Need some help upgrading equipment

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Emerson, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. macrumors member

    Emerson

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    #1
    Alright I need some help with making some buying decisions. Basically I am a college student on an internship so I will be getting some money on upgrading my equipment and I need a little help. Basically I have put together 3 good packages, with my spending limit around $3500.

    Here is some background information, just to keep in mind.

    I have the following camera equipment:
    Nikon D70
    18-70 lens
    70-200 VR lens
    SB-800
    50 f/1.8
    Kirk BH-3 Ballhead
    Gtizo 1340 Tripod
    Bunch of memory cards and a couple of nice bags

    I have the following computer equipment:
    2 Dell 2005FPW screens (bought them on mega sale)
    12" Rev. A 867 GHz Powerbook (kind of slow)
    Wacom Tablet
    Photoshop CS
    Nikon Capture 4.4

    Now here are my three packages that I am trying to choose from:

    Package 1:
    New Dual Core 2 GHz Powermac with 4 GB memory
    Nikon 17-55 f/2.8
    Total: $3500

    Package 2:
    Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 $1200
    Nikon 85 f/1.4 $1015
    Nikon 10.5 Fisheye $570
    Total: $2785

    Package 3:
    Nikon D200 $1700
    Nikon MB-200 w/ extra battery $210
    Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 $1200
    Sale of Nikon D70 & Kit lens $600
    Total: $2510

    I love photography, but my computer is becoming quite slow. I don't do alot of post processing simple curves and adjustments, but I would like to start cataloging my photos with Iview or Lightroom. The D200 is an amazing camera (yeah I will wait until the banding clears), but I am afraid my laptop will really struggle with the 15 MB files. Basically I need your help and have always gotten good responses hear, so thanks ahead of time.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    yankeefan24

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    Well if you don't need portability, go with 1. Powermac is an awesome computer. I don't kno alot about the different camera types, but you can't go wrong with the powermac.
     
  3. macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #3
    I say go for option #1. A new Power Mac G5 sounds like that will be of the most use to you at this point.

    Curious, is the 4GB of RAM being purchased via Apple or third party? You should be able to save some $$$ by purchasing extra RAM from say www.crucial.com or www.datamem.com .
     
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Emerson

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    #4
    dmw007,

    I was looking at getting 2 x 512 from apple and then 6 x 512 from either crucial or OWC. I would think that 4 GB will be plenty for photoshop and Capture (even though it runs slower than hect on macs). I am just thinking that when the Intel Powermacs come out, I will be very dissapointed. Maybe I could get by with my powerbook until next year and then by a Intel powermac, but I really want a new Powermac. What do you think about the whole Intel Powermac?

    Thanks
     
  5. macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #5
    4GB of RAM should be more than enough (when coupled with the power of a dual-core PowerPC G5 processor). Glad to hear that you were going to order RAM from OWC- its good to be frugal!:)

    Personally, I would wait for the intel Power Macs to come out. I myself am considering buying a top of the line Power Mac w/ conroe processors (which will be even faster than the Core Duo/Yonah processors currently being used by Apple) when they come out to replace my Power Mac G5 (not that its slow by any stretch of the imagination).

    If you can wait, I would say to go and do so. But if you must have a new computer now, then a Power Mac G5 is an excellent choice that will last you for a long time.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO, usa
    #6
    Why not wait on the MB-200 and buy a new iMac? That would tide you over until Intel Powermacs - you can (apparently) use dual screens with the new intel iMacs. That puts you right around $3500.

    Definitely get the 17-55. It's supposed to be an amazing lens. I'm stuck in 24-85 land - which just doesn't cut it with digital. (well it broke and is being repaired - so now my widest lens is the 50 f/1.8 - try taking group portraits with that - it wasn't fun :rolleyes: )

    Well option two isn't bad if you can live with your current computer. The 85 f/1.4 is one nice lens - it was amazing for the night soccer games last fall - so much better than my current f/2.8 telephoto zoom.

    Personally, I've never seen the point of a fisheye. (Though maybe you have some interesting ideas for it - I see it more as a novelty item then a real lens) I wouldn't think that lens would get used very often. If I had the cash, I'd be going for a 12-24 zoom (or one of the fast wide angle primes).

