stay with D200 or get new D7100?? need advice

jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
edited May 2013 in D90/D7x00
hi,
im a long time shooter, but not a pro. I currently have a D200 and DX 18-200 lens. My camera really suffers in low light situations, either live concert/club shooting, or in low light interior shots (weddings). I see some amazing low light shots now where the colors and sensitivity are amazing!

What will be my best option for low light???? upgrading to a newer camera (D7100) with a way better sensor or buying a better lens ( DX17-55 f2.8)???
I have a feeling it will be a newer sensor... that D200 is from 2005! A new lens will only offer me one or two fstops better right?

or is it because im shooting jpg and not processing from the raw files? is THAT how i get photos that have remarkable detail and lighting?

IM about to invest in some new gear, but im not a pro so i cant buy whatever i want. I was even contemplating the FX vs DX format... but thats not an issue if i can get the photos i want.

thanks for the input in advance
Jeff
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Comments

  • birdmanbirdman Posts: 115Member
    edited May 2013
    Jeff, I hope no one gives you offensive replies. Sometimes there are trollers on here and they make posts that have no rhyme or reason -- but your post does not fit that definition. That being said, I'll try to be objective with my advice. The reason you're "old" camera has worse ISO capabilities is that it uses a CCD sensor as opposed to a CMOS. "Only One or Two Stops" is a HUGE advantage/progress in high ISO situations!! Sometimes, one generation newer DLSRs can give you 1/3 stop up to 2/3 stop of ISO/noise level increases. For the price of the D7100, I'd keep the D200 and buy a refurbed D600. It will give you tremendous ISO capabilities, good frame rate, great build quality, and you can still use the REMOTE shutter release if you already have one.

    Then, I'd buy a 50/1.8G and/or a 70-300VR. You'd be set with both bodies for low-light, reach, etc. The D200 is still great, especially in sunlight. Any camera can take any night shot if you place them on a tripod, turn ISO to base level, and keep shutter open for 30 seconds...or how ever long the meter tells you to. I had the D80 back in '08 (which has the same sensor as the D200) and it was my first Nikon DSLR. It was plenty good enough for beautiful colors, etc. The AF was shaky, though.

    Lastly, RAW does give you more flexibility to apply noise reduction, and fiddle with other parameters. I'd always advise to shoot RAW and Lightroom 4 is magical. The JPEG engine in each DSLR can "influence" noise levels...as Canon has shown with their new 5dMk3. It's "improved ISO" levels are simply JPEGs that are loaded with noise reduction algorithms. However, the "true" high ISO RAW files are less than one stop better than the 2008-era 5dMk2. Hope that helps
    Post edited by birdman on
  • jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
    hi, thanks for the great advice. This helps quite a bit...

    A few thoughts on the D600. i have a dx 18-200 lens. so the 600 wont be of any use with that, correct? its also quite a bit more money than the D7100 which i thought was nearly an identical camera. except for the FX vs DX issue.

    i do have a 50 1.8 kicking around from my film days, its about the only way i can shoot in low light.

    (sorry my bad, let me clarify... i meant a new high quality lens would only offer me a better fstop, while still using the D200, same old CCD sensor.) is there much of a gain here? I mean and fstop is just an fstop. i will allow me some shutter speed but wont help that old D200 capture more detail in the shadows and give me a full exposure will it?

    I probably will get flamed on here, im admittedly not a pro. I hope some others offer good advice like yours though. Thanks again.

    jeff
  • HallvardkHallvardk Posts: 19Member
    You always get told: "Glass before body, glass before body". Camera bodies don't last as long as glass, so you get more value and better results by investing in good glass rather than buying a new camera each time Nikon releases one.
    Well, that's the main rule. But I would say it is about time you upgrade your camera. It will give you much more than a 17-55 f/2.8 on the D200 will give you. The D7100 seems to be an amazing camera, and your 18-200 will also work on it. The f/1.8 series are great lenses to affordable prices, so you might want to have a look at those if you want to shoot a lot in low light.
    .. and yes, start shooting RAW. That opens up a new world for you.
  • jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
    hallvadk, great advice. thanks.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    @jtopping, what was the reason to stay in JPG and not try shooting RAW? I've seen some D200 shots here on "Picture a day", which were really nice. That, and trying to get some nice f/1.8 primes would give your pictures an improvement. And if you decide, it's not enough, you can still go for another body. Even for FX, if you choose the lenses for it.

    Please consider, going RAW or 24MP will probably lead to some investment in your "IT department" as well. It's no fun to handle big files on an old PC.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Just an FYI, your 18-200 will work on a D600 or any other FX camera body, but it will automatically crop down to the DX 1.5x format.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    The question is always the budget. Going to full frame will increase the cost for about everything. I would suggest either a D7000 or D7100. But, you currently have a "prosumer" body with much better access to the controls than either the D7000 or D7100. And, so it may be a possibility to either look at a D300 refurb or wait like so many for the D400. In the meantime, look at sone more exotic glass..
    Msmoto, mod
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    take some more time to think about what kind of pics you want to take in the long run. you have been shooting for a long time so it is safe to say that while you may not be a pro, you are not about to jump ship from photography anytime soon, so i say its time to upgrade with both a new body and a new lens.

  • jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
    I guess part of this question is actual photo principles.

    will a new camera (lets say the 7100) boost my low light ability significantly? compared to investing in a large 200 or 300mm 2.8 lens, or even a 17-55 2.8 lens. do those killer lenses really allow me to capture what i cant seem to right now? or is my D200 sensor holding me back?

    thanks.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited May 2013
    or wait like so many for the D400. .
    =))

    but only If you can put up with the D200 for a few more years

    you say you are not a pro, so get the D7100 and keep the DX 18-200
    you will be gob smaked by the difference at High ISO values

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,290Moderator
    @jtopping: The benefits of vastly improved hi ISO performance versus the benefits of high end glass depend on the kind of photography you do. If you are complaining about the noise of your old camera in your usage get the new body. If noise is not the problem, get better glass.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    It's not only the noise, it's also the capabilities of more sensitive AF modules. I own a D7100 and a D7000 and I really don't know which to give up if someone forces a decision. I did underestimate the "feeling at home" with the D7000 and so far didn't set up the new cam the way the old is. I do have fast glass, but see the big benefit not in using f/1.4 all time - too shallow DOF - but in better AF performance. It's both, high ISO and fast glass which gives better results in low light.

    Why don't you show us some of your pictures, jtopping, to get an idea what you're photographing? So far we don't know if it's moving subjects or "only" low light. the latter could be done with a good tripod on base ISO as well.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,135Member
    I would say upgrade the lens before the body, but the D200 is quite old at this point. If you do a lot of low light work you would probably see the benefit of a better body.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • macsavageg4macsavageg4 Posts: 75Member
    My take on it is go for the D7000 or D7100 over the D90 for two reasons. 1) It supports the same lenses that your D200 supports. 2) The D90 imho while a fine camera is getting long in the tooth and has far more limited lens support compared to the D7000/D7100.

    Now VS faster glass. I am completely of the feeling that yes the D200 body is way way long in the tooth and while faster glass is nice and will help you are still going to be heavily limited by what the body is even capable in low light as well as the limitations of the older sensor technology.

    As far as FX is concerned unless you have been picking up that glass on the "cheap" for a while and have some decent glass already I'd put this off unless you are willing to invest a lot to get good performance. On the same note I cannot emphasize how amazing it is compared to DX. I went from a D7000 an excellent camera to a D800 a truly amazing piece of equipment but is a lot lot more money to get that level of performance. If you want that level of performance and can afford it by all means go for it you will not regret (besides the monetary input that is).

    That is just my $.02 USD not adjusting for inflation etc. but go for what you can afford and make sure you know the limitations of whatever camera you decide to pull the trigger on nothing worse than investing in a body and not getting the proper equipment for the goals you wanted to have answered.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,290Moderator
    @macsavageg4: The D90, D7000 and D7100 can all cope with the same lenses as they all have a focus motor in the body. Only 3xxx and 5xxx series bodies need the motor in the lens. They do represent three generations of sensor though which is why I would go for at least D7000. With the current low price point of the D7000 the OP may be able to stretch his budget to a lens to go with it, but it doesn't seem like it from his post.
    Always learning.
  • jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
    Macsavageg4 i think you nailed my situation. i am certainly NOT in a position to buy a D600 or D300s or any other advanced camera, and especially not able to invest that kind of money into killer glass.

    I am definitely in the prosumer category until I find myself doing more paid work. Right now i shoot live music for blogs and stuff (which is a challenging situation) and i do a wedding or two here and there, nothing regular and nothing requiring lighting or gear other than a camera and lens.

    attached are comparision photos. mine and some ive seen online. mine look so contrasty, and arent picking up much available light in backgrounds. Plus yes, theres tons of grain.

    image

    image

    not perfect examples, but clear enough to know my gear aint doing the job!

    thanks all!!
    jeff
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited May 2013
    . Plus yes, theres tons of grain.

    Get the D7100 and keep your lens(s). shoot RAW and reduced any remaining grain in Light room






    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • macsavageg4macsavageg4 Posts: 75Member
    @spraynpray - What I was meaning by lens support was specifically the ability to have metering with older manual focus glass. The D90 doesn't support that like the D200, D7000, and D7100 do.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,290Moderator
    @Macsavageg4: Ah, I forgot you are into the old glass. Manual focus for gigs is not a big problem really so some good but cheap old glass and a D7100 would be good.
    Always learning.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,135Member
    @macsavageg4: The D90, D7000 and D7100 can all cope with the same lenses as they all have a focus motor in the body. Only 3xxx and 5xxx series bodies need the motor in the lens. They do represent three generations of sensor though which is why I would go for at least D7000. With the current low price point of the D7000 the OP may be able to stretch his budget to a lens to go with it, but it doesn't seem like it from his post.
    The D90 won't meter with AI-S lenses. If the poster has AI-S lenses, it might be a deal breaker.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @jtopping

    I really did not see a lot of difference in the two images. If they were linked to a larger size this might help my old eyes.

    But, in these high contrast situations, picking a camera angle, and shooting moment so as to get a face illuminated by a "glamour light" spot, i.e., straight on, this will decrease the need for shadow detail and give a nice image with dense shadows. IMO the goal is to use the qualities of the sensor to grab the detail where you want it and allow dark shadows to be just that.
    Msmoto, mod
  • jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
    thanks for the great advice everyone.
    One question about lenses. 80-200 2.8 ED AF, is a lens im interested in getting used. Thats an FX lens, and on my DX body, (or if i also get a DX D7100), how badly would the cropping be? at such high focal range, is the trimming off going to be too much?
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    FX lens on DX body = zero cropping (vignetting)
    In fact it is the opposite, you get the sweetest part of the lens, the center.
    DX lens on FX body = turns your body into DX camera (1.5x crop factor)
    Unless you override the settings, in which case vignetting will happen to varying degrees depending on focal length and lens design.
  • jtoppingjtopping Posts: 8Member
    yeah, youre correct. what i meant was, it wont be an 80-200 on my DX camera, it would be more equivelant to a 150-300 or somethign like that??/
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Yes, you will have the FOV of a lens 1.5x the size, so 120-300mm
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