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Purchasing gear again with resale value in mind


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I recently decided to upgrade my gear and ended up selling all i could (some just did not get sold). That kind of opened my eyes to reality of resale value. Now that I'm in new world, i could use input on what my thoughts are. keeping only what is needed, which will give me better resale options. ( I don't earn via photography as much as i spend).

Type of photography : Portraits, Family portraits, 2-3 functions like fundraisers, charity. 1-2 baptisms. 1-2 weddings. smaller birthday parties. maternity shoot, baby shoots. as personal hobby, i like to do macro work.

Question in short: Is it wise or possible to live without 24-70 ? via 50 mm prime and ( 24 mm or 28 mm or 35 mm)

My issue is, somehow, I'm never wowed by 24-70. I feel comfortable with my 70-200. Said that, 24-70 is such a versatile for group or functions. My Tamron 24-70 2.8 gave me great value for $700. but that won't work in auto for my new Z6ii. So i'd to sale it. when i got quote for 70-200E i realized that lens being such phenomenal lens, fetching only $900 for resale while i purchased it for $2,700. 

I don't think i'll ever be able to pull courage together to spend more than $900 on lens. That limit my options to 3 things.

1. I've to wait for Tamron and Sigma to bring in 24-70 2.8 for half price to Nikon .. not great but will be sufficient for my  30% use for that lens.

2. Wait for price to drop on Nikon z 24-70 2.8 get used copy. Survive on z 50 1.8 and rent 24-70 for paid function (till this happens).

3. Go for prime lens for group coverage. Either 24, or 28 or 35. That along with Z 50 1.8 will give me really good optical quality even in my budget? 

What option would you recommend?

Current gear status is as below.

Sold: D750, Tamron 24-70 2.8, 50 1.4G.

Bought: Z6ii, Z 50 1.8


1. Nikon 70-200 E 2.8 : Resale value i was getting for this great condition lens was ~$900. I paid $2,700. Although i've to admit, this is my go to and i literally used 70% and happy to continue with it. Quality in Z world is fine. Though people say Z version is great, i can't justify spending more than $900 go forward. 

2. 200 F/4 Macro: I don't use it much but when i bought it, i found my peace. Never felt like i should by other lens after this purchase. Least used but most loved lens. 

3. 105 2.8 Macro D version: This used to auto focus on D750 but will have to work manual now. Not able to sell in local shop.

4. 55 2.8 AI macro: This is manual but focus peaking is making it very easy for me to take pictures with it. I found images out of this having great characteristics. Local shop doesn't want to buy back and I'm happy to keep it.


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Well, with COVID-19 all around, people out of work, photography in general seems to be waning, it doesn't surprise me that you aren't getting top dollar for a 70-200 E. Of course, as I write this, that lens is on sale for $1896.95 brand new, which is probably why you are being low-balled at around $900. Canon, Nikon and Sony are all experiencing slumps in terms of units sold and finances. Mirrorless is on the fore-front of practically every blog or YouTube video. Mirrorless is the new "It Girl."

If you are asking my opinion, and with your post you are...I will never-ever-ever-ever-ever recommend a 3rd party lens unless if I absolutely have to. When I buy gear, I buy it for the intent of what images I can produce, and if I can make money off of it, so be it. I view them as tools, and not investments. If you go looking for things that have a high resale value, especially in the photography world, the quickest way you will make money is to sell ALL of your camera gear and go do something else. ;) OEM is still King when it comes to re-sale value, you are just in a crappy market. That $1200 Sigma or Tamron Lens, you might get $100 for it. Maybe $200 if it's one of those Sigma ART lenses and if it's in high-demand.

Pawn Shops and Used Camera sellers want to make money. They aren't there to be fair or to be your friend. They WILL low-ball you without remorse. They will take your lens for $900 and probably sell it for $1800. But with your lens going for $1900, that won't happen, it will probably go for around $1400 used. Now, if the 70-200 was still going for $2700, then you'd probably get around $1500 or so for it. Of course, this depends on the stock on hand and the condition of the lens. For example, if an Earthquake hit Japan again, or one of the countries that made a particular lens, had floods / natural disasters, which results in Nikon not being able to produce a particular lens or whatever product. If there are significant back-orders, this creates a huge demand for them, which increases prices on the resale/used market. This isn't the case. Especially with Mirrorless being all-the-rage these days.

So your question is, can you live without a 24-70? Absolutely. I would own a 35mm, a 50mm and a 85mm. To keep costs down, I would get 1.8 versions of all of those lenses. Of course, since you have a Mirrorless body, I would get the Mirrorless versions of those focal lengths. This will allow you to get the best out of your Z6II. Even if you were getting a Nikon 24-70 for your Mirrorless, do not purchase anything but the Nikon 24-70 S lens. That lens is designed for all of the Z6II's image stabilization features. (The 5-point Axis.) Your typical lenses that were meant for DSLRs only do 2 or 3 axis, something like that; I can't remember off the top of my head.  In terms of sharpness, there is a huge difference between the 24-70E with adapter and the Mirrorless version of the Nikon 24-70 S lens. Night and Day. Hands down, get the "S" version for your Mirrorless.

