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How would you spend £2,500?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by cjsmith, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    All, your advice please...

    Having saved up for ages, I now have about £2,500 in my budget for replacing my old, trustworthy Panasonic FZ20, which has done me proud considering its price. I have somehow resisted the temptation to buy lenses etc for this over the past year, as I know long term this would simply be money wasted.

    I need to justify this expense by being able to take nice high-res images of the kids with grandparents which will look good poster size on the wall, but between us I really enjoy taking urban/street images and pictures of relatively high speed motor races! I have no real interest in macro work, or indeed in anything too landscape orientated.

    I've spent some time researching, and have been reading this forum and others repeatedly for about a month now as purchase date approaches and so have my own ideas, but the question i would like to ask is - How would YOU spend the money, assuming you were starting from scratch with my intentions?

    Any contributions/proposals you are able to make will be very much appreciated...

  2. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Very carefully and very wisely. Ask yourself what you really need and buy only what fits that need even if it means you've lots of money left over to put into a savings account for a rainy day.

    You don't say what the fruits of you research were.
  3. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I would probably buy a Nikon D2x! You most definately shouldn't do that, at least not without considerable deliberation, you might not like it for a start.

    This is good advice

    I suggest that you do just that.
  4. ahar

    ahar Well-Known Member

    What, apart from getting a KISS rebreather to replace my 12 ltr twinset to go scuba diving with?

    Anyway, being sensible:

    I only really know Nikon as I started with Nikon so I'll run through it that way. Nothing against the others though - I just know Nikon that's all.

    I'd start with a Nikon D70 if you can get one cheaply as it has now been superceeded by the D80. That would cost say £500 body only or £700 body only for the D80.

    I'd then look at lenses - if you want to do urban/street, and a few portriats then an 18-200VR (approx £550) to give you a good lenses with a wide range and vibration reduction. It's got a good writeup and I would change my 18-70 for it if I could justify the cash. If you're really serious about motor stuff then you could either use the 18-200vr, swap the 18-200 VR for a 18-70mm (approx £200) and get a Nikon 300mm F4 for approx £800 or just get the Nikon 300mm F4 as well.

    If, taking the most expensive options you got the D80, 18-200VR and 300mm F4 that would be about £2000. I'd also get a good tripod (£50?) and flash for portraits(SB-600, £150) which would leave £300 for a camera bag, couple of memory cards and copy of Photoshop elements.
    This is of course the most expensive option, and getting a Nikon D70, 18-200VR, flash, memory cards and software would be significantly cheaper

    Just my 2p
  5. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    If I were you I would buy ...

    Nikon D200 Body Only £1,069.00
    Nikon AF50mm F1.4D £212.00
    Nikor AFS-G VR 70-200mm F2.8 £1,185.00
    Sandisk 512MB ULTRA II CF £22.99
    Crumpler Bens Pizza XX-Large Brown £40.00
    Next Day Delivery (Mon-Fri) £7.95
    Total: £2,536.94

    I know I've gone over budget (Prices from Warehouse Express) but you should be able to get someone to round that down to £2500.

    The 70-200 is nice and fast and with VR, great for portraits and for street shots. The 1.4 50mm will be great for low light shots such as portraiture in ambient light as well as reportage.

    Shame it's not my money! I've already got the bag and the 50mm, I'd just like the D200 and 70-200 to go with them!!
  6. Tacitus

    Tacitus Well-Known Member

    A good camera and lens and an air ticket(etc) to somewhere where I could take the sort of photographs I really want.

    In fact I did this in 2004. I bought a Bessa R2 and 15mm & 35mm lenses (second-hand for about £500), a decent Canon P&S digital around £230, brushed off my old Mamiya 645 & 35mm lens (bought many years ago) and spent 2 weeks just bumming around Arizona and Utah, parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and eastern California. My trip cost me £1500 including car hire, flight, meals, campsites, motels, etc). I took over 4500 photos which cost £300 processed.

    I genuinely can't think of a better way to spend £2500 on photography. Two nights playing cards with a Wild Bill Hickock look-alike in "Long-nose Kate's Bar" in Tombstone Arizona (after the tourists had gone) was priceless!

    If you would like to give me the money I'll do it all again and you'll receive a full set of photographs, all of the gear that I buy and my eternal gratitude.

    Or you could just buy some expensive gear that you'll hardly use and spend your holidays "doing the usual".

    "You can always get more money ... you will never get more time".

  7. nikonuser

    nikonuser Well-Known Member

    I would spend £500 on a D50 kit, £1000 on a return flight to oz and the other £1000 on 6 weeks accommodation.
  8. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    I'd get two cameras. Epson RD1s and a 35mm Zeiss M lens for the street stuff and with what cash is left over a basic dSLR with medium tele zoom for the motor sport. No need for a optical stabilisation if you'll be mostly panning the race cars.

  9. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer


    You could pay £2000 to research this :)
  10. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    :) and to think I was about to thank everyone for their considered, frugal advice... lol. I do also appreciate that an intercontinental holiday would provide magnificent shooting opportunities, but I really am quite happy combining my passions of motorsport and (all too) amateur photography.

