Best way to spend $2k in 2018

Hello all, I am new here, but have lurked for almost 2 years. I am in need of some advice. I have some available funds and am looking to step up my photography (both in terms of skills and gear). I am not a pro but take lots of family pictures, I have 2 young daughters as well as a family farm that I take pictures of. I have been asked by a few friends to do some shoots but nothing serious... Yet. I have been playing with the idea of potentially stepping into more paying gigs, but feel I need to get a little more polished.

Anyway, I have a d750, 70-200 vr1, 24-70g, 85 1.8, 50 1.4. What are your opinions as to where I need to upgrade? Options:
-used d810s are going for ~$1700 on eBay in good shape which is very tempting
-the 70-200 vr2 has also come down in price
-save my money and buy a d850 next year
-save my money and buy a 70-200e next year

My question comes down to, is the d810 enough of an upgrade over the d750 to upgrade? Is the vr2 enough of an upgrade over the vr1 to upgrade? (I know the corners are a little soft in the vr1 but I don't like the focus breathing of the vr2) is something better right around the corner that will drive d810 prices down further? I think we're getting to the leveling off point following the drop in price after the 850 came out. Finally, should I just save up to really pay big bucks to move to a d850 and 24-70vr + 70-200e fl ($10k).

Thanks in advance, elo
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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,539Moderator
    @eloverton2 welcome to NR.

    One thing is for sure - this is a gear focused site and its members will always spend your money freely!

    In my humble opinion, the gear you have is going to take great shots of the subjects you mentioned which you will be able to blow up to 20 x 16 with no problem. If it doesn't, it isn't your gears fault...
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,137Member
    edited January 30
    Welcome to NR!

    Reading through your OP, I too couldn't find any gaping holes in your gear list. You seem to have a well rounded set especially for your stated subjects.

    The only thing I may add is the wide end, but only as an intellectual exercise. Personally I am not a "widey" so I could be happy with your set as is(for your stated subjects).

    However, if we consider your personal needs and where you "feel" your gear is lacking then maybe we can find a more specific suggestion for you. .. ie you have not said too much as to why you feel you are lacking and in which areas and while shooting which Subjects? Tell us this and we may be able to help..



    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,678Member
    edited January 30
    Best advice, just keep using what you have now and put the money in the bank. If you want to do paid work invest the money into your business instead. Maybe update your camera in a few years, but otherwise you have a great setup. Trading for newer versions of this lens or that lens is rarely worth while unless there are glaring issues with what you have.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    Thanks so much for your replies guys. A friend of mine is getting married in a couple of months and I have thought of offering to take pictures for them. I have been using Nikon dslrs for about 8 years now, I started with a d5000, and the move to my d750 was amazing.

    Not having used a d810, my question is mainly a product of no knowing the real world difference between the two bodies. Is the difference between 24mp and 36mp as drastic as the step from 12mp to 24mp?

    I read all these reviews online of how the 70-200 vr1 and 24-70g are so soft in the corners and the new iterations are so much sharper so the only way to find these answers are to ask. I don't have a photography store remotely close to my house, I used to have one about an hour away, but it's closed now. So I can't really handle gear and try it unless I try rentals. It's much easier to ask on here.

    Thanks again for the replies. I am finding a huge aspect of photography is confidence. Confidence to try new things, confidence to make the most of your equipment, and confidence that said equipment will produce the desired result. So, thanks for helping me out.
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    heartyfisher, I haven't speficially felt lacking, as I have been able to get some great results with my current gear, there's always something newer and shinier and supposedly better, but I understand that better gear doesn't mean better photos if I can't get the most out of it with technique and execution
  • retreadretread Posts: 452Member
    I may be an older version of you. I gave up photography while farming and raising a family because the cost of film photography was just more than I could afford. As I am trying to retire I have picked it up again and ham having a ball with the grandchildren.

    My kit is not a whole lot different than yours. Full frame is my next move in cameras I am still shooting with DX with mostly FX glass. Started with a D5100 and worked my way up to a D7200 and D500. I have some longer lenses as I shoot mostly sports and wildlife.

