Reviews

Nikon's Best FX Travel Lenses Under a Grand

I try to keep the gear posts to a minimum, but, like everyone else, I'm always open to recommendations for new equipment. I think I'm pretty set with what I'm currently using, but in case you're in the market for some epic glass for your Nikon, I've compiled a list of what I believe to be the best options for a traveling photographer. A few of these lenses are (or have been) in my bag and are used often. Though I have not used all of the lenses listed below, I have researched enough to feel that I can recommend them all without reservation. It's up to you to decide what works best for you. Clicking the links and images will take you to trusted online dealers for the more technical information not listed here. As always, look around for the best price from a store you trust. Without further adieu, here are (in my humble opinion) Nikon's best FX (full-frame) travel lenses for under $1,000 USD.

WIDE ANGLES

Nikon 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 G (Under $800 USD)

The Nikkor 18-35G (the newer one, not the old "D" version) is my favorite wide angle zoom. The slightly wider and more expensive Nikkor 16-35 f4 is an excellent lens, but it's larger, heavier, and almost twice the price. I've owned this lens for years and have made some of my best images with it. It is light, well-made, takes 77mm filters, is very sharp, and at less than $800 USD (around $500 used), it's a great option. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo

Nikon 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 G VR (Under $500 USD)

The Nikkor 24-85G VR is usually available as a "kit lens" when you by an "entry level" (I despise these arbitrary marketing terms...) full-frame Nikon like the D610 or D750. It is very versatile for very little money if purchased separately. I've seen them used for less than $300 and have read some great reviews on it. I was considering this as a walk-around lens for city travel on my D750, but went for the Nikkor 24-120 f4 VR instead because it takes 77mm filters (the 24-85G uses 72mm). If the latter is just out of your budget, the 24-85G shouldn't disappoint as your go-to wide angle zoom. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo

Nikon 20mm f1.8 G (Under $800 USD)

The Nikkor 20mm f1.8G is a sexy lens. I've been drooling over it since it came out, but have been satisfied enough with my 18-35G that I haven't been able to justify buying it. This would not only be a great lens for wide landscapes, but the generous max-aperture of f1.8 makes this an awesome lens for nighttime and astrophotography. It focuses super-close as well, down to 0.66 feet.

If you're on a tighter budget, the Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D is still a great option for under $400 used.

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo

Nikon 35mm f1.8 G (Under $600 USD)

If I could only have (for some odd reason) one lens for city travel, I'd choose the Nikkor 35mm f1.8G. That 35mm focal length is probably the most versatile as far as fixed lenses go. It's not too wide and not too tight. I don't own this fast super-sharp lens, but I do have the Fuji 23mm f2, which on the cropped sensor Fuji cameras is equivalent to 35mm on a full frame sensor. I find that focal length really great for the majority of "street photography" situations. At f1.8, this lens provides really shallow depth of field while maintaining a reasonably wide angle of view. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo


NORMAL LENSES

Nikon 50mm f1.8 G (Under $250 USD)

My first Nikon lens was the Nikkor 50mm f1.8G. I picked mine up used for only $150 USD. I don't use it much since I don't shoot weddings or portraits anymore, but I keep it around for indoor, low-light situations when traveling abroad. It is a very small and extremely lightweight lens that packs loads of lustful sharpness for very little money. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo

Nikon 60mm f2.8 G (Under $600 USD)

Since we're keeping things under a grand, I couldn't list Nikon's 105mm macro lenses, but the Nikkor 60mm f2.8G is still a great choice. This has been called the "Swiss army knife of lenses" because it serves as a macro, normal prime, and great portrait lens all in one. On a DX (crop sensor) camera it has the equivalent focal length of 90mm, which should provide a good amount of working space between camera and subject without breaking the bank. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo


Fixed Telephotos & Zooms

Nikon 85mm f1.8 G (Under $500 USD)

