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Old Mar 11, 2010, 6:17 AM   #1
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Default Help me spend my money - upgrade time

While I am new to this forum, I am not new to photography, purchasing my first SLR in 1969 and during the film era had my own darkroom (actually, currently in the closet) and taught classes on lighting, composition and darkroom technique. I am a Realtor and my photos are the envy of the office. They have encouraged me to freelance as an additional source of income, and strongly considering it as I look at the marketing and crossmarket possibilities.

While I have some film cameras around gathering dust, my digital and other equipment includes Nikon D40, Nikon 18-55 and 55-200VR, Sigma 10-20, and SB600 flash. Plus I got rid of cheap ol' wobbly yesterday with a new Manfrotto tripod. Software - Paint Shop Pro (used various versions since a shareware program and never 'progressed' to Photoshop.) Nikon Capture NX2.

Went through the D90 vs. D300s debate in my mind and think the D90 may be the better option unless you can convince me otherwise. Both have the features to accomplish what I want to with the D40 as backup. While the D300s may be hardier with more functions and would definately provide more 'bling' the D90 frees up a lot of funds for the wish list.

Should I:
1. Get the D300s and forget about upgrades?
2. Get the D90 body only or kit with the 18-105?
3. Get new (faster) glass. While happy with the 10-20, replace original 18-55 kit, get macro/portrait, etc?
4. Get additional flashes and stands for master commander setup in Nikon's Creative Lighting. One SB900 or two SB600 to go with my existing SB600? Traditional strobes?
5. Other?

I am leaning towards the lighting as multi off camera lighting really takes real estate landscape photography to the next level. Plus in my business development seminars, while I would give hints on improving MLS photos and what to look for in a camera, it would be obvious that they couldn't duplicate what I was doing. Additionally, as I have explored it, see other crossmarketing involving portraits which is a secondary reason looking at the expanded lighting.

Your input appreciated.

Last edited by tizeye; Mar 11, 2010 at 7:05 AM.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 7:39 AM   #2
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Given the intended use of your images, I'd definately go with the D90 body and the extra lighting gear.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 9:54 AM   #3
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i agree, the d300 wouldnt offer you much for your purposes the d90 couldnt do, and would free up funds for other things that would have more impact on your photos.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 10:27 AM   #4
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I will be the third affirmative on the issue-

The D-90 is the primary tool and well up to the task. The added lighting will really enhance cross marketing and business growth. Go for it.

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Old Mar 13, 2010, 1:58 AM   #5
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D90, get yourself a nikon 60mm macro or the flash system upgrade. Macro lens will do double duty as a macro and portrait lens.
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 6:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
D90, get yourself a nikon 60mm macro or the flash system upgrade. Macro lens will do double duty as a macro and portrait lens.
That is what I am thinking of but perhaps the new nikon 85 macro, or the Tamron 90, which give more working space between the camera and subject in macro mode compared to the 60. Both would still be in the portrait range. That said, the non-micro Nikon 50 1.8 is sooooo inexpensive (around $100) that everyone should have one just on general princple!

Biggest delima - body only vs kit. The 18-105 would give more walkaround range, but the existing 18-55 will suffice. That 18-55 is the most worn, and repaired by Nikon once, lens I have, then there are several choices I could replace it with, including the 18-105, or faster glass in the 18-55 range offered by Nikon and Sigma. Buying it in a kit saves about $30...which in this expensive hobby is almost laughable.
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 7:20 AM   #7
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The 85/3.5 macro lens is nice. (I'm looking at that lens myself.) It's stabilized, which is great for casual shooting (especially casual macro shooting), but the f/3.5 maximum aperture is a little small for portraiture.

A focal length of 50mm is nice for couples portraits and environmental portraits, but it's not long enough for "head and shoulders" type protraits. Any of Nikon's 60mm and 85mm lenses, as well as Sigma's 70/2.8 and Tamron's 60/2.0 and 90/2.8 are better choices, as are the many f/2.8 medium telephoto zooms.

There are lots of choices for a standard zoom, and not all are from Nikon. The 18-105 is a more useful range, and while it is reasonably sharp, it has a significant amount of distortion and vignetting. Its main advantages are its range and its image stabilization, but then Sigma's 17-70/2.8-4 OS is also worthy of consideration.
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 10:43 AM   #8
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I have to admit, the longer range macro is nice. I have a 100mm macro that I just move up to vs a 50mm. What a big difference. If you were to spend the extra on a macro, I would go consider the sigma and nikon 105mm macro.
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