My current camera is too good!

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by scottish steve, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Hi all
    I've all-of-a-sudden got an urge for a big magnesium-bodied semi-pro camera and have been handling the D300S, EOS 7D and looked very briefly at the D7000. These are all about twice as much as the D5100 and I am struggling to see any justification in spending on them given where I'm coming from, especially since rates the image quality of the d5100 above that of the older models. I can see where the money is going but as an upgrade, to significantly improve the clarity of my photographs, this seems at best a sideways step. The D7000 is annoying me as it is empirically better, but then did that make me stupid for buying the D5100?
    So I looked at glass and there seems to be few options for the DX format as yet. I can't see a review of the AF-S 85mm f/1.8 DX G online- this is a lens I'm interested in. I want autofocus to work on my camera body. I'm not particularly interested in a zoom lens, I just want a really good prime. It looks like the AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 G is a good buy, but apart from that, is there any justification in getting say a D300S or 7D other than my wanting something to play with that's more cool?
    What do do about an upgrade when you've already got a really good enthusiast's DSLR?
    [ please no-one say 'learn how to use it' :) ]
  2. First of all, I wouldn't upgrade my body unless I feel limited by the one I'm currently having. If you can achieve what you want with the D5100, then there is no true need for you to upgrade.

    If you want a body that's better built than the D5100, then consider buying used. Canon 40D is a great camera. It's a little bigger, so, I think, it's sits better in the hand. Nice fps, but a little limiting in the ISO department. A used Canon 5D (mk1) would also be nice, and that's something I'm considering myself. You should see a definite improvement in image quality, simply due to the full frame sensor.

    So, question is, are you feeling limited by your current body? You get tack sharp images with a beginner's body - even if with inexpensive lenses. The true sharpness is in the glass. Get some good lenses, and you will get sharp images. I've gotten images sharp as Feather with the 50mm/1.8 Canon offers, and that costs just over $100. :)
  3. I think that it depends on the type of output that you are producing. If you are not printing (larger than snapshot size) and are looking at your work on a computer screen, then pretty much anything will give good results, if you are working in a disciplined manner. I am shooting digital with a 10MP DSLR that is now three generations old and can print up to 13 X 19 or larger without any problem. I just took my four generations old 6MP DSLR on a trip. with one lens (a 35mm) to keep the bulk down and can print up to 10 X 15 from that camera. Pictures from older P&S type cameras look great on a screen and will print at 6X9 without issues; cell phone pictures look fine on a screen.
    Maybe instead of moving up to a DSLR on steroids, you might think about another type of camera to add to your arsenal. You do a lot of street work; perhaps one of the rangefinder types that are now available. The newest/best DSLR's that are coming out, with very high resolution, appear to be out performing a lot of the existing lenses; good for the manufacturers, but not good for the "pixel peepers". Maybe you should consider a serious printer and see where that takes you, creatively. Lots of different ways to go.
  4. I'd stick with that body and look at lenses. I'm not sure what the Nikon equivalent is, but as Compaq said, Canon has a lens people refer to as the "nifty fifty". Its a small 50mm lens for under $100. The best money I ever spent on my Canon Rebel XTi. Its not a pro body, but some good glass really makes it shine. I'll probably be investing in something in the "wide angle" range next.
  5. +1

    For most of my "web" work I still use my ancient Nikon D1X as I don't need uber rez when I am re-sizing and compressing images down for fast load speeds. I also know that camera inside and out after owning it for a decade so I spend very little time fiddling with it and more time producing.

    If you are going to be doing poster sized physical/paper exhibition prints you need the highest resolution money can buy.

    What you already have will cover everything you will be doing. Getting a higher grade body would be no more than an exercise in gratuitous spending.

    Buy some better glass. This will give you more improvement then a different body will.


    Get a very high quality point and shoot "pocket" camera and start carrying that around every day.

    Back in my film days I carried either a Minox 35gt or a Rollei 35 everywhere I went and got some killer shots that I would have missed if I had lugged my suite case full of 35mm around.

    Now my "pocket" (digital) that goes everywhere with me is a Lumix 16x with a Leica lens.
  6. professorchaos

    professorchaos Moderator Emeritus

    Indulge yourself I say. Life's to short to do otherwise. Should you require a reason, consider the convenience of having two bodies. One for a wide angle lens, the other for a tele.
  7. Thanks for all the replies. Yes, I have a nifty fifty and it is very sharp when I get it right. I love street work and bought an S95 a couple of months ago. I take this with me everywhere unless it's a dull day. My problem is I can't find the glass at the moment. As I said above, I really want to buy the new 85mm in confidence. There is a dedicated Nikon shop near me and I will almost certainly get the 35mm soon. I am however, feeling the limitations of the S95, particularly in anything other than bright light. I want to put on an exhibition and have got positive comments from a few forum members and colleagues who allowed me to show them about 500 of my shots over a bottle of wine one night. I was gratified to get chortles, "wow"s and sincere praise. I gave one print to a colleague and he asked me to sign it and sold a few for a nominal amount (less than printing costs). I was also asked if I would accept a commision, but the person was very drunk and I told him to ask me again when 'we' were both sober.
    I want the uberquick response and very accurate AF necessary for 'stolen' shots. Maybe I should 'just' get an X100?
    So I thought a D300S (after some research I am NOT getting a D7000) would allow me to go out in the rain and use my AF-S with AF and basically make things a lot easier.
    I'm quite happy with the shots below, taken with the S95, but I can not rely on it to react quickly enough and also cropping makes an exhibition print size a bit of a risk.

