Upgrading from D40 to D90? D700??

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ellie_smarks, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. I want an upgrade!
    I have the money for a D700 but do you think it's too big a jump for me? Are there reasons to go for something like the D90 over the D700 if I have the money to buy the better model?
    I am currently taking headshots and portraits for actors and comedians and performance photographs (comedy, theatre, music) and I'm so excited about my new ventures. I'm planning on converting my garage to a studio and increasing my experience in this arena too.
    Am I getting carried away or do you think "Just go for it!"?
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated! I realise it's obviously a personal choice but are there benefits to taking a stepping stone in between the D40 and the D700 (from what I gather a BIG jump!)
    Elyse xx
     
  2. The D700 will be a rather hefty jump, but not undoable of course. But it also depend a bit on which lenses you have today. If you're mainly using DX lenses with the D40, you should consider you need all new lenses, which will make the costs a lot more (and throw in some compact flash cards too).
    For theatres/clubs, the D700 does have a major advantage of being a high-ISO king. So in that respect, for your intended use, there is a good reason to go for it, but not after considering some of the possible downsides.
    It's a heavy camera, quite a lot larger than the D40 (and the D90 for that matter), and the button lay-out is quite different. Nothing that cannot be learnt, but something to keep in mind. And it takes longer to master a D700 than it will to master a D90 - could be part of the fun, but could also frustrate.
    If you have DX lenses, and the budget will not allow to jump to a D700 with full frame lenses, you could also consider the D300s. Body-wise it is like the D700, but you can continue to use DX lenses unpunished. The D300 and D300s are more expensive for good reasons - so don't leave those out of the consideration. But, the D90 is a nicer offer price/performance wise, I think.
    Frankly, my gut reaction for D40 to D700 is "you're getting carried away", though. A D90 as intermediate step does make a great deal of sense too.
     
  3. Thinking about two questions could help
    1. What capabilities do I need or want that my D40 does not have--and where does that lead me in picking a new body.
    2. What lenses do I need or want, and is $ better spent on lenses or a more expensive body?
     
  4. Thanks for your response Wouter. The high-ISO factor was exciting me but having done some more research I wonder if the D300/300s would be better options for me.
    I suppose the experience I gain with a stepping stone like the D300 will be great and perhaps the extra £600 or so can go towards lenses.
    Thanks John - my main reason for wanting to upgrade the body is the limits on the D40 of focus points (there are only 3) and the low quality when shooting in high-ISO.
    I'm leaning towards D300 now I think. Still researching though. Do you guys have experience with this body? xx
     
  5. Listen to Thom: http://www.bythom.com/upgradepath.htm
     
  6. I'm leaning towards D300 now I think.​
    Nothing worse than buying something and a few weeks later wishing you had more.
    If you have the money for the 700 and are prepared to make a little lens investment, why would you not get
    the 700? It is laid out identically to the D-300, feels and handles like the 300, with the only primary difference being the larger sensor, which
    performs far better in low light.
     
  7. Pete, It seems to me a D300 will not disappoint in a few weeks.... And stepping to the D700 may not be "a little lens investment" if you have only DX lenses. I think the step to either a D90 or D300 does make sense... It's not as if the D700 is the holy grail? Sure, clean ISO3200 rules, but so does the crop factor on long lenses. It's horses for courses, and the right horse within a budget.
    Elyse, can't tell whether the D90 or the D300 will make a better choice. They are very much alike, and quite different at the same time. The D90 will give you a less steep learning curve, more money left for lenses (and lenses are the most important part) and a very solid alround performer. The D300 is a bit more a handful, but once familiar with it, the step to other pro DSLRs will be minimal. You will not outgrow a D300 except when ISO3200 and up is a must. Personally, if I were in your shoes, I'd check my lens collection first; invest what's needed there and then see which body is possible.
    To answer your last question, yeah, I've got experience with a D300. Less with the D90, I've toyed with one a few times and it felt just like my D80 (which means: very good) I used to have. If I'd be shopping today, I might very well end up with a D90 - it's a very competitive package.
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you are getting a D700, which lenses do you have to go along with that excellent camera? Or if you don't already have some excellent lenses, how much additional budget do you have for lenses?
     
