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Need advice on camera purchase

vangophotos

Paradise Valley, US
370 posts

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vangophotos Silver Member Nikonian since 01st May 2012
Mon 28-Jan-13 10:04 PM | edited Mon 28-Jan-13 10:06 PM by vangophotos

So here's my dilemma: I've been a DX shooter so far. I have a Nikon D7000 and the following lenses:
1) Tokina 11-16mm f2.8
2) Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 (my main walk-around lens)
3) Nikon 50mm f1.4
4) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 (my second walk-around lens)
5) Nikon 105mm micro f2.8
I own a couple of 77mm filters (polarizer and ND).

I frequently shoot events / weddings / portraits to make some extra money but photography is not my profession (I work in IT).
My main interests in photography are wildlife and landscapes.

I'm planning a year long trip through the American west -> Canada -> Alaska. Lots of scenery and hopefully lots of wildlife pictures on a once in a lifetime trip.

Dilemma:

1) Do I stick with what I've got? I'm happy with the D7000 and my lenses. I'm not sure if FX and the D800 will improve my photography. My 70-200mm acts as a 300mm lens (1.5 crop factor) which is great for wildlife.

or

2) Do I invest in an FX camera like the D800 since this is a once in a lifetime trip? 36 MP and the increased range could be worth the investment?
If I do this, I can still use the DX lenses (17-55 and 11-16) on the D800, without real benefit over de D7000.

or

3) Do I stick with what I've got and invest in a good tripod + perhaps a 300mm f4 lens (which will be a 450mm lens on the D7000)?
By the way, is there a difference in sharpness between the f2.8 and the f4 version of this lens? THere's a big difference in cost, for 'just one extra stop' ...
Or do I forget about the 300mm lens and buy a 1.7x TC to use with the 70-200?

or

... ?



Thanks.

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JonK

New York, US
6410 posts

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#1. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004
Mon 28-Jan-13 09:49 PM

1) The crop factor of the D7000 and the 36mp of the D800 is a wash.
2) You would probably want to acquire a 16-35 or other wide angle.
3) I'm confused. Having been discussing a move to FX with the loss of the DX crop factor, your Plan B is to stay with DX and go for longer glass???

What do you like to shoot, and what current lenses to you use the most? That analysis may guide your equipment decision.

BTW, if you opt for a TC, skip the 1.7 and go for the 2.0 III.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
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jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
1479 posts

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#2. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Mon 28-Jan-13 10:33 PM

If you plan on wildlife pics during your upcoming trip then I reckon you would benefit most from a longer lens. The 300 f4, both with and without 1.4 converter is regarded by many to be very good.

If you buy an FX camera the 70-200 will probably not be long enough for small to mid sized wildlife.

the D800 will give similar resolution to your D7000 when used in DX crop mode but I know I would want a longer lens than 70-200, even on a DX body.

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PhotoemWriter

West Lafayette, US
35 posts

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#3. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 2

PhotoemWriter Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2010
Tue 29-Jan-13 02:57 AM

I have both the D7K and the D800 and use both of them for different purposes. I have gotten some incredible landscapes out of my D7k. I'm not a wildlife shooter, so I have no experience with that kind of photography. I tend to use my D800 as I have used my medium format film cameras--only for those landscapes in which I want super-high resolution and am likely to make very large enlargements. I'm actually inclined to suggest that if you want a full frame camera, that you take a serious look at the D600 over the D800. Reviews rave about the image quality of the D600, and frankly, the 24 MP is enough to give you great detail in landscapes. The D800 is not for everyone. The money you'd save by buying the D600 could go for a very nice tripod and ball head. You would definitely need these anyway with the D800.

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Kidkett

Campo, US
442 posts

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#4. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

Kidkett Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 09th Apr 2010
Tue 29-Jan-13 05:01 AM

Hi Jorn,

If I was in your shoes I would stay with what you have and buy the tele-converter or a lens if you want. I am sure your very comfortable shooting the camera you have now. The D800 is not the easiest camera to shoot and has a learning curve that comes with it. If you have great shooting technique you might be OK, but there is a lot to learn about this camera. It does take some great pictures when you get it right, but you also have some big file sizes too depending on what format you shoot. You could shoot in DX format with the D800 to get your 1.5 crop factor but you might as well use your D7000 if you’re going to do that.

The D7000 takes great pictures also and the gear you have is already to go that you have used before. Yes I would buy a good tripod and cable release if you don’t have one for ether camera. That would be a must for the D800 no matter what! And yes I would get the 300mm lens and tele-converter if you want to shoot bears and other wildlife in Alaska unless you want to get right up next to them. So I say your best choice is No. 3

Not sure what version of the 300mm you’re looking at but the F2.8 always cost a premium and has VR for the money. They are both sharp but the F2.8 weighs more. Unless you need the light or VR I would get the F4, just my two cents worth. You can look at this review: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/41968994 or ask in the lens forum for more information.

Have a great time,
Bill

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RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#5. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 4

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Tue 29-Jan-13 05:32 AM | edited Tue 29-Jan-13 05:47 AM by RRRoger

My biggest surprise when going FX was that I started buying wider lens not longer.
I suggest using the 300 f4 on the D7000 for birds
and the 14-24 on the D800 for Landscapes.

Go to the camera store and get "Hands On" before you buy.
I agree that the D600 is a better match for the D7000,
but if I only had one camera it would be the D800 because it fits my hands so much better.

I used my TriPod a lot when I first got my D800, then the MonoPod.
Now I mostly shoot hand held and my keeper rate has never been higher.
It takes a lot of care and practice but developing technique is worth it.
And, I still use that TriPod for Video.

