PDA

View Full Version : Upgrade time, body or lens? Need opinions! (d300 or 70-200 vr purchase)



Turo
07-21-2008, 08:16 AM
So I am planning one major upgrade in the next couple of months. I am debating which would be a better replacement, a new body (D50 -> D300) or a new lens (70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR -> 70-200 f/2.8VR).

About me: The thing I shoot the most is sports photography, mainly wakeboarding (as you can see from my flickr site). I currently use a D50 with a 70-300VR for this.

Body: The D50 has been absolutely great, but the D300 would offer a few nice features useful to me. First, the iso is crucial for me since my 70-300 lens isn't the fastest in the world (VR doesn't help too much in this sport). Also, the fps difference between the two bodies is pretty huge! Not to mention the D50 is starting to get a few dead pixels but for now it is only 4 or 5, so its not a huge deal (after all, this is just a hobby of mine, I am far from being a pro). (You can actually see some hotspots on the images I posted below if you look approximately one inch from the top and one inch from the left border of the first two images)

Lens: The 70-300 is a great lens, especially for those of you who need the extra reach. Image quality is great between 100 to 200mm (where I mainly use it) with the right lighting. The VR helps, but not in such a fast moving sport as wakeboarding. The 70-200 f/2.8 VR would pretty much be a PERFECT lens for what I do. It has the perfect amount of reach (I RARELY use a reach above 180 on my D50), and it is fast so I will not have as much trouble on non-sunny days. Not to mention the image quality seems to be STUNNING from what I have seen!

Pricewise both upgrades seem to be at about equal value. I will probably sell the replaced part on ebay and make some money back, so in all I will be probably spending around $1300 or so on this upgrade. Now unfortunately I am a broke grad student so I cannot afford to do both! Right now I am leaning towards the lens, because you can honestly never go wrong with a lens upgrade, and I can always upgrade the body later. Plus those 70-200 are becoming more and more difficult to find! And in the future if I find myself missing the extra reach, I can always get a teleconverter or something.

So my question to you guys is, which should I spend my money on? D300 or 70-200?

EDIT: I forgot to mention my main reason for upgrading is to improve performance in sub-optimal lighting conditions. When it is cloudy or partly cloudy this lens doesn't perform very well, so I find myself bumping the iso, but the D50 has quite a bit of noise in high iso. So, better iso performance or bigger aperture?

Here are a few sample of the kind of shots I usually do:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3017/2661811623_38c3815264.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3283/2343032026_4a2bda10dc.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3124/2342199859_4a7f8a4017.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3136/2343027570_cc9f9ab4e7.jpg?v=0

dxrocnxj
07-21-2008, 12:07 PM
get both :p


haha, personally i say get the lens.
not much reasoning, just a gut feeling that youd be much happier.

VTEC_EATER
07-21-2008, 01:35 PM
Well, since I was in the same situation you are currently in, I went the route of lens first, then body.

The 70-200/2.8 VR is an amazing lens. And if you are planning on staying with a crop camera, never fear any review you read about bad corner performance. Its flat out amazing, and no one can say otherwise.

As for the D300, again, a great performer. 6 fps is great for action, and I can definitely see this being useful in your shooting. ISO performance is also great, but just like any other camera, if the exposure is not right, then its still going to show noise. The D300 is good, but by no means will it leave you a flawless underexposed image. So exposure is critical with any camera you buy.

One thing that may make you want to wait on the body would be an updated D80 replacement. Judging by Nikon's insanity to produce new bodies, I can see this coming out very soon. As for specs, I'm sure it will have a faster shooting rate than 3 fps. Probably 5. I'm sure its noise performance will be very good as well. The one thing it probably wont have, that the D300 has is the CAM3500 focusing system. I wouldn't be surprised to see the CAM1000 (or an updated version) in the D80 replacement. If you are having trouble with the D50's 5 autofocus points this should be a very nice upgrade.

LR Max
07-21-2008, 02:19 PM
Procure the 70-200. I have a D70s and a D300, glass makes all the difference. The 70-200VR will give you better photos immediately. Seems like you are capable handling the D50.

Later on pick up a D300.

Aldor88
07-21-2008, 03:16 PM
I'd say go with the lens, the D90 is right around the corner for when your D50 gives up :).

britkev
07-21-2008, 05:38 PM
Another vote for buying glass first - a good lens is an investment that will hold its value almost indefinitely , a new body will be out of date in 12-18 months.

rawpaw18
07-21-2008, 08:20 PM
With wakeboarding needing to focus fast, the 70-200vr on the D50 makes for quick work of focusing. Obviously not as fast as the D300 70-200 combo, but very quick. Would come in handy for action shots. You will find it will fast become your favorite lens in spite of the fact it weighs 3lbs, and around 9" long.

Rooz
07-21-2008, 09:13 PM
i wouldnt do anything until photokina.

