Gear upgrade - Help!


TPF Noob!
Nov 12, 2009
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Christchurch, New Zealand
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Hi team,

Quite desperately need to upgrade my gear.
Bit of background - I shoot predominately equestrian sports and I've found over the last year I seem to be deleting a lot more photos than I use to! Not sure if this is a lens or a body issue and both are fairly old. I shoot with a Nikon D7000 (which I must have purchased about 5 years ago) and a 75 - 300 VR which I purchased 2nd hand (with minimal use) about 2 years ago.
So my question.
  • Do I upgrade my lens and get a 3rd party (due to half the price) Sigma or Tamron 70 - 200 f2.8 ?
  • Do I upgrade lens and get Nikon 70 - 200/2.8 (Or another lens for horses! throw suggestions at me! I really want to achieve that blown out background more!)
  • Do I upgrade body and if so then what?! Full frame or crop etc! I was originally thinking the D750 but it doesn't seem like much of a sports body.
What's wrong with your photos that you have to delete them?
That's still a body that's better then most of what Canon has to offer in the crop-body segment.
What people will ask is WHAT exactly you're not happy with and ask you to post examples.

I'd get the 70-200 nikkor and the new "tiny" 300mm f/4.
Those two together are a lot of money though.

I'd want a fast body and as much reach as possible for shooting what you're shooting, and 7000/7100/7200
are the best on the Nikon side for that. Not sure if upgrading from D7000 to D7200 is worth it unless you
need better high ISO performance.

I'm affraid the next step up would be something like a D4. :-/
The D750 would be your best bet for a Nikon FF sports body (unless you went 12mp to the d700). Or the d7200.

You'd love the upgrade to FF. I went from the d7000 to a d600 (hoping some time to get a d750) and haven't regretted it at all.

I use a 80-200/2.8 AF-D lens for sports (sometimes a Tamron 150-600).
but I love the subject isolation ability of the 80-200. The 80-200 is an older lens though, there are 3 or 4 newer lenses since then.

You already have the Nikon 24-70/2.8

Other than the dual-ring 80-200/2.8 AF-D, there are newer
80-200/2.8 AF-S
70-200/2.8 VR G
70-200/2.8 VRII
and the 70-200/4 VR (note: f/4)

I'm looking to upgrade my 80-200 also ... I haven't quite made a decision though but it's between the Tamron and a used Nikon.

I had a 70-300 VR (note: you state 75-300 which is an old screw driven lens that I've also had). The 70-300 had alot of focusing issues due to contrast issues for the sports I was shooting. I got rid of mine soon after discovering my hit rate dropped like a rock compared to my other lenses including my kit 18-105. It had like a random focus point selection which overrode my focus point selection.
I really dont know what is wrong with the pictures you are deleting so I cant directly help you.
I can only answer in a generic manor and tell you the good and bad for sports shooting.
Lets start by telling you I used to own the D7000, D7100 and now the D750

Assuming your D7000 is in good condition then it should do a good job tracking moving subjects, its not the best camera as its a bit old but its still a good camera and should be able to do this job very nicely.

If you plan on replacing your camera then the 2 main candidates will be the Nikon D7200 which I think for the money is the best crop sensor camera in the market today or the Nikon D750 which I own and dearly love.
So if money is not an object then get the D750, its a beast and one of the best cameras money can buy period!
Amazing low light performance, amazing AF system, wonderful metric system...etc

On the other hand the D7200 is an amazing value for money and you do get the 1.5 crop factor but losing the low light capabilities.
So if you can get it then go for the D750, if not the D7200 will do the work VERY nicely.

As for lens, get the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC
I own this lens, excellent lens, super sharp, very fast to focus, build like a tank and cost 1000$ less then the Nikon version.
Again if money wasn't an issue I would get the Nikon simply because its a Nikon but according to all the reviews I read these lenses are extremely close in their performance and you are left with 1000$ in your pocket so to me it was a no brainer what lens to get.
Goodguy makes a good point in saying it's hard to advise when not sure what the problem is.

If it's due to focus there is a micro adjustment possible on your camera.

Dot tune helps with that if required
Goodguy makes a good point in saying it's hard to advise when not sure what the problem is.

If it's due to focus there is a micro adjustment possible on your camera.

Dot tune helps with that if required
Yes AF fine tube to every lens is a great tool and can potentially be helpful.
I think a nice piece of glass would solve 90% of your issues.

The honest true is that there hasn't been a huge revolution in terms of camera body tech in the best 5 years. Sure there have been some evolutionary changes and specs have gradually improved over time but no massive leaps in the last 5 years.

Would you benefit from a new body, sure. But even if you had the latest and greatest body the photos would still suffer with sub-par glass.
The D750 actually makes an excellent sports camera. While it may not have the higher frame, such as the D4, its autofocus and low light capabilities are amazing. I recently added a D750 to my collection and have been blown away. Its an amazing camera, and feels so much better in hand than my d7000 or d600.

But I feel your best and most beneficial move would be upgrading glass like many have said. Personally, I prefer the Nikon version of the 70-200. If it's a bit pricier than what you are considering, pick up a used VR1 copy. The 70-200 on the D750 makes a killer combo!
Oops I should have said what the actual issue was! Its what AstroNikon said, Its the poor focus on the 70-300mm VR. Pinned it on that. It throws the focus back.
Thanks for reassuring me I don't need to upgrade the body just yet! was getting a bit worried about the money I was needing to part with! I have a bit more faith in the D7000 now.
I also don't think I'd only want to upgrade to the D7200 - I'd probably just upgrade to the D750 at a later date :)
Unless your lens is damaged in some way I can't see why it would have trouble tracking moving subjects. I own the Tamron 70-300 VC and have used this lens for everything from airshows to running dogs, and motorcycles. If the lens misses focus it's usually my fault. I seldom run in to an issue where the lens misses on it's own. Planning out your shot in advance and learning to pan with your subject will yield better results more than a new lens will.

Based on your initial post it sounds to me like something may have gone awry in either the camera or the lens within the past year, or you might simply be just a little out of practice.

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