upgrade from D40 to D7000 / 7100 plus lens advise

vaibhav_aroraD40vaibhav_aroraD40 Posts: 26Member
edited October 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hello, :)

I've searched this fantastic forum quite a bit over the last few days but finally, at the risk of being ridiculed (for not searching hard enough), am putting up my questions. I'm an amateur photographer living in India.

I have a 2008 year purchase D40, an 18-55 lens and 55-200 VR lens and the SB-400 flash. Since then, I've taken a total of 20,000 photos with this set up (checked using nikonshuttercount last week). Over the last few days, I've extracted the exif data of about 5K of those photos to check the most used focal lengths and ISOs and understood the following about where I am:

1. 47% of all shots were at 18 mm.
2. 18-85 mm range covers 90% of all shots, 18-140 mm range covers 94%. 6% is 140-200 mm.

I'm now wondering about an upgrade due to the following reasons:

a) Problems with changing lenses in the field. I've changed lenses often (here in dusty conditions to avoid missing a shot) and have had dust on the sensor as a result. I'd like to avoid it. So, considering a zoom like 16-85 VR or the 18-140 / 18-200.

b) Frustration shooting in low light. I love the 18-55 but there are situations where using flash is not possible (inside temples and museums for example). Due to the tight (physical space), I've doubts whether the 35 mm G prime would work?

c) General usage is during travel. I shoot landscapes, street scenes, architecture and art. Very limited people and only two birding trips so far (hence the limited usage of the longer lens).

My questions are:

a) Is a D7000 sufficient upgrade given my situation (usage pattern) above? I can get a good refurbished copy (via a visitor from the US) at about $650 and the 16-85 VR (new) at $630. Is refurbished by Nikon good? As I live in India, returning the piece is not an option at all. !!

b) The second option is to get the D7100 thus future proofing the purchase. I'd have to get the 18-140 VR though (the packages is around $1500 right now on Amazon). This lens seems nice from initial reviews but 16-85 seems much better from the photos I've seen on the net.

c) Should I look some third party lens with a refurbished D7100 (that's 949, leaving about 550 for the lens).

In all cases I will retain my SB-400. It's great. Any thoughts appreciated.

- Vaibhav
«1

Comments

  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    As to focal length the D7000 shouldn't help at all as to everything else it is miles better than a D40. There 3 ways you can go from this that will address one or some of your problems. Get a D7000 and keep your 18-55mm, get a D7000 and a 18-200 or 18-300mm (which given how little you "zoom in" is it worth it?) or keep the D40 and get a 24-70mm/35mm and increase the light you bring in by 2 stops.The D7000 has a basic sensor cleaning function built in and does not have an oily sensor like the D2/D200/D80/D40 series of cameras. I have shot well over 20,000 motocross photos on mine and because I use fast f/2.8 lenses I change them frequently in dust-bowls and the D7000 stays relatively clean (my D200 does not). While I do not recommend changing your lens in a dusty environment I am notorious for doing just that and the D7000 holds up very well.

    I got my D7000 refurb (I prefer refurbished as it has been more meticulously inspected than new bodies) but I paid $1000 for it. You could probably get one for $700 these days and a D7100 for $900 refurb. Get body only and go with the 16-85mm you will appreciate the side angle more.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • JakesGTJakesGT Posts: 38Member
    I would get the D7100 refurbed, I got mine for 899 and it's amazing. And if you like wide, why not go with the Tokina 11-16 2.8 ATX, get a 35 1.8 (I had it, didn't like it, then got a 28 1.8 but it's $700), and keep your 55-200. As for dust, I shoot primes and switch lenses a bit depending on the situation and I don't have hordes of dust in there, plus zooms pull in some dust as you zoom, so it makes no difference really
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    I hate spending money on bodies.
    I spend far too much money on glass.

    If I were you I'd
    --hold the D40, or consider a more modest upgrade path (3000-series, 5000-series)
    --Wait and see if Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 is as hot to trot as all the pre-release reviews say it is. That's $800 list in the NYC discounts... not sure what you can get it for. Maybe you can sell the 18-55 for $60 to recoup a little cost; maybe at that price you just hold it, I don't know.

    If the 18-35 is as good as we're led to believe, it'll be in your bag for 30 years, far longer than any digital body you use often. As it sits, half your shots are at/near 18mm. Having the option to go f/1.8 is massive in low light.

