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Thread: Time to Upgrade?

  1. #1
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    Time to Upgrade?

    Hey all,

    I'm a live music photographer based out of San Francisco and am debating whether or not to make the big upgrade to the D4/800. The majority of the shows I cover are poorly lit, which is what music photographers have to deal with. I own a lot of fast glass, but I feel like the D3's AF system is just sub-par compared to the newer cameras that are out today. I've missed a ton of great shots because the AF wouldn't lock on, not to mention I'm almost always shooting at f./1.4/2. I rarely ever shoot above ISO 6400, so I am not really concerned about ultra-high ISO noise blablabla, as it doesn't concern me.

    What I'm really asking: Do you guys think it's worth upgrading to the D3s/4/800 from the beloved D3? I'm open to the Canon system, as I could probably find some good trades?

    Cheers,

    Gino

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    Re: Time to Upgrade?

    Hey you,

    IMHO that's a question only you can answer. Are you unhappy with the quality of your recent photo's ?
    Are you a "gadget freak" who wants to own the latest model ?
    How much is your budget ?
    You wrote that you have a lot of fast glas - so switching to Canon would be a greater financial loss than you might think.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Greetings, Jurgen

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    Re: Time to Upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino Troian View Post
    Do you guys think it's worth upgrading to the D3s/4/800 from the beloved D3? I'm open to the Canon system, as I could probably find some good trades?
    Gino
    Coming from a D3 then you should upgrade to D3s or D4. Which one is a question of budget.

    Generally, people upgrading from D3 go to D4. The ones who have a D3s do not see the need to update unless they want video.

    The D800/E is not really a camera for shows in the sense it needs either a pair of very stable hands or a tripod.

    Also note, that for handheld shoots such as gigs - shows - sports...etc, you usually carry 2 cameras. So it is not a D3s/D4 + D800/E, but rather 2 x D3s or D4.

    As for Canon. They are also good cameras but what is the point if you are heavily invested in Nikon glass?

    You mention you own fast glass, then I suppose it is the following: 200/2 - 85/1.4 - 50/1.4 - 35/1.4 and 24/1.4. These are fantastic lenses and the trade might not be satisfactory although the money will cover the move.
    The only lenses better than the Nikon 135/2 D is the Canon 135 L USM and the Canon 50/1.2 L.

    Best is to rent a D3s - D4 - D800 and Canon 5D III and see which one suits better your shooting style.

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Time to Upgrade?

    My two cents is that I personally would avoid switching over to Canon since you already have a large investment in lenses for the Nikon, and you would take a pretty good hit in order to get similar glass in Canon.

    Like Alon said, rent the D3s, D4 and D800 and see which one suits you the best. You already have a stable of lenses in Nikon so I would stay that course. One note, if you go with the D800 you need sharp lenses so they should be G lenses or the latest generation.

    Some of the older lenses give up some detail on the D800, but then again some dont. Best bet is to try them and see how they look.
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

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    Re: Time to Upgrade?

    I would pick up these cameras and find out which blows your hair back. As far as glass or the ability to handhold in regards to sharpness, the D800 is no worse than the D4--putting more pixels in an image does not make it softer. Personally, I find the D800 not very pleasant to hold (it is a bit of a clumsy brick) and so the D4 may be better.

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    Re: Time to Upgrade?

    I run a pair of D3S's and am moving from them to a D3S + D800 / 800e combo -- and only VERY reluctantly due to client requests for some material that can only come from larger-res images.

    That said, a local pro I know moved from the D3S to the D4 as his low-light / sports body (he shoots primarily Phase) and essentially considered the shift financially unjustifiable -- unless (like he and his partner) you want the more advanced video capabilities and are willing to pay for them accordingly.

    This seems to echo common opinion -- and seems to be reflected in the stable market price of the D3S in a post-D4 world. From my perspective, I've used a LOT of DSLRS over the years from CaNikon and the D3S, to date, has been an absolute dream to use.

    That said, if you have the opp. to rent them, the "blow your hair back" test, as Sashin put it, is the only one that matters.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Time to Upgrade?

    This is a difficult question and as has been recommended ..you would be best served by renting your preferred body before buying .

    I use my D4 primarily for sports and long lenses ..before the D4 I used the D3s and before that the D3. The improvements for my use seem evolutionary (the D3 was a pretty great camera ) . The D3S had a new sensor still 12MPs but improved color fidelity and saturation . The D4 is another step up in IQ but as some have pointed out you may not see it much in your applications . The Nikon forums are full of debates over the D3s (street price around $4K used ) verse the D4 (street around $6K) .

    If you compare the Nikon and Canon bodies on DxO Labs sensor tests you will see they are very close in your relevant range of ISO s (1600-6400) . This tells me that you can be successful with any choice .

    Cost differences depend on the individuals intended use and finances . Consider that a d4 will cost you $6K and that it should be current technology for 36-48 months ...after which if its not worn out it will be worth at least $3K . You can probably see how you could argue this value proposition differently depending on how much you shoot , if you qualify for any tax advantage and if you can handle the investment . I could argue ..are you really going to use the D3 for the next 3-4 years ? if not the D4 is the best value at the beginning of its life cycle when you have 3-4 years before a D5 emerges .

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