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Author Topic: Help me choose my future "pro gear"  (Read 15255 times)

sid51

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Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« on: August 14, 2014, 10:55:46 pm »

Hello everyone,


I am an "semi-pro" photographer trying to get into the professional scene. I've been photographing mostly skateboard events and trips, and the only reason that i don't do that as much as i want to do is because of the lack of equipement. I currently own a Canon T3i with a 18-135 kit lens and a Manfrotto 055xprob tripod.

What most annoys me with that gear is:
1- The slow focus from both the camera and this lens.
2- Few focus point (9).
3- Ultra high noise in iso above 800. I barely move the iso from 100, except when its absolutely needed.
4- 18mm is not enough wide wise for me (in a crop sensor).
5- 135mm is not enough range for me in some cases.
6- The lack of an external flash for some shots.

The reason i chose Nikon over Canon is simple: My dad has a d7000 and some lenses (70-300, 17-35/2.8, 18-200) and i want to share the new lenses with him, and also use his camera as a backup camera when i need (and let him use mine when he needs).

So, lets get to the point.

I am gonna need:
- A full frame camera.
- A good ultra wide lens
- A good long range lens
- A decent all around lens
- A good flash
- A good macro lens (thats for my dad, he is paying for that, so don't count it in my budget)
- A good Bag to carry all this lol

I have something around 9k dollars to spend in USA with that, so iam thinking to visit B&H store in NY while i am in there (i am from Brazil, i will be travelling to USA in october, will stay around 10 days there).

I did some research within the last few months, and, at least for now, what i've decided is that:

Camera:
D810 ($3,300)
- Low noise with ultra high iso; 51 AF points; 36mp (not that important, but sometimes i need to crop my frames a lot); Good and fast AF system; 14.8 EV Dynamic Range (i really liked that); and the 64 native ISO (i am a big fan of low iso). A little expensivem but still within my budget.

Lenses:
AFS 14-24mm 2.8G ED AF ($2,000)
- I believe this is the ultra wide lens with the most incredible positive reviews i've read. Incredible image quality, ultra sharp, very few distortion. The only issue is the lack of filters and some people say that you will get flares if you let the sun hit the glass. I think there is no other competitors for this lens.

AFS 70-200mm F/4G ED VR ($1400)
- My dad has a 70-300 f/4.5-5.6, but i dont believe it will match the performance of the 70-200 f/4 in terms of focus speed, image quality and bokeh. What do you guys think? Should i save here and use his lens when i need or buy this one? Honestly, i would like to buy the f/2.8 version, but my budget wont allow me, since it cost the double of this one.

AFS 24-120mm F/4G ED VR ($1300)
-I need a good all around lens for skateboards events such as championships, downhill events, etc. Basically for every kind of event that i can't control the distance or the path of the rider.

AFS 50mm f/1.4G ($430)
- I would love to have a nifty fifty in my bag, but i dont think i will be able to fit that into my budget right now. I can buy one here later.

AFS VR Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED ($899)
- I dont know too much about macros, but i read only good things about this one. (Remember this one wont be into my budget, since my dad is going to pay for it)

Flash:
SB 910 Essential Portrait Kit ($556)
- I need a durable one, and it must have TTL function. I think that's all. I dont know other flash brands very well, so i dont know if they are really reliable. What do i need to use this as an off-camera flash?

Flash batteries:
Watson 8-bay rapid charger kit with 8 AA 2300mAh ($42)
- I dont know anything about batteries, can someone recomend this brand? Or any other?

Camera Battery:
Nikon EN-EL15 1900mAh ($45)
- Any recommendations on other brands?

Bag:I dont know yet, need to decided what gear i will buy first, but something around $200 will be fine i guess. I would like something that has a waterproof cape or something like that.

All prices were based on B&H store.
I am open to suggestions. Sorry for the really long post.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 11:53:56 pm »

I would a few weeks to see what Nikon announces at Photokina.

They are rumored to announce a new action FF DSLR that may be a good compromise btwn the D4s and the D810.

This being said, the D810 is already amazingly good.

Cheers,
Bernard

sid51

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 10:39:42 am »

I would a few weeks to see what Nikon announces at Photokina.

