Here's the stuff - what's the order of purchase?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    So, a different sort of "what to buy" thread:

    Imagine you (and by "you", I mean "I") had 0 dollars, but were saving your money a bit at a time to buy that photo/computer gear you (felt you) badly needed. Your current gear:

    Nikon D300
    70-200 mm f/2.8
    24-70 mm f/2.8 (last generation)
    50mm f/1.4 (last generation)
    18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
    Nikon SB-600
    Aperture 2
    Macbook Pro 2.16/100gb/2gb, bunch of ext. HDs.

    Here's the stuff you have your sights on. Every time you save up enough money, you're going to buy one of them. What should be the order of purchase?

    Nikon D3s (or D700? Which?)
    Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8
    Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 (16-35 mm f/4 VR. Which?)
    Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 (newer)
    Photoshop CS5
    New Apple computer (if so, what kind? Macbook pro/tower?), obv used for some photo editing.

    Obviously, this represents potentially $15-20k worth of stuff, so saving the dough would be a gradual process. But everyone who likes adding lenses/bodies/etc to their bags needs to figure out the order. So... help? (And by "help" I mean, any thoughts would be most welcome!)
  2. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    I have to ask...what do you want to do that you can't quite do with your existing gear?

    From my point of view, you're pretty well equipped so far.

    Are you missing out on ultra wide-angle shots?

    Do you really think you need the advantage of the newer 70-200? The old one's a nice piece of glass.

    Photoshop, you'll probably want. But if you don't feel a real need to use some of its high end features, it might be worth looking into Pixelmator or Acorn as a lower-cost alternative since you already have Aperture.

    Personally, I would suggest a desktop for your next computer since your Macbook Pro is plenty adequate for some fairly high-resolution photo editing. And upgrading to a newer notebook won't be that large of a speed increase, compared to what you might get out of a Mac Pro.
  3. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    Tripod first? Also remember tripod does not = just tripod in budgeting, but also ball head lens plate(s), camera plate and or L bracket.

    What do you feel limited by in your current gear? Do you just want the newer bigger camera or really need full frame?
    What do you feel limited by with your lenses? Older generation or not your 70-200, 24-70, and 50 are all pro-grade and will be for their whole life in terms of IQ. If you are needing faster focusing speed then well I suppose newer AFS could be important.
    Software? Are you limited by Aperture2? RAW handling? Many other ways to go about that than the big jump to CS5.
    14-24 seems like a logical next lens really, you have nothing that wide if those are shots you are wanting and not able to do.

    As well if I had the lenses you have, and I don't, I have older Generation, I would look for more diversity first (which I did).
    Rather than upgrade my 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D and my 24-85 f/2.8-4 AF-D and 35mm f/2 lenses, that i am very happy with I added. I don't remember who said it first on these forums, but it has been paraphrased and quoted several times over. The IQ of my current lens didn't suddenly get reduced when the new one hit the market.

    105mm macro
    500mm f/4

    12-24 is on the wish list.
  4. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Dumb of me to not list what I use my photo gear for:

    Concert photography - low light the vast majority of the time.

    Definitely enjoy less noise in my shots. Need a wide angle lens. Would like a computer that didn't take forrrrever to load and edit my photos. Would like a photo editing program that takes advantage of the fact that I always shoot in RAW. Wish my photos were sharper (I know that sounds like a technique thing, but I've worked very hard on this over the years)

    Should have added - also have a Nikon SB-600 - added to the original post.
  5. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2008
    That's easy - switch to LR!
  6. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    If it was me, I'd probably do the camera body and/or computer first/second. Your glass seems well suited to your task.

    As for a computer, if portability is important, get a MacBook Pro. If not, the 27" Quad Core iMac's are great machines.
  8. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2008
    Haha, I couldn't resist.

    To give you my opinion, I actually think if you just bought the 17-35mm used and sold your 18-135, you'd probably postpone your upgrade dreams for a while. Depending on how you use your 24-70, the 17-35 (or 17-50/55) range is not only one of my favorites, it's also a hole in your lineup.

    The 14-24mm, despite its mythical qualities and reputation, is also, I find, one of the easiest lenses to acquire used, because so many people buy it and just never use it enough to justify its cost. If 17mm isn't wide enough for you, sure, perhaps you need the 14-24mm. But I wouldn't get the latter first!
  9. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    The 14-24 IS ONE OF THE finest lenses produced! There are TONS and TONS of people using this lens on Canon bodies! A company just released an adapter (Nikon G to EOS I believe is what it is) for $293..a bit high in my opinion.
  10. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    If low-light is your primary gig then full-frame is the way to go, especially given that you already have nice glass that'll work well with it.

    My suggestion:

    Wait for the D700x to come out in a couple months (probably photokina), and get that. Or pick up a used D700 from someone else that upgraded.

    You sound fairly tight on cash and I don't think that shooting concerts & low-light stuff you'll really miss the ultra-high FPS of the D3s, but you'll likely appreciate the lighter weight of the D700 (and it's still built like a tank).

