Buy More Glass . . . or A New Body

Joined
Mar 12, 2006
Messages
403
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
My current photo inventory is listed in my signature. I am generally pleased with the performance of this kit, but in the shadows and low light, I really wish for faster glass.

I have read suggestions several times on this forum to spend money on a collection of glass first, and then upgrade the camera body. I have no complaints about the D50; it’s a great camera. I’d love to have the Nikons 12-24, 28-70, 70-200, 200-400 and a D200 . . . but I can usually only swing spending about $700/year on photo equipment.

When many of you started collecting, and had a limited budget, did you buy 3rd party lenses, then upgrade to Nikon glass later? I have saved up enough money for a D80; or I could pick up a used Tokina 12-24 f4 and a Sigma 24-70 f2.8 instead. Or should I save up for the Beast, or possibly a D200? What’s the best use of the money, with the goal of taking sharper, better pictures?

I like shooting landscapes, people and wildlife. I’d say the 80-400 VR stays on my camera the most. But the jump to better glass in that category is HUGE. Replacing the 18-70, with the Tokina 12-24 and Sigma 24-70 is far less of a stretch.

So I’m looking for advice, glass versus new body . . . . start with good 3rd party glass, or hold off until I can afford the great Nikon glass.

Thanks in advance for the advice,
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Messages
475
Location
Munich, Germany
If you don't feel limited in any way by your current D50, by all means buy more glass (there's only on thing better than a large set of lenses, and that is an even larger set of lenses...).

Re funds management I would recommend the following order:
  1. buy used good quality Nikon,
  2. buy new good third party glass where Nikon doesn't have an equivalent or better offering (either price/performance or specs based),
  3. buy new Nikon.
On used and off-brand gear I would stay away from the "consumer grade" stuff.

My first Nikon kit was entirely bought used - at around 60% of list price (and all then still being manufactured goods). Unfortunately, nowadays the bay has eaten much of the used market (photo swaps, local newspaper ads, local dealers...).
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2007
Messages
1,073
Location
Los Angles, CA.
More glass would seem to be the way to go, especially since you're happy with your current camera body. I'd go for the best glass I could afford if I was you.

JMHO

Lil
 

fks

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
2,756
Location
sf bay area
hi mike-

i would recommend saving up until you can afford the good stuff. otherwise you end up with duplicates that you'll have to sell for a loss, and end up spending more money than if you had saved up in the first place.

if you really need to get a specific focal length or aperture but can't afford the good stuff, get used glass so your loss will be lower. i've done this with sigma and tokina stuff in the past and taken less of a hit when i went to the nikon equivalents.

ricky
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
2,434
Location
Bournemouth, UK
more equipment will not make better pictures (in general)

low light you'd want flash or fast primes,. 50 1.8 is a good way to start

landscape you might want something wider than the 18-70 if your style / subject dictates

Sil
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
2,410
Location
Houston, Texas
I was using the KM 7D when I switched to Nikon, and the D200 was the perfect camera for me. If you are happy with the D50, I agree that you should spend on glass. One thing to consider, you don't seem to have a macro; the 105D is an excellent lens that can be had for 1/2 the cost of the VR model, and still give you great pictures. Many of the Tamron, Sigma and Tokina lenses are excellent performers, and there would be no concern IMO with buying them rather than Nikon. The area where I would look for VR would be the longer, larger, heavier zooms.
 
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Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
6,400
Location
Germany / Bavaria
Bodys change, glass lasts!

You can'T go wrong with the Tokina 12-24.

I think you would be very happy with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8, this lens is a real bargain. 95% of the Nikkor for 1/5 of the price.

I still regret selling mine......:Crunk:
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
Messages
884
Location
NC
I say three primes and better yourself as a photographer.

A great steet/people kit would be:
20 2.8
50 1.8
85 1.8

If you want landscapes, then ditch the 20 and the 85 and grab the 14mm f/2.8

then there is the Sigma 30mm 1.4, the Nikon 14mm 2.8, Nikon 180mm 2.8 Nikon 105 2.8....All great lenses that aren't TOOOO expensive, with the except of the 14mm. Great deals can be found for these lenses, and they really do help you become a better photographer.

Yes, Zooms are easier and the quality of zooms is excellent, but if you want to better yourself and learn your styles, Fixed lenses are the way to do it. I've spent the past 1.5 months on pretty much Just the 50mm 1.4, and this is on paid assignments. There are times when the 70-200 comes out, but its rare. I can def say that I have improved myself very much so.

