I bought my Nikon SLR back in Oct 2006, 6 years ago. It was used and had 22,000 actuations on the shutter. The D50 shutter is rated for 50,000 actuations and I’m in the 46,000s now so it may be nearing the end of its life.

But it has fallen apart in other ways, the leather trim on the side has fallen off in the past (and “fixed” with super glue), and there are a lot of minute particles in the prism. Nothing that prevents it from actually working yet, but it feels a bit old.

I had thought about upgrading for years, but the time was never right and the need was never there. The upgrade path would have been the D90 when it was available, but I never ended up buying one. Then the D90 was superseded by the D7000 2 years ago but I didn’t buy that then either. Now, the D7000 is near the end of its life (it is rumored that its successor will be announced soon), and I finally decided to buy a D7000 to upgrade my camera!

It seems like a silly time to upgrade, but I think camera cycles are different than other electronics. When the D7000 replacement comes out, there will be a price premium on it for several months, before it settles down into its normal price range. Waiting for 1) the replacement, and 2) the price settling, might take 6 months or more. Plus, I noticed that the D7000 prices (body only of course) have dropped by 30% over the last little while so that I could get it for sub-$1000 tax in. That price threshold was a psychological barrier for me, which was finally overcome.

In reality, the D7000 is a tangential upgrade which I don’t really need (short of my D50 truly falling apart). There are only a couple of things which I see immediate use for:

  • Better noise processing and image sensor technology
  • More than the 5 AF points that the D50 has
  • Fast continuous shooting
  • Better high ISO performance

The last two points are the most important to me right now. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of Apollo indoors, and am already at the ISO 1600 limit of the D50 while still getting some blurry shots. Having these features will help and it’s worth getting “last year’s model” rather than waiting 6 months or more.