When to Upgrade? A Newbies Guide

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by PhotoXopher, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I see a lot of people asking about camera upgrades, without expressing why they feel they need to upgrade.

    I got seriously stuck in this trap over the last year and I'm going to spill the juice for all to see, hoping that maybe - must maybe, something will click and help someone.

    First, let me say I don't regret any of this... mostly because I came out alright thanks to camera gear holding its value and return policies.

    OK, here we go!

    Let me start this off by saying that when I got my first DSLR a year ago I had no idea what aperture or white balance even were. I had a vague idea about ISO and shutter speed, but no clue how everything played together.

    In short, a newbie on all accounts.

    Chapter 1: Nikon D40
    My first leap into the finer arts of photography was a Nikon D40. A co-worker of mine had been looking into cameras and that's what I planned on going with - figured I'd start there as well. The camera was everything I had read about and it was a great camera to learn on - I took my first bokeh shots, first water drop shots, first ... well you get the idea. The 'problem' was that another friend of mine had a Nikon D80. I quickly obsessed over the dual command dials, wireless commander mode, top LCD and internal focus motor.

    Chapter 2: Nikon D80
    And so it was meant to be... about a month after owning the D40 I had sealed the deal on a new D80 body and it was everything I had thought it would be. I thought I'd be content with this one and have it for many years to come... well, at least until I read about some Nikon bodies having GPS ability. Of course the D80 wasn't one of them, but the D200 was... essentially the same camera, but a better build - and wow, they are on sale for only $599.

    Chapter 3: Nikon D200
    You guessed it... I now owned a Nikon D200 and boy was I happy! Just the sound of the shutter made me feel like a photographer, not to mention all my photos being Geotagged with each and every click. This camera was everything I needed... almost. Outside this thing was perfect, but I quickly realized life indoors was a little different. High ISO noise quickly turned me against this camera body and I found myself in the return lane.

    Chapter 4: Nikon D90
    After doing some research I quickly found the Nikon D90 also supported GPS functionality, not only that but it had great high ISO performance AND video (which I personally love). Same great feel the D80 had, but the ability to have GPS, video, and quality photos indoors with far less noise.

    Perfect... right?

    Almost...

    Unfortunately I had to sell my beloved D90 to pay for some unexpected auto repairs. I knew I couldn't do without a DSLR so my plan was to take advantage of the 18 months, no interest deal going on and basically consider it an interest free auto repair so to speak. At least that's how I was going to justify it to myself.

    Chapter 5: Nikon D300s
    Just typing that alone feels incredible! What a camera... everything about it felt right, the ergonomics are second to none and it's a true workhorse. The only thing that kept eating at me is that I just spent over $1700 on a camera body, and 90% of my shots are of stationary objects and of course my kids. Guilt won me over after about 15 days and I returned the camera to the store.

    Call it a 'moment', but whatever happened that following weekend has really changed the way I look at all of this. My original intent was to sell off all my gear and buy a high end point and shoot like the G11, S90 or P6000. Well, that was my intent.

    Chapter 6: Nikon D5000
    One year almost to the day I have come nearly full circle so to speak and now own the Nikon D5000. I thought long and hard about my journey this past year and most significantly, what was it about all of these bodies that I liked - and didn't like? This, of course, is a personal choice and based on my preferences the D5000 offered me everything I liked while eliminating the things I never (or rarely) used, at a price I could afford, with a camera I could enjoy.

    I should also mention that some time within the D90 ownership I had purchased a Nikon D60 because I kind of missed the D40, I also purchased a Nikon N75 to dabble in film... both were sold shortly afterwards.

    When I look back I realize my path could have been much shorter.
    D40 to D5000

    But what fun would that have been? :blushing:

    In my defense, had the D5000 been available when I was originally in the market I probably would have started there and my path would have been even shorter, perhaps D5000 to D90.

    Conclusion
    Before you upgrade your camera body, be honest with yourself and ask one simple question.

    What is it that I cannot do because of my camera body.

    You may be surprised at the answer.
     
  2. Shockey

    Shockey TPF Noob!

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    I like it, good story.
     
  3. Darkhunter139

    Darkhunter139 TPF Noob!

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    Hahaha I loved the post. So that all happened in a year? wow!

    I plan on sticking with my D40 getting 2 or 3 lenses then upgrading to a D90 if I ever feel the need to some day.
     
  4. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, more like 11 months really... I had the D90 for most of the time, I think from April - November. So life was pretty crazy for a little while there as far as camera bodies go.

    In short:
    D40, D80, D200, D90, (D60, N75), D300s, D5000
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The best thing to do is;
    Upgrade THIS, with THIS.
     
  6. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    I need a D90 for high ISO performance and top LCD, and a bagful of fast lenses. I don't see that happening soon, however.
     
  7. comasgirl

    comasgirl TPF Noob!

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    Awesome story! I find myself on the same path!! I really want something more professional and have had my heart set on the D90 for the last year. But when you asked me what I didn't like about the body of my camera I was limited in answers....the low ISO (which could have its benefits) the slower FPS (really do my kids move that fast?!) and only four focus area (ok, that does suck, I cant think of a positive :) ) My work is OK, nothing great but I want to get there and I feel limited with the D40
    I do a lot of kid work and whole I am outside with the most perfect conditions my pictures are consistantly what I expect from myself, but throw a cloud in there or a slight breeze and well all goes to hell! I have a friend who has started a photography business and while I KNOW I have way more knowledge and experience her pictures are better and I chaulk it up to the fact that she is shooting with a high end Canon and lenses! Jealously is a *****!
     
  8. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Admitting that there is a problem is the first step towards healing. Don't you feel better now?

    This is the most mature and insightful posts I've read from you NOYZE



    ......... but, didn' you forget to mention the lens issue? :biggrin:
     
  9. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    :lol:

    Baby steps, kundlini.. baby steps :D
     
  10. Wolverinepwnes

    Wolverinepwnes TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
  11. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I agree, but in all fairness - you can read all you want - but you can't buy something that doesn't exist (D5000 a year ago). Like I said, had it been out when I was originally in the market I could have saved a lot of this effort.
     
  12. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Thats not as near as much fun! But it is the truth , its just hard when somthing grabs you and you are ready to run. But great advice!
     

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