If for some strange, out of my control reason I had to choose only three fixed-lenses from this list for my travel and landscape photography, I'd pick the 20mm f1.8G, the 50mm f1.8G, and this 85mm f1.8G. That would cover me pretty well with some arousingly-fast glass for a mere $1,400. (I wouldn't be shooting much wildlife with those choices, but this list is for globetrotters anyway...) The Nikkor 85mm f1.8G is an excellent portrait lens for an excellent price. The f1.4 version is much more expensive, but only provides a little more light...not sure about you, but that's not worth the price difference to me. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo

Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 E VR (Under $800 USD)

Before I bought my 70-200 f2.8 VR II, I owned the older version of the Nikkor 70-300 VR and really enjoyed it. I hear that this new "E" version is even sharper, focuses faster, and has more stops of vibration reduction. That 70-300mm range is great for versatility. If I had that proverbial gun to my head and could only choose the three zooms from this list, I'd be pretty set for every situation including wildlife (...still be having heart palpitations over that 20mm 1.8G though...). It'd be nice if the price of this lens decreased a bit, but it certainly packs a lot of features for less than $800. 

Check price: Amazon / B&H Photo

Nikon 28-105mm AF-D Macro - Cheap Lens Review (with image samples!)

Nikon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 AF-D Macro

Nikon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 AF-D Macro

I'm not huge on gear reviews to be completely honest. I believe that there is way too much emphasis on products and not enough on technique and vision when it comes to photography in the 21st century. I'm not a "pixel-peeper" and care more about the feeling of an image and the story it tells than the technical info that accompanies it. This isn't going to be one of those insanely technical reviews with sharpness comparisons and fancy charts and graphs. That stuff bores me to death. I don't see the need to review all the cool stuff I use for photography, but when I come across a piece of equipment that impresses me and allows me to accomplish various things for an affordable price, it's definitely worth sharing. The Nikon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 AF-D Macro is a versatile lens for an affordable price.

My two most used lenses are the Nikkor 18-35G and Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR II. I can get 80-90% of the images I need using those two super sharp lenses. They cover a wide range of focal length and are useful for a wide range of subjects, but what about the middle zone? There was a gap in my kit from 35mm to 70mm (aside from the 50mm 1.8G I own, that is). I was considering more expensive (yet fantastic) options like the Nikon 24-120 F4 VR or the 24-70 f2.8, but didn't see myself actually using either of those enough to justify spending one or two thousand bucks (remember kids - I'd rather buy plane tickets than gear). The cheaper "kit" lenses like Nikon's 24-85 VR were tempting, too, but they didn't turn me on as much. There is a Nikon 35-70mm f2.8D, but I'm not a fan of push-pull zooms. I remembered that my photography instructor back in college (David Hessell) said that one of his favorite lenses back in "the day" was the Nikon 28-105 AF-D. I checked out the specs and his images and concluded that this lens could be the right fit for me. Heading over to eBay, I found several excellent condition options for less than $150! A steal! I forked over a whole $100 to Roberts Camera's eBay store for one and haven't looked back. 

TECH SPECS:

  • Focal Length: 28-105mm

  • Maximum Aperture Range: f3.4-f4.5

  • Minimum Aperture Range: f22-f29

  • Field of View on Full Frame: 74 - 23 Degrees

  • Weight: 1.0031 lbs

  • Dimensions: 84 x 72mm (120 x 72mm zoomed out)

  • Optics: 16 elements in 12 groups (1 aspherical)

  • Aperture Blades: 9

  • Filter Thread: 62mm

  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.7 feet, 0.7 feet in Macro Mode

  • Mount: Nikon F (metal)

  • Maximum Magnification: 1:2 at 105mm

  • Construction: Metal Innards, Tough Plastic Outside, with Rubber Zoom and Focus Rings

The Nikon 28-105mm AF-D Macro focuses as close as 1 inch from the front element when macro mode is engaged.

The Nikon 28-105mm AF-D Macro focuses as close as 1 inch from the front element when macro mode is engaged.

