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jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

Upgrading too frequently??

In a recent post, »Re: An HDR Image II , I made a passing comment about upgrading from my somewhat ancient D70 to a new(ish) D7000 and the amount of time it was going to take me to learn how to use the new camera to the fullest extent of its capabilities.

Flipside of the question: Is there such a thing as upgrading too frequently? I suspect there may well be. Of course, you have to be able to afford constantly upgrading as each new model comes out; that should go without saying, I would hope. (There's also a risk, I suppose, that one may be too quick and upgrade to what turns out in a few months to be a real lemon.)

But, beyond that, is it possible that someone so lucky as to be able to do this is actually missing out on learning how to fully exploit the capabilities of their existing camera(s)? (I'm presuming here that the new camera offers some functionality that was not available in the previous model, above and beyond simply a higher pixel count.) Usually, there's a certain amount of time required to simply familiarize oneself with the basic size, controls, and menu placement of the new camera, never mind getting to any new functionality. I suppose that, if one uses the camera heavily, this tends to be a short time, but for most of us that only usually use the camera occasionally (and somewhat sporadically), I suspect that constant upgrades simply ensure that we never quite learn to use what we've got.

Now, admittedly, I probably should have at least upgraded to the D90 at some point in time between when I purchased the D70 and the D7000. But years passed before I became dissatisfied with the noise and (relatively) low resolution images of the D70. And it was at that point, I started looking for an upgrade. And, if I had acquired a D90 in the interim, the step up to the D7000 wouldn't have been quite so drastic. Still, even that would have been a long way from buying every new camera along the long path between the D70 and the D7000.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this subject?
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


Tex
Premium
join:2012-10-20
kudos:2
If I thought buying the latest and greatest camera gear could provide me with the inspiration, imagination and vision it takes to be a great photographer, a photographer who is able to produce photographs with impact and emotion, I'd be broke. Fortunately, I know better.


Willy
Premium
join:2000-09-24
USA
kudos:1
reply to jvmorris
In all honesty if you have a good DSLR that's 5 or 6+ years old the functions on the newer cameras haven't changed change dramatically.
Some functions may be in different places but they're the same functions.
I'm talking about still photography not video and assume the photographer uses Av, Tv, etc., or even P but not the creative modes.

The quality is a whole different thing.
In other words for still photography the learning curve is probably not much of a challenge when upgrading cameras.

As for keeping up with the newest cameras, that seems silly if you're current camera delivers what you need.

I have a 2 year old Canon 60D that I love, I have no plans to upgrade for a very long time or until my needs change.


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
I went from a Pentax K-r to a d7100 mostly for access to better lens and accessories. I already know what my next bodies will be. A d800 and a D3X when they hit the $1200-1500 mark ok the used market. The primary reason would be full frame and higher burst rates.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


Stacy
FotoDogue
Premium
join:2001-11-02
New York, NY
reply to jvmorris
It probably depends on how important it is to you to know every function. I'm still using a D300 as my primary camera and probably only use about 1/3 of its functions - the ones I really need. Even though I'll carry the manual around with with me for the first few weeks it's really annoying to accidentally hit some button in the field and not know how to get your camera back to where it was

I'd love to have a full frame body and a few more megapixels would be worth the learning curve but, quite honestly, I have no need for video or other new features. Better to spend my $$$ on software, lenses and other accessories.


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
Video is nice on the d7100. To be honest if I were interested in video I would get a video camera. I going to Disney World soon and I thin I'm going to get a GoPro Hero 3+ for video and stick to the 7100 for pictures.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


SueS
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Macon, MO
kudos:2
reply to Tex
said by Tex:

If I thought buying the latest and greatest camera gear could provide me with the inspiration, imagination and vision it takes to be a great photographer, a photographer who is able to produce photographs with impact and emotion, I'd be broke. Fortunately, I know better.



jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1
reply to Stacy
Stacy,

On the manuals issue: I carry the D7000 manual (and the one for my wife's D5200) on my smartphone, along with about three other books relating to photography, two on the d7000 and one on techniques for shots I could never quite manage with the D70. I also carry a number of utility apps for photography on the phone and reference books for flora and fauna, both in the UK and US. And then there are the topo maps for the US and UK. I go for landscapes; she goes for wildlife.

And, yes, there's only so much money. One of the reasons I went for the D7000 rather than the D7100 is that there were other accessories (and one new lens) and updated software that I badly needed.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1
reply to Willy
said by Willy:

In all honesty if you have a good DSLR that's 5 or 6+ years old the functions on the newer cameras haven't changed change dramatically

I just went over to check on DP Review and found:
• D70 -- announced Jan 2004
• D90 -- announced Aug 2008
• D7000 -- announced Sep 2010
• D7100 -- announced Feb 2013

so I'm basically following your recommended timeline. If I'd bought the D90 circa late 2008, I'd probably have gone to the D7100 this time -- but I didn't.

About a year ago, I listed some of the limitations I was starting to encounter with the D70 (and note it's not a D70s). Nikon has released more cameras between the D70 and the D7100 than I can easily count, but it was only the announcement of the D7100 that finally led me to get serious about replacing the D70. I had hoped it would lead to a price drop in the D7000 sufficient to make that a good bargain -- and it did. Still, choosing between the D90, the D7000, and the D7100 was not a painless process for me, especially since I knew there was other equipment and software that I also needed to get.