    That said, I've shot the D7000 and it's super. There's no need whatsoever to fear a true Nikon refurb at all. People on this forum who shot D7100 think it's great too.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    Many replies, here is another based on my experience: The 11-16 Tokina is a LOT wider that the 16-85, you may not use the 11-16 that much even though you are using 18 a lot. If you do low light and hi ISO a lot, the D7100 would suit better but if you don't do low light hi ISO much, you would be better off with the D7000 because it is usefully cheaper and a great body. Personally, if I were you I would get the D7000 and 16.35 f4 VR. Keep your 55-200 for the few times you use it. You would be well served with that combo IMHO.
    Always learning.
  • vaibhav_aroraD40vaibhav_aroraD40 Posts: 26Member
    @ kyoshinikon - thank you for the bit about sensor cleaning function. I had completely overlooked that bit. So either D7000 or 7100 should be great. I've had the sensor of D40 cleaned only once here (there're very limited Nikon cleaning facilities here - so I went to a reputed camera store), and they strongly warned against doing it myself. It was also their idea that I should avoid changing lenses in the field.

    @ JakesGT - thanks but am not confident that the 11-16 would get used as much as the 16-85. I take pictures during travel (vacation) and mostly visit monuments, temples etc in India and a walkabout appeals a lot. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151723827404666.1073741825.616644665&type=1&l=ed9fa34a24 should give some idea of the kind of photos I've taken lately. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151200013339666.474470.616644665&type=1&l=f71e42f9c6 has some lowlights that I attempted but I feel I can do better. I'm considering the 35 mm though.

    @ shawnino - thank you but the sigma is out of my league for two reasons: It compensates the focal length significantly and as mentioned previously, I'm more of a vacation photographer so will have to find other lenses to make up for the focal length. If I were to hold the D40, should I try a 16-85 VR with that? The challenge of being in India is that we dont have a refurbished program. However, the new prices for nikon bodies as well as lenses are about at par with US (due to a rise in dollar rate). So, I can do one now and another later. I also dont value the features of D5xxx series (flip out screen and wifi) as much. The flipout screen is much more likely to be scratched / broken here. The weather sealing on D7 series is very nice to have in these conditions.

    @ spraynpray - thanks. I agree on the 11-16 (this is based on what photos I could look up on flickr). I rechecked the exif data for the 5K photos and it turns out that high-ISO shots (800-hi1 on D40) are about 30% of the time while lo iso are 40%. I could do more but the D7000 seems like a nicer compromise.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,042Member
    edited October 2013
    Just to play devil's advocate here, your D40 may not last much longer. I was a long term shooter of the D40, it died on me while I was on vacation. I ended up getting a D7000 and kept my other lenses and it's a world of difference. You probably only need the D7000, so save some money and don't get the D7100. If money is not a problem, just get the D7100. Just the increase in autofocus performance, frame rate and high ISO capability will wow you.

    Since you have the 55-200, you may not want to buy new lenses. But the 18-140 is certainly an option. If anything, you could get the 18-105 and crop to get more "zoom".
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    As you don't use the 55-200 much, and want to avoid changing lenses, keep the D40 with the 55-200 on it and put the 16-35 on the D7000. Voila.
    Always learning.
  • vaibhav_aroraD40vaibhav_aroraD40 Posts: 26Member
    edited October 2013
    Just to play devil's advocate here, your D40 may not last much longer. .
    Do you recall how many actuations was that on?
    the 16-35 on the D7000. Voila.
    Good idea :) Did you mean the 16-85? I checked the 16-35 and it appears FF and waaaay out of my price league.

    p.s. I'm so glad I learnt to use the quote function! :)

    Post edited by vaibhav_aroraD40 on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    I actually meant the 16-35 because it is a much better lens than the 16-85. I have the 16-85 and even after Nikon have serviced it I am not really impressed with it. If you kept the 55-200 on the D40 and used the 16-35 f4 VR on the D7k, you would cover most of your pics with a much better lens. A good tip is to buy better glass and live with older bodies as the glass will repay you every time you use it. I ignored that advice years ago because I thought I couldn't afford the good glass and regret it now. I plant to change that as soon as I can.
    Always learning.
  • JakesGTJakesGT Posts: 38Member
    I was one of the only people shooting primes in school because they went for cheap zooms instead and it really shows in the photo quality
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,042Member
    edited October 2013
    Just to play devil's advocate here, your D40 may not last much longer. .
    Do you recall how many actuations was that on?
    the 16-35 on the D7000. Voila.
    Good idea :) Did you mean the 16-85? I checked the 16-35 and it appears FF and waaaay out of my price league.

    p.s. I'm so glad I learnt to use the quote function! :)

    I think I ended doing about 27,100 actuations. It was a great camera, it was just a shame it died when I was on vacation. If you ever end up getting a "Error- press shutter release again" error, check this thread out, I tried fixing it.

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/330/nikon-d40-error-message-press-shutter-release-again#Item_27

    I still do plan on fixing it, as I'd like to try out its 1/500th shutter flash sync speed with the SB 700, when I get around to buying it.

