Seriously - How does one afford photography?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by p3nnst8r, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. Ok, this is a legitimate question. Outside of "it doesn't matter on the lens/camera as much as your ability to shoot," how can ANYBODY afford to get into photography it seems?
    I have a Nikon d80 and the standard 18-135mm lens, and looking at getting into Sports photography, but really, I cannot afford the glass in which it takes to get into it. (70-200 f/2.8 for 2100? Ouch, or even more, the 300 mm f/2.8? with an optional 1.4x teleconverter?) And I'm not even thinking about upgrading my current camera to a d700 or *gasp* D3. What is the best thing to do outside of destroying my credit cards and saving for 3 years when I am just trying to get into it?
  2. I wholeheartedly agree about the costs associated with photography. Furthermore, being surrounded by many lenses and cameras worth >$1k, one loses a bit of perspective, and starts thinking a $600 zoom is an entry-level affordable object. It obviously is, when you compare it with the Canikon f/2.8 zooms, but you can build a pretty decent computer with that money. That money would also buy me a week in any european city. Eventually, it depends on how much you can save monthly and your priorities.
    Regarding the 70-200, or even the 300/2.8, I suppose the best thing to do is renting the equipment for a week or so, and see whether it is your thing or not. If shooting with that equipment is your thing, then second hand is an option. This is especially true with the "mad rush" to FX and the switch to the 70-200 VR2. The VR1 works as well in a D80 and can be found second-hand for $1200 or so. If you find you don't like it after a year, in the case of the Nikkor it is possible you will recover a very significant amount of your investment (as a certain Ken usually says).
    Finally, there's also the third party zooms, although Sigma seems to be in a price hike lately.
  3. A "less-than-brand-new" approach won't hurt to get started. The D80 and a older AF 300mm f2.8 (non-D, non AF-I, non VR) Nikkor lens -- and a monopod will get images just about as good as the AF 70-200mm f2.8G Nikkor lens. If you start small, save your $$$$s, and sell what you are should be able to get better equipment in a month or six months from now.
    You have to work at what you enjoy doing.
  4. Rent the lens! Seriously. Many pros do this, that's why these places exist. I can't understand it either, how apparently dozens of members of the Nikon forum drop $2k on a zoom lens, and they aren't even pros! I could never justify it for myself, even a $600 lens makes me hesitate, and that's about as much as I could ever spend on a lens without making money with it.
  5. To expand on Jerry's point, very few people learn to play the violin on a Strad or an Amati. You can buy good used equipment, older equipment which is still as good as it ever was and which once was the best anybody had.
    A monopod may well be more useful than a tripod anyhow. If you learn and do well, you may work your way into better and newer gadgets.
    Hard as it may be to believe, once upon a time, people shot totally manual Nikon F cameras with manual focus lenses at major sporting events and got paid for doing so.
  6. It's really no different than asking, "How can anyone afford set up a plumbing business?" That involves a heavy, reliable vehicle, training, lots of expensive tools and materials, insurance, marketing ... sound familiar? How does someone launch a bench jewlery making business? How about a small web hosting operation? Or a carpet cleaning business, able to handle commercial work?

    You either have a good enough business plan to impress somebody into loaning you money, or you have to claw your way through lower-budget equipment, and re-invest every dime you make into growing your kit. It takes time.

    There's also Plan B: work like you really mean it at some other line of work. Skip all vacations. Stop going out to dinner. Live with older clothes and fewer other toys. It's amazing how many silly places money goes if you start taking note - and especially if your real priority is to rack up the cash to launch a photography business. Then become a weekend warrior, keeping the day job as you shoot, and as you gain experience. It's tiring, but it gets you there without going into debt.
  7. I have bought most of my lenses used and a couple of bodies reconditioned (by Nikon). I have a acquired a pretty extensive kit (cameras, lenses, flashes, tripods, memory, etc.) over a period of several years.
    You only need one body and one or two lenses to do a lot of photography and a lot of learning.
  8. Many people don't even have money for the ticket to watch the games. I know many kids who love photography and try hard to save $30-$40 to get a beatup K1000 or AE-1 with a prime lens. Some even had to take a Chinon instead because it costs only $20
  9. I wonder at what level of sports photography are you talking about. Taking Little League pictures or did you land a job shooting the Cowboys? I would not know about professional sports photography myself. I did ask a guy on the sidelines at a PGA tournament how much his lens cost and he said he does not buy the gear he uses. When it comes to Little League type pictures I think you have good enough gear to shoot with. You can always add a lens that you can afford later on. Many people just slowly build there system over many years as they can afford to.
  10. It took me 20 years to buy my first Leica M. I settled for a Minolta XG-M in the meantime. I still have that Minolta, by the way. I went to school, didn't buy fancy clothes, and did not eat much. After completing my education, I got a better job, and am able to buy equipment that I could not afford when I was younger.
  11. If you hesitate at the price of a D700, maybe photography isn't something you should be putting effort into yet. Spend what money you do have on tuition and get yourself an education, get a better job, then start dumping money on frivolous camera products.
  12. I'll second JDM von Weinberg's answer....Used to be there was no AF, VR built in exposure meter, etc & people still managed to get excellent shots. I still use a lot of older MF lenses as well as newer AF ones to fill holes in focal length ranges. Not only to fill in missing ranges in the AF gear, but also for certain characteristics that the newer gear does not have. Lens "defects" can sometimes be put to creative uses...I've been shooting for over 40 years & have amassed a lot of gear , but ,with putting 2 kids thru college (& one thru Law School), I didn't have the funds either. I do sell some of my work, but prefer to shoot to please myself, thus I don't roll the small profits over into new gear. I guess I'm still somewhat of a dinosaur as I use the old gear as much as I do (still shoot film every so often as well)
  13. You don't need a 70-200 2.8 or 300 2.8 to shoot sports. As with any other subject, the biggest thing is your knowledge of the subject. Then, shoot with a 55-200 or 70-300 f5.6. You'll need to bump the ISO pretty high probably. You'll also probably have to use some of that knowledge to time just the moment to hit the shutter, because you won't be blasting through 8+ fps. You're going to shoot 100, 300, 500 photos at an event, and your going to throw away 90% because they're not quite sharp, 7% because they are cut off, and 2% just miss the perfect moment. And of that remaining 1% of images that are "good," most of them are not going to be aesthetically pleasing.
    But you're going to keep doing it like that. And you'll learn the limitations of your equipment, and you'll lust after bugger, faster lenses. And you'll get better, and some shots will be worth showing off, even!
    As for affording expensive lenses? Assuming you're not a pro, the answer to that is quite easy. I once heard a hobby described as something you spend large amounts of money on for no justifiable reason. That's exactly what most of us do, whether it's a $200 lens or a $2000+ lens. You don't need it, you want it. And that's ok.
  14. If you're shooting Nikon then there is a handy solution: used lenses.
    Can't afford the 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII? Then what about the VRI? No? Then how about the 80-200mm AF-S? 80-200mm AF-D? 80-200mm push-pull?
    Your options for the standard xx-200mm f/2.8 range from that $2100, to about $400 for the push pull which is slower to focus but still produces solid images.
    But the number one thing that has funded my gear is doing work and getting paid to do it and buying as I go. Right now I'm supplementing my income and my photography habit by doing senior photos, weddings, selling photos from high school sports and small odd jobs here and there.
    All you need to really get started is the camera you have now and maybe a 50mm f/1.8. Build from there.
    You don't need to buy everything on day 1. You just have to have a down to earth idea of what you need to get started and try not to worry as much about the rest of it.
  15. A budding photographer could get the 24-70 nikkor and the 70-200 and either a D700 or the D300 with a speedlight/diffuser and that kit minimal though it may be would enable some beautiful work. Unfortunately photography is a pursuit that carries a huge price tag if one would have the latest / greatest gear. Honestly there is not too much way around that if high-quality fast lenses are desired. Buying used and being patient will help somewhat but inevitably the forces of NAS will prevail...and slowly building up the kit over years of time is usually the way it gets done when the photog is not that well-heeled. Which if you think about it is not too bad since that forces the image-maker to actually work with what he or she has and THINK ABOUT what their results are and then to know what lens they really need before writing in to a forum with the thousandth inane post about "What lens should I get?"
  16. What really annoys me is the cavalier way the "haves" converse with the "have nots". Seriously, on this and many other websites, the offhand manner in which someone casually suggests you buy an expensive lens to fix one problem you might be having is almost insulting.
    However, someone mentioned this earlier: rent the lens. Whenever I'm hired to shoot a particular event that I feel needs something other than what's in my current arsenal, I'll rent it and bill the client. They never seem to mind (I include it on their invoice as "equipment rental") and I'm able to get the job done.
  17. Work with what you have. It's better to be a genius with a point and shoot than a hack with all the best.
  18. I've always worked with great, older equipment, and spent the money to have it serviced. A Hasselblad will last a heck of a long time and give superb results, time and time again if you take care of it. I'm glad I owned Nikon since the 80's because the lenses can still be used on my D200 and D700. And I've owned the same 4x5 cameras since the 80's too. Good, solid equipment and brands are a good investment. I seldom buy new, but I do rent high end cameras for photo shoots that require high quality and high reliability. I don't have a 300mm f/2.8 Nikkor, and I don't own the 14mm Nikon, but the 15mm I've had since the early 80's. I seem to get by.
  19. Here is my Nikkor Go-to kit for fast less expensive lenses that are also great lenses.
    AF 50mm f1.8 $150.00 new
    MF 75mm - 150mm f3.5 $100.00 used
    With a close focus lens (diopter) attached it becomes a good macro lens.
    AF 180mm f2.8 $350.00 used and built like a tank.
    AF 300mm F4 $700.00 used and built like a tank.
    These lenses can get you to an excellent skill level, hold their value, and they will be your friends for years to come.
    After acquiring the above lenses, and when I had the financial opportunity, I purchases more expensive Nikkor zooms. Was their added quality worth it, many would say no.
    Hang in their, take your time, and practice.
    Happy shooting,
  20. Amateur photography (using decent cameras/lenses) will soon be a luxury enjoyed by doctors, lawyers, and their spouses.
    The rest of us will be stuck with sub-2000 dollar camera/lens combos (which even today will barely cover the cost of a D90 with a 17-55 2.8 lens)
  21. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Rent the lens!​

