Best bang for my buck upgrade from D40X?

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I am just an amateur hobbyist, but I am at a point in my skill level that I feel I am held back by my camera body and it is time to upgrade. I have had my D40X now for about 4 years, and while it works great, I am not impressed by the clarity and focus of minor details in my photos. I also feel the camera is not up the task of doing anything in low light, and that I would be better suited by a newer, updated Nikon body. I just don't know about the different models, or what would be best for my purposes in my price range.

I am looking at spending $500 or so just for the body (and will certainly consider used to get more for my money). I am just looking for the best, most updated Nikon camera I can get for the money. I am more interested in image quality than features and ease of use. I don't care for video function or LCD screen on my camera, though if it comes with it, great. I mainly use my camera for vacation use (walking about taking photos of architecture and whatnot), car shows (or other automotive type photo shoots) and military ceremonies (some of which are indoors). My other equipment is a Nikkor 18-200mm lens, and an SB800 speedlight. I know the 18-200 isn't the best or clearest lens, but the reason I sold my 18-55 and 55-200 and bought the 18-200 is that I wanted it for ease of use when traveling on vacation. I do plan to buy some better more task specific lenses as time goes on, such as a 35 f1.8 prime and a macro lens.

So how about it? What is the newest, best "bang for your buck" Nikon body that I can buy for $500-$700 on the used market? What would be the best upgrade and show the biggest improvement to my image quality (namely crispness, clarity and focus of minor details)
 

Dave442

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I expect you can find a D7000 or D7100 in that price range in the used or refurbished market.
 

robbins.photo

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I am just an amateur hobbyist, but I am at a point in my skill level that I feel I am held back by my camera body and it is time to upgrade. I have had my D40X now for about 4 years, and while it works great, I am not impressed by the clarity and focus of minor details in my photos. I also feel the camera is not up the task of doing anything in low light, and that I would be better suited by a newer, updated Nikon body. I just don't know about the different models, or what would be best for my purposes in my price range.

I am looking at spending $500 or so just for the body (and will certainly consider used to get more for my money). I am just looking for the best, most updated Nikon camera I can get for the money. I am more interested in image quality than features and ease of use. I don't care for video function or LCD screen on my camera, though if it comes with it, great. I mainly use my camera for vacation use (walking about taking photos of architecture and whatnot), car shows (or other automotive type photo shoots) and military ceremonies (some of which are indoors). My other equipment is a Nikkor 18-200mm lens, and an SB800 speedlight. I know the 18-200 isn't the best or clearest lens, but the reason I sold my 18-55 and 55-200 and bought the 18-200 is that I wanted it for ease of use when traveling on vacation. I do plan to buy some better more task specific lenses as time goes on, such as a 35 f1.8 prime and a macro lens.

So how about it? What is the newest, best "bang for your buck" Nikon body that I can buy for $500-$700 on the used market? What would be the best upgrade and show the biggest improvement to my image quality (namely crispness, clarity and focus of minor details)

If you want to put that money towards just a camera body, I'd recommend D7100 - I shot one for quite a while, fantastic camera.
 

Solarflare

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Refurbished 7100.

Top camera, almost criminally cheap.
 

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