    Parents sometimes give me gas cards for doing there kids sports shots.

    I do not shoot much wide but agree that if I were to add to what you have it would be a good wide angle. I have zooms because of the versatility in sports and wildlife. You may find yourself doing some sports as your daughters get involved. The 70-200 is very good for that through high school.
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    edited January 30
    retread, I have about 150 head of cattle and I find they are some of the hardest animals to photograph. When I moved from my d5000, I considered the d7200 and d500, and then luckily the d750 went on sale. I have been so happy with the decision.

    I have just watched eBay and waited on my lenses. I started with a 18-55 and 55-200 and 35 1.8 on dx. Two years ago I found the 70-200 vr1 on eBay for $850 in really good shape and thought it was too good to pass up and have loved using it since. When I got my d750, I wanted an all purpose zoom, but the 24-120f4 and 28-300vr are both over $600, and the weight of the v70-200 didn't bother me, so I just jumped to the 24-70 for $300 more.
    Post edited by eloverton2 on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,678Member
    Regarding the cameras, you would notice some resoluion difference, but shooting an important event with a camera that you aren’t familiar with can be an issue. I used to shoot with a D800 and went down to the D750. While there are a few times that I miss the extra pixels it’s less often than you’d think. The D750 also works better in low light than the D810, thanks to improved focus sensors, just something else to consider.

    Lenses: The extream corners on the 24-70mm G are softer (at 24mm), but we are talking about the extreme, way outside of the range of focus points, so keep that in mind. The G is sharper overall throughout the zoom range, any review from people who aren’t getting free stuff from Nikon are saying the same thing. Check the lab tests at optical limits (formally known as Photozone). The new lens is way softer between 50-70mm than the old one; primarily between F2.8 and F4. Yikes. I’m sticking with my non-VR, that’s for sure.

    70-200mm F2.8G vs v2. I have used both and currently own the VR2. Personally, I preferred the design of the VR1, it was more comfortable to shoot with. It also didn’t stuffer from focus breathing as much as the VR2 does. Not a big deal for me, since I don’t do a ton of close up work with it. Is the new one sharper, I guess so, since the lab tests say so There wasn’t much to complain about with the first Gen other than more vignetting.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • sportsport Posts: 45Member
    I have nearly the same setup as yours. It's hard to recommend anything more as the D750 is really good. Moving to the D810 gains you some resolution but on the other hand you will have a new set of controls to learn.

    Something to consider would be adding lighting to your kit. Using speedlights or strobes can add a new dimension to your images.
  • retreadretread Posts: 452Member
    eloverton2, I have about 50 cattle and wanting to cut back to just some for the grandkids 4H and a few for myself. Had a registered red angus heard. Wife keeps after me for a big shot of them on pasture to hang in the living room. I need to get that done.

    I am saving for a Sigma 120-300 for some night time sports. I may be shooting some college summer league baseball this summer. The next will be a D850. Then I plan to slow down purchases. I am pushing my budget as I want some time to enjoy them and then leave them for the grandkids when I am gone. One will start college next fall and has picked one where the photo lab is across the hall from the animal science department.

    Quality time with your daughters shooting the cattle sounds to me like a memory the will carry for all their life.
  • prototypeprototype Posts: 11Member
    If you don't feel you have a pressing need for something it might be ok to save until you figure out what the best option for yourself may be.

    I would echo what sport mentioned, lighting might be something to look at,especially for portraits. (with lights it's fairly easy to start small and add more as you learn/require them)
  • BVSBVS Posts: 311Member
    How often do you use each of your current lenses? If you had to give a percentage to each one what would you give? Reason being that upgrading lenses you use all the time probably makes more sense than ones you rarely use.

    As for what's around the corner, it looks like the next big release from Nikon will be mirrorless. DX is expected by May, and FX by September, if all goes well. If mirrorless is something that appeals to you, and you have the time, it might be worth waiting and seeing what gets released.
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    retread, I have looked at a longer lens for sports, but they're still little (right now) so I think I'm going to wait and cross that bridge when we get there. ( Have also considered a 1.7tc with my 70-200 for longer shots) ((have also considered d8x0 so I can crop more to get in tighter))

    Sport/prototype, good suggestions on the lights. Is the extra premium on Nikon Speedlites worth it? Or are yuongo just as good? One of the reasons I have 2.8 and 1.8 lenses is so I can use natural light without flash.

