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Ask MPB: upgrading your gear with Marc Read

Posted on Oct 21, 2020

We asked the experts at MPB to help three Photography News readers upgrade their kit by trading in some existing gear

SPONSORED BY MPB

As a keen photographer, you’re always thinking about which piece of kit you’re going to buy next. But while it’s easy to have a wish list of products that will help you improve your picture taking, finding the means to pay for them is usually more of a challenge. That’s where MPB comes in. Every week, it trades thousands of cameras, lenses and accessories in the UK, as well as further afield in Europe and the US. And as a number of the Photography News staff know, MPB is great to deal with, offering good trade in prices on existing kit, high-quality used equipment for sale and a fast, efficient and hassle-free service. MPB can help make your equipment wish list much more affordable.

To prove the point, we took buying and selling questions from three Photography News readers and put them to MPB’s resident pricing expert Marc Read (pictured) to see some of the deals on offer and show just how attainable your wish list kit can be.

Marc Read, MPB

Move to full-frame mirrorless?

“I want to make the switch to a full-frame mirrorless camera and trade all my DSLR kit in to help fund the move over. I’m currently a Pentax user, but would like to switch to either a Sony or Panasonic. I have a K-3 body with an SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR and a SMC DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED WR. I’d say they’re all well used. I’d like roughly the same focal lengths from a full-frame perspective.

Can you let me know what sort of value my current kit has and make some suggestions for full-frame options please? They don’t have to be the latest options, but it would be handy if they’re weather-resistant as I shoot a lot outdoors.”

Dean Young, Bridgwater

Marc says:

Your current kit is well used and is worth £213, which breaks down as follows:

  • Pentax K-3: £175
  • Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR: £14
  • Pentax SMC DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED WR: £24

I’ve picked a couple of camera body options below. You can marry them with some zoom lens options that cover similar ranges as your existing optics.

Sony Alpha A7 II, excellent condition, £774. The Sony Alpha A7 Mark II boasts an impressive full-frame sensor. With fantastic build quality, you can photograph with confidence, never compromising quality. The beautiful and sleek design makes it a desirable choice for the photographer looking for full-frame capabilities without the added weight.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1, good condition, £1379. Featuring a 24.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, the Lumix S1 boasts a wide dynamic range and reproduces sharp images with exceptional clarity. Thanks to the high-performance sensor and engine, true-to-life images from low to high sensitivity are realised. The Lumix S1 is an ideal camera, especially in low-light situations with minimal noise even at the maximum ISO 51,200. Both 4K and AI technology are also featured in the S1, as is an HDR/HLG mode, adding to an already impressive arsenal.

Close-up

“Now we’re heading into autumn and winter, I’m keen to start shooting some better close-up images. Up until now, I’ve been using my Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3G ED lens on my D7500, but I’d like to trade that in for a dedicated macro lens. What is the value of my existing telezoom, which I would say is in excellent condition, and which lenses would you suggest are worth considering to replace it?”

Stacey Craig, Bradford

Marc says:

An excellent condition Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED has a trade-in value of £110. I’d suggest the following three options; pick the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Budget-friendly option: Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro, excellent condition, £354. Perfect for low light! The Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8G ED lens offers brilliant results. The lightweight casing makes it an incredibly handy lens to own. With a comfortable 60mm focal length, you can make your way into portraits and closer subjects. It is the ideal lens for an affordable price.

Medium budget option: Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Micro, excellent condition, £534. The versatile Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Micro lens delivers excellent results in a range of scenarios. The fast f/2.8 aperture allows you to record a range of subjects without compromising the quality of the image. With added support of vibration reduction, you are always in control of your images.

The versatility option: Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM, Nikon fit, like new condition, £269. An all-in-one zoom for APS-C cameras, the 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM is a contemporary lens from Sigma and provides users with an extremely versatile focal length equivalent of 28.8-480mm. This version also offers optical image stabilisation for reducing the effects of camera shake and benefits from the inclusion of one SLD and four FLD elements. Additionally, a super multi-layer coating on the elements results in less flare and improved contrast.

Love of landscape

“My favourite subject is landscape, which I combine with my love of walking. I currently use a 12-megapixel Canon EOS 450D and have three lenses, an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit zoom, a Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD wide-angle zoom and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS telezoom. All are in good condition. I am keen to go mirrorless. If I can save on some weight that would be a bonus, but it’s not a priority. What is more important is a gain in megapixels and  to enjoy the live previews of mirrorless shooting. What can I expect for my existing kit and what do you think would be my best camera option? Also, looking at my past pictures, most of my best shots have been taken on my wide-angle so I need some suggestions for a good replacement for my current 10-24mm.”

Dennis Harper, Newport

Marc says:

Your current kit in good condition is worth £371, which breaks down as follows:

  • Canon EOS 450D: £53
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II: £32
  • Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD: £200
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS: £86

In terms of a new camera, I’d recommend the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9, a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless model that is characterised by its rangefinder-inspired body design and sleek form factor. Featuring a 20.3MP digital live MOS sensor, along with a Venus Engine image processor, the GX9 is also able to record UHD 4K movies at 30fps or 24fps and full-resolution stills at up to 9fps. Body only price, excellent condition: £399

To replace your existing 10-24mm, I’d suggest the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph Power OIS, which is perfect for the wide-angle enthusiast and delivers outstanding results. The fast f/2.8 aperture ensures quality throughout, ensuring you can always capture the moment even in low-light situations. It is the ideal versatile wide-angle lens. Lens price, good condition: £434

Finally, I’d then add the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph Power OIS to ensure you have much the same coverage as before. Lens price, good condition, £264.

For more information, please visit the MPB website.

As featured in issue 82 of Photography News.

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