    I shoot sports professionally, and I do this. I rent an 80-200/2.8 (Canon, but this is really not different) when I need it, which is about four times a year. That's $100/year, it would take 16 years to get to where the lens is.
    The rest of the equipment is expensive, but it's still just one body and one lens (24-70/2.8) because for what I shoot, fights (boxing, MMA), it's plenty. I rented the camera and that lens several times before buying, to make sure it was going to work, rather than buying before I knew what I was going to do.
    You should look at what rental will cost relative to buying.
  22. Skill is not dependent on the lens or other gear but on the individual. A good photographer can take better pictures irregardless of the gear. The gear may help take a better photo in difficult circumstances, but the gear doesn't automatically make anyone using it a better photographer....Use what you have & add more as you can afford it, or rent it to see if it fits your needs.
  23. A Hasselblad, considered the gold standard for certain types of photography, has always been beyond the reach of many. I don't think anything fundamental has changed. Same for top-of-the line 35 mm SLR cameras.
    Also nothing new that the top gear can only be afforded by professionals with enough revenue to recoup the costs, and by amateurs in well paying professions. That includes a retired house painter I met with his assortment of white Canon lenses.
  24. Haha I agree, and I think the key is to give up any hope of ever being rich, holding down a decent relationship, living in a nice house, driving a nice car, having nice clothes, eating nice food, and generally devote yourself completely to photography.
    But seriously - a quite useful and inspiring article that helped me find my way from dead broke to a D700 (and dead broke), was Ken Rockwell's "How to afford anything".
    <I tried to link to the article here, but the elves tackled me to the ground. Just pop over to his site and search for "how to afford anything">
    Good luck!
  25. The latest, greatest expensive equipment is all fine and well but you don't need it to produce decent photos.
    I had a pro photographer teach me some tricks about shooting baseball. With that knowledge and despite owning much better equipment I went to a college game with a Nikon FE, 75-150 and a couple of rolls of HP5. I was thrilled with the keepers I landed. All with no AF, no VR and no motor drive.
    My point is you can get decent shots with less than pro equipment if you have a passion for what you are doing.
  26. I believe the desire , which at times might be "need" to have better and better photo gear has been around a long time, BUT .... I think that the push to have the newest has never been stronger. It's the feature glut syndrome. Back 20 years ago, the best new feature was a faster AF motor or more frames per second. You knew those would be handy things, but not THAT important to the quality of the picture. Now, with all the VR and ISO performance and CA reduction and auto this and auto that, the basic photog gets the impression that you just CAN'T get that result without the newest model of what ever you are looking at. That makes people think that they NEED more and it's not just a want. The camera companies LOVE this.
    I wish we had a few Wednesday picture sessions where not so top of the line or even OLD gear is the topic, just to prove that you don't NEED all the alphabet soup to get great shots.
  27. Start with used equipment. A used D200 coupled with manual focus AI/AIS lenses will give you pro and near pro capabilities for far less money than the latest and greatest AF VR toys.
  28. I started off small, then sold the entry level camera and lens, then upgraded to the next level until I had enough money to get into the pro level and L series stuff. Took me five years to gather all my gear though saving money and upgrading old gear.
  29. I think Doug made an excellent point, and that is, you do not need to use expensive lenses to produce exemplary work. I've seen incredible results made by photographers using non-Nikon lenses, like Sigma or Tokina. These lenses are available used for far less than a new lens costs. And for the most part, if the lens has not been abused, it may still have a lot of life left in it. I use a Nikon 70-300mm ED AF-D zoom lens, which I bought used for $200. I also recently purchased a reconditioned 55-200mm VR zoom for $150 when I want to go small and light, which lately is more and more often. I use these lenses on a D300, which is one of the finest DX format cameras Nikon has ever produced. Some would say I'm a fool for using such "low-end" lenses on such a fine camera. I disagree. I find both of these lenses to be excellent for my needs. I am not shooting for pay, and I am not shooting to publish, however I have published an image I shot with the 70-300mm ED zoom at 300mm, which isn't it's finest setting. So just buy the lens you think will work for you.
    I shot this image at Boeing Field, as this Northwest Airlines Boeing 747-200 was about to take off on its last passenger revenue flight, and it was published in Airways Magazine in 2009. It was cropped for publication. I was standing on a ladder looking over the perimeter fence.
  30. Consider all of great photographers of the past 70 years from Ansel Adams, Avedon, Capa, HCB all the way up to recently deceased Galen Rowell. I think I have better equipment than any of them with my Nikon D300, bought used. For a larger format, I recently bought a Bronica 6x7 GS-1 with 65mm lens, metered viewfinder, speed grip and 120 film back all in EX++ condition for $250. Galen Rowell used a Nikon F4 and I have a F4s in EX++ condition that I bought for $350 and a F100 for the same price. My Nikon auto focus lenses tend to be low end, but I have quite a few top notch MF Nikkor primes that work well on the D300. The problem isn't equipment. The problem is that I don't have one microgram of the talent and vision of the great photographers and never will.
  31. Photography is expensive, but there are ways to keep it within reason. As has been said you can buy used gear or rent lenses that you don't use a lot. You also don't need the latest and greatest. Instead of a 70-200 f/2.8 VR you can get a used 80-200 f/2.8 or (heavens forbid) a used Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. Your D80 is still a good camera at low ISO's. If you want to upgrade it, get a refurbished D90 instead of a new D700 or D300. Later on you can upgrade what you need to upgrade as you can afford it.
    If you are really into photography you may have to make sacrifices in other areas. Go over your budget and see where you can spend less. Minimize debt. Instead of charging something and paying outrageous interest rates, save up for it. Set up funds to save for expensive items. We have a car fund that we contribute to monthly. That way we are making interest instead of paying interest. Most importantly, live within your means. I can afford anything I want today partly because I didn't buy things when I couldn't afford them. Susie Ormand, who is actually pretty good, said that the biggest financial mistake people make is spending money they don't have to impress people they don't know. I would amend that to say don't spend money you don't have period.
  32. Dave, I enjoyed your shot from Boeing Field. I worked for Boeing for 24 years. Fourteen of those years were spent at the Development Center just across the street from where you took that shot. Bringing a camera onto Boeing property was considered cause for termination, but many of us did it so we could use them at lunchtime. I never brought one into a building and they stayed in my car packed into an insulated lunch bag along with one of those blue icy thingies. Boeing also had the same policy for alcohol and firearms, but when I worked at the Kent facility, I often had a shotgun in the trunk so I could take advantage of the Boeing skeet and trap range at the same facility. I retired 5 years ago but I sometimes wonder how many people go to work at Boeing with a camera equipped cell phone. If you visit Boeing Field, you will see a white 757 with some strange stuff hung on it. It is called the Flying Test Bed and it is the first 757 ever built and it has a F-22 wing mounted directly over the pilots' compartment, not because of the need for more lift, but because the F-22 wing contains quite a few sensors. On the nose of the 757 is a real F-22 radar. In essence. the 757 is an electronic F-22 fighter, and I took part in over 40 test flights. We usually flew over Okanogan where there is little commercial traffic and we were often accompanied by a many as four F-16 fighters who would act as our adversaries. I sure miss those excursions. The 757 is usually parked near the south end of the field with a bunch of AWACS aircraft.
  33. I may be out of line on this, but hasn't camera gear always been expensive? I seem to remember the Nikon F5 selling for several thousand dollars (US), and pro lenses always being expensive. Sure the cycle for new camera bodies has sped up, but that's because the "film" is permanently fixed inside the cameras now days.
    As has been mentioned before, many professional photographers don't own their own gear. The AP and other news organizations, for example, often issue gear to their photographers. Others who are in business for themselves rent, make do with what they have, or build it into their operating expenses. Furthermore, many do not buy the latest and greatest if they don't have to. Just because Nikon/Canon/Whoever release a new professional body every 2 years doesn't mean the other ones stop working. I own the old Nikon 70-200 and have no plans to upgrade to the newest 70-200. I'm also using the "ancient" D3s I bought in 2007 and have no real plans to replace them for quite some time. Nikon will have a D4 out soon enough, and a D4 successor thereafter. It's only when my gear cannot supply me with the edge or abilities that I need that I replace or upgrade it.
    To get into photography, all you really need is a camera that is adequate for your needs. Landscape and portraiture don't usually require cameras that shoot at 1,000,000 ISO and 20 fps, and even sports can be shot happily at the relatively modest 5 fps that most cameras do now days. Keep in mind that only a short time ago sports were shot at 3 fps on cameras that had to be reloaded with film every 36 exposures and whose maximum ISO was 1600.
  34. I hope I am not cavalier when it comes buying expensive stuff. My father was an immigrant from Scotland that started in the West Virginia coal mines. I craved a Leica as 12 year old in 1948, based on a book from the public library, and it took me till age 66 when I acquired that book, (another copy) and the camera and lens that was on the dust jacket, a Leica IIIc with a 50mm Summitar lens. I joined the Air Force in 1958 as an ROTC 2/Lt, and it was not until 8 years later that I felt I could afford a 35mm camera, which I bought at the PX in Vietnam for $35. (a great camera that I still have). Waiting that long seems extreme, but the services were on starvation wages until the late 60s and I had a wife and kids and 7 of my first 8 years in the service were spent in low cost of living areas like NYC, Atlanta, Boston, and DC. If there had been food stamps, we would have been on them. After 22 years in the military, I worked for Boeing for 24 years until age 69, and for the last 4 years of employment, I drew a good Boeing salary as a senior aerospace and software engineer, combined with a colonel's pension and thank to Bill Clinton, full social security without penalty from age 65 to 69. So being a tripple dipper helped, but that was offset my youngest son going to an expensive private school back east, as opposed to attending the U of Washington here in Seattle, as my wife did.
    If I had saved my money during the past 10 years instead of buying over 100 classic film cameras, I could be using a D3 with an assortment of good glass, but I love the old mechanical cameras, and even my best camera, a D300 bought used will be a doorstop long before my Nikon Fs, F2s, F3 and F4 and my Canon T90s, F-1s and an assortment of Leicas, Minoltas, Voightlanders, Retinas, and Zeiss give up the ghost.
    Which brings me to a question. I am pure amateur, but what is to stop me from claiming professional status, and getting a tax write off on the gear. I am not about to do it, and will not become a tax cheat, and I realize that at some point you actually have to prove that you at least made some money, but what if you just made some claims as an aspiring pro, and found out in a few years that it didn't work out.
  35. A "less-than-brand-new" approach won't hurt to get started.​
    Doesn't hurt as a continuation either. Most of my cameras are at least as old as me and cost next to nothing.
  36. It is hard to admit, but photography was - and is - a hobby for the wealthy. Even the repeated cost for simple develop and scan that I have for my 35mm film is expensive. So, what with everything going up in price and financial pressures everywhere, I will be slowing up a little with my hobby. One roll a week instead of two. Certainly no more new gear for the forseeable future.
  37. bmm


