(Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.) Less roof and definately alot less fiddler. Anyway; Last night I got to thinking that when the shutter life of my faithful 20D has run it’s course and eventually that time I press the button is it’s last (cue the shocking noise of grating metal and shutter blades slicing the cameras sensor in half), what would I buy? It’s hard to say really, what with each new year bringing a new camera or two, each seemingly better and more feature packed than the last. Well, except the 30D that is. If I had to go out tomorrow and buy a new camera and of course treat myself to a few lenses, what would I get? Keeping a budget in mind of course and shopping online to get away from rip-off Ireland. How much would it cost to get a cracking set of lenses that any pro, be they wedding photographer, photojournalist or wildlife photographer, could be proud of?

First things first, the body. I think my own personal preference would be a Canon 1D Mark II N for around the €3,200 price. It’s clearly the lovechild of a 20D and a battleship. I can’t imagine there’s much you could do to this camera to hurt it, aside maybe from filling it with plastic explosive and offering it a cigarette.

For the wide angle side of things, I’d have to stick with my Sigma 10-20 EX. It’s sharp, well built and costs alot less than the equivilent Canon 10-22 (which is an EF-S and wouldn’t go on a 1DmkIIn anyway!).. . You’d have to stick in what seems to be everyones favorite low-end L, the Canon 17-40 f4L. A handy walkaround lens. However, I think I’d nearly stump up the extra cash for the 16-35 f2.8L though. All that extra light and one mm more on the wide end (hurrah). Horrifyingly enough, that’s another €1,100.

Getting into mid-range stuff, While I like my current Sigma 24-70 f2.8, it’s noisy focusing does wreck my head sometimes. I would stick with it however, it’s been consistently sharp and has always worked as fast as I could. I love my most recent acquisition, a Canon 50mm f1.8 prime. It’s cheap and cheerful and so far I’ve gotten some wonderful shots with it. To that duo, I’d add a couple of primes I’ve been eyeing up lately. First is a Sigma 30mm f1.4, quite a tasty looking lens at €360. Next (and breaking into telephoto) maybe a Canon 85mm f1.8 (€360) and maybe even a Canon 135mm f2L (€800). What can I say, I’m developing a consuming love for primes!

Going telephoto (and this is something I’ve been condsidering revising of late) I’d definately go for the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 at €650. I’d add a Sigma 1.4x teleconverter to that for a little extra reach. A snip at €150. That’s low light sorted but what about that extra reach for one of my favorite subjects; surfing? A Sigma 50-500 f4 is a lens I’d dearly love but at €800 it’s a lot of money for a lot of zoom. Either way, by autumn 2006, I’ll hopefully own one of the two above. At the moment it’s leaning toward the 70-200 with 1.4x TC. I’d get a 2x but apparently it doesn’t play too well with that.

Money being little or no object, the ultimate poser lens would have to be the Canon 100-400 f4L, which at around €1500 is mere pocket change! To come up to matching the length of the previous Sigma, you could shell out for a Canon 500mm f4.5 prime. Or you could buy a car. Your choice…

Lets recap on my choices;

Canon 1D Mark II n – €3,200
Canon 16-35 f2.8L – €1,100
Sigma 30mm f1.4 – €360
Canon 85mm f1.8 – €360
Canon 135mm f2L – €800
Sigma 70-200 f2.8 – €650
Sigma 1.4x TC – €150
Sigma 50-500 f4 – €800

Decent Manfrotto tripod & head – circa €350?

Let’s say €8,000 give or take a few quid. Worth it? What do you reckon? What would you go for, given a budget of say €10k? I threw in a manfrotto towards the end given that my cheap (€40) & previously cheerful argos tripod is beginning to show signs of trauma around the quick release mechanism. It’s also a mare to use at the best of times. Although it seems there’s way too much time put into making this list, it’s something I’ve pondered on. Specifically the Sigma 30mm prime and the Sigma 70-200. Just a pity it’s not a 70-300. Then I’d manage some decent surfing shots too.