About to purchase new Nikon gear, looking for feedback/opinions...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by photojen, May 29, 2010.

  1. Hello...
    By the middle of next week I am hoping to make a large purchase of new camera gear (large for me). I have done a great deal of research, but I am looking for some feedback on my order. I was wondering if you wise PN peers would look at my list and tell me if I am forgetting something in this order. I posted this in the Nikon Forum because most of the products are Nikon, though I tossed around putting it in the Casual Forum. I appreciate your time and feedback, more than you may know. I often rely on PN for photo guidance. Have a good weekend.
    Here is what is in my shopping cart:
    Nikon gear:
    Nikon D700 camera body
    Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G ED VR II
    Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 D
    Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED OR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 ED (this is where I need some feedback, mostly)
    Nikon SB900
    Nikon 4804 R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System
    Nikon MC-30 Remote Trigger
    Nikon MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Grip
    Nikon battery
    Other gear:
    Sekonic L-3085 Flashmate
    Alien Bee Digi Bee Lighting System with a B800 upgrade and reflector and stand
    Aura backdrop stand and 2 backdrop (which colors should I choose to start? black and white?)
    Circular Polarizers and ND Fliters for all the lens (except if I choose the 14-24mm because I don't see CPs for it???)
    5 year Nikon protection plans for the camera body and lenses.
    I currently own a D80 and the only lens I will continue to use is my 105mm micro.
     
  2. There is a big difference between the 14-24 and 24-70 with regard to usage. Do you have mostly wide angle needs, or do you have only occasional wide angle needs and more standard focal length requirements?
    What kind of shooting do you do? You're talking about a huge investment, so before Shun says it, I will: Do you really need the kind of gear you're looking at to serve your needs?
     
  3. I am leaning towards the 24-70mm for more practicality. I would love the super wide angle, but am second guessing it.
    What kind of shooting? It varies...I have goals and ambition. Large investments? Yes, but my goals are worth it. I can't go forward with the camera and lenses I currently own. And yes, I do need these upgrades. I have been shooting with my D80 for awhile and am ready to make the next step. I have my LLC, a company name, and a website in the making.
     
  4. The 14-24 is a limited use lens (also doesn't have front filter threads). Since it seems like you're doing studio work, the 24-70 would probably be a better choice. I suggest another pair of Nikon batteries as well.
     
  5. Thanks Peter, I have 2 new Nikon batteries and one original that came with my D80.
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You are indeed buying a lot of stuffs. Are you shooting professionally? What type of subjects do you shoot?
    The 70-200mm/f2.8 VR version 2 and the 24-70mm/f2.8 AF-S are both fine lenses.
    It has already been pointed out many times that the 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S is a highly specialized lens for those who are interested in super wides. For what it can do, optically it is excellent, but that lens also has a lot of limitations such as a limited zoom range and a bulging front element, which means no filters and vulnerable in some situations. While I have one, I rarely use this lens and prefer my 17-35mm/f2.8.
    The D700 has to be quite late in its production cycle. I have no insider info (or I wouldn't be posting here), but I expect that it'll be replaced in the next few months. If nothing else, its value will likely drop quickly. If you want a D700 anyway, you should be able to get it cheaper if you can wait. If you cannot wait, the D700 is still a fine camera now.
     
  7. Shun...I have tossed around the D700 idea of do I wait or not, for 2 weeks. What I may do is hold off on the D700 and order all the other equipment and work with my lighting kit, in the meantime, while waiting for the D700's price to drop. Or upgrade...I have read a bunch of forum postings about possible D700 upgrades...I don't know, my gut tells me to wait, but I also have a limited budget and probably couldn't swing the upgrade. I have noticed that the cost of the D700 has gone up at B&H.
    Professionally shooting? Not yet...working on improving myself and my photography. May take some time, but I need the right equipment to get started. I am looking at attending a local photography school as well.
     
  8. Wow, I would not buy a D700 at this time. Chances are Nikon will be introducing an update to the D700 or an entirely new replacement model. Might be worth it to wait a little bit!
     
  9. Now that I've drooled all over my keyboard while looking at your list...
    In most cases, I would think the 24-70 would be an easy first choice in terms of priorities, over the 14-24. As I'm sure you already know, the wide max of 24 will behave like 18mm on your D80. Do you have plans that are heavily weighted toward extreme wide angles?
    How much will the 5-year plans set you back?
    Have you considered a Cokin-style system for ND's?
    If you can afford all this, and you want new "toys," go for it! Should keep you busy for a long time, whether it is all for needs, or mostly for enjoyment and exploration.
     
