Upgrade from D300 for a poor college student?

Started Apr 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
Prairie Pal Senior Member • Posts: 2,609
Re: Upgrade from D300 for a poor college student?

Dylan Colon wrote:

Hey everyone! I'm currently a college student in the USA, aka, a borderline homeless man.
I'm going on a massive roadtrip this summer to rediscover myself, and I need a camera to document the entire process. I specialize in architecture right now, and I know the ins and outs of RAW manipulation. I've pushed my D300 to the limit, and even ISO 350 is starting to present issues to me in my workflows.
I've been comparing the D300 to the D700, and find it to be a very enticing option. Buying one used would be relatively cheap for an FX body, at around $1.5k. I only have one FX lens though, and that's my 70-200mm VR. Obviously I can't use that for wide angle landscape shots, so I'm going to have to buy another lens. I was looking at the 50mm f/1.8
Now, is the D700 really a proper choice right now? I need something with EXCELLENT low light performance, seeing as backpacking through the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico will present some interesting opportunities. I'll have a tripod of course, but to prevent some long exposure noise I'd like to bump up the ISO a teensy bit. Is the D700 a proper choice for me? 
I have a portfolio here with some of my work, don't be too harsh, I'm only 18: 500px.com/dylancolon

Woah, just realized that a refurbished D600 is about $1.6k. Is the D600 a better choice? I know it has slightly better high ISO performance and more dynamic range, which is really what's important to me... but what's the build quality like?

Backpacking with a tripod, and a 70-200 (2.8 vr I assume) plus other lenses and an FX body ??  The first thing that comes to my mind is that's alot of weight to be constantly carrying, and a lot of $$ to be gaurding the whole time.  I know you came here for equipment advice, but if you're willing to listen to life lesson advice, mine would be to pack your camera kit very light and basic.  Sometimes our expectations of discovering ourselves are more of a ball and chain that inhibit our flexibility to experience what is immediately around us.  Personally I find that long reach lenses and especially zoom lenses actually push me away from intimate photography.  I would sell your D300 and use the cash for a second hand smaller format (M4/3) and a compact zoom lens in your most commonly shot range, and then pick up a couple of small and fast manual focus legacy prime lenses with adaptors.  Leave your 70-200 at home and then a year or two from now upgrade to FX and travel back with a vehicle to those special places that you discovered and you will have those (nikon) manual focus legacy lenses to boot.  Heck, your 70-200 with adaptor to M4/3 turns into a 140-400mm (with VR if you go with an Olympus M4/3 body).

Those are my 2 cents of advice.  Take it or leave it, but don't come whining after lugging around FX equipment all summer. 

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