    Good luck with your decisions!

    What are you shooting anyways?

    ~Paul
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #7
    Modify Package 3 would be my vote:

    Get the D200 and the lens, scratch the MB-200, which brings you down to $2300, then add either a 12" 1.5 GHz Powerbook (great portability, faster processor, works with your current software and lightroom beta, better graphics and you have the monitor option still) - $1399 edu price; or a 1.9 GHz G5 (would work great today with your current software) or 1.83 core duo intel 17" iMac, either model for $1199 (will have to wait a few months for native pro apps - March for those from Apple, it has been reported, but a nice choice with an eye towards the future, and new intel iMac lets you expand the desktop and not just mirror: http://www.apple.com/imac/). Either of these later two bring you up to your package one price with the D200 (better AF), a new lens, and a new Mac.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #8
    Don't forget about the cost of the software, that can cut budgets pretty quick!
     
  9. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #9
    I might suggest the following:

    1 - Nikkor 10.5 fisheye

    2 - Nikon Capture to defish the 10.5, and work with your raw files

    3 - Upgrade to the Nikkor 17-55 2.8, sharper than the 18-70 and a good match to the 70-200 2.8

    4 - Find an iMac G5 17" as a stop gap system

    You will find that as a trade you might get about $100-125 for your 18-70 to help the budget. Or you could sell it on your own for $200- 250.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #10
    Emerson - please let us know what you end up deciding. I'm very curious to see what combination you end up going with.
     
  11. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location
    #11
    Can you just get a 12-24mm and a new iMac or PB? Even add the 10.5 mm fisheye if you want.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Emerson

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    #12
    Yeah

    No I am set on the 17-55 f/2.8 because I want a good fast lens that allows for portraits and landscape shooting with everything in between and from all my research over at dpreview.com, the 17-55 sounds perfect. I really got spoiled by the 70-200 f/2.8 vr and now my 18-70 just plain lets me down. Right now I am leaning towards package one since, I tried processing some D200 raw files and my powerbook just choked. I think I will have a great two lens combo...but I am still looking at package 2. I just can't decide.
     
  13. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #13
    I understand the desire for faster lenses. I am looking to add a used 35mm 2.0 that we have at work to my proposed travel kit of the 10.5 and the 18-200VR for my new D50.

    Did some test shooting at work today with it, and the limited DOF would be nice to have for low light situations. Heck, after a half hour I was tempted to add a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, and only if Nikon had the sense to add their AI version of the 24mm 2.0 to the NAFD system I would want one of those too.

    As to your choice of #1 or #2; I am not sure that the PM in #1 is the best use of the dollars right now. With #2, only you can say whether the DOF control of the 85mm 1.4 would be worth the price since you have the excellent 70-200mm 2.8. That is why I went with my choice that I posted.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #14
    Most definately go with package one. It seems you already have plenty of nice photog equiptment. Your computer is just as important as the camera in digital photography. Either a powermac or a macbook pro would be your best bet.
     
  15. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #15
    I agree an upgrade in computer is needed. But with the MacIntel PM's due sometime this year, I am not sure that the current PM's are the best use of the $$$$. A iMac or MacBook Pro may be the best short term solution.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #16
    Which gets me to the modified three - iMac either G5 or intel, no vertical grip and the new 17-55 lens and d200 all for $3500.
     
  17. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location
    #17
    That sounds good. I'd go for the Intel iMac regardless of what these very early "tests" say about the speed being a bit slower here and there, and only faster in some areas. Fact is that the Intel iMac is faster, and you'll see that in the future.
     
  18. -hh
    macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #18
    I'm also thinking of computer hardware too...not sure I'd get one of the new MacTel's until I heard how well they do running Photoshop CS.

    Similarly, given the preexisting investment of the two Dell 2005FPW's, I'd be very much inclined to say "use em or sell em", and go to the PowerMac Dual core 2GHz to have a solid home workstation. I'm running a 1st Gen PowerMac (SP 1.8GHz), and while I'm starting to think that I'd like a bit more "oomph", its quite clearly significantly faster than my the 1.5GHz G4 that's in my 12" Powerbook (RAM's about the same on both).