They are rumored to announce a new action FF DSLR that may be a good compromise btwn the D4s and the D810.

This being said, the D810 is already amazingly good.

Cheers,
Bernard


I am only going to USA in october, so i think i will see this nikon release first hehe
Thanks!
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PeterAit

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 10:58:15 am »

Very nice kit you have selected! Just a few thoughts:

-D610 instead of D810. 24MP instead of 36, but you would save some $1400 and with other savings you might be able to afford 2 bodies - handy to avoid lens changes in fast-shooting situations or in case of malfunctions.

- Sigma 24-105 in place of the 24-120. Save $400. It's an excellent lens, and is on my D600 80% of the time.

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sid51

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 01:49:33 pm »

Very nice kit you have selected! Just a few thoughts:

-D610 instead of D810. 24MP instead of 36, but you would save some $1400 and with other savings you might be able to afford 2 bodies - handy to avoid lens changes in fast-shooting situations or in case of malfunctions.

- Sigma 24-105 in place of the 24-120. Save $400. It's an excellent lens, and is on my D600 80% of the time.



I kinda felt in love with the d810 and the 14-24mm, i dont think i will give up on those two haha
Also, i will use my dad's camera as a backup when needed for now. Later on i will buy a secondary camera.

But i will definitely look for this sigma 24-105 to replace the nikon!

Thanks for the advice.
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NancyP

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 08:24:25 pm »

That's a lot of expensive gear at one time. If you need to spread it out, you could make strategic economizing choices. Wide angle: yep, you picked the best one, 14-24 - However, if you are not doing a huge amount of wide angle work and don't mind a gap between 14 and 24mm, you could try the manual-focus Samyang 14mm f/2.8, which is an excellent lens for $300.00. With ultrawides, you can pre-focus at the approximate place the contestant will pass, shoot at f/5.6-f/8, and everything is likely to be in focus, due to extreme depth of field. The Samyang doesn't take traditional filters, but Cokin has released a custom filter holder that is affordable and a 3 stop ND and 2 stop ND graduated filter. That's an enviable lens list there!

Make sure you have a decent circular polarizer that fits the largest diameter lens you will have, and get a few stepdown rings.
Make sure you get extra camera batteries when you are shopping at a bricks and mortar reputable store - less chance of getting counterfeits that way. Don't cheap out on "just like Nikon" batteries, get the real thing. Ditto for memory cards.
I don't know much about Nikon-land flash, but you might want to think about off-camera flash options: hot-shoe extension cord, a flash bracket suited to your events (although that may be easy to get at home), maybe a radio remote control if you want to remote trigger the flash placed further than cord length away, maybe an extra flash compatible with the controlling flash or radio controller. ( I am not too keyed into Nikon-land, I am a Canonista). FLash modifiers: you may have them already, but if you need a softbox or diffuser/reflector, set aside a bit of money for it. I assume that you may want to do post-competition portraits as well, hence the think-flash message.
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PeterAit

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 10:19:53 am »

Something to consider is the New York City sales tax, which is 8.875%. This would be almost $800 on a $9000 purchase. If you buy in the store and take the gear with you, you have to pay the tax. If you mail order and have the gear shipped to another state, no tax. I am not sure what is feasible for you, but $800 can buy a pretty good lens!
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sid51

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 01:46:08 pm »

Thanks for all opnions, guys.

For now, what i've decided is:

D810 ($3300)
Tamron 70-200 2.8 ($1500)
Nikon 16-35 f/4 ($1260)
Sigma art 50 1.4 ($950)
SB-910 ($560)
1x Nikon EN-EL15 extra battery ($50)
Watson 8x 2300 battery kit ($50)
HPRC 2600WDK waterproof Hard case (think tank roller) ($240)

Total: $7910 if i buy everything new. Whatever i can find used, i will take it (except for flash and camera body).
That leaves me extra money for taxes (if needed, but i will try to mail it to washington), or to spend with whatever i find necessary there (extra batteries, reflectors, maybe a second camera).

Need to think about a good filter now hehe
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Some Guy

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2014, 02:12:29 pm »

I would switch the flash out to the newer Phottix Mitro+ unit instead of the Nikon SB-910.