    Attached Files:

  8. Very quick note;- this girl was in that pose when I saw her, just looking at the canal. It's still a street candid, honest. :)
  9. dfollett_98

    dfollett_98 Contributor


    Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

    What are the folks in the group shot watching? Looks like they were enjoying what ever they were watching.

    Enjoy your shaves.

  10. Thanks. It was some kind of ancient Chinese lightbox trick. Pay your money and look through a hole and see something unusual.
    I've once again visited
    and confirmed the limited scope of lenses for a DX camera with no in-built motor. OK, a D300s is a lot of money, but I should then be able to use my nifty fifty with AF and in the future I could also get the very very good AF-S 85mm lens which I want.
    Oh dear, this is adding up quick

    Edit:- It seems the lens which appeals most, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 is........730 GBP.
    So in order to overcome the paucity of primes which will AF on my D5100, I have to spend >75% on one lens as I would on a D300S which will allow me not only to use my already bought and very sharp fifty mil prime but all other AF-S lenses.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  11. Update:-

    I went into a brand new Sea Gull-only shop today, in which they were having a 45% off sale......and DIDN'T BUY A WATCH!
    I'm very proud of myself. Can't promise the same around payday. :)
    Instead I bit the bullet and got the AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 G. I've had a quick play around in my house and took some comparison shots alongside my AF-S 50mm f/1.8 D and they seem preliminarily to be a sharp as each other, which is very good. Still to give it a street workout- the AF is not blisteringly fast, but accurate and with face detection on the 5100 I am hoping to catch many moments, especially since with this focal length, I will tend towards similar focal distances to fill the frame, thereby drastically reducing the time it takes to micro-adjust (that's the theory anyway!). The difference in time it takes to get a shot compared to using MF with the 50mil is huge- like the difference between shaving with a DE and a straight. I'm a happy man. Still not discounting the D300S at the moment, but it does look now that I'm firmly in the Nikon camp with 3 (affordable) lenses.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  12. I just picked up a D5100 while in Japan. I'm looking at picking up the 35mm f/1.8 tomorrow. Is it worth the money, Steve?
  13. If you got money in your pocket to burn spend it on a speedlight if you don't have one yet...also I recommend a macro lens or super wide angle.
    I love my Tokina 11-16 which they make for Canon and Nikon.

    If you want a new body sell your Nikon D5100 now so you can at least get some decent money for it. Camera bodies depreciate fast. Where as lenses hold their value.
  14. Yes its definitely worth the $200.00. I don't shoot Nikon but I've heard nothing but good things. One of their best bargain lenses.
  15. I've spent two days with it, (check out my latest 'new lens' thread) and I love it. It' very sharp and fast. I've been using it at f/5.6 most of the time as this is the sharpest aperture. Send me your email and I'll email you full res pics taken with it. :)
    p.s. The D5100 is a truly capable tool. I am now thinking I might just have been better off with the Sony SLT A55, since the AF is quicker but then I donn't know about lens clarity. I didn't know I'd turn into an aspiring street photographer. MF is not an option for supersharp street shots!
  16. dpm802

    dpm802 Contributor

    Having 2 camera bodies also lets you be prepared with different types of film ... some shots require color, while there are other scenes that should be shot in B&W.
  17. Er, I shoot RAW then convert in-camera. Unexpectedly the sharpest possible pics for this camera are taken in Medium Fine JPG setting. These are noticeably sharper than Large JPG and RAW shots are so muddy in comparison it sometimes looks like the focus is a bit out! But converting to JPG allows Exp Comp, WB Comp etc which I think it is a good thing and the camera does a really good job of sorting out those photons from what it's recorded. I would have expected it to be even sharper in conversion, since it takes 150ms or something to process from shutter release but about 2s to convert. I would ideally like to shoot in Med J but the shots are not quite large enough at just under 4,000 pixels on the long side. Add a crop and you're looking at a smaller max print size than I'd like.
  18. I got a laugh out of this...only because I have 2 cameras in my bag as we speak. Vitomatic IIa with Ektar and Nikon F2 with FP5. Also thinking about adding a Canon F1 with a tele.

    I think the OP shoots digital.
  19. I wouldn't upgrade a D5100 to a D7000. It's the same sensor and has almost all the same capabilities. (just through menus instead of buttons)

    I had the same desire to upgrade my D5000 to a D90 (also same sensors), but I waited for the next major revision and didn't regret it at all. (got the D7000)
  20. I have two pics on my profile taken w/ that lens on my D90. I personally think the bang for the buck is definitely there.

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