    I've read this thread a few times and I am a bit torn about the OP. On the one hand I wish it was easier for Greg to get his sports photography gear. On the other, to some extent that's life. One can want to fly light aircraft, to ride horses, to go scuba diving, or whatever and one cannot always afford to do the things one wants. That's just the way it is.
    But I don't think the answer is to engage in 'class warfare' either, and didn't like the talk of 'haves and have nots' and of people dropping '$2K on a zoom lens and they aren't even pros. Each person here has their own circumstances and priorities. They can share as much or little as they want of those, and others will give advice according to the information provided. And good newsis that when someone does mention a maximum budget or likewise, they usually get a bunch of pretty good advice within that limitation.
    Finally to John W's specific point about an 'old gear' Wed pic. To me that is unnecessary, and would in fact be counter-productive. People post images on their merits, and we get a good mix already of wonderful images from all sorts of gear. Doing a 'cheap only' thread would be a kind of reversed jealousy thing that defeats the purpose.
  38. I believe since its inception, it has been thought of as a hobby for the wealthy. Back when I was very little, in the 70s, my parents used to borrow "the camera" from an older, wealthier relative if they were going somewhere special or had a special occasion. We'd call and drive over to get it a few days in advance.
    If I had tons of disposable income, I'd buy a suite of Zeiss lenses and a few other pieces. I hate not being able to go out and just buy it, but I haven't figured out how to explain to my husband the reason we'd be living in our car.
    For now, I have bought nearly everything used. I run a small part-time business, but it is supported by a day job. After I'd been learning for a couple of years, I bought one camera body new and I don't know if I would do it again - I'd rather have the money buying used from a reputable seller. I rent equipment as needed. It's in my operating cost and I sometimes need specialty items that I would never use any other place (fisheye lens for huge groups, for instance). I reinvest the money I make right back into the business.
    Mostly, I use great older lenses that get excellent reviews. They are nearly all primes & manual focus, which can be far cheaper. It's another way I save money. If I have any equipment failure, I pay to get it repaired. I try hard to buy the best quality I can afford in the first place so that if it eventually needs fixing, it will be worth it. The above requires some research before buying, and means you can't just impulse buy, but that too saves money. I pay business insurance annually on my equipment so that if it is stolen, I can have it replaced, and so if there's an accident, I have coverage.
  39. It is interesting sometimes to read threads where the professionals suggest a bit of gear that is (technically) inferior to that proposed by the amateurs. As a Canon user, an example that strikes home for me is the choice of 17-5x f2.8. Many amateurs suggest the OP should get the Canon 17-55 as it is 'the ultimate' in this range, while a professional adds that they use the more humble Tamron 17-50 as all they need to earn a living.
    The professional is aware of what they need, and more specifically what they need to do the job and they often make careful considered choice based on the cost of the lens, its quality and whether it will pay for itself. The amateur on the other hand falls into 3 camps: those who have sufficient income to pay for the best (this is often though not always mixed with 'pride of ownership'), those who want as good as they can afford in some misplaced belief that it will help improve their photography (and I admit I have done this!); and those who through hard experience (like the professional) know what will 'do the job.
    Seriously, on this and many other websites, the offhand manner in which someone casually suggests you buy an expensive lens to fix one problem you might be having is almost insulting.​
    I agree with the sentiment though I would stop short of calling it 'insulting' - inconsiderate certainly, especially when the OP says they have a limit of (for example) $500 and people start withinin with suggestions of $800 to $1,000.
  40. Either increase your income, or decrease your desires.
    I am sorry, but I find this a silly question. I have a D700 and would love to have all the pro glass. I could afford them if I would choose not to have my three children to join a sports club, have decent clothing, set money aside for their university years, and many other things. Like many other posters have said it is a matter of choice.
    You want the top things, buy them and compromise on the other things in life. Your choice, your responsibility.
  41. Fast long tele lenses = expensive. Period.
    Most everything else has a workable solution at a more "accessible" price point.
    Plus, now that I'm shooting digital, I'm not buying film (money saved) and only printing what I really really want...
  42. Earn more money by getting a higher paying job and/or getting a 2nd job to help pay for the things you want. And spend your money wisely.
  43. bmm


