Screwed by jump in Nikon D700 prices

Aarghh!

My move to a full frame Nikon is complicated!

I’ve finally sold my Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, and Tokina 12-24 f/4 through eBay.  No problems with the Nikon lens, but hit a snag with the Tokina when the first winning buyer decided to change their mind after winning the auction.   Even more frustrating is the delay from waiting to be able to raise a non-paying buyer case and then closing it, coupled with the fact that with eBay now, you can’t leave negative feedback for a non-paying buyer!

Anyway, that’s all done and it’s all sold.

Then I moved onto buying the Nikon D700 body.

I did my normal thing of comparing the prices on B&H, and on eBay sellers like DigitalRev.  Then I decided to look local, and found that PRA Imaging had the Nikon D700 body for only $2295!  What a steal – that’s even cheaper than eBay or B&H! 

Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock last week and I was told that there should be some coming in on Friday.  I thought, cool, I’ll go in and pay by cash.

So I called on Friday, and they said that the shipment will be coming in on Monday instead - today.

So I called today at lunch, and they said that they’ll be coming in this afternoon but I should put a deposit on one if I really want one.

I was scared that they will all be sold out, so I gave them my credit card details and was ready to go ahead with the deposit when I asked to double checked the price.

$2295 right?  NO!!  Apparently that was last week’s sale price!!  It’s now gone up to $2785, practically $500 more – or a ~20% price increase!   It seemed that they would not budge on the price even if I paid by cash, citing the worldwide Nikon price increases due to stock shortages and the impact of the tsunami on the Sendai plant where they manufacture the D700′s.

I was sooo frustrated and angry with myself.  Why didn’t I just pay for it by credit last week at the fantastically low price?

Too bad for PRA, it was straight to eBay for me – I just need to now pay GST/duty when it comes in *sigh* but it will still be significantly cheaper.

The next problem?  Getting back the wide range on my lenses.  I’ve literally just got a 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8 and my 70-200 f/2.8 now! 

I can’t afford the 24-70 f/2.8 yet, so it’s looking like either a third party zoom, or maybe just a prime like the Nikon 35mm f/2.  I can’t stomach buying a 24mm f/2.8 if I will buy a 2.8 mid range zoom one day.

And the next thing?  Selling my good old D80 body as the final part of funding my change to full frame.

Can’t wait until this is all over…

D7000 or D700 full frame?

Aarghh!

I want to upgrade my camera this year, but I really can’t decide.

Stick with the DX crop sensor and lenses and get the Nikon D7000?

Or make the shift to full frame, get a Nikon D700, and have to sell my Tokina 12-24 F4 DX and Nikon 17-55 F2.8 DX lenses and upgrade to perhaps the Nikon 24-70 F2.8 FX lens?   (Luckily my other lenses are full frame ready).

I know the D700 route will be much more expensive in the end, but will it be more worth it in the long run?

Nikon D7000 - http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/ and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d7000.htm

Nikon D700 - http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond700/ and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d700.htm

Looks like I’m not the only one pondering this question!

http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00XJa7

http://artoftheimage.blogspot.com/2010/11/nikon-d7000-vs-nikon-d700-high-iso.html

http://nikonrumors.com/forum/topic.php?id=2527

[Update 9 March 2011]

I’ve finally decided to go full frame.  At the back of my head, if I went DX, I would always think that the low light, high ISO performance wouldn’t be the best I could get within my budget.   One useful site I’ve found is snapsort, which lets you compare features of cameras.

Here is the comparison between the D700 and D7000 – http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D700-vs-Nikon_D7000

The thing that swayed me is the noise performance.  According to DXOMark, a picture at ISO 1167 on a D7000 will have the same amount of noise as a picture taken at ISO 2303 on a D700.  Wow – a full stop! 

And comparing to my current D80 – http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D700-vs-Nikon_D80

D80 ISO 524 is equivalent to D700′s ISO 2303.    That’s just mind boggling.

I’m thinking – you can always invest in new lenses, but the noise in the sensor is fixed by your body.  A D700 with a 50mm 1.4 lens, or a mid range 2.8 zoom would be amazing.

Should I go full frame?

How do you describe your shooting style?   For me, I like to describe it as trying to be photo-journalistic, stylistic, available light.  I would rather go up to ISO 1600 on my D80 than use the onboard flash or external flash.   I love taking photos of music concerts and gigs, of dancing and theatre performances.  And in these environments, you really can’t use a flash at all – both for practical reasons (distance to stage) but also safety and annoyance reasons (don’t want a flash distracting the performers or the audience!).

The sacrifice (for my current setup) is noise.  I have invested in a few f2.8 zoom lenses and some prime f1.8 lenses that allow the camera to capture as much light as possible with beautiful bokeh, and really sharp with low chromatic abberation. 

But it’s the sensor in the camera body that is responsible for capturing the light, for the resolution, for the ISO performance – and hence the amount of noise in the photo. 

Some of my photos, for example, of music gigs in dark places, just have a LOT of noise.  In fact, for one recent potential sale, the client asked why there was so much grain on my photos – it was just unusable for their purposes.   I explained the challenges of low lighting situations with no flash, but in the end, the image quality was not there so no sale.  In that dark club, the only other option would really be to use a flash, or ask the club to turn up the house lights just for me :)   No, I couldn’t use a lower ISO with longer shutter speed unless I asked the performers to stand like statues for a few seconds :)

But there is another option – upgrade my equipment, in particular – upgrade my camera body.   The latest top end digital SLRs have fantastic low light capturing abilities.  And so I’m now starting to look at the upgrades – on the Canon side, the EOS 5D Mark ii.   On the Nikon side, the D700.  I’ve now read stacks of reviews and comparisons of each, and in the end, they’re both really similar.  One reviewer did make an intelligent recommendation – just stick with what you know and what accessories/lenses you already have.

Since I already have a camera bag with 5 Nikon lenses, as well as a Nikon flash and other accessories, I really need to stick with the Nikon family.  Here’s my current camera bag:
* Nikon 50 f1.8
* Nikon 85 f1.8
* Tokina 12-24 f4 (DX)
* Nikon 17-55 f2.8 (DX)
* Sigma 70-200 f2.8

And so I started investigating how much the switchover would cost. 

Change bodies – Nikon D80 to D700

Obviously a simple decision.  

From BH Photo and Video, the D700 is about $2500.   But what would I get for my D80?  Maybe $500?

Changes lenses – DX to FX

Looking at my camera bag, I actually have 2 DX lenses.  Although I can use them on a full frame, FX, camera body, I really don’t want to do this. 

In this category I have the Tokina 12-24 f4 and the Nikon 17-55 f2.8.  The 17-55 is my prized walk around and travel lens at the moment and I’ve taken some great shots with it.  It will be hard to let go of it.   I’d hope to get at least $1k for it, but the Tokina might be only a couple of hundred dollars.

But what to buy next?   I think it would be a major dent on my pocket to get another mid range zoom like the 24-70 f2.8 or 17-35 f2.8.  I think I’ll need to save up for that (think 1 year time), but in the mean time, I could just use my 50 f1.8, or sell that and get a 50 f1.4.

But whoa, this seems quite restrictive – I would just have 2 primes (50 and 85) and a long zoom lens (70-200) for the next year.  Nothing for that family group photo unless I buy or borrow a cheaper zoom in the mean time.

And then the question – how to get rid of my existing gear?  Sell to a local camera shop, ask friends or sell on eBay?