Pro suggestion required - help me choose a Nikon DSLR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by elvis_y, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone, I planning to get my first DSLR and I am not new to SLRs but not a pro either.
    My requirement: I would like to experiment a lot about aperture, shutter speed, different ISO settings, atleast to understand parameters and composition of two are more parameters. I never use auto modes or any other digital enhancements no matter how bad the pictures are. Over a hundred clicks I would get 5 to 10 decent pictures or atleast how I wanted it to be.
    I was looking into D5100, D90 and D7000. I tried my friend's D5100, but I did not like it as I have to dig down the menu to change the settings. On the other had D90 serves this purpose well.
    Now I have to choose between D90 and D7000. I know D7000 is a superior camera over the D90 with a better sensor and HIGH ISO capability.
    My question is: Am I any worth to D7000 or I could live happily with D90 ? I am also talking about the extra $300. Perhaps I could save that for lens, filters or even a tripod. What kind of lenses you would suggest me to get ? I am also interested in prime lenses - which I think would give me an oppurtunity to learn and experiment further. Please advice.
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  2. And you shoot what exactly?
     
  3. If you are at all serious, buy the 7000 if you can afford it. The D90 (I love mine) is very old tech at this
    time.
     
  4. +1 for d7k.
     
  5. Both are excellent. The main advantages of the D7000 over the D90 are improved high iso quality, more DR and color
    info in the raw file, better AF sensor and metering with manual focus lenses (the D90 can use manual lenses but the
    meter turns off). Also, two card slots and better weather sealing. If those things are worth $300 to you, get the D7000.
    If not, get the D90. The D90 is 3 years old but it remains an excellent camera. It shares a lot of technology of the
    D300, which a lot of pros are currently using.
     
  6. What Leslie and Andy said - the D90 is still an excellent camera. The D7000 is better, but the superior high ISO results and better AF do not matter to all; it really depends on what you shoot whether the extra money for the D7000 is worth it.
     
  7. Thanks for your quick responses guys!
    Leslie and Wouter, I normally shoot landscapes, buildings, macros and occasionally some portraits.
     
  8. Well, landscape, architecture: the superior AF of the D7000 will not do much. Not really high ISO work either. The better dynamic range of the D7000 is an advantage (though I never really find the DR of my D300 lacking, so the D90 should be fine too).
    Macro: minor advantage is the improved live view on the D7000, for precise manual focus. Otherwise, well the AF does not really matter at all as it is 90% manual focus, and again the high ISO is not a major point.
    Portraits: low ISO, single point AF work...
    So..... I'd say what remains is the compatibility with MF lenses and the better weather sealing as advantages to the D7000.Otherwise, the new technologies really do not bring all that much.
    If I were you, I'd use the $300 difference to get a SB700, or a good tripod, or add a 35mm f/1.8 to the D90.
     
  9. If you're dead set against post processing (Why? Retouching and darkroom manipulation are almost as old as photography itself) and you want to do architecture, then you should consider a shift lens or adapter as part of your upgraded kit. So don't waste your money on an overpriced SB700. You can put that money towards a used shift lens. Plus a perfectly serviceable flash, or several, can be had for much less - I recently picked up 2 SB-25s for £50 UK (about $70 US) - no CLS but who needs that gimmick anyway?
     
  10. I have a D300 and think it the ultimate camera, I couldn't ask for anything better. But, they tell me the D7000 is waaaay better.
     
  11. Hi Sanford,
    I did choose the D7000 over the D300s and regret my decision. I would happily trade the D7k's additional pixels and the better low-light-performance (noise-wise) for the better ergonomics and the AF-system of the D300s. My main camera is a D700 - now that's the ultimate camera :)
    @Elvis: Wouter's advice is worth a mint.
    Cheers, Georg!
     
  12. Rodeo Joe - I am used to cropping and greyscale conversion and nothing more but I always prefer picture unprocessed - I don't want those features in my camera, as I won't use it! I am seriously thinking about your advice of adding an TS lens to the package(though I've not used it before).
    Wouter - From your suggestion, I would opt for a D90 + 18-105mm Lens + 35mm f/1.8 prime + if possible a good tripod to start with. Will that be all ?
    One more question: Does the '12.3 MP vs 16.2 MP' really matters when I consider NOT to blow up the pictures ?
     
  13. One more question: Does the '12.3 MP vs 16.2 MP' really matters when I consider NOT to blow up the pictures ?​
    If it's only 8 x 10, even 6MP is plenty (some say even 3MP is plenty). If it's 11 x 14, 10MP or 12MP is plenty, so... probably not.
     