    Seriously, on this and many other websites, the offhand manner in which someone casually suggests you buy an expensive lens to fix one problem you might be having is almost insulting.
    I agree with the sentiment though I would stop short of calling it 'insulting' - inconsiderate certainly, especially when the OP says they have a limit of (for example) $500 and people start withinin with suggestions of $800 to $1,000.​
    Notwithstanding what I wrote above I completely agree with this little sub-discussion. People don't seem to be able to read an original poster's budget.... or for that matter requirements (eg the 'what 50mm lens' threads in which everything from a 24 to a 85, and many zooms, are offered as answers).
    I really like and agree with Arthur Richardson's response just above by the way.
  44. True, you do not NEED expensive glass to get beautiful images. You never did. You can get a beautiful image with a pinhole camera costing 2 bucks. But that is not the point, is it?
    If you want to take certain shots then you need the necessary gear. If you want to shoot an endangered eagle up in the Rockies, then you need a 600mm f/4 lens. You simply cannot take that image with a 55-200 f/6.3 or something. So, it all comes down to what kind of a photographer you are and what kind of images you're looking for. If you want to shoot your family holidays, maybe a nice vista and so on and so forth, then yes, you certainly do not need the latest 70-200 VRII...
    BUT...if you want to shoot highschool football because the school ASKED you to and they expect quality images from you, then you NEED the 300 f/2.8. If you cannot get your hands on it (either bought or rented), then you simply refuse the job. After all, nobody is holding a knife to your neck. And of course, I'm not even going to go into the situation where people are actually PAYING you for those images. But by then, you're into the "professional" category and equipment costs are part of the whole deal...
    As for how you can get there, I think it has been mentioned: start small, buy second and third-hand items and shoot with them until you outgrow them. Then sell 3-4 items for a single higher quality, again second-hand item. At that stage, add a bit of your own money for that little bit extra. And you repeat until you get your desired kit. Of course, if at any moment throughout this little uphill battle you find ways of selling your images, then by all means, fund your hobby more seriously.
    I started with a D50 with the 28-105 kit lens. I bought a 70-300 fiftieth-hand lens for $25 and used those for a year. Then I traded the whole thing for a used D70 and added another $100 for a used 50mm f/1.8. 8 months later, those were traded for a used D80 and, with a bit of financial wizardry, a 18-135 lens (then my pride and joy). By that time I was managing to sell images and Blurb books and so, less than a year later, the D80 and the lens became sacrificial elements in the purchase of an ex-demo D200 and a third-hand 80-200 push-pull (I added around $300 at that stage in 6 monthly installments!) 3 or so years later, after having shot over 10 events, after having covered various political turmoil incidents and marches, after selling over 500 Blurb books and hundreds of images, I was able to buy myself, for the fist time ever, a brand new D700 and a used Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens. I had to load my credit cards to do that, but it was worth it. I would rent or borrow other lenses from friends and now, almost two years later, having turned semi-professional with a dedicated clientele, I have my own D3, with ALL the fancy lenses (14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 VRII f/2.8, 105 Macro and 4 Speedlights. Oh, and a used Sigma 120-400 OS for those long shots.
    It can be done. You need patience, resourcefulness and perseverance...
  45. Ok, this is a legitimate question. Outside of "it doesn't matter on the lens/camera as much as your ability to shoot," how can ANYBODY afford to get into photography it seems?​
    Your question begs for two other:
    - "get into photography" for what purpose? For snap shots, for art, for business?
    - "can ANYBODY afford" compared to what? Compared to hobby: sailing, golfing, cooking, sewing, etc.? Compared to art: painting, sculptures, playing a musical instrument, etc. Compared to business: running a food truck, becoming a MD, starting a chip factory?
    Enjoyment or success of any of the above does not start or end with the equipment involved.
  46. Photography is just a hobby for the the bulk of folks on the planet.