    BVS, I use the 24-70 50% of the time (can get really close indoors and can zoom to frame and compose without having to move too much) it's perfect for my little ones. I use the 50 1.4 at indoor events like Thanksgiving and Christmas about 20% so I don't have to use flash in people's eyes. I use the 85 and 70-200 outdoors the other 30% of the time, parks, barns, cows, etc. I have looked at the 35 1.4 and 28 1.8 to get wider and fast for indoor close up natural light and a wider prime for landscapes but I have a hard time justifying the price.
  • sportsport Posts: 45Member
    The Yongnuo is what I would pick for a speedlight only setup. They have a great wireless setup and the price is fantastic. Unless you plan to do sports, this will really be a great way to up your game. Also look at Strobist for techniques on using this type of setup.

    I use Nikon speedlights for outdoors photos and Alienbees for indoor work. My wireless setup is Pocketwizard FlexTT/MiniTT's with a SU-800 for commander function. It's a frankenstein setup but it works for me. I love the Pocketwizard setup because my light meter is integrated to it. It makes setup fairly quick.

    I've been concerned for a couple of years about the direction Nikon is going with the CLS. It just seems to be an afterthought now where you have another module hanging off the camera. The SU-800 is old and expensive. The SB-5000 is awesome but it comes with a huge price tag.
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    Yeah I really would like to have the sb-5000 with infrared command and just use it on a tripod of it's own as a stationary bounce flash for parties and family gatherings but like you said, it's a lot of money for what you get
  • retreadretread Posts: 452Member
    I have a 2x, the latest, for the 70-200 VRII, I like it I don't think it degrades the image as much as some say but you are down to f5.6. My reading is that the latest 1.25 and 2 are good but the 1.7 not so much. My most used lenses are the 24-70 and the 70-200 FX lenses on DX cameras. Where I shoot indoor sports anything longer is too much on a DX camera. They will be a little shorter on your D750 because of the larger sensor.

    I have used my bigger wild life zoom, a 150-600, for some outdoor sports and find I seldom go over 400mm. When the lights come on I put it away. If I shoot the college kids it will be a paid deal so that will soften the cost of the Sigma. It will get me out to 450mm equivalent so should work fine.

    I sprang for the SB5000 flash. I do not use flash much but like some fill flash at times. I have been asked to do portraits which really is not my thing. I do them outside when I do them and a little fill often makes a big difference. I like it on the D7200 but have not used it much on the d500. I also have some large Metz flashes. I have one I used when I shot film and loved it. I got the newer digital version but just did not use it much.

    I would like to have had what you have when my kids were little. They grow all too fast. Cherish the memories and record the images. Maybe you can pass your love for photography on to them. It makes for some special times when you can shoot together and compete with each other in some contests. My D5100 fits the little hands well and they like it. When they turn 14 they get there own camera. Somehow it often has my lens on it.

    Isn't that what grandpas are for? ;-)
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    That's great. My dad had a Pentax me when we were growing up and got a ton of pictures of us showing cows and driving tractors and those are priceless pictures now. So to me, the gear is just an investment. Sounds like you are a wonderful papaw.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,405Member
    edited January 31
    Remember with the D810 you gain in MP and you loose the low pass filter which in itself is worth about 25% in sharpness ( compare 800 with 810) BUT the 810 has the crap pro controls. I never had any focus problems doing shots in Discos ..group area focus and P mode. Remember having two bodies is a big advantage ..saves swopping lenses.
    The Samyang 14mm is a great lens ..just set at 15ft f 5.6 and tape up the focus ..brilliant
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    edited January 31
    What if you could get a used d810 with 20k shutter recently serviced by Nikon with grip and cf card and bl5 for $1600?
    Post edited by eloverton2 on
  • BVSBVS Posts: 311Member

    What if you could get a used d810 with 20k shutter recently serviced by Nikon with grip and cf card and bl5 for $1600?