    I love the 2 camera idea, but again political (household) justification of this might prove difficult. The Epson R-D1s is an interesting shout that I had not paid proper attention to previously (I will put this right), and the suggested Nikon solutions are also both great to read. Does anyone else have any 'primary expenditure' recommendations on body/lenses combinations?

    I'm keen to listen to others personal instincts before distorting the issue with my own previous intentions. Thanks again to all for your help so far.
  11. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    That would be interesting to hear. It seems that the Nikonites are keen for you to spend money on Nikon kit while the sensible people with Canon gear are taking a more balanced view. That statement is bound to ruffle a few feathers. ;)

    Seriously, you should have turned your question round the other way and said something like:

    I am wanting to move up from a half-decent bridge camera to a dSLR to take nice high-res images of the kids with grandparents which will look good poster size on the wall, but between us I really enjoy taking urban/street images and pictures of relatively high speed motor races!

    What kit would you recommend I look at to cover these interests

    As it is, people are simply putting together a shopping list of what you could spend your money on and you may well end up with all sorts of conflicting advice based on personal preferences or third-party information.

    You done the first bit - identify your needs. Now do the second bit, identify your equipment requirements to fit those needs. Then see what equipment delivers those requirements and fits comfortably within your budget. Note that the budget word came last there. As it is, we've jumped straight from needs to budget and people will only be too happy to spend the maximum for you.
  12. mike_j

    mike_j Well-Known Member

    Bessa + 35mm for street photography, any reasonable dSLR and long lens for cars, adequate compact that wife (partner) LIKES TO USE for family and the balance spend on going out and taking pics.
  13. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I actually agreed with your earlier comment David!

    Actually the question was What would you do with £2500, what I would do and what I would advise someone else to do are two entirely different things.

    If CJ would like to enlighten us as to his current kit he will probably get some more sensible comments
  14. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    Sorry if I didn't make myself clear in my first post - when I said i was replacing a Panasonic FZ20 which I had resisted the temptation to buy any lenses for - this is my current kit. Hence the question what would you buy if you were 'starting from scratch' with this kind of budget.

    Apologies for any confusion on my part.
  15. ahar

    ahar Well-Known Member

    He did ask how YOU would spend the money
  16. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    *lobs bread roll at David Steel*

    Get a Nikon D2xs - it's what I would do!

    Actually, scratch that - get a second-hand F5, and a few nice, prime lenses for it! :D
  17. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    I sure did :) ...and that's because people tend to understand their own equipment and experience better than other peoples. I now have some valued responses from people who clearly have Nikon experience with regards to how they would balance such a purchase. The interesting two camera approach is also just the kind of personal spending approach I hadn't considered previously.

    Whilst I appreciate the caution which has been shown and the probably quite appropriate critique on my question - the value of my budget was derived by me working out how much I thought I was going to have to spend to get something which leaves me room to grow into which will suit my needs as detailed (I have outgrown my FZ20). I do appreciate that I am fortunate to have this kind money to spend, but the advice to someone one the verge of buying £40,000 sports car that really a mini-metro would get them to work at rush hour just as quickly may well be 100% sensible; Its just nothing like as much fun!

    Yes I'm not a pro, never will be (not good enough), but I am sure you can all understand the interest and enjoyment provided by owning something that little bit special when you have saved up for it for some time!
  18. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member


    I'd go for one of the recent DSLR's with anti dust technology such as the Sony Alpha, Canon 400D, Olympus or other. Personally I'd go for a 1.6 x crop body so I'd rule out the Olympus and similar 4/3 types. I don't know how you feel about image stabilisation in body but that might be something to think about as you can always turn it off if you don't like it or if you have an IS lens.

    So I'd go for -

    Sony / Canon or similar body in the 8-10mb range.
    Lenses in the following ranges, or there abouts,
    A prime or two such as 50 / 100.
    A general purpose / holiday lens such as a 17-200 or the new Tamron 18-250 (when it reaches the shops.) These might not be ultimate quality but may be ok for occasions when you don't want to change lenses whilst out and about.

    That little lot might just come in under budget but depending on prices you might have enough left for a camera bag, a tripod, filters and a couple of cleaning cloths and supplies.

    Happy shopping.
  19. Dorset_Mike

    Dorset_Mike Grumpy Old Fart

    Hi, AlanS has, I think, posted the best reply so far; the actual body chosen must to a certain extent depend on what feels most comfortable/convenient for you to use.
    No use having a small camera if you have large hands or vice versa; once you have decided which body handles best for you, then the choice of lenses will to some extent be governed by the make of that body.
    Cheers MIKE
  20. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member


    Ah, another requirement comes out of the woodwork! (You may deduce that I have a scientific training and years of experience in IT doing both requirements analysis and management).

    So, I am wondering how 'fun' translates into camera equipment - is it the prestige of owning a particular piece of kit, a make perhaps, number of pixels perhaps? You see, we are now going beyond 'needs' and covering 'wants' and this becomes even more subjective. If you do want kit with the 'wow' factor then you are going to find it tricky to do the urban/street images where you want kit that is definitely discrete and unobtrusive.

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