Pro Camera for hobbyist?

Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
edited April 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hey all,

Haven't seen this topic in our forum, how many of you tag yourself as hobbyist or enthusiast (those who don't make any money at all from their photography) and have high end pro cameras like D3/D4 etc.

What made you to invest such a big $$$ in that camera, or why would you buy such a camera? Just a curios thing.

I'd spend if I have enough money just for the satisfaction of having my photos look good. I won't be selling my photos or don't see that in my horizon.

Also the pros please chime in. :)


  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    edited April 2013
    i have expensive running shoes, but i am not aiming at the olympics ..... i have expensive guitars, but im not in a band, nor do i wish to be. im sure i could do with cheaper products in many areas of my life, and i do try not to be wasteful ....

    yes i have expensive camera stuff too, for similar reasons, i can learn from using it, and i do use it for work a little bit.

    we all own things that have potential beyond our capabilities, and beyond our aims, and i dont see any issue with this. we can all do what we wish with our money, so long as we dont spend beyond our means, or be wasteful.

    i feel if i buy the cheaper product, i will end up wanting to upgrade later, and therefore end up buying twice. so, usually i research a lot, decide what i want, and then save up for longer if necessary.

    expensive things also tend to hold a higher percentage of their value over time, especially camera lenses. but even with the body to some extent.

    like a rolex, will cost you ~10,000, but will hold its value, whereas a $500 watch will lose much of its value pretty quickly. the actual cost of owning a rolex over say a 5-10 year period is perhaps just a few hundred dollars per year, so long as you dont break the thing.

    its just the amount of money that gets tied up for the duration of ownership
    Post edited by mikep on
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    My rationale is pretty simple. I work my butt off in a job that over the years has gotten less creative (my role once required that I be tremendously creative) and less personally satisfying all the time. Despite the reduced job satisfaction, I'm still financially successful. Photography has become the one thing in my life that requires some level of creativity and I truly enjoy it. While I don't own a super expensive body (yet), I have a significant amount of money invested in lenses, filters, tripods, etc. Certainly significant for someone who's only sold a couple of shots and probably will never pay for all the gear I own. As Mike P has said above, the money I spend isn't preventing my family from eating, my son from going to college, or my retirement from being well funded. Yeah, I'm a bit of a gear head (but certainly not the worst offender here), but I like doing this and find that producing a good (if not great) image every so often makes up for the hours of mind-numbing conference calls I take part in each week. Do I need a 70-200 f/2.8? Absolutely not. Would I recommend others spend this kind of money instead of contributing to their 401(k)? Never. But for me it's right.
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    I'll chime in here. I have a D4 and have never so much as even attempted to sell my photos.

    I agree with everything that @MikeP said. So many people look at it and can't believe how much money I've spent on my "hobby." I was frustrated with my D7000 holding me back from what I wanted to achieve and I didn't want to spend 80% of the amount on a D3s which was several years older in terms of technology and would almost certainly cause me to got through the same upgrade process much sooner.

    So, +1 from me to everything MikeP said (thanks for typing it out! :) ) Then add to it that: If I can do (and learn) what I love to do with no technological/physical roadblocks then I find it is far more enjoyable, far less frustrating, and gives me a a lot more "creative time." The D4 enabled me. I've learned more at higher levels, in three months of owning the D4, than I ever learned with my D7000. But my D7000 forced me to delve into the basics of the digital world because I came from the film world and had taken 15+ years off from serious photography.

    Simply put, the D4 put a digital version of my film cameras into my hands (and lots more.) The D7000, while being a great camera, prohibited me from doing some of the things I wanted to do with action/sports photography. It also decreased my time in post significantly. Lastly, I would add that I think forking out the cash for the D4 increased my desire to pursue my hobby.

    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @mikep: Very well put...I second those remarks.
    @Swame_sp: The answer your question: Photography for me is a hobby...a very joyful, rewarding hobby. Thus, I consider myself an serious enthusiastic hobbyist.

