Need some opinions on where to spend my money...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Marine Paethor, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Marine Paethor

    Marine Paethor Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Real Name:
    I've run into a little extra cash from our tax returns, and would like to put it towards my photography. I've been talking myself in circles over the last few days about what to buy, and my head hurts at this point. :smile: As I have learned a lot from this site since joining, and since I respect the opinions of this group, I wanted to throw my internal debate out there and get a few opinions to help me come to a decision.

    The debate is this: buy one, possibly two more expensive lenses, or spread the money out over a less expensive lens or two as well as computer/monitor upgrades.

    My current kit is a G5 body, the 14-42 kit lens, the Panasonic 45-150, the Sigma 19mm, and the Sigma 30mm. I have a couple of Pentax lenses and an adapter as well. Originally I was thinking of springing for the Oly 45mm 1.8, and with any luck the PL 25mm 1.4, if I could find both at good used prices. I know these are both great lenses, and I'm sure I'd love shooting with them.

    But on the other hand, I am in need of a computer system upgrade as well. Without going into tech spec overload, I've got an older Dual-Core system, with 3 gig of RAM, and an older NEC monitor, but I am still running Vista because I never had a good reason to upgrade. But now the newest versions of PS and LR will only run on Windows 7 or 8, so for the last couple of months I have been editing my photos on a borrowed laptop. I have the NEC monitor hooked up as a second monitor, but I got it cheap in the first place because it is beat up a bit. Having an older system was never an issue for me, but now that I am trying to really improve my photography, and hopefully really work at it this coming year, I am thinking a more robust system, and especially a larger higher quality monitor(perhaps even purchasing a display calibration tool) would improve my photography as well. So instead of spending most of what I have to spend on the 25mm and 45mm, I was thinking I should by a new monitor, upgrade my computer, and maybe pick up the Sigma 60mm and maybe even a highly rated legacy prime, like a Rokkor, if I have any cash to spare.

    So does it seem like it would be a waste to buy the PL 25mm and the Oly 45mm if I didn't have the right monitor and computer to process the images? I really want both lenses, but I almost pulled the trigger on them today, but kept thinking I might be better off spreading the money over the system upgrades and maybe the Sigma 60mm since I have the 19mm and the 30mm already.

    Thank you very much for any insights or opinions any of you can offer.
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you forget that you suddenly got a bit of extra money from the tax return for a moment, and were actually planning to save long term in order to make a new purchase, what would you have been planning for?

    A newer computer is useful for more than just photography. On the other hand, a good lens keeps its value a lot better. What was bugging you the most? Inadequate computer or lack of those fast lenses? It sounds like your computer situation is quite a hassle at the moment.

    As far as lenses go, why not get one with some computer upgrades, then the other? The O45 is way cheaper, so you can always get the PL25 later. Which one plugs a hole in your kit the best?

    Also, I'm not sure why you feel the need to spend the leftovers on a legacy lens, why not save it towards something specific that you know you want?
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    I'm hearing a list of specific needs and problems in your computing. I'm not hearing a similar list about your photographic equipment. Always prioritize purchases that fulfill a specific need.
  4. Lisandra

    Lisandra Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    just spoil yourself and get one of the super fast voigtlanders
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I am kinda with promit on this... invest in the computer... sounds like it is more than 4 years old... and in my experience 4 years is the timeframe in which you will experience significant improvements

    I have no idea where you are at photographically, and where you hope to go.. but you seem to have a reasonable set of lenses... yes more expensive lenses open up new opportunities... but lenses. and indeed bodies dont make you a better photographer by themselves.

    I am guessing you have maybe a 1000 bucks to spend... i would go for the computer/monitor and when you get the next rebate think again about lenses

    just my thoughts
  6. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Real Name:
    Aye, it looks obvious from the outside.