The Mitro+ (Newer than older Mitros - or the non + unit) also has a RF wireless built-in as well as the Nikon cloned CLS and IR light system which sucks outdoors in bright sunlight.  My Nikon flash units will will not sync at in bright sunlight (Won't even fire as the IR sensor is blinded.).  Since I see you do skateboard stuff, you may end up in the same boat if you begin do do off-camera flash with that crummy Nikon CLS system.

The Odin wireless radio transmitter and the Mitros+ would be an ideal setup and B&H has the whole system for less than the Nikon SB-910 alone here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1030781-REG/phottix_ph80378_mitros_ttl_flash_and.html

Plus, Phottix has a two-year warranty verses Nikon's one-year.

SG
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sid51

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 08:50:50 pm »

I would switch the flash out to the newer Phottix Mitro+ unit instead of the Nikon SB-910.

The Mitro+ (Newer than older Mitros - or the non + unit) also has a RF wireless built-in as well as the Nikon cloned CLS and IR light system which sucks outdoors in bright sunlight.  My Nikon flash units will will not sync at in bright sunlight (Won't even fire as the IR sensor is blinded.).  Since I see you do skateboard stuff, you may end up in the same boat if you begin do do off-camera flash with that crummy Nikon CLS system.

The Odin wireless radio transmitter and the Mitros+ would be an ideal setup and B&H has the whole system for less than the Nikon SB-910 alone here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1030781-REG/phottix_ph80378_mitros_ttl_flash_and.html

Plus, Phottix has a two-year warranty verses Nikon's one-year.

SG


i am gonna read some reviews about this flash, thanks for the info! Will definitely consider this option!
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melchiorpavone

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 09:27:21 pm »

Thanks for all opnions, guys.

For now, what i've decided is:

D810 ($3300)
Tamron 70-200 2.8 ($1500)
Nikon 16-35 f/4 ($1260)
Sigma art 50 1.4 ($950)
SB-910 ($560)
1x Nikon EN-EL15 extra battery ($50)
Watson 8x 2300 battery kit ($50)
HPRC 2600WDK waterproof Hard case (think tank roller) ($240)

Total: $7910 if i buy everything new. Whatever i can find used, i will take it (except for flash and camera body).
That leaves me extra money for taxes (if needed, but i will try to mail it to washington), or to spend with whatever i find necessary there (extra batteries, reflectors, maybe a second camera).

Need to think about a good filter now hehe

Buy only Nikon lenses. I thought you said you were a pro.
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sid51

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 09:52:03 pm »

Buy only Nikon lenses. I thought you said you were a pro.

Semi-pro haha
Anyway, you really think its better take the 70-200 f/4 nikon instead of the tamron's f/2.8?

The newer lenses from sigma (specially this 50mm art version) and tamron are getting pretty good reviews.
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melchiorpavone

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2014, 10:01:54 pm »

Semi-pro haha
Anyway, you really think its better take the 70-200 f/4 nikon instead of the tamron's f/2.8?

The newer lenses from sigma (specially this 50mm art version) and tamron are getting pretty good reviews.

Use only camera-maker's products. They are almost always the best. This should not even be a question.
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langier

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2014, 01:59:48 am »

That's a massive jump and will take time and hands-on to fully get to speed. I'd take a smaller step and buy less, master it in a smaller dose then take another step. Perhaps rent and if it fulfills your need, then buy and don't hesitate to get good used and perhaps one generation behind equipment.

Right now, I have all you lust for and more. On my last journey to Europe and east, I took my essentials--2-D800 bodies, two fisheye lenses, 8mm and 15mm (my client has specific needs for circular images of his work), 17-35 (my 14-24 is just too big and heavy, 24-120, and 70-300.

However, as a back-up, I brought a Panasonic GX7 and two lenses--7-14 and 14-140. Guess what I shot the most with and what saved the day?

Sure, it's great to have an arsenal of the best gear on earth, but once the image hits the web or ink dries on the paper, it's the vision and craft that counts, not the tools used to get it.

Just another point of view to consider.
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2014, 07:18:23 am »


Anyway, you really think its better take the 70-200 f/4 nikon instead of the tamron's f/2.8?


I think so, yes. That's certainly true for the Canon 70-200/4 versus the other brand 70-200 lenses that I have tried. The Nikon is, if anything, better than the Canon in the f/4 versions of these lenses.

