Maybe a silly question from a newbie, but here we go:
I've bought a new D90 (+ the 18-105 mm kit) 1 year ago and since then I'm very happy with all photos and progression with my technical habilities. It's been a whole new world for someone with almost now photography experience. Some D90 books (including Young's Mastering the Nikon D90), the Nikonians forum, sharing experience with my friends and that is it. Almost forgotten those days of my old Canon A1 and Canon PowerShot S3 IS.
Now I've the possibility to buy the new D800, but I'm a little bit concerned about my real needs. My chief considerations are: a) the D800 price; b) the potential gain in photo quality versus my technical level and experience; c) my personal feeling of a kind of "programmed obsolescence" that is so evident nowadays, not only in the photography domain, but also in the information technology (iphones, smartphones, ipads, tablets, etc, etc, etc.), with all the consequences for the environment.
All comments, opinions and advices will be extremely welcomed.
#1. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0
The D800 is a wonderful camera. However if I was not a commercial photographer I would not have bought one. Having a D90 in the house and shooting with the D300 and D800 I find that the D800 is usually way more than I will ever need for my personal use. If you are looking into getting a new camera wait to see what the D600 will have to offer or go for the D700.
#5. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0 Fri 07-Sep-12 09:54 PM by MEMcD
Welcome to Nikonians!
Reading between the lines, you seem to be very happy with your D90. So why upgrade?
Since you only list the 18-105mm kit lens in your User Profile, which is a DX lens: You will have to invest in FX lenses to take full advantage of the D800 or any other FX body. I would recommend investing in fast glass before you consider a D800 body. Keep in mind that glass is a long term (lifetime) investment that will hold its value long into the future. Camera bodies are upgraded about every two to three years and their value drops like a rock. Once you have a decent collection of lenses, upgrading to an FX body should be a lot less painful (financially). Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#6. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0
With regard to obsolescence, while I have new bodies, I continue to use my older ones side by side and sometimes instead of the new ones. My D2X is still used regularly even though I have been using it for over seven years now. It continues to work as well as it did the first day I bought it. While I use the newer bodies when I have to shoot at high ISO settings, in good light or when using flash, the old bodies perform very well. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#8. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 7
Seems that every month the magizines come out listing all the new bodies and all their wonderful specifications. Can't read any of that without lusting after a new one.
The sad fact is that none of them would improve my photos. My D90 is exactly the body I need. I mainly do wildlife and feel that I'm better off with my current lens selection and D90 than I would be with an FX body and starting all over with new lens.
I'll never be rich and famous, but I sure do have fun.
#9. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 8
Los Angeles, US
If photography is not a profession for you or a means of earning your living, then having fun (at least, for me) is, and should be, the top priority! Unless you have, or contract, a bad case of NAS, then buy what makes you happy to use, and learn (from the best right here) and everywhere else, and you are getting the best of what you should expect for the time, energy, and money you put in.
P.S. I went from a long time D70 - circa 2004(?) (which I still have) to a refurbished D5100, and then on to a D7000, which I really enjoy learning and shooting, all in the past year. But, you should make your own rules for what makes you happiest. I still use my D70 sometimes and it's just fine, all 6 MP's of it.
#10. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0 Tue 11-Sep-12 03:39 AM by kentak
As others have pointed out, to get the full advantage of the full size (FX) D800 sensor, you will need to use non-DX lenses. You can use the 18-105 with the D800 in "crop mode," but will gain only a modest increase in resolution over your D90 by doing so.
If you want to upgrade but stay within the DX format, the D7000 is now attractively priced and has some nice feature upgrades over the D90, including 16mp, more focus points, better focus system, better high ISO performance and better dynamic range.
If you want to upgrade to FX without dropping the bucks on a D800, stay tuned for Nikon's announcement this week of the new D600, which is *expected* to be *possibly* similar to the D7000 but with 24mp in a FX format sensor. It *might* be priced as low as $1500, although that might be best-case scenario.
Or, spend the $3000 and get D800, which everyone says is a great camera. Just be sure to budget many extra hundreds or thousands of dollars for the non-DX lenses you'll need. (The same is true if you get the D600).
