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Thread: Purchase Plan???

  1. #1

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    Purchase Plan???

    I finally feel as if I have outgrown my Nikon D40X and that is a pretty big deal as I tend to get attached to things and keep stuff a very long time (case in point, I just traded in my 1999 vehicle and actually shed a few tears when I left it at the dealership). I have the two kit lenses and that came with the D40x (18-55 and 55-200) and a 50mm prime.

    I do all of my editing on a Windows 7 based laptop that is only a few years old with an Intel HD family graphics card, 8mb RAM and a 2.5 GHZ processor. I use ACR and Photoshop CS5 as my editing programs of choice.

    Anyway, I have a bit of a plan that I thought I would run by everyone to get your suggestions.

    I was thinking of upgrading to the D7000 (not sure if the 7100 is worth the extra dollars) and keeping my existing lenses - will the older kit lenses perform reasonably well on a more modern body? Video is not important to me and I am open to considering other models without going over a maximum price of around $1,500. I understand that I would get better low light performance and an increased ability to capture detail but am happy to be corrected.

    Purchasing a new monitor to run off of my existing laptop . (I'm not sure if I need to upgrade my video card or other specs of my existing laptop to have this work efficiently and input would be helpful on this)

    Last but not least, purchase a color profiling device for that monitor (a must that I haven't yet purchased due to the inherent issues of editing on a laptop - again correct me if I am wrong...).

    Am I missing something essential? Am I going overboard with this with list? What would you purchase first that would provide the biggest impact?

    Your thoughts and guidance would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    The D7000 will do it for you. No problem with your lenses. You might just pick up a good used one at a very good price.

  3. #3
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    Changing the video card on a laptop; that is generally not possible as they are generally part of the chipset of the laptop itself; unlike a desktop where a discrete video card can be installed. I would not get too terribly worried, as image editing is usually not particularly resource hungry. Laptops (unfortunately) use the standard VGA port for external monitors, so that might be a bit limiting, but again, not worth worrying about. The 8 GB of RAM should be fine, although I run 16GB in my machine because of some of the large composites I work on.

    The main issue with most laptops is that they do not have particulary good screens (colour quality) and tend to use TN technology. If you buy a second screen, make sure it is IPS for better colour accuracy. Profiling your screen, even on the sub-optimal laptop would be my priority (how else do you know that your colours are right?), but doing it on a good external monitor would be a good solution. The profiling device would probably be right at the top of the list for me.

    I personally would go to the D7100, as the sensor technology is leaps and bounds ahead of the 4-year old D7000. This would include much improved low light performance.

    I own the same three lenses that you do, and am always surprised how well they do perform. The two zooms are not blazingly fast, but they are super light weight. The only thing I don't like about them are the fragile, plasitic lens mount.

  4. #4
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    Manfred do you have similar lenses to Shane? All the advice I have read on the web is that the jump to 24Mpx is really a step too far for these lenses, particularly if you are looking to print. If this is the case then the argument presented by Thom Hogan is valid and 16Mpx is more than enough.
    I'm still manfully struggling on with 6 and 12Mpx which does for most circumstances.

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    The Canon EFS "Kit" lenses are quite decent lenses for the price and I would assume the same is true of the Nikon Kit Lens versions .

    OTOH, it would be interesting to determine if upgrading your present lenses might not provide a better "bang for your buck" than keeping the present lens set and upgrading your body.

    I cannot speak for Nikon but, I would feel more confident of achieving better image quality shooting with a top-line set of lenses (such as, but not limited to the EFS 17-55mm IS and EF 70-200mm lenses) on an older Canon DSLR (such as the 40D) rather than upgrading the 40D to a more modern body and keeping the 18-55mm and 55-250mm kit lenses.

    While the Kit Lenses produce very decent imagery, the more expensive glass will beat them hands down when you are stretching the edges of the box such as (but not limited to) shooting fast moving subjects and shooting in lower light levels...

  6. #6
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post
    Manfred do you have similar lenses to Shane? All the advice I have read on the web is that the jump to 24Mpx is really a step too far for these lenses, particularly if you are looking to print. If this is the case then the argument presented by Thom Hogan is valid and 16Mpx is more than enough.
    I'm still manfully struggling on with 6 and 12Mpx which does for most circumstances.

    Yes I do have these lenses that I use with my D90. I shoot my higher end glass on the D800.

