Buying for the long term

Lately, I've been thinking about "how" I spend my meagre photography budget. A post, "Final Choices", by Patrick Rhone, had me thinking long and hard about how I allocate my meagre photography budget.

My desired goal is this. Anywhere I can make a buying choice that I, with proper care and maintenance, will never have to make again for the rest of my life, I do.

I've had my Nikon D40 DSLR since 2006 and have slowly purchased a few lenses; an AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G and AF-S DX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G. The Nikon D40 does have limitations; a 6MP sensor and no exposure bracketing. This has limited what I wanted to do with my photography, especially regarding HDR photography. In his recent post, CJ Chilvers suggest it's k to "Go Ahead and Buy Expensive Gear".

The basic idea is that instead of buying lots of mediocre stuff (as we usually do) and replacing that stuff every so often, it's better to buy one thing that's the very best and longest lasting.

Someone recently loaned me a Nikon D80. The Nikon D80 is older than my Nikon D40 but is a higher-end model with a 10MP sensor (DX) and exposure bracketing. I took the opportunity to use the borrowed D80 to learn and practice taking bracketed photos for HDR. With my Nikon D40, I developed a method for creating HDR where I expose a single frame and then use Adobe Lightroom to make bracketed virtual copies. This resulted in a lot of noise in my HDR photos. But with the Nikon D80, I was able to create much clearer HDR images.

I would prefer if my hobby paid for itself, and with that in mind, I have been recently looking into selling prints. Most of the websites that would allow me to do so require that uploaded photos have a minimum of 10MP. With its 6MP sensor, my Nikon D40 is a definite limitation here.

However, I don't want to rush out and buy the latest Nikon only to find out in another five years that I may have to upgrade the body again. I'd much instead purchase a camera system that I would not have to replace for a long time. I'm defining long to mean 15 years or more.

I would love a Leica M9. Based on reviews, I think the camera would meet my wants for digital tech with a touch of old-style film photography. But even a used Leica is outside my amateur budget. I love what Fuji have been doing with their 35mm film camera inspired X-Mount mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC). Perhaps the Fuji X-Pro 1 is the camera for me.

Author: Khürt Williams

I work in application security architecture and I live in Montgomery Township, New Jersey with my wife Bhavna. Passionate about photography, you’ll find me writing about cybersecurity, tropical aquariums, terrariums, hiking, craft breweries, and capturing birds on camera. My prose is like a caffeinated squirrel—fast, unpredictable, and occasionally insightful.