Author Topic: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?  (Read 2501 times)

limeandpepper

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What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« on: May 15, 2016, 11:16:55 AM »
Cross-posting from my journal because I know we have quite a few photography enthusiasts on this forum, but not all of them actively browse the journal section!

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I recently won a $500 voucher in a photo competition to use in Canon Australia's online store. I have up to a year to use it. I'm listing out some potential options, though I'm not in a hurry to buy anything yet, especially given my current camera is a Sony RX100 Mark 2 which I'm pretty happy with.

I think the voucher MAY be transferable, but I don't know if I want to sell it to someone. It would be trackable and I don't want to seem like an ungrateful prize winner? I asked my partner if he wanted to buy it off me for a discounted price, but he often buys his camera gear second-hand, which is significantly cheaper than RRP, so unless I just gave it to him as a gift for $0, it wouldn't be worth it for him.

I browsed the store and there are a few things that caught my eye. For the most part, I'm looking at these from the perspective of having something additional to supplement my main camera.

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PowerShot D30

Price: $299 (so I would still have $301 leftover to spend on something else)

Reasons: I've always thought it would be awesome to have a waterproof/underwater camera. I would have loved to have something like this all those times I visited tropical beach destinations - when I  swam with the fishes, saw shipwrecks, etc.

Downsides: The image quality doesn't look that great. So the question is, is having water shots that are "just okay" really that appealing. Maybe it is if the alternative is no water shots at all. But I'm not sure. Also, how often will I actually use it?

PowerShot SX720 HS

Price: $499 (pretty much perfect for using up my voucher)

Reasons: I've never had a camera with significant zoom. When I went for a safari in Nepal, I had so much fun but couldn't get any decent photos of the wildlife. Even when they are quite close, they still come up so tiny in my camera when I zoom in as much as I can. The image quality of this one looks pretty decent, too.

Downsides: I guess, similar to the waterproof one, the question is how often will I actually use this over my current camera - overall, the boyfriend thinks my current camera (Sony RX100 Mark 2) is better, other than the lack of zoom. We do have wildlife around here so maybe I could enjoy playing with the possibilities.

PowerShot SX60 HS

Price: $549 (I'll have to fork out a bit of my own money, but not too much, so it could be worth considering)

Reasons: Similar to the above (PowerShot SX720) but even more zoom! This one is a recommendation from the boyfriend. He reckons it could be worth the extra $50.

Downsides: Again, similar to the above. It is also bigger and heavier than the above, so not as convenient to carry around (though possibly makes up for the inconvenience with more features, including the ability to shoot RAW).

Get an entry-level DSLR

Price: Variable, but I will have to fork out probably at least a few hundred of my own money all up to get body and lens.

Reasons: If I want to make photography a serious side gig, this is probably the way to go. Yeah, the photographer is more important than the gear, but let's face it, gear still makes a difference. You don't tend to see many pros turning up to a shoot with a basic compact camera.

Downsides: Have to put in a decent chunk of my own change. Not sure if I have the desire and drive to make a serious side gig out of photography. I do love the idea of doing something like pet photography, though.

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What do y'all think?

davisgang90

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 11:59:05 AM »
I'm an experienced amateur at this photography thing, I currently shoot a full frame Nikon DSLR.  I've made substantial investments in bodies and lenses and I really enjoy it.  I'm expanding my capabilities to potentially make this a side-hustle in retirement.

You are correct that you most likely can't make a side hustle with a point and shoot.  IMO you also can't really make a legitimate career with an entry level DSLR.  I would say you need to make a step up to a mid-level DSLR and understand you will most likely want to invest in better glass as well (lenses are more important than the body).

All of this is to say that if you aren't sure you want to make the leap to DSLR, you probably should avoid that investment.

If you do decide to go DSLR, I highly recommend you learn to shoot in manual (if you don't already know how) or you will be underwhelmed by the pictures. 