Turo
07-21-2008, 09:52 PM
i wouldnt do anything until photokina.

I'll be honest, I had no idea what that was until I read your post. But now that I googled it, I may just wait, just in case. I believe it is in the end of September this year, so its not too far off. I would hate to buy something so expensive only for it to be updated in the next coming months! :eek:

JTL
07-21-2008, 10:13 PM
i wouldnt do anything until photokina.I'm not waiting till Photokina to get me a full frame camera. My decison's been made...I don't care what comes out! :D:D:D

WestCoast
07-22-2008, 11:17 AM
Another vote for buying glass first - a good lens is an investment that will hold its value almost indefinitely , a new body will be out of date in 12-18 months.

"Out of date?" A new body may no longer the most tricked-out camera in its class after 12-18 months, but it's far from obsolete. People are still buying Rebel XTs and, despite the small LCD, are still getting great photos out of them. A better argument for better glass over a better body would be that glass will last for decades, while a shutter won't.

If the OP mostly shoots action photos, going with the faster glass will be most beneficial. Despite all of the extras that the D300 offers, getting faster, higher-quality glass will improve your photos the most.

Visual Reality
07-22-2008, 03:25 PM
WestCoast, therein lies the difference between "outdated" and "obsolete" - we had a discussion about this a while back. You used both words in the same sentence but they aren't the same :)

Rooz
07-22-2008, 09:49 PM
the reason to wait for photokina is due to the fact that nikon will be releasing more lens'. that gives the OP the opportunity to see the lens released first and decide if he wants one of the brand spankers or even pick up an "older" model at a reduced cost.

eddie_dane
07-23-2008, 01:52 PM
I would always opt for the lens. The 70-200VR 2.8 is one of the best ones out there. I have the D50 and the D200 and still use the D50 a lot. I would get the lens and then look for a deal on a used D80 or D200.

Screenclutter
07-27-2008, 08:06 AM
You have great shots, I think you are in a position to wait.

swpars
07-29-2008, 12:41 PM
I'm in a similar position to the OP.

Currently I have a Nikon D40, 18-55mm, 55-200mm VR, 50mm f1.8, and 135mm f2.8 pre-AI.

I would like a long, fast lens that can take teleconverters. I was hoping that the Tamron 70-200mm lens would be a pretty decent buy (and it is for $699) but the AF motor isn't the fastest in the world, per various reviews.

Therefore, I'm either thinking about getting a 70-200/2.8 VR or a D80 & 80-200/2.8 AF-D. Right now, I'm leaning towards the 70-200 VR for ultimate AF speed and stabilization, as the D80 + 80-200 purchase would mean that I'd have a more versatile camera with an AF drive screw and other features, but would give up a little high ISO performance.

britkev
08-03-2008, 01:24 PM
"Out of date?" A new body may no longer the most tricked-out camera in its class after 12-18 months, but it's far from obsolete. People are still buying Rebel XTs and, despite the small LCD, are still getting great photos out of them. A better argument for better glass over a better body would be that glass will last for decades, while a shutter won't.

If the OP mostly shoots action photos, going with the faster glass will be most beneficial. Despite all of the extras that the D300 offers, getting faster, higher-quality glass will improve your photos the most.

My point was that if you spend close to a couple of grand on glass now you'll still have a great lens when you have saved up for a new body... buy a D300 now and by the time you've saved up for the lens you'll also be wanting to buy the D400, the D700X or whatever they've come out with by then.

I only bought my D300 because it seemed like the most logical progression to replace my stolen D50. I haven't had much time for photography since buying it four months ago as I've been moving house and changing jobs, but I can honestly say that so far don't think I've taken more than a handful of shots that came out significantly better because I had a D300. Barring further mishaps I expect to be "stuck" with this body for some years.

Visual Reality
08-03-2008, 03:51 PM
Does the lens get you better bracketing options? High ISO noise performance? Does it get you custom shooting banks? How about a big clear 3" 640x480 LCD? 6fps shooting?

Lots to think about...

erichlund
08-06-2008, 01:22 PM
I'm with Rooz on this. The 70-200VR is a great DX lens and a very good FX lens. It's rumored that the update may very well be just around the corner, and will likely be more optimized for FX. This will give you more choices.

One thing to also consider. There are a couple of very good third party lenses that don't have VR, something you don't need, but are also much cheaper. Might want to consider pairing one of those with a D90, which may fit your budget. Any interest in making movies of those wakeboarders? The D90 looks like it will give you that option (OK, I know it's sacrilege to acknowledge movie capability in a dSLR, but this does seem like a good application).

Visual Reality
08-06-2008, 07:57 PM
Any interest in making movies of those wakeboarders? The D90 looks like it will give you that option (OK, I know it's sacrilege to acknowledge movie capability in a dSLR, but this does seem like a good application).
Where did you hear that?

Nevermind...found it.