What should I do with a few thousand dollars here


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Aug 16, 2010
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I have Nikon D2h, which works absolutely perfectly and is in great shape, however, it is what it is. I don't really need the 8fps. We are looking at shooting maternity, portraits, and weddings.

So the question is this.

The only lens I have is a 1.8 50mm.

Should I upgrade my body first, which something is telling me to hold off on buying something like a d700, or spend my money on nice lenses. Such as a 50mm 1.4 and a 70-200mm.

I understand a persons budget normally should be 1/3 body 2/3 glass, but I really am pondering over whats best for this situation to move forward. I can rent bodies or lenses, so that's not an issue.

Also at issue is the fact that I still have my sb-600 flash on my body.

I am open to any thoughts or comments, Thanks.
Normally, I'm a big proponent of glass over body, but in this case I think you should be looking at both, with the body being more of a priority. How about a D300s and 24-70 2.8? I'm not sure that the 70-200 would be as immediately useful with your stated purposes.
I can understand the body over the lense at this stage, but the 300s over the 700?
"A few thousand dollars"....hmmm...WAIT until Sept 21 and the official opening of photokina in Germany...hmmm, how few are these thousands? Three? Four thousand? Five thou??? Pro Nikons cost a lot of money when bought new...the D3s has the uber-high ISO crown right now...its killer High-ISO capabilities leverage each and every lens yuo can mount on it. The D700 is good, but not as good. For people work, I think FF is better by far than APS-C.

I disagree on the glass-to-body ratio. My experience is that the FF body means glass can be so-so, and results still quite good; the reverse is NOT the case with APS-C,which demands very high-end glass performance once you get to 12 megapixels. The D2h does not stress any lenses, but it has weird color issues on synthetic fabrics. A real, total budget is needed to advise you best. 2,3,4,5k,all are different "few thousands". The FF Nikons make a LOT of older, used lenses back into what they "used to be", making lenses like the 28-105 and 28-70 and 28-85 as well as the manual focus 75-150 f/3.5 Series E zoom into very viable, high-performance lenses because the SENSOR IS SO MUCH BIGGER....
I can understand the body over the lense at this stage, but the 300s over the 700?

Just looking at it from a budgetary point of view - the D300 is a much better performer than the D2H, but significantly enough cheaper than the D700 to allow room for more glass.

Totally agree Derrel that FF is better for people (and most other things), BUT is it necessary? Dunno... just making alternative suggestions.
Thanks to both Derrel and Tirediron. To be specific, my budget is around $3,500 at this time. I will have more to accomodate my growth in a few months.

SO....if my constraints help the picturer cleared for the advise...

I am not considering buying new, I am considering buying like new in good condition. I am also not set in stone for using a canon either, does this expand better options for me?
Since you're planning on doing retail photography, what are you planning to use for lighting and post process image editing?

You'll need at least a D700's ISO performance for no-flash-allowed wedding ceremonies.
Buying used and in good condition is the way I think lenses ought to be bought. I "usually" buy used lenses. Not always, but usually. Many,many hobbyists buy a lens, try it, then sell it off, so that saves a lot of money. $3,500 is a pretty good start-up. As KmH mentioned, the low-light capability of the D700 is pretty darned good for no-flash work and or high-ISO work, plus it has good autofocusing and good handling and is a long-lasting kind of camera.

Maternity/portraits/weddings does not demand really "exotic" lenses on FF. FF allows you to use 50 million Nikkor lenses, and you really only need a 35-70 f/2.8 AF-D or a 28-105 f/2.8~4 for "general duty" stuff. A prime lens 85/1.8 and a low-cost wide-angle would round out the lenses. A used D700 is $2000 or so these days...I do not think you need the 24-70 AF-S for weddings/portraits/etc.

You need some decent lighting gear. A flash, flash bracket, and a diffuser for location work, and three monolights for studio/location lighting. I honestly think you should get the D700 and just use "regular" lenses...FF does not require killer lenses--you have a sensor area 2.4x larger than APS-C...you do not "need" to spend a lot of money on good lenses with a D700...the camera is just as critical as the lens; neither works without the other. I say, buy the better camera, and use plain,regular older Nikkor lenses--most were designed for serious use anyways...
If you are looking at a D300 or D300s get a used D300. The D300s does not really offer anything besides video over the d300. Little things maybe but a D300 is a better value. The D700 would be great for what you do but a d300 and good glass would be better to fit your budget. It is all up to you in the end either one will suit you well. What ever you get make sure to show it off here. :)
I love spending other peoples money. :lol:

For your types of shoots in your first post, I'd suggest the D700 hands over fists before the D300. (I have both) Especially if you're not in a hurry, bargains will pop up on a slightly used unit because some poofter wants to upgrade to a D3x. You say that you have only the 50mm f/1.8. How long and how comfortable are you with it? Its characteristics will change on FF. See this post.

You could make do with a couple more primes since you're used to them. 35, 85 & 105mm for instance are good lengths for people photography for a start. Just research for what's appropriate for your needs. But I would also look into flash and off camera flash in particular. A whole new world will open for you. But this also means looking at light modifiers. It's a never ending tug on your wallet.
You could always take me to a tropical island!!
^^ Move over sister, on the weekends, my name is Mandy.

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