    Only a few parts per million of folks who use cameras make enough cash to pay for their equipment.
    Thus photography is a lossy hobby.
    About all Folks who shoot images are amateurs; they do it for fun.
    The trust in marketing to amateurs is you NEED that latest lens; latest body to shoot a great image. This drives the industry. It is the core tenet of being an amateur; the dogma that is worshiped. If you only had that better gizmo; you too could make better images.
    Any mention of actual experience is quashed.
    Any mention of technique is quashed.
    Any of lighting is quashed.
    Thus to keep the industry afloat requires amateurs to buy the latest gizmo; since that is really what matters to shoot a great image.
    Most all folks who actually sell image do not even make enough to pay for their equipment.
  47. I wrote for an audiophile magazine for twenty-some years. A two-thousand-dollar amplifier is considered 'inexpensive'. I got sick of the attitude after a while. (The writing did pay for the audio gear.)
    DISCLAIMER: (Since I get flamed a lot.) There are photographers for whom the latest and greatest may be a necessity. If faster AF and greater high-ISO quality gets a top sports shooter a higher number of publishable images, he does need it. For most people though, including those who make a living with their cameras, it is not necessary to get the newest thing that comes out. There are enough gearheads doing this to keep Canon, Nikon and the rest in a profitable condition.
    TO THE OP: The 70-300 VR Nikkor is an excellent lens. All you need to start shooting sports is that lens and a monopod. Maybe Topaz Denoise as well, since you will need to raise the ISO. That's it. Make some nice, big prints of your best shots (WHCC or Mpix do a good job) and put them on the wall. That will go a long way to damp down the gear lust.
    GENERAL THOUGHTS: The current hoo-hah about the Nikon 85mm f1.4 just amazes me. The lens it replaces is a legend--'The Cream Machine' (sounds like a porn star). There are laws of optics and engineering here; unless you raise the cost to astronomical levels, it is hard as hell to improve on a great design. 'Faster AF', they cry, while discussing how they will use the lens wide-open for portraits (can't have both eyes in focus now, can we). I would be willing to bet serious money that the Samyang 85 would do just as well, even under close examination, for this purpose.
  48. Like others before, I also can recommend the old Nikon Nikkor 80-200 AF 2.8D it has pro glass but it is about 20 years old so it can be had on ebay for around $600. that if you ask me, is a steal for pro level 2.8 glass. It does not have VR but you won't need VR for sports anyway. some reviews say the AF is slow but honestly when i was tracking fast flying birds and action sports, it was -not- slow. (especially if you are fast enough yourself with good hand-eye coordination)
    i don't think you'll need 300mm 2.8 especially for a crop sensor body, that would be the equivalent of 450mm which i dont think is necessary unless u are staying far away from a dangerous animal.
    so once you get a nice used 80-200mm f/2.8, a 50mm f/1.8 for portraits, and a 24mm f/2.8 for landscape, ur all set.
  49. OP - "looking at getting into Sports photography,"
    I'm with Matt here. If you're going to do it as a business, it's like any other business, and it takes money to get started. If it's as a hobby, compromise within your means. Stay away from the low-light venues, get some used glass, and do the best you can.
    Photography, in spite of what one reads on PN, doesn't have to be terribly expensive. A decent P&S, like an LX3, Canon G11, etc., with an average computer, in conjunction with inexpensive (or free) software is not terribly expensive. If one is really pressed financially, scour craiglslist, hit the garage sales, and for less than $75, one can often find lots of decent P&S'. True, for the PN gearheads, that stuff would not be fit for a trip to the playground with the beighbor's kids, but it would serve a hobbyist well, and for very little.
    When the going gets tough, the tough get creative.
  50. Not being a troll (apologies Nikon crowd), but move to another system if you're going to use older lenses. I won't be so crass as to mention names, but some have inbuilt shake reduction so you'll at least get some benefit of modern technology when you use those older lenses (ie as opposed to on the lens, which is just modern, system-specific). Older lenses are a steal.
    Also, the need to have an ultimate superfast lens, with today's advances in ISO I think that'll become less, especially for amateurs that don't have a specific shallow depth of field requirement. When a body outputs good stuff on A4 at 3200 ISO, why on earth pay $1k more for that extra 1/2 a stop when the body gives it to you. Yes it's nice to have the best of both worlds but if you're on a budget you can't always have that.
  51. how can ANYBODY afford to get into photography it seems?
    Here's how: you don't have children, you work a well paying job that you can put up with, you sleep, eat, and everything else you do or spend money on is photography. You start with second hand lenses and gradually move up. You choose your subjects carefully and don't get any other equipment than what you need to cover those subjects.
    Alternatively, you work on subjects that are not as equipment-intensive as sports photography. Portraits, for example. Don't need much expensive equipment for that.
  52. I wanted a 300 2.8 Nikon lens since I was 19. I finally got one 20 years later. That was after I finished college, grad school, photo school, and 3 or 4 jobs.

    That's how one does it.
  53. Here I shot baseball in the mid 1970's with a 400mm F6.8 Spiratone; and made about 50 to 100 times what the lens cost; but amateur friends had the better Telephoto lenses and did not make enough to pay for their lens.
  54. As my brother use to point out, most things in life that are fun are always expensive. He was into surfing and guitar playing and both hobbies you would have to spend money for good equipment.

