I own a D60 that I bought in 2009. I just started a photography program and on the first class my professor (a very nice guy) said 'oh! how nice' in a tone that made me think it was not nice at all. Most of the class is cannon folk and a few other nikons but to them (with higher/newer models) he said stuff like 'oh, that's a GREAT camera!'...Now, I know what matters is the person behind the lens and I know the teacher didn't mean much by it but now I'm thinking if I should upgrade to learn.
For learning purposes, should I upgrade my D60? If so, what would you recommend?
My first reaction is, I would not upgrade to satisfy someone else. The D60 is a nice camera. But your situation is more complex than that.
You said a "photography program". I assume this is a diploma or degree program. If so will the D60 meet the needs of the program? As you take more advanced classes, the D60 may not be adequate. I would look at the program requirements to decide on an upgrade.
I see no reason for you to upgrade. The D60 is a very capable camera and will take great photos. For learning purposes, there's nothing you could learn on another camera that you couldn't learn on a D60. If your photos from the D60 don't look great, as you've already said, it won't be the fault of the camera.
Is not that I would change it just because someone told me but it got me thinking that it will be necessary sometime in the future...especially for a 'Night and Low Light' class given outdoors at night. My ISO only goes up to 1600.
For shooting night scenes of static subjects, using the camera's base ISO and a slow shutter speed ( camera mounted on a solid tripod) is usually the best way to go. For shooting indoor or outdoor sports under the lights having a camera with high ISO capability will be required at most venues. That said, Fast Glass will be required as well and the optimum body will depend on how good the lighting is at the venue. There are some venues that are so poorly lit that even with very fast primes (f/1.4 - f/2.8) even shooting with a D3s (current best high ISO performance of any DSLR on the market) can be very challenging. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
By far, the best approach to night photography is a tripod and cable release. Even the least capable cameras and lenses can do amazing things with a tripod. For example:
Clearly this is one of the proverbial "black cat in a coal mine" type of shots. And it even has a human in it, and even so the subject motion isn't too much of a problem. This was shot on a D100 (several years older than your D60, more noise, less advanced processing). With the 18-55 kit lens, but on a tripod.
The equipment matters, but not as much as you'd think given the internet chatter.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
I got an AS in photography back in the stone age. We may have 'pushed' (increased ASA during processing of film) some film as an assignment, but pretty much shot anything and everything at ASA (not ISO) 100-400 on 35mm, 6x6, and 4x5 formats throughout the 2 year course. There's not a whole lot you can't shoot at any given speed, by just adjusting your shutter and aperture. As mentioned, the higher ASA's get 'grainy', or noisy. I think you will discover that the primary reason for buying an advanced camera these days will be ease of access to the manual controls and adjustments. I have a D40 that makes wonderful photos, I got a few D80's because I primarily shoot manual, and the menu adjustments were driving me nuts. Attached are the high tech wonders that got me through college.
When I went to school for my Associates Degree half the class dropped out in the first week because the class was more than they expected. We not only learned 35mm, but medium and large format photography also.
Your D60 should be fine. If you do night photography you will probably do more long exposures and flash then high ISO. Even now with my D300 or D800 I very seldom use a high ISO for night photography. I am not saying that I don't do it, just that I don't do it enough to warrant buying another camera just for that.
Lastly some noise in a shot is exceptable or you can use noise reduction either in camera or in post production.