Help with my upgrade path


TPF Noob!
Nov 19, 2015
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Forum newbie over here.....

I´ve been a photographer 5 years now, I began back in 2010 I acquired my trusty D5000 and I have been shooting ever since. I have yet to be paid for any assignment, since I don´t do this professionally, at least not yet...... however I find myself shooting whatever I feel like capturing and well, charity work, covering many events for a local charity and a session or two here and there.

That being said, I enjoy shooting events, portraits and outdoor photography. Recently I was thinking on upgrading my D5000 to something else (maybe d750 or a gripped d7200), however I also think it may be a good idea to stock up on more glass first; here is what I currently own:

  • D5000
  • Nikon 18-55
  • Nikon 55-200
  • Nikon 50mm 1.8 AF-S
  • Nikon SB-700 flash
  • Go Pro hero 3+
  • Tripod
As you can see I own 3 lenses (2 DX, 1 FX), a flash, a go pro and several trinkets. My most used glass is the 50mm for its low light capabilities. If I went with the new glass idea, I need something fast for indoor events.

Having said that, would you recommend me getting a new body (for better iso perfomance, etc) or just getting more glass first?, if more glass is your answer, could you please make a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!
It seems to me that if you did acquire a "full frame" camera, you would have to operate it in "DX mode" with two of your lenses. The 50mm is the only one you currently own that will cover the larger size sensor.

For indoor events you might appreciate the better low-light performance of a newer and larger sensor.

Just say'n.
I started with DX camera too, I started with upgrading the lenses and then got my FX the D750
It is tempting to go straight for a full frame though but using FX with DX lenses is really pointless, if you get FX body you must get FX lenses.
Mind you there are some very good reasonably priced used lenses like the Nikon 24-85mm 3.5-4.5 VR
Never the less if you really want good fast glass then I think going with a 24-70mm 2.8 is the best way to go.
Get fast/good FX glass first, than later you upgrade to an FX body.

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 UMC
Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G
Samyang 24mm f/1.4 UMC
Samyang 85mm f/1.4 UMC
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG EX OS HSM Macro 1:1
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 DG EX OS HSM Macro 1:1
Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
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Fx and FX glass is all well and good, but you dont need to go this very expensive route to improve the gear capabilities. It's very easy to spend thousands and only get a small improvement. Your post doesn't scream "I need a full frame"

In your case here I'd upgrade the 18-55mm lens.The range of this lens is useful i find at events or indoors. There is nothing wrong with this lens, but it is not helping you in low light. It may be advisable to look at something look the sigma 17-50mm OS. This f2.8 lens will give you up to 2 stops more light gathering so at say 40mm you could in theory have your iso 2 stops less.

Afterwards if you think you still need more improvement you could look at a body. Any modern nikon thats available now should give an improvement. The d7200 is very good (I have one that I quite like), but if you need a less expensive option the d7100 are going cheap now and also the d5200/5300/5500 options have the same set up as your own camera but an improved sensor, that should give a little more low light performance (d5200 seems to be a discontinued bargain in places even still)
Reading the replies, for which I´m thankful, i have decided to acquire better glass first. As to which glass, well, I´m planning on using an upcoming xmas bonus, so price may not be so much of an issue (to a point, LOL).

I´d love to get the new 24-70 2.8 vr from nikon, but TBH it´s a little on the expensive side and I´d have to pay for half of it using the ole good credit card and installments, which is not a problem, however I have other expenses to consider. So I am going to give it a real good thought.

On the other side I could go for the 18-55 from sigma and an extra lens for less than the price of the new 24-70. Heck, I could even get the sigma and the new nikon 200-500 (for my nature shots) under that price.

Or I could buy the older non-vr 24-70 2.8 FOR ABOUT 1500 NEW on amazon.

Camera is for now out of the question; gonna see if I can squezee a few more years out of my D5000 with new glass before making the jump to FX.

Also, what is your opinion on multipurpose zoom lenses?, I hate switching constantly for that spontaneous groupshot and was thinking on getting a 18-200 or a 18-300; problem being I can buy a backup body (D5500, D7100, D3XXX) for the price....
So the Sigma 17-50 2.8 is a wonderful lens, and can be picked up used for a heck of a price. If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, check out the used section on Fred Miranda. You could easily pick up a 17-50 and a D7100 for under a grand. Now thats great and all if you're happy remaining in the DX realm for some time.

If you're that guy that thinks he won't be able to fight off the Fx itch for long, and will end up switching anyways, consider buying into the Fx system now, and minimize the amount of glass you'll be trying to sell later.

The non VR 24-70 is a wonderful lens, and much cheaper than its newer upgrade. It's a great multi purpose lens, but it's heavy. You could look into the Tamron 24-70, which gets wonderful reviews when compared to the Nikon, but comes at a much smaller cost.
18-200mm or 18-300mm lenses are very useful and not very sharp, personally I would stay away from them!

As mentioned you can go for the Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 VC, used they should go for less then a grand.

I think Sigma 17-55mm is a DX lens so if you plan on going FX stay away from it as you will need to sell it, why create more work for yourself for the future ?
I normally agree with a lot of what goodguy says, because let's face it, he's a good guy.

But here I don't. Buy for the camera you have now. A 24-70 is less useful that a 17-50 for you now. The siggy is also a fraction of the price and you'll sell it handy later if fx sways you.

