Questions to ask before buying new camera gear

  1. What is my budget?
  2. What are my primary and secondary uses for my next lens or camrea?
  3. What gear do I already have?
  4. How is the gear I aleady have limiting me?
  5. Would I consider buying used if the equipment was in great condition?
  6. Would I consider buying a 3rd party brand? (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc)

For instance:

1: My budget is $1000
2. My primary use is my kid plays little league and I want something that can take great pictures of him. All the games are during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. No real secondary use for the lens.
3. Right now, I have a Canon 50D, a Tamron 28-75 and a 50mm 1.8.
4. My Tamron doesn’t zoom in far enough for me to take good pictures.
5. I would be happy to buy used if it was well taken care of.
6. I’m not against 3rd party, but I would rather buy from Canon if I can afford it.

Well, get a used Canon 100-400 for 1000-1100 or grab a Sigma 150-500 new or used. Neither lens will be great for nighttime photography, but both would be great for daytime little league or other outdoor sports.

Yay! You are so knowledgeable and good looking. Thank you.

Here is another example:

1. My budget is 1500
2. I want to shoot weddings and portraits, soon full-time professional. I want to get a newer, better camera to take better pictures.
3. I have a Nikon D90, a 18-55 and a 55-200.
4. I don’t like the noise my camera has, and I want to take better pictures.
5. Used is fine.
6. I want a camera, it doesn’t apply.

You need better lenses. Your camera is fine. Use the budget to improve your lenses and to get an off-camera strobist-type setup for portraits. You may want to try the 24mm 2.8, 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 or the 85mm 1.8 for a good budget portrait lens. Before you shoot weddings professionally, you will want to get at least 1 extra body in case something happens to the first one. The Nikon D7000 would be a decent budget choice, but the Nikon D700 or D3s are really the camera bodies that a Nikon-shooting wedding professional should have. Also, you will probably want your main lenses to be F/2.8 or faster. This will require an investment more substantial than your previously budgeted. Nikon makes a great 24-70mm 2.8 and a great 70-200mm 2.8 VR II. Your D90 will make a fine second camera, whenever you decide to upgrade your first body. But for now, get a good portrait lens and a strobist setup and practice. Try to tagalong with someone else and go through Lighting 101.

If you have questions like that, feel free to send me an email, but in the email, answer those 6 questions.

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