    You 'need' a new computer versus you'd 'like to have' a couple of new lenses. Treat yourself to one with a truckload of RAM and a shiny new all singing, all dancing monitor. Just think how nice your images will look once you've PP'd them using a monitor which accurately represents colour and tone...

    Best of luck whatever you decide. :2thumbs:
  7. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    A new PC, if your monitor is still good just a base unit would suffice and even better if you can get someone to build you one to a good spec unless you fancy a Mac.
  8. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    Your darkroom is your computer nowadays, so if your darkroom is deficient, you're not going to achieve very good results because you will be endlessly frustrated.
  9. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You need to donate your money to the SpeedandStyle grant fund. With your donation I can buy some more camera gear!:biggrin:
  10. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    I have a four year old computer that is still working great, runs the latest operating system with ease, and gives me no problems. It did cost more to buy than I wanted to spend, but in the long run I figure I've saved money because most people who bought a computer when I did have already upgraded at least once. Sometimes there is a false economy in buying cheap. If you haven't figured it out, I have a Mac. But, if you want to stay with a PC, you can get a pretty decent system for not that much money. If I had money to spend in your situation, I'd probably see if I couldn't get a decent PC and the PL25. You don't have a really fast lens (I don't consider 2.8 to be all that fast for indoor shooting). If you can't swing those two, I'd consider the new Oly 25, which is probably a great lens. I'm just really in love with the PL25 and even though the Oly is cheaper I'd prefer the F1.4 is possible. But that is me. Good luck with your decision.
  11. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Real Name:
    I have an older computer (from Spring 2008) that I put together and have been making incremental upgrades to along the way. It is still OKish (though a new processor/SSD Hard drive is going to have to come at some point), but what has made the biggest difference has been the upgrade from Windows XP to 7. I was basically forced to do it with the new Lightroom, but that change has made it feel like a whole new computer.

    But I know how you're feeling, though. I really really want to use my return on a new camera body, but I just know that as soon as I do something will happen where I wish I had kept the cash. :/
  12. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Real Name:
    The Sigma 60 is an excellent lens and will leave you funds for your computer.
  13. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    You've got the semi-wide and normal covered by the two Sigma primes. I'd prioritize on getting the 45mm to cover the short tele, and spend the rest on a PC upgrade. There's nothing more annoying than having to wait for the computer to respond to a slider adjustment in LR or PS. Time is money. I recently splurged on a maxed out 27" iMac to replace a 6 year old 24" iMac for this very reason. Zoom, zoom, zoom.
  14. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2012
    Before you spring for a new computer, you might look and see whether it is worth upgrading your existing computer. If you put a 512GB or bigger SSD and upgrade to Win 7, you should be able to experience close to 20 second boot times. LR and other software will also perform MUCH faster with an SSD. BH Photo has a 750GB Samsung (one of the best SSDs available) for $369 right now:

    Win 7 is older and I have seen it fairly cheap ($79).

    An SSD is basically like main memory and is accessed much faster compared to a traditional disk drive. An i3 is still a dual core processor so you are not as far behind as you think. I/O is the bottleneck, especially disk drives. The reason the computer companies have added more cores is because clock speeds beyond 4GHz are not viable with existing technology so they cannot increase the clock speeds of processors to wring more performance. Instead they add more cores and then the software must be rewritten to perform stuff in parallel, wherever possible. Dual and quad cores don't necessarily add much more speed for operations that are primarily linear in nature.

    I suggest adding an SSD first and if you are satisfied with the performance, get a 24" or better yet 27" monitor. A 27" monitor will only run you around $200. If the performance of your current PC is still not great with an SSD, you can always use the SSD with a newer computer. If you add an SSD and Windows 7, you should see a noticeable improvement. Meanwhile, if you just get a new computer that uses a conventional disk drive, you will have similar processing times to your current computer. My wife's laptop has a dual core i3 and is 3 years old. But it boots up Windows 7 on an SSD in 18 seconds. Just about as fast an ipad.

    Then, get a Sigma 60mm.