The latest TC2.0 will work with the 300mm f4 and D800
but not with the D7000 unless there is very good light or you focus manual.
My 70-200 VRI does not like any TCs. The newest version does.

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MEMcD

US
31610 posts

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#6. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Tue 29-Jan-13 08:19 PM

Hi Jorn,

If you decide to get the D800, I would recommend replacing the 11-16mm and the 17-55mm with the 14-24mm or the 16-35mm and the 24-70mm or the 24-120mm.

If the additional funds for the lenses are not in the budget, I would go with alternate #3.
Add the 300mm f/4 and a TC and a good tripod and head.
I would also make sure to bring at least two large capacity portable hard drives to back up your image files.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

jherrel

Elgin, US
683 posts

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#7. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

jherrel Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Wed 30-Jan-13 12:45 PM

It sounds like a great trip! I suggest that your first priority is a top quality tripod and ballhead. Expect to spend $1000 and it will last a lifetime. It will help your landscape and wildlife photography. The next addition would be the 300mm f/2.8 lens and the TC 2.0 III extender. You then have a 600mm f/5.6 lens. Then, if you still have the budget, buy either a D800 or D600. Since I moved from DX to FX last year, I can attest that it is an expensive transition if you buy the FX lenses. I'd recommend the 14-24 and 24-70. On an FX camera, the 105mm and the 70-200 really work great. For wildlife, DX works great with long glass. You may find that having two cameras is best, one DX and one FX. There will be less lens changes in the field.

The other issues is managing all your images in the field over a year. How do you store and duplicate them?

John Herrel
Nikonian from South Carolina
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RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#8. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 7

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Wed 30-Jan-13 01:53 PM | edited Wed 30-Jan-13 02:03 PM by RRRoger

If I only had one lens, it would be the AF-S Nikkor 28-300 VR II.
My copies are sharp end to end.
I have one on my D800 and a second on the D600 most of the time.
I use it on my hikes, walking along taking Landscape pictures at 28mm
and then zooming in at 300mm for the Falcon in the tree.
We also use them for Outdoor Events, but the 70-200 indoors for weddings etc.
It is an FX lens and also works really well on the D7000.
One of those dedicated to a D600 might be the only camera you use on that trip
with everything else as back up.

As for a TriPod, I would be leaving my big heavy one at home
and would take my Manfrotto 732CY Carbon fiber with 128LP or a lighter head.

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vangophotos

Paradise Valley, US
370 posts

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#9. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 8

vangophotos Silver Member Nikonian since 01st May 2012
Wed 30-Jan-13 03:37 PM | edited Wed 30-Jan-13 03:39 PM by vangophotos

Thanks for all the great advice!

I have decided to stick with my D7000 and have already ordered a 300mm f/4 (I didn't want to spend the extra $$ on the f/2.8 version). My main interest in photography is bigger wildlife (elk, moose, bears, ...) so I figured 300mm on the small sensor will work well.

Next on the list is a good tripod and head. And maybe a 1.4 or 1.7TC to give the 70-200 and 300mm more reach...

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walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#10. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Wed 30-Jan-13 04:41 PM | edited Wed 30-Jan-13 04:42 PM by walk43

I have the D800 and love it for the detail. But as others have said it takes a real learning curve. Depending on how much time you have to practice before your trip, I think your decision to go with the D7k is the right one for now.

Regarding the TC 17EII.... I would not get it. When I got mine, I decided it was what I wanted to get the extra distance and the TC14 seemed like a waste of money when I could get the TC17 for about the same money ...depending on where I got it. I was wrong. At least for my copy of the TC17.

The TC 14 is very well acclaimed for working well with the 300 f/4, which I also have and recommend. But the TC17 is too soft in my shots and I am not happy with soft images. Mansurov says the TC14 is the best solution and others here in the Forum say go with the TC14 or the TC20....I would go with the TC14 if it were me (I like sharp). I don't think the TC20 would be as good for me as the TC14...but that's my untested opinion. The TC14 will give you 630mm FOV on your D7k and result in only slight effect on the IQ over the naked 300 f/4.

Enjoy your trip and good luck!!

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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jeffcs

Whiting, US
124 posts

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#11. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 10

jeffcs Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009
Fri 01-Feb-13 12:19 PM

Something else to consider as your going on a trip of a life time
Taking only one body NO good only if there is some way to guarantee
The D7000 will work with out fail and it should but there is no way I'd put
This much into your trip with out back-up I'd have a back up body and I'd get to know it before leaving on your trip

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jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
1479 posts

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#12. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 9

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Tue 05-Feb-13 07:12 PM

Good choices there.

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JHzlwd

Calgary, CA
458 posts

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#13. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 0

JHzlwd Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 03rd Oct 2007
Sat 09-Feb-13 09:44 PM

Stick with what you have. You have an excellent system with the D7000 and those Nikkors, the 70 - 200 especially.

You do not have to spend big cash on the D800 which is primarily an instrument for best image quality if you are not in a hurry and catering for large, printed presentations.

What is your image presentation objective? You seem well equipped already to deal with any requirement.

** There's a big difference in cost,

I went this route and recommend it. I have the Nikon 300mm F/2.8 with the TC 17 and believe me, this has proved worth every penny.

Best wishes,
JH

http://www.wolfwillow.com/Photo/WPhoto

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13750 posts

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#14. "RE: Need advice on camera purchase" | In response to Reply # 9

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sat 09-Feb-13 10:51 PM | edited Sat 09-Feb-13 10:51 PM by dm1dave

I think you have made a very good choice.

Lenses and a good tripod will last you a lifetime and will probably do more to improve you photography than a new camera body.

The advice from John (post #7) is rock solid! Get the best tripod and head that you can afford – a good support system worth the investment.

Enjoy your trip!

Dave Summers
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