Upgrading from the D90 - where to go next?

MarcusHMarcusH Posts: 3Member
edited December 2013 in D90/D7x00

I'm currently in a quandary regarding what to upgrade my D90 to next - I study Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University in the UK and need to upgrade from my D90 that has served me well for 4 years . I've got a fairly good idea but its just weighing up if I stick DX or go FX. In terms of lenses that I already own I have the 55-300 VR as my main personal lens however I have the option to rent the high end 300 f2.8s,500s,600s through the university. My main concern is having a camera that will keep up with birds in flight and skittish animals.

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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,430Moderator
    What do you want to do with your images? If printing very large isn't on your horizon then for birds in flight you need pretty good AF more than anything IMHO. I don't know how my D7000 or D7100's AF compares to the D300s', but I do know I have seen some great BIF shots from the D300s.

    Just my 2c.
    Always learning.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 973Member
    The D300s is great for birds as long as the light is decent. It is great at ISO400 and sometimes works well up to ISO800. If you have the money the D800 is a great option, not as fast but better when the light is not perfect (works well at ISO1600 and the AF doesn't need as much light).
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Snakebunk, do you have any thoughts on the D610 for this application?
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 973Member
    I haven't used the D610 but I think it's too close in price to the D800 to motivate the lesser build quality, less pixel density and not as good af. All those things are important when shooting birds and therefore the D610 is not a wildlife camera in my opinion.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2013
    As I have a D90 and D4, I can say that if one wants the ultimate bird shooter IMO) the D4 is very nice. Lot's love the D800.

    However, I would not purchase a new body unless your D90 has died. While the D7100 is the top DX body at present, there is always a possibility of a D400 coming which should be close to a DX format D4 in some respects. Also, in January something is coming and it could be either a D400 or new consumer DX body.

    The leap to full frame is not without some extra expense. Your 55-300 will only work in a crop mode on a full sensor camera unless you want a circular image. The AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED would be its replacement, I believe.

    Summarizing, if I had to purchase a replacement for my D90, I would probably pick the D7100.

    And, welcome to NRF!
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,352Member
    Hi MarcusH. Got my wife the D90 one month after it was introduced and as you know it's a great camera. I used the D300 until August of this year when I sold it. When and if we do an upgrade for her D90, she is getting a D7100. The D300 was a great camera and loved what it did for BIF pictures.

    Been waiting for a replacement to the D300/D300s for years and finally decided "enough is enough" and bought the D7100. Terrific camera.

    Don't wait for the D400/D9000, the replacement for the D300/D300s. It's not planned for 2014. Nikon is updating the D3200 and from the rumors the D4. Therefore, go trade or sell the D90 on eBay and buy a new or refurbished D7100. You will be amazed the picture quality the D7100 gives you.
    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 |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator

    ...my D90....has served me well for 4 years...I have the option to rent the high end 300 f2.8s,500s,600s through the university.....keep up with birds in flight and skittish animals.
    To begin with, I too, like to echo my fellow members comments; hence, welcome to NRF.

    Now lets get down to businesses....if your D90 has served you well (hence the quote above) in taking images of BIF (birds in flight) and skittish animals, I can assure you, Nikons current low price FX: D610; will do a huge better job in capturing your subject that you think. Thus, I disagree with your comment that the "D610 is not a wildlife camera in my opinion." Moreover, D800 was not targeted for those seeking to shoot wildlife or fast action subject. Yet, again, many have shown that it can, and do it very well. The same can be said about the DX D7100.

    With that out of the way, I would personally recommend you going FX. Why FX and not DX? That is easy: you have the ability to access (rent) some amazing lenses. Mount one of those bad boys on a full fame body and go to town!
    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 |
  • JuergenJuergen Posts: 315Member
    I don't know your budget, but here is my recommendation:

    FX: D600 / D610

    DX: D7100

    Just look for the images of Coastalconn here on this forum or on Flickr. He is shooting with a D 7100 recently.

    Jürgen
    D4, D800E, Nikon 1 J2, 600 f/4, trinity, PC-E 45, PC-E 24, 105, 50 f/1,8g, 85 f/1,4, Sigma 150-500
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,430Moderator

    With that out of the way, I would personally recommend you going FX. Why FX and not DX? That is easy: you have the ability to access (rent) some amazing lenses. Mount one of those bad boys on a full fame body and go to town!
    You have exactly the same lenses available to you on DX as FX with the added advantage of an effective 1.5 multiplier of focal length which is what BIF shooters want.
    Always learning.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    spraynpray is quite correct. But, it is worth nothing that on the D610 all you have to do is put it in DX crop mode and you will have your 1.5 multiplier as well. Again, IMHO the FX body make for a better direction to go give your lens accessibility.