  10. Jennifer,
    I looked at your portfolio, and you've got some fantastic work. What sort of photography is your business going to concentrate on? If it's the people/event shots, you're going to want the 24-70. If the landscapes... well, it could go either way, but you've got your reference point already - what do you use most often with the D80?
    It's a big investment. My concern would be that you're going to buy a $1800 lens without having answered the question "What am I using this lens for?" Do you live somewhere with a decent rental service? Can you delay buying either of those lenses and rent both to see which is going to be useful? Around here those lenses rent in the $25-40 range and if you pick up late on Friday you get it for the weekend, so $50-100 or so worth of lens rentals might help you get a clear idea of what you do need.
    One other thing - I see a lot of macro in your portfolio and you've got a close-up flash in your list but no macro lens. What are you going to use?
     
  11. Dave, I think I will wait.
    Jim, about $1300+ for the protection plans. And yes, Cokin is top on my list. And I am definitely going to 'go for it'. I need to.
    Andrew, a little bit of everything. I have strong calling towards nature photography. But I need to start venturing into people photography as well. I would like to get good enough to make a profit (and this could take years, yes, I know). But one must make the initial investment. I currently own the Nikon 105mm micro.
     
  12. I'm not certain that people's reluctance to purchase D700 today is well founded. If there's the worry that one's equipment isn't the latest and greatest, then it's probably best to wait. But, if today's D700 fills the needs, I don't see price as a big factor.
    The D700 is already available at close to $1,000.00 less than at its introduction. Crystal balls aren't all that reliable, but do we really see it dropping a bunch more overnight at the intro of the D700 v2? And if we wait, will it be worth another $1,000.00 to have the next big thing?
     
  13. Very true, Jim. I think the D700 will fill my needs, but I suppose I should wait the wait for the lower cost, but I don't want to wait too long...maybe a couple of months or so, but not much longer. And with just my luck, I will wait, purchase it at normal cost and a couple weeks later, the price will drop...happened to me with my D80. But the price of the D700 is higher today at B&H than it was a month ago, fyi, I have been following it.
     
  14. One more thing that hasn't been mentioned.
    WOW! You do nice work.
    I don't think you said what you already have, other than the 105.
    Also, I like to say of ultra-wides like the 14-24... If you don't KNOW you need that, you probably won't use it much or at all for real photography.
     
  15. I have a Nikon 70-300, 18-135mm and a 105mm.
    Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod with a joystick head...
    And thank you, Peter and Andrew. I try. I haven't been shooting long at all. I have some big shoes to fill and a lot to learn.
     
  16. The 70-300 is an FX lens. Is it the good VR version? I think one thing to consider, since you don't have your business plan worked out yet, is to delay the 70-200 purchase and use the 70-300 until you're sure you need it. (Unless you already have something specific in mind, like low light sports, or you really don't like the 70-300.) The 105 on FX will have a lot of uses, like portrait. I think you might be moving too quickly on equipment - you've clearly got the artistry but the business plan is the higher priority than the lenses right now.
     
  17. My 70-300 is not VR, it has served it's newbie purpose, but now it's time to move on, thank you for the advice.
    I have a plan. I have a business name (Elemental Images, LLC with a DBA), bank accounts (checking and savings) opened, have an accountant, a friend is working on my website, bought Quickbooks...I have a plan, been working on it for over a year. All of my actions are thought out to the best of my ability~ I am willing to take the risk.
    I thank you all for helping me work through this.
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I'm not certain that people's reluctance to purchase D700 today is well founded.​
    Of course it is well founded. I paid close to $5000 for my D2X back in mid 2005. A year later Nikon upgraded it to the D2Xs, still at $5000. Another year later, Nikon announced the D300 in August 2007 for $1800. The D300 is clearly a much better camera and took no time for the D2X/D2XS' value to tumble to $1500 and then some more.
    The D700 is "only" $2600 today; it cannot possibly drop by $3000. But any successor to the D700 will clearly have video and dual memory cards; most likely there will also be more pixels and/or better high ISO results. How far the value for the D700 will drop will highly depend on how much Nikon is willing to pack into the next model. I can't speak for someone else, but if I buy a new D700 today, it will annoy me a lot when it quickly becomes out of date. For example, I find the video feature highly desirable for nature photographers; video is a must for my next DSLR. Dual memory cards is important for wedding photographers.
    If the primary objective to improve one's photography, IMO it is unnecessary to buy so much new equipment all of a sudden. If the OP wants to explore portraits, she can add some lighting and studio set ups. One can experiment with portraits with a D80 just as well as a D700. If you actually go out and shoot some weddings, the D700's AF and high-ISO capability will be major advantages.
    As far as I can tell, Jennifer has no compelling reason to buy a D700 right now. But that is me. She is the one who is buying.
     
