PhotoJ. - What to buy on a $4K budget?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by FidelCastrovich, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    I am what you could call a photography enthusiast. Lately, i've realized that there's nothing keeping me from pursuing my dream of becoming a pro PJist.
    I am planning to take a specialized course in PJ, and have a friend in the business who will show me the ropes and maybe even help me enter the field. He's supposed to be getting new gear from his paper, and i could buy his Canon 20D/17-40 f4/sigma 70-200 f4.

    So, here's the question - Should buy his gear, or get new gear? His doesn't strike me as something that is worth keeping or upgrading around, in the long run. And i don't like paying twice for things i could pay for just once.

    If new - Canon is my choice, mostly because of the huge turnover of Canon products here in Israel, and because the service is better than that of Nikon.

    Should i go
    A : 30D + Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS USM+Canon 70-200 2.8L USM
    B : 30D+Canon 16-35 f2.8L II+Canon 70-200 f2.8L(serious dent in wallet)
    C : 5D+Canon 24-70 f2.8L
    D : 5D+Canon 24-105 f4L

    I need to squeeze in a decent flash (580?430?) a couple of 2GB CF cards, and a vertical grip.
    How important is a telephoto lens?Can i just get by with option C, or D?
    Is 16-35 II significantly better than the 17-55 IS?

    What is your set-up, photojournalists of the world? Is there nothing out there, really, other than Nikon/Canon?

    Sub-option - i have some Minolta gear (Maxxum 5, 70-210 f4, 50mm 1.7). Should i consider the Sony? Should i wait for their better DSLRs that are supposed to be released soon?Do my lenses justify becoming a Sony-loving infidel?

    Thanks, and sorry for the long post.
    Emil.
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Canon would be the "safe" route for a professional photojournalist... in that you may be travelling all over the place, you may need to rent lenses and/or flashes, and it will be easier to find equipment and service for the Canon system. Also while the current Sony (A100) is a nice camera it's not something I would want for photojournalism where the chances of it getting knocked around may be fairly high... I would first want to see Sony come out with something as solid as the Dynax 9 or other older Minolta film models, and we don't know when that will happen... in any case the higher-end lenses for the Sony system are unlikely to be as immediately available (and are usually not available to rent) and that is a situation that will take longer to change. As for your current lenses, the 70-210 f4 is a lovely lens but that alone isn't enough IMO.

    As for your friend's equipment, I think you may be unfairly overlooking it. The differences between the 20D and 30D are far from huge ones IMO. The 20D is still a very capable camera, and will continue to serve as a very capable backup (a backup being pretty much essential). The Canon 17-40 f/4 is L-glass and its build and optical qualities are excellent... both the body and the lens are very much worth keeping or upgrading around. The Sigma f/4 I am unaware of, and you're probably right that it is going to be less impressive... the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 however would be another matter, a very real alternative to the Canon equivalent at a much lower price. Anyway unless you are convinced that the f/4 of the Canon lens would be too slow, or know specifically why you'd want a 30D over a 20D, I would definitely consider your friend's offer. The lens will retain its resale value and you may save yourself some money by finding out that equipment does what you need.
     
  3. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    Gotta love this forum!
    I may have overlooked the "L" letter on his 17-40. That changes matters.

    I know the 20D is a solid performer. But a new 30D is so much nicer than an old 20D . :mrgreen:

    I never even considered the Sigmas, because he told me not to, and because i haven't had great experience with them, albeit with a cheap zoom. It is basically falling apart on me, slowly and steadily. But now that you mention it - maybe i'll look into it.

    How important is build quality? Are L lenses really that much sturdier than their non-L counterparts? How's the Sigma 70-200 build?
    I guess this is something to consider - PJs in Israel don't have an easy life:D
     
  4. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    If your worried about the 20D falling behind in the technical stakes... then maybe you should hold out on the 30D until the 40D is released (apparently) later this year.
    Photokina is next month and thats where any new models will be released and then be for sale to public sometime after no doubt.
     
