say "computer years."
    Finally, the D300, D300S, and D700 share the same EN-EL3e battery with the D80. The D300 and D700 only accept CF memory cards. The D300S accepts both CF and SD; the latter is the same as the D80.The D7000 uses a new EN-EL15 battery but shares SD cards with the D80.
  5. Wow, I'm just hearing about the D7000. Read some reviews. Looks pretty promising and I really miss not having live view with my D80. Because I would keep both cameras I want to make sure that I'm improving on the D80 enough to spend the money. I'm saying I just don't want 2 D80s.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Oh yeah, I totally forgot that the D80 does not have live view. That is an important feature for landcape and macro photography. It is very helpful for fine tuning manual focusing.
  7. ....micros of flower, bugs, frog etc.
    You may want to look into a dedicated macro/close-up lens. The sky is the limit there. Unfortunately, lack of "Live View" is the main reason that I swapped out my D80. I was quite happy with it, otherwise.
  8. My MAIN goals is excellent quality landscapes, wildlife and micros of flower, bugs, frog etc.
    Nancy, if you are planning to shoot macro / close-up, you should get the Sigma 150 mm f/2.8. I do have it and it is a great lens for this type of photography. As far as what camera to replace with the D80 that you have, I do agree with Shun. Either the D300s or the new D7000 are good options. Or if you want to wait a bit longer, there are rumors the D400 is coming probably in 2011 and this camera will be much better than the D300s and / or the D7000. Below is a picture that I took with my D50 ( much inferior than the D80 and the D300 that I got with a kit lens 18-55 ).
  9. Allow to show you what you can get with the Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 just in case you decide to go for a dedicated macro / close-up lens.
  10. ... and the last one. This is spider in Florida.
  11. Unless you have the budget for additional new lenses plus the body, I would drop the D700 from consideration since it is full frame and both of your wide angle zooms are DX format. I believe that the D700 has a DX mode, but that is essentially like cropping the center out of the frame and you'll be wasting a lot of MP's. The D7000 would be a better choice for use with DX lenses, in my opinion.
  12. What is wrong with your D80? No digital camera will work well after sunset, it's always going to look dim and monochromatic. Wait for the D700/D300s replacement, which should come by next summer.
  13. "poor high school stadium lighting... can't seem to get the ISO high enough or setting adjusted to take photos that are decent"
    I believe the D700 is probably the way for to go as it has excellent high ISO performance (better than any Nikon DX camera currently available), exceptionally fast and accurate AF especially in logo light, and all the features you need to meet all your photography needs. Macro photography is also excellent with it and there are numerous lenses you can choose from.
  14. in your shoes, i would get a d7000. that's definitely an upgrade from a d80 and its about the same size, with a better build quality.
    a d300 would be slightly worse than a d7000 at high ISO, slightly faster for sports, and much bulkier for travel or hiking. it also has an less-advanced implementation of live view and only the s model has video, but not 1080p like the d7000.
    the d700 doesn't make sense unless you also replace your 18-135 and 12-24 Dx lenses. for a cross-format system, you need lenses which work on both formats, i.e. Fx lenses.
    if you like shooting macros, you should get a macro lens. the sigma 150 would be a good one, but unless you need that much working distance, any of the 90-105 macros by sigma, tokina, tamron and nikon would work too, and also double as portrait lenses.
    the d80 is a bit maligned because of its issues in matrix metering, but otherwise produces excellent image quality, especially at base ISO, where its technically superior to the d300 (i have used both). if you shoot in CW or spot and or set Exp comp to -.03 to -0.7, it doesn't overexpose. apparently the d7000 has this problem too to some extent, according to DPReview. my personal experience with the d80 is that ISO 800-1250 is about as high as you want to go.
    No digital camera will work well after sunset, it's always going to look dim and monochromatic.
    LOL, dave. that's like something Ken Rockwell would say.
  15. Two of your four lenses are DX. So you are at a fork in the road....Just like me. I hummed and ha'd for weeks. I had a D300.
    Decision 1. If staying on DX, get the D7000. Better than the D300.
    Decision 2. Go to FX, D700 (used for $1800), and sell your DX lenses and get the FX equivalent.
    I came from film straight to D300. Great camera, a miriad of menues and settings. But the D7000 is better with superior low light performance and a much improved menu system, plus you can save two shooting profiles in the U1 and U2 switch.
    The D700 is better again and a mini D3. That where I am putting my money. Sure the D700 will be replaced within the next year, but that also means prices are dropping too.
    I'll never buy new. Someone else can cop the depreciation in the first 12-18 months after release.
  16. The D7000 is the latest thing out there. For landscape a high dynamic range is nice and the D7000 has a very high dynamic range. It's a bit smaller then the other models mentioned. It has a pop up flash since you don't own one.
  17. These are all great responses and give me alot to think about. I'm not really too worried about have one DX and one FX camera. The Sigma 150 looks like a great addition. I'm thinking about a Nikon 20 mm too. I love the landscape photos I've seen taken with that.
    Mostly, I want to get another camera so I can take them both out in situations where I don't want to change lenses back and forth.
    Since I am having issues taking sports photos in low light, I want to improve that situation by choosing my second camera that will solve this. If I can do this and stay with DX in both cameras then obviously, I would want to do that so batteries etc would be the same, BUT if I need the FX to get sports shots I would go there.
    Having a live view on any camera is a plus.