PROS:

  • Sharp where it counts

  • Great build-quality (made in Japan)

  • Excellent close-focus / macro capabilities from 50mm-105mm

  • Compact and lightweight (great walk-around travel lens)

  • Cost only $100-150 USD used

  • Good color saturation and contrast

  • Fast auto-focus

  • Covers a hugely versatile focal range from 28mm-105mm

  • Great minimum aperture range from f3.5-f4.5

CONS:

  • Light vignetting at widest and narrowest apertures (almost none at 70mm and 105mm at f8-f11)

  • Slight distortion at 28mm (still better than most wide-zooms)

  • Can get some flare at 28mm without hood

  • Gets physically longer as it zooms

  • No manual focus override (you can't focus manually while in autofocus mode - characteristic of older lenses)

  • No Vibration Reduction (this doesn't bother me, particularly)

  • 62mm filter thread (does not match my 77mm lenses, so new filters are necessary)

Sunrise and Storm Clouds over Mountains and Marsh, East Iceland (Nikon D600, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, 28mm, f11, 1/4 sec, ISO 100, tripod)

Sunrise and Storm Clouds over Mountains and Marsh, East Iceland (Nikon D600, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, 28mm, f11, 1/4 sec, ISO 100, tripod)

This lens is perfect for travel. It's light and it's focal range covers a vast range, allowing me to shoot a variety of subjects without changing lenses. 28mm is wide enough for most situations while that 50mm to 105mm range with macro allows me to get in super-close and tight when I need to. At around $100 USD it's a wonder to me why it's not in everyone's bag. 

The Nikon 28-105 AF-D Macro was released 1999 as sort of a kit lens with the Nikon F100 35mm camera (which I also own and love). In my opinion, it beats the crap out of those all plastic 18-55's that entry level DSLRs come with today. Those can be sharp, but flimsy. Sure it's an older model, with no VR and no M/A switch, but it holds its own when it comes to versatility. If you've used super-fast "G" series lenses, you'll notice that this older "D" lens autofucuses slightly slower, but it's not slow enough to notice unless you're comparing it side by side with a newer lens. For me, it's a great all around travel and nature lens, allowing me to get closer to small subjects than my more expensive zooms. When I don't need the reach of my 70-200mm and don't need to take in a wider landscape with my 18-35mm, this is the lens I use these days. Just pop it on the camera and go!

More Image Samples:

Spring's First Flowers, Creston, North Carolina. These blooms are about the size of a U.S. dime. (Nikon D7100, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, macro switched on, 90mm, f5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO 100, tripod)

Spring's First Flowers, Creston, North Carolina. These blooms are about the size of a U.S. dime. (Nikon D7100, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, macro switched on, 90mm, f5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO 100, tripod)

Double Daffodil (Nikon D7100, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, macro switched on, 105mm, f9, 0.4 sec, ISO 100, tripod)

Double Daffodil (Nikon D7100, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, macro switched on, 105mm, f9, 0.4 sec, ISO 100, tripod)

Carolina Anole (Nikon D600, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, macro switch on, 105mm, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 1000, hand held)

Carolina Anole (Nikon D600, Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, macro switch on, 105mm, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 1000, hand held)

Check the Nikon 28-105 AF-D price on Amazon.

For my full photography gear list, click here!

Travel Tripod Review: Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head

Sunrise in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. Image made using the Sirui T-025x Tripod with C-10 ball-head.

Sunrise in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. Image made using the Sirui T-025x Tripod with C-10 ball-head.

Until fairly recently, the options for reliable and affordable lightweight travel-tripods were slim, especially if you needed one to support a full-frame DSLR and lens. The Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head is a breath of fresh air. It supports the weight I need in a very lightweight, sturdy, and compact package. It is also the perfect travel tripod for mirrorless shooters.

Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod, C-10 Ball Head, Hex Key, Manuals, and Carrying Case (which doubles as a small backpack).

Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod, C-10 Ball Head, Hex Key, Manuals, and Carrying Case (which doubles as a small backpack).