  9. No..The D-300 will not disappoint at all; I have one and love it, as long as one puts excellent glass on it.
    My thought for the OP was low light
    performance photographs (comedy, theatre, music)​
    Theaters, where lighting is usually low, the 700's larger sensor would be a great benefit to the OP. While the D-300 is a superb piece of engineeering at a great price, I am less than thrilled at it's low light performance when shooting above ISO 400; although I am aware there is none better with APS-C with competitors to the 300.
    ..and so true, most of us must factor in budget considerations when preparing to build a system, now and down the road.
     
  10. It depends on your lens kit. If you own excellent DX glass then a D300 which I have not used. If you have excellent FX glass then your budget is fine for a D700, which I currently own. I changed out some glass when I went to FX even though most of my glass was FX. Either body should be great. If you use wide to short tele then I would put more weight on a D700 but you need to make allowances for glass if needed in your budget. I am happy with smaller AIS primes, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 zoom as well as some tele primes with my D700. Others will only consider the newest 14-24mm and 24-70mm zooms. YMMV
     
  11. whatever you do, make sure it's after you fully understand what you're getting into. educate yourself; be sure that you not only know what the specs of each camera are, but what they mean for making photos.
    hold on to your money until you've spent a few weeks learning everything you can about the cameras you're looking at. the cameras will still be there, and i guarantee you'll make a much better decision.
     
  12. if money is no object, everyone would take the d700 over the d90 so definitely get the d700!!!!
     
  13. D90 is the best handling of the bunch. I prefer the firmware in the d90 as well. It is plasticky and probably will not last as long as the 300's. The D700 is larger than the 300 and feels it. With excellent dx lenses like the 35 f1.8 here and others coming down the pipeline, I would be swayed towards the 300. the d300 is also a "real" camera in that it is a mostly magnesium body with excellent weather sealing. The d90 is again a consumer camera. Price difference between the d90 and d300 is minimal. Better handling of older high quality glass goes to the 300's. Both the 300 and 700 cameras are significantly more complex to a degree that you can go backwards in photo quality from the d40 unless you dedicate yourself to learning / understanding the nikon menus. By all means keep the d40. It finds it's way into more shooting scenarios simply because it is there...
     
  14. The D700 is awesome for it's low-light/high-ISO performance. There are two big issues to consider:
    1. If your lens selection is based around DX, the D700 will change that. E.g., for stage work with DX, I found that my 28-70mm f/2.8 was nearly ideal. For FX, that would indicate a 35-105mm f/2.8 -- which nobody makes. This is a major issue for me.
    2. The focus sensors are too closely-clustered for my taste on the D700. I often compose with the subject towards towards the edges. This flaw becomes readily apparent when shooting portraits and headshots in vertical mode.
    I have a love/hate relationship with my D700 because of these issues. Overall, I do not like this camera very much, based on the ways that I am trying to use it. Except for the low-light/high-ISO performance, which I really appreciate and need, I'm ready to return to DX. YMMV.
     
  15. D90 is the best handling of the bunch. I prefer the firmware in the d90 as well. It is plasticky and probably will not last as long as the 300's. The D700 is larger than the 300 and feels it. With excellent dx lenses like the 35 f1.8 here and others coming down the pipeline, I would be swayed towards the 300. the d300 is also a "real" camera in that it is a mostly magnesium body with excellent weather sealing. The d90 is again a consumer camera. Price difference between the d90 and d300 is minimal. Better handling of older high quality glass goes to the 300's. Both the 300 and 700 cameras are significantly more complex to a degree that you can go backwards in photo quality from the d40 unless you dedicate yourself to learning / understanding the nikon menus. By all means keep the d40. It finds it's way into more shooting scenarios simply because it is there...
     
  16. Normally I would recommend the D90, but for shooting in dark places like clubs and theaters the better high ISO performance of the D700 is a major advantage. If you can afford the D700 and any lenses that you may need, then I suggest getting the D700. If not then the D90 or D300 are very good choices. I'd get the D90 over the D300 and put savings into a lens.
     

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