Two years ago I bought my first DSLR. Since then I have bought and inherited some lenses. What should I buy next, a better body or more lenses? I enjoy photography but I do it fewer than I'd like (not enough time). I am not planning on selling photos nor services, just doin' it for fun.

This is all my equipment:

As you may have noticed I've inherited some pretty old lenses from my father (also a great old film camera, but I don't use it). I use them on full manual mode as this other answer implies on a similar case.

So my question is, should I invest in a new body or still add some more lenses? Which body? Does it make sense for me to go for a full-frame body (I guess that no)? Which lenses would you recommend to add to my equipment? and the more important question: Should I buy first a new body or a new lens?

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    \$\begingroup\$ When in doubt, lenses are always a better long-term investment. But why do you want to buy something in first place? No gear is going to solve your main problem, not having time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Dec 12, 2011 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Imre I can't get out as much as I'd like to, but I do it as much as I can. Also I find that the D60 is quite basic for me at this point. No bracketing exposure, no AF in the body (although I don't have lenses to benefit from it yet), bad ISO performance, ... \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2011 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you want to have fun, spend the money on a speedlight like the sb-700 (it's quite new so I'm not sure if this model works with the d60 but you get the idea). The world of flash is wonderful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Luciano
    Dec 12, 2011 at 18:53

3 Answers 3


Choose (1) or (2):

(1) If you want this board to tell you that you should buy a new body or lens:

Yes, you should buy a new body and lenses. I think you could greatly improve every aspect of your photography by purchasing a D300 or D700, and a select group of Nikkor f2.8 VR lenses. They will make a world of difference.

(2) If you want to hear the truth:

Only you can answer this question. You need to look over the last two years of photography and see where your gear has limited you. What do you want to do that you have not been able to do? What within your images do you wish you had more or less of? What challenges did you have on location, in controlling your camera, light, composition? Only by doing this can you really understand what it is that you need to replace if anything.

So for example: you mention that you have a crappy tripod. In what way is it crappy? Is this because it is brand x and everyone knows brand x is cheap? Or is there some issue in setup or teardown, or perhaps it isn't stable enough with a particular lens, or maybe it falls over in lightest breeze. If you had, say a top of the line Gitzo + RRS ball head, how would that change your photography?

Perhaps you wish to go shoot birds, and you don't have enough length at 200mm, or perhaps the converter makes things too soft. This might mean its time to look at longer lenses.

Perhaps you have lots of portraits and they are not as tack sharp, or your 50mm is too short...then perhaps a 85mm would be good. Or maybe you find that you are not getting fast enough frames per second and missing some good action shots on the soccer field, or maybe the keeper rate in fast focusing situations like sports is really poor. Maybe you should consider a new body...

You get the idea. Only by understanding your needs and challenges can you really understand whether you need a body or lens or maybe nothing at all. So, look over your images, evaluate the focal lengths, issues and concerns. Then search this site for specific questions regarding your issues, or ask new questions if they have not been asked before.

Oh and yeah, buying new gear is fun, I get that. But it tends to be a bit pricey, and heck, studying and researching this stuff is fun too.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A very good answer, even if it may be a bit aggressive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sean
    Dec 12, 2011 at 19:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Best answer by far. I'm not a photographer (not even amateur, all I have is a stupid cheap too-many-megapixels point-and-shoot), but that was my first thought: think about what you want to do, then decide what you need. And I disagree with @Sean: it was very rational and calm. Or do you take "hear the truth" as aggressive? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2011 at 1:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did not mean to imply that the answer was anything but level-headed and well-reasoned. It just comes across to me as strongly worded in a few places, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. (e.g., the phrase "If you want to hear the truth," supposes the possibility that the reader might not wish to hear the truth.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Sean
    Dec 13, 2011 at 2:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer. I know it really depends on me and my camera usage, but I was asking maybe in search of your own experience. Did upgrading the body bring a whole new experience with new possibilities for the lens I had, or it is better to add more lenses as the body really isn't that important for a hobbyist? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2011 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carlos Campderrós : FWIW, in my experience, I found that a camera body helped me change how I performed a shoot, whereas a lens helped me with what I shot. A body upgrade gave me better controls and a few more options in shooting (faster speed, better focus, spot metering etc). A lens gave me more options in the kinds of shots: length for nature, wide angle for architecture, wide aperture for low light. Only exception to this might be full-frame camera body with exceptional high ISO support. \$\endgroup\$
    – cmason
    Dec 13, 2011 at 17:32

Don't forget lighting equipment, you didn't say what you are photographing but a good flash will make a huge difference in many situations.

And a flash unit + cheep radio triggers + light stand + umbrella set is still cheaper than one good lens (and I highly recommend getting at least the flash and radio triggers, you can improvise or DIY the rest if you don't have the budget) it's really fun to experiment with flash photography, especially for portraits.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, I also thought about a flash for indoor uses, but I guess that I will enjoy more other options. Also light stand + umbrellas fall out of my area, as I just do it for fun and I don't have any studio nor the will to carry extra equipment to my friends' houses when we throw a little party \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2011 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CarlosCampderrós - I'm messing with photography purely for fun and I got my DSLR just one year ago, I currently have a manual flash with radio triggers I borrowed from my brother and a DIY softbox I've built myself, I don't have a light stand so I use a crappy tripod or get a friend or relative to hold the flash - and without a doubt this lighting equipment makes a huge difference in the photos I can take and it's the most fun I've had with a camera accessory (way more fun than playing with a new lens) \$\endgroup\$
    – Nir
    Dec 13, 2011 at 19:33

A better body would let you use automatic exposure with those old MF AI lenses. But I think this would mean a D300S or D7000 and upward.

However, the usual advice in these situations is to spend your money on lenses first. Though I do think using fully manual focus and exposure is a good way to learn about photography, VR and AF-S are often useful when you need to react fast.

It's a difficult choice.


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