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Thread: Which upgrade path?

  1. #1
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    Which upgrade path?

    I've recently decided I want to become a bit more serious about photography. I've been messing around with digital cameras for about 8 years, but only got my first real DSLR (a Nikon D40) a few years ago. I just picked up the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF, despite the autofocus not being compatible with my D40. I'm beginning to see why people are willing to spend $1000+ on a single lens. I know technique is more important than gear, and I'm reading several books at the moment and practicing lots. However, it drives me crazy to have no auto-focus on my new lens (especially one as sensitive as this). I'm a young software engineer with no family, so I don't feel terribly guilty dropping some cash on my hobby. All that aside... Here's where I'm sitting with my gear:

    Nikon D40
    Nikon DX 18-55mm (kit lens)
    Nikon DX 55-200mm VR
    Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF
    SB-600 Flash

    A good amount of beginner stuff, but not enough to have me locked into Nikon yet.

    I enjoy night photography probably most of all (30 second exposures or more), have fun taking photographs at weddings, also nature and architecture.

    I was toying around with the idea of upgrading to the D300 or even the D700 for full frame.

    Other options are to sell all my gear and start fresh with Canon or Sony. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II looks nice, but I don't think I really need that many pixels. The Sony a55 is a very tempting camera at that price. It seems like it has everything I'm looking for except full frame. Is full frame everything that it's being hyped to be?

    Alright, I think I'll stop there until I get some responses, I think this post could get even more annoying very quickly

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/criticisms.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Quote Originally Posted by orestes72 View Post
    I've recently decided I want to become a bit more serious about photography. I've been messing around with digital cameras for about 8 years, but only got my first real DSLR (a Nikon D40) a few years ago. I just picked up the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF, despite the autofocus not being compatible with my D40. I'm beginning to see why people are willing to spend $1000+ on a single lens. I know technique is more important than gear, and I'm reading several books at the moment and practicing lots. However, it drives me crazy to have no auto-focus on my new lens (especially one as sensitive as this). I'm a young software engineer with no family, so I don't feel terribly guilty dropping some cash on my hobby. All that aside... Here's where I'm sitting with my gear:

    Nikon D40
    Nikon DX 18-55mm (kit lens)
    Nikon DX 55-200mm VR
    Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF
    SB-600 Flash

    A good amount of beginner stuff, but not enough to have me locked into Nikon yet.

    I enjoy night photography probably most of all (30 second exposures or more), have fun taking photographs at weddings, also nature and architecture.

    I was toying around with the idea of upgrading to the D300 or even the D700 for full frame.

    Other options are to sell all my gear and start fresh with Canon or Sony. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II looks nice, but I don't think I really need that many pixels. The Sony a55 is a very tempting camera at that price. It seems like it has everything I'm looking for except full frame. Is full frame everything that it's being hyped to be?

    Alright, I think I'll stop there until I get some responses, I think this post could get even more annoying very quickly

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/criticisms.
    Orestes,

    Welcome to the group and you are not alone in your dilemma. I have the same lens and I am using it on a D60 (preD40) and have the same issue with having to adapt to manual focus. First off, learn to manually focus, it will help you when you have issues with your autofocus lenses. Yes, you will have times when your trusty AF just does not perform as needed. Secondly, begin using a tripod especially for night photography, you just cannot hold the camera steady with the long exposures you will need. Finally, read the tutorials regarding manual focusing, use of a tripod, and setting shutter speeds and apertures. Good luck and please post some photos!

  3. #3
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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    I had the opposite problem. I started in photography in the late 40s and multi-focal length, autofocus, auto exposure and fresh coffee all from the same camera just drove me NUTZO for the first year or more. What did you do with my f:stop ring? How come the focus ring won't move? Why are you telling me I should shoot at 5.8? 5.8? That is NOT a stop. That lens wasn't 4 feet long when I bought it!

    Yes, you should have a tripod and remote release for night photography. There are times when you will want to use that set up for mid-day, bright, sunny, highly reflective shots, also. It just works out that way.

    Incidently, I have almost all Nikon, because the stuff is so interchangable. I have and FG, N6006, N60, N70, N80, D40 and D75. Each camera has two lenses, most with the same range of focal lengths mentioned above, except the FG, which I keep attached to the 28mm or 50 mm.

