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Will buying a New Nikon, D-800/800E, or other upgrade, make me or anyone a Better Photographer?

Hello new friends and fellow Nikonians, I've just spent three days (since launch of D-800) in a flurry of joyous activity searching, studying, analyzing and evaluating the benefits, costs and other important factors in consideration of purchasing a new Nikon D-800/800E, or ( D-3x, D-4, D-7000, D-300s, D5100, D yada yada infinitum....


I am delirious, drunken with visions of glorious new possibilities in Low Light, Hi Def, (1020 x 860, 30 FPS) Motion Pictures (w/ stereo sound), and Award winning stills in crisp clean 36mp clarity, vibrant color and wide dynamic ranges, etc. etc.

What a Joy Ride! It hasn't been this much fun since hot wiring Dad's old Dodge pickup!

Have any of you looked at all the On-Line content RE this launch? They are available everywhere, mostly "You Tube" based Launch Annoucements, they themselves are a sizzling mind trip through some of the most exciting territory an aging Nikonian with an aging but functional D-300 can go through!

Does anyone besides me suppose the ad guys and gals at Nikon and elsewhere have reading my mail, and properly targeted some of us "aging baby boomers" who might possibly be languishing in semi-retirement, with time on our hands, bored stiff with nothing much better to do than surf the Net in search of what?  Excitement of course! Who better, by the way, just might be able to actually afford a new toy such as these "Wonderful Photographic Flying Machines" constitute?

I've struggled trying to digest this number; $8000 USD for a new D3x Nikon Flagship is a lot of "moola" for any new Toy! Isn't it?

Or, has advanced age already done its damage to my sometimes feeble gray matter?

Or even the nice D-3s is a comparable bargain at $5200!

But, that's part of what makes the moderately priced D-800/800E, ($3000/$3300.respectively) look so darned affordable, right? Imagine what can be done with one (" I tell my wife" and watch her as she rolls her eyes"), for that price it's got to be a bargain! Right Honey?

But seriously, for what these marvelous Cameras (machines/computers with Lens attachments up front), can do, they are a magnificent opportunity in the right hands for someone with ambition and drive, talent and desire to achieve/create miraculous things!

Look at what Ansel Adams did with a Field Camera, glass plates and a darkroom? I'd hope someday to see what a modern day reincarnation of the "Master of Light" might do with a D800-E, or better yet a D-4x someday? And who knows from there on, where it will go? To the outer limits of creativity at some point! That is what these things do, they enable us, and they "facilitate creativity" in a nutshell! What Price can be put on that?

The new Ansel Adams may be reading this. I hope so! How about it?

For the record, I don't need a new Camera!

Also for the record, I don't believe that having a new Nikon D-(whatever) will automatically or necessarily, make me a better Photographer! Do you think it would for you? Why?

I know the current D-300 (which I bought with proceeds from my own Photo sales) as well as a friendly pair of hiking boots and my favorite blue jeans and sweatshirt! The former D-50 and D-80 have been donated to my children and grandchildren The Nikon D-300 is likely all the Camera I'll ever need, but as I tell my best friend, wife, and partner, It doesn't mean I won't go buy another on a wild hair someday!

I just don't need one right now! What fun!

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Replies to This Discussion

`you have my vote and good wishes and support.

Nikon make the mistake of thinking just because it;s new and shiny, we will come running.

I have not mastered what I have, why would I bother leaving a job undone.



My answer to your title, is "NO". But I could use some better glass though.

Give Larry a cigar, I concur. New glass and leave the magic and give us our skills.

I Dennis. I have two D700s that I love. I have no need for a new camera. The D800 has a lot going for it, but I do not need files three times larger than I use now. If it was around 14mp I would be scheming for it. I do not need video either. So, while it is a tempting piece of fruit. I cannot persuade myself to consider it.

Good luck, bro!

I don't need the video either.

Guess I wouldn't mind having a D700 though. :-)

Upgrading one's gear should be a function of whether or not the gear is meeting your needs. I shoot dance professionally with a D700 and while the camera performs well, it is rather loud (it has gotten me banned from a venue or two) and I sometimes wished that the DX crop mode on it was useful (files are too small) as buying longer fast glass (I have an excellent copy of the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8) is terribly, terribly expensive. I also want to do more landscape/architectural shooting where medium format is king, but lack the combination to the lock on Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin. The D800E is appealing to me not because it will make me a better photographer, but it will make my work that much easier with improved high ISO and a DX crop mode that produces usable files. Assuming that the shutter is quieter than mine it looks like a slam-dunk for me.


there is a hidden cost to the D800/D800E: is your glass up to the requirements of the 36.3 megapixel monster that lies within it? Moving up body-wise may trigger a need to upgrade your glass to something that can properly feed photons to this beast. My absolute favorite portrait lens on the D700 is a Zeiss Makro-Planar 100mm f/2 ZF.2 that I had the pleasure of reviewing. Sending it back Carl Zeiss was like giving up a kidney. I am hoping that my remaining glass (all fast pro glass) is up to the D800E, but I suspect that I am going to have to finagle a Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar in the mix as well.

This shot is a sample of what I manage to accomplish with the gear I have. If the D800E makes this easier for me, then I have to figure out how to get one.

I'll be sticking to my D300. Would love some more glass however. :)

I also have a D300. What glass do you have and what more would you like.