    Perhaps I can suggest an alternative of offering up the sale of my SP 1.8GHz at a good price, so that I can get the Dual 2GHz? :)

    Insofar as the rest, it looks like its a "shotgunning" of pretty diverse camera equipment choices, which I interpret as a likely lack of clear focus as to what is trying to be accomplished with these toys - - ie, what specifically are you trying to accomplish with this purchase? Since one of the groups is 10-85mm and the next is 18-200mm, it doesn't exactly seem that the focus is on wide angle or telephoto, etc.

    As such, I'm inclined to suggest leaving that money in the bank until the specific need/application can be more clearly articulated: "what do you need this for?". Afterall, I definitely know that that's what my wife would say to me! :)


    -hh
     
  19. -hh
    macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #19
    As an aside, if the objective is to just spend the money, at this time of year, airline tickets to Europe (to photograph stuff!) are pretty affordable.

    Checking site59.com quickly, it looks like there's some weekend flight/hotel packages for under $500 for New York to London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Madrid, Paris and Brussels. Just add food, airport transfers and incidentals.

    Rome's a bit more, but still starting under $600...and the rates there are pretty good even after you add a few days: it only goes up to $773 for (7D/6N) for the 1-7 Feb listing. The train from the airport to "Termini" is roughly $10 each way, and food in town doesn't have to be expensive. Weather at this time of year will be fairly brisk, but not too bad: Daytime high's in the low/mid 50's and going down to 30-35F at night...a medium weight jacket that will easily cover a camera so that you don't appear to be a tourist as obviously as in the summertime.

    Hmmm...maybe I'll mention this to my wife; she's never been to Rome.

    -hh
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Central Florida
    #20
    What types of shooting?

    It depends on what you are shooting.

    If you are doing sports shooting,
    1) get the D200 with the vertical grip ( I ALWAYS get the grip)
    2) sell the D70 and 18-70 kit lens.

    For landscapes or portraits,
    1) keep D70
    2) get 17-55 2.8 (buy local, there are sample variations good and BAD

    For the computer, sell your PB 867 and get a new PB. Either Intel or IBM system will serve you well. I might be more inclined to get the Intel, but if you can wait a little longer until real people (everyday users) have hands on experience to use them then you can make a better purchase.

    I currently use a MDD 867, Nikon F100 and D100 with an assortment of lenses. I can do anything I need, it just takes a bit longer. Have you tried Adobe's Lightroom?

    Good luck and happy shooting
    Mike
     
  21. -hh
    macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #21

    MacWorld has a review of the new iMac and runs some basic G5-vs-Intel performance benchmarks.

    In short, in universal app's, the new iMac does great. Of course it does...otherwise, they wouldn't have released it as a new product!

    They also do a an "Applications in Rosetta" test. For Photoshop CS2 (not the same version, but probably close enough), the benchmark iMac (iMac G5/2.1GHz) took 1:16 to complete, whereas the new iMac (iMac Core Duo/2GHz) took 2:50, which means that the dual-core Intel version was roughly half the speed ("0.45x as fast") because of the Rosetta emulation while using Photoshop (& similar PPC-compiled app's).

    YMMV on how much Adobe's going to charge for their upgrade to the 'Universal' flavor of Photoshop. Its still TBD for what performance level it would eventually have, but this sets the "can't be worse than" minimum.


    -hh
     
  22. macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #22
    My thoughts here: go for Package 1, as I think you really need a new computer system, regardless of whatever camera body and lenses you have. Since you have the wonderful 70-200mm VR, I'd definitely hang on to that and then get the 17-55mm lens, which will give you a nice range. Since these days post-processing of images is key, you'll need more power than you've got with your current computer, and since right at the moment PSCS2 is not available in universal binary, IMO you really would do better not buying one of the new Intel machines until Adobe's software and others' software has caught up with Apple. You could go with the PowerMac for now and then in a year or two when everything is settled down as far as hardware/software, then sell it off and go with whatever Apple has in the way of computers at that point.

    Although the 10.5mm fisheye lens is neat, it IS kind of specialized. How often would you really use it? You'd also have to purchase and use Nikon Capture in order to adjust the images and put them into regular perspective as opposed to the fisheye look.

