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How would you spend £2,500?

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

  1. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    I only throw bread rolls at the Canon using hobbyist Mods! :)
  2. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    Re: Prestige

    That's almost exactly my kit list. (17-40 & 24-105 additionally). My requirements were almost the same as well. I built mine up over time but the 1D would use all the budget unless bought S/H.
  3. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    Re: Prestige

    In my opinion one definition could be 'fun' = 'enjoyment' = 'new camera with features to explore when I should be doing the washing up'.

    Thanks to everyone for their responses - actually really great to read through. Lots of sensible advice, although I'd like to take the liberty of having one more go at getting a straight answer out of David Steel :D

    David - imagine you have no dslr equipment currently. Imagine also you have been given £2,500 of camera & lens vouchers to spend within 24 hours. Imagine you are going to a car race on saturday, and want to take some good action pictures from trackside. (at a safe distance). Imagine also the missus would be really happy if you could take some great pics of the family for wall posters. You also have a soft spot for people watching and urban style images when travelling.

    If you don't spend the money, you lose it. You can only spend it on cameras and lenses. What would YOU buy?

    Go on... spill the beans... :)

    and again guys, seriously thanks for all your suggestions.. its been useful & fun (oops, theres that word again)
  4. ahar

    ahar Well-Known Member

    Re: Prestige

    No chance - getting straight answers from test managers if they don't have nth degree requirements is like getting blood from a stone :)
  5. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    Does that include me? I inherited my dad's AE-1 but I do confess to buying a couple of EOSes. I've sort of made up for it with a few Nikons, Olympusies (or is it Olympi :)), a Ricoh and Minolta. I would despartely love a Leica, Contax few more Nikons and Olympusies :D
    I do use them all (not all at once obviously), the Nikons and Ricoh most af all.
  6. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    A floating voter, huh?
  7. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    No, an extended family. They each have a personility of their own and I couldn't bring myself to part with them each time a new one came along.
  8. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Then your camera cupboard must look a bit like mine. :)
    I have only ever sold one (Mamiya C330 outfit) and traded one (Mamiya 645 outfit), both of which I now regret. Everything else I bought myself, I still have. Oh, and I drowned an OM2 (still got it though). :D
  9. TerryS

    TerryS Well-Known Member

    CJ, off the top of my head I would get one of the following setups (roughly £2500, but I would scrounge Canon Cashback vouchers from a fellow forum member for the 17-40mm & 100-400mm lenses to keep within your limit!):

    Canon EOS 400D
    Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM
    Canon EF 17-40mm f4 L USM
    Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS USM

    OR wait a little (until available in shops) and, subject to favourable reviews, sample images, etc:

    Pentax K10D
    Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 ED
    Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4.0 ED
    Pentax DA 40mm f2.8 Limited ('pancake')

    I like the image quality of Canon but I like the comprehensive features of Pentax (anti-shake, anti-dust, weather-proof, great viewfinder, spot metering, exposure modes, etc).

    (I may also be tempted to put together a setup based on the Nikon D200, but that would not be my first choice.)


    PS: And as soon as I could afford it I would add a nice compact and light (yet very sturdy) Gitzo tripod.
  10. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    Oh how could you :D
    I have members of my family secreted all over the place (much to the missus's disgust ;))
    I have one in the car (except when it's warm), a shelf in the study and various drawers with some in. I don't like keeping all my eggs in one basket :rolleyes:
  11. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    My thoughts

    OK, I've been challenged. Taking your brief, this is what I'd do.

    Practicality and portability will also figure in this - there is no point in having an outfit that is too much to carry. It just won't be fun! I'd also go for decent glass over body spec since this will have the greatest impact on my pictures. In other words, the lens affects picture quality more than the actual body spec (same with film). As I am a long-time Canon user and have confidence in their products (I've had six Canon film cameras and I'm on my fourth dSLR body) and little knowledge of any other manufacturer, I'll base my thoughts on current Canon gear.

    So, this is what I'd buy and why: (I've used Jessops pricing as a guide)

