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.