    The D7000 will spoil you though.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • On a different note, would it be worth exploring the Pentax K-5 ii + 18-135 WR combination? It will give me good walkabout capability, excellent weather sealing and a similar price point. I'd have to pay more for another flash and possibly sell my 55-200 VR. Any thoughts if the 'switch' is worth it? thanks in advance. Also, this gallery (on another forum) http://www.indiamike.com/india-images/galleries/through-my-eyes should give anyone reading this thread a fair idea of my shooting style. Walkabout at best.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited November 2013
    @NSXTypeR "I still do plan on fixing it, as I'd like to try out its 1/500th shutter flash sync speed with the SB 700, when I get around to buying it." You can actually get 1/4000 flash sync speed on the D40 :-) (you don't need a SB700) I used to shoot at 1/8000 with flash on my D70 :-) .
    Taken at 1/8000 with my D70 image

    Re switching to Pentax. That Pentax is a great camera! and the Pentax brand and a viable option as your primary system. However, switching brands is almost always not a good idea unless you know exactly what you are getting and what you are giving up. The new 18-140 from nikon is a very good lens. I have it. It should easily replace both your other kit lenses. In combination with a D7000 or a D7100 it will give you so much more functionality you would think its magic.

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • "I still do plan on fixing it, as I'd like to try out its 1/500th shutter flash sync speed with the SB 700, when I get around to buying it." You can actually get 1/4000 flash sync speed on the D40 :-) (you don't need a SB700) I used to shoot at 1/8000 on my D70 :-)
    Errmmm....that part about fixing etc wasn't my query / post. I'm VERY happy with the Sb-400 and it's a great motivator to stay with nikon. It's not a high value item relative to the cost of the camera / lens, but just having it around is a huge help. I've managed to get photos of dark carved caves (Ellora), tribals (chattisgarh) when the lighting was difficult. Even some sleepy birds sitting on a boat that didn't mind a flash :)

    Thanks for the point about 18-140 being a good lens. I'm going to try to get that with D7000 if I can get a good deal over thanksgiving.

    With Pentax there're some distinct advantages - weather sealing (I live in a dustbowl - Rajasthan / Delhi area). 18-135 WR lens, so the entire system is weather sealed. I'm not proficient enough to do lot of manual focusing though. I've taken some night photos recently of buildings with manual focus but mostly while traveling it's Autofocus shooting in P mode or A at the most (rarely S). All handheld too.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited November 2013
    This video taken with a D7000 :-)
    Not quite dust .. but there is good weather resistance on a D7000/D7100.. The only issue is that when Zooming your lens will suck in air ( and dust.) .. You will need a sealed lens if you are concerned with that eg the 12-24 Nikkor or the 70-200 F4 .. these 2 lenses doesn’t change size when zooming or focusing.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,144Member
    First, keep the D40 and mount the 55-200 VR on it. Neither will have a high resale value and you can use the combination as your second camera. True, they will only work when you have good light for the photo but you don't use that focal length much. When you have two cameras with lenses already mounted in your camera bag you can just grab the one you need without changing lenses in dusty environments. If you don't like carrying a camera bag try a fanny pack worn backwards with the pouch in front for easy access.

    Second, get a new primary camera with a new zoom lens. Both the D7000 and the D7100 body are good: but the D7100 has a better sensor. Add to your list a consideration of the new D5300 which has the same new sensor as the D7100. I probably would recommend the D5300 to you above the D7000 because it has a better sensor and you don't seem to need the control layout of the D7000. Basically, the D7000 and D7100 would give you a more robust body build and more buttons for quicker assess to changing items such as ISO, etc. You don't seem to need that quicker access or the more robust partial metalic body build so the D5300 may be a better value for you because it gives you a better sensor which you do use in every exposure.

    Third, which lens should you put on the new body? Probably the best of all DX lenses is the DX 35mm f1.8G. It is very sharp and allows you to shoot in low light. The downside is that is is not a zoom so you have to "zoom" with your feet. The new 18-140 zoom should be good from the test results and would cover 94% of your current usage pattern. You might also want to consider the older 18-70 f3.5-4.5 DX zoom. It is non-VR but you don't really need VR at that focal range with modern DSLRs which allow you to use higher ISOs. You can get them very cheap used. ww.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0001YEOCU/ref=dp_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=all It should cover most of your shots and you can always take a few steps closer or pull out the D40/55-200 for the rest of them. Here are some tests for comparisons.