  19. I have a D700, 24-70/2.8, 14-24/2.8, and 50/1.4G. If you're deciding between the 14-24 and 24-70, I'd get neither, and instead get a 17-35/2.8. Use your 'foot zoom' to fill in between 17-35, the 50, and 70-200 until you can afford a 24-70. While it's not quite as good a lens optically as the 14-24, the 17-35 is plenty good enough...the differences are really diminished returns in terms of usability. Several folks I know call the 14-24 the greatest lens they never use, and I'd have to agree - mine sits in my bag a lot.
    With the 14-24 I find not being able to use ND grads and other filters a real handicap. Lee is making an adapter for it now, but it's all new filters as they're bigger, cost is high and selection is severely limited. I'd look at going with the Lee system for the balance of your lenses, or at least another brand of filter with the Cokin holders due to color cast issues with Cokin ND grads. Threaded filters aren't an option with this lens as there are no filter threads on it - that's why you can't find a CP for it. I'd get the new Hoya HD filters for the rest.
     
  20. If the primary objective to improve one's photography, IMO it is unnecessary to buy so much new equipment all of a sudden.​
    Again, I agree with Shun in that the OP need not buy all that especially at once. No, Shun and I are not related.
     
  21. From another side of the fence, the same advice: you might want to be more "incremental" in your purchases as you see how things progress. When you are planning to go professional, you want to avoid spending too much of your capital up front--you may need some of that money to keep your LLC alive while you are developing a customer base. Consider if there are options that are less expensive, but will serve until you are firmly established.
    And I have long admired your portfolio as well. I am not being condescending at all when I say that it looks like there may be commercially viable images already there, depending on how and what you are marketing.
     
  22. As always, Shun's opinions are well thought out and informed. Maybe i'm just trying to justify my recent purchase of a D90, which is also possibly nearing the end of it's cycle.
     
  23. With all the political instability going on in Thailand, I'd bet that there will be no new products from Nikon this year unless they manage to move production to China or back to Japan. This also explains the price increase and inventory shortage of Nikon gear.
    As for the kit, use your existing camera, get the full-frame lenses one-by-one. If you get a bug jumbo package you'll be lost and won't learn the features and sweet spots of all the gear.
     
  24. Jennifer, after perusing your portfolio but without reading every reply here in this thread, I'd suggest that your expansion would be perhaps better served by expanding into medium or large for the still lifes and landscapes-- and not trying to cover this with a FF DSLR and $10K or so of glass. A modest investment will return better results on film than any 12MP sensor, for a fraction of cost (something like 10-20% of the capital outlay).If your work were more action oriented, the tables would be turned.
    You have a real knack with birds and these shots do call for a DSLR, but you may already in fact be better served with an APS-C sensor here for the "free" teleconvertor effect of the cropped sensor.
     
  25. Superb portfolio photos; love your use of colour. Maybe it would be helpful to make a list about what you like and don't like about your current lens setup, and then try to get the FX lenses that 1) keep the features that you like; and 2) improve upon the aspects that you don't like.
     
  26. I would re-consider your choice of lens lineup. The 17-35 2.8 Nikkor, though an older model, would serve you well in the wide angle zoom range, to start.
    A couple of tilt/shift lenses, namely, the 24mm and the 85mm Nikkors.
    The Zeiss 100m Makro Planar and the 50mm Markro Planar, bot F2.0 ZF, or if you must have the AF, the Nikkor 105 VR Micro Nikkor.
    I would drop the 70-200 zoom and get the 200mm Macro Nikkor instead.
    This range would do you well for most of the type of shots you seem to gravitate towards and would be as sharp or sharper than any zooms out there. Plus, the added benefit of lighter weight, a consideration when working out in the field. These single focal length lenses will spur your image making once you've spent time and effort in mastering their strengths. Look into B&W and Singh Ray filters for your lenses and consider adding a couple more SB900 flash units in addition to your list. With the exception of the Tilt/Shift lenses, the lens lineup I've suggested can be used on the older film cameras. You can use an older manual body for when you're miles from nowhere and your battery dependent cameras wont work anymore.
     
