What Camera Gear Would You Buy if You Had $4,000 to Spend?

If you were building your camera system from scratch and had $4,000 to spend to get you started, what would be your choice?

Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake from DPReview TV have quite different needs from their basic setups. And while the R6 is no doubt a phenomenal camera, that option does leave you very limited when it comes to lens choices, which, for some, will be the wrong way to make a decision.

For me, I would find the prospect of a 24-105mm f/4 a little upsetting; sure, it’s a great all-rounder, but personally, it’s not a lens that inspires creativity, and for that, I’d want to invest in a batch of primes. Sigma’s new 35mm f/1.4 for E-mount seems like a bargain (though you will have to be patient), which would be a good reason to lean towards Sony, maybe pairing it with an 85mm f/1.4 or f/1.8, or perhaps even the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 if you want the bokeh and some money left over. Admittedly, I almost never shoot with a telephoto zoom, and anything around 70-200mm or equivalent is going to eat a huge chunk of your budget, which I can conveniently avoid when making my choices.

Alternatively, Fujifilm ticks all of the boxes and gives a much nicer shooting experience: compact, affordable primes and excellent image quality. 

What would you choose? Let us know in the comments below.

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David Pavlich's picture

I'd go to KEH and grab a used 5DIV and a 24-70 f2.8L II and maybe a 100 f2.8 L macro.

Matt Rennells's picture

If that's your budget, and you're starting from scratch, then the used market is the way to go. You can get a wide zoom (f/4), fast 50, telezoom (f/4) or portrait prime, and a full frame body for well under that. Pick your system, Nikon, Canon, Sony, mirrorless/DSLR.

J.d. Davis's picture

another Hasselblad

Tom Reichner's picture

As a wildlife & bird specialist, gearing up for no more than $4,000 would be quite a challenge. But if I were starting from scratch, and a budget of $4,000 was a firm constraint, then this is what I would do:

Innuro tripod $317

Canon 1D Mark 4 used $589

Full gimbal head, off-brand / budget brand $100

Quick Release Plate, Manfrotto $40

Compact Flash card, 32 GB $30

THIS LEAVES $2924 for a used Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 lens
- possible to find at this price if you search the classifieds regularly
- no, I've no interest at all in the much less expensive 150-600mm alternative

John Nixon's picture

Used Z6ii and 70-200/2.8

Jan Holler's picture

Used Nikon D800 (mint condition): $700, used 24-70mm f/2.8 $800, used 70-200mm f/2.8 from $400 (AF-D) to $800 (AF-S), used 20mm f/2.8 (AF-D) $200, used 50mm f/1.8 $70, used flash SB-700 $200. Totals to: $2400 $3000.
With the rest $1000 you either buy a second D800 or a used studio flash with modifier.

Sébastien Tarnowski's picture

Good question. And there are alternatives...

David Joseph's picture

I upgraded my 5d II to a 5R and got a few fast cards and a fast reader.

Sam Sims's picture

A7III, Voigtlander 40mm f1.2, some backup batteries. Pretty much what I have now.

El Dooderino's picture

A Canon R5 and an adapter for my L series glass that I already have.

Trey Mortensen's picture

I got lucky. B&H had some major EDU + manufacturer discount sales on Sony equipment and I was able to snatch the a7iii + 20mm f/1.8 + 35mm 1.8 for right around $3000. I'm currently adapting my Canon 85 f/1.8 and 70-200 f/4 lenses to fill the gaps but all I'd really need would be the Tamron 70-180 and I'd be set for 99% of what I shoot.

So I'm basically doing the $4000 challenge, just slower than the video 😉

Bill Irwin's picture

XT3 $1200
16mm F1/4 $600
23mm F/2 $300-$350
35mm F/2 $300-$350
50mm F/2 $300-$350
90mm F/2 $600

Total $3450

Andrew Broekhuijsen's picture

For $4k, I'd pick up a Canon refurb EOS RP or 5D4 and some solid primes. I'm already pretty happy with my lens collection. Wouldn't mind adding a 200mm f/2.8 maybe. It's really just my camera body that's getting long in the tooth. But the trusty 5D2 is still kicking and producing great images, so I keep shooting it with confidence.

Waste Time's picture

All Fstopper articles ends with Fujifilm.

Marc F's picture

A Rolleiflex 2.8F, or a Mamiya 7 II.