    • Canon 400D body £490 - don't need the kit lens because it will be superseded by the more versatile and higher quality lens below. 400D also chosen because it is quite compact, has 10 Mp and has an anti-dust feature on the sensor.
    • Canon 17-85 IS lens £440 - a great all-round lens for the family shots and holiday shots that gives decent quality and has image stabilisation for when the ligh levels drop. Also will be great for general street work.
    • Canon 70-200/f4L IS lens approx. £850 - a superb quality lens that is also compact enough to fit into a reasonable gadget bag and not be a liability to carry around when not in use. The IS greatly helps hand-holding in low light. Can also accept the matched Canon 1.4x Extender. Good when extra reach is required for street work. This is a new lens and may not be in the shops yet.
    • Canon 1.4x Extender £285 - a small optic that adds extra reach to the 70-200 lens with minimal impact on quality. Either the 70-200 on its own or in combo with this extender should cover a lot of motorsport activity and deliver quality images.
    • Canon 430EX Speedlite £190 - a competent little flash unit that will work well when recording family scenes indoors by bouncing the flash light off the ceiling. Will also work well for fill-flash shots when the daughter gets married.
    • Decent Billingham or Lowe gadget bag to protect the kit for cayrying around approx. £100 - a decent bag will last a long time and protect the gear inside it. Don't buy a bag too big so that airlines frown upon it and don't buy too small in case you feel tempted to add another lens later on.
    This little lot comes to £2355 and represent a versatile kit to cover most things and deliver quality pictures. With the remaining money, you can buy a spare battery and a couple of 2 Gb Sandisk cards to store your images on.

    Hope that helps. Now reveal your thinking before you posted your question and say whether you've revised any items based on our feedback.
  12. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I have bought a Nikon D200 and 18-200mm VR zomm, and Sigma 10-20mm. But, and its a big but, I have existing Nikon kit includong the 50mm f1.4. I am very satisfied.
    I use the 10-20mm very little, and would I think use it even less if I was into motor sport.
    For general use, and in particular social and family photography I would suggest the Nikon D200 and 18-200mm VR zomm. That would leave nearly a thousand pounds for the motor sport: I would not give advice on that because I have no experience of that.
  13. timuss

    timuss Well-Known Member

    Re: Prestige

    I would like the canon 100-400 L as well as the 70-200 now they are a crackinh set. Then with any cash left over get a cheap flight to NYC and spend the time shooting more pics with my 350d and my new lenses.
  14. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    Guys what can i say; Thanks so much to you all for the feedback & advice... David Steel has even used bullet points and bold text for increased readability... I feel like I should have paid for his time - but I remember him advising me to be very careful with the cash so that convinced me otherwise. :)

    For what it is worth, my prior feelings were...

    1. To go for either a Nikon or Canon solution. This sounds boring perhaps, but spending this much money I wanted a future-proof, safe purchase - even if it was slightly un-inspiring. TerryS made some great points regarding the upcoming benefits of the Pentax K10d, especially the promised rain-resistance..great for trackside in the British weather. However I'm slightly scared to go so far down that non-market leading route for the reasons above. (I've owned a Panasonic, I'm now ready to enjoy being a sheep for five years or so!)

    2. To find a fast 70-200 lens with some kind of image stability system as i'm afraid my limited skillset will need it. I was thinking of really splashing out here and getting a f2.8 to cope with a branded lens extender - 400mm shots at trackside would/will be great.

    3. A branded (safety first again) hotshoe flash.

    4. Compromising by going for a bundled (or cheap) standard lens with the body.

    I was edging towards the Nikon D200 or Canon 30D over the Nikon D70 when the D80 was released, and was then left in a bit of a quandry when the Canon EOS 400D appeared on the scene.

    Prior to posting, I was anticipating a response that for an expenditure level of approx £2,500, you guys would want more than the D80 or the 400D can offer. I am therefore interested (and pleased) to see that the general consensus of opinion is that these bodies should be on the agenda - the idea of purchasing newer (cheaper) technology is obviously attractive if it's justifiable.

    I have to say I was delighted nobody suggested a fully second hand solution - my absolute nightmare response consensus was everyone to agree that that would be the way to go!

    I'll be honest, my heart still tells me I want a Nikon D200, but my head is screaming about the D80 and even more so the much heralded dust prevention system on the Canon 400D - both of which would also let me get a decent standard lens.

    I think the next step is to have a 'good feel' of a D80 and 400D in a friendly store, and decide which feel I prefer. I think that as long as I make friends with one of them, that will resolve the issue on body, and I'll then pick up on lens decisions.. again.. all the feedback above will be a really great reference on this.

    Thanks again to you all for all your help - I expect you have helped me to end up with a slightly better balanced solution... although I'll let you know... :)
  15. SteveEM

    SteveEM Well-Known Member


    Listen..you have a lot of money to spend. You have nothing to lose at all by simply looking and handling ALL the options. If you limit yourself to only looking at Nikon and Canon you are selling yourself short. I fail to see how buying Nikon or Canon is any safer or future-proof than any other main brand. If I had that much money I would not feel I was exploring all the options properly without at least taking some time and effort to handle all the options.