  14. The 12 mp sensor jpegs open at about 12" on the long side at 300 dpi. If your goal is a 10" photo then you have 2" of crop-ability to play with or to straighten the horizon and re-crop (my big problem).
     
  15. Straight up I think the D7000 is a better camera, for the $300 difference I think you are getting a lot of extra bang for the buck. Now if that buck can be spent on a better lens, then I'm torn. On one hand I say the lens will do you a lot better than the D7000's upgrades, which it will, on the other hand, you can always save and buy the lens later, but if you decide you want a better camera you've got to sell yours which is a much bigger hassle than just buying the right one up front.
    Personally if I were in your shoes, I would go out and buy a used D300, saw one locally yesterday, 15,000 shutter count, box, all original accessories for $650. I think hands down the D7000 has one of the best sensors I've ever seen (compared to my experience with the D3s, Canon 5D mkII & 7D), albeit at lower ISOs, which you will most likely be shooting at, but the D300 no doubt has a superior body, AF system, overall handling, true weather sealing & more for significantly less money. You may want to buy new, fine, but I think you can get one fine camera for $650 (and if its been taken care should last a good long while), and spend the rest on accessories. Don't bother with the D300s, it doesn't add enough to make it worth your while at this point in your hobby.
    And I don't care what anyone says, I enjoy the 4MP extra. It isn't necessary and its very arrogant of me, but compared to my D90, I just like having those 4 extra MPs, but I also like to crop a lot, and I like to blow up to 100% and see that I've still got detail, and I like to think that if I ever did happen to nail a gorgeous shot (we all do sooner or later) that I just might blow it up to poster size, I like knowing that when I do, it will look just amazing 2' x 3' as it does on the back of my camera's LCD.
     
  16. In my view you should ask yourself how long you intend to keep this camera, where and how you will be using it (outdoors, in the weather, bumps and bruises) and how many images you intend to push through it. One of the things the D7000 has that is not highly published is a very durable platform. Physically it is a strong body with a magnesium core and solid weather sealing. It is also advertised with a 150,000 cycle shutter. The technology is also state of the art -- so more durable than a D90 or D300 or even a D700. It may be the best value for the dollar. On the other hand if you will always be in a protected environment and not shoot a lot, the D90 in the $400 to $500 range now, is a great value for a solid camera.
     
  17. A reasonably careful person - which is most DSLR buyers - will not break a D90. I'd only get a D300 to shoot action or particularly demanding handling situations, and it doesn't look like Elvis is getting into those.
    But, Elvis, I wouldn't rule out postprocessing. It's something your camera does anyway - you set it to some mode, and that's how the camera postprocesses the raw file. You can take the raw file and do that post yourself, and you get a lot more control and involvement in the process.
     
  18. The single most important thing you'll need for what you shoot is a tripod. Spend at least $300 on the tripod and $300 on a high quality ballhead that takes Arca/Swiss type QR plates. With what is left, buy a camera. I know you think I'm nuts, but once you've had a cheap tripod and horrid ballhead drive you insane for a few months, you will see the wisdom of making a solid tripod & head the priority. Buy a used D90 and spend the rest on the tripod. Lenses might not matter so much since you'll be shooting stopped down a lot anyway. As for tilt/shift lens, yes they are cool and very helpful for landscape and architecture. I don't own one though. I found it cheaper to just buy a 4x5 field camera and some superb lenses and use that. Blows away the quality I could get from any Nikon but it's a very slow workflow. As for digital processing, I've come to the conclusion now that software skills are about a third of great photography. I.e., I see it as crucial.
    Kent in SD
     
  19. Get a D90.
    It's got a good viewfinder and controls and while it may not quite match the D7000 at high ISO it's a very small difference. By any standard it's a very good high ISO system. I'd suggest the D5100 for the sensor, but you've already said you don't like the need to go into the menus so much and that's exactly what the D90 will help you with - lots of external controls.
    I'd recommend the 18-105 VR ( great optically ) and if you want a normal prime then the 35mm f1.8 or perhaps the newer 40mm f2.8 macro, which will give you a macro lens and a reasonably fast near-normal prime as well. If you want an ultra wide angle lens then take a look at the Sigma 8-16.
     
