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Old Apr 15, 2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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I'm not a photographer - my wife is - and I would like to surprise her with an upgrade since she had complained about D50's shortcomings. The problem is - she would probably want to continue using her current set of lenses, because she spent a lot of money on different lenses, from 50mm to 10-20mm wide lens, filters and so on. And she does an incredibly good job with that equipment.

The budget is not yet fully determined, because I would like to see what are my options first. Of course, it is not unlimited, because in that case I would probably grab 5D with all additional equipment and call it a day.

So, back to Nikon... Are cameras like D90 or D5000 really an upgrade or is D300 the only solution? What about good old D200 (I could probably get one on eBay in perfect condition for less than that D50 originally costed)?
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Old Apr 15, 2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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What shortcomings has she complained about?

I'd probably skip the D5000 unless all of her lenses have AF-S (Silent Wave Focusing), since the D5000 does not have a focus motor built into the body like her D50 does (and if you want Autofocus, you'll need lenses that have built in focus motors like Nikon's AF-S lenses). The D50 was the last entry level Nikon dSLR body with a built in focus motor (the newer D40, D40x, D60 and D5000 require lenses that have focus motors built in if you want Autofocus).

I'd probably lean towards the D90 or D300 for an upgrade, depending on what shortcomings she's complained about.

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Old Apr 16, 2009, 6:39 PM   #3
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Well, she complained about the whole bunch of things - the aperture priority not working well (not clear whether that's the problem of this specific camera or the whole series), noise/grain, resolution being to low (for a poster, for example), some autofocus gibberish when shooting against the sun... all sorts of things. Everything resulting in a photo that looks like a point-and-shoot work, no matter how hard she tries to play with camera itself to get the best result.

But the more I think of it, I believe I'm going to skip models in between (like D90) and go straight for D300. D700 is maybe out of my reach at the moment, but I figure D300 body would be a nice upgrade.

I believe all of her lenses already have focus motors, so that part shouldn't pose a problem. She's still doing a bit of film with some Canon EOS, experimenting with cross-processing, weird cameras like Lomo and so on; it should keep her busy in the meantime, anyway
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Old Apr 16, 2009, 7:06 PM   #4
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FlashHeart wrote:
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Well, she complained about the whole bunch of things - the aperture priority not working well (not clear whether that's the problem of this specific camera or the whole series), noise/grain, resolution being to low (for a poster, for example), some autofocus gibberish when shooting against the sun... all sorts of things. Everything resulting in a photo that looks like a point-and-shoot work, no matter how hard she tries to play with camera itself to get the best result.
I'm not so sure a new camera is going to solve all of her problems. If she's not getting good results with the equipment she's using, it may have more to do with technique and camera settings versus camera the body itself. She may want to consider posting some sample photos here so that members can figure out what's going wrong.

A newer body may have higher resolution and faster autofocus. But, your description of what she's complaining about leads me to believe there is something else going wrong.

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Old Apr 16, 2009, 7:57 PM   #5
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No, of course not. I'm fully aware that the new body won't solve all of her problems, but one has to start somewhere New, fresh camera, with new programs should give her a boost, while correcting some of the things at the same time (like resolution and autofocus, for example) . During transition, she would be able to use her current set of lenses and slowly replace those she's not satisfied with, which, in return, would be more adequate for a new camera.


Don't get me wrong - she's not complaining that she cannot get good results with D50 at all; she had had this camera for years now and knows it inside out. She had made tons of wonderful photos and even sold a number of them to websites and magazines (she's not a pro, but loves street photography and portraits). It seems that she has simply "overgrown" it and needs something better. This transition is the main reason for upgrade, not a bunch of crippling technical problems.

She would be furious if I dragged her here to to discuss her technique, since she didn't start all the fuss herself - I did. Besides, it would ruin the surprise, wouldn't it?

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Old Apr 16, 2009, 8:00 PM   #6
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...And she does an incredibly good job with that equipment.
I just noticed your first comments about her work. That doesn't seem to match up with her complaints. ;-) Of course, she may be more critical of her own work, and if she is trying to print at larger sizes, the extra resolution with a newer model could help out.


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Old Apr 16, 2009, 8:15 PM   #7
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P.S.

I'd probably skip the 10MP D200, as the newer 12MP sensor used in models like the D90, D300 and D5000 tends to be a bit better for noise levels as ISO speeds are increased (and it sounds like noise is one thing she's concerned about).

Again, I'd make sure any lenses she has are AF-S (the S is for Silent Wave Focusing) before going with a D5000.

For example, you mentioned a 50mm lens... If that's a Nikkor lens, unless it was purchased *very* recently (Nikon has a new 50mm f/1.4 AF-S lens that started shipping in December) it's going to require a camera body with a focus motor built in if you want Autofocus (older designs of Nikon's 50mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 Autofocus lenses do *not* have focus motors built into them, ruling out the D5000 if you want Autofocus with one).

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Old Apr 16, 2009, 8:16 PM   #8
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Yes, I'm aware that her emphasized criticism is also being used to get my attention.

Sometimes she takes a portrait photo and comments how the face seems out of the focus because it's not detailed enough. Then she takes almost the same shot with friend's Sony A900 and says "See?" :lol:

Yes, I see...



Edit:
Yes, the 50mm lens is Nikkor, the older model, but I think I'll go with D300 anyway so it shouldn't be a problem. She wanted to go for a 30mm f1.4 or something like that to replace that old 50mm.

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Old Apr 16, 2009, 8:38 PM   #9
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Then she takes almost the same shot with friend's Sony A900 and says "See?" :lol:
LOL

In the Nikon lineup, you can get the new D3x (using a Sony 24MP Sensor) for *only* $7,999.95 (body only price) at reputable vendors like B&H. :-)

Or, save some money and get her that Sony A900 she admires for under $3k (leaving $5K for new lenses compared to a Nikon D3x body only solution). The models using a Sony 12MP sensor (Nikon D90, D300, D5000; Sony A700) are better for higher ISO speed work though. Any choice is a tradeoff in one area or another (including size and weight, as she may not want to lug around a larger and heavier camera like a D3x). Of course, your wallet comes into consideration, too (it's easy to spend a lot of money on gear). ;-)


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Old Apr 16, 2009, 8:48 PM   #10
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FlashHeart wrote:
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Yes, the 50mm lens is Nikkor, the older model, but I think I'll go with D300 anyway so it shouldn't be a problem. She wanted to go for a 30mm f1.4 or something like that to replace that old 50mm.
She's probably looking at the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM. That's a good choice in a brighter prime for a body using an APS-C size sensor, so she'd have a wider angle of view compared to her 50mm.

Of course, if you go full frame later (i.e., D3, D700 or D3x), you'd want to use lenses designed for a larger sensor in order to take advantage of the larger sensor's highest resolution settings (and Sigma's DC lenses and Nikon's DX lenses are designed for models with an APS-C size sensor).

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