  27. Jennifer --
    I'm going to join the crowd and say that you have a great eye, knowledge enough of your current equipment to get great results, and a resulting great portfolio.
    That being said, I have a tendency, like Shun, to question your need to purchase all of this equipment at once.
    I'd practice shooting the styles you want to get into with what you have now and upgrade as you NEED to.
    I'll break down how I decided to upgrade my D90 to a D300s...it's a great system that has saved me lots of money over the years.
    ~ Do I NEED or WANT?
    NEED
    ~ WHY do I NEED to upgrade my D90 to a D300s?
    Because I'm shooting more sports and I find myself shooting into the evening more often. The D90's focus system is limiting what I can shoot when the sun goes down and the lights come on.
    ~ Is there anything I can do to keep my D90 and not spend $XXXX on a new D300s?
    I went out and shot a high school lacrosse game, 2 semi-pro football games, and a AAA baseball game. I went back to the basics of shooting sports and got some great shots...while the sun was shining. As the sun went down, my shots got progressively worse and worse. ISO was not an issue as I was shooting up to ISO 1600 to keep my shutter speed above 1/500 sec. What I found was that as the sun went down and the contrast became more muted, the D90's focusing system "hunted" for the right focus more and more. On top of that I couldn't track focus once the hunting began.
    I RENTED a D300 and shot under similar conditions...got spectacular results and had a lot fewer issues getting the camera to focus where intended.
    ~Are there any other benefits that a D300s has that justifies upgrading my D90?
    7 fps, 51 AF points, certain switches/buttons (AF, Metering, AF-ON) that make my life easier, dual memory card slots, bigger, brighter viewfinder, etc, etc...
    ~
    Can I afford it?
    YES! I'll BUY IT!!
    OK, now that you know how I go about purchasing equipment, you have to understand that I do this every time I buy a new piece or upgrade what I already have. In doing so, I generally save myself a lot of money by not purchasing something that will sit in the bottom of my bag most of the time.
    *Know what you intend to shoot and know your tendencies when shooting.
    *Know what you want to do in the future...whether or not it happens is largely up to you, not your equipment.
    *Accumulate the equipment you need as you find that your equipment, rather than lack of skill, is holding you back. 75% of the time, equipment is not the issue... ... ...
    *Try to learn one new piece of equipment at a time. Master that one piece before purchasing something new.
    *Focus on learning one type of shooting at a time. I've spent over a year getting good at sports photography. I think I'm pretty good, but I'm not sure I'll ever make a living off it...there's just not a market for it where I live. Don't get stuck in one style, but understand that macro photography of bugs and flowers rarely pays the bills.
    *I've learned, (and spent), a lot in the years that I've purchased equipment... I will suggest that when purchasing lenses, consider buying refurbished or lightly used copies from reputable retailers (Adorama, B&H, KEH) Lenses don't break often if cared for and used the way they are intended. You'll save yourself a ton of money by purchasing what someone bought, rarely used, and let sit in the bottom of their bag until they were sick of lugging it around.
    *Consider every purchase carefully...you don't want to be the person selling their lightly used lenses to KEH at a $700 loss because you don't use it very often and need a different lens to suit your shooting style.
    One last thing, and this is probably the most important. Understand that being artistic and knowing the "art of photography" will not make you money in this business. Being a good businessperson and getting the right contracts will. Here's a great story about a local photographer:
    A pro photographer friend of mine sat me down and spoke to me at length about photography as a business. He makes well over $100,000 per year and knows less about making great photos than your average mule...he said so himself. "All I need to know is how to set my aperture to f/8, my shutter speed to 1/100 sec, and where to point my camera...oh yeah...and where to plug in my lights"
    This pro shoots "one shots" for local schools and sports teams. Basically, he's a one-man portable studio that has had great success keeping contracts with his studio and away from the "big boys" like LIFETOUCH.
    "I've got contracts that date back 40 years with some schools...I negotiate my price and keep 10, 15, and even 25 year contracts to shoot school portraits. You'd be surprised how many schools will negotiate a longer contract, just so they don't have to do it again. You've got to know how to present yourself, not make fabulous pictures. These places want consistency and repetition, so you've got to make these schools see that you're reliable and can get the job done year after year. They don't want to re-negotiate with you, (or anyone else for that matter), next year, or the year after, or the year after that. They want a long term commitment, but you may need to make some half-wit administrator see it that way."

    Just something I thought I'd share...


    Well, I've rambled on for long enough. Hope it helps, and I hope you think (or have thought) everything through before you make your purchase.
    RS
     
  28. I'm a Canon shooter so I can't comment on gear. I will say that your portfolio is great. Coming from the same position as you, it's best not to make a large initial investment in gear. Your business model may change as you find clients who enjoy your work. I purchased more business gear as clients have paid for my services. For the things I lacked, I've been able to rent locally. This may not be the case for you on lighting gear but you can rent the lenses on line if necessary. A wide angle lens like the 12-24 is definitely a different world view.
     
