Tue 28-Sep-10 03:52 AM | edited Tue 28-Sep-10 03:52 AM by km6xz
You have already eliminated FX from your choices with only a $3000 budget, which would buy a body but no lenses. Bodies are cheap, lenses are not. Your current lens collection is not really well suited to the type of subjects you mention, landscape and architecture. You could, if you really intend to invest in FX over a long haul, start buying lenses that will work on FX, and work well. No sense in getting lenses that are weak on a new format, that will just have to be replaced soon. A 14-24 is a great (the greatest) zoom wide on a FX, and moderately wide on a DX. That would make a good Christmas present that will even shine more when you do exhaust the capabilities of the D5000 in a year or so and the move to FX. Another any other wide angle that is really wide on DX would not be suitable for FX. A good wide for DX is a lot lower price and will have a good resale value, such as the Nikon 10-24, or Tokina 11-16 2.8, or Sigma 10-20.
The LCD is better on the D7000 but that does not impact your image taking. Is there something the D5000 is not doing that does impact images?
If you decide to move to FX eventually, getting lenses gradually beforehand will make the change less frustrating. A few workhorses that also work really well on DX in the meantime are the 24-70 2.8 and 70-200VRII 2.8, along with the above mentioned 14-24 2.8. Just those 3 must-haves are over $6000. They handle all you need from wide to moderate telephoto. For telephoto of equal quality, the price is a lot higher but unless shooting birds or wildlife you probably do not need to go telephoto. Overall, considering how capable the D5000 is, and your current dissatisfaction with it due to results, I would say any major investment would be not giving the results you expect Apparently, you are too far down the learning slope if the D5000 does not give excellent results. Revisit the question in another 20,000 images, and 200 really good keepers. As for holiday gifts, there are lots of great lower cost accessories. A good quality CPL, some ND filters, a white balance calibrator, a screen calibrator, PhotoShop CS5 and LightRoom 3, a faster processing computer, a great large monitor will have more impact on final output than a camera body, a good tripod, a cleaning kit, a nice fast cheap prime such as the 35 1.8 or 50 1.8, a Nikonian's workshop, a photo oriented vacation, an additional speed light for exploiting more fully the wonderful Wireless CLS, some light modifiers, some books and much more, all of which will have more impact on your image quality than buying a new body. By the time you are really ready to move on from the D5000 there will be additional exciting choices, such as a pro body Dx, a D700 replacement and if you are really into it, the replacement D3s next year. Save your money, this in an expensive hobby if you want to be on the advanced edge but luckily there is no image related need to be. A lot of people have deservedly won awards for images shot on D40's, D50's D70's and D5000's. You, nor anyone else, can tell the difference when printed, whether they were shot with $50k in gear or $500. It is no different from a beginning painter to ask if they should get the new $500 sable brushes because the the $50 brushes are not producing good enough results. I spend a lot of time in art galleries and museums and never have wondered what brushes an particularly compelling painting was created with. In other words, getting a D3x and $25,000 in lenses is not going to put one more photo contest award on your mantle. Stan St Petersburg Russia