    I started out with a D7000 when it first came out and fell in love with its performance, in addition to the world of photography. After much thoughtful consideration and consultation went with the D4 knowing that anything less, given my style of photography and featured offered by that body, it was the clean choice. Given where I stand today, I'm confident I made the right it the body as well as all the other goodies I have purchased to make my usage of my gear that much more fulfilling.

    My question to you is: What is the answer to your own question?
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    The pro bodies offer good image quality and full control. Those were the things I was looking for.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    My pro career was from about 1964 to 1971. During this time I was able to shoot with everything from Nikon F bodies, mine, to 11" x 14" Deardorf studio cameras. From about 1969 to 1971, I used Hasselblads and Sinar 8'"x 10" view cameras. I had a full studio staff working under my direction. So, I was used to the top of the line. I could have built about anything I wanted as well. I was fortunate enough to have several national clients through art directors who liked my work.

    After another career from 1971 to about 2002, I slowly went back to shooting some photos. As I became more familiar with the digital world, starting with a D something from Nikon, then D70s, D200, D90, my decision was to then go full format, looking at a D3s. I was told to wait for the new D4....told late in 2009 that it would be out soon, I waited. Then from B & H I was fortunate to get a D4 almost one of the first. And, I have never looked back. My only concern now is that I am growing older...LOL, but this is better than the alternative.

    I think if I am going to play the photo game, I want to use the equipment I am comfortable using. My previous career gave me the financial base to do this. Today, I shoot some jobs, but all are pro bono. My main goal is to learn how to use the stuff I have and to share any bits of knowledge I might have.
    Msmoto, mod
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I don't have the expensive body, but have somewhat expensive glass. I make no money and sometimes think the funds might have been better invested, but I enjoy taking pictures. I like having something to show off and just like any other hobby they usually require money. I tend to buy my expensive stuff when I come across the funds and it is "extra" money.

    I really think it is fun to have good equipment though. I like being able to do what I want with my lenses instead of being frustrated with the limitations of less expensive stuff. I think it has all come along as I progressed in photography too.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    Long story short;
    Buy whatever you want, but if you have a $5000 camera you better take good photos or you will look like a (rhymes with stick).

    Jokes aside, if you love it, go for it. Professionals buy what they need to make money. I don't need a D4 to make money, so I don't own one. That's not to say I wouldn't like one.
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    "What made you invest such a big $$$ in that camera, or why would you buy such a camera? Just a curious thing.”
    I’ve always believed in quality, regardless of the product. Even when I was very restricted as to what I could buy I preferred to save and buy quality; whether it be high performance sports cars, time pieces, clothing, golf clubs, or whatever. I didn’t have to have every new gadget and I didn’t need to keep up with the neighbors. I wanted quality that would serve me well, reliably, accurately, and durably.

    After a career of hard work and considerable sacrifices I am now in a position where I have resurrected my photographic enthusiasm and want gear that supports my principles. Fortunately I am in a position to do that financially. Photography, as most everything in my life, is a quest to continuously gain new knowledge and achieve new heights. In photography, if one does not seek to capture what exists in the mind’s eye, then everything is but a snapshot. To truly express the vision requires equipment that is capable of rendering the image perceived.

    Really good equipment will not automatically produce outstanding images but substandard equipment will likely prevent such images. Why limit the potential with inferior gear?

    “I'd spend if I have enough money just for the satisfaction of having my photos look good. I won't be selling my photos or don't see that in my horizon.”Good equipment will not necessarily make anyone’s photographs look good. Good equipment has the potential to maximize the ability to reproduce the image envisioned but the very best equipment in the hands of an unskilled person can still produce a less than mediocre result. Conversely a skilled photographer can produce some really fine images with mediocre equipment but the limitations of that equipment will also limit the end results. My goal is not to sell my images but to produce images that provide me with satisfaction knowing I achieved what I set out to achieve. If the equipment user is the limitation then there is room to grow, develop, and improve. If the equipment is the limitation then the user is stymied irrespective of desire.

