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Thread: Which Nikon body?

  1. #1

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    Which Nikon body?

    My current Nikon is a D5000, and I am very happy with it. However, on a recent holiday trip to Alaska, I missed a number of shots, because I was in the middle of changing lenses when a photo opportunity passed by (wide angle scenery vs. long range wildlife action..) .

    This has led me to the conclusion that a second camera body is the logical next addition to my gear, rather than adding to the lens choice confusion..

    At the moment, I can get a D3100, a second D5000 or a D90 for about the same price locally. My main subjects are landscape and nature, and my current lenses are the Nikon 18-105, Nikon 70-300 and the Sigma 150-500 (yes, I know the latter two overlap a lot, but the Nikon is a joy to shoot handheld, while I can only get decent results from the Sigma on a solid tripod..).

    Any suggestions on which way to go? The D90 is very tempting, does its age (launched 2008) show in any aspects?

  2. #2
    Hans's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Hi Lennart,
    Hmm, interesting question.

    I have a D90 and love it! The D90 has essentially the same sensor as the D5000, ability to use non-AFS, increased customisability (very important to me) and really nice Hi-res LCD screen. Even so, it probably isn't that much of an upgrade and and is quite a solid weighty camera so as a second body might be a bit overkill (of course the best reason to buy something is because you want it...don't worry about being too rational about it )

    The D3100 the smaller build, weighs less (a consideration if you are carrying two bodies around), costs about 20-30% less than the D90, will use the same lenses as the D5000, is higher res and newer sensor, fulltime auto-focus for the movie shooting, some say better ISO performance than the D90. In some ways it might be a worthy upgrade to your D5000.

    Of course you may prefer to use a second body that is identical to your primary so you can think less about camera controls and focus more on picture taking as you could customise the cameras identical to each other for no fuss transition.

    Having said all that, I'd probably go for the D3100 or save up for a D7000.

    Good luck with your choice
    Last edited by Hans; 27th July 2011 at 11:38 AM.

  3. #3
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Hi Lennart, I have the D3100 and it's been great, but I think if I got another body (and could find a way to afford it), I'd step up and get the D7000 as my primary and use the D3100 as my secondary. The D7000 might work for you as well. I also noted that you primarily shoot with the normal and telephoto lenses. If your D5000 has the telephoto lens, a less expensive alternative might be a top-end pocket camera for the closer shots.

    The next thing to consider is how are you going to carry and easily access the camera of choice in the field? One thing you could consider, particularly if your budget is limited, is to work for a while with two cameras, the D5000 and the best second camera you can get as a back-up to get the feel for the mechanics of carrying two and swapping on the fly. You may discover the wielding two full sized cameras could be a handful to manage. I've tried shooting with my D3100 on a Black Rapid strap (that works very well) and my Sony DSC-H1 on a neck strap (that flops all over the place while I'm trying to get into position to use the D3100).
    Last edited by FrankMi; 27th July 2011 at 01:04 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    If it were me, I would seriously consider an ultrazoom. Personally, I have never actually had a problem changing lenses. But, if that were the issue, I would much rather use a travel zoom than carry two cameras on a vacation. I would probably end up missing the boat while I was busy packing all my gear if I tried that approach.

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Hi Lennart...

    I totally agree with your decision to add a second body to your kit. I work with two bodies all the time (Canon 40D and Canon 7D). The first advantage to come to mind when considering two bodies is that you won't miss shots while changing lenses. However there are other advantages such as being able to use a pair of lenses to provide an extensive focal range with excellent IQ, AF and relatively wide apertures. The ultra-zoom lenses are not really great in any of those three categories. I shoot with 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and a 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses. The IQ and autofocus is superb and I have a constant f/2.8 aperture in my mid-range focal lengths and never go below f/4 in my longest focal lengths. I also have very efficient IS capability in both lenses. I just love shooting with this duo. See my China Galleries shot with these two lenses and a 30D and a 40D camera at: http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/

    An additional advantage is the insurance policy that you will not miss any once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities because of camera failure. Several years ago; I traveled to Alaska for ten days with a Canon 40D and a 30D. I fell climbing a slippery slope on the first day and broke my 40D. The 30D saved the trip for me. You don't have to be climbing mountains to break a camera. A fellow tour member fell on the street near the City Walls of Xi'an, China and broke his Nikon. He had no backup camera and had to rely on my images of the Terra Cotta Warriors. I definitely shudder when I hear of a photographer traveling to some far-away place like an African safari; carrying a large assortment of lenses and a single body. BTW: I often travel with a third lens, 12-24mm f/4 Tokina which I will sometimes carry instead of the 70-200mm and which "could" limp along as a mid-range zoom if my 17-55mm went down.

    Carrying a pair of cameras each on its own strap can be quite inconvenient. I have never been able to do that without some tangling of the camera straps.

    I started carrying a pair of cameras/lenses on an OPTECH USA Reporter Strap ( http://optechusa.com/reporter-strap.html ) which fairly well solved the problem of straps tangling but, there were two problems that remained. A pair of cameras and lenses were a heavy load to carry around my neck and I would get tired by the end of a long day of walk around shooting. Additionally, if I were carrying my cameras with flash attached, the bottom camera needed to be carried too low (in order to clear the top camera) for my tastes.

