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Its time to upgrade, PLEASE help me!!! (2 Viewers)

Chicken Nugget

"You only live once". No, you don't. You live ever
I will start with I'm very new to photography so go easy on me.

I have had my Nikon D3300 for about a year. I use a AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm 1:4-5.6 II ed vr DX and really only shoot birds. I wanted to upgrade my lens to 300mm to get a little more reach and decided to also upgrade the body to allow my wife to get into the hobby too. So questions are as follows:

I'm thinking up upgrading to the D7500 over the D5500. It seems like a little upgrade from the 5000 series for not a lot more money with some added features that might help me. thoughts? Should I buy new if I plan to keep this for years to come?

I can not afford the 2k I want for my preferred lens(once again from my research but no real experience) so for now I'm looking at a refurbished AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6e ED VR for now and then save for the lens below. Will I notice the extra 100mm?

The end goal is a 70-200mm f/2.8g VR II with a teleconverter.

I also am assuming that I should stick with Nikon so we can bot have the same systems??

I want to be able to hike with it so I hope to not have to use a tripod. I have $800 to maybe $1500 to spend now.

Thank you for your help.
 
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marcsantacurz

Well-known member
Mr Nugget,

"I also am assuming that I should stick with Nikon so we can bot have the same systems??" I did not follow this. Does your significant other have Nikon too? yes, I would stick with the same system between you.

But, mirrorless is pretty sweet and something like the Sony A6600 + 200-600 would be excellent and in your price range. The current canon/nikon mirrorless are not quite there yet on autofocus, but maybe the next gen will do it. Speaking of other systems, micro four thirds is the clear winner on weight-to-focal length, but with the sale of Olympus it might be up in the air. Anyway, the OM-1 mk II or III plus the 100-400 or 300/4 is also excellent, though maybe not as good in low light as the A6600. I have not used the a6600, but did use the a6400 for a while. I found the handling acceptable, compared to Nikon DSLR. I wasn't that happy with the OM1mII handling, I found it a little laggy, but I only had it a few days so maybe it was just me.

Yes, the d7xxx series is an upgrade to the d5xxx series. Mostly, you get the U1/U2 instant recall for settings (e.g. perching bird at lower SS or BIF at fast SS). It is also 8FPS vs 5 FPS, which is a big difference.

For birding, I don't think the 70-200/2.8G is the best way to spend your money. It will be good with a 1.4x TC, but mediocre with a 2x TC. There might be some special cases, like rainforests, but in general I think not. I've used it for swallows where I just need a wider area and super fast shutter. But in general, I would not use it for birds. With the 1.4x TC, you'll get 100-280mm, which I think is too short. If you think you want it, please rent it first (e.g. borrowlenses or lensrentals).

You say you use a 55-200mm now. If that gives you all the reach you need, then the 70-200 would be an upgrade and satisfactory. But I think once you try a 300mm or 500mm or 600mm lens, you won't want to go back to a 200mm.

For lighter weight, the 300mm f/4 PF (1.7 lb / 755 g) + 1.4x TC is really the way to go. They are maybe $1600 used or $2000 new, plus the TC. It's a super sharp lens. Of course, no zoom. It would be 420mm w/ TC and 630mm equivalent on the d7500. you could safely crop down to 820mm, maybe a bit more.

The Nikon 200-500 f/5.6e (5.07 lb / 2.3 kg) for $1400 (new) is another good choice. Don't try to use it with a TC. It will give you 300 - 750mm equivalent on the d7500. It's pretty sharp in the center, but the edges git a bit soft on full frame. On a crop sensor, it's pretty good edge-to-edge. I used to have this, but found it really bulky and difficult to lug around. I switched to the Tamron (next), but now shoot the Nikon 500mm f/5.6e prime (which I don't list here as it's a bit out of the price range).

For reach and still luggable, the Tamron 150-600 G2 (4.38 lb / 1990 g) is a great choice for $1200 new and less used. That will give you fantastic reach (900mm equivalent, easily crop to 1200mm). Most people I know that have a long lens use this, or the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6.

When you get to the heavier lenses (200-500 or 150-600) you need to change your style a little. You hold the lens, not the camera. You can't support the lens only from the camera body (at least you shouldn't most of the time). You will also need a good sling strap. I also find a monopod helps if I want to be patient for a bird to do something interesting.

I think you'll likely get very good results with the 70-300 PF. The d7500 is fully compatible with it.

