Photojournalism and Wedding Photography Gear Choice (Used D600/610 or D3; Used 1D MK III or 5D MKII)

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Photojournalism and Wedding Photography Gear Choice (Used D600/610 or D3; Used 1D MK III or 5D MKII)
7 months ago

I'm almost halfway through my second photojournalism internship at a newspaper and I'm looking ahead in the year when I'll be doing work as a freelance photographer and would like some assistance with gear choice. The total budget is about $6,000 but it could be stretched depending on a few variables I'm not under control yet. I'd much rather invest in glass than camera bodies at this point and I will be starting from scratch in terms of DSLR gear (currently own a Fuji X100 and X Pro 1 with a 35mm f/1.4 and a 14mm f/2.8)

The newspaper I'm currently working for provides me with the gear. Right now I have two Canon's 1D MKiii bodies and a variety of lenses ranging from a 16-35mm f/2.8 to a 300mm f/2.8. I was a Nikon shooter prior to the internship and might return to Nikon once I'm done.

The trouble I'm having is more about where to draw the line of compromise based on my needs. I'll be shooting freelance photojournalism so I'll definitely be grateful for fast AF speeds and reliability. I'll also be shooting weddings and in that instance I'll be willing to sacrifice some AF speed in order to get nice clean images shot at high ISO with the possibility of printing large.

The 1D MKIII leaves me hanging sometimes when it comes to shooting above ISO 3200 while on assignment. Really, it drops in quality before that but when it comes to web use and newsprint ISO 3200 is good enough in a properly exposed image from the MK III. Though I have to say that while it was initially frustrating to have this limitation it has forced me into developing lighting skills that I think I would not have necessarily developed otherwise.

So first is the used D600/610 or D3 scenario. My instinct is to go for a used D3 at about $2,000 and a D300 as a second body. It leaves me with less money for glass but I know its reliable and very capable camera for photojournalism. The question is how does it compare to a D610 when it comes to wedding photos? Not in terms of performance but simply in image quality and therefore customer product?

Second is the 1DMK III or 5D MKII. As mentioned earlier, the 1D has been great for the majority of my assignments and 10.1 MP is good enough for everything I've done for them, including a front page centerpiece and a local section full page bleed. The problem is I'm not sure that the image quality would work out well for weddings, especially compared to the 5D MKII.

This is not about Canon vs Nikon, they are both equally capable. My decision is to squeeze in the most for my money given the demands I have in mind. Oh and by the way, the Fujis are not going anywhere as they have proven themselves time and time again in the field when it comes to candids or simple environmental portraits.

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS-1D Fujifilm FinePix X100 Nikon D3 Nikon D300 Nikon D600 Nikon D610
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