    In all fairness I must disclose that I am currently using a D800 (semi-professional) and I have bought some of the best glass Nikon, Zeiss and Sigma (yes Sigma - 35mm f/1.4). I am awaiting the upgraded D4x to determine if that will be my second body or if I will pursue a medium format solution (although expensive the 16 bit color depth is intriguing).

    Whatever you decide, do it with commitment and passion and you probably will not be disappointed. Good luck.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    edited April 2013
    Very interesting replies... I liked the way you all think, the satisfaction is something that we all looking for.

    I currently own D7000 and the best glass that I have is N70-200 VR1. Sometimes I feel limited with the body, photos don't stand out. Noise is visible after ISO 1000. I don't get the desired boken effect with the lens combo I have (35f1.8 or N70-200).

    Most of my photography these days are event photography, which I'm trying to get better at. Most of the events are like 500-800 people gathering for a yoga and meditation. I and few of my other buddies volunteer to shoot for the event. We are not paid for our time, (we don't want either). I have to be constantly on the move and less time to change lenses at the event. It's very challenging with D7000. It's not that I don't like my photos, but I feel to be limited.

    I mostly use M mode on D7000 and SB-800.

    Is D4 considered to be a walk around camera? I'm not thinking about buying it (camera body) anytime soon until I feel ready to switch. Want to get something that doesn't get outdated for a considerable amount of time.
    Post edited by Swame_sp on
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member

    I don't get the desired boken effect with the lens combo I have (35f1.8 or N70-200).
    I don't recall seeing any of your images (I bet you're selling yourself short and they're very good), but if you're not getting great shots with the combo of that body and those two lenses maybe there's something else going on.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator

    The D4 a walk around camera.....only if you want a physical fitness program...LOL

    My suggestion...before even considering a D4 would be to accumulate FX spend $6,000 on lenses before purchasing a D4 body. Even then one may wish to look at a D400...if/when it appears. The D4 needs excellent glass and as you have a couple, it would appear you need to expand your kit.
    Msmoto, mod
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    If I recall, MikeP is finishing his degree in Photography in a school somewhere, and his perspective on photography is likely going to be spot on for a student who well-schooled in the study of the subject. Although he didn't care for his school, it seems he got something out of it.

    Others, and I will speak only for myself have some well earned mileage on our chassis. And as Ms Moto has pointed out, sometimes you move in and out of careers, but if you're smart, you might see the value of gear in your in image making. Not what the name can do for you, but what you can get from the equipment.

    Mostly, what you need to invest in is your noggin.

    My best,

  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    hi, im actually doing a degree in japanese, and although it was an excellent course, yes, as mentioned before, i feel i got way more out of the two years hiatus that i took in the middle of it when i was working.

    i started photography primarily as a hobby, however for work i do web design, and feel that images are just part and parcel of websites these days, so i feel photo + general image creation skills are extremely useful for anyone involved in e-businesses - video too. so while it is a hobby, i use it for work sometimes. understanding what makes a good looking photo is very useful for understanding what makes a nice looking website too. and not having to rely on stock images or, heaven forbid, hiring a photographer, is a bonus.

    i will start a photo business eventually when i am good enough, when i feel i have found my niche, and if the time is right .... starting my own business is a challenge that i cannot wait to get my teeth into. just got one more week of dissertation, 4 weeks of exams, then freedom.

    and finally to relate my digression back to the thread .... lenses i buy now will likely still work in ten+ years time, so i dont mind the investment in both knowledge and tools.

    and to echo a couple of points made by others, i dont mind spending money on something that i love to do .... haha, what with so many reasons, its a wonder i havent bought more stuff yet !