Also, a few years ago, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't getting any younger and that my days of hauling around two full-frame cameras, a collection of fast glass and a full-size heavy tripod were coming to an end. Then, there was the little matter of increasing restrictions on the size and weight of carry-on luggage. (This, incidentally, is a good way to explain why you no longer use lots of heavy full-frame fast glass. )

--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


mk1_416

@start.ca
said by jvmorris:

Also, a few years ago, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't getting any younger and that my days of hauling around two full-frame cameras, a collection of fast glass and a full-size heavy tripod were coming to an end. Then, there was the little matter of increasing restrictions on the size and weight of carry-on luggage. (This, incidentally, is a good way to explain why you no longer use lots of heavy full-frame fast glass. )

The only issue with this line of thinking is the lack of image quality that will result. The newer high megapixel cameras demand the high quality glass which tends to be heavy. The higher the pixel desnity of the camera the higher the density/quality of glass required to get the same sharpness and IQ.


jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1
So, . . . your recommendation is what? That I just quit?
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


mk1_416

@start.ca
Not at all.


Mellow
Premium
join:2001-11-16
Salisbury, MD
reply to jvmorris
I still have my D70, but it is gathering dust in a drawer. I upgraded to a D200 a few years back and I am still happy with it.

If it was for my living then yea, I probably would have the latest and greatest, but since I exited Wedding Photography back in 07 I haven't had that need anymore.

The D200 does what I need it to do, heck I use my Lumia smartphone more for photo's and videos than anything.


jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1
On your last point, I must admit that I find myself very likely to turn to my own smartphone when I don't have the camera readily available, especially since I got a Samsung Galaxy S III.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


Hayward
K A R - 1 2 0 C
Premium
join:2000-07-13
Key West, FL
kudos:1
said by jvmorris:

On your last point, I must admit that I find myself very likely to turn to my own smartphone when I don't have the camera readily available, especially since I got a Samsung Galaxy S III.

Find my self doing that more and more only with a 8MP tablet, only take the SLR out when a specific task that might require more than good snapshot capabilities.

ASUS TF-700 does surprisingly well with not challenging lighting, and very well with video.
--



29886823
Premium
join:2005-03-29
kudos:3
reply to jvmorris
I just suspect that today's cameras and lenses have capabilities that are far beyond what most of us can use, even with our old D70s and such. If you find a lack in your cameras capabilities, first make sure that there isn't a work around! Usually anything's possible with what you have. If not, then you might consider an upgrade.


jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Yes, that's true enough. I'm quite sure (now) that there are capabilities on the D7000 (never mind the D7100) that I will never use (except possibly to find out what they do, and maybe how well they do it).

Still, our older D70s have what is now a fairly low resolution sensor and there's really no work-around to that. If you need to seriously crop the captured image, the lack of necessary resolution often becomes painfully obvious. And, if you can't get closer to the subject or don't have a more powerful telephoto lens available, you had to make do with what you could get. The 16 Mp image of the D7000 means I can shoot a scene from 60% further away than I could with the 6 Mp D70 yet produce the same cropped image with equal resolution (same lens and ignoring other qualitative changes). If you're shooting red kites hunting, you're not going to be able to get any closer and you're unlikely to be able to track the bird using a bigger telephoto lens. (You gotta see these babies turn and dive to appreciate that.)

Another problem related to the basic capabilities of the sensor is noise. My D70 sensor has considerably more noise than the later and cheaper D50 that my wife was using, but the D50 had a more advanced sensor. (I think she was using a D50 but it might have been a D40.) Now, I know you're going to say use HDR, but I've had scenes that shown absolutely no need for the extended dynamic range obtainable from HDR, but have unacceptable noise in them. And, of course, you only learn this after you get home and start processing the image.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


SueS
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Macon, MO
kudos:2

1 edit

1 recommendation

I have the 350 XT Canon, a camera now 8 years old, but I would not have been able to shoot the deer photo in my gallery. The XT has 1600 for the highest ISO that I never considered usable. I was handholding the camera, so this was a stretch at 190mm with that slow of shutter. Resolution was 1 reason for me to upgrade, with the other reason being focusing. Other stuff was just a bonus, and I use lots of the other features I didn't have on the XT.


jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

1 recommendation

And it's an absolutely fantastic picture.

Come to think of it, I think I've got a similar shot with the D7000 that I've not even looked at! Back later, . . .
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris


29886823
Premium
join:2005-03-29
kudos:3
reply to SueS
From what I can get from the web (DxoMark) the difference in S/N ratio of your old and new cameras amount to about 2db, a difference that is real, but not really meaningful visually, and even if it was, any decent noise reduction software would render it meaningless.
I can't tell from the image if it was cropped or not, but I suspect that full frame images from both your cameras at similar ISO would give pretty near the same results. I think in general terms the number of pixels allows for cropping and maintaining image quality, but if you're careful in framing it's a difference that makes no difference.


SueS
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Macon, MO
kudos:2

2 recommendations

The XT is way noisy compared to the 7D, I never shot it over 800 ISO. I regularly shoot my 7D at 1600 and never think about it being too noisy. I even have files I shot at 3200 that are usable printed in small sizes. Noise software seems to really soften the images in the XT more than the 7D, I'm not sure why, but I think it is because the noise is the same over the whole file on the XT, and most of the noise in the 7D files seems to be in the background and shadows, and not so much on the subject.

Shooting wildlife you don't have much time to get the composition just right, so I usually focus with a focus point to leave room to crop, but not always. Even with cropping, this file is bigger than a full size file from my XT. Not sure what I did on the gallery shot and I am not going to go back and look, but the photo was taken a year ago and has been printed a few times, one was 11X14, and I am pretty sure it would print at 16X20. I might have gotten a 5X7 from the XT. The resolution difference is real. Another thing is the time of day, I never would have had my XT out at this time of day in October, and didn't think twice about taking the 7D out.

For what I shoot it made a huge difference to upgrade. Everyone has to decide for themselves when to upgrade.