    That 85mm f/1.4 lens is definitely something to consider, but maybe your money would be better spent right now on a new computer to use for PP and then later on you could invest in that lens. I have to admit, that's the next lens on my lens wishlist! Ah, that old "lens lust..." Given the choice between it and the 17-55mm f/2.8, I'd go with the 17-55mm at this time because it offers so much more flexibility. It's a terrific lens.

    If you were to sell your D70 and that 18-70, could you then find a little more money to throw into the pot in order to get a D200? If you could, it would be well worth the money, but if that would be really pushing things, stressing you too much financially, then I'd hold on to the D70 and continue using it for a while longer. Having a fine set of lenses is even more critical than camera bodies, so if you can't get the D200 now, you'd still be in a good position with using and enjoying the excellentl 17-55 and the 70-200 lenses on your D70, and which you could eventually put on a new camera body when you are able to afford it.

    So, in summary, my reccommendation:

    Sell the D70 and the 18-70 lens

    Purchase:

    D200 (hold off on the MB200 until later if you are stretched financially -- it's the camera body that is more important)

    Power Mac Dual Core with 4 GB RAM

    Nikkor 17-55 mm f/2.8 lens



    If you aren't quite able to swing that, then I'd follow your plan in package 1. Let us know what you decide to do!


    OTB
     
  23. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #23
    You have to look at the end product, the finished image files. If the end product is not up to professional standards there is no point to any of this. So work backwards. What iscurrently limitting your work?

    If you don't own a super-wide fast lens there are some shots you just can't get no matter how powerfull a computer you own. And also the people who buy images (or grade them) expect and like to perspective of a wide shot. It looks like you know this because there is a wide, fast lens in each package.

    It may be time to upgrade the computer if image processing is eating into your available time and preventing you from shooting or otherwise limiting your output.
    but now is a poor time to buy a computer to use with Photoshop. The new Intel macs are poor choisesu ntill Adobe releases a universal binary. You can buy a dual core Intel Mac but PS will run at slower than G4 speed. Yuk.
    We don't know if the PS universal will be a free upgrade either, I'd guess not and a new Intel core duo is not usfull until you have a universal PS binary in hand.

    Buying a quad core Power Mac and a lens is not in your budget.

    How about buying a used older power mac (about $1k) that will run your current copy of PS untill Adobe releases one that will run native on Intel?
    then unload the Power Mac for maybe 2/3 what you paid?
     
  24. thread starter macrumors member

    Emerson

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    #24
    What I am thinking

    First thank you all for your opinoins and ideas. Some you have asked what I am interested in shooting, and to be honest it is a little of everything. I love taking landscape pictures and am looking to improve my portraits. I have chosen the 17-55 because it is the most versatile lens I could find for both portraits and landscape and will easily become my most used lens.

    For now I am going to go with package one. Simply put I can't afford it all and the major stack up in my photography is at my computer, to be honest I sort of dread a rainy afternoon processing photos, but I think with a new powermac and both my displays the whole process will greatly improve.

    I am looking over my budget and there is still a small hope for the D200, but I would probablty choose the 85 f/1.4 to act as a far lighter portrait lens. I still have not mastered my D70 so a year or so more with it combined with a D200 price drop will certainly help make up my mind to upgrade to the D200. Until that time I want to build my lens collection (really all I want more is the 17-55 and the 85, and maybe the 10.5) before too much more on the camera.

    Again thank you and keep the responses coming, by no means is this the final decision.

    One more quick question is 4 gb (8 x 512 mb) of ram enough, or should I look into getting more. I plan on having Photoshop and Nikon Capture open at the same time? So far is just seemed like 4 gb was a solid and affordable option.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors member

    Emerson

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    #25
    Reply

    Landscapes, but wanting to improve my portrait skills

    No,that is one of the main reasons I feel no real rush to upgrade my camera, but when I do it most likely be a D200 with grip.

    That is what I was thinking, I will probably order from B&H, they are pretty good with returns and they have good prices.

    It will be a little while before I buy, so I will have time to hear more reviews.

    No I haven't tried it yet, but I look forward to it. I have heard alot of good things.

    Thanks and you too
     

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