    I would say take a serious look at both the Sony, Pentax and olympus options. You may well find they suit you better than the obvious route...and Olympus offers you Sigma and Leica lenses..also Olympus are commiting themselves to offering several prime lenses soon. Pentax also have a commitment to offering primes. Sony will have Zeiss lenses also...

    cheers Steve.
  16. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    I agree and I'm sure that our original poster will too. Personally one thing that would put me off the Olympus (and other 4/3 systems) is the x2 factor which loses a bit at the wide end. My 12-24 for example would become 24-48 rather than a wider 19-38 on a x1.6. However, others might see the extra zoom as an advantage.
  17. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    If I were building a system from scratch, I'd rely on what is on the market now as being proven and reliable. History tells us not to depend on promises made by marketing departments. If we forever waited until promises came to fruition, we'd probably end up not buying anything.
  18. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    How remarkably close to what I suggested. Only one thing I'd recommend based on your thoughts - look at both the Canon 70-200 lens options (f2.8L and f4) - you may decide that a f2.8 lens not practical to carry about all day when wandering around motorsport events. Pros do this day in and day out with even heavier lenses but an occasional user might find it a bit much.
  19. TerryS

    TerryS Well-Known Member

    Yes, I know what you mean - it is very expensive to change systems once you have built up a collection of lenses, flashes, remote controls, batteries, etc. Been there myself! A couple of years ago I would have been more worried for the future of Pentax, however following the establishment of their partnership with Samsung (who are huge) I think that they are a much safer bet. But, of course, anything can happen in the future, so no one can be certain about what is and what is not "future-proof".

    In the context of being "future-proof", that was the main reason why (for the Canon option) I suggested only EF mount lenses rather than EF-S, since the former would allow you to upgrade the DSLR body to one with a larger sensor (1.3x or 1.0x crop) without the additional expense of having to get new lenses if Canon subsequently launch a body that is more suitable for your usage. I suggested the 400D because, at this moment, it represents very good value for money and leaves you more cash to invest in better lenses, which are likely to far out-live the camera body.

    The Canon 30D (which is currently my main camera) is an excellent body, with (no doubt) far better build quality than the 400D, however at this point I would say that the 400D represents better value for money. It is my hope (and to some degree my expectation) that Canon will launch a new body next year at a price point slightly above that of the 30D (nearer to that of the Nikon D200) with a specification close to that of the Pentax K10D (ie. anti-dust mechanism (from the 400D), weather-sealing (from the 1D series), 10 or 12 Mpixels, higher magnification viewfinder, etc), and possibly with the AF system from the Canon 1D series (which is the best DSLR AF system on the market for fast moving objects) and maybe even a larger (1.3x crop) sensor. I would kill for a body such as this!

    I recommended the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens because it is so versatile, however it is not weather-sealed and has a modest maximum aperture. Consequently, and based on what you wrote, you may prefer to get the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM lens plus Canon 1.4x MkII teleconverter, both of which are weather-sealed, although together this will cost more than the 100-400mm, so to keep within budget you may wish to drop my suggestion of the Canon 17-40mm lens, or follow David's suggestion and get the Canon 17-85mm IS lens in place of both the 17-40mm and 24-105mm, but note that the 17-85mm is an EF-S mount lens and so can only be used with 1.6x crop sensors and is of lesser quality (although still very good).

    If at all possible I would recommend that you avoid the very cheap bundled lenses - their quality is not that great and they have very little resale value if you wish to upgrade in the future.

    Yes, this is a good idea, however based purely on a "good feel" I have little doubt that you will prefer the D80 over the 400D. The low-end Canon bodies tend to feel a bit light-weight and plasticy compared to the low-end Nikon bodies. Whereas the mid-range Nikon D200 and Canon 30D feel very similar - both are lovely solid bodies that feel good in the hand. (Unfortunately the Pentax K10D will not be available in the shops until late October or early November.)

    Good luck whatever you decide to go with.

  20. cjsmith

    cjsmith Member

    Yes - I think the general feeling I have taken on board is that I would need to compromise on lenses (like above) if I persist with the dream of getting a Nikon D200 or Canon 30D. The decision to probably go for a D80 or 400D is really based on the need to change my initial reaction here and place more attention on the choice of lens.

    Taking this one stage further, I'll need to properly compare long lenses in addition to Camera bodies (as many have sensibly suggested) - I also note David's point about the weight of a f2.8 70-200, and yours TerryS on the potential future benefits of the Canon EF lenses.

    I have to say also that I'm starting to feel that I might miss a trick if I buy a new camera now without an anti-dust mechanism, although I guess this is more of a help than vital neccessity.

    Regarding the Pentax alternative - by future-proof I guess i was also including a little reassurance provided by going with kit which is well known to others..commonplace amoungst other similar users etc. The assistance on boards such as this from other experienced users to newbies really shouldn't be under-valued. And thats a genuine consideration for me! :)

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