What would you do? I need your experienced advice/opinions


TPF Noob!
Sep 4, 2010
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Hello everyone... I bought a D3000 a month ago and have greatly enjoyed learning how to use a camera that allows more creative control than my old P&S's. However, I am already wanting to upgrade! I don't like not having an autofocus motor in body. I don't like not being able to exposure bracket. And I am not satisfied with the ISO performance. With all of that in mind, I am looking to upgrade. Any other improvements in IQ, ergonomics, build quality, etc. would also be appreciated in a new body, but are not the primary reasons for an upgrade for me.

I know I ultimately want to shoot FX, and to that end intend to buy a D700 eventually. I also want fast glass, as I anticipate shooting often in low-light environments, and even if I end up doing so infrequently, I don't want my camera/lenses holding me back. Yes, I am willing to pay for the performance, but that is what this post is about... My dilemma is: what do I upgrade first?

I could get a D90 relatively inexpensively, and focus on buying an FX lens or two in anticipation of buying a D700 within a 1-2 years. I also need to buy other equipment such as a good tripod, decent desktop photoprinter, and filters, etc. Obviously, if I buy the less expensive body (D90), I'll have more money to get the rest of the gear I need/want more quickly.

Or, I could buy the D700 now, and upgrade/buy everything else I need more slowly as I can afford to do so. This decision will basically only affect the next 1-1.5 years for me, because I'll be getting a decent raise at work next year that will allow me to upgrade whatever I don't upgrade within the next 2-3 months. So realistically, for the next year or so, I would be either shooting with a D90 and be able to buy 1 FX lens, tripod, and printer, or the D700 and maybe 1 FX lens, but no tripod or printer/other stuff.

I do not plan on doing a lot (if any) shooting of wildlife/sports. Mostly interested in landscapes, travel photography, as well as shooting family/friends in all conditions including low light. I am interesting in making prints up to at least A2, and occasionally A1. Sorry this is so long. I wanted to give you all a good idea of where I am... Thanks for reading, and for any help!

Edit: I currently have the Nikkor 50mm 1.8, and Nikon's 18-55 kits lens. Obviously need to put some money into lenses at some point!
Since the 18-55 is a DX lens, you will not be able to shoot what youd like to with the D700 and keep the full frame. The 50mm would work, but it will be limiting on its own. I, personally own a D90. I have done so for a while now and I absolutely love it. Its a spectacular camera. The D7000, the D90s replacement, will be revealed within a month. I would wait to see what that has in terms of specs, and make your decision then. If you were dead-set on upgrading now, however, I would get the D90 and only buy FX lenses since you want to upgrade within a year or two. This way, your kit lens will still work and you will have more money to spend on lenses, good lenses, where your quality really comes from. I have printed up to 20x30" with my D90 and it looks very good. Dont underestimate it by any means just because it's a DX camera.

Well, thats my $.02. Welcome to the forum! We're good people. :thumbsup::hug::

Thanks for your input Mark... To be honest, I am leaning in that direction. Although I do eventually want a camera that has better ISO performance than the D90, I think it would do just fine for probably >80% of what I would want for the next year or so. Plus, as you mentioned, I could continue to use the 18-55 lens with a D90. I am also very eager to start printing my own prints, and could use the money I save to get a decent printer (I'm thinking the Epson R1900.) Of course, I am open to other perspectives on this as well...
Ive always used Adoramapix.com for photos, so I cannot help you there. I would like to add, though, that the D90 does alright in its own right as far as ISO performance is concerned. Its not the D700, but it does okay. Plus, with a little PP, it can only get better. Plus, with the good lenses you are going to buy, hopefully you wont be needing >ISO640. :thumbup:

When I read the OP, I thought someone was writing about me. LOL I had the D3000 for 2 months before realizing I needed just a little more. I upgraded to the D90 and am now focusing on better FX glass and primes. I feel this is the best way for my personal goals. I do not regret buying the D3000 as I didn't realize at the time I would become hooked on photography. The D90 is a great mid level camera that can be explored for a long time. Now I can focus on saving for lenses and eventually going FX.
The D90 is the top of Nikon's entry-level camera lineup that uses the same Multi-CAM 1000, single cross-type, 11 focus point AF module, and minimal exterior control buttons/switches, as the D3000/D3100/D5000.

It is also limited with only a 1/4000 shutter, 12-bit compressed RAW, and all plastic body, just like the D3000/D3100/D5000.

Mid-level (AKA Prosumer) is the DX - D300s, and FX - D700. Both having the Multi-CAM 3500, 15 cross-type, 51 focus point AF module, 1/8000 shutter, choice of 12-bit or 14-bit, compressed/not compressed, or lossy RAW, alloy-metal body, weather-sealing, 9 auto-brackets, and much, much more than what the D90 offers.

I would keep the D3000 and start saving for, or getting FX glass. The most desireable FX lenses already have a focus motor in them (AF-S G-type). You only need a body with a focus motor for the, being phased out, AF D-type lenses.

An upgrade or replacement for the D90 may be announced later this month. The D300s is an upgrade of the D300, and a D700 upgrade/replacement has been rumored, all reasons to acquire FX glass first. Bodies change much more frequently than lenses.
Eventually, all of Nikon's lenses will have a focus motor. Lenses that do have a focus motor have no physical connection to the focus motor in the camera body.
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Everything that KmH says is correct, as always. But, you have to consider what you need more. Good lenses, or AF points, a body that can withstand being tossed down stairs, and a shutter that can shoot on the surface of the sun. The choice is yours. Personally, I wish I would have started with either the D300 or D700, but I dont regret getting the D90 at all. Its a great camera.

The D90's replacement might be announced within two weeks, or less; photokina begins the third week of September in Cologne,Germany, and it's expected that there could be a D90 replacement camera announced there. Nikon runs its models for a long time, usually, so the best time to buy a new Nikon is when it is a "new" model, not one that's old and about to be replaced.

I'd wait a while and see what is announced, and then make a decision.
Thanks for the replies.... I'll see what happens at photokina and go from there. Appreciate the input.

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