Everywhere you look, the marketing departments of every camera manufacturer start pelting you with the latest and greatest camera out there that they’ve produced. Unfortunately for some of us, there isn’t the cash flow. Even thinking about buying the latest D5 or even the D500 gives our pocket book the heebie-jeebies. So what do you do for gear if you’re short of cash? Most cameras that are semi-pro come with a 150,000 shutter count but most people can go well over that before the shutter gives up the ghost. A lot of cameras that I see are tossed aside and sold at a 30,000 shutter count because of the fact that everyone is a consumer and everyone wants the newest and the best. They think about the latest and greatest new camera that’s being flouted as the be-all and end-all of all cameras…at least until the next one comes along and fixate on that. And catering to those marketing ploys is a great way to end up in the poor house; as if we already weren’t there.
So this is coming from someone who is squarely smack in that position of having to make a decision of either going with the latest and greatest camera (I need a secondary body) or utilizing that money wisely to make it stretch and go farther in terms of getting a secondary and perhaps tertiary body. So what to do? Most people who follow this blog, know that I’m into three things. I shoot hockey photography (sports), landscapes and wildlife. Now that’s a wide range of subject. For hockey, I need fast accurate autofocus and a quick response – which means that a camera with a fps of less than six is a no-no. I mostly shoot the action in the middle of the ice, but the moments that are in close to the net with all the action; I need a wide-angle and to be able to shoot at full-frame instead of at DX (crop) would be a plus.
f/2.8,shutter, 1/3200 sec, 110mm, ISO4000 (HO.3)
f/2.8, shutter 1/500 sec,78mm, ISO3200
So? What to do? Nikon isn’t producing the last generation any more. They want the money from the next generation that they’re planning on plugging. Everyone wants the new D500; everyone wants the new D5! Hey, after all, it’s the latest and greatest, right? Sure, but those of us who don’t have a spare eleven thousand or even three thousand can only look at the pdf brochures and drool, because there’s no way in hell that we’re going to ever have one in our hands except as a pipe dream in our heads; at least not until the prices come down.
So what does that leave us with? Just because the latest and greatest is out of reach doesn’t mean that you have to curl up on the couch and give up. If you are trying to start a business as a photographer, start looking into those options. Personally, I’m going with a second D300s and a D700. The D700 is a full-frame camera built like a tank and useful for what I need in sports photography which appears at this point to be my bread and butter. I’m not going to get into why you need a secondary and tertiary body in this blog-post.
This post is for those who are looking towards trying to make money with their cameras. For those of you who are doing photography as a hobbyist, a secondary body is a nice thought to have, but not as necessary.
What is my plan of solving my requirement of getting the gear I need? Because I still need to get the proper gear. I currently have a D300s with a 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII. But the prize for the back-up body at least while I’m shooting hockey (sports) photography is the Nikon D700 full frame body and the eventual purchase of a AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED ultra-wideangle lens. This will enable me to get those shots in the corners and behind the net that I’ve been wanting to get. With the current Nikon D90 and 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5, I have to jack my ISO to 1200 to get shots, especially when the action is fast and furious, with sticks poking at pucks and the goalie sprawling to make the save. And mind you, this isn’t professional hockey either. This is straight-up minor hockey at its finest. And to capture the true ebb and flow of the game, one has to have both wide-angle and zoom at f/2.8.
Another point to make is the lighting in the minor hockey arenas. Straight up, the lighting stinks.
f/2.8, 1/500 sec, 200mm, ISO3200
This shot was of my son’s coach talking to the players. I had to shoot at ISO 3200 from 200mm at f/2.8, across the rink. The lighting at Surrey Sport and Leisure Center is brighter than at Arena 2 in North Surrey Arena, but it still is not steady enough to give my camera anything but fits.
Sports photography is rewarding. You get to capture moments in time that are fleeting and capture it in a permanent form (at least for our lifetime). Most can only go, “Do you remember that time, when so and so split the D, cut in on a breakaway and put it top shelf?" Well…I’m glad that I have the ability to be able to capture that moment on camera. And that’s mainly because of one thing: being in the right spot…at the right time…with the right equipment – no matter which generation that equipment is from.