    If you're looking for a second body for paid gig work, or if you're primarily doing landscape or studio work, it sounds like a good deal. Otherwise, if you're just looking to upgrade/replace your D750 and don't do that kind of work you're probably better off spending the money elsewhere.

    D810 and D750 are the same generation of cameras and contain lots of the same tech. The D750 is actually newer if I recall correctly. The only things you really gain by going from D750 to D810 are:

    - 50% more pixels
    - No low pass filter
    - ISO 64 with slightly better dynamic range (although D750 is better at ISO100)
    - A bit larger buffer
    - 1/8000 shutter
    - Electronic front curtain shutter
    - Split screen focusing in live view
    - 'Pro' body and build quality (although some people prefer the 'enthusiast' body of the D750 and its U1/U2 settings).

    But D810 also loses to D750 in some ways:

    - Bigger size and weight (although this is personal preference)
    - Bigger file sizes (i.e. needs more storage and slower to process)
    - Slower frames per second (5 on D810 vs. 6.5 on D750)
    - Worse low light focusing (-2EV on D810 vs. -3EV on D750)
    - A bit worse noise at high ISO
    - No tilt screen
    - No built in WiFi (I think)

    To see a more significant change and make it worth the money you're probably better off saving the $1,600 toward getting a D850 instead. D850 bests both D810 and D750 at just about everything, except size/weight, file size, and maybe low light ISO, and includes a number of things not available in the other two (e.g. auto AF fine tune, focus peaking, focus shifting/stacking, etc.).


    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,669Member
    for events you should have a backup camera. Look into renting one and keep saving up for the d850
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,678Member
    BVS said:


    To see a more significant change and make it worth the money you're probably better off saving the $1,600 toward getting a D850 instead. D850 bests both D810 and D750 at just about everything, except size/weight, file size, and maybe low light ISO, and includes a number of things not available in the other two (e.g. auto AF fine tune, focus peaking, focus shifting/stacking, etc.).

    Completely agree with this, going for a big upgrade like the D850 makes more sense in the long run. Rent backups for paid gigs and keep saving. While the D800/D810 cameras do offer more pixels, you are going bsckwards on some features, shooting/focus speed primarily. Not that the difference is huge, the 51point system was very well optimized years ago, I shot a lot of night sports and wildlife with the much older D700 before the modern D8xx bodies came out. The newer body are faster though, no doubt.

    The other down side to the D810 is that it uses a combination of SD and the old CF card slots. SD is fine, but investing in CF cards now doesn’t make a ton of sense with all the newer bodies using XQD/SD.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • eloverton2eloverton2 Posts: 9Member
    edited February 1
    Good insights here. I haven't really considered the d850, due to the fact that I thought I needed to upgrade glass before getting a d850?

    Also, do you guys think the d850 will go down in price any after orders are filled and sales drop off?
    Post edited by eloverton2 on
  • retreadretread Posts: 452Member
    The D850 is on my list but I am in no hurry. I like the controls are nearly the same as my D500. The D7200 is not that much different that I cases me trouble. Going back to the D5100 does make me stop and think. I don't know how your D750 controls compare. I don't think there is much chance the price will go up and there will be sales at some point.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,678Member

    Good insights here. I haven't really considered the d850, due to the fact that I thought I needed to upgrade glass before getting a d850?



    Also, do you guys think the d850 will go down in price any after orders are filled and sales drop off?

    Will newer glass be better on a D850? Sure, but again there really isn't much lacking in your current setup, and it will still do great. Some of the best bang for your buck lenses are from the 1980's, mid-late 2000's. Don't fall for the marketing hype that says you must have the latest stuff all the time. If you think clients might judge you for your gear, maybe 1-10 will, while the rest wont have a clue, other than that you have a "big camera." From experience you loose more money upgrading like that than you gain in performance.

    Not likely to see price drops on the D850 any time soon, it only came out last fall. I'm still standing by my first post, keep what you have for now and wait a while. Do some paid gigs, and then see if what you have holds you back in some ways, rather than buying stuff that you might not even really need.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
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