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited April 2013
    Swame_sp: I second msmotos comments. For me the D4 has turned into a walk around lens... I do it all the time. Not to mention the backpack I cary with additional lenses in it. In addition, her recommendation in having a well stocked level of FX/Pro line of lenses is very valid.

    If I recall correctly, you stating that the 70-200 VR I is "..the best lens that I have bought to date. It's worth every penny. No regrets at all." If you stand by those remarks, then a pro body was not needed in satisfying your needs. However, if you feel that you are unable to get the type of bokeh and such, with your D7000 & 35 1.8 or 70-200 I would highly recommend you fine tune your techniques.

    That said, the events you are shooting, from my perspective, will require two bodies at times....those close up shots, and those from a distance, a wide angle lens for group shots would also come in handy.

    Lastly, I would like to see some of the shots you have taken, those that you like and don't like so we can give you some feed back. Hence, proudgeek remarks.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    I consider myself as a hobby photographer as well. Never sold any image and I havn't got any intention to do so. I studied photographic engineering but I am an engineer not a photographer.

    When I went digital I got myself a D700 (which I would consider more a professional than a consumer camera) for two reasons: I only read good things about this camera and I wanted a FX camera because at that time I was using more wide angle lenses than tele and I did not want to convert my 20 mm lens into a 35 mm. I know I could have gotten myself a DX and a wide zoom or prime but to be honest: I simply wanted that D700 :)
  • PeterPhamWesleyPeterPhamWesley Posts: 19Member
    I too consider myself a hobby photographer as well. It's really nice learning about the D800 and D4 cameras and what they are capable of doing. I do mostly wildlife photography, but in the recent past have done photography to raise money for a charity - so while I don't sell any of my images, I do raise money with them.

    This being said, as a hobbyist I ENJOY looking over all of the used camera lenses and cameras that are on Adorama and B&H. I have a lens that is just under 10 years old and it gives me real pleasure whenever I am able to take nice photos with it. Same thing with the camera bodies. While everyone around me has a D7100, D800 or D4, here I am with a D80 and D300. The D80 finally died (May it go to camera heaven), but the D300 is still kicking and screaming.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I currently own D7000 and the best glass that I have is N70-200 VR1. Sometimes I feel limited with the body, photos don't stand out. Noise is visible after ISO 1000. I don't get the desired boken effect with the lens combo I have (35f1.8 or N70-200).
    I like the question and then read your second post above. That it is a bit concerning as it sounds you may have more "Gear envy" and trying to use other's justifications to buy something that may be more than you are ready to handle or choose to afford at this time. I have a feeling you want everyone to say you need FX something to get bokeh. It helps, but honestly, if you are not getting it on DD, you will miss it on FX as well.

    I also have the 70-200 VR1 and love it. Tried the new version, and didn't see enough improvement to justify the cost. It is awesome lens. I find the bokeh on it is just as good as any prime - once you learn to fully utilize it.

    Having a D600, D800 or D4 is not going to make or break an image or truly help that much. All camera's have noise above 800 - and really noise doesn't necessarily break an image either. If the image is strong, few notice the noise. Coming from a D7000, really you are only gaining a stop, maybe two (unless you go for a D4.) It's technique, learning, and yes even lenses that will get you to more bokeh and better photos. If you are missing bokeh - it's probably conditioning yourself to be more comfortable getting closer to people. If you practice with a 50mm, on a lamp, ottoman, dog, cat, etc. that will help you learn how close you must get. If you are more of a shy shooter, then the 85mm is something you should look at.

    I will take a guess that if you are using "M" mode, that may be holding you back. I think the "use Manual everything" is way overused and overstated. There are some very ardent users of "M" mode that tend to speak louder than others, but they are also some of the most experienced as well. I think some have forgotten their time prior to becoming very good to get to that point. I remember starting out I tried to shoot M but every image came out looking sub-par. One really experienced photographer told me to shoot on P and flag the images I liked, write down the settings and what I liked about it - all in focus, bokeh, lighting. etc. Then she told me to try to emulate them in "S" and "A" mode. Only then once I mastered that, move to "M".