Summary: If weight is the main driver, the 300mm f/4 PF + TC. For reach and luggable, the Tamron 150-600 g2 (or Sigma 150-600 C). But don't ignore a6600 + 200-600.

Marc
 

Chicken Nugget

"You only live once". No, you don't. You live ever
Mr Nugget,

"I also am assuming that I should stick with Nikon so we can bot have the same systems??" I did not follow this. Does your significant other have Nikon too? yes, I would stick with the same system between you.

yes she would get my old Nikon

But, mirrorless is pretty sweet and something like the Sony A6600 + 200-600 would be excellent and in your price range. The current canon/nikon mirrorless are not quite there yet on autofocus, but maybe the next gen will do it. Speaking of other systems, micro four thirds is the clear winner on weight-to-focal length, but with the sale of Olympus it might be up in the air. Anyway, the OM-1 mk II or III plus the 100-400 or 300/4 is also excellent, though maybe not as good in low light as the A6600. I have not used the a6600, but did use the a6400 for a while. I found the handling acceptable, compared to Nikon DSLR. I wasn't that happy with the OM1mII handling, I found it a little laggy, but I only had it a few days so maybe it was just me.

seems like mirrorless are not weather sealed and not a lot of lens yet

Yes, the d7xxx series is an upgrade to the d5xxx series. Mostly, you get the U1/U2 instant recall for settings (e.g. perching bird at lower SS or BIF at fast SS). It is also 8FPS vs 5 FPS, which is a big difference.

For birding, I don't think the 70-200/2.8G is the best way to spend your money. It will be good with a 1.4x TC, but mediocre with a 2x TC. There might be some special cases, like rainforests, but in general I think not. I've used it for swallows where I just need a wider area and super fast shutter. But in general, I would not use it for birds. With the 1.4x TC, you'll get 100-280mm, which I think is too short. If you think you want it, please rent it first (e.g. borrowlenses or lensrentals).

You say you use a 55-200mm now. If that gives you all the reach you need, then the 70-200 would be an upgrade and satisfactory. But I think once you try a 300mm or 500mm or 600mm lens, you won't want to go back to a 200mm.

I feel like I need more reach but that might be from my skill level

For lighter weight, the 300mm f/4 PF (1.7 lb / 755 g) + 1.4x TC is really the way to go. They are maybe $1600 used or $2000 new, plus the TC. It's a super sharp lens. Of course, no zoom. It would be 420mm w/ TC and 630mm equivalent on the d7500. you could safely crop down to 820mm, maybe a bit more.

The Nikon 200-500 f/5.6e (5.07 lb / 2.3 kg) for $1400 (new) is another good choice. Don't try to use it with a TC. It will give you 300 - 750mm equivalent on the d7500. It's pretty sharp in the center, but the edges git a bit soft on full frame. On a crop sensor, it's pretty good edge-to-edge. I used to have this, but found it really bulky and difficult to lug around. I switched to the Tamron (next), but now shoot the Nikon 500mm f/5.6e prime (which I don't list here as it's a bit out of the price range).

For reach and still luggable, the Tamron 150-600 G2 (4.38 lb / 1990 g) is a great choice for $1200 new and less used. That will give you fantastic reach (900mm equivalent, easily crop to 1200mm). Most people I know that have a long lens use this, or the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6.

When you get to the heavier lenses (200-500 or 150-600) you need to change your style a little. You hold the lens, not the camera. You can't support the lens only from the camera body (at least you shouldn't most of the time). You will also need a good sling strap. I also find a monopod helps if I want to be patient for a bird to do something interesting.

I think you'll likely get very good results with the 70-300 PF. The d7500 is fully compatible with it.

Summary: If weight is the main driver, the 300mm f/4 PF + TC. For reach and luggable, the Tamron 150-600 g2 (or Sigma 150-600 C). But don't ignore a6600 + 200-600.

Marc

Thank you for all the info. I guess the main question is what is the best lens I can get in the 500 used range to get me through another year until I can save for the telephoto one I end up with? I plan to give the wife the 55-200 kit lens that came with the D3300.
 
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Oldnintheway

Well-known member
You could surely find a Tamron or Sigma 1st gen 150-600 for that or less. And sell it when you can swing the Tamron G2. I'd also consider a used D7200 if you can find a good one. I haven't shopped lately but they should be going for less than the D7500 and it's preferred by some.
 