    The 18-70 on a D7000

    http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Database/Nikon/AF-S-DX-Zoom-Nikkor-18-70mm-f-3.5-4.5G-IF-ED/(camera)/680/(cameraname)/Nikon-D7000

    and on a D7100

    http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Database/Nikon/AF-S-DX-Zoom-Nikkor-18-70mm-f-3.5-4.5G-IF-ED/(camera)/865/(cameraname)/Nikon-D7100

    Here is the 18-140 on a D7000

    http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Database/Nikon/Nikon-AF-S-DX-NIKKOR-18-140mm-F35-56G-ED-VR/(camera)/680/(cameraname)/Nikon-D7000

    and on a D7100

    http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Camera-Lens-Database/Nikon/Nikon-AF-S-DX-NIKKOR-18-140mm-F35-56G-ED-VR/(camera)/865/(cameraname)/Nikon-D7100

    As you can see there isn't much difference in performance but can be a huge difference in price. You can get a used 18-70 f3.5-4.5 DX and a new 35mm f1.8 DX (or a used one) for less than the price of the new 18-140.

    Just another option to consider. Good luck.

  • PaulohnPaulohn Posts: 33Member
    I would recommend a 35mm or a 50mm f/1.8. It is the cheapest way to see how a good glass makes a difference.
    For USD 200 or 220 it is really a very good deal. Then you can decide if you want to invest in good glasses or wide range zooms.

    When I bought my 50mm f/1.8 I felt the same way when I moved from P&S to Dslr in terms of image quality.

    It is the cheapest 'really serious' lens available IMHO.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,144Member
    Yes, the 50mm f1.8 would also be a good fast lens for the D7000 or D7100 or D5300. Just remember that a 35mm lens on a DX body equals about 50mm "normal" while a 50mm lens on a DX body equals a 75mm short "portrait length" lens. What would you shoot mostly in low light conditions? If groups of people then the 35mm could be best. If you shoot mostly waist up portraits of a single person in low light the 50mm would be best.
  • Thanks heartyfisher, Paulohn and Donaldejose.

    To answer your question, I shoot mostly places, street scenes and buildings in low light. I very rarely shoot people in any light. So I suppose the 35 mm f/1.8 should be it?

    With the upgrade, the plan for the D40 + 18-55 is to be used by my father. He let me hold his Agfa Isoly ii (120 mm format film) when I was a child and waste several frames :). The 55-200 can be retained or sold off (though admittedly not for much money).

    I'll look into the 18-70 but the 18-140 looks much more promising as the lens change can be avoided.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    edited November 2013
    I don't know about the D5300 or 18-140, but the 16-85 is weather sealed - so is the D7000 and D7100.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • vaibhav_aroraD40vaibhav_aroraD40 Posts: 26Member
    edited November 2013
    Both the D7000 and the D7100 body are good: but the D7100 has a better sensor. Add to your list a consideration of the new D5300 which has the same new sensor as the D7100. I probably would recommend the D5300 to you above the D7000 because it has a better sensor and you don't seem to need the control layout of the D7000. Basically, the D7000 and D7100 would give you a more robust body build and more buttons for quicker assess to changing items such as ISO, etc. You don't seem to need that quicker access or the more robust partial metalic body build so the D5300 may be a better value for you because it gives you a better sensor which you do use in every exposure.
    I looked at the photos of D5200 layouts and it appears there's no dedicated button for ISO. The D7000 seems to have one. That's one control that I would need certainly as on the D40 its way down in the menu. Is there a way to program the D5XXX series of camera to change ISO using a button? I'm not so sure if I'd change WB or something else but ISO for sure. I actually could use the top LCD as well as I learn photography more, though so far it's been purely hit and trial.
    Post edited by vaibhav_aroraD40 on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    That's OK, there is a Fn button that you can program to do whatever you want. I'd suggest downloading the manuals to read and compare.
    Always learning.
  • @spryanpray - thanks for the tip. I was able to do that. :)

    @ heartyfisher, donaldejose and the rest - my brother has ordered the D7000+18-140 VR in the best buy deal that happened recently (possibly still alive). He will collect the camera from a store in Florida this coming week and bring it to me over Christmas holidays.

    Now, he doesn't know anything about DSLRs. So, are there specific checks he should do for this combination that would let him know the the camera is fine? I've asked him to charge the battery and check the on/off button. Other than this, I'm thinking of asking him to mount the lens and take a test shot in auto mode. Anything else that's easy enough to do? I'll have to send him written instructions over what to do. Any suggestions would be great!
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    edited December 2013
    I would NOT let a non-photographer touch the camera. Ask him to have the shopkeeper/assistant open the box, mount the lens and check functionality, but then ONLY if it is coming from a decent shop. If it is a Best Buy or whatever where they just sell boxes, then he needs to just treat it carefully and bring it to you. The D7100 has no issues and I feel that you would greatly increase your chances of a problem by having unskilled persons fiddling with it.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,537Member
    edited November 2013
    Do not have a non-photographer do any thing with the camera. I have seen some idiots scratch rear elements and jam lens into bodies because they did not know what they are doing. Agree with spraynpray..again. :))
    Post edited by Photobug on
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
Sign In or Register to comment.