    As an old school photographer I can say that photography is a lot less expensive that it use to be back in the 80s and 90s. Back when we were having to buy film, chemicals for darkroom developing, or paying to get it done elsewhere, we could easily spend in a few days what you'd pay for the lens you mentioned. Back then we didn't proof over the internet, we'd have to spend money on actually creating a proof album. Because the cost of photography has gone down with the introduction of digital, so has the pay rate a photographer makes, so I don't really know how most full time photographers afford equipment either... unless they're like me and work a full time job that actually pays and do it on the side.
  55. Not being a troll (apologies Nikon crowd), but move to another system if you're going to use older lenses.​
    If you mean micro4/3, you have a point, although you will lose AF, which is critical for sports these days. IBIS is nice, but sports requires fast shutter speeds in any case, and MFT sensors are not the best at high-ISO. (Although not as bad as the gearheads believe.)
    OTOH, if you mean (shudder) Canon, you can't USE older lenses. :)
  56. Use your credit card to get some of the decent equipment and then try to use this good equipment to make some money to pay off the cards and then buy more. Very little in photography is affordable if you want good, or even just decent, equipment, let alone to frame a few photos! It's easily one of the most expensive hobbies around. I have yet to frame anything because I can't afford it, even doing it myself. I know this hobby has put me into several thousand dollars of credit card debt a few times! Luckily Photoshop came along, because truthfully you can take average photos and sometimes make them amazing using it. so I invest more in software now to correct the photos I take with my Mediocre equipment! Seems to be the cheaper way to go as a beginner.
  57. Why does it "take" anything to get into it? What ads have you fallen prey to? Are you being paid for your work? I can understand professionals needing the best possible gear in order to do their paid assignments to the best of their ability, if nothing else, in order to score more paying assignments in their competitive field of work. In that scenario, a D3 and 70-200/2.8 VR are needed because "It was too dark" is not an excuse the photo editor wants to hear when the photographer gets back to the office with nothing to show for the assignment. And even then, few of such pros own anything beyond a basic 70-200mm, as exotics can be signed out from their newspapers' equipment pools when needed.
    But as an amateur? Why can't you make concessions and just avoid shooting night games? And why does missing a few shots here and there matter when it doesn't mean not being able to eat that night? It's all in your head. Just get over it and start enjoying it, because you're lucky you don't depend on it for your living.
  58. You want to talk about expensive photography. For a period of nearly 10 years, I worked in support of the National Reconnaissence Office (NRO) when it was a top secret compartmented clearance program with clearance granted on a "must know" basis, much more stringent than "need to know". It was DoD's highest priority program, was film based, and photography was performed in stereo. I was debriefed in 1977, so it is unlikely that I am revealing anything sensitive. You can google "NRO corona" to learn about a very successful program of the 60s and early 70s, that has been largely declassified. I was much more involved in the "taking" the picture than in analyzing the picture, but I saw plenty of photos from all the systems employed back then. We are talking billions of dollars, for satellites that had a lifetime in orbit of about two weeks, and which ejected film capsules near Hawaii, that descended via parachutes and were snatched in mid-air by specially configured C-130s and each attempt was successful. Not so with all satellites launches. Film size was measured in feet, not millimeters.
  59. One word: Prioritize

    Prioritize your life so you'll have money left over for essential gear.

    Prioritize your wish list and buy only what your really need.