For years I had to put up with sub-par stainless steel or aluminum tripods made by discount brands when weight and size were an issue. This was because the few companies that offered “travel tripods” charged as much for them as for full-sized ones – upwards of $700. My main tripod is a relatively large Gitzo Mountaineer Series 2. I’ve used multiple heads on it over the years and have settled with a Manfrotto Pan-Head/Ball-Head that works fine. This set up supports a lot more weight than I have to put on it and has thrived through several drops over years of outdoor photography. The only issue is its size. Its minimum length is 24.5 inches (30 inches with the head attached). It’s perfect for wildlife and landscape situations, and not that much of a burden on long hikes, but, when it comes to international travel on budget airlines that often have strict size/weight restrictions, the Gitzo wont fit in any of my over-head approved bags. I do not like to check luggage, especially camera equipment, unless absolutely necessary.

I came across Sirui tripods at a small camera shop in Reykjavik in 2015. Never heard of the brand before, but they seemed sturdy and looked a lot like my Gitzo. I was using a small Benro Stainless Steel tripod (my first tripod purchased at the B&H NYC store years before) at the time that only supported 8 lbs (if that). I never liked it that much, but it was $80. The steel was cold, it didn’t absorb vibrations like carbon fiber does, and felt a bit flimsy. Before my next trip to Iceland in 2016, I decided it was time to get a more serious travel tripod and purchased the Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head combo for $219. I haven’t looked back since!

Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head Tech Specs:

Head Type Ball Head
Quick Release Arca-style
Material Carbon Fiber
Head Attachment Fitting 1/4'-20
Leg Sections 5
Leg Tube Diameters Maximum: 0.87" / 2.20cm, Minimum: 0.4" / 1.0cm
Leg Lock Type Twist
Independent Leg Spread Yes
Spiked/Retractable Feet No
Center Column Type Removable
Center Column Sections 2
Bubble Level No
Load Capacity 13.2lbs / 5.98kg
Folded Length 11.8" / 29.97cm
Height Maximum: 54.5" / 138.43cm, Maximum (w/o Column Extended): 48.6" / 123.44cm, Minimum: 10.2" / 25.90cm, Retracted: 18.9" / 48cm
Weight 1.54lbs / 0.7kg

First Impressions:

When my new Sirui arrived, I was taken aback by how small it actually was. It weights only 1.5 lbs, which is perfect for travel and folded to under a foot. The last of the five leg sections wasn’t much thicker than a pencil! I thought, “How could this possibly support 13 lbs?” After popping my D600 and 18-35G lens on it (a very light set up already), I had no more reservations. It was solid. The ball-head operated smoothly and locked tightly in whatever direction I tilted it in- up or down. Then, I decided to test it with my D600 and 70-200 f2.8 VR (a much heavier combo) and was surprised at how well this little tripod held it. When fully extended with the two-section center-column, the 70-200 combo was a bit top heavy and the ball-head awkward to use. I would never shoot like that with this particular tripod. But for landscapes, if the center column is removed, the set up is much sturdier. I’m not a fan of center columns and it was important to me that my new travel tripod would allow me to remove it. I’ve never used the center column on my Gitzo. Even though the Sirui is much shorter, only extending to my chest level, without the center column, I still prefer not using it. Besides, the best compositions are rarely at eye-level anyway.

Sirui T-025X

Sirui T-025X

Sirui C-10 Ball Head

Sirui C-10 Ball Head

Pros:

 -       Compact and very light, perfect for travel and long hikes when weight matters
-       Supports up to 13.2 lbs, easily supports a DSLR and lens no larger than a 70-200mm f2.8
-       Carbon fiber construction with twist-locking leg sections
-       Well-made
-       Ball-head is fluid and smooth in operation, locks into place securely
-       6 year manufacturer warranty
-       Removable Center Column
-       Ability to lower camera to near ground level
-       Arca-style release plate
-       Foam grips on legs
-       Nifty carabiner included for attaching extra weight underneath for more support
-       Costs less than any other decent carbon fiber travel tripod on the market as of this writing

Cons:

 -       Relatively short without center column
-       It would be nice to have 4 leg sections instead of 5 for slightly thicker sections (though that would make it longer)
-       No built-in bubble level
-       Head is sometimes difficult to install after center column is removed
-       Little rubber feet cannot be replaced and are not removable

The small ball-head plate is attached to camera using a hex key (two included) or by using a coin.

