Order of Operations (What should I buy first?)


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If you plan to pick up a D810 or D850, prepare to have your feelings hurt anytime your are shooting with less expensive glass. The extreme medium format sized resolution of these cameras basically means all "kit" lens are worthless, and even lenses such as the above suggested Tamron 150-600 will prove to be soft at the edges. The Sigma Sport version of that same lens resolves a little better than the Tamron with the D8xx cameras, but it is still not as good as Nikon glass. There is a reason that the cost of glass more than doubled a few years ago. 12mp was in line with slide film quality. Once we stepped above the 12mp mark however, we moved into new territory. Glass had to be redesigned in order to accommodate the higher resolution of our cameras.

As someone else stated above, optics are forever. So spare no expense there. Good glass is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than megapixels. Look at it this way, Nikon's D850 is nearly 50 megapixels, where as the D5 is only 21. Yet, the D5 is a $6500 camera and the D850 is only half that price. There is a reason for this. MEGApixels, while fantastic for some situations, are actually a limitation in others. High mp cameras don't come close to the light gather capabilities of other, lower mp cameras designed for that purpose. I have both, but they serve VERY different purposes in my life.

It matters greatly what your chief focus is going to be. I do this stuff for a living, and my specialty is wildlife. Thus, I tote a 600mm f/4, a 200-400mm f/4, and 70-200 f/2.8 around as my basic kit. This is a lot of glass. Its a lot of weight. And you could buy several used land rovers for the price of that stuff. For basic, all around lens that is affordable, I highly recommend the Sigma Sport 150-600. The build quality is better than the Tamron, which you will pay for.

If your a landscape guy, then the 24-70mm is something you MUST invest in as it will be your workhorse lens. The 14-16mm is amazing as well, but 24-70 first in order of buying as it will cover far more situations for you from sweeping landscapes, to nightscapes, to action shots on the trail. Unless it is the extreme perspective stretch you are after, if the 24-70 isn't quite wide enough for you, flip it vertically on a tripod and overlap multiple shots. Super easy to stick together in Lightroom or Photoshop.

On the other hand, if your into macro, for a starter lens go with the Nikon 105 f/2.8 and build from there.

As for a camera body, I wonder why you need something in the D8xx family? Dont get sucked in by the marketing. The d850 is amazing, there is no question about that. Some argue it's the best "all around" camera Nikon has produced. But don't overlook the D750 for instance if budget comes into play.