    In wide-angle land, the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 is the best bargain out there. This may sound a little crazy, but even if you move up to full-frame it will still work as a 16mm f/2.8 (albeit not as awesome as the Nikon 14-24 but a small fraction of the price). Plus Tokina just started shipping a full-frame f/2.8 ultrawide that looks to be as good if not better than it's crop counterpart.
  11. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Ha - yeah, actually looking for the D700s - don't really care about 21 MP as much as high ISO performance.

    Are there any Nikon users out there who have considered getting an adaptor so we can strap a for a Canon 16-35 f/2.8 L on a D700, etc? Not to make a huge deal over 1mm, but still.

    Also, I feel like I'm receiving two main pieces of advice - get the body first, or get the computer first. I suppose w/a full frame camera, a 24-70 mm becomes a lot wider, and might cut down on my need to immediately get a real wide-angle.

    I wonder why everyone isn't pushing harder for me to get a CS5? I feel like a lack of an ability to use photoshop might be a real detriment to my shots...
  12. jr24 macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    i'd go with the camera body and the 14-24 for the first buys. you can always find that stuff used. that would give you some great goodies to play around with while you save up more money for the rest. i don't know much about the rest of the stuff you listed.
  13. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    There's no Canon to Nikon adapter, and the 16-35 is not a lens that particularly calls out to be adapted.
  14. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    You have a newer camera body. I think it would be a waste to buy a new body. Get fast glass if you need low light. Buy a flash if need be. Only you know what you want the most.

    Perhaps a new computer would be better? Are you making a living with photography, or is it a hobby?
  15. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2008
    Imaging technology doesn't really move at the same pace as computers - I'd probably rather wait for the computer than for photography equipment (unless new models were imminent and there was enough transparency to know exactly what was coming out).
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    If you are thinking of, or already doing, photography for money - get the computer, and a desktop one. The computer will allow speed up your workflow, so you can take more time to develop (ha ha) your business. By expanding your business, you will be able to afford the camera gear.

    If you are not, and will not be, doing this for money - then leave the computer for later. You seem to be not entirely happy with your images, so there is no point bumping up the computer so that you can spend time looking at images you are not happy with.

    Think "used equipment" too. Since you have a good list developed, research what the equipment is going for used. Then start going to camera swap meets and garage sales. When you find a piece of equipment on your list that is a great deal, snap it up. It may not be in the "correct order", but your dollars will go a lot further.
  17. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Well, to answer the question as to weather or not I'm professional, I would say no at this point. I get paid to shoot concerts, but not a ton - or at least, not nearly enough to cover the cost of my equipment, which is fine (for now).

    Having a faster computer (or at least a better setup) would be great, because as it is it takes forrrrrever to upload my photos from my camera (e.g. if I shoot 1200 shots at a concert, it can take almost 3 hours until they're fully uploaded to my aperture library). Cutting down on that time would be great, given the turnaround on my shots is generally expected to be less than 12 hours.

    However, I feel like I'm really missing out by not having an FX camera, especially since I own some FX glass, and the D700+ are just so superior, high-ISOwise.

    So, so far I'm thinking (order-wise)
    1. D700/700s/D3s
    2. Computer
    3. CS5
    4. 17-35 f/2.8 - though mayyyybe 14-24 f/2.8 because the 24-70 is 16mm equiv on an FX camera already. But I can cross that bridge when I come to it.

    Seem sensible?
  18. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I am assuming that FX means full frame?

    I know that for me, if I paid $5K for a body, I would be shooting 3 weddings a month, and making all my income from photography, unless I was rich and didn't care.

    I would spend the money on glass or a computer or both. Glass makes more of an impact on an image than a body.
  19. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    Is your current MacBook Pro a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo? Either way, they were both made in 2006, so I can understand your desire to upgrade. You probably are looking for a laptop since you current computer is one. Have you considered using a small laptop (13" MBP) in the field and a beastly desktop at home/in the office?
  20. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    I indeed like the idea of a beastly desktop as I already have a 20" ACD that goes practically unused. It's 1st gen Intel MBP - core duo.
  21. ericlaurence macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2010
    buy the d700. you'll like it for low light. if you want ultra wide, pickup the sigma 20mm f1.8. it's fast and wide and works great with the d700.

    and like a previous poster said, you could probably make some decent money shooting weddings on saturdays. even if you don't want to book your own, you can work for a studio and make $300-500 per wedding and not have to post process anything. just burn the files to a DVD and mail it to the studio. done. i'm sure it's the last thing you want to consider doing but you will learn to master low light photography which will only help when it comes to concert photography.

    switch to lightroom. i can load 1200 photos from a wedding in about 5 minutes and i'm on an older macbook. maybe it's something in aperature about loading fullsize previews. that would be my guess. if you can turn that off, you will save a TON of time.
  22. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    My $0.02 is go with what you have been complaining about the most first: the computer. It's a multipurpose tool that will improve your core backbone that you can build off of. If you got more cameras or more lenses you are still using the same slow system to process them. Your main issue seems to be slow computer. Buying a new camera isn't going to address that at all... I'd go with one of the newer refurbished Mac Pro's and then throw some more memory in your MBP and probably a larger hard drive too. I got a refurb Mac Pro, saved a lot on it and it just screams...
  23. ericlaurence macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2010
    also, there is no need to update your lenses. you're not going to get any better performance out of a 'current generation' lens for what you're using it for.

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