Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What To Buy in Early 2008?

Christmas 2007 sales were terrible. The worst since 2002. We are headed into a recession. The market barometers have fallen in the last couple days of trading. Stores need some money from us consumers,so get out there and buy,buy,buy! But, what to purchase now that it is early 2008? And,provided you're not in the mood to wait for the next best thing,what items can you buy right NOW,and use and enjoy even IF the next model comes out within the coming year?

Buffalo TeraStation Live network attached storage drive,1 Terabyte capacity model available for $499 from

Nikon D40 kit $499 from many on-line retailers, $549 in-store. New stock D40 kits will soon include a VR-equipped 18-55 kit lens, the third iteration of this light,decent little zoom. An amazing little d-slr that can produce jazzy,punchy JPEG images.

Nikon D300 $1899 to $2099,when in stock. D300's are sold out at MOST larger retail and internet stores across America.

Canon EOS 40D, $1300 and available. Make sure to add the accessory grip for $199,and pick up the amazing EOS 580 EX-II weather sealed shoe mount flash unit,$450, which gives really good results.

EOS 5D $2199 or so. C'mon. You know you want a full-frame camera. And you know you do not want to pay $5,000 for it. The 5D will allow you to use millions of Nikkor lenses with adapters that cost as little as $17 (seventeen dollars!) from eBay dealers in the USA. Canon's 85mm f/1.8 lens is cheap and amazing, and Tamron and Sigma also make some sweet lenses.

Canon EOS 580 EX-II shoe mount flash. $450. Amazing unit. Well-built,good ergonomics,simple controls,powerful,battery-efficient. In a word, an excellent flash unit on the 5D,in my experience. Works great. Wonderful design.Easy to use.

Nikon 70-200 VR-G f/2.8 professional zoom lens. It's an amazing zoom lens for Nikon or Fuji d-slr cameras. If you do not own it,you are missing out on a wonderful tele zoom;good sharpness,good focusing,good ergonomics,great bokeh. This lens can be the cornerstone of a 2-lens system; if you only own TWO Nikkor zoom lenses, this ought to be one of the two zooms.

Fuji S5 Pro, apprx $1550 now. Sure it's only a 6MP camera, but so is the D40! The S5 Pro delivers beautiful color and tonality and that decidedly inaccurate but PLEASING Fuji skintone rendition. If you have F-mount lenses and want a camera for people pictures or family photography or available light portraits and many types of social photography, the S5's really worth a look. The Fuji has an image quality that's hard to define,since the S5 can be set up so,so many ways, but the best thing I can say about S5 images is that they have nice tonality,and a subtleness in the way colors are rendered--when the images are well-processed or when the in-camera settings are all appropriate to the shooting conditions and artistic intent of a capable photographer. I've also seen excess DR,like 400%, thrown at flat,low-contrast scenes or moderate contrast scenes,and have seen some drecky results where people went overboard with that type of excess DR application. I have also seem Fuji S5 film simulation results which were wayyyy overboard on saturation, resulting in heavy-handed,clownish,eye-candy images that look,well,kind of like bad 1980's photofinishing. Hopefully,the S5 is not the last d-slr Fuji releases,but if it is their last model,make sure you buy one or two before they are all gone. Now that Fuji has a D200-level body,it's a respectable,capable camera for many applications,and well worth $1500.

A fast single focal length lens for your Dx-sensored camera. Sigma 30mm f/1.4 wide angle. Or the Nikon or Canon 85mm f/1.8 telephotos. Or the Canon 100mm f/2 for $399. Something WIDE-aperture,and useful for YOUR shooting needs. But it must be a prime,and it must be a fast aperture lens. Even a 50mm f/1.8 will qualify. Fast. Prime. Light weight. Portable. Predictable. Non-threatening profile for use in social photography situations. Ya' gotta' own and use a nice prime lens or two!

That LONG zoom lens you've wanted. Two lenses spring to my mind as being the best values; the Tamron 200-500mm f/5~6.3 zoom for about $899, or the Sigma 80-400mm OS, for around the same general price. The advantage of the Tamron is its nifty build and sweet design and good handling and fair price,and the fact that it is a 200 to FIVE hundred, while the Sigma offers Optical Stablizer technology, and a versatile 80-400 FL range with acceptable weight and good handling.

Of course,all of the above stuff is what I'm giving you permission to buy. Spend freely at your local photo dealer's shop. Or at B&H,or Adorama,or KEH,or Camera World, or wherever people treat you right,and where you feel comfortable conducting business. And hey, if you've got your eyes on a 300/2.8, 400 or 500 or 600, or some other $4,500 to $7999 big lens, what the heck, buy that too! And of course, if there's something I've forgotten,like a new tripod,or a monopod,or a new small studio flash system,then why not spring for that too?


memoriesr4ever said...

hey i am an ameateur photographer. i mostly do sports shots, but i am looking for the lens i need to take flawless studio pictures. i use the xti, and please don't ask what lights i use, because i can't tell you right now. lol. i am looking to upgrade my lights, if you have any suggestions?

Derrel said...

I would suggest the Speedotron D402 Brown Line pack at $361 from and two,or three, M90 light heads at $137 each, for a total three-light kit cost of $775,for years of dependable,affordable use. I shot my very FIRST-ever test session with a 402 and two M90 heads,and was amazed at the ease of use after many years of using OTHER,entirely different Speedo setups costing thousands more dollars.
The D402 will fire from 150 to 400 watt seconds of light thru one head,and has FOUR outlets. It's very easy to use,and I love its Full/Half power setting AND its Symmetrical/Asymmetrical output options and straighforward,proven technology.
Lens-wise the 85mm 1.8 EF is good for studio portraits,but a zoom would be more flexible. In-studio on crop-bodied cameras, I prefer a 70-200 zoom,but a 28-135 would be usable. 50mm f/1.8 anon lns can be used in-studio if you ue the right apertures, like f/2.5 and f/2.8 and can give defocused backdrops at wide apertures. At f/5.6, a 50mm lens can yield good,crisp studio shots at low cost. Any studio lens must FOCUS well under your lights--that's critical.