If you buy a 24-70 now you have a less useful lens and worse, if you don't go fx you've paid a lot more for it. Ymmv
Thank you all for your opinions. It has given me something to think about, but one thing is for sure, I am not getting a new camera, but I am rather investing in better glass. I do plan on upgrading to FX eventually, but just not today; It´s going to happen in a year and a half or two, or until my current camera stops working.
I normally agree with a lot of what goodguy says, because let's face it, he's a good guy.

But here I don't. Buy for the camera you have now. A 24-70 is less useful that a 17-50 for you now. The siggy is also a fraction of the price and you'll sell it handy later if fx sways you.

If you buy a 24-70 now you have a less useful lens and worse, if you don't go fx you've paid a lot more for it. Ymmv
There are many ways to get to photography heaven, what might work for me might not work for other.
The 17-50mm is a good lens, for me DX was just something that I used until I got FX so I was completely focused at getting only FX lenses but that's me and me alone :)
When I bought my first Nikon D7000 I got it with the 18-105mm, that was my only DX lens I owned for that camera, I added soon after only FX lenses and looking back for me it was the right thing to do but again I was completly focused at my end goal to get FX body.
A friend of mine just bought the D7200 and he added to that a used Nikon 17-55mm 2.8, he is super happy with this combo.
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When you boil things down there is one money related to question.

1. Do want to spend that extra bit of money getting a better DX before you go FX.
  • You could argue this from both sides.
  1. You could buy the better DX now and find that actually your very happy to hold tuff and spend the FX money on something else.
  2. Just buying the FX now would workout cheaper in the long run if you think you will end up going that way anyway.
Also, what is your opinion on multipurpose zoom lenses?, I hate switching constantly for that spontaneous groupshot and was thinking on getting a 18-200 or a 18-300; problem being I can buy a backup body (D5500, D7100, D3XXX) for the price....

Okies...these are just my own personal opinions (as always) and in this case I certainly agree with goodguy in that what works for me, may not work for someone else.

First and foremost, I would like to advise some discretion. I'm not trying to be rude here and I could certainly be wrong, but one thing I got from the comments there is "I have a holiday bonus coming and the money is already burning a hole in my pocket". As both a photographer AND as a musician, I'll be the first to admit that it's really easy to get G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). To be honest, my wife won't let me walk into a music store unless I leave the checkbook at home! LOL! As such, my first piece of advice would be to decide if you really need new lenses (or even a new body) or if you're just looking at all the really cool toys out there and feel yours are somehow becoming inadequate. Remember - new gear doesn't make you a better photographer. I've been shooting for a good many years now an my cheap Nikon 18-55mm "kit lens" is still very much a staple in my own camera bag...I use that lens A LOT. If you're happy with the quality of your images, you may wish to ask yourself why you're looking for better gear...and if not, then the choices should be a bit easier.

To address the question of the "super-zooms"...if your concern is image quality (as suggested by your initial comment in considering full frame), you may be less than happy with one of these all-purpose lenses. They're "ok" and with some research you likely see people use them as a "walking around" lens, however regardless of brand, the quality of images these lenses produce is typically FAR from stellar. They are quite prone to barrel distortion on the wide end and they usually get quite soft on the long end. Also, if you're looking for a lens for "low light" situations - those suckers don't do to well at all. I have a Tamron 18-200mm and it's good enough for an afternoon of wandering around the zoo or at a museum and it's convenient for a nice hike out in the woods, all because it's comparatively light weight, however it's just not a lens I would use for ANY kind of serious work, such as a commission. The truth is that as far as image quality goes, my 18-55mm EDII does a far better job than the super-zoom does on the wide end and my cheapy Tamron 70-300mm blows the super-zoom right out of the water on the long end...unless you fork out the change for an extra body (which means ANOTHER thing you'll have to lug around), changing lenses often just goes with the turf.

Looking at the lenses you have now and trying to remember that you're considering upgrading bodies sometime in the future, I'd suggest you eyeball a good fast wide angle, such as the 24-70 f/2.8 goodguy mentioned, along with a fast longer zoom...a 70-200mm f/2.8 can be put to VERY good use. I do a fair amount of stage photography, so my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 was a very worthwhile investment. Do remember though, the term "indoor events" can be rather subjective...shooting a wedding for example is VERY different from shooting a live band in a club, so you'll need to base any choice there on your own specific needs.

That said, I'm also a very firm believer in that your choice of lenses (full frame or otherwise) should be driven by your own specific needs. For example, I do a great deal of critters/wildlife, so a decent 200-500mm zoom is on my own wish 70-300 does ok, but I often find myself wanting more reach. I've also found myself in need of a super-wide lately, so a used Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0 is likely to be my next purchase...I'm quite happy with the DX format for what I do (both for my own personal work, as well as my freelance work), so I don't have to be nearly as picky.

At the end of the day, only you can decide what you're really gonna need. Unless you have an unlimited cash flow or have some way to write your purchase(s) off as a business expense, my advice to to make your decision on that - need. Decide what you need, then the decision becomes easier.

Okies...again just my own personal opinions. Use them for what they're worth...
D750 w/ nikon 70-200mm f/2.8g VR II AF-S. My favorite set up I have ever used. Very versatile. I even prefer it over my 50mm 1.8 prime for portraits. Just a personal preference.

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