  29. Read what Richard posted very carefully. It is good advice.
    I think you have too much money and I fear you are trying to buy a game. Your photography is very nice. You do not need all of that equipment right now. The learning curge will be like trying to sip through a fire hose.
    So here is the deal. Your portfolio is very nice and quite colorful. Obviously you are meticulous in your camera work. But out of 200 pictures there are exactly 13 that are people. You are putting together an equipment set that is aimed right at photographing people. The Fair shots are nice but they are not particularly commercial. How about the formal portraits and other studio work that you seem to be equipping for? Perhaps you just chose not to post them. My question is, what have you budgeted for training? Will there be money left over for you to attend seminars and workshops? I have been doing this for oiver 30 years and every seminar I attend teaches and inspires me.
    If you are buying Nikon USA lenses they come with a 5 year warranty. I would not spend extra on lens warrantees. It is unlikely that they will break anyway and after 5 years you can decide what to do. It appears that money is no object so why not enjoy all that nice equipment.
     
  30. Very, very little money to be made in "nature" photography. I have doubts that very many people could make enough money with that to even recoup the cost of the gas they spend going to places to photo. I'll join the crowd saying wait on the camera. If (more like when) Nikon comes out with a new "D800" body with the D3s sensor in it, the D700 value will drop like a rock. Even adding video to the D700 would put big pressure on used D700. As for "protection plans," I know I could find a lot better use for $1,300. Especially considering Nikon already has great warranty. For lighting, I think I'd go with at least 640ws lights, such as B1600, if you have any plans at all to photo outdoors. Lighting is what makes the biggest difference with portraits, IF that's what you are shooting (don't recall that you said.) I agree that the list you came up with doesn't seem to match what's need to photo people, but then again you've never really told us what you want to photo. It's hard to make meaningful recommendations. The idea is to match the gear to the purpose. I've been doing well the past couple of years buying used gear from photography studios that have gone out of business due to the very poor economy. Call me a vulture, but I've bought seven high powered monolights, battery packs, and heavy duty lightstands that way. It's worth looking for these bargains, and they're certainly out there. I paid as little as half price for Paul Buff studio lights that looked virtually unused.
    Kent in SD
     
  31. All great advice...and I appreciate all of your inputs, this is why I asked. I feel ready to take the next step. It's not about the money (and I say that loosely) , it's about pursuing my goals. My current camera is old, my lenses stink (except for the 105mm), really, they do. I am going to hold off for a few months, I suppose, on the D700. But I will purchase the lenses and lighting~ and have made the decision to go with the 24-70mm, thanks to great input from you guys. I know my portfolio here doesn't reflect a great deal of people photos, but I have the desire to want to start shooting them, if they are willing, of course. I know I won't be a big time photographer, but I have found my niche, and I say to myself, go for it...again, I thank you and have read and reread this post a couple of times...and will take all you have to say into consideration...now, off to ponder.
     
  32. Consider the 16-35mm f/4 or 17-35mm f/2.8 instead of 14-24mm f/2.8 if you like to use a circular polarizer.
     
  33. If the primary objective to improve one's photography, IMO it is unnecessary to buy so much new equipment all of a sudden.​
    These are wise words. IMHO it's always better to buy one or two pieces of gear at a time and spend a lot of time learning how to use them.
    Since there is some debate as to whether the D700 body is due for replacement, why start with the 70-200, the SB900, the Sekonic meter, and one or two filters? That should be more than enough to keep you busy for a few months.
    Note: There is no way to mount a polarizer onto the 14-24 mm lens. Polarizers don't work well with very wide angle lenses, anyway - the edges of the frame become very, very dark - so you're not going to miss it on this lens.
     
  34. Note: There is no way to mount a polarizer onto the 14-24 mm lens.​
    Adorama lists this one from Cokin.
     
  35. My thinking is that you need to purchase the equipment you will use mostly. If your wide-angle usage will be limited, then obviously you should go with the 24-70mm lens. In that case, you can cover your wide angle needs with some more cost-effective solutions, like perhaps a Nikon 18-35mm lens, which you can find used for very little.
    If on the other hand you plan to use the wide-angle lens for more picture-taking than the standard zoom, you should go with the 14-24mm. Another prime (together with the 50mm one) like a 28mm should cover your mid-range needs.
     
