Q&A: Should I Upgrade From the Nikon D7000 to D800?

by Buffalo Bob on May 7, 2013

I’ve decided to initiate a new Q&A feature on this blog since I get so many reader questions regarding gear.

Here’s one I pulled from the comments on another post:

I have a nikon D7000 and am trying to determine whether or not to sell my DX equipment and jump into the full frame game and buy D800. Suggestions and insight?


Buffalo Bob’s Answer:

The D800 is kind of in the “if you have to ask, you don’t need it” category. I say this because very few people need 36 megapixels of resolution and very few people need a $2,800 camera.

If you’re printing huge, that’s one thing, but if you’re not, then the only thing that resolution will do is slow down your computer and make you buy a lot more hard drives. For this reason alone, I prefer the Nikon D600 for full-frame, or for DX users, the new D7100. Since these cameras are 24 megapixels, the files are 33% smaller, so you’ll actually be able to store 50% more files.

But again, you sound like you’re a little confused on what you actually need, so your best option is to buy no new gear until you figure out what you actually need to accomplish your goals. If you need superior low-light performance or shallower depth of field, full frame will give you that. But if not, you will probably get by okay with what you have.

What I would recommend is looking at picking up books that may inspire you from a visual standpoint, and you can take your gear-buying cues from the images you see. Amazon has a mountain of cheap photo books (remember to check out the used options, many great books cost just pennies)

For example, if you are interested in still life, you may want to look at Irving Penn’s work or for Nature/Landscape, Ansel Adams.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicolas Harter May 8, 2013 at 12:56 am

I think the interest to move to FX depends a lot on what lens you have.

Problem is that we do lack a D700-style camera for reportage, sturdy and affordable full frame with small NEF files.

the D800 is great but files are huge as you said and they do not only take a lot of storage space but they take forever to copy (to the point that it is a real concern if it is a working tool).
the D600 : love the idea of a lightweight FX camera but i do need AF points not only in the center.

Nikon gave us a small but less responsive camera (D600) and a fast but huge camera (D800)… while i would have love something small and responsive and something slow but with a lot of IQ (a reportage camera and a studio camera instead of two “i don’t know what to do with that” cameras)

PS: I used to have two D700, got a D7000 from client. sold a D700 to a D800, and got a X100s for second camera


Mr. Fuji September 9, 2013 at 6:09 am

Honestly I would say no. Wait for the next-gen pro Nikon if you have the money. The current 5D3/D800 cannon/nikon won’t hold a candle to them.

x100 is a nice/great camera, but they aren’t DSLR’s. They are also significantly slower to operate, and require a bit more skill.

The d7000 can easily compete with many “pro” FX cameras because is has a significantly larger sensor-pixel size (220u vs. standard range of 100-150u). A 16.2 @ 220u will easily compete with a 22-28mp at 100-150u.


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