Gonna need some background and very specific usage details for this discussion sooooo... here we go. I recently sold my much loved D7000 and all of the DX lenses I had. I still have my Nikkor 14-24, and 70-200 f/2.8 VR (not II) and while I know about the caveats of going FX with that lens (compared to the VRII version) that is not my concern today. Truly I felt I was pushing beyond the limits of the D7000 for the type of photography I was doing, plus I am going on a 7 day safari in ZA early this summer and I want FX quality for that alone.
I shoot RAW+JPEG and I primarily shoot football games, some indoor swimming, wakesurfing and wakeboarding. I found the D7000 to be a bit slow on the AF side, not great above ISO800 (even though I did have some 'ok' shots at 1600 and 3200, they were of non-moving subjects), and the buffer when shooting raw is MAYBE 10 frames... maybe. I also quickly grew tired of spending more than 5 minutes in LR and other software to clean up an action shot above ISO800 from the D7000, and printing anything larger than 12x24 was still completely out of the question. It became quite clear that in order to shoot an evening or night game, even with the venerable 70-200 2.8 VR on a monopod, I need an FX body with excellent high ISO performance. I also understand that sports photogs probably drop the largest amount of coin to do their job because, well, sports photography pushes the limits the equipment in most every case since additional lighting typically is not an option.
SO - all of this in mind, do I settle for ~5fps, similar AF speed to the D7000, and great high ISO performance at a low price point with the D600? Or, do I man up and go to the D3s for awesome high ISO, faster AF performance but sacrifice DR and pixels (not that I would mind editing smaller photos, I have zero patience to edit a 35+mp photo.) A D4 is out of the question, I am a hobbyist and $6k for a body alone is just too steep. For what I am shooting the D800 seems to me as a waste of $1k that I could spend on glass in comparison to the D600.
Thoughts? Am I missing something blatantly obvious? Should I have tried out a D300s? Should I continue to wait patiently to see if Nikon makes some surprise announcement in the next 30-45 days?
D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II