Tuesday, 20 March 2012

It's official - back to Nikon again!

The last couple of weeks have seen me pouring over internet reviews, blogs and brochures, trying to figure out what system I will go for if my Canon 5D has bitten the dust (and officially, as of today, it has).

My last post saw me leaning very strongly towards a Nikon D2x, and I have been following one on Trademe (NZ's version of eBay) for the last few weeks. It hasn't sold yet, but unfortunately I just don't have the cash to put down on it, and probably won't for a while.

So then there's plan B. I want to take this opportunity, with my Canon 5D gone, to make a change. Canon make great gear - don't get me wrong. I've used Canon for over 25 years. But maybe that's the problem? Canon cameras just don't really inspire me anymore. And when they do make a change - I don't really like the result (a-la 60D). The Nikon D300 I sold when the 5D got fixed was, in many ways, the better camera - for me. I really like the Nikon way of putting almost everything on a dial, button or knob on the outside of the camera - very much like the Sony (Minolta) 700 etc...

Which is why, after much thought and deliberation, I've hit upon the Nikon D200.

No - don't try to talk me out of it. And anyway, it's too late. I've already bought one, and it's arriving tomorrow. As well as the vertical grip (a must have for any kit as far as I'm concerned). And viola - a 'D2x' for half the price :-)

Unfortunately it's not coming with the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8VR shown above - I'll have to save up for that. I'm looking for a used 18-70mm 3.5/4.5 instead - a great lens in the Nikon line up that was the D70 kit lens (would you believe) but that performs way better than any kit lens has the right to.

10MP - magnesium alloy body - 11 focus points - 5fps - 2.5" LCD screen. Not bad for $500NZ.

The grand plan is to use it as my main camera for a couple of wedding seasons, and then buy a new (D400?) body and keep the D200 as a backup. Good plan I reckon.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

And back to Nikon again...

So I took my Canon 5D swimming with me at the end of the last post. Bad idea.

It's been sent away to Canon for an assessment, but I can tell you now, it's one dead unit. And not only the body, but the battery grip that was attached to it, together with the 28-135mm IS lens. All kabloey!

The insurance company has already forewarned me that I'm only likely to get $2000NZ for everything, since it wasn't itemized out on our content policy (there's a trap for the uninitiated). So, of course, now my mind starts mulling over what I can actually get for 2k.

Never one to shy away from a complete system re-think, I'm now actually favoring a move back to Nikon. More specifically, the Nikon D2x.

Sexy, sexy, sexy...  :-)
Why the D2x, and not the D3x? Well yeah, the D3x would be nice - but it's also way over my price range. We are talking about twice the price, and I just can't justify that kind of expense on a body.

As it is, to make the switch I will have to sell all my accumulated Canon gear - and not necessarily replace it all with equivalent Nikon gear. I'll win some, and loose some in the process.

The money I get for the insurance claim, together with selling my 70-200mm f4L, 20-35mm, 50mm f1.8, 20D body with grip, 18-55mm EF-S, 70-300mm, 580EX flash and 420EX flash, should give me about $4500NZ to 'play' with.

A mint cond. D2x body will hit the $1.5k mark (or thereabouts), and if I add to that a Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 (for about the same price) - together with an SB700 flash and Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR, then that will about do it. Not a bad kit really.

Not bad from the back either!
What will I do for a back-up when I shoot weddings? The same thing when I owned the Nikon D300 - I'll take my wife's D70.

Why the D2x over a D300 or newer D7000? Well, that's a great question, and one that I'm still struggling with. Having already owned the D300, I know what a fantastic camera it is. I'd be more than happy with another one. And the new D7000 is getting good raps from reviewers and users alike - with outstanding high ISO performance, great handling, and a lot of 'pro' features borrowed from the D3. Sounds like the obvious choice, does it not?

Well maybe. But for me, the allure of a 'real' pro camera has its appeal. At 12.4MP it's exactly where I want to be in the megapixel race and, needless to say, it's built like the proverbial brick .....house! It's questionable at high ISO's over 800 - but I don't shoot over 800 with any camera (even when I owned the D300), and having NO video at all suits me right down to the ground. And just look at it... it's gorgeous!

When I wrote reviews for D-Photo, I had a pretty good relationship with the boss at Nikon NZ, and he loaned me a D1x (I think it was) for a few months. It was only 4MP (from memory), but the images were gorgeous, and I fell in lust with that camera. I didn't want to give it back to Nikon, but in the end they had another use for it, and we parted company. I expect the same lust for the D2x - even if it is 'old' technology - and am pretty excited about the prospect of owning such a beast!

Of course the other alternative is to look out for a Canon 1D MkII for probably around the same price and just stick with all the lenses I already have. It's a possibility, I suppose. But where's the fun in that?