I have a friend, who I know in real life, shoots baby portraits. Her D4 and 24-70G where just getting a bit heavy for her after a day of shooting and she switched to a Nikon Z6 and kept her 24-70G lens. She ended up hating the 24-70G with adapter and couldn't trust it. Sure it was "fine" on a gig, but having to take 12 or more photos to get 3-4 keepers that were TACK-SHARP was tough. Eventually the lens started having focusing problems and I convinced her to get the 24-70 S version, the one meant for Nikon Mirrorless Bodies. She reported back...HUGE world of difference. It got to the point that she is shooting less photos and 90% of them are keepers; in other words, she has a problem deciding which ones to keep because they are all "good enough." The 24-70 S lens is meant for the Nikon Mirrorless Line. 

So with that out of the way, let's talk pricing:

  • Nikon 35mm S 1.8: $696.95
  • Nikon 50mm S 1.8: $496.95
  • Nikon 85mm S 1.8: $696.95

That's a total of $1890.85. plus any applicable Tax and Shipping. That should cover you in the most common ranges that people shoot at. Something wide, something long and something in the middle. The benefit you get with a Prime, is that it just worries about one focal length, so they tend to be sharper. The problem with them is you are always changing lenses, so you introduce dust into the mix AND the likelihood of you dropping one increases on a gig. Plus you have to have a bag on your shoulder to carry all three lenses around, plus your 70-200 with adapter.

  • Nikon 24-70 S f/2.8: $1996.95. Currently, it's on sale for the Christmas Season. Not sure when it will end, but it is $300 off.

So as I write this, that is a $106 difference. The benefit with a Zoom is really the convenience, you mount a lens and just go to work. I am a "Zoom Person." I've tried switching primes, but I run-and-gun too much during Weddings...but I do see the advantages of a prime lens. Zooms just work better for me and the way I shoot. In your case, you already have a 50mm 1.8 S, so that's only $1393.90-ish which is around the cost of a Tamron or Sigma (Yet-to-be-released Mirrorless Version) 24-70 lens. I'm thinking those lenses will be at least $1400 or $1500. Why? Because it's Mirrorless. It's the whole "Newness" thing and people are paying a premium price for things. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and they are $999.95. But I don't think so. $1200 would be the bottom price, in my humble opinion.

So buy or wait? That's up to you. I think you will end up spending more than $900 in whatever direction that you go. (OEM or 3rd Party.) I really wished Nikon didn't charge $2700 for the 70-200. That was just plain stupid. I bought mine for $2200 when it went on sale and thought that was a good deal. Now with it being $1900, we both lost money. :/ Anyway, WHAT focal length are you typically at? If you only used your Tamron 24-70 30% of the time, that tells me it wouldn't be worth it for you to blow $2000 on a lens. Especially in today's market. People aren't getting photos taken. So that changes it more to a hobby than a profession, at least until the world stops being insane. 

OK. Here is my advice. Go with Option #2 or #3. Hold off for now. Analyze on what you shoot, how you shoot a particular subject and at what focal length are you drawn to. Were you always wide or long? What Aperture? f/2.8 or wider? or were you at f/4 and such? This will determine on what to buy next. Let's say you are around 35mm or 38mm A LOT and just didn't realize it. Then a 35mm 1.8 S would be your target. If you lived at 70mm...then get a 85mm 1.8 S next. See where I'm going with this? You could do 90% of people stuff with a 50mm and a 85mm focal length, then throw a 70-200 in the mix. You just have to re-think and make it work. I've seen businesses built with those two prime lenses and a 70-200 Zoom. Of course, it depends on what you shoot. If you are doing weddings, then you will need a 24mm or 35mm in addition to the other focal lengths.

But right now, people aren't getting married. Or baptized or anything else that is group related. It's been a slow year all-around. Hopefully the second-half of 2021 will be better.


PS: I am interested in a Z6ii Body and will be getting a 24-70 S lens. That would make it the 3rd 24-70 that I own. I would just use my 70-200 E with Adapter and make things work. But for now, I'm holding off. I have other things to buy 1st and really haven't traveled anywhere this year. :)


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Thank you As always Brian.

23 hours ago, Brian said:

OK. Here is my advice. Go with Option #2 or #3. Hold off for now.

Thank you .. mostly inclined towards option 3. prime, 24 mm or rumored 28 mm compact prime for z. will continue saving.

22 hours ago, Brian said:

Analyze on what you shoot, how you shoot a particular subject and at what focal length are you drawn to. Were you always wide or long?

Based on the analysis i did, my 24-70 use is, 60-70 % 24 mm, 30 % 45-55 mm. I tried renting 35mm prime and found that's not enough wide or not enough how i see it. for 70 mm, i can crop 50 mm a bit or put on 70-200.

22 hours ago, Brian said:

I am interested in a Z6ii Body

I'd advice to lower your expectations around grip and feel of it. D750 always gave me comfort feel I'd say. z6ii not that good. its wayyyy better than Sony but not Nikon dslr feel. Some missing feeling. May be i'll get used to it more after some time.

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Don't forget, 85mm gives you more compression, which tends to make people's faces look more natural. That's why 85mm and 105mm are your typical "Portrait" focal lengths. Longer focal lengths do this; it's just not the magnifying affect you get with just cropping in, the "look" of the photo is also different.  For your situation, yeah...a 24mm is your target. 28mm is your typical Smartphone wide angle, so keep that in mind. It sounds like a 24mm, 50mm and 70-200 will work just fine for how you shoot.

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