    Prioritize your time and spend it learning how to get the most out of the gear that you have so you won't lust endlessly
    after shiny goodies that you don't need.
  60. You got to pay to play. If you know you're good and you can make your money back, there are business loans and credit cards. If you are not totally confident that you have a way to make money with your images, you should probably avoid expensive pro gear while you get better at not only shooting but at your photography business skills.
    I'm not cheap to hire and every time I talk to a new client I get a gasp when I tell them my rates. It is up to me to explain why they should spend more on me rather than hiring the part time "pro" with a Costco Special. I sometimes don't get the job but most people respect quality equipment and they understand I need to pass some of that expense on to them. I find it is easier for me to get jobs now with expensive gear and high rates rather than using cheap gear and undercutting my competition on price like I used to do many years ago.
  61. Starting any business usually requires some sacrifice and indebtedness. You need to ask yourself honestly how big will my final prints to the customer be, if not giant size then the aftermarket lens like the newer Tamron and Sigma may work very well at about half the price of Nikon and Canon. That said I find myself wanting the best lens too, just because it is there. As important as the camera and lens and as expensive is a good computer and calibrated monitor and printer, and lots of storage for the computer. Try to focus on the whole business plan not just the camera and lens.
    Good Luck in you endeavor in professional photography
    Jim Ducey
  62. OTOH, if you mean (shudder) Canon, you can't USE older lenses. :)
    Jeez, I have to rise to the bait. Almost the only old lenses you can't use on a Canon digital are the Canon FD lenses, and even they work with a negative lens adapter.
    Old Nikon lenses, including non-AI ones, work beautifully on Canons as do many other lens mounts like M42, Exakta, Contax/Yashica, etc. Try fitting some of my non-AI lenses on your "backward-compatible" Nikon digital cameras. ;)
  63. OP, I shoot tons of sports and I still shoot with my D70. Compared to newer equipment it is slow focusing, "poor" noise at higher ISO etc. I cannot afford the latest and greatest body or lenses but there are some pretty good low cost alternatives for lenses.
    Buy used and smart, you can afford some lenses fast enough to do almost anything. I use a
    50mm 1.8 (~$120 new, $200 less than the 1.4 alternative),
    85mm 1.8 (~$330 new, $900 less than 1.4 alternative)
    80-200 2.8 (bought used, like new $900, and saved $200 over new and $1200 less than 70-200)
    It has taken me a few years to accumulate this lineup but I manage to shoot basketball and hockey indoors without flash and football and baseball at night without flash. Yes some additional reach would be great but with 2 kids in college I do not have deep enough pockets to acquire the tools.
    Timing, practice, good exposure (to reduce noise) go a long way. Read as much as you can about shooting sports, maybe take a course through a local continuing ed program and shoot shoot shoot. The desire to have that great equipment will not go away but when you get a great shot you will no doubt be just as thrilled. If your interested in what you can do with that gear you can check out this site as most of the shots there are mine and have been taken with that gear. Good luck.
  64. Acquiring a good collection of equipment takes time, unless your last name is Trump or Gates. My collection of 4 bodies and 15 lenses in two different formats has taken me over 30 years! Not all of my lenses, or camera bodies, were purchased new. I have a Nikon F4 I have had for a good long time I bought used on Fleabay. It has never failed me.
    Lenses are expensive, it's a fact of life. You mention a 300mm f/2.8 in your question. Do you REALLY NEED a long telephot that fast? Or will a 300mm f/4 do the job? The answer is yes. I still use a 300mm f/4.5 AIS Nikkor with my F4 and D700 and it works beauifully. I do, however, own a 600mm f/4 AIS Nikkor, but I bought it used from a friend who had had it for years and was willing to let it go for a song, just to get it out of his closet. But that is not the norm, not by any stretch. Very fast telephoto lenses are specialty lenses. Lenses you see full time sports photographers carrying. For an amateur, unless you're loaded, it is a waste of money. You did not mention what kind of sports photography you are doing.
  65. Like others have said, spreading the cost over time, buying used, and keeping spare cash to snap up a bargain helps a great deal.
    Photography is just like professional dress clothes. You can build a good wardrobe slowly, but if you do it all at once you'll break your budget. Let's say you budget $1000 a year for photography. Well, the first year, you buy a used D80, a couple cheap lenses, and a used flash unit. The next year, you get a used 17-55 f/2.8. The next year you get a good tripod and ball head. The fourth year, you get an 80-200 f/2.8. The fifth year, it's time for a new camera body. After five years, you've spent five grand, but you've got a decent kit. And that's only added up to about $84 a month, less than your cable TV bill.
  66. Lot's of great feedback and terrific advice on this post. For me, one of the unspoken things that goes on in photography on sites like this is that we are all exposed to a staggering amount of phenomenal photography. I am literally in awe of some of the portfolios on display and the total body of work on The quality and imagination seen here can be inspiring, sobering and everything in between. One can't help but compare their own art and work with what others have done. And if you are like me, you are very interested in the gear, technique, lighting and settings used to get their shots. So I understand Greg's frustration in looking at shots where unobtainium was used to capture the moment. I have lens and camera envy all too often even though I have a decent camera and one great lens... gear that I will have for a long time because of the cost of upgrading.
    But, I so agree with so many posters that remind us that technique overshadows gear almost every time. I shoot with a used D200 and was privileged to have a wife who allowed me to purchase a 70-200 F2.8 VR Nikon three years ago. Awesome lens but it will not compensate for exposure errors, focus mistakes and general photographer error. I have lots of proof.
    My advise... get really good with what you have and be thankful for all of it. Know your camera and lenses well, read a lot and experiment as much as possible, use the best possible techniques to improve quality with the gear you have and give it all some time to make sure the direction you think you want to head is actually important to you. I find that if I have a desire that won't go away even after 6 months or a year, it truly is important and I need to take steps to see it to fruition. I also find that the burning passion I have today for the latest/greatest frequently goes away after a month and I realize I was just letting advertising or other influence tug me along.
    I would be interested to hear the resolution of your decisions.
  67. I have several things I've convinced myself of (it may not even be true, but I've drilled it in my brain so I don't think about it anymore):
    1. If I upgraded to full frame, *everything* will get several times more expensive, the lenses, the cokin to lee filters, the tripod to support heavier stuff, the camera bag to hold heavier/bigger stuff................................ and I compare that to how much I spend on my car.
    2. I can count maybe, 3 or 4 instances where a better camera body would have vastly improved my picture: once when shooting vultures in flight, an elk in dim lighting far away, and so on. The other 98% of the pictures I took, the camera body probably wouldn't have mattered. I sometimes open up my vulture pictures and think: "Would you pay $3000 to make this sharper so you can slap it on facebook with more pride?"
    3. I take comfort in the fact that even with my budget camera, and budget to mid-range lenses, I have a set of technology that would have been considered *phenomenal* a mere 10 years ago... and people have been taking great picture far before then.
  68. If you have a business, then you could, say, photograph a wedding for a friend and charge a token amount, and bang; your lenses are tax deductible.
  69. Here's how to get into sports photography cheap. Get a superzoom point-n-shoot camera for about $300-500. You will have to learn how to anticipate the action and pre-focus and hit the shutter release at the height of the action, but it can be done. No motor-driven madness. No tripod or giant lens.
  70. Some people are pros and do what they have to do, some people are loaded and can afford anything they damn well please, and I suspect a lot of people just throw it on credit cards (the American way).
    Then there are people who photography is their #1 priority, and they sacrifice in other areas for their passion.
    Finally there are people like me, and clearly many others here, who by used, refurbished, and older equipment. I happily have an 80-200mm f2.8. Sure it doesn't focus as fast, but it's pretty much as sharp as anything out there now. Similarly the 80mm f1.8 will take just as good of a photo as an 80mm f1.4. Regardless both can be bought used for significant savings.
    The only thing that ever gets my goat about this, and it's mostly at DPReview that I see this, are the nimrods who come into a forum dedicated to $1000 cameras and tell everyone they should own their $3000 camera. Personally when you own a camera that costs more than many people earn in a month, some humbleness is warranted. I don't blame people for owning a D3 (or god forbid, a D3x), but a little sensitivity goes a long way. After all let's face it, even $1000 cameras are pretty offensively expensive considering the number of people struggling to even pay their rent.
  71. PS: Also buy off brand lenses - many Tokina/Tamron/Sigma lenses are pretty dang close if not occasionally better than the Nikon/Canon provided lenses.
  72. You could start with what you can afford. There are some wonderful images taken everyday with cameras that are older that 5 years old. My best advise is to prioritize what you need and take your time in building up the lenses. You can rent the lenses needed when you need them. I use a 5D which is 5 years old and use a 24-105 as my walk around lens. I also have the 50 1.8. The next lens to purchase will either be the 70-200 f4 IS or 100-400 then the 50 1.4.
  73. My first sports gig was in college for my photojournalism/sports journalism classes. I had an old F3 (that looked like it had been dragged through hell behind a truck) and three lenses: a 50 1.8 Series E, a 135 3.5 Series E, and a borrowed 200/4 Ai-S. I had to shoot a college football game for the classes. I burned through five 36-exposure rolls to get exactly 8 decent shots. Manually-focusing for an SEC football game wasn't easy...and film wasn't cheap (although I rolled my own). But that's where I got my start...and where I got my first newspaper publication.
    You don't have to jump in credit card-deep at first. Get good at what you do, and then expand as you're able to afford better equipment.
  74. James, I still can't believe Boeing stopped production on the 757. It is such a perfect airliner. Gave the market to the A321 they did. My father worked for Boeing for 37 years, all in the Seattle area. He worked mostly in Renton but spent some time at the Dev center at Boeing Field. He passed away a year ago last June, after enjoying retirement for nearly 22 years.
  75. my car cost $13,000. my 35 lux asph costs 3995 new, my m6 cost me a hasselblad and an 85/1.4. my v700 scanner humming next to me cost $450. these things are obtainable. I am a server at olive garden. I am not good with money. Luckily, I could sell all of my gear and probably have more money than i started out with. I will not do this. save your money. I worked for two months straight and put all my money into my pocket for my d700. i sold her for the 35 lux. get a second job or get closer to the field:)
    that being said, exploit connections to get shots no one else can. befriend a maintenance guy and get on the field. talk to the coach and say youd like to take some photos and send them to the newspaper and to the school. get on the field. get in the huddle. then freelance, get a press pass and get a salary. borrow and shoot, shoot shoot.
    and by the by, is sports photography your passion?
  76. Thanks to everybody who responded (8 pages, musta hit a sore spot ;) ). I appreciate the information, although I think some of you guys missed the point of the original post. I have been shooting for almost 3 years now with my d80, and would like to expand from my current situation (aka gear), and was just wondering what steps I can take to get into the market of sports photography with it being so expensive. I was not concerned over how to properly shoot with what you have.
    I do agree that used lenses are probably the best way to go. That being said, they seem to maintain their market value pretty well, as most glass doesn't shoot any worse with age. And although FX is cropped, I enjoy shooting local AAA minor league games after work, which will require a longer lens and, unless you limit yourself to the first 3 or 4 innings, a faster lens.
    I also have a full-time job, and have been out of college for almost 5 years now, lol.
  77. Photography is just a hobby for about everybody here on
    Most folks are not shooting images to pay the light bill.
    Thus like any hobby you really want that 10,000 buck metal lathe; 10,000 buck milling machine; you want that 7,000 buck lawn mower.
    You want that 50 million buck boat.
    One can hunt a few times a year as a hobby and spend thousands on gun gear and ammo.
    Since few if any folks use photography to support themselves; there really is no answer how to fund a HOBBY; it is all lossy.
    With an actual business like a kid cutting lawns in the summer; he uses the cash flow of sales to support the capital expenses like a new 150 buck mower. He may want a 7000 buck rig; but the cash flow is not there yet to support it. Thus the lowly photographer at Walmart is a pro; he shoots enough portraits that the camera settup throws off enough cash to support him; the floor space and equipment; and a profit to Walmart. The typical shooter on is not at that level yet; it is all about what to buy for a lossy hobby ; one with a negative rate of return.