  5. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I believe the main differences between the 30D and 20D are basically just the 30D having spot-metering, more finely adjustable ISO settings, a larger LCD, and a larger buffer for more continuous shots (though the 20D is already impressive here)... not huge improvements :)

    I would definitely consider the Sigmas. Cheap zooms are cheap zooms; brand names won't make them better or worse. Just as Canon, Nikon et al are capable of sometimes turning out fairly poor lenses, the third parties are also capable of turning out some great ones. Sigma has a particular advantage in having HSM focusing - similar to Canon's USM. Lenses like their 70-200mm f/2.8 or 100-300 f/4 get good reviews and happy users for good reason; they have great optical and build quality and at a more affordable price. Now it's tempting to think only in terms of "you get what you pay for" - especially once you've already decided to go for the most expensive thing available ;) - but often the cost difference really does not equate to the quality difference. Of course you may find that you prefer Canon, but I would always give the alternatives some consideration (for example see if you can compare in store).

    How important build quality is may depend on how much stress the equipment is likely to suffer... in the case of a professional photojournalist that could be quite a lot. Your gear may be shaken about and knocked around, and as you said it's not the most ideal environment for a journalist to wave a camera around :( ... so it's probably best to avoid "kit lenses" and the like and try to get more solid gear if possible...
    As for L lenses they do tend to be more solid than non-L ones, but the non-L ones vary too; some are much better build than others, so it might be best to compare them on an individual basis.

    OK I've said enough about the equipment for now... I have one more word, and one that may have grave implications for your current and future budget... Insurance! :shock:
     
  6. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    Well, the 40D is out. More options to consider - i'm going nuts!
    Looks like a pretty considerable upgrade from the 30D.

    Do you know of good wide zooms from Sigma? The 70-200 you recommended indeed seems like a solid alternative to the Canon equivalent, and if i could complement it with a wide zoom that saves me even more $$$, it might leave enough cash for a better body, like the 5D.
    Thanks
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Ah yes I see the specs for the 40D have been released... I agree this is a real upgrade compared to the last one. Even higher FPS, seems like more than double the buffer... and apparently it has a bigger and brighter viewfinder... IMHO that last one was very much needed. Still, it may be worth waiting to see what happens to the prices of 20Ds and 30Ds (now that we know the wait will only be one of weeks rather than months) as they are still excellent cameras and getting a bargain on them would give you more money for glass, flashes etc.

    Wide zooms... depends how wide you want to go really. If you want something a bit like using a 19-35mm on your film camera, then for an APS-C sensor camera like the 30D/40D you may be looking at something around 10-20 or 12-24mm... in which case Sigma and Tokina have very decent offerings, and of course there's the Canon EF-S 10-22...

    ... if however you wanted to go for a 5D then obviously you would want a lens designed for full-frame 35mm sensors... that could mean the Canon 16-35 L you mentioned, or the 17-40 L your friend has... or for half the price of the latter there is the Tamron 17-35 f/2.8-4.

    One of the most popular lens types are those going from moderate-wide to telephoto... including Canon's 24-105 f/4 L or 24-70 f/2.8 L... but the question is whether that is wide enough for you. If the answer is yes then that may be a good option on the 5D since you can then get by with two lenses (a wide to short-tele and a short- to long-tele).
     
  8. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The 2 lenses I guarantee you will absolutely need for PJ will be the 70-200 2.8 and whatever Canon has for a 17-55 or the equivalent and of course a fast budy is also a necessity. You don't want to tell people to wait while your camera is trying to focus. In PJ like in weddings for the most part you are capturing action that is presented to you and it will not happen again so you need to be ready.
     
  9. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, i know. I'm looking into the Sigma 70-200, and the Canon 17-55 2.8 non-L. Both get great reviews.

    Man, the 40D release really throws me off, though. Maybe i should wait a month?~$1300 for a camera of that caliber is more than fair.
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well if you can afford the Canon that is the way to go. I have no problem with a Sigma or a Tamron if you do not have the funds for the brand lenses but I would stay with the Canon if possible.
     
  11. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    My order was shipped today.
    1 - 30D
    1 - Vertical grip
    1 - Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM
    1 - Canon 17-55 f2.8
    1 - Canon 580EX II flash

    I'm just starting out. By the time i grow out of this equipment, it will have been worn out and ground to fine powder.
     
  12. -spam-

    -spam- TPF Noob!

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    That looks like a great kit. Safe to say im somewhat envious of it :thumbup:
     

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