The Bargains of 2012
Now SLR prices are dropping like rocks and there are last minute specials and door-busters everywhere. I’m not going to try to keep up with that stuff for you. But there are some other amazing deals right now that you might not be aware of.
I know that more than a few of you are desperately looking for some last minute gifts. So most years I try to put out a list of things that I just think are incredible bargains. The only rule is they have to be readily available as well as good bargains. The door-buster special that there are 4 of doesn’t count.
Honestly, right now I would try really hard not to buy a camera unless I knew exactly what I needed. The new Canon’s full frames have improved features with about the same resolution. Unless I really needed better autofocus or WiFi, I’d hang on to my 5D II for a while. I’d be a little quicker to upgrade on the Nikon side, the jump from 12 to 24 or 36 megapixels is well worth it. But questionable quality control, horrid factory service, and prices dropping like rocks would cause me to hold off a bit longer if I could.
The APS-C cameras all look due to refresh next year. There are some exciting things happening on the mirrorless side, but the OM-D, EX-1, etc. are still carrying pretty hefty prices that I expect to drop over the next few months. So in general, I don’t see this as a great time to buy a camera.
There is one exception that is just an outstanding bargain right now, though.
The K-01 can be had for $317 at the moment. For $417 you can get it with an excellent 40mm pancake lens, for $520 with 18-55 and 50-200 kit lenses. This camera has a 16 Megapixel sensor with the 2nd highest DxOMark sensor ratings for all mirrorless cameras.
I’ve shot with it; it’s quite a good camera. It has better lens selection than any mirrorless camera. But the price is mindboggling.
Compare it to what you pay for other good mirrorless cameras below. Great camera, incredible lens selection, great price. That’s a bargain.
Probably the mother of all lens bargains right now, the 45mm f/2.8 pancake can be had for next to nothing, and it’s one of the best pancake lenses made. Even if you never shoot 40mm, hate f/2.8 primes and have absolutely no use for it, you should get it. Shoot with it for a week and I promise you’ll like it. Heck, use it for your lens cap at this price.
The f/1.8 Dynamic Duo about $200 each
The Nikon f/1.8 G lenses are all great performance for a good price. However, you can get both of the wider lenses, the 50mm and 35mm, for less than the price of the 85mm. Either one is a great deal. If you don’t shoot prime lenses, well, shame on you. This is a good place to start.
It’s not very strong, but it’s quite versatile, quite small, and 262.45 times better than the on-camera flash.
For Micro 4/3
Yeah, it’s f/8. But seriously, it’s meant to use as a body cap and the image quality is really passable. Plus it’s too cool for school.
For Mircro 4/3 or NEX
The Sigma 19mm and 30mm f/2.8 lenses. $149 each
Micro 4/3 and NEX lenses don’t get ‘great bargain’ written about them very often, but the 19mm and 30mm Sigma f/2.8 lenses sure are. They’re both excellent image quality and a price that leaves me going, “How did they do that?”
OK, I don’t know exactly why, either. But at $25 I don’t know why not. It’s a 60mm lens with that horrid Holga image quality some people love. And if the IQ isn’t bad enough you can mount all kinds of Holga filters and accessories to it. Available in Nikon, Canon, and Sony mount. If you don’t like 60mm, there’s also a pinhole version.
The link above takes you to Amazon because that’s the only place I know to get it. But the Cowboy Studios White Vinyl backgrounds are pretty decent — we use them in all our product shots. They’re tough, washable, and in this case as cheap as paper.
OK, that’s all I could come up with today, but hopefully a couple of my desperately-searching-for-a-gift friends got some help from it.
December (late December), 2012
Author: Roger Cicala
I’m Roger and I am the founder of Lensrentals.com. Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.