November and December usually mean discounts on cameras and lenses. January usually means an end to those discounts. Camera makers want to get good numbers for the years end.
On the Nikon side of things, the sensors in the current bodies are great but they are mostly based on several year old sensors. An update is due soon. First we will see the Nikon D5 come out (it may be announced as soon as next month), and then some of its new features will trickle down to a D810 replacement. The D610 and D750 will be replaced or possibly amalgamated into a new model. If you need a Nikon camera right now then it’s a good time to buy because of the discounts. But if you can wait your patience might be rewarded with the next generation of sensors. It could be a while after the D5 is released that another new model is released. If what you have is good enough to last you a year or more we wouldn’t rush.
On the Canon side of things it’s a bit different. The 5DS and 5DSR have only been available for half a year. If you want a high resolution Canon body then your choice is easy. Some people are holding out for the Canon 5D Mark IV. It has been rumored that the Mark IV will have better dynamic range and color sensitivity. But it won’t have the 50 megapixels of the 5DS line. The price may not be that much less than the 5DS. So unless there is something else really compelling about the Mark IV you would probably do better grabbing a 5DS series camera now. In fashion photography photographs get printed frequently and megapixels matter for print quality. There may be a Canon 6D Mark II coming as well. But we are guessing that for most people the Canon 6D, 5D Mark III and to some extent even the Canon 5D Mark II should hold them over unless Canon’s done something really special with these upcoming cameras. Then there’s the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. It will be expensive, and probably have great auto-focus, frame rates, and low light abilities. But again it won’t have the 50 megapixels of the 5DS line. The people who need the 1D series know who they are.
For Sony, the A7r II is an interesting option. It’s not where we want it to be yet for being a professional tool, but it can make some amazing images (more megapixels than the Nikon D810 and more dynamic range than the Canon 5DS series). And it’s small. Given that the A7r II has only been out for a matter of months, it’s an acceptable time to buy, but make sure you do your homework and you truly understand the limitations of this camera. It’s not as fast or as efficient as a dSLR yet. But if you can work with its limitations it will definitely work for many kinds of fashion photography.
Micro-Four-Thirds (Panasonic and Olympus)
What about the micro-four-thirds cameras by Olympus and Panasonic? There have been some good discounts lately. We see these systems as complementary to but a not a replacement for full-frame systems. Although if you’re just starting off any camera will do and it’s far more important to learn the skill and the art than to obsess about gear.
Fuji makes beautiful lenses and their cameras have gotten very close to being what we want yet never all the way there. We will let our readers make up their own minds about Fuji.
Samyang makes these lenses and they get rebranded under names like Rokinon, Bower, and even Vivitar. While we have tagged this post with the term “Low Budget”, it’s still not a cheap lens, but relative to your other options for 135mm F2.0 it’s by far your cheapest option. If you need something cheaper and you shoot Canon or Sony, there are many old 135mm F2.8 lenses that can be had for around $100 on eBay and used on your Sony or Canon camera with an adapter.