I have had a long-term interest in photography but never taken it beyond amateur dabbling as a result of the various twists and turns in my life and a general lack of available cash! However, now I am at that stage in life where I can dedicate more time to myself and pursue the hobby that I want to.
I recently joined a local photography club and am starting to put myself around and delve deeper into techniques using my bridge camera, a Canon Powershot G3X. I have been researching all the different manufacturers over the last few months and I have decided that Fuji is the system for me. Now here is my dilemna - I am coming into some money shortly and have set myself a limit of what I want to spend on equipment but I am having a devil of a time trying to nail down what will work best for me and would appreciate any sound advice people have. I have had to sit and think seriously about what I want out of photography, and what I can expect to achieve.
First and foremost, I am in my mid-50s and dont expect to be able to develop fast enough that I can consider doing photography as a full time career change! The photography club I go to runs monthly 'competitions', with different subjects each time to encourage members to try areas they may not have thought about before so whatever I buy will need to cover general photography and I fully expect a 'kit' lens to be good enough for this. However, there are some areas of photography I am more interested in dabbling with - namely Landscapes, Astrophotography and Portraits/Still Life.
I do not need the camera to do video ... at all ... ever. I have a camcorder for that nonsense!
I had pretty much opted to go for the XT-4 as the camera body, mainly for the bigger battery and IBIS, despite it having the same photography spec as the XT-3. Besides, the XT-4 with 16-80 kit lens is only slightly more expensive than the XT-3 with the same lens for some bizarre reason. However, I don't like the flippy vlogger screen on the XT-4 and I prefer the XT-3 screen. Grrr.
So, I expect that the XT-4 and 16-80mm F4 kit lens is going to cover most of my general purpose needs and for the other areas, here is my thinking:
Landscapes - I used to do a lot of hillwalking and mountaineering in the past and love to get up into the hills. I think this is going to be a no-brainer because everything I have read or seen on the subject points to the XF10-24 F4 wide angle zoom as the go to landscape lens, coupled with a mid-range zoom for those tighter shots (more on zooms later).
Portraiture - I was looking at the XF90mm F2 as a specialised portrait lens, while using the kit lens for 'wider' portraits.
Astrophotography - I am thinking of covering both wide shot 'milky way landscapes' and some image stacking shots of nebulae (with a star tracker eventually). This is where I could use some advice. Would the 90mm F2 lens also double up as a good enough focal length lens to be able to frame most common nebula shots, or will I need both a wider and a longer length? Would it be worthwhile looking at the 'Red Badge' 50-140mm 2.8 zoom lens instead, which would also cover other areas I am interested in (landscapes and general zooming for wildlife/sports) as at the moment the 90mm prime would be my longest focal length. For star field shots would the 10-24mm be ok to start with, or should I aim to get a faster prime lens dedicated to the job?
Now, I need to have a debate with myself because I ended up with two lists - the first option was my first stab, the second option was going for better quality lenses but thinking sideways:
Option 1: XT-4, 16-80mm kit lens, 10-24mm wide zoom, 70-300mm zoom, 90mm F2 prime, maybe 1.4 teleconverter. Cost as of today £4,380
Option 2: Camera body with no kit lens, 16-55mm F2.8 Red Badge, 10-24mm wide zoom, 50-140mm F2.8 Red Badge with 1.4 teleconverter. 90mm F2 prime maybe? Since landscape and astro photography will be most likely on a tripod then IBIS is less relevant and it may be worthwhile going XT-3 and waiting for the XT-5 to appear? Cost with XT-3 £4610. Cost with XT-4 £5060.
My quandary is whether to go XT4 with kit lens and 70-300 zoom, or pay £230 more for an XT-3 but have the better quality Red Badge lenses instead. Is there that much difference in quality to make it worthwhile? Would the extral length of the 70-300mm be more useful?
The budget I set myself is £5000, btw.