Time to upgrade from D90?

bfluegiebfluegie Big grinsIndianaRegistered Users Posts: 564 Major grins
edited August 3, 2013 in Cameras
I have checked the archives on the D7100, and it looks as if there were a lot of posts when it initially came out, but not too many relating to longer term experiences, or maybe I didn’t specify my search well enough. I currently use a D90 that I got in January 2009. I do not use it a lot (it has fewer than 10K shutter activations) but I am still thinking of upgrading to the D7100.

I mainly do landscape photography when I go on vacations. I also abuse, I mean photograph, my cats a lot—either trying out different things like off camera flash or just because they are so darn cute. I sometimes try to check out local scenery on weekends, but northern Indiana has some limitations in that regard (my opinion only). Sometimes I go to parks for the flowers. When I travel on business I typically just take a pocket camera.

Reasons for upgrading: I like the weatherproofing. While I don’t backpack, I like to take day hikes on vacations. Last fall I was hiking and the overcast turned into rain. Another day, the mist around a waterfall got a little up close and personal when the wind shifted. My camera didn’t really get wet in either case—just a few drops, but who knows what will happen next time. I also like the improved ISO performance and the additional focus points. More megapixels: Well, I really haven’t made large prints, so that alone probably isn’t enough to make me upgrade. Video: the only videos I take with the D90 involve me accidentally hitting the record button while I am composing a macro shot in live view. I have a few of them showing a static image with my voice going “what the heck? Oh…”. Of course the D7100 button is less likely to be accidentally activated, but that isn’t really a decider.

Reasons to stay with what I have: My D90 hasn’t seen a lot of use. It is capable of taking excellent photos. I am really limited by my own skills, not hardware. I don’t expect to take better photos just because I get a new camera. If I stick with the D90, I could either save for full frame (that discussion is for another book length post) or upgrade my lenses. Either way, I will probably end up spending the same amount on photo gear. It isn’t a question of money, just how to use the money. Really, I’ll probably end up getting the camera AND a new lens, but I want to start off assuming I won’t go crazy. :D

So, I am wondering what other people in this situation have done. Those who have gone with the D7100: are you happy with the decision or do you think you should have waited for another upgrade cycle, or even gone full frame? Is the D7100 as good as the spec sheet? Those who decided to not upgrade, what were your reasons? I appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks in advance.
~~Barbara

Comments

  • DsrtVWDsrtVW Light Stalking Registered Users Posts: 1,991 Major grins
    edited August 2, 2013
    What type of glass do you have and use on the D90 some fast sharp glass will make a big difference most times in the quality of your shots
    D90 is a good solid camera, unless you are going for more low light high ISO situations you will gain only more resolution which can be a good thing

    I went from a D50 to D300 which after 250000 clicks started having psychotic AF issues so I bought a D7000 to keep me going while the other went for repair. Finally tired of waiting for Nikon to replace the D300 with a new model I bought a used D3 with 8000 clicks to satisfy my need for more frame rate and high ISO
    On all those cameras the lens quality has made the biggest difference . Going to a full frame sensor was amazing difference

    I would considered a D600 even with Nikon DX glass which it automatically crops to that format when put on Nikon DSLR

    Have fun wrestling with the decision. Best thing to do is play with new camera if you have a chance, at a shop or even through rentals
    Chris K. NANPA Member
    http://kadvantage.smugmug.com/
  • DsrtVWDsrtVW Light Stalking Registered Users Posts: 1,991 Major grins
    edited August 2, 2013
    I would definitely check out Nikon OutletNikon Store Outlet

    Refurbihed camera and lenses are great money savers
    Chris K. NANPA Member
    http://kadvantage.smugmug.com/
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaRegistered Users Posts: 564 Major grins
    edited August 3, 2013
    Thanks for all the info, Chris. I should have included my lenses in the original post.
    • Kit lens, 18-105 3.5-5.6G ED VR
    • tele zoom, 70-300 4.5-5.6G VR IF-ED
    • wide zoom, Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm F4
    • macro, Tamron SP AF Di 90mm 2.8
    • Nikon AF-S 35mm 1.8G DX
    • Nikon AF 50mm 1.4D
    The kit lens is the first one I will replace. It is a good lens for starting out, and in good light when I can stop down it is a decent performer. Still, I think it is time to move on. Its main value was in giving me a wide range of focal lengths so I could determine which I am most likely to use. I usually shoot at the shorter to middle part of this range, so it should be the first lens to be upgraded. What I lose on the long end I can cover with my primes. Based on performance, the tele zoom should be next, but it is down the list for upgrade because I just don't use it as much.

    Since it was announced, I really wanted the D600. A lot. Seeing all the excellent images posted in the Landscape forum just reinforces that. I keep telling myself that I should stick with DX. My back isn't getting any younger and the trails seem steeper every time I hike. I did check out the local camera store and I tried out both the D7100 and the D600. With kit lenses, the D600 is noticeably heavier but it felt GOOD in my hands. It really doesn't feel much bigger. Both cameras have a solid feel.