Just looking for opinions.


Thanks friends for the feedback, opinions and comments. I don't often allow myself the luxury of such deliberations as I have this weekend, and truly I am not in the market for a new DSLR! I do however always try to keep abreast of changes in Photography's Methods and Products, and keep my finger on the pulse of the new technological advances as they come out for numerous reasons.  

It appears most of this group seem contented with what we have currently. It seems many of us dedicated "Nikon users" generally are pretty well satisfied enough to stay put for whatever length of time needed, until having good reasons to consider changing upward (a testament I think to the quality of the Brand), with the exception of Carlos here, whose' exciting and challenging work appears very much to need some improved capabilities (Camera wise).

Thanks for bringing up the matter of "Glass Quality" Carlos, alongside these other factors.  I for 'one' had not considered a need to upgrade to prime lens due to of higher magnification, which make a lot of sense actually(and adds considerable expense to the equation)! Fast Prime Glass isn't cheap (not that I've ever bought any of it). It has scared me away a few times!

Wow Carlos, what an interesting and challenging Vocation. I hope you do find the means to afford the Camera & Glass you ultimately decide upon. And I hope you'll keep us posted on what you choose and please show us more of your nice work, before and after the D-800E (or whatever) Exciting indeed!


As with any of us who've been in this business and around a few years (or lots of years) like myself and a few others here have (since way into the film eras), "we've seen lots of changes"! Even since the first Digitals we've seen lots of changes! Change does seem to be our only 'constant companion', we may as well get used to that huh? "I'm going kickin' and screamin'" in that direction myself, but it's slow going!


From 1Mp or 2 Mp Sensors in the first Digital Cameras I saw and used n after I'd put the Minolta Film Rig because a 'light leak' forced me to find another means, method of Photography).

The early Digital Cameras hadn't much in common with what we see today, with 256 MB Memory cards and then 512MB Cards, the ascent began! Its current state of affairs is now 12.3 MB sensors (on the D 300's) and above to 36.6 and Larger with Compact Flash or  SD cards the ranges of 8GB, 16GB, 32 GB, 64GB and128 GB & larger cards available with much of this extra capacity no doubt intended for large Video files in HD.

Speaking of which, of there are any Nikon DSLR Video enthusiast here, we'd love to hear your view on all of any of this topic. Many of the "Still" shooters present don't appear to care whether there is even any capacity for Video onboard our Favorite Cameras. Speak now or forever.......we'd love to include you here, and hear what your perspectives are in these regards, please jump in here, we won't bite!

When shooting Raw combined files Raw/ Tiffs or even JPegs, my D-300 can consume lots of memory especially when shooting 'exposure bracketing sets' of 7 or 9 per image. Shooting as such for a full day I can gobble up an empty 8 GB Card in one outing (I never go anywhere without two spare empty 8 GB cards)!

I usually off- load and 'Archive to disc' with most of the content I shoot and intend to keep! With some really special Images or series of Images, I will keep the original CF Card intact forever (with all of the original content untouched, and tagged accordingly, in vault storage. So I've got quite a collection in expensive memory cards "in storage" all of the time and growing.  I'm sure we all do as well!

I know other shooters with much larger work load requirement /appetites than my own, with massive numbers of images and hours of shooting per job or customer /assignment than my own.

 I can't imagine what 'upgrading to a larger format system' would involve for you! I'm struggling just trying to imagine what I'd be spending on memory cards and the time involved to process all of this information, and do it well, if my current numbers were multiplied by a factor of 3+ (plus), with the 36.3 MB Sensor on a D-800E, it would be better on the more reasonable 12.MP with the D4, or 24P with the Nikon D3X

And, as has been mentioned with consideration of upgrading equipment onboard storage space and capacity on hard drives, storage media and monitor size, etc, etc, adds up with all these changes, and that means Money in someone else's account, not ours!

Did I mention that I don't really need a new Camera? It's true! But I intend to remain well informed as much as possible, and as long as possible. I thank you all for the help in that matter, people helping one another is sweet stuff!

 I'm still in decision process, and learning, stretching & exercising my "grey matter" every day in this and other subject matter! It's what my "Docs" have assured us are the best things we can 'do' to keep what cognitive functions we do still have! I cannot afford to lose anymore than already have!

I intend to be here shooting with "something" for a few more decades yet. Which Nikon is yet to be determined, but it will be a Nikon! Thanks, dennis

PS Please folks, show us a sample of your work, just for kicks, no critques please.

Would I love to have one yes, but I don't have the cash.  I think my D7000 does a great job and as I slowly add good lenses to my collection it makes it even better.  I have to agree that current file size can be an issue when processing files on my computer.  I know I will need to upgrade my computer soon if I want to really be able to play like I want and not wait hours for video rendering for stills.

No, it won't make anyone a better photographer to have better equipment. For a long time when just starting out I was stuck with a d40 and some days it felt like chopping down a tree with a butter knife. Wouldn't have dared shoot a wedding with it. Having to learn to work around its limitations made me a better photographer. New goodies-  it could make your job a little easier in some instances. I sure would love a full frame camera body for weddings, but I'm rocking that d7000 at iso 3200 easily and haven't had one bride complain or ask where was my d3x. 

I also love my D7000, it is perfect for my assignments, and the quality photographs that it takes is amazing, they print well when using color management.


Amazing Deals!

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