The small ball-head plate is attached to camera using a hex key (two included) or by using a coin.

w/ Nikon F100 attached

w/ Nikon F100 attached

About Sirui:

 Sirui (pronounced “sue-ray”) is a Chinese company that has been around for about a decade. I typically try to avoid Chinese-made photography products due to their reputation for shoddy workmanship of mass-produced and poorly engineered knock-offs. Japan is usually where the good stuff is made. Sirui is trying to change that preconception by producing well-made products with Japanese-quality engineering and backing their products with generous warranties. Sirui tripods come with 6 year warranty, not some measly 30-day to 1 year limited warranty like most companies. You can really get a sense of their attention to detail when using one of their tripods. Sirui doesn’t only make small travel tripods either, they have a full-range of options in various sizes.

Fully extended without center column (from above - fully extended without center column comes up to my chest and I am 5' 11" tall).

Fully extended without center column (from above - fully extended without center column comes up to my chest and I am 5' 11" tall).

Conclusions:

 If you’ve read my gear post, you’ll remember that I raved about this little tripod after using it in Iceland last October. It allowed me to get into narrow places that my large Gitzo tripod would have never fit into and got out of my way quickly when it wasn’t needed. It also allowed me to carry only one camera backpack on the plane and not have to separate from any my gear. The Sirui fit perfectly and discreetly into the water-bottle pouch on the side of my Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW. As a travel photographer, especially one focused on the great outdoors, it is essential that I travel light. The Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head combo helps me do that. For even more technical details and features on this tripod, visit Sirui's official website.

Me using the Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head in Iceland (a little over half-way extended without center column).

Me using the Sirui T-025x Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head in Iceland (a little over half-way extended without center column).

I recommend purchasing this item from B&H PhotoAmazon, or Ebay


If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive news, updates, and exclusive content reserved only for email subscribers, please sign up by clicking here. Thank you. - Jon


* I am not affiliated with Sirui and this is not sponsored content.

What's In My Camera Bag?

Some of the essential gear I have used for travel and nature photography.

Some of the essential gear I have used for travel and nature photography.

Gear isn’t everything, and this is not one of those ‘look at all the cool and expensive stuff I have and how professional I am’ posts. These tools alone do not make a great photographer. These tools alone do not make great photographs. The best camera or lens is the best one you can comfortably afford, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is better to buy plane tickets than new camera equipment.

You’ll notice that even though my bag contains some pretty neat stuff, much of it is at least a few years ‘old.’ It makes more business sense to hold onto equipment for long enough for it to pay for itself (if not in paychecks, then at least in hundreds of great images). Work your equipment hard, wear it out, then replace it. It is much more practical than trading in last year’s camera for the newest slightly-different model.

Despite what I said above, good gear does make a bit of a difference to the serious or working photographer. However, most of the gear in my camera bag does not require going into debt to purchase. Without blabbering on, here’s my current gear list:

Camera Bodies:

Nikon D750
Nikon D7200
Fuji X-E2

Lenses:

Nikkor 18-35G
Nikkor 24-120 f4 VR
Nikkor 50mm 1.8G
Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR II
Nikkor 200-500 f5.6 VR
Nikon TC-17 E II
Fuji 23mm f2 R WR

Backpacks/Shoulder Bag:

Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW
Lowepro Flipside 400 AW
ThinkTank Retrospective 40

Tripods:

Gitzo Mountaineer Series 2 6X Carbon Fiber Legs w/ Manfrotto Panhead/Ballhead
Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head

Accessories:

Nisi V5 Filter Holder w/ Circular Polarizer
Lee 3 stop Soft Graduated ND Filter
Lowepro Filter Pouch
YongNuo YN565EX Speed Lite
Sandisk 16GB SD Cards Class 10 (10 Total)

Miscellaneous:

Cleaning cloths, Q-tips, Domke lens wraps, waterproof hard case for memory cards, extra batteries, battery charges, protective UV filters (Hoya and B+W), shower caps for rain covers, headlamp, multi tool, rocket blower, etc.

