Priorities

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to look at short and long term decisions as they will severely impact our ability to complete the track. We need to focus on the current and the next step we are taking, but we need to make sure we are in good shape to take those future steps when we get to them.

I love Big Bertha. It is a great lens, but a vanity/impulse purchase. When I bought Big Bertha, I thought I would be going to race tracks to take photos of my husband riding on his motorcycle. I thought I would have to stand far back and needed a lens to “put me close” to him on the track. That did not happen for a number of factors (which I will not get into).

In late 2019/early 2020 I thought of using Big Bertha for wildlife photography. I had planned to start doing trips with the intent to start taking, at first locally, photos of the wildlife. I wanted to plan a local trip to start looking at that type of photography. The COVID-19 pandemic happened, and so all plans in that line were also put on hold.

It’s been 4 years (anniversary coming shortly) that I bought my Nikon D610 and have come to the conclusion that it is time to think of my next camera. Does the D610 serve my purposes? Yes. Then why am I looking for the next camera already?

To be honest, I have been thinking of my next camera a while now. Before I wanted a lens to do astro-photography (which I haven’t had the chance in the last 12 months), I was looking at buying the D810a, which was focused on taking photos of the stars. But the price and other priorities diverted me away from that dream. Now the D810a is no longer produced (or at least sold here in Australia).

So, what is my next camera? Or even better: what are my photographic equipment priorities? There are a few things I want and need to think about: a new camera, square filter set (this will never be dropped until the day I buy one), and (here it comes AGAIN) a travel tripod – in this order. To be honest, that’s probably not the order in which the purchases will happen, but it is definitely the order that I think are more important to me.

I’ve been looking at what my next camera should be. A strong debate has been going on in my mind: DSLR vs Mirrorless. Now, as once the digital camera was a novelty and marked as the future of photography, so are the mirrorless cameras. The problem for me to go mirrorless is the investment I have already made on DSLR. I currently have invested well over AUD$12000 in cameras, lenses and other knick-knacks. To think that Big Bertha alone was AUD$2500.

If I were to go mirrorless, that means that all the AUD$10000 in lenses and other DSLR specific investments I made over the last 5 years will be throw away. Even if I sell my cameras (the D610 and my DX D3300) and lenses, the money I get from it would not get even close to the amount I need to build a similar set. I would most likely make better choices on my lenses, as I have learned a lot in the past 6 years I have been photographing. Now I have a better understanding of what I like and want to do with my photography.

So I come to a complicated crossroads: what is best for my photography practice? In pre-COVID days, I would probably have enough money to buy a new camera within 18 months (higher end mirrorless being just out of reach). With the current situation, that is no longer the case. As such, I need to think of the marathon: what is the best option for me to purchase a new camera in maybe 12-18 months from today? Do I sell Big Bertha, a fun lens that I haven’t had any use for it since I purchased it (about 2 years), now and put that money aside for the new camera? Selling it now (still very new lens) would mean I would get more money for it than it I sold it in 18 months. I’m thinking that lens it probably sellable for over AUD$1800. That would put me close to a new D780, but not even halfway to a Z6II (with no lenses). To be fair, they are not comparable cameras. The Z6II is superior in the “other aspects” that are not directly associated with being mirrorless; the D780 is the current full frame entry level camera.

The way I see it is: maybe I can milk my existing (lens) investment with a D780 (and would “write off” the D610 investment), and if I don’t buy any more or not make a significant investment in lenses, I would probably migrate to mirrorless in the next camera (in maybe 5-7 years). That way I will have enjoyed the lenses that I have to its fullest and would not be so heavy hearted when I start buying Z lenses.

Changing to mirrorless also provides me with another opportunity: looking at other brands. Because the F mount lenses are not compatible, albeit there being an adaptor, to the Z series, I can choose to look at Canon or other high-quality brands. If there was ever a great opportunity to change brands, this would be it.

I will start thinking about selling my Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM S for Nikon (S = Sports) – aka Big Bertha -, so if you live in the Melbourne region and would be interested in buying it (used it less than 10 times), please reach out in through the form below.

Sigma 150-600mm

Just as one last closing comment: I do not (yet) need a new camera.

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