I wanted to share some of my thoughts about my recent switch and some of the advantages and disadvantages to considering this.
First let me give you a little history. I am not a pro and I only do this for fun. A couple months ago a good friend of mine upgraded his canon 7D to the Mark III. Since I perceived this as a somewhat similar move to what I was contemplating I have been asking his opinion about the move. He was under the general impression that the new FX camera just seemed to give him slightly better results. He still prefers his 7d for wildlife given the reach advantage of DX. It was most noticeable in low light. He sends me links of his pictures and I did not notice any significant difference between the actual images he obtained. So when I told him I upgraded he said he can’t wait to see my images. I told him he probably wouldn’t be able to tell any differences. After shooting only 2 days, at a night soccer game where I used iso’s 2000-6400 and yesterday outdoors just before and after sunset for group portraits, I believe was correct.
First I will state some of the things I really like about this new camera;
1. The camera feels only slightly larger than the D7000 and holding the camera feels even a little better. The grip is slightly larger.
The mirror has a louder slap and I feel like I'm taking a picture with a slightly more substantial camera.
The viewfinder is bright and big. I like it.
2. I like the horizon view which gives you pitch info as well. It's like flying a plane. I found it helpful when aligning for my resolution charts to test lenses 2 nights ago.
The battery indicator with percentage photo's left is cool.
The auto iso now has an auto feature where it will set shutter speed based on the lens you need.
3. Auto iso is now accessible from the sub command dial which was lacking in the D7000
5. Improved dynamic range. The camera has it although this is likely more noticeable with quantitative testing and my experience is not enough to see the advantage yet.
6. There is a locking feature to the mode dial. This will prevent me from inadvertently shooting in manual mode when I thought I was in aperture mode. This occasionally happened when I grabbed the D7000 and accidently turned this mode dial.
7. The focus seemed dead on and quite fast. Probably slightly better than the D7000 but I don’t have enough hands on experience to state this for sure. I’m certainly happy at this point.
8. Higher MP is helpful as my crops are more detailed than they were with the D7000. 9. I think my ability to push the image in post processing is slightly better than it was with the D7000. I have more detail in shadows and can recover highlights a little better. 10. I like that this camera has a pop up flash and has a similar external size as my D7000. 11. I like dual SD cards as opposed to CF cards as I don’t own any of the later and they are more expensive. 12. It uses the same battery as my D7000. 13. All my lenses behave differently. I like my 35-70 2.8 much more on this camera.
Okay now for the disadvantages;.
1. Lenses are heavier and more expensive.
2. Some of my lenses have instantly become obsolete on this camera. (I won’t be shooting DX glass on this camera)
3. I notice longer lag times when I process these images on my laptop. My desktop computer should be much better but I haven’t been home in 2 days.
4. Storage will be chewed up faster.
5. For me so far the cost of entry has been considerably more expensive than the $2100 price tag on this camera. Since my purchase I also bought 3 lenses used, a Tokina 16-28 2.8, a Nikon 28-300 and a Nikon 85D 1.8.
6. As I bought this camera less than a month after it came out I will have to wait a couple months for a non beta version of LR’s RAW converter.
7. I will have to develop different import settings for import into LR as my D7000 presets do not look great. I find the RAW files on import with nothing applied look significantly better than that for the D7000 and I will have to go gently on my processing sliders.
8. For reach and wildlife, it’s probably similar to my D7000. I will have to crop more images but the files could take it. I don’t see an advantage or a significant disadvantage.
So was it worth it?
This will be a very individual question.
This depends on your disposable income, your needs, and expectations.
I don’t think my images will improve in a significant way due to the upgrade.
That sentence alone maybe and probably should be the most important answer for most photographers.
My technique was already pretty good. As time goes on it will hopefully improve and more importantly other skills, such as lighting, posing, composing etc will improve. This will have much more of an effect on my images than this upgrade. The D7000 was already a great camera and I had the lenses I needed. Now I have more lenses and my bag got a little heavier and my wallet a little lighter.
Despite my ramblings, for me it was worth it. I may not make the best pictures but I am passionate about this hobby and have been yearning to see what FX was like. I couldn’t wait to try out my glass on an FX sensor and see how my 24 prime or my 35-70 zoom etc. would behave. Now I have the chance. This was an easy upgrade as the controls and camera handling are nearly identical to the D7000. You only live once, and hey what is disposable income for if not to dispose of?
Feel free to view some of my images in the below link. The last couple albums were made with the D600 but more are to follow.
"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga