D5300 vs used D700 for newbie doing night shots

ShadowShadow Posts: 9Member
edited November 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum, and ready to buy my first DSLR. I'd like to stay below $2,000 for my starter kit if possible.

I had been planning to buy the D5300 and a 18-200mm VR II lens, plus a tripod and other accessories. However, I recently had a chance to do some night photography on a family member's DSLR at Yosemite National Park, and quickly became obsessed with shooting the stars and milky way. Given my new found obsession for night photography, I am wondering if I should rethink my choice of camera. I read some night photography tutorials, and they all suggested that a full-frame sensor is necessary to truly capture the milky way and all it's stars.

My question is, given my specific needs, do you think I'd be better off going with aused/refurbished full-frame sensor? For example, it looks like I could pick up a used D700 without breaking my budget. (Used Nikon D700). I could then grab a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens for the night shots.

I guess a related question would be: should I stay away from used/refurbished cameras & lenses, or is this a good way to stretch my starter budget?

Anyway, sorry for the wall of text. Thanks in advance for any input you can provide!
Post edited by Shadow on
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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,200Moderator
    Hi Shadow - welcome to NR.

    The D700 (full frame) was arguably the best camera for an advanced enthusiast in its day, but there have been such advances in sensor and software design that the D5300 - which is a crop sensor - now beats it for low light performance. At this stage, you may be better off going for a crop sensor as doubtless you will upgrade everything in a year or so and you would then find the D700 is worth less than the D5300 and crop sensor lenses will cost you less. Don't forget to keep back minimum $300 for a tripod.

    Refurbished is a good way to go, and I started out with used gear myself and only have good experiences by buying low click pristine gear.

    Go for the D5300 and consider the 11-16/2.8 Tokina as it is pretty good for night work. 24 is a little long for a crop sensor.
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    edited November 2014
    D5300 and rokinon/samyang 16mm F2 will be what you want for nightscape. Much less than 2000 and you can still get a great kit lense like the 18-140. nice review here. http://www.slrlounge.com/rokinon-16mm-f2-lens-field-test-review/ . I almost got one for my D610 (yeah I know its DX and my camera is FX, I am funny that way ;-) ).
    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.

  • ShadowShadow Posts: 9Member
    edited November 2014
    -spraynpray: Thank you for the quick response and succinct explanation. I'm glad I asked, as I was tempted to jump on one of those used D700s!

    -heartyfisher: Thanks for the input and lens suggestions. Initial research has me leaning towards the Rokinson 16mm/2.0. I read your review on the 18-140 vs. 18-200 (Link). Thanks for posting that. It was very informative, and is helping to inform my decision. I am now leaning towards 18-140 as a kit lens.
    Post edited by Shadow on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    edited November 2014
    You are welcome :-) just to mess with your choices, here is a great review of the 18-35 :-) http://www.slrlounge.com/sigma-18-35mm-f1-8-ex-dc-field-review/
    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.

  • ShadowShadow Posts: 9Member
    edited November 2014
    Nice review, and cool lens!

    I found a nice bundle deal for D5300 + 18-140 lens (link). If I go with that bundle, I don't think I could get the 18-35 and still have room in my budget for a tripod.

    Also, I do have a couple more questions. Not sure if they warrant a new thread:

    1) Do you have suggestions on starter tripod/head for nightscape? It would be nice to get tripod and head for ~$300, but that may not be realistic.

    2) I want to grab UV filters to protect my lenses. Is it necessary to get a filter like the one B&H recommends: link, or would a lower cost alternative be sufficient at this stage (this for example)?
    Post edited by Shadow on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    edited November 2014
    your filter size is not 77 mm but 67mm. i just bought a shiny new tamron 24-70.. and :-) i just scratched it :((
    .. so yes get any filter. the filter i am interested in cost over $100. it makes a difference, if you know what to look for.
    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.

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,005Member
    edited November 2014
    If you want wide angle shots you are better with the full frame as the image is spread over more sensor area. and I think the wide FX lenses are better...Look at a Samyang 14mm or if you want to go real cheapo the Sigma 17-35 D I use .
    Look at used D800 too on e bay but check they were US imports not grey or you can have a problem.
    Experiment will show that any UV filter reduces the contrast but I have not found spending megabucks neccessary .You will find many coated UV on ebay at good prices

    PS I use the 18-140 (grey import at about $300) and its great but if you have that why would you want an 18-35 (DX) seems stupid to me ....you are not taking night shots of the stars at f 1.8 are you ???
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • ShadowShadow Posts: 9Member
    edited November 2014
    -heartyfisher, I was looking at 77mm for the Rokinson 16mm f/2. So sorry to hear about the scratch! My worst nightmare...

    I found a refurbished Sigma 18-35 for $600. I'm now seriously considering swapping that for the Roskinson. 16mm f/2. I'd be a bit less specialized for nighscape, losing the ultra wide angle, but I'd gain an awesome lens for parties and other low light scenarios.

    -Pistnbroke, thanks for the input. A used D800 would be amazing, but I think I'd break my budget just with the body. I can stretch a little, but I think D800 would be too much.

    I haven't had that much experience shooting stars yet, so I'm not sure how useful the f 1.8 would be or not be.
    Post edited by Shadow on
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,005Member
    Second hand D800 at a dealer $1500.....
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    "Bower UV Filter Scam" not that its important.. but kind of funny.
    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.

  • ShadowShadow Posts: 9Member
    -heartyfisher, that's pretty funny! I suppose it still works as a dust and scratch blocker...

    -Pistnbroke, I haven't come across any used D800s in that range. Have you seen any online? If you have links, I'd love to check them out!
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    http://photo.net/equipment/filters/ just FYI re UV filters
    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.

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2014
    Whichever way you go, one thing to be aware of, when you shoot the night sky, you want to remove any filters you have on your lens.

    As for lenses, get a wide angle prime with a fixed aperture..1.8 or better.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2014
    , and they all suggested that a full-frame sensor is necessary to truly capture the milky way and all it's stars.

    Correct but you must compare like for like
    The sensor in the D700 is very dated compared to the ones in the current generation of full frame sensors ( D750 D810)
    so that get us back the old old argument, DX vs FX
    nothing has changed. For the best IQ, full frame wins hands down
    bangs for you bucks, DX wins every time

    PitchBlack's advice is always excellent. and his suggestion to seriously consider a D610 is no exception



    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I have seen d800's near the $1500 range from private parties. Doubt you could find it from a store for that price. As for used or refurbished...do it. Everything I own minus my 35 f1.8 is used or refurbished. Certain things can be great deals but not always. It is worth looking and researching especially on a budget.

    As for the bodies. I think there is some misnomer here with what you are wanting and the body performance. Higher iso low light performance is not something you really need for what you are doing. You are most likely going to be doing longer exposures which doesn't require great iso performance of any sort. Unless I do them wrong but shoot at lowest iso and use longer shutter speeds. However if you want stop motion or other types of night/low light photography then that I'd another story where the fx bodies will be more beneficial.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,775Member
    Lots of good information and recommendations for @Shardow. Here are my suggestions:

    --DSLR's to consider: Refurbished D7100 & D610
    --Hold back $100 for a UV filter to use when your not taking astro photograhy
    --Hold back a minimum of $300 for a tripod with a Ball Head
    --Lens..your on the right track
    --Hold back $50 ~$75 for a wireless remote shutter release OR buy a corded remote shutter release and save some money
    --Another option is a refurbished D800 but that won't leave you enough for the accessories you must buy.

    Keep pushing questions at us for guidance.
    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 |
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    If you are careful I would skip the uv filter...especially on a budget. I don't have or use any and never had a problem. Especially if you aren't spending much on a lens. I would invest in a decent tripod but then again I use a cheap $50ish one and it has served its purpose for the few times I have used it.

    18-200 is a decent all around choice. It isn't really long enough for moon shots if you care about that, but will be fine for other long exposure landscapes and sky shots.

    Here are a few examples of mine..on a cheap tripod
    D5000 with 17-55
    DSC_0073

    DSC_0053

    D5000 and 18-200
    Night Try

    D5000 with 300 F4 and very cropped
    DSC_0089
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    edited November 2014
    Regarding cameras choices. Note the links I provided for the astro photography and for the review for the 16mm samyang and the 18-35 sigma use the D7100 which is 1 generation behind your D5300 that you intend to get. There has been a nice jump in sensor performance between the D7100 and the D5300 (at least half stop, some say up to one stop). So for your application I would go with the D5300 rather than the D7100. Of course I have the D610 and it is nice. but with it comes the cost of FX lenses. Most wont be able to resist getting FX lenses for it. I though still happily use my 12-24 DX and 18-140 DX lenses on it from time to time. Although I did get the 24-70 tamron and 70-200 F4 :-) My logic was not bec they were FX lenses but bec of the IQ. In fact I am planning to get the D7200(when it is announced) which will work great with those 2 lenses as a longish tele+TC for birding and an awesome portrait lense. Note the weaknesses of the Tamron goes away in the DX sweet spot !!
    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.

  • ShadowShadow Posts: 9Member
    edited November 2014
    Thank you everyone for all the great input. I am really overwhelmed by how helpful and active this community is!

    I should add that I live in an urban environment, and I'd like the flexability to shoot the city at night. Some shots similar to those found at this link: http://www.pbase.com/cdsims/sacramento_night

    It seems that at retail prices, the D5300 is going to be my choice since the D610 would be a bit out of my budget once you add lenses and other gear. However, I found some bundle deals for the D610 which would bring it closer to my price range. Does this look legit? The camera body is listed as an "Imported Model". Any experience with those? I imagine it would be a headache if there were issues with the camera, and I run the risk of being scammed.Ebay Link
    Post edited by Shadow on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    Those urban photos you linked to does not need anything special. any ol camera will do :-) and a tripod.
    The D5300 will get you much better results with correct technique and settings. I think upgrading your skills will be much more relevant.
    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.

  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    A refurbished D610 will be cheap and you could buy a couple old wide primes for a song since astrophotography isn't about AF performance.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,200Moderator

    As for the bodies. I think there is some misnomer here with what you are wanting and the body performance. Higher iso low light performance is not something you really need for what you are doing. You are most likely going to be doing longer exposures which doesn't require great iso performance of any sort. Unless I do them wrong but shoot at lowest iso and use longer shutter speeds. However if you want stop motion or other types of night/low light photography then that I'd another story where the fx bodies will be more beneficial.
    Actually tcole1983 you may be (doing them wrong). For sure a long time exposure is a help, but only to an extent. After around 13 seconds (depending on focal length and sensor size) the stars 'slit' so that is your limit for time. As for aperture, wider is better, but at the end of it all is the ISO performance - if you have a sensor which is poor in terms of low noise at high ISO you cannot use its most sensitive settings to capture the feint starts. Take a look at your example and you will see that there are not many stars visible - only the brightest ones.

    No, you need fast glass, great high ISO performance and long exposure to get the best results. In fact, the best results I have seen are a little noisy because noise reductions removes stars.
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I'd like the flexibility to shoot the city at night.
    If you are going to use a tripod and long exposures then the D5300 may be OK
    but if you want to shoot handheld and use high a ISO then you will be better off with the D610
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I have actually never really done much trying to capture the stars. I rarely get the chance now to be out somewhere that the stars are readily visible with something worth capturing in the foreground. I do see your point about the visibility of the stars.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,775Member
    Interesting, thanks for the recommendation. For 25th and 50th anniversary pictures this is an excellent idea. Of course, there are lots of others but for that treasured moment worth considering. Thanks again.

    Welcome to NRF.
    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 |
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