I had an entry level DSLR for two years before a friend showed me how to shoot in manual and it was like night and day once I learned.

limeandpepper

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 01:21:28 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts, davisgang90! Yep, part of my hesitance about taking the leap is that I've always shot with a point-and-shoot - albeit the more sophisticated ones where I can set my own ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc., and I do make the effort to refine the results with digital post-processing as well - but I'm still not sure if I'm dedicated enough to go even more in-depth and make the purchase of a DSLR worth it. Glass is indeed important, actually my partner suggested if I were to go the DSLR route, to buy the lens with the voucher, and get a second-hand body elsewhere, which makes sense. If I decide on that, I will talk to him more about what to get.

I guess the main hurdle is the cost - I don't particularly want to fork out more money for a camera. In that case I'm left with the compact options, and I really don't know which one would be most useful. It basically comes down to waterproof/resilience vs. zoom. Kind of leaning towards the latter at the moment, but I know this could totally change if an island holiday came along (no plans for that, but just saying).

ketchup

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 08:41:56 AM »
Does that Canon voucher include access to any sort of used/refub gear?  You could find an older mid-tier/upper-tier body that would offer you 99% of what a current Canon equivalent would.  Plenty of pros use high-end-but-not-super-current gear.  My GF is a professional photographer and she still primarily uses her Canon 5D Mark II (2008) that's still chugging along after hundreds of thousands of shutter actuations.  You could also get a cheap quality prime or two to get started (avoid cheap zooms).

Photography is one of those hobbies that can be as expensive as you want it to be (and many blow thousands on gear that sits and doesn't get used).  If you do want to seriously pursue it as side gig, a mid-tier DSLR and a decent cheap prime is probably about the minimum you could get away with.  Before my GF started making serious money, she was just shooting with a Nikon D700 and an 85mm f/1.8 lens.  The fancy $2k zooms are great once you get to that point but they're far from what you need to get started (unless you're shooting something like horse racing perhaps).

limeandpepper

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2016, 09:27:14 AM »
ketchup, this is the store that I can spend it at: http://store.canon.com.au/ All new and shiny stuff from what I can see. My partner also uses a Canon 5D Mark 2 and I think he bought it in 2008 as well, and he's very good with it too. :)

I guess I really need to figure out if I can be committed to learning how to use a DSLR to be able to make photography a side gig. It's very much just a hobby at the moment. And if I decide not to go down the DSLR/sidegig path... then what's the better option? Just get one of the compacts as an additional camera to play with, perhaps?

I'm a red panda

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2016, 10:27:21 AM »
If you want water shots under $500, we went with the Canon PowerShot S110 (which shoots RAW, and many of the 'water camera's do not) and the underwater housing for it.  Allows us to go much deeper than a typical 'waterproof camera'. 

Canon has a housing, but we went with the Polaroid housing, which was significantly cheaper.

limeandpepper

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2016, 11:09:24 AM »
Thanks for the tip about Polaroid housing iowajes, I haven't looked into underwater housing much, so that's good to know! It looks like they also have one that could house my current camera. With that in mind - if there is an occasion when I really want underwater photos - that could be an option. If so, then maybe if I am to go for a new Canon compact camera, I should go for one with good zoom capabilities, as unlike waterproof housing, that's a feature that I can't just add on to my current camera.

MrsPete

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2016, 12:11:38 PM »
You say you're happy with your current camera gear and weren't looking to "expand" until free money came along.  You probably can't transfer the coupon ... but here's what you could do:

Use the coupon to buy 2-3 mid-priced point-and-shoot cameras.  On ebay (or Craigslist) you can sell NEW cameras for just about what they'd cost in the stores.  Free money for you!  With summer vacations coming up soon, this is the right time of year to do it. 

limeandpepper

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Re: What to do with this $500 voucher for camera gear?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2016, 12:53:04 PM »
That's a good suggestion MrsPete, I briefly thought about something like that but figured the resale value wouldn't be great without looking further into it. But now that you mention it, I actually went on eBay for some quick research, and it seems that I may be able to get back $400 for a camera that costs about $500, which isn't too bad at all.

Since I'm in the Southern Hemisphere though, we're actually coming up to winter, not summer! Not sure what that means in terms of market demand. (I'd prefer not to do international sales.)