Doubling down

So after my extensive blog this week on my personal observations/experience with both Canon and Nikon (see previous blog), in which I expressed some degree of wistfulness about my switch last year (from Canon to Nikon), I doubled down that same night and purchased a Nikon D7000 as a backup/second body to my kit.

I hesitate to use the term “backup” exclusively because I have often shot events/gigs with two cameras simultaneously, one hanging from my neck and the other slung over my shoulder. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have a second camera I have faith in, as the old D90 was never a favorite camera of mine despite its reputation. (I had sold the D90 a few months ago with the intent of rolling over the money from that sale into a D7000, but put it off until now, making due with borrowing another D90 or renting a D7000 as a second camera for big events.)

For some reason I never really warmed up to the D90. I think mainly because I never used it in well-lit conditions and almost completely as a backup; it was always when ISO 1600 was needed, which by today’s standards the D90 is very subpar for my tastes. Also, even though I am not a heavily involved video shooter, the D90s mediocre video always turned me off.

The D7000 on the other hand, is a camera I can easily see myself confidently using as a main camera if I want to go lighter than the D700, or if I just want to utilize the crop factor to extend the “reach” of my lenses. Not to mention the much improved video abilities will be a nice thing to have once again. (Though I’ll be the first to acknowledge that in order to take truly great video you have to really COMMIT to buying the right supplemental gear, like microphones, steady cam grips, etc; but regardless, it’s a nice thing to have in order to take the odd random candid clip for posterity’s sake.)

WIth the unfortunate natural disasters that have hit Japan (March earthquake) and Thailand (October floods) this year really stifling Nikon’s production, I got the sense that supplies of all camera makers’ goods may potentially be scarce in the coming months. Some, like Canon, are less affected than others, but Nikon in particular has been hard hit, with new dSLRs like the D700 replacement being evidently pushed back to next year. I decided that I’d better get a second camera sooner rather than later, especially with the holiday season imminent. The D7000 was always number one on my list (wistful glances back toward Canon notwithstanding).

My ultimate wish has long been to see the D300s replacement released in order to gauge the quality of that camera, and downscaling from a full frame camera/crop frame combo (D700/D7000) to two crop frame cameras (D400 and D7000) as my kit, mainly out of my desire to have one set of lenses match each camera focal length-wise. As it is, my 24-70 turns into a 36-105 on the D7000; acceptable in a pinch but not nearly wide enough for my needs long term. A Tamron 17-50 2.8 (NON-VC) is the leading candidate as an affordable mid-range zoom for the D7000 eventually (the Nikon 17-55 being far too expensive for what would just be my second camera; unless the eventual D400 does motivate me to switch to all crop-frame).

Not that I’m dissatisfied with the D700 by any stretch; it’d just be nice to have one set of lenses match both cameras (and a second D700 is unaffordable). And boy, does that full frame sensor produce beautiful images at ISO 1600 and 3200; cleaner even than a crop frame’s ISO 800. (Most of my shooting is in lowlight conditions shooting bands and events, so excellent ISO capability is non-negotiable; sorry D300s and D90.)

But for the near to midterm (through next spring), I’ll be happy with the D700/D7000 combo; at least until Nikon (and Canon, gasp!) release their latest line of dSLRs. I’m curiously anticipating what the D800 and D400 cameras will be like (as well as Canon’s 5DM2 and 7D replacements). If production in Asia is back up and running soon for the camera makers, 2012 should be pretty exciting (and long overdue, dSLR-wise).

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