Or, stick with the D90 and improve your skills and technique a little longer. In the meantime, keep an eye on the new models expected to be released in the coming days and months.
Edited to add: I should have "seconded" the advice about getting additional lenses first. José already mentioned f/1.8 35 and 50mm lenses. The 70-200 is quite pricey, but a good choice if you can afford it. A more affordable choice would be the 70-300 VR, which I enjoy very much. It does not, however, have the f/2.8 capability of the excellent 70-200, but it's also about 1/4 the cost. All of these aforementioned lenses would be usable with any future FX body you might get.
#12. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0
Esancho - it always seems like the body is the place to upgrade, but the D90 is a solid platform, and there were only three things I ever complained about with mine.
ISO performance - I love shooting in low light, but you have to go to the D3s to get 2 stops of better ISO performance, where 1.8 glass will give you almost three stops! And the glass will work on your next body!
Handling - Now that I have a D300s, I really prefer it to the more menu-driven handling of the D90/D7000 and even the new D600 (which I think should have been called a D8000, but whatever). But the D90 handles very well.
AF - the AF is a little limiting for action and gives you less points to work with than a D7000/D600 (39 points) or a D300s/D700/D800 (51 points). Honestly, this is often as much about how you shoot as anything. The D90 AF system is pretty darn good.
I upgraded nearly all my glass to f/2.8 zooms and f/1.8 primes, and it made me fall back in love with my D90.
Get a 35mm f/1.8G to start, and look how amazing the photos are. My used Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 (the older non-built-in-motor model, called "non-BIM") was a steal at $325 and is stuck on the front of my camera a majority of the time.
Buy yourself some time with glass, and I bet you'll be really happy you did.
Also, you might want to check out Scott Kelby's "Digital Photography" series (especially the first two) and Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" (in that order). Those books were a massive help for me.
#16. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0
I started in digital photography in 2004 with two D70's with very good results. I looked for another body that would give me full frame capture (for use with my Spiratone dupliscope SR slide copying device and my Nikon PB6 bellows attachment) with better low light/higher ISO capabilities. The D700 fit the bill nicely. When I was a wedding photographer for 37 years I really enjoyed my Bronica SQb and SQa 6x6 medium format bodies and lenses for the really big prints I could make and I longed for that ability again. The D800 meets that requirement nicely. The expense is worth it if the results are important to you. I still use my D70's (one is converted to IR photography) since the results are still very good! You have a wonderful choice before you!
"Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh
#18. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 17
First of all always buy fast good lenses first as you have been told here already. Then if there is something about your camera that it doesn’t do for you then look at a different body.
I used a D80 for years coming from a film camera but didn’t like the low light capabilities and noise from it, so I started to look for a new camera. Although I had FX lenses already from my film days, and some manual lenses, I was ready to go to a FX body. I always wanted the D3X but it was very expensive. The D800 came out at the time I was ready to buy and I read everything I could about it. I finally bought one and just love it, it takes really great pictures and all I could ever want in a camera. It really pulls in the detail in pictures and is just amazing. Every lens I put on it makes that lens better, although I have never shot with a DX lens on it yet. But then again I like to print 20X30 prints that the D80 can’t compare to the D800. But I have prints from my D80 that I upsized and have printed that I wished I had the D800 for all the detail. But if you don’t print big prints, your camera is just fine you won’t see much difference.
On the down side is it is less forgiving and you need to be on your toes using your best shooting practices. The files are very large coming out of the camera and the need for larger cards in camera and a two TB hard drive for your computer. Also I have noticed that if you shoot RAW it takes a little more time to download and process your picture files. I use Nikon’s Capture NX2 and only load 1 file at a time with my D800, where I used to load 10 to 12 at a time with my D80 into the software to work on.
I still have my D80 and still use it as it is easy and fast to shoot, where the D800 still takes me a little more time to click the shutter. But I am getting better every day and hope to be as fast next year. But I would never have looked for the D800 if not for the noise and low light capabilities of the D80. So until your body can’t do what you want it to do stay with what you have and buy good fast glass that will last you a lifetime, body’s come and go. If you are thinking of going to a FX body in the future then start buying FX lenses now so you will have them. I used FX lenses on my D80 all the time and still do.
