Body Conundrum


TPF Noob!
Feb 24, 2016
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Pleasant Prairie
Hello all!

My name is Tony, I am new to this forum, and fairly new to taking good photos seriously.

Back in 2012 i was looking for a camera to take good quality shots that I could potentially print. Enter my D5100. It was a great introduction for me into DSLR, but honestly I used it as an "auto" point and shoot. I didnt know much, but i knew i need some different lenses; so I scooped up the 10-20 sigma, 18-55 nikon, 55-300 nikon and some primes, to get started. Took various pics from track days, animals, family events, things like that, and enjoyed myself. But it was an occasional hobby at best.

Roughly June of 2015 I decided to get to a D5500. At the time I thought it was all I needed, it was the 5100 with 3 years of improvements, more megapixels, and WiFi!. The WiFi was the main reason I even made the purchase. Turns out its so cumbersome to use I don't even bother.

I've taken the time to learn more about what my camera can do for me, and how i can use it. I'm shooting much more with the prime lenses, and daily carrying a nikon 18-300. My shots are improving significantly, and while I still have room to grow with the 5500, I'm considering a more powerful body; potentially looking at an FX.

One concern I have is most of my lenses are DX, and honestly none of my lenses are that great(see sig below) .. So maybe i should invest more of the big chunks of money into glass, and grab a D7200? staying with the crop sensor?

I'm still VERY much a beginner, and learning. But slowly working my way up. My favorite things to shoot are track days (cars and bikes), wildlife (zoo, backyard, etc), and the kids! Now its really mainly only for the kids, and the small trips we take as a family (zoo, hiking), but I am slowly getting better at having the camera set correctly while understanding what its actually doing.

So outside of the LONG winded backstory ...................

For a body upgrade, should i go with

*a D7200 - and put some money into glass
*a D500 when it gets released.

Or should i look into a FX frame, like the D610 or D750 and start working into better lenses as finances allow?

OR, should i stick with my d5500 all together, and work on lenses first?

When I'm not out taking pics, I'm thinking, researching, and browsing my options trying to consider. After reading some great content on this site I decided to share my thoughts with the group in hopes of feedback! Thanks
I would stay with the D5500 for a while. It does seem like some overlap in your lenses. I would look for a 70-200mm from one of the third party vendors that fits your budget (especially if you shoot in that focal range with your 18-300mm zoom at the track). Or if you need longer then consider the 150-600mm or the Nikon 200-500mm. Do you have a flash, that would be a good addition.
SB-700 speedflash. Thats a must with some of those lenses.

The Tamron16-300/Nikon 18-300 was a series of bad decisions by me. When buying the 5500, I picked up the tamron 16-300. It was ok, but I could tell right away that I wouldn't end up using it often. It wasn't as sharp as my Nikons I'd been using, and it couldn't reach anywhere near as close as the nikon 55-300 could. I missed my return window, and couldn't get a decent amount for it, so I kept it, and picked up the Nikon 18-300 6.3. Still it doesn't reach as far as the 55-300, and the images are nearly as sharp. But the 18-300 is much more useful for me when walking around the zoo; or back yard, i can take a shot of everyone on the deck, and get a decent shot of a bird flying by.

When at a family event, Indoors, Ill usually have the 35mm with the 10-20 in the bag incase i get in a tricky situation, with the speedflash.

I like your option of staying with the D5500, and the 70-200, as well as investing in a large telephoto. Ive been hesitant to buy third party with the results the tamron gave me recently, and the nikon carries a price tag i only want to go with if I am not changing bodies.

Thanks Dave for the input, it is really appreciated and considered.
I dont use the 18-55 much at all anymore, I dont find it to be any better than the 18-300.
And outside of the 35 and 50 prime lenses, I dont really have much in lenses there.

As I am seeing more of my pictures lately, consisting of people over cars/bikes, would i be better to start with a 24-70? or something in that range?
or something like this
On a crop body the 17-55mm works out very nice, I have a friend that always uses that lens. For people: indoors I usually use my 35mm or 60mm and outdoors add the 70-300mm. The 85mm f/1.8 is also a good option, if I had that it would be my people lens (but it is not as versatile as a 70-200mm).
Nikon D5500 is an excellent camera, dont get the D7200 and frankly not even the D500 unless Sports/Wildlife is your main thing.
Keep learning and improving your skills and in the mean time sell your DX glass and get FX glass, then when you are ready take the leap and get an FX body.

I doubt you will see any big benefit going to the D7200, its a higher body but the D5500 is plenty good, AF is good enough and both cameras share same sensor and same processor.
I'd suggest you don't buy another camera until the one you have is somehow holding you back.

The 50 and 35 are nice lenses, the zooms give you plenty of scope. The problem sometimes is the primes can give good results in poorer light, then when you use the zooms they can sometimes disappoint unless light is good.

The sigma you ask about is a good standard lens , but you may not necessarily need to spend money to improve. Sometimes techniques and post processing knowledge helps. Shooting raw files helps some, while others prefer jpegs, but if you are shooting jpegs, at least spend a little time setting up your picture controls to get the best from your camera.

Wanting more better gear can sometimes stop one from actually getting the best from existing gear. In theory that d5500 should be capable of taking as good pictures vas any crop camera ever built, and arguably better than any dslr pre say 2008, yet there are many fantastic photos taken with less capable kit

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