  36. I would go with the 24-70 and instead of some of the other things, I would consider a second body. The D700 is a late production model, but it is a great camera. If you need to go now, get it and save some pennies for the D700 upgrade, if it ever occurs.
     
  37. Wait for the D800 and while you are waiting take a week long Santa Fe Photographic Workshop to get motivated and be around photographers that are really good.
     
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To Jennifer: If you are lucky enough that money is not at all a concern to you, as it is the case to some well off members on this forum, just buy whatever you want. Some people can get a D700 now and then its successor also whenever that becomes available, perhaps a few months later.
    However, if your money does not come easy as in the case for most of us, I would suggest to spend it wisely. I would not buy so many lenses at once and I would not buy a new DSLR so late in its production cycle. Hyperthetically, if you had 5 weddings lined up for the next 2 months and therefore you need a D700 now, it would be a good reason to buy a D700 today. Otherwise, I would wait.
    If the intend is to hike around, IMO the 70-200mm/f2.8 is a bad choice. I really wish Nikon had a 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR, and all indications show that they will provide one, but given that Nikon has just announced version 2 of the f2.8, I suppose it will be another few months before any f4 version will appear. A 70-200mm/f4 will be a lot smaller, more suirable for landscape photography. For wedding photography, it is hard to beat the 70-200mm/f2.8.
    Note: There is no way to mount a polarizer onto the 14-24 mm lens.
    Adorama lists this one from Cokin.​
    For all practical purposes, you cannot use filters on the 14-24mm/f2.8. I know Lee and some other companies provide those super combersome holders to mount a huge filter in front of it. Just clink on the link Kent Shafer provides and take a look at this $600+ attachment, and we know Cokin does not make the best filters. That is simply fighting the design of this lens. If you need to use filters, you are much much better off spending that kind of money on another lens designed to take fitlers.
     
  39. One thing that I would suggest NOT skimping on is the tripod. It's crucial for most kinds of photography. Buy a carbon fiber Gitzo 300 series and a first class ballhead such as AcraTech, RRS, Kirk etc. This is something most of had to learn the hard way--just how critical a good tripod and first class ballhead are. I've owned a series of tripods before getting a Gitzo 1325 & AcraTech head. Yes, they are a lot more money but I do notice a difference in the solid performance they consistenly give. I'd rather use a D80 plus Gitzo than a D700 with no tripod, most of the time.
    Kent in SD
     
  40. I have a nice CF Manfroto with a joystick head...
    Shun, it really isn't about the money, it's about improving myself and making my goals. I have an opportunity to purchase equipment that will help to set my future. It's an investment...and a risk...a successful person wouldn't get very far with out taking a risk. I am looking at the big picture. Yes, I will be paying on this for years (like every other business investment), but like I said, it's a worthy personal investment, imo. I didn't mean to make it sound like money wasn't a factor/issue...because, of course it is...just looking for suggestions on what I have on my list.
    I thank those who offered an opinion and suggestion~
     
  41. That Bogen "joystick" head was the worst ballhead I ever owned. I ended up returning it within two weeks. With a light load like D80 + 18-55mm on it, it's adequate. Barely. When you start putting heavier loads on it you quickly come to hate it enough to shoot it (with a rifle.) What put me over the edge in just a few hours was trying to use a Nikon 80-400mm VR on the "joystick." For the kinds of loads you are talking about, you are WAY short on tripod support. If you were to try a real ballhead such as AcraTech, Kirk, RRS etc. for just ten minutes you'd immediately know what I was talking about. Bogen QR plates are the very worst too, as they twist and turn when you turn camera sideways for verticals. Highly recommend spending at least $800 on tripod/head. Don't see the point in spending that kind of money on heavy, pro caliber camera gear and then using cheap stuff and expect it to hold steady. The Bogen QR plates alone are worth dumping the head over.
    Kent in SD
     
  42. You might consider a used D700 at this time, and buy its successor when it comes out; the D700 will be an excellent second body.
    I also agree that a 17-35mm f/2.8 is a great alternative to the 14-24, and coupled with a 28-70mm f/2.8 can save you a lot of money.
     
  43. A used D700 would be a good option right now.....I have a D700 and it's a fantastic camera...
    The D700 replacement no doubt will be announced sometime around July and of course going by previous experience it will be in very high demand ......it probably won't start shipping until late November and you will be very lucky to get your hands on one before christmas......
     