#20. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 19
A few months ago i "upgraded" my D90 to an used D700 (real good price with only 8K clicks), but not because i needed but because i want/could. I'm keeping the D90 as my second body and i'm using it in a week basis, and planning to keep it "forever". Though my D700 is a new league, my D90 is much more of a camera than i am a photographer. When i want to travel light, and i travel a lot (being a airline pilot), i only take my D90 with my DX lenses 16-85 (or 10-24) and 35 1.8. Never regret to have that combo while traveling.
Nikonians!!! My best investment made after my camera!!!
#22. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 21
St Petersburg, RU
My very first DSLR was the D90 4 years ago after a decade gap in shooting. I also had a well used and loved A1, that traveled the world with me. I still miss the ease of MF with it.
I have been through a few upgrades in that period and have enjoyed the D7000 and D800 but none got used as often as the D90 which is still used, when I can get it away from my GF. Each camera produced images that are really cherished, but most are not regardless of the technical performance of the camera. What causes an image to be compelling, interested and valued has nothing to do with resolution, DR, high ISO performance or any of the normal reasons we cite when justifying spending $3300 on a body, and $10,000 on lenses. We usually do not ask what lens would used on a gallery wall exhibit because instinctively we know it matters not a bit. Neither do we ask what brushes a great master used to create images we value a great deal. Anything more advanced than a D90 is a small incremental change, and as you go higher, the incremental steps get small and more expensive between steps. If you look at your favorite prints you have done, there is not much chance you would have liked them more if done in 600mpx and ISO 2.3 million. It is fun to get new toys, in rare extremes, it might even enable a difficult shot with anything else but there are few rational reasons to keep upgrading other than simply wanting the new toy. Seeking a new body with expectations of better images is a low return proposition. Yes, it might be better but it can be seen only in direct comparison at higher magnifications of the same shot, at the same time with the same lens which is not how we view original works. A better investment if the goal in more keepers is enroll in some of the Nikonian workshops or taking an art appreciation class at a local university, or hang out with better photographers who's work you admire. A good workshop on landscape or macro by an expert really will result in more keepers than spending $10,000 on lenses and body. To date, my most liked portraits were done in equal proportions with the D90, D7000, and D800. One of my best ever, hanging as a large print on a gallery wall was a studio portrait using the D90 and 18-105! coupled with some home designed and build studio strobes and a patient model who liked the experimenting going on. Good lighting trumps good bodies and lenses in most cases and luckily good light is cheap and often only requires being creative with things laying around the garage or workshop as tools. If all else is good, good lenses are great to have. And come with great price tags. Good luck and have fun Stan St Petersburg Russia
#26. "RE: Is it time for a new camera?" In response to Reply # 0
Los Alamos, US
Esancho, this is the exact same question I was asking myself. Reading different discussion forums and thinking about it I went around a full circle from "I want it, where do I get money" to "I will be just fine with D90 for years to come". Let me explain my reasoning.
Obviously, D800 has - a significantly better resolution, - better color reproduction, - much better video - much better noise levels when not cropped (slightly better when cropped)
To decide if D800 is for you, you should consider your needs and your current limitations with D90.
If you are into video, I think going with D800 maybe warranted. I did not like video on my D90, so I used only a handful of times.
Resolution, unless you print huge posters or tent to super-crop may actually be a detriment. Imagine tripling the size of all the photos you have. With D90 I printed a 24 by 36 inch photo without any software enlargement and it looked great even up close.
Better color reproduction is important, but there are other more cost effective ways of going about it. Getting good glass is one. Investing into post-processing software (Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture NX, etc.) and slowly getting the grasp of the techniques will yield huge benefits.
Since you already have a great camera, the improvement in images from upgrading the camera will be diminishingly small compared to the improvement from better technique and and better glass.
In the end, what convinced me were the photos a friend of mine took with his outdated 6MP camera and a simple kit lens. If he could do that, surely we can effectively use our D90 for years to come.