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Which to upgrade: lens or body?

Discussion in 'Photography and Video' started by gibson12, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. gibson12

    gibson12 Active Member

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    I recently bought a Nikon D3300 and have only used the lens that came with it. I am thinking about investing in upgrading, but was unsure which was more cost effective in terms of picture quality: upgrading the body or getting a better lens.

    A family member has a Nikon D7100. He shoots on automatic and really doesn't even know how to use the manual controls. His pictures look, to me, very crisp and have a quality that I'd like my Disney photos to have. Could I get that with a certain lens or only by upgrading the body?
     
  2. wdwmagic

    wdwmagic Administrator Moderator

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    It depends where you are looking to improve performance in the system.

    What do you see as the biggest issue with your current setup?
     
  3. gibson12

    gibson12 Active Member Original Poster

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    Better low light photos. I'm going to try to take dark ride photos no matter what camera I have, so even when I just had a point and click, I still tried to use manual settings when I could. But even my nighttime outdoor photos are not quite what I'd like. Maybe it's a matter of getting more practice, but I thought maybe a body with a bigger sensor or a lens that lets in more light would get me closer to what I was hoping for.

    Thank you for the response.
     
  4. NowInc

    NowInc Well-Known Member

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    Good glass will last a lot longer than a good body. HOWEVER, an entry level DSLR will not perform as well in low light, but that doesn't mean to rush into an upgrade. How familiar are you with the camera you currently have? Do you shoot in manual?
     
  5. wdwmagic

    wdwmagic Administrator Moderator

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    The area you are looking to improve on is unfortunately one of those that is achieved by throwing more money at the problem.

    A high end body will in most cases have superior high ISO performance, and high end lens choices are typically faster.

    Which to do first is one of those things that will always be debated, but I tend to have found the biggest leap to be in a new body, assuming the lens you currently have is reasonable, and the new body is a significant upgrade from the existing.

    Having said all that, your existing camera is an entry level model, and adding a high end lens is not going to overcome the sensor limitations.
     
  6. gibson12

    gibson12 Active Member Original Poster

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    I think this is what I was hoping to hear--that I'm not going to get drastically better low light photos with just upgrading the lens. I do shoot a little manual here and there, but no, I'm not very familiar with the camera yet. I can get somewhat decent shots when I have time to set up, but still not as sharp as what I'd ideally want. Sounds like when I'm ready, it's going to take an investment in both lens and body.

    Thanks, guys.
     
  7. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    Trouble is he is trying to go after the white whale of WDW photos.... the illusive dark ride.

    Assuming he doesn't want to spend a several thousand dollars he really isn't going to get it by simply getting a better body, because then his lens will be the problem.... Not saying he will get a great shot with a super fast lens and his current body, but I would expect that if he has to pick between the two that getting a faster lens will get him closer to what he wants to get.... I managed to get some reasonable shots years ago with a Nikon D50 and a 50mm f1.2 lens... I'm pretty sure the D3300 he is using is much better than the old D50 which I think only went up to ISO 1600...

    My bigger concern is that he isn't happy with the photos he's getting now in regular light. I would think that a D3300 would be a able to take perfectly good photos in daylight even with a kit lens... If those shots aren't looking right then either the equipment or user isn't right.

    TO the OP: What settings are you using right now with the camera, are you taking photos in RAW? What is the ISO set at? What software are you using for post processing? Do you have any example of a shot you don't think looks quite right that you can post?
     
    wdwmagic likes this.

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