  44. All the gear is high quality stuff for sure. I suppose the 24-70 zoom would fit in with your other focal length choices as you would cover 24mm to 200mm. One thing about the super wides is the polarizer effect comes out with patchy skys, however it still is very nice for reflection reduction such as with waterfall pictures. I think the wide angle you picked out does not accept screw on filters. You are going to have one heavy camera bag so make sure you buy a box of Wheaties. Not sure about waiting for the what's the next greatest thing in camera's but that is the world of computer photography. The upgrade thing affects people in different ways. Some could give a hoot about it and others are in a frenzy waiting to spend their kids college money. Good luck with your gear, I am sure you will do wonderful things with it.
     
  45. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D700 replacement no doubt will be announced sometime around July and of course going by previous experience it will be in very high demand ......it probably won't start shipping until late November and you will be very lucky to get your hands on one before christmas......​
    I have no idea precisely when Nikon will announce a new DSLR to replace the D700 and exactly what the new features are, although it seems clear that it will have video just like any other new DSLR since 2009 (except for the bottom of the line D3000).
    The D700 itself was announced on 1st July, 2008, which is almost to the date 23 months ago. Nikon started shipping later on that same month, namely July 2008 and by September, various discounts started showing up when I bought mine. By November that same year it pretty much dropped to $2600 and it has been there for a year and half.
    The background situation was that the global recession also started in the fall of 2008 and the value for the yen went way up. Nikon and other lenses also went way up in price during 2009 but camera prices have been stable.
     
  46. I can't speak for someone else, but if I buy a new D700 today, it will annoy me a lot when it quickly becomes out of date.​
    Out of date? Shun, you know better than that....
     
  47. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Arthur, as I pointed out earlier, as far as I am concerned, video capture is a must have feature if I buy a DSLR today, in 2010. Some people don't care for video; that is their choice. It opens up a lot of information capture opportunities for me and I don't want to carry a separate video camera. Therefore, the D700 is already out of date, so is the D3X. Not to mantion that the D700's high-ISO capability is also a step behind the D3S now.
    That is why I have been saying for a few months that unless you have a compelling reason to get a new D700 immediately (e.g. you have some important shoots within the next few week that you need a D700 now), it is not a wise purchase in 2010.
    When I tested the D300S for photo.net, I captured a bunch of videos in the Antarctic. Certain things are much better represented with video than still images (and for some other subjects, still images do a better job). I prefer to have both available. E.g.: http://vimeo.com/8022055
     
  48. Shun,
    I fully realise that the D700 does not have video functionality nor the high iso capabilities of the D3s. However, that does not make it out of date, nor technically obsolete. It is a different camera, that caters for a different public with a different need.
    Maybe some of you disagree with me on this, but in my opinion adding the latest function, or sometimes gimmick, does not deteriorate a good peace of equipment. Even though I will probably never use film again, I would not say that film is out of date. Different ball game, different league.
    Back on topic, Jennifer, considering the serious investment you are about to make, I would follow the advice to wait and see what's in store in the coming months. Bear in mind though that you will pay top dollar for the latest and the greatest.
     
  49. Excellent portfolio Jennifer - now to your question I use a D700+ MB-D10 and a D3, also a D100 converted for IR. I have the 14-24 and 24-70 f2.8 Nikkors and I USE both, The R1C1 Speedlights - I have three heads for mine, - and the 70-200 f2.8 Nikkor plus other stuff. You will find that both Lee and Cokin now do holders and filters for the 14-24, they are not cheap however. Because of this I use the older 17-35 mm f2.8 Nikkor. I buy only 77 mm filters and use step down rings to attach them when needed. With the MB-D10 I use en-el4a batteries - they last for ages. For the type of work you do, have you considered the 70-180 mm Micro Nikkor? You might find it worth looking at. As for timing - we can all put it off, but if a D700 suits you then why not go for it? Sure it will be outdated in months or years one way or the other, I might just wait to see the July offering but..... Also look at the SB800 rather than the 900 - one - its cheaper, and two, one of the criticisms of the SB900 is that it is so loaded with things you could do but never will, that the menu is a nightmare. I tend to use two bodies at all times and have a different lens on each - depending upon what I'm shooting - so I am very happy with both the 14-24 and the 24-70. The 14-24 is very good for landscape and architecture - but both are neck breakers if carried all day. Whatever you decide - keep up the good work.
     
