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Be careful about the mechanical fit when looking for a teleconverter. I was offered the use of a Nikon TC on Sunday. It had glass sticking out of the front. My Sigma zoom had glass sticking out of the back.
If we hadn't have taken measurements, it could have been a costly mistake if the zoom was pulled back.
I upgraded my D40 for a D80. Last year I upgraded the D80 for a D7000, after the D80 went swimming :-)
Moving up to a semi pro body will be the biggest step. Having two control wheels makes a big difference, as does auto bracketing. The biggest improvement I found was the CLS flash system for indoor work. Controlling two remote flash heads, making brightness adjustments from the back of the camera, makes things so much easier.
You will notice an improvement in the sensors these day. The lowlight capability is much improved. Continuous shutter and focus speeds are a lot better than the D40. More metering points may be of help to you, but I tend to manually meter these days!
I upgraded my seawater infected D80 last year. The main reason for choosing the D7000 was it being the first body in the range to have the flash command system. Once you've remotely controlled flash levels, you don't want to go back.
I paid about £230 for body only, from MPB. My first shoot with it was glamour studio, the day it arrived.
One of my favourite features is the user defined settings. I use some old manual focus, manual aperture lenses. U1 gives me a quick aperture priority setting for hasty aircraft shots. U2 adds back button focus.
My standard flash setup, using two Yongnuo 565 and a D7000, is all controlled from the camera. Once the flashes are inside soft boxes, I leave them well alone. I rarely have sync problems, except when outside, when the distances involved get larger.
Onboard flash to command, with very little real power. Left side flash to channel A, right to B.
TTL on shutter priority, keeping and eye on the aperture. If I add a slave flash as a hair light, it confuses the TTL, so I switch to manual.
Overall light levels are controlled by the compensation on the D7000, flash balance is controlled by the compensation on each channel. It makes it very easy to adjust light levels from the back of the camera, rather than disturbing the flash heads.
The biggest improvement I've made to my flash system is slave battery packs for the flash heads. Being able to take shots, knowing the flashes are charged, is great. Rather than buying packs, I've made my own using SLA batteries and the dummy battery method of connection.
Get a blower, mirror lock (or whatever it's called) from the menu. The next time you press the shutter, the mirror will stay up. Make sure you hold the body upside down so nothing else gets in, the give the sensor a puff of air. Turn the body off and test it.
I have been advised by a distributor of sensor cleaning kits to do the job in the bathroom. Run the shower for a few minutes with the curtain shut. This will keep the dust down.
I use a couple of 565 lights via the CLS in TTL and never have a problem with them, even in soft boxes. The only time I managed to confuse the TTL was when I put a non TTL slave behind the model for a halo effect. So I switched to manual for that shot :-)
I have even installed the lights in the roof of a room for use the next day. When the wedding reception arrived, I reached up to turn them on and left them to it.
Recharge time can be a bit slow for studio work, but that is down to the batteries. Attach a power pack, or make your own following the various DIY instructions online. Just be careful about overheating, the flash will shut down if it gets too hot.
Having the ability to control the power of both flashes from the back of the camera is priceless. When I was looking to upgrade my D80, CLS was the number one priority.