Pondering The Upgrade

I’ve been posting about the new camera I’ve been using at work, the Nikon D7000 and how impressed I am with it. The SB-900 came yesterday for it and I was doing some testing with it before Thursday’s portrait shoots at work. Yes, they were pretty straight forward simple shots that might not even need flash, but as any good photographer should… you need to understand your tools. And I have a learning curve ahead of me. Not only do I have to adjust to a different system with controls in places I’m not used to, but I’m also adjusting to about 5 years of technology too… let me explain.

If you watched my interview on AdoramaTV, you’ll see when Mark asked me about my gear, that I tend to get the most mileage out of my equipment. My speedlite (yes, the Canon spelling) was the one I bought for use with the Canon G2 (they are on G12 now). My lenses I bought were mostly third party lenses that I purchased to use on my Canon 10D, when I was making “only a few dollars” from my images. Now those lenses are better suited to crop factor cameras and don’t deliver the “wow” factor that a lens 2-3x the cost produces. That just means I have to work a little harder in Lightroom to pull the “wow” out of the photos, which I can do ok. And with producing more video at work, I’d love to explore the world of DSLR video production for my personal and stock projects (FlipVideo is nice and convenient, but it just doesn’t excite the senses.

So where does that leave me?

I’d love to get a new body to shoot video this year, but I’m realistically looking at a pro-grade lens and modern flash unit that shoots reliably in E-TTL (or i-TTL) mode. For years, I’ve advocated that people invest in a system and build on that and expand your kit and replace pieces here and there. But what happens when you are faced with replacing many pieces of your kit.

Do you jump ship and switch systems or do you remain loyal to the brand you’ve worked with for years?

I think my biggest hang up is that Canon has to be ready to replace the camera that I’d really want at some point this year. The 5DMkII has had a long lifecycle and it’s due to be replaced. So I wouldn’t want to invest that kind of money into that and then be out of date very quickly. I could replace lenses and flashes and then later replace the body (not a bad plan… and it spreads the investment out.)

Or I can switch systems, get something like a D7000, great lens and a few speedlights (Note Nikon spelling… lol.) and be about the body price of a 5DMKII.

Why would I consider switching?

I’ve always been impressed with the speedlight technology of the Nikon system. The CLS ability to control a flash direct from the camera body is impressive. Since I’m almost always “lighting” my shots, that’s a pretty compelling reason to move. This has always been my biggest gripe with Canon. Sure, you can do all the CLS functions with a Canon, if you buy a bunch of different accessories. Nikon’s works right out of the box.

HDR is the other reason. I’ve explored a little with HDR and like what I’m able to do. Canon seems to only allow for a 3 shot bracket (least the ones I have and have looked at). Yes, I know I can manually do a 5 shot bracket… but it’s so much simpler to change a setting and press/hold down the button for 5 shots. In addition, Nikon has an incredible self-timer feature built-in (Canon requires an attachment (that I have)) that handles repeat timers and interval timers…etc.

So, where does that leave me? Wait for an updated Canon and update my accessories/lenses or select Nikon that has everything on the market now. I don’t know, but it’s a lot to ponder.