    I suppose if I get a new zoom in the 18-35/50 mm range I should think about getting one that will work on FX. Then if I get the D600 I will only lose the short end of the Tokina and the 35mm DX prime. I built a tradeoff spreadsheet between the D7100 and D600, assuming I would upgrade the kit lens and the tele zoom if I stay DX, and matching all lenses I currently have if I go FX. My FX kit will be one pound heavier but will cost $3k more. Most of that is to get a wide zoom and a portrait prime plus the $800 difference in camera body price. So, if I use the longer end of the Tokina for a while as my wide zoom and skip the portrait lens until I actually have a use for it the cost won't be a big factor either.

    Have I almost talked myself into the D600? Ack!
    ~~Barbara
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaRegistered Users Posts: 564 Major grins
    edited August 3, 2013
    I should also add that most of the landscape photos I am admiring were taken with much better lenses than mine. I should follow the "glass first" rule.
    ~~Barbara
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,192 moderator
    edited August 3, 2013
    bfluegie wrote: »
    ... I suppose if I get a new zoom in the 18-35/50 mm range I should think about getting one that will work on FX. Then if I get the D600 I will only lose the short end of the Tokina and the 35mm DX prime. I built a tradeoff spreadsheet between the D7100 and D600, assuming I would upgrade the kit lens and the tele zoom if I stay DX, and matching all lenses I currently have if I go FX. My FX kit will be one pound heavier but will cost $3k more. Most of that is to get a wide zoom and a portrait prime plus the $800 difference in camera body price. So, if I use the longer end of the Tokina for a while as my wide zoom and skip the portrait lens until I actually have a use for it the cost won't be a big factor either.

    Have I almost talked myself into the D600? Ack!

    Unfortunately, wide-angle zoom lenses for a DX (crop 1.5x) body do not generally work that well on a FF body. You are much better off buying what you need, meaning both an FX body (if that's what you need) plus a wide-angle lens suited for that body.

    On the other hand, if you use a stitched panorama approach (multiple overlapping images to be stitched together in post-production) you can achieve almost "any" wide angle-of-view on either DX or FX bodies (although FX will require more overlapping images to achieve the same FOV). Of course this won't work for moving subjects nor does it work well in windy conditions or with constantly changing light. Still, I use this approach fairly often and the results can be very satisfying.

    Do check out the best panoramic thread ever:

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=101529

    Results:

    http://dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=990541&postcount=274
    http://dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=994328&postcount=293

    Be sure to see what Baldy did here:

    http://www.dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=1039964&postcount=362
    http://www.dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=1039966&postcount=363
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • chrisjohnsonchrisjohnson Major grins NetherlandsRegistered Users Posts: 768 Major grins
    edited August 3, 2013
    This is amazing work!!
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,192 moderator
    edited August 3, 2013
    This is amazing work!!

    Our Baldy is a pretty amazing guy. thumb.gifthumb
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaRegistered Users Posts: 564 Major grins
    edited August 3, 2013
    Wow, Ziggy, those pano links are amazing. That is definitely a technique I will have to try, although I will never hope to get similar results.

    I probably wasn't clear on my lens thoughts. If I skip the D7100 body for now I was thinking of replacing my DX kit lens with an FX lens covering part of that range, maybe the 16-35/2.8 or the 24-70/2.8. Since I have duplicated both ends of the kit lens range with the Tokina DX wide angle and my telephoto zoom the smaller focal length range will work OK. That would work with my D90 until I upgrade to the D600. Eventually, if I go FX I would want both of those lenses. Baby steps right now...

    I have read that the Tokina will work on FX from about 18 mm and longer, but will certainly vignette at shorter focal lengths. Still, the 12mm on a DX camera would be about the same field of view as 18 mm on an FX camera, so functionally I won't have lost the widest field of view I currently have. I have not read that the image quality suffers when using it at 18-24 mm on FX, but I haven't read everything. If that would work OK for a while, maybe the 24-70 would be the better lens to get first.

    Or, maybe I should just get the 17-55 2.8 DX for the D90 and wait another year or so to decide on FX. I'm not very good at decisions.
    ~~Barbara
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,192 moderator
    edited August 3, 2013
    bfluegie wrote: »
    ... Or, maybe I should just get the 17-55 2.8 DX for the D90 and wait another year or so to decide on FX. I'm not very good at decisions.

    The Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX is an excellent lens. That should certainly provide some improvement in image quality mounted on the D90.

    I mean that your existing Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is already one of the sharper zoom lenses out there, and in that way it even bests the 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S at times, but the 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S appears to have less distortion and less CA. Add the better control over DOF and I think that you would have a winner for the cat and floral images too.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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