Going 'pro', have D700, should I get a backup, a portrait lens or save?

Started Jul 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
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siderean Regular Member • Posts: 436
Going 'pro', have D700, should I get a backup, a portrait lens or save?

I'd really like to get some advise as this debate just keeps running round and round in my head.

I am trying to land some professional photography gigs and would like to move more and more to earning a living this way. I have a wedding that I'm 'second shooter' on this weekend, have a gig with a body builder in 2 weeks and am shooting a cancer benefit with April Wine and Ill Scarlet playing in 3 weeks.

I currently have a budget of $500 to $1000 Cdn (which is obviously burning a hole in my pocket). I shoot with a single D700 and a very good set of lenses (fast primes and zooms, including a 70-200 that I use for portraits right now). The 'one' lens I'm missing that I know I'd love is an 85mm f1.4.

I've been thinking it's a good idea to get a second body as a backup. I'd hoped that Nikon would come out with a ~$3000 full frame body this year, but it looks unlikely from the rumors. I've tried a D300S and was less than impressed with ISO 1600 shots (being accustomed to my D700). I think if I used a 'cheap' backup body better (ie, very close to it's native ISO), I'd be happier with it.

My options boil down to the following:

Buy a D200 - great build, takes CF, battery compatibility, ISO 100 interesting for overpowering the sun with flash. Cannot really use it beyond ISO 400 or so (640?).

Buy a D5000 - almost the same price new as a used D200. Everything is different than the D700 but similar image quality to the other 12MP DX bodies for a great price. Plus video, which I'd actually like to use.

Buy a D90 - bought new it's a little more than a D200 with grip (which is how most D200s are being sold up here right now). Less pro build, but video and controls/capabilities might be 'good enough' not to feel like a toy (ala D5000).

Buy a D300 - built like a tank and so similar to my D700 I'm likely only to notice the difference in field of view and ISO performance. Again, if I'm careful this time out and only use it in 'good light', I should be happy with the photos. Bought used it's about 50% more than a used D200 with grip.

Buy an 85mm f/1.4 - like I'd never be disappointed with the photos I get from it, but Nikon and Sigma both might release a new version of this lens 'soon'...

Save my money - 'cheap' backups are unimportant, get a D700 replacement when available and wait for the 85mm update.

Thanks for any advise or opinion you might have.
Don in Toronto ~ D700

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