    I love my D80 for all photos now accept low-light sports, no live view and having to switch back and forth between lenses for flowers, bees & butterflies verses sharp crisp landscapes photos.
  18. Maurice
    I LOVE the spider photo.
  19. Eric, the D300 can resolve much higher detail than the D80, especially in highlights, where the D80 tended to just blow things out to smithereens after a certain value. The D300 was a big leap forward from the D200/D80 in terms of overall fine detail and image quality. I've owned D70, D70s, D80, D200, D300, and D700. D300 is my favorite of all.
    Oh and thanks for comparing me to Ken Rockwell. That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me ;-)
  20. c'mon dave, i was only kidding...
    i just wasn't sure if you were joking or what
    in my experience i actually prefer the d80 over the d300 with certain lenses in certain situations. there is definitely a different signature to CCD and CMOS sensors. hard to put your finger on it but CCD had higher technical quality, CMOS is less expensive to produce and has better low-light capabilities. the d300 had a better, more advanced processor and a bunch of bells and whistles, like CA auto-correct. if you look at the S/N numbers on DXO, though, the d300 has a weird pattern and shows visible noise at lower ISOs than perhaps it should. check a d80 ISO 100 shot against a d300 ISO 200 shot if you must.
    i personally felt like the d300's ergonomics/button placement, etc., were just about perfect. almost everything is just where it needs to be. so the d300 was a better camera than the d80 to shoot with, no question. i'm just saying the d80 has pretty decent image quality.
    i think the d300s is better than the d300, and very close to the d90. but i'm what i'm really loving is the d3s, it's just so clean!
  21. Agreed that the D80 is often too easily underrated. It is and was a very decent camera.
    I would not plain say the D7000 is better than the D300(s) (or vice versa), it does some things better and some things worse. Same goes for the D700. While the D700 might be the best camera for low light sports of the three, it does loose the crop-factor, which also matters for your long lenses. So if you are routinely around 200 to 300mm now, you will miss some reach on the D700.
    So, best is to make a list for yourself, listing the pros and cons of each model. I think all the major points are listed in this thread. And then just decide based on what is important to you. Another thing is to go to a store and actually feel and try a D300 or D700. They are larger and heavier, and only you can decide whether you like that.
    Regardless, for those sports, use the 70-200 instead of the 70-300. It's the kind of work the 70-200 is made for, and having f/2.8 versus f/5.6 makes a very serious difference. AF speed should be much better too. It's the right tool for the job.
  22. "the D300 can resolve much higher detail than the D80, especially in highlights, where the D80 tended to just blow things out to smithereens after a certain value." This is simply not true. While the D300/D300S offers some improvement in IQ over the D80, it is marginal. There is no doubt the D300/D300s body is far superior to that of the D80 but not when it comes to IQ. The 'blown highlights' issue discussed over and over again with the D80 is related to its metering and not its sensor. Wouter is 100% correct - " the D80 is often too easily underrated."
    "I fear a D300 won't give me any better sports photos then I'm getting now with the D80." You are possibly correct, but with the improved AF, higher frame rate, larger buffer, more consistent metering and a few other features the D300 has over the D80, it will make it easier to get more better shots.
    For what you shoot, and especially for low light work, there is no doubt that the D700 is the best choice between the D300 and D700 choices you list. And a huge improvement over the D80. Best of all, you will love the larg viewfinder of the D700!
  23. I'm with Dave (Lee) on this one. My D300 is streets ahead of my old D80 in all respects. Indeed, I got better results from my D50 than my D80 too.
  24. I photo some high school football at night well after sundown with D300 and and f1.8 lens. Shots are decent. For what you do, I'm thinking D7000 and a longer macro lens, such as Sigma 150mm among others. You are being pulled in two directions here: sports vs. macro. The D7000 will give you about two more stops of ISO, which should be enough for football using f2.8 zoom. Really, you are being pulled into yet a third direction if you include wildlife. That calls for a longer, fast lens. You will have to make some compromises and stay to your priorities, I think. A flash like an SB-900 is useful for football (shoot from sidelines,) and also with macro (use off camera with a soft box.) An SB-900 plus a longer macro lens might solve all your problems at once.
    Kent in SD
  25. You mentioned wanting a body just sitting on a tripod, ready for instant use. And you have a Gitzo, which are very good. There is a contradiction here, at least as facts are revealed
    I am going to make an assumption here, and apologies if unwarranted. I am going to assume that the D80 does not have an L-bracket affixed and that the Gitzo may not have an Arca Swiss compatible ball head. If this is a correct assumption, then a professional ball head, L-bracket for the camera and a lens plate for the 70-200mm would be at the very top of my list before a new body or another lens.
    If not apologies. But if one has Arca Swiss plates, then I see no need under the sun, or stars, to even think of having a spare body sitting on a tripod.
    D7000 is perhaps the current best, affordable, landscape camera from Nikon; that is, if one wants the ability to do very large prints. For sports, while the high ISO may be helpful, I doubt that its small buffer will allow enough high speed continuous shooting for catching the right moment in action. Auto bracket for HDR shots is limited to three, I believe, which could be limiting.
  26. No digital camera will work well after sunset, it's always going to look dim and monochromatic.​
    Surely Dave is kidding. It's easier to get good colors in the dark with fairly recent digital cameras than it ever was with film.
  27. Here's some color, after sunset, at a high school sports stadium.
  28. There was meant to be a picture...
  29. Hi, Nancy
    Even small cameras can work with low light. Canon G11 compact camera, very early this morning.

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