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Chicken Nugget

"You only live once". No, you don't. You live ever
You could surely find a Tamron or Sigma 1st gen 150-600 for that or less. And sell it when you can swing the Tamron G2. I'd also consider a used D7200 if you can find a good one. I haven't shopped lately but they should be going for less than the D7500 and it's preferred by some.

It seems to save about $200 to go used on a D7500. Is that worth it or just have the peace of mind knowing I'm the original owner on a new one? I'm looking at the Nikon refurbished ones. Is there a better and trust worthy place to shop used bodies and lens? As for the lens I don't think I'm ready to go telephoto yet. I was hoping a "better" 200mm or entry level 300mm at that $500 range would be a good place to start and allow me to stash it in a backpack while we hike??
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Chicken Nugget,

If you are primarily photographing birds then you will need all the reach you can get. The Sigma Contemporary/Tamron G1 and G2 600mm supertelephoto zooms do a great job of this for reasonable money. They all weigh just under 2kg, so about ~2.7kg (6lb) all up for the rig. A sling as a minimum is indispensable and a monopod helps too if that's your thing.

The pick of these lenses is the Tamron G2 150-600 which I would try and get new for whatever deal you can. A great value body would be the Nikon D7200 which you would have to get 2nd hand. This should keep you pretty close to your budget, or you could spend a bit more on the D7500 new.

A 24MP D7200, or 20.8MP D7500 is definitely worth the small incremental cost over the D3xxx or D5xxx series. With both of them you can shoot in 1.3x in-camera crop mode. What this means is that combined with the 1.5x APS-C sensor crop, you end up with 2x the focal length. ie. a 150-600 lens becomes a 300-1200 ! The resolution drops to 14.2MP and 12.3MP correspondingly (it's the same thing as just cropping the photo afterwards, but gives some benefits in subject AF - less background, and you can change in an instant - this let's you cover a range of 225mm to 1200mm) . On the D7200 you also get an extra fps to take it up to 7fps. The D7500 remains at 8fps.

I don't know what sort of hiking you have in mind - if it is flatish, or on graded trails, then the 6lb is likely not an issue - you'll even be able to wear the rig on a sling for easy shooting on the go while wearing a backpack.If it is up and down mountainsides or off trail, then you might find a lighter rig more enjoyable.

Sticking with the D7200 or D7500 body, you could pair that with the PF 300 f4 and 1.4x TC for 420mm f5.6 as mentioned. This will give you 630mm f5.6 equivalent, or 840mm f5.6 in 1.3x in-camera crop mode. Your other lightweight option is the Sigma or Tamron 100-400 f6.3. These lenses are just over half the weight of the 150-600's and will fit within the budget. With the sensor crop you will have the 35mm equivalent of 150-600mm f6.3, and using the 1.3x in-camera crop gives you 200-800mm f6.3 equivalent (150mm-800mm switchable which is very versatile). At around ~1.8kg (4lb) this is a much more manageable outfit - very easily hand holdable, and easy to carry around. These are the minimum sort of focal lengths I would consider.








Chosun :gh:
 

Oldnintheway

Well-known member
The PF 300 + TC Chosun mentioned is an attractive option but way out of your price range. I don't know of anything that fits your bill. Look for a lens rental in your area and try a few out. See if you can handle the 150-600. I find it quite manageable hand-held and walk good distances with it cradled in my arm.
I've had good luck buying used equipment from both the Nikonians forum and Fred Miranda. And check the classifieds here also.
 

Hermann

Well-known member
I use the D7500 as my main body. The advantage over e.g. the D7200 is the better AF (the D7500 has Group AF) and less noise at higher ISO. I find I get decent results up to ~7000 ISO with the D7500, with the D7200 I tried not to go above 3200 ISO.

My walk-around lens is the 70-300 AF-P FX. A bit more expensive than the DX version, but I prefer to have a switch for VR on the lens. Optically the DX version is almost as good as the FX, and it can be found at very low prices.

Please note that in many situations 300mm is too short, so you'll have to crop quite a lot. And in the long run you'll definitely want a longer lens like the 200-500 Nikon.

Hermann
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
The d7200 is not fully compatible with the 70-300 AF-P DX lens. There is some user-interface issue with controlling the VR. It's not a major incompatibility, but if you're thinking of that lens or newer AF-P lenses in the future, I'd go with the d7500. Otherwise, it's a very good camera.

Marc
 

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