This is the first image I made with the Nikon D7100 and 70-200 f2.8 VR II combination (2016)

This is the first image I made with the Nikon D7100 and 70-200 f2.8 VR II combination (2016)


My New favorite Travel Tripod:

The Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head is awesome. It’s one of the cheapest carbon fiber tripods you can buy, and despite being produced in China, it is very well made. It weighs practically nothing and is perfect for travel when I really need to save space. It supports 13 lbs and only weights 1.9. It folds up to 12 inches and has a removable center column so I can get really low to the ground when I need to. It’s foot print is very small, which was great during my last trip to Iceland. It really only has one drawback for me. Once you remove the pesky center column (I don’t like center columns and have never used the one for my Gitzo), it doesn’t extend very high. This tripod combo can go nearly to my eye-level with the center column, but only chest level without it. That’s not a huge deal. It’s actually pretty rare that the best composition is at a human’s eye-level standing. If you’re looking for a handy carbon fiber travel tripod that is of high quality, then this is it! My big Gitzo is still my go-to for the most part, especially for landscapes; it supports a whole lot more weight, but it is also bulky and cumbersome in travel situations. If weight and space are an issue (as it always is when flying Wow Air), then the Sirui is what I use- just check out the size difference between it and my Gitzo in the photo above.

Oxararfoss, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. Nikon D600, Nikkor 18-35G, Nisi V5 Polarizer, Lee 3-stop Grad ND, Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber tripod w/ C-10 Ball Head (2016)

Oxararfoss, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. Nikon D600, Nikkor 18-35G, Nisi V5 Polarizer, Lee 3-stop Grad ND, Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber tripod w/ C-10 Ball Head (2016)

Me photographing Oxararfoss in Iceland with the Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber tripod and C-10 Ball Head. (2016)

Me photographing Oxararfoss in Iceland with the Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber tripod and C-10 Ball Head. (2016)

Where to Buy Camera Gear**

Everyone has a store they trust for equipment purchases. I actually have several. I always shop around for the best deal possible and it's rare that I buy new stuff. Over the years I've had lots of stuff...I shot Canon for 7 years and switched to Nikon in 2015. I've had everything from a Canon Rebel to a 20D to a 50D and 7D. I believe I've even used most of Canon's pro lenses. On the Nikon side, I've owned the D90 and various DX and FX lenses. I'm pretty set with my current line up for the foreseeable future, however. So, where do I get my gear? Over the years I've learned who to trust and who to be cautious with. Before relocating to Canada, I purchased used gear from KEH (based in Georgia). They have great customer service. It's easy to buy and sell gear with them and customer service legitimately cares. I also like Roberts Camera (based in Indiana); they have an online store called "Used Photo Pro." I actually bought a Canon 30D from them back in 2009 and have been a pretty dedicated customer since. Both KEH and Roberts have outlet stores on eBay where you can actually bid or make offers on their used stock. I bought the Nikon 28-105 AF-D from Roberts eBay store in excellent condition for only $100 (I've recently sold it since moving to Canada). KEH also has pictures of the actual items on those listings, but not typically on their official website like Roberts does. Amazon is always a good source for new gear, of course.

As far as buying used gear on eBay goes, you have to use common sense. I only buy things from sellers with great feedback and a return policy. If they don't offer returns, I don't even consider it. They also have to have detailed descriptions and lots of sharp pictures of the actual item (no stock photos). A lot of photographers avoid eBay altogether. That's a mistake considering all the best camera stores (including the big NYC dealers like B&H and Adorama) have outlet stores on eBay where you can get the same gear listed on their official websites for less (often with longer warranties). Just use your head when buying from individuals. Other photographers may bash eBay, but I've had no issues so far when buying gear and I've saved a lot of money.

**I am part of ebay's partner program and Amazon's Associate network. The links to items for sale on eBay and Amazon provide this blog with residual income if you choose to buy the item after clicking the link. This helps support what I do and helps keep this blog going, but by all means shop around for the best deal from a seller you trust.