  20. If you are looking for easy access to controls, consider the D300 and D300s. Moving up from my D70s, I was torn between the D7000 and the D300. My shooting needs require a top notch AF system so I went for the D300 versus the D7000's slight image quality improvements. I don't regret it for a minute.
    Stan
     
  21. I'm exactly like Stan Krol, D70s to D300s because of the AF, frame rate, and especially no preset dial on top of the camera that I so often nudged to the wrong setting.
     
  22. John E.,
    It is also advertised with a 150,000 cycle shutter. The technology is also state of the art -- so more durable than a D90 or D300 or even a D700.​
    The D7000 surely is built well, but not better than a D300 or D700, which also both have a shutter rated at 150k MTBF. So it's not more durable, and if anything, the D300 and D700 already proved themselves in the field for a few years, the D7000 much less yet at this point in time.
    As Andy said, somebody who takes good care of his D90 is not likely to break it either. Build quality is not a huge concern.
    ________________________
    Elvis,
    Yes, my choice would be a D90 with 18-105VR kitlens, a tripod and an AF-S 35mm f/1.8. However, as Kent rightly said, a good tripod costs good money and spending too little on it is a good way to frustrate yourself.
    Also the choice for the 35mm is quite a bit driven by my use. For portraits, you could consider a 50mm f/1.8 (new AF-S version is better according to all). To get a dedicated macro lens at this budget will be tough, though both 18-105VR and 35mm f/1.8 can focus to quite close distances, so you could check out how it works out for you. Either way, a fast prime is an addition which I feel is always worth it, if only for the creative options it gives for a more shallow depth of field.
    Given the budget you do have, I would not get a second hand body - warranty is a nice thing to have and the D300 is a pro body that may have seen rough use already. I would not risk it. However, 2nd hand lenses typically is less of a risk, worth considering.
     
  23. Walter: Your point about the shutter on the D300 and D700 (along with the strong frame) is well taken. However, both the D300 and D700 are one generation older technology -- so the technology is not as durable. With normal consumer or even prosumer use, a D90 should be fine. If there is a lot of use in tough environments, the weather sealing of the D90 could be an issue over time.
    We all drop and ding our equipment from time to time and some holds up better than others.
     
  24. "One of the things the D7000 has that is not highly published is a very durable platform. Physically it is a strong body with a magnesium core and solid weather sealing. It is also advertised with a 150,000 cycle shutter. The technology is also state of the art -- so more durable than a D90 or D300 or even a D700."

    Actually was a lot published about D7000 durability, just less or none to support your theory.
    Just watch the video how the skeleton of metal plates goes apart, in the D7000 disassembly:
    http://ylovephoto.com/en/2011/03/21/nikon-d7000-disassembly/
    http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00YKE0?start=0
     
  25. Your point about the shutter on the D300 and D700 (along with the strong frame) is well taken. However, both the D300 and D700 are one generation older technology -- so the technology is not as durable.​
    Huh? HUH? Betcha my F4 is more durable than any DSLR. And I'll bet that my original Canon F-1 is more durable than that. I don't know the MTBF on D90/D300 sensors as opposed to the D7000, but I suspect they're similar.
     
  26. Les: You are right about the F4 and about my old F, as well. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
    Frank: The issue is not that the plates come apart, but that they withstand an impact better than plastic or poly. I tend to really like poly as it is very strong -- but when it fails it is a complete failure. The advantage metal has is that it may deform slightly without degrading performance instead of a fracture and complete failure.
     
  27. Skyler - I once had an idea of going for an used D300 or D90, but I would have to risk the warranty and other factors involved PLUS finding/identifying a better used-camera seemed asking a lot for an amatuer like me. Also, I have planned to use the camera (whatever I am planning to get) for atleast 4 years before I could think for an upgrade.
    John - I don't think I will require a weather-sealed at this point of time! D90 for $400 to $500 ? You mean an used one ?
    Andy - yeah, you are right about the D300 advice :) I am not completely rulling out post-processing. But, some how I feel guilty enhancing the picture outside the camera - So I will always try keep that to the minimal.
    Kent - It's the thrid suggestion to get a tripod first! I've started looking for tripods.
    Stephen - I guess, I would try and choose one between 35mm f1.8, 40mm f2.8 macro and a 50mm f/1.8.
    Wouter, yeah instead of getting a dedicated macro lens, I might also use my kit lets reveresed with mounting rings. Second hand lenses - I will give it a thought!
    I don't mind getting a D90 considering its age, as I don't mind having two cameras when I needed an upgrade. But now, with a $ 1500 budget or stretching it a bit, I guess I might fit in a D90,a 18-105mm VR, a good tripod and a Prime!
     

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