    These low end Nikkor zoom lenses are actually amazingly good for the price and the only real issue I have with them are that they are not particuarly great mechanically. Stop them down by a couple of stops and I can honestly say that for much of my hand-held shooting, performance is perfectly adequate.

    If I want a super-sharp, super large print, then no. The D800 a tripod and pro glass will keep the pixel peepers happier. If I'm posting to the internet, 12MP is more than adequate. As for Thom Hogan; I find that his views need to be taken with a grain of salt. I've found some significant technical errors in some of what he has written and we should view what he writes as being correct for his own work, but not necessarily applicable to others.

    A 16MP P&S or small sensor cross-over is overkill. It is perfectly adequate for both a crop-frame and a full-frame camera for decent sized prints. Go to a very large print, perhaps not.

  7. #7

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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    My experience with upgrading from the D80 to the D7000 was consistent with many others I was in touch with on a different forum who did the same: We noticed that the dramatically improved sensor put our handheld capturing inadequacies on display. We began using slightly faster shutter speeds for handheld photos and that did the trick. We also noticed that slightly more sharpening was needed during post-processing when starting from an in-camera setting that applied no sharpening. I mention these two factors only so you know in advance that you might have the same experiences that we had.

    I'll let others who are more knowledgeable of technology address a few issues but I'll mention them because I really do wonder about them. The first issue pertains to using kit lenses on your upgraded camera. I really have to wonder if the D7100 with its 24-megapixel sensor that has no anti-aliasing filter is a mismatch with a kit lens, as opposed to the D7000 with its 16-megapixel sensor that has an anti-aliasing filter. I also wonder if you'll get the benefit of all those megapixels and the lack of an anti-aliasing filter unless you are printing really large prints perhaps no smaller than three or four feet on the longest side. Similarly, I wonder if you'll get the benefit of improved low-light performance unless you are making really large prints.

    If you are as irritated as I am that the mode dial turns far too easily and has no lock to keep it in place, the extra money required to buy a D7100 for the use of its lock is worth every penny.

    Whatever you decide, enjoy the process of evaluating what is the best fit for you and of course using your new equipment!

  8. #8

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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful responses. To be honest I thought that calibrating a laptop monitor was not going to offer a significant improvement but I will put that item at the top of the list per Manfred's suggestion (it is by far the cheapest investment too, which doesn't hurt as much as a new body and can be moved to a new monitor if I want to go that route ) It's also good to know that a new monitor is not a must.

    Mike, thank you for your comparison between the D80 and D7000. At this point I do not plan on printing anything as large as three feet on one side (in fact I have just recently stated printing, apart from 4x6 snapshots) and your comment about anti-aliasing is something that I will need to learn about to make an informed decision. Can anyone provide more insight on that?

    Choosing between the 4 year old 7000 and the newer 7100 is tough for me as I bought the D40X the year before it was mothballed and I really wish that I had bought the newer model shortly after...I certainly don't want to find myself in that situation again but the dollar savings are once again tempting me

    Richard, even with my new prime lens (50mm 1.8) on the D40X I struggled to get acceptable hand held shots in Waikiki at night (and that place is bright!) due to the need to push the ISO past 400. I'm not sure if it is me, the lens or the camera body but the shots were very noisy at 800 and I still couldn't get the shutter speed fast enough in many instances even with a 2.5 aperture. My understanding is that the newer technology (the D40X is from 2007) will give me a lot more flexibility in that regard but, again, I am happy to be corrected.

    Thanks again everyone!

  9. #9

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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    oops! not sure how I got my previous response to post twice so I am deleting the content of this one...
    Last edited by ShaneS; 6th September 2013 at 04:03 AM. Reason: duplicate posting....

  10. #10

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    Re: Purchase Plan???

    Shane,

    The difference in high ISO capability between the D80 and the D7000 is worlds apart. I never wanted to use the D80 at higher than ISO 800, so I understand that you don't want to push your D40X beyond ISO 400. I use the D7000 regularly at ISO 3200 and occasionally at 6400 if I have no other reasonable alternative. In fact, if I hadn't had a need for the high-ISO capability I would probably still be using the D80. You won't believe the difference once you begin shooting in low-light conditions with either a D7000 or D7100.

    By the way, Nikon announced the release of the D7000 on September 15, 2010, which is three years ago, not four. I don't follow the length of product life cycles enough to know if that difference should be a factor in your decision.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 6th September 2013 at 05:17 AM.

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