    Personally I go for bokeh so I'm in "A" mode 95% of the time. Rarely am I in "M" unless I'm practicing/trying something out or working with some studio lighting stuff. For events, I'm in S or P 70% of the time with the rest in A mode (a bit depends on how nasty the lighting is-either way, I'm not in "M" at all.) If it were me shooting yoga and meditation, I would spend the first 30min on P, do a quick review, and swap to A. If you have that many people in an area, I think you would have to get the flash off the camera, on a stand or better have a helper with a flash on a boom arm and move with that. Singling out individual subjects in large masses of people is more difficult than the seems upfront.

    Maybe I read too much into your posts. But honestly the decision to spend money is so personal, I have rarely found anyone really cares why other spend, but are looking to justify a purchase for themselves.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    +1 to TTJ and some really good things he mentioned about "M", Also the subtle, inviting and charming way to ask the OP why he is curious :)
  • Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
    Came back from a 2 day trip to Canada.... No way buying a $5k camera man.... Def not. That's a lot a money. Just wondering how many of you have such an expensive gear.

    Just had this crazy thought, wouldn't that be cool to have a camera like that, then I questioned myself, do I really need that? I cannot justify myself to have that camera.

    About sharing my photos, will share it on the PAD or here in this discussion soon. Thanks for the reply guys.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,185Member
    I think people do spend $$ on their hobbies.. nothing wrong with that. Its what helps bring enjoyment, its what you earn your money for. I play chess as well and i have friends who are not as capable as I am at chess but spend thousands on trips all over the country and overseas just to participate in tournaments! I don't spend a lot on tournaments bec i get enough of play to satisfy my interest. similarly for my other hobby of photography I would spend on a D4 and Great Glass if I feel that it is what I need to get satisfaction from my hobby. However I will be waiting for the D400 and will probably grab the 70-200 F4 at the same time :-) ( well may be not, I will probably get the 70-200 F4 soon :-) ). My choice of gear is what I feel I need for the type of photography I like. eg I tried Glamour and model photography, thought it would be fun.. but nope not for me.. I found that when I am in the mood for photography I am in "my time" and needing to "talk" to the models took me out of my Zone and that was not satisfying to me :-) so there is no need for a 85mm F1.4 or a 70-200 F2.8 for me :-) If I did find that part of photography fun I would get that gear.. I think most people would spend most of their disposable income on their hobbies or what ever they like to do.!
    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.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,492Moderator
    May be off topic slightly, but not more than some:

    If you buy new gear and then get buyers remorse, it can destroy your enjoyment of the gear and photography. In all cases consider this possibility, also the possibility that your purchase may not transform your results like you can delude yourself into thinking it will and be honest with yourself about those points before you buy. I would rather have my ol' D7K and kit lens and enjoy them than blow the bank with a D800 +++ and then be miserable!
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited April 2013
    I am now somewhat retired but still do some commercial work, which pays for and may be justifies, my D800 but as much as I would like one, I could not justify a D4

    Photography is not a cheap hobby but compared to sailing, flying or Motor Sports it is not too expensive

    I get a huge amount of enjoyment out of my landscape photography (which does not earn me a penny)

    If a photograph does not come out as I had wished; I know for sure, I could not do any better with a better camera, for the simple reason, there isn't one

    I am very happy with my D800, worth every penny of my ill gotten gains
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator

    Love the rationalization with motorsports. My friends who race cars like to pretend amazement at the price of a camera I am using, yet will spend the cost of the camera and lens in a weekend when something breaks on their car. And, those who have crews...yikes.

    So, if we can take photos of things, and this is our hobby which provides much enjoyment, possibly it can be rationalized under better mental health. ;)
    Msmoto, mod
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    To some extent, I use to sweat about how I spent my money.

    Now I sweat about how I spend my beneficiary's money. ;-)

    My best,

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