Most people tend to purchase a combination of new and used equipment, and my general rule of thumb is buy the body new and the lenses used. Bodies are much more prone to problems, while lenses will last forever as long as they aren’t dropped. However, for this reason, resale on lenses is far better than on bodies. If you bought a new body and lens, expect that in 3 years time the body will be worth 35-45% of the original value; while a lens could be worth 60-70% of its original value.
Here’s my used kit recommendation, again for Nikon with approximate used values in US/Canada shown:
1st Purchase – Semi-pro body with great features and a versatile lens - Nikon D200 (about $400) with Nikkor 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 (about $175), or a Nikkor 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 VR ($240)
STEP UP: The D90 ($650) or D300 ($800) are also excellent choices and have available video. For a better lens, take a look at the excellent Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 (about $350). The cheaper D80 at $300 is also a very good camera.
FOOTNOTE: Both the D200 and D300 meter with manual focus lenses, making them very versatile, and allowing the user to try also sorts of great manual lenses for a not a lot of outlay.
2nd Purchase – Fast Aperture Prime – Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF-D (about $100) or Nikkor 35mm f1.8 AF-S (about $220) There’s lots of options in this area, and you could also consider the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF-S (about $200), the Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D (about $270) and Manual Focus lenses if you bought a D200.
STEP UP: This means going to a very fast f1.4 and the options here are Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D (about $270), the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-S and a Sigma 50mm f1.4 AF-S (both about $430). The latter two step up lenses are the best, but you pay a premium.
3rd Purchase – Nice Lighting – Nikon SB-600 ($200) Excellent flash that works well
STEP UP: The SB-600 is great, but I like the more powerful SB-800 ($300) better. Don’t buy any other flash but Nikon for a Nikon camera; or Canon for a Canon camera as the electronics aren’t always 100% compatible.
4th Purchase – Follow your interest – wide, tele, macro?
Wide – Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 (about $420) This is a great lens that offers excellent value.
Tele –Nikon 70-300mm f4-5.6 G (about $120) OR Nikon 70-300mm f4-5.6 VR AF-S (about $450) If you can stretch, get the lens with VR as telephoto lenses are very susceptible to camera shake and vibrations, which leads to blurry pictures. The non-VR is good for a telephoto taste though.
Macro – Tamron 90mm f2.8 (about $250, $350 for Di version) OR Nikon 60mm f2.8 AF-D (about $350) Both are excellent lenses. If you bought a wider prime, get the Nikkor 60mm; however if you bought a 50mm lens, get the 90mm Tamron.
|Nikon D2X with Nikon 18-135mm|