My fixed lens go like this:
Nikon AIS 35 f/2
AIS 85 f/2
28 f/2.8
50 f/1.4

I use the 35 and the 50 the most.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
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1,265
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Smack dab between the Wolverines and the Spartans
In a similar situation, I upgraded my glass. I had a D70, Nikon 18-70, Nikon 70-300G and Nikon 50mm 1.8. I added a Tamron 90mm macro to my collection and fell in love with my camera again...it made me realize that the struggles I was having with color rendition and light weren't due to the camera but rather the lenses. I sold the 50 1.8 because I never used it, sold the 70-300G that I'd stopped using because I was unhappy with it most of the time and bought the 70-200VR. Wow! Superb color and sharpness, and no struggles in low light! Now I really loved my D70 again!

After that, I knew what I had to do. I got another job (seasonal, temporary :wink:) and sold the 18-70, then I bought the 300mm f4 and the 28-70. The 28-70 is a dream of a lens. Even my oh-so-skeptical husband admitted it was a phenomenal purchase:wink:. For the super wide end, I went with the Sigma 10-20; I'm sure the Tokina would do you just as well....I've heard nothing but good things about both of those lenses.

So, yeah, I'd say go with good glass over a new body. For the lenses you use most, and the subjects you care about most, I'd say go with Nikon glass. For lower use lenses (in my case, the wide angle and the macro), you won't go wrong with a good 3rd party lens that holds its value.
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2006
Messages
11,564
Location
Southern California
I, too, have a relatively limited budget (that seems to be growing all the time!!!) I decided to remain happy with my camera body, D70s, for a loooooong time, shoot, there are still tons I still ahven't figured out about it. I have decided to invest in glass and lighting... I have made a concious decision to stick with Nikon for my main lenses, hence the 50 1.4, the 70-200, and on its way, the 17-55... and yes, I have bought used, if you do it carefully, you can save a couple hundred over new... my reasoning is that I am buying Nikon's best glass, it better not give out too soon!!! :smile: That way, I can use the extra on other smaller things that I always seem to want but never end up getting, ie a comfortable camra strap, and now, a few light stands, umbrellas, a small light kit.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2006
Messages
403
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Looks Like Glass is the Winner!

Wow - thanks everyone for your opinions. Looks like buying glass over a new body is unanimous - 10 votes for glass, 0 for a camera body. You guys are going to hurt the Nikon camera body team's feelings :smile:

Having read tons of lens threads on this forum, there are a few Sigma, Tamron, Tokina lenses that get great reviews by practically everyone. . . everything else it seems Nikon is the favorite. I'll keep my eye out for good used lenses, and start my collection that way.

Thanks again . . . I really enjoy this forum . . . everyone here speaks from experience, and there's a ton of knowledge in the cafe. I feel better when I make purchase decisions based on the opinions of experienced photographers.

Your comments are very much appreciated.
 
Joined
May 12, 2006
Messages
1,302
Location
Belleville MI
I'll keep my eye out for good used lenses, and start my collection that way.
So far, I'm two for two on GREAT used lenses. I could sell either one tomorrow and probably make money on the deal. One has turned out to be my favorite lens, the other hasn't been used, and will seldom be used, but was picked up for that occassional use.

Haven't figured out what I'm going to do on the 2.8 longer zoom, LOL. And the 15 threads in lust haven't helped :)
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
So, consensus is "Good Glass First", and I agree as well. On the long end, take a long look at the Sigma EX series, the 100-300 f4 and the 120-300 f2.8 are both very, very nice. And coupled with TC's, they give you a lot of options. Obviously, the 100-300 is much less expensive. Built like tanks, IQ is super, AF is fast. Look for them used. All of my "long lenses" are used, some "well-used", and they are quite fine and dandy.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
Third party glass does not hold it's value as well and you might take a big hit when you sell it.

JMO
I hear this often, and can attest to the fact that the higher end Sigma glass, 500 f4.5 EX HSM, 120-300 f2.8 EX HSM, 100-400 f4 HSM, hold their value equally to Nikon glass. When I compare the "depreciation" value of the Nikon 400 f2.8 AFS-I I purchased last year to that of the Sigma 500 f4.5 that I sold, the Sigma was actually well ahead of the Nikon percentage wise. Even more so if you get the non-DG versions, where the only differences are coating and significantly more money.

You are correct when you in the low-mid range 3rd party lenses, but depending on the initial cost, you might not care. For example, if I buy a Nikon 28-70 f2.8 for say $1,200 and can sell in 2 years for, say $900, I have a "cost" of $300. If I buy a Tokina ATX Pro 28-70 f2.8 for $400, do I really much care about resale? Bottom line is value cost, not strictly resale dollars.
 
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