Another thing to consider is size and weight. The f/4 zooms are about half the weight of the f/2.8 zooms. This becomes an issue when carrying three of them, and also when shooting for long periods of time. Over the long term, carrying that much weight can cause all sorts of back and neck problems, just ask any gray-bearded photographer. :) These days you aren't giving up much when choosing the f/4 zooms -- there's not much observable difference in depth of field control between f/2.8 and f/4, and a one-stop boost in ISO isn't that much of a big deal either.
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2014, 08:04:02 am »

Use only camera-maker's products. They are almost always the best. This should not even be a question.

That is not always so.  Some of the independent lenses are superb.  I have Zeiss lenses for my Canon's and would love the new Sigma 'Art' lenses too.  I have a Voightlander for my Panasonic.  A professional will choose the best lens for the job balanced with other things like cost, weight, durability etc.  True this often means the camera-makers lens, but do not discount others.  I use mostly prime lenses and almost any quality 50mm or 85mm lens will be fine for exacting professional work.

Jim
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melchiorpavone

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2014, 09:47:21 am »

That is not always so.  Some of the independent lenses are superb.  I have Zeiss lenses for my Canon's and would love the new Sigma 'Art' lenses too.  I have a Voightlander for my Panasonic.  A professional will choose the best lens for the job balanced with other things like cost, weight, durability etc.  True this often means the camera-makers lens, but do not discount others.  I use mostly prime lenses and almost any quality 50mm or 85mm lens will be fine for exacting professional work.

Jim

The Zeiss lenses are good, but the range of focal lengths offered is limited. They are not equipped with auto-focus either. The main advantage of "independent" lenses is lower price, but obviously some sacrifices are inevitable to accomplish this.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 09:58:57 am by melchiorpavone »
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melchiorpavone

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2014, 09:48:55 am »

I think so, yes. That's certainly true for the Canon 70-200/4 versus the other brand 70-200 lenses that I have tried. The Nikon is, if anything, better than the Canon in the f/4 versions of these lenses.

Another thing to consider is size and weight. The f/4 zooms are about half the weight of the f/2.8 zooms. This becomes an issue when carrying three of them, and also when shooting for long periods of time. Over the long term, carrying that much weight can cause all sorts of back and neck problems, just ask any gray-bearded photographer. :) These days you aren't giving up much when choosing the f/4 zooms -- there's not much observable difference in depth of field control between f/2.8 and f/4, and a one-stop boost in ISO isn't that much of a big deal either.

Agreed. I now own 8 lenses and I cannot carry them all at once. I did not choose the fastest long lenses, as there is little advantage to doing so for me. A 180mm Elmarit-R (f/2.8 ) weighs 810g (1.75 lb). The 180mm Summicron-R (f/2) weighs 2,500g (5.5 lb)!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 10:11:42 am by melchiorpavone »
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2014, 11:14:45 am »

The Zeiss lenses are good, but the range of focal lengths offered is limited. They are not equipped with auto-focus either. The main advantage of "independent" lenses is lower price, but obviously some sacrifices are inevitable to accomplish this.

Yes but the OP did mention the new Sigma 50mm, which may be the best 50 at any price or make.  Zeiss are limited I agree but my point was not to stick to any one manufacturer but buy each lens based on need and the best for the job.  So (for Canon) their 70-200 2.8 is superb, but their 50mm lenses more limited so a Sigma might be better.

Jim
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melchiorpavone

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Re: Help me choose my future "pro gear"
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2014, 11:21:05 am »

Yes but the OP did mention the new Sigma 50mm, which may be the best 50 at any price or make.  Zeiss are limited I agree but my point was not to stick to any one manufacturer but buy each lens based on need and the best for the job.  So (for Canon) their 70-200 2.8 is superb, but their 50mm lenses more limited so a Sigma might be better.

Jim

It may be very good, but I am sure it is not the best. But why bother?

The Leica M Typ 240 takes Leica M lenses and R lenses, and many others:

http://www.overgaard.dk/Leica-M-Type-240-aka-Leica-M10-digital-rangefinder-camera-page-30.html
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 11:24:40 am by melchiorpavone »
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