Upgrade from D5200...where to go?

Started Feb 19, 2015 | Discussions thread
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Colin A Regular Member • Posts: 104
Upgrade from D5200...where to go?

So I have a dillema that I hope to gain insight into by posting it here. This is a rather long post, so please bear with me as I tell y'all some background info. If you don't want to read everything, skip on down to my real question at the bottom.

My college library lends DSLRs, and that is how I got into photography. Last August, I purchased a refurbished D5200 straight from Nikon. I shoot primarily manual mode (maye aperture priority any times I’m not in manual). Since August, I’ve expeirienced the typical “gear-itis” and I purchased my first prime, the Nikon 35mm 1.8 DX. Then I found a mint copy of the AF-S 80-200 2.8, which I’m in love with. These two lenses, my pair of flashes (SB-700 and YN560-III) and some radio triggers make up my primary kit right now.

However, I've begun to hit what I believe is the limit of the D5200. My primary issues:
1) Low light abilities. I shoot lots of indoor or poorly lit night sports, and would like to be able to crank the ISO up to 6400 or higher with the 2.8 zoom and maintain image quality. I shoot 3200 comfortably right now, can shoot 4000 in a pinch, and if it's a by-god necessity I will push to 6400 but really REALLY don't like it.
2) Max flash sync speed of 1/200 is limiting as I'm trying to experiment with flash...and no high speed Auto-FP for sports either...
3) Autofocus. While the 39 point system in the D5200 is OKAY, I've never been blown away, and it does a poor job focusing in continuous burst (even with continuous focus on, using dynamic single point or 9-point).
4) Finally build quality. It's been okay, and I treat it well, but I certainly have babied it, and I'd like to be able to go more places, do more things, and not have to worry about the camera body. In addition, I'd like something a bit heavier to balance the 80-200, which before I bought the lens, I would've said was a load of crap, but after having shot with it for several months, I know is not a load of BS.

I don't have a huge amount of money to spend, and here comes the real dilemma.

I initially thought upgrade to D7100, as it fills almost all the requirements I have, but I really want better ISO performance, and since it shares the same sensor with my D5200, so this is a no.
The next logical thought is D600/D610, but meh autofocus, 1/200 flash sync, and eh so-so build quality compared to other FX bodies.
The D750 fits my bill nicely except for the 1/200s flash sync speed. It pushes my budget though...
Then I considered a used D700 or D3, but these are aging bodies, that are probably very similar in performance to my body or a D7100 now.
My primary choice right now is a used D3s. Highly reputed, and an excellent performer, and fits in my budget rather well. My only concern is that I will miss the high megapixel count and the feel f extra reach from my D5200. The only other option is wait for the mythical D400 or D7200...

So I really just don't know where to go from here. Like I said, I shoot in lots of dim places, usually wide open or close to it, and want something that is an increase in performance to my D5200. Budget is $2000 or less.
Any input, suggestions, comments, experiences, or whatever, would be welcome.

 Colin A's gear list:Colin A's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II +5 more
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