    The pro Walmart shooter has to please a real client; a real mom with screaming kids.
    The amateur Photo.neter trys to please non clients; they upload images for approval. It is too scary to move to the real world; ie pleasing an actual client means getting negative feedback. Thus amateurs dream of being paid giant sums to shoot sunsets in Africa for 10 million per year.
    It really is not a "photography" issue; but one of how to support your HOBBY.

    Hobbys are supported by your other income; you work at the post office; you work fixing cars; you work at Home Depot. All this hard earned cash is then spent on capital equipment that usually earns nothing; and with time is worthless.

    Thus the "what I can afford" for ones hobby depends on the extra cash flow from a real job.
  78. Following an interview I did today in Jerusalem with Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped IDF soldier, Noam Shalit, I decided to stick around at the prime minister's office next door as both Hilary Clinton and Machmoud Abbas were inside holding the latest round of peace talks. All the mainstream press were there: news teams, camera crews and photojournos.
    While everyone was shooting Canon there was a single Nikon shooter; worked for a Japanese paper. Of course I was curious to see what the Nikon pro was using and sneaked a peak: Nikon D200, Nikkor 18-200 VR
    This is the 2nd Pro I've met here who shoots with this setup.
    If this is the case I really don't see why we need to be so obsessed with spending thousands of dollars on the latest gear when professionals make do with tech that is often knocked for having "poor high-ISO performance" (D200) & "distortion, vignetting, and soft at the long end" (Nikkor 18-200 VR)... ?
  79. I am a hobbyist who still shoot a D70 and D2h, haha the D2h was bought 2nd hand for maybe $300US equiv. Hey, try my country if the USA isn't cheap enough.
    Basically you just have to sacrifice. You may choose not to go overseas or stay at hostels, eat cheaply, cook at home, don't go to nightclub and don't dine out. Have annual leave and stay home.
    I just buy 2nd hand. There are some still decent cameras if you just want A3 prints to maybe competition quality and critiqued by judges, I know that a D70 can achieve that but it does not crop v well. I got the D2h used. Seriously all most people really need is maybe 1 or 2 cams at most and maybe 2 or 3 lenses at most and maybe a travel lens. I don't do sports forunately so for landscapes with a tripod you could get away with a D70 + kit lens - LOL and maybe a Sigma wide angle or something like that.
  80. Dave, thank you for your comment. I certainly hope your father greatly enjoyed his 22 years of retirement. All of my experience at Boeing (24 years) was entirely on the military side of the house, primarily because when I joined Boeing in 1981, that is where all of the hiring was taking place and the 757 and 767 were new and trying to get the cash flowing. On my Boeing projects, we were usually teamed with other aerospace firms as subs or associates, and getting to know them and their companies, I consider Boeing to be the pick of the litter in what can be a nasty business. I can remember the old slogan, "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't goeing." As an aside, I don't think we had much of a summer this year in the Seattle area. I had planned to burn a lot of film this summer, but my arthritis and the sunshine never seemed to sync up. For those of you not from this area, my furnace kicked in on the 4th of July weekend, which is not all that uncommon. Still there is no place else I would prefer to live. We normally have the world's nicest summers, air conditioning not required, no humidity, no bugs, and the average high temp in July is normally 75F (and I was a professional meteorologist in a previous lifetime.)
  81. When I was younger, I bought good bodies (FM, F90X, D100) and off-brand lenses (Sigma).
    Now I have more disposable income, so I buy mostly Nikon glass, maybe 1 each year. And my 90mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4 (bought 10 years ago) still make the very best pictures, even on my new D90.
    I say buy slow and as good as you can afford and understand where photography fits into your goals.
  82. Wow, what a thread.
    Isn't photography a grass roots type of sport (or hobby. or business) you use what you can afford and make it work the best you can with experience and education?
    I remember camera's costing close to what they do now, 20 years ago, although pay was much less.
    I have played the CL /eBay game where you can usually buy a used lens, and sell it for what you paid for (Sometimes making a couple of bucks) to try it out for some time and get a feel for what lens can work for you and what can't.
  83. Look what we paid decades ago versus today.
    My new Nikkormat FTn with 50mm F1.4 SC costs 301 bucks at Olden camera in 1973. That was equal to 1000 gallons of gasoline; so like maybe 2600 dollars in todays money.
    Cameras cost less today; but folks whine more.
    The long term trend is cameras are lower in cost; thus one has more users; thus more folks whining that then cannot make a profit too.
    That Nikkormat with lens was 3 months rent where I lived in 1973.
    Go back to the civil war and only pros had cameras
  84. Most all folks use photography as a HOBBY; thus there is ZERO sense as being a profitable business; ie NO LIMITS to the toys folks want and need!
  85. In an actual business; there has to be more accountability of capital equipment; than a hobby does.
    Thus a business rents a ditch witch; or super telephoto; it is is only used a few times per year.
    To the hobbyist; if the person you worship uses an Acme 800mm lens; you want one too; since you to then can get the same shots.
    It is deep rooted in amateurs that lighting and experience means nothing; it is all about camera and lenses. This drives the photo industry; thus amateurs are never satisfied. It is the core main tenet of being an amateur; you HAVE to buy that latest gizmo to shoot better images.
    You can spend 50K on lawn mowers and tools; or 50K on camera gear too; or 50k on a home workshop too. There are really no limits to what one can spend with a hobby.
    The shocking thing is many working pros use lessor gear than amateurs; or they use older pro gear that is NOT the latest either.
    Today one can go on ebay and buy decent cameras for a pitance. I got a neighbor a working Nikkormat Ftn with 105mm F2.5 PC for 45 bucks. This is chump change compared to a 1970's say 1500 to 1800 gallons of gasoline back in 1973 for the same combo. That 45 buck combo is like less than 20 gallons of gas today; ie almost one 100th the cost.
    Today photography is radically cheaper than in past eras; manual film cameras and darkroom stuff is a pitance.

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