    I now use the OPTECH Dual Harness ( http://optechusa.com/dual-harness.html ) which I like best. I prefer the dual harness over the double Black Rapid System because I don't like carrying my camera attached at one point (the tripod socket) and since I will be using fill-flash quite often, I don't like carrying my camera upside down. I feel that carrying a camera this way is putting too much strain on the attachment shoes of my 550EX or 430EX Speedlights. The Cotton carrier is just too much for my tastes. Although it is efficient, it reminds me of the brace I wore after back surgery...

    The Dual Harness attaches each camera with a pair of independent straps. If one of these straps should fail (or be sliced by a "cut and run" thief) the camera is still safely attached (to the harness and to me) by the second strap. The Dual Harness distributes the weight across my shoulders and the difference at the end of a day is amazing. I use lightweight carabiner clips to secure the camera straps to either the side straps of my photo vest or the belt loops of my trousers which prevents the camera from swinging if I run or do any climbing.

    I will also wear the strap (and cameras/lenses) beneath my photo vest if I consider that extra security is in order.

    The Dual harness is not expensive and costs $32.95 U.S. Dollars from Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/6501042-Harnes...1778975&sr=8-2 ). I am a big man at about 2 meters tall and 100 kilos and use the extra long size Dual Harness.

    Another advantage of the OPTECH strap system is that all their connecting straps are compatible. I can disconnect the straps from the Dual Harness and attach it to my older Reporter Strap. I will sometimes carry the camera like that if I know that I will be carrying only one camera. BTW: some folks carry a single camera and a pair of binoculars on the Dual Harness.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 27th July 2011 at 03:44 PM.

  6. #6
    PhotomanJohn's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Lennart - I agree with Frank and would consider the option of buying a D7000. Having used the D5000 and the D7000 extensively, the D7000 has many very worthwhile features that I use all the time and the additional speed of not having to get into the menu system to make frequent changes really speeds things up. This combined with the two user defined settings makes it a real pleasure to use in quickly changing situations as compared to the D5000. I have not used the D3100 but assume that its similar to the D5000 in these regards.

    Have Fun,

    John

  7. #7
    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Don't forget the D5100 just came out. It has some nice new features. I would ante up for the D7000 though!

    D5100 http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Produc...478/D5100.html

  8. #8
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    I vote D90. Just so you could use an AF 80-400 VR. Be nice to have at least one body with a focus motor in it.

  9. #9

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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    D7000

  10. #10
    PhotomanJohn's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Sahil's comment was a little abbreviated, The longer version is that the D7000 has the focus motor and is a better camera from a performance point of view than the D90 (which is still a very good camera).

  11. #11

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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    I suggest you to read a few reviews on D7000. Most likely you would not want anything else. I am way too impressed with it & plan to buy it soon.

  12. #12
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Sahil, if the OP is talking about getting a new D3100 or used D5000 or D90, chances are, the OP can't afford a new D7000. A new D7000 is roughly twice the price. Sure, it's better specced camera with nicer features, but part of whether a camera is a good fit for someone involves the pricetag, too.

    I mean, the 7D looks slick, but I wouldn't be recommending it to someone who's looking at a new dRebel or a used 40D or 50D as their next camera.

  13. #13
    oldgeezer's Avatar
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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    I have been using a D80 for quite a few years and love it. I have to shoot a wedding in early October which is all indoors. I have an assistant lined up but hate lugging too much gear about so I bought a D7000.

    Well, I can't believe the high ISO low noise ratio for a crop sensor. I promise you, the later sensor is a real step up from the camera I love, the difference is Staggering even to an old git like me. It delivers everything you read about it and uses my lenses I already have which will also fit the D90 D60 etc.
    I don't need an assistant now as I get great low noise indoor shots with the minimum of light. I couldn't recommend the D7000 more highly.

    A lot of money to spend, if its too much I would go for any of the new generation sensor cameras, they are all good and fit for purpose.

  14. #14

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    Re: Which Nikon body?

    Guys,
    Thanks for many useful comments! A few reflections:

    Since I started with the D5000, I have no legacy non-AFS lenses, so that will not be a major concern.

    I already have a Canon s95 which I bought as my "go anywhere" camera, and I sometimes use it for landscape shots, in combination with a telezoom on the Nikon. Very pleased with the image quality, but it is hard to compose shots carefully without a viewfinder in bright light, I cannot see the LCD well enough..

    From what I have seen in test shots, ultrazooms are not at their best at maximum extension, which I seem to use a lot. Also, since I already have the focal lengths I need, an ultrazoom would duplicate these at a higher cost than a D3100 body.

    As a lot of my photo is travel-related (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/len_elg/ ) the insurance of having an extra body is a real bonus. While I am a big guy, weight is still a concern, so the D3100 looks appealing, and I will certainly take a close look at the OPTECH Dual Harness.

    Again, thanks everyone for your input!

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