  50. That is why I have been saying for a few months that unless you have a compelling reason to get a new D700 immediately (e.g. you have some important shoots within the next few week that you need a D700 now), it is not a wise purchase in 2010.​
    More or less like Arthur above, I think this reasoning is flawed. Which makes sense since I bought a D700 in February. Of course, things move so buying a D700 in February is not like buying in June, and the more time passes the more the replacement gets close, the more you have a point. Let's resume how I see it:
    - The D700 is about 1900-2000 euro in Germany now. in kit with MP-10 is around 2100. At launch it was 2600-2800 if I remember correctly, body only. If one wants to go full frame Nikon now, and wants to spend less than 2500 euros, it is the only option and it WILL be still the only option, most likely, a year from now. The new camera will be put on the market at least at the same release price as the D700 had, possibly more, especially of it has a high resolution sensor. At the very least, between D700 and D700x at release there will be 600 to 800 euros...
    - As you well know, it is an amazing camera with the best AF on the market, the second best high ISO noise on the market and a excellent build quality, ergonomics and speed.
    - The D700 is a perfectly tested cameras, with mature hardware and firmware. Be an early adopter is not always a nice experience, there are many examples around, in and out the Nikon camp.
    - The OP has a D80. The difference in build quality, speed and image quality between D80 and D700 is massive, to understate. She can either have that now and relatively cheap, or have that plus something else, for more money, in something like 6 months.The point is: what value is that "something else" for the OP?
    Take my case: if I was on the market now, I could either buy a D700, or wait at least until summer (most likely July announcement according to the last rumors), but more likely September / October to get my hands on a camera which is at least 6-700 euros more (AKA overpriced since early adopters pay anyway), has some likelihood of showing some initial firmware (if not hardware) glitch, and gives me one feature I don't care about (video) one which is nice-ish but not necessary (double card slot) and either one nice-but-not-vital (one more stop high ISO a la D3s) or one I don't need nor want (higher resolution). Frankly, to put off buying a D700 for a person with my needs would be plain dumb.
    My point is, everybody should buy a camera of this price by knowing VERY well his/her needs. Capabilities and limit of the D700 are well known, and it is inconceivable for me that a person thinking about spending that amount of money in professional gear does not know exactly whether they are or not compatible with his/her needs. If they ARE, as in my case, waiting AND spending more to improve in areas I don't care about makes no sense. And feeling bad or upset because your camera is "outdated" is just ridiculous. I would feel more upset because I have waited and paid more for a camera that for me does the same job the D700 did already.
    I could just reverse your reasoning: unless one has a compelling reason NOT TO buy a D700 now (e.g. he wants video or he wants higher pixel count), the D700, at its price and with its features is a steal right now, and a VERY wise purchase. This not to say I'm right and you are wrong. Just that perspective is everything. And I'm a bit skeptical about this catastrophic perspective change that suddenly made poor quality videos a compelling creative need.
    L.
     
  51. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Luca, I suggest you re-read what I wrote earlier, on May 29, 1:24pm. Even though you are buying a D700 anyway, you are still better off getting it a little later when it is no longer the current model. Once a replacement is announced, the value for the D700, new or used, will likely drop. However, if you still want a new one, you probably need to act fast because there might not be very many new D700 remaining. If you want to buy used, there should be plenty of them as some people upgrade. More supply, price drops; it is very simple.
    Waiting does not mean that you have to buy the newer, more expensive model.
    Shun Cheung May 29, 2010; 01:24 p.m.
    The D700 has to be quite late in its production cycle. I have no insider info (or I wouldn't be posting here), but I expect that it'll be replaced in the next few months. If nothing else, its value will likely drop quickly. If you want a D700 anyway, you should be able to get it cheaper if you can wait. If you cannot wait, the D700 is still a fine camera now.​
     
  52. Shun,
    What you say is true, but there is of course always the fact that most people want (or need) to buy at a given point. And there is a difference between "I wait because I want feature X which the current model does not have" and "I wait because I want to pay 300 euros less". The first one is was I was commenting on before. The second is of course true as well, but there is the usual dilemma: 300 euros less, but three more months without a significantly superior camera (thinking about the OP's D80). Even if you can wait (I could wait forever for example, I have a perfectly functional D200 and I'm an amateur), at a certain point the saving is not worth the waiting. For me, that point came in February. I'm, in fact curious of how much the D700 price can go down still. I might be wrong, But I don't think it will ever go much lower than 1900 euros new, also because as you say the remaining stock will likely be completely exhausted in a short time. So one might end up waiting 3 months to save 100 euros.
    In a sense, it is the same philosophy I was describing before. I don't buy a camera because it is the latest and greatest or when it is the best deal it will ever be. I decide what I want in the new camera, I decide what price I'm ready to pay. When the camera I want reaches the price I want, I buy. Once I do, I don't look back. In Italy we have a say which translates more or less as "the better is the enemy of the good".
    Ciao
    L.
     

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