    Now, you have two responses, so you owe us (at least) two pictures posted.

    Pops

  4. #4

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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Of course the simplest way to upgrade would be getting a body that autofocuses with your 50 mm lens. If you get a D90, you will also get a substantially superior image chip, as well as a few additional features, whether or not those are important to you. It is not about pixel count, but D90 has better dynamic capability, which also provides higher ISO.

    Staying with Nikon so far will not be painting yourself into a corner if you don't go completely crazy and get all stuff there is for Nikon DX sensor.

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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    I do have a decent tripod and the cheapest ball head I could buy from Really Right Stuff. I'm not the best at manual focus, but it's so much easier on a lens that's made for manual focus only. Especially my new lens at 1.8, just moving it a hair and it's out of focus!

    Hmmmm, pictures eh? I will link to my (new) flickr account for now. I just added four new ones.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/53102432@N02/

    What is the preferred method of uploading photos around here?

    Thanks again for all of your replies! (Any constructive criticism of my photos is also welcome, though I've already been told the lighthouse picture sucks )

  6. #6

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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Hi John,

    First of all, welcome to the forum.

    What is the preferred method of uploading photos around here?
    Check it Here . When it comes to 'my' preference, I copy the image URL from my flickr account & then insert it with the image tags.

    Opened your photo-stream. Did you want the pier shot to be blue, the way it is? Coz I feel its a messed up white-balance.
    The tree shot would have been the best one in your stream if it wasn't cut outta frame from left corner.

    Hope to see more of your shots here

  7. #7
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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
    Opened your photo-stream. Did you want the pier shot to be blue, the way it is? Coz I feel its a messed up white-balance.
    The tree shot would have been the best one in your stream if it wasn't cut outta frame from left corner.
    For the pier, I'm not sure I guess. I was still shooting in JPG and had never really messed with white balance before. It was a really long exposure taken in dim moonlight, so I figured that's just the way it looks. Perhaps I should toy with it?

    As for the tree, there was a bunch of branches and other junk just to the left of that frame so I tried to crop them out. I really wish I had at least taken a full on shot of the tree or moved closer to get a better angle. It was my first time in North Carolina and I was worried that a few of the snakes in the water might be poisonous. The regret is a good reminder though.

  8. #8

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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Oh snakes! They make a wonderful subject, I feel. But I am sure, coming across one, I would run my a$$ outta there. But would want to take a shot using my 70-300 mm for sure.

  9. #9
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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Quote Originally Posted by orestes72 View Post
    I do have a decent tripod and the cheapest ball head I could buy from Really Right Stuff. I'm not the best at manual focus, but it's so much easier on a lens that's made for manual focus only. Especially my new lens at 1.8, just moving it a hair and it's out of focus!

    Hmmmm, pictures eh? I will link to my (new) flickr account for now. I just added four new ones.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/53102432@N02/

    What is the preferred method of uploading photos around here?

    Thanks again for all of your replies! (Any constructive criticism of my photos is also welcome, though I've already been told the lighthouse picture sucks )
    Nice photos John, that shot of the pier reminds me of the covershot for the documentary "The Bridge".

  10. #10
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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    NIKON ADVICE FROM A CANON GUY... Whatever your camera system; base your lens collection on the best mid-range zoom lens you can afford. Expand it out from there if necessary. IMO, it is better to shoot with one good lens than to have a collection of substandard lenses. And yes, Canon, Nikon, Pentax as well as third party lens manufacturers all have some lemons in their lines.

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrade path?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    NIKON ADVICE FROM A CANON GUY... Whatever your camera system; base your lens collection on the best mid-range zoom lens you can afford. Expand it out from there if necessary. IMO, it is better to shoot with one good lens than to have a collection of substandard lenses. And yes, Canon, Nikon, Pentax as well as third party lens manufacturers all have some lemons in their lines.
    Phew, I got something right for a change

    That was my thinking behind stretching for the lenses in the 400-600 price range and avoiding the kit and circa 150 lines, plus not being able to afford the 1,500 - 8,000+ ones!

    ... or have I pitched too low still?

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