Upgrade from D90

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
awolf24
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Upgrade from D90
6 months ago

Hi all. First time poster. As just a little background, I am an amateur photographer who has stuck mostly to travel, landscape and general photography. I have been using a D90 since it came out in 2008 and my only lens is a Nikon 18-200 VRII. I am now looking to get more serious about photography and image quality and wanted to get some advice on how to proceed. Furthermore, I have my first child coming in a few months and will likely be taking a lot of low-light portraits and baby pics. At this point, my current camera and telephoto lens are not really cutting it in these scenarios. After doing some research, it seems like my best and most cost-effective approach would be to simply add a new portrait lens, perhaps a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8g.

My question to the forum is:  In addition is a new lens, would it be worth upgrading from a D90? And if so, to what? I have always been loyal to Nikon but I am also intrigued by some of the newer cameras such as the Sony a7.  I am not necessarily looking to spend too much money to upgrade, but would be willing to spend in the range of $2k if it was worth it.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

 awolf24's gear list:awolf24's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
Nikon D90 Sony Alpha 7
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tcottrell
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

You didn't mention any other equipment, so in addition to the 50mm lens you want, you should get a good tripod and a flash.  Start from there, if you have money left over get yourself another lens like maybe an 85 f/1.8

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Dragonborn67
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to tcottrell, 6 months ago

Camera is fine.....like the other poster said.....better glass. The 85 mm 1.8 is awesome on my D90. Flash is also a great plan. Good luck with your new arrival:)

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yonsarh
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

I would wait for the successor of D300 / or perhaps D9000....

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cosmerodrigues
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

Hi,

I have also a D90 and for some time I was considering “upgrading” it.

However, I concluded that the D90 already is a better camera than me as photographer.

So, like the previous posters wrote, I would recommend an investment in better glass, in your case I would buy an inexpensive Nikon DX 35 f/1.8 (about 175€) and learn more about the technique and the art of photography by buying some books about photography (there are several good books, new or used, on online stores like amazon or so).

The 85 f/1.8 is excellent and works on full-frame, however, it’s more expensive than the 35mm and 50mm and a more specialized lens for portraits.

Remember that on DX the “real” focal lengths/angle of view are:

85mm x1.5 = 127,5mm,

50mm x 1.5 = 75 mm

35mm = 52.5mm

You can try the above field of view with your 18-200 lens, just put it on 35mm or 85mm, put some tape on the lens so that it would not move from that focal length, and imagine the different places and angles where you can or want to take the pics, and try to take some pictures in your bedroom/living room etc., with that focal length.

Remember that with the 35mm you can take pictures with a lower shutter speed than with the 85mm. The big advantage of the 85mm is the deep of field control.

Are you considering taking some pictures during the birth of the child? I did. Talk first with the Doctor, if it’s ok for him just stay near your wife’s head, use a 17-50 zoom and flash bouncing on the ceiling, and you will get some unforgettable pictures!

-- hide signature --

Sorry for the bad English.
Greetings from Portugal,
Current equipment:
Compact: Nikon P300
DSLR: Nikon D90 + Nikon D50
+ Other stuff

 cosmerodrigues's gear list:cosmerodrigues's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Nikon Coolpix P300 Nikon Coolpix S30 Nikon D50 Nikon D90 +10 more
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Stephan Def
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

A good lens sounds like the right idea, 35mm for 50mm 1.8 whatever suits you better, they are both reasonably priced. Maybe a Flash unit, personally I don't like to use flashes, but for portaits and indoors they are supposed to do wonders, however it may not be good for any baby and good luck to your family btw.

I would not purchase a new Body till after the Photokina this year, there will likely be some very interesting announcements in the first half of this year.

 Stephan Def's gear list:Stephan Def's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A200 Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
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virtualkyr
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

I concur with the others, I'd hold off on a new body and instead invest in a F1.8 (35, 50 or 85) or a 50 F1.4 as those are all around $500 or less and will work on newer bodies too. Many are hoping for a new DX Nikon camera this year that would be a significant upgrade to the D90, D7100, being a successor to the D300. The D90 is still awesome and I'd wait to see what comes in the next few months in terms of bodies.

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Just a guy with a camera, learning as I go.
DSLR: Nikon D90
Lenses: Tokina 11-16 F2.8, Nikon 17-55 F2.8, Nikon 70-200 F2.8 VR2, and 35mm F1.8
Compact: Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30 and 30-110
Video: Sony NX5U, Canon XA20, Canon HV40, GoPro Hero2, Adobe CS5 Production Premium

 virtualkyr's gear list:virtualkyr's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF +8 more
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eddyshoots
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lenses lenses lenses!
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

Welcome!

awolf24 wrote:

Hi all. First time poster. As just a little background, I am an amateur photographer who has stuck mostly to travel, landscape and general photography. I have been using a D90 since it came out in 2008 and my only lens is a Nikon 18-200 VRII.

Your D90 is a pretty good camera as you know. I have a D300 with essentially the same sensor...capable of taking terrific images up to about ISO800 and in a pinch I'll shoot up to 1600 or even 2000. At 2000 I'm just living with the noise.

The 18-200 is a super zoom where you have to live with a lot of optical and aperture compromises. I've got an older 18-135...decent lens for Disney world or a business trip but it doesn't really get any other use.

I am now looking to get more serious about photography and image quality and wanted to get some advice on how to proceed. Furthermore, I have my first child coming in a few months and will likely be taking a lot of low-light portraits and baby pics.

