Should I buy a D7100 or a D700? (Caution - lengthy)

Started Dec 17, 2012 | Questions thread
DWEverett
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Re: Should I buy a D7100 or a D700? (Caution - lengthy)
In reply to Marvin Thomas, Dec 19, 2012

Marvin Thomas wrote:

I need to provide a little background so you can help me. I'm a guy for whom photography is a hobby. I take pictures of birthdays, bugs, pretty flowers, sunsets, etc. My stepson plays (American) football. Taking pictures at his games has turned into a regular pasttime. High school games were always at night and it was always impossible to get a good picture. He's attending a D3 college now and games are early afternoon. The light is SO much better. However, there is an occasional evening game. He just finished the sophomore season. His freshman year, I used a D90 and the 70-300 VR lens. His sophomore year, Kris in CT here at dpreview suggested I consider a D300, which I did. The additional AF points helped me get a lot more keepers. Both cameras struggled with the evening light, so I decided to upgrade to a camera that can better handle the low light. I sold both my cameras and kept the 70-300 VR. I trust Nikon will indeed announce a new camera in a few months. I anticipate having $2,500 to spend on a replacement camera (and a walk around lens to replace the 18-105 that went with the D90). Although I'd probably benefit from a D7000, I'm going to wait and see if Nikon announces a D7100. Although the D7000 has fewer AF points than the D300, I wasn't using all 51 on the D300 anyway. The D7000 also has weather-sealing and better high ISO performance. Earlier today, I compared the D7000 and the D700 Side-by-Side here at dpreview and found they have a lot of similarities. I may be able to get a good used D700 at about the same price that the D7100 might have when it is announced. Until today, I hadn't realized that the 18-105 was the only DX lens I own. Although I rarely use them, I also have a Series E 28mm f/2.8, an AF-D 50mm f/1.8, and a Kiron 70-200mm f/4. Even though I have these 3 lenses that will work on an FX body, are there compelling reasons I should consider the D700 over a D7100 (or whatever it is called)? As for a replacement for the 18-105 I was looking at used lenses online and considering the 17-55 2.8 DX and 24-70 2.8 FX, depending on which body I choose. If you have read this far, I thank you, and look forward to your recommendation.

Couple thoughts. The D700 has a better AF system -- essentially the same one as on the D300. It also has a higher build quality though for most of us I don't know how important that is. It also has better high iso performance than the D7000 and I suspect that will still be true for the 7100 as I'm guessing it will move up to the higher res sensor. What you will be giving up is effective resolution -- and quite a bit of it. You're losing the crop factor you are used to vs having so depending on how much cropping you are doing already that might make it less effective for the daytime games than what you have now. The difference is even greater when you look at the 7000/7100.

I love my D700 for sports so I'm not saying it's a bad choice but if it's mostly about football and most of the games are during the day the extra resolution is tempting.

Based on your budget though I'd make another suggestion. B&H has a D600 kit right now with a 28-85 lens, monopod and bag for $1996. It has from everything i've read, the same or slightly better AF performance as the D7000 (seems to be some argument on that), has 24mp so you're better able to crop but also has strong high iso performance as a modern FF sensor. The lens is a decent option for your walk around lens as well

Edit -- just saw someone had suggested the D600 already

 DWEverett's gear list:DWEverett's gear list
Nikon D700 Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +2 more
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