Before I go and buy a D610… I thought I would run it by the good folks here for validation.
I have no doubt the improvement over my current gear will be amazing, however I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations and then have remorse that I should have waited for the next generation of camera. I am a 'buy and keep' for a loooong time type of guy.
I currently shoot a D200 and am pushing the camera to its limits. The driver for the new camera is shooting my daughter’s gymnastics competitions – low light, high speed subjects and no flash… triple whammy. It is a pretty tough photography situation to contend with. I am usually in the stands with my 70 - 200 zoom, not on the floor with the hired pros. I don’t print a lot of pictures, but do want to be able to print the odd 8x10 from time to time. Who knows, maybe a poster if one of the girls gets famous…
I have been fighting these conditions for several years. All my glass is 2.8 fixed. Although I only have one FX lens, my 70 – 200 Sigma. The other I use most is a 16 – 50 ATX Tokina (DX). I also have the Tokina 11 – 16 for landscapes – I hear it is awesome to shoot video with as well. I like the DX crop mode on the D610 to utilize my existing glass until I am ready to upgrade the dx lenses.
The gyms we shoot in probably range from EV 7 down to 5… depending on ambient light from windows and time of day/season of year…
With a D200, anything beyond iso 640 is just too noisy to be happy with. I can push to 800 or 1000 but the results aren't up to a standard that I would share with anyone. If I shoot wide open and set my iso at 640 I get 1/60 – 1/125 shutter speeds. I can get ok results occassionally on beam work, but much less so for floor, vault and bars. I need to prefocus, hold a half shutter and time my shots to get a good usable number of frames.
Ideally I would like to stop action and I wouldn’t mind a bit more flexibility with depth of field as well. Is 1/500th at f4 without pushing the iso into a grainy mess possible with a D610 given the amount of light I have to work with? In the real world, how is the noise at iso 6400 – 12,800 using a D610. Usable or not so much? Perhaps 3200 and compensate exposure then use LR to pull it back (trick I stumbled across reading here...)
Curious if anyone else shoots gymnastics events here and if they think the D610 is up to task? My sister shoots a D800, however I can't justify the extra $1000 for what appears to be a small increase in low light sensitivity and I believe the D610 has a better frame rate.