Hello everyone !
In my search for a new camera, I read a lot of reviews, guides, forum threads including nearly all of Gordon Laing who does a great job.
But I have still some questions left, where to spend my money in my situation.
So I kindly like to ask you for advice and want to beg your pardon for the length of the upcoming text.
I am using a film SLR for many years (Minolta 505si super with standard lenses of 28-80mm and 75-300mm). Most time I used program mode, sometimes manual settings.
But after two shooting disappointments in Scotland (shots of wildlife dolphins are covered with black besides the sky) and Oslo (half shots are underexposed) I've decided to go for my first digital SLR not only to have more control at the time of shooting.
What will I mainly shoot / where to use the camera?
I am likely to shoot wildlife, landscape, historic sites, also cities and buildings and sometimes people but no portraits.
My next photo stop is likely to be in Guatemala and Mexico on a roundtrip (Tikal, Palenque, …).
In the future I plan on travelling to Peru (Macchu Picchu, …), Egypt (historical sites) and Africa (wildlife) to name some of them.
How much am I willing to spend for the new equipment and when to buy?
I have set myself a budget of around 2,500 to 2,600 Euro (3,400-3,500 $) for the camera, lenses and flash but without any other gear (memory cards, another strap, extry battery).
I "have" to buy the equipment by September since next travel will be in November and I want to spend at least one month with the new camera before.
What cameras do I shortlist?
After reading lots of reviews I decided to check the feel/handling of several cameras (Canon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus…) at local vendors and it came down to two of them, both Nikon – the D80 and the D200. Both have a nice grip and they are the only cameras I can hold in one hand without fearing to drop them by mistake.
But at this point my decision stucks and I do not know which one to choose (despite the extra money for the D200).
Should I go with the D200 due to its sealed body thinking of jungle in Central America and desert in Egypt/Africa or due to some better/extra functions useful for what I want to shoot?
What lenses do I consider?
According to my film SLR (28-300mm) I want to cover the range from 18 to 200 mm with the DSLR.
There is no need to cover 50 to 80 mm (I think), I cannot remember that I used the equivalent range of 80 to 120 mm with my film SLR.
At the moment I am considering the following lenses ("a)" means preferred one):
... a) Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (with option of optimization by Tamron with "my" body in about 2 weeks)
... b) Nikon AF-S DX 18-70 mm f/3,5-4,5G IF-ED
2. telephoto zoom:
... a) Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 mm f/4,5-5,6G
... b) Nikon AF-S VR DX 55-200 mm f/4-5,6G IF-ED
There is also the Nikon VR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 and I know that Gordon likes it very much, but I am not scared about changing lenses and after reading a bunch of opinions I for myself would rate at least the Tamron higher.
The Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 is no choice due to its price.
But I am still really undecided and maybe there are other (better) options to go with (?).
I have an old polarizing filter from B&W, does it make sense to use it also on the new equipment or to buy a new one (or none)?
A flash seems to be a must-have and I am likely to choose the Nikon SB-600. Anything wrong with it?
Any book recommendation (german preferred)?
And is there other nice-to-have gear?
Now I am at the end and I would thank all of you who got through it.
Any help or suggestion will be appreciated.