Congratulations. I'm on my way out the door so my son can take his driver's test. Time flies my friend...time flies. You are thinking baby pics right now but it quickly turns into chasing a toddler around the park, then testing for their yellow belt in karate, then hitting a home run in baseball...etc. Keep this in mind when making your choices. Taking a picture of a newborn isn't any harder than taking a picture of a roast beef. After that, it can get crazy.

At this point, my current camera and telephoto lens are not really cutting it in these scenarios. After doing some research, it seems like my best and most cost-effective approach would be to simply add a new portrait lens, perhaps a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8g.

The 50mm and or 35mm are certainly your best budget choices. On DX, some find the 50mm a little long for up close baby work.

My question to the forum is: In addition is a new lens, would it be worth upgrading from a D90?

The answer is maybe. Like I suggest above, the D90 is a fine camera that is fully capable of taking great images at every stage of your child's life...certainly for the first few years. There are a few options that will give you a little extra high ISO flexibility that might be worth while. Really to sum up here, you don't need a new camera...but if you really want something new there are plenty of options.

And if so, to what? I have always been loyal to Nikon

No reason for Nikon loyalty. They are a corporation, just like all the others. If essentially starting from scratch you should look at all manufacturers. Pick the one that fits this next few stages of your life and your photography.

but I am also intrigued by some of the newer cameras such as the Sony a7.

Yeah, the A7 looks intriguing. However, I'd personally be reluctant to be a first mover into this new kind of camera. The A7 could end up being the next Beta.

I am not necessarily looking to spend too much money to upgrade, but would be willing to spend in the range of $2k if it was worth it.

Hey, two grand for an upgrade path can be a lot if done properly (or a drop in the bucket if done wrong). $2000 could get you an A7 with lens, but really, with another slow aperture lens your not very far ahead.

$2k could get you one of the D7xxx bodies with a nice lens or two or three. The D7000 is the direct successor to the D90, not much extra performance, but depending on lens choices you could be a fair but ahead of what you have now. The D7100 is another incremental improvement but you'll lose a little bit of budget for lenses. Like keeping the D90 and getting just lenses, you are not going too far off track by adding one of the D7xxx cameras to your bag.

What would I do if in your shoes? I'd sell the D90 and the 18-200 (yuck) which should yield $500 or $600 ish. You express some interest in full frame above, might be a way to go. Based on today's local craigslist I can get a used D700 for about $1200-$1400. Pick up a used 28-70 2.8 for $500 and an 80-200 push pull for $400 or $500. Throw in a used 50mm for $80 or $90. With the sale of the DX stuff you are fully outfitted for less than $2k outlay. Maybe $2300 total for the FX stuff (with some good shopping) minus the sale of the DX gear...$1700 out of pocket. Perhaps you could source a SB600 to round out the kit.

Another similar option that looks pretty appealing right now is to use the same sort of technique on a used Canon 5D mkII. The are similarly priced to the D700 and like Nikon there are plenty of lens options and a healthy used market. And Canon has some interesting used F4 lenses that can be found for a little less than the 2.8 variants. I'm not a Canon guy, so I'll leave any further research on this matter to you.

I'm a big fan of Zack Arias and his corresponding mind-set when it comes to gear. Here's an excerpt from his Creative Live studio workshop that pretty much sums up my thinking with the two suggestions above. (Keep in mind the video is a couple of years old and the 5D mkII has been eclipsed by the mkIII).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTqgoL2kHTI

The beauty of these two plans is that both bodies are low light monsters. With a large aperture lens on the 5D mkII or D700 you've got razor thin depth of field at your disposal. Heck, put the 5D mkII on a tripod or dolly and you've got a camera that can damn near film a Hollywood movie. The big strike against the Canon here is that the AF isn't nearly as good as Nikon's.

Of course, it all depends on how what you mean by "more seriously" and how much you actually want to spend. You've got good options that run the gambit from spending just $90 (50 1.8 AFD used) to spending your whole $2000 for a full blown pro kit. You could obviously pick and choose parts of what I suggest...maybe a new D7100 and a used Tamron 17-50 2.8 and a used 80-200.

Wish you luck on your upgrade...however you decide to go.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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eddyshoots

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Pi lover
Regular MemberPosts: 374
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

awolf24 wrote:

My question to the forum is: In addition is a new lens, would it be worth upgrading from a D90? And if so, to what? I have always been loyal to Nikon but I am also intrigued by some of the newer cameras such as the Sony a7. I am not necessarily looking to spend too much money to upgrade, but would be willing to spend in the range of $2k if it was worth it.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

One test is to go to Flickr and search "D90 baby".    See if there is anything you like.  There may even be info on lenses used.

Do the same search for what ever you are thinking you are interested in eg. "A7 baby".

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Good luck and get your sleep while you can !

Grant.

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awolf24
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to Pi lover, 6 months ago

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I have decided to keep my D90 and add some glass (Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G) and a speedlight SB-700. I'm looking forward to experimenting with my new equipment, and may consider upgrading to an FX body in the future.

 awolf24's gear list:awolf24's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
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Pi lover
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Re: Upgrade from D90
In reply to awolf24, 6 months ago

awolf24 wrote:

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I have decided to keep my D90 and add some glass (Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G) and a speedlight SB-700. I'm looking forward to experimenting with my new equipment, and may consider upgrading to an FX body in the future.

Try a little softbox similar to:

http://www.amazon.com/Polaroid-Universal-Diffuser-Panasonic-External/dp/B0057GOATE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1390514955&sr=8-4&keywords=polaroid+softbox

with your speedlight.  It softens things up very nicely for very little cash.  I haven't tried other things yet but I'm starting to understand light on the camera is direct and triggers allow you to place lights at the side which change shadows to what you want.  You can do things with that speedlight the stock flash won't ever do.

So many toys, so little time ;-).

Grant.

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