    @MarcusH: The DX crop mode is now available all current FX bodies by Nikon, Hence, D600, D610. D800/D800e & D4.
    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 December 2013
    What is you budget?

    If you can afford it, go FX get a D800 (E) or a D4 and take full advantage of the high end 300 f2.8s,500s,600s which most us here, cannot even afford to dream about

    a very big advantage of FX is the high ISO quality. which you are going to need with the 600mm when shooting in dim and darkest Cornwall

    I have not used a d610, but most reviews suggest the focusing is not as good as the D800 or D4

    Forget get the D400, it has one very big disadvantage, it does not exist





    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 973Member
    edited December 2013
    I rather talk about pixel density than crop factor, because it is the pixel density that sets the limit on how much you can crop an image given that all other circumstances are perfect. (this is also refered to as reach)

    If you want to compare the pixel density of a DX camera with that of an FX camera you can multiply the number of pixels on the DX camera with 2.25 (the square of 1.5).

    When you can't get close enough to fill the frame with the image you want (which usually is the case with bird shooting) the advantage of using an FX camera is that you have a larger canvas to crop from.

    The greatness of the D800 is that it has both high pixel density and a large canvas.

    Because you have access to 500 and 600 mm lenses I don't think you need the super high pixel density of the D7100. The D7100 is however very good value for the money.

    Since you mention birds in flight the D4 is also interesting if you can afford it. And a used D3S on a 600mm with a 1.4TC is not a bad weapon either :)

    For reference I shoot birds 90% of the time and I use the D800 with the Sigma 500/4.5 and I have a D300s for backup. The combinations I see most often are either a D7000/D7100 with 300-500mm focal lengths or D800/D4/D3/D300 with 500mm or longer focal lengths.
    Post edited by snakebunk on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2013
    OK, for some of us, there is a clear advantage in shooting FX for BIF. They are for me at least, very difficult subjects. The movements, which are sometimes quite unpredictable, create more difficulty for the smaller frame. The 1.5 multiplier means that there is this amount less space. Sometimes this will cut a wing or tail.

    So, if one can afford $2,000 - 3,000, then full frame may be the way to go especially in view of the access to the big lenses.

    Now, to clarify my position, I am not a fan of lots of pixels. My D90 will go to 20" x 30" with no problems and at this size one cannot tell the difference between this and my D4. The difference is in the other features such as FPS, buffer capacity, ergonomics, ISO, focusing, and sensor dynamic range. But, I am always spot on when it comes to exposures…LOL... :))
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    For BIF you need fast AF more than anything = buy the best AF system you can afford. In the current Nikon lineup that would be D4 or D800. D800 is less than half the price of a D4 and more than twice the pixels. There you go. Thats how easy it is to spent $3.000 :-)

    If a D800 is out of reach I would stay with DX. Then a D7100 would be my best bet. You would not gain anything going D610 as you are working the long end lenses and the AF system in D610 and D7100 is the same.

    All the best
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited December 2013
    "AF system in D610 and D7100 is the same." nope .. the D7100 has a better AF system than the D610..

    So in terms of AF the order is D4 > D800 > D7100 > Df > others ..

    in terms of "reach" remember that the D7100 also has its 2x crop mode as well.
    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.

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    edited December 2013
    Snakebunk's post on pixel density is the most concise I have ever read. Combined with Msmoto's comments about cutting off a wing or tail because of shooting in crop mode to get reach. This, in my opinion, should frame any discussion on reach.

    So if I was thinking about shooting birds, I would be thinking about the D5300 or D7100 (cheap, maximum pixel density), D610 (dynamic range, low light), DX800 (D610 pros plus IQ, pixel density, AF) and the D4 (dynamic range, low light, IQ, AF).

    "Reach" is not a consideration in my books. You will likely be cropping in post if you are shooting birds as you never have time to compose and Lightroom is a far superior reach tool. You can turn a 200mm lens into any focal length you want, pixel density, steadiness and atmospheric conditions being the only limiting factors that come to mind.

    I am really scratching my head when "reach" is presented as an advantage of DX. The only advantage that I can see is that it is a quick and dirty way to crop.

    Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against DX. It has made the benefits of DSLRs available to the masses and I love my Coolpix A.
    Post edited by WestEndBoy on
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    If Heartyfisher is right then a D800 if you have the money - if not then a D7100.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Nikon cameras sorted by "reach" (pixel density)

    Numbers are the amount of megapixels you get in DX mode:

    D700 (5.14)
    D3S (5.14)
    DF (6.81)
    D4 (6.81)
    D610 (10.33)
    D600 (10.33)
    D3X (10.48)
    D90 (12.21)
    D300S (12.21)
    D3100 (14.16)
    D800 (15.36)
    D7000 (16.08)
    Coolpix A (16.08)
    D7100 (24.00)
    D5300 (24.00)
    D5200 (24.00)
    D3200 (24.06)
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    you didnt mention your budget, or what specific limitations you felt you had with your d90 .... but

    id say that any of the above mentioned options will be great. 7100, 800 or d4 will all be great, especially when paired with high end lenses. its not only the camera but also the lenses that will affect focus speed etc, those high end lenses focus lightning fast and are great for moving targets

    anything will be a big improvement from a d90. id probably choose a d800, because the amount of cropping that you can do is huge so you will get lots of extra reach, 2-3 times what the d90 is capable of. you will get a nice boost in ISO, so you will get good shutter speeds too

    stick on a battery grip to get higher FPS if you need it, and you still save a lot of money over the d4
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,352Member


    Now, to clarify my position, I am not a fan of lots of pixels. My D90 will go to 20" x 30" with no problems and at this size one cannot tell the difference between this and my D4. The difference is in the other features such as FPS, buffer capacity, ergonomics, ISO, focusing, and sensor dynamic range. But, I am always spot on when it comes to exposures…LOL... :))
    Really...spot on when it comes to exposures! Does that come with age or experience? :\">
    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 |
  • MarcusHMarcusH Posts: 3Member
    Thanks for the very helpful advice :) the main reason for upgrading is that i'm finding the D90 limiting 11 AF points struggle with Birds In Flight type images and fast moving birds . I'm unlikely to walk out the door tomorrow and drop money on a D7100 - I'll hold fire and see what January's announcement brings
    What is you budget?

    If you can afford it, go FX get a D800 (E) or a D4 and take full advantage of the high end 300 f2.8s,500s,600s which most us here, cannot even afford to dream about

    a very big advantage of FX is the high ISO quality. which you are going to need with the 600mm when shooting in dim and darkest Cornwall

    I have not used a d610, but most reviews suggest the focusing is not as good as the D800 or D4

    Forget get the D400, it has one very big disadvantage, it does not exist

    I have used the D800e down at uni (they are rarely about though) and its absolutely stunning with the 300 f2.8 however I cant stretch to £1800 just for a body :)




  • MarcusHMarcusH Posts: 3Member


    Thanks for the masses of advice! Now to see how far the money can stretch - ideally i'd buy an D800 but I don't think I'll be able to afford it... absolutely awesome camera though from the short afternoon I had with one and a 300 f2.8. Looks like it will be a D7100 unless I win the lottery!
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,209Member
    edited December 2013
    You really didn't say anything about budget, but I would say just keep the D90 and buy a new lens. I would say get a 70-300 VR to start off with if you don't have it already and save the rest for something bigger in the future.

    I don't have any experience with the 300mm F4 but I've heard nothing but good things about it.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • PaRealtorPaRealtor Posts: 95Member
    Wow!
    Thank for the definition of BIF!
    Enjoyed this conversation.
    Come on D400!
    Hope that's the January announcement!
  • CoastalconnCoastalconn Posts: 527Member
    OK, since I was mentioned earlier :) I personally have no interest in full frame for birds. I shoot birds pretty much 99.9% of the time. The D7100 has a pretty incredible sensor and I'm getting pretty good results up to ISO 3200 with it. I shoot with it everyday. I really liked the D300 body much better, but at the end of the day, overall IQ on the D7100 is well ahead of the D300.

    Of course if the D400 came out tomorrow, lol... I gave up 2 months ago because the D7100 has become so cheap for what it is.

    My main lens is a SIgma 120-300 F2.8 OS (non sport), I have a Sigma 150-500 OS (pretty much won it in a KEH photo contest) and I preordered the Tamron 150-600. I plan on shocking some people with the results :)

    If your curious about the D7100, feel free to check my flickr page... http://www.flickr.com/photos/coastalconn/
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