What Sony Camera Kit can I create for $10K???

I heard from a former DC colleague, Vince Mannino, who asked me if I could help him put together a package of equipment for his youngest daughter, a college student, who wants to be a photojournalist.

I asked him — what was his budget?  He told me $10K.  Here’s what I would recommend for the student photographer.

Firstly, $10K can buy you a lot or it can buy you a little…it just depends on what your preferences are and what you feel that you simply must have.

And, since Sony offers great options in both Full Frame sensors and APS-C sensor sizes, there are myriads of options.  These are but three possible combinations — there could be many many more, but this will get the gears spinning.

Kit A:  Full frame or bust,  G Master lenses — don’t spare the horses!

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1 - Sony a7III   $1998

1 - Sony a7III  $1998

1 - 16-35mm f2.8 GMaster $2198

1 - 70-200 f2.8 GM  $2598

1- 55 1.8  $948

Total:  $9740

Kit B:  Blended FF and APS and keeping prices down by using f4 zooms instead of f2.8 zooms.

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1 - Sony a7III  $1998

1 - Sony a6400  $898

1- 16-35 f4 $1248 

1 - 55 1.8  $948

1 - 70-200 f4 $1398

1 - 85mm f1.8  $573

Total:  $7063

Kit C:  Keeping it WAAAAY under $10K*  All APS-C bodies, E mount lenses will leave you about $5k to use toward a semester abroad where you could shoot a portfolio-worthy story.

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1 Sony a6400  $898

1 Sony a6400  $898

1 - 10-18 f4  $798

1 - 35 1.8 OSS  $423

1 - 55 1.8  $948

1 - 85 1.8 $573

Total: $4538

add the 70-200 f4  $1398

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Total:  $5936

You could save even more by buying an a7RII or an a7II but I would not recommend it.  With Sony, the bodies, from generation to generation, are such a significant improvement (especially for things like action and sports things that photojournalists often cover) that I would advise to get the most current body.  

The *only* downside that I can see with the a6400 is that it does not have built in 5 axis IBIS like the a7RIII or the a7III.  The a6500 does have built in 5 axis IBIS,  BUT the new AF with the a6400 gives it the nod.  

There’s always a bit of a trade off but I always opt to stay current with bodies whenever possible.  The other downside to using the a6400 camera is that it uses the smaller and less powerful W battery instead of the newer Z style Sony battery in the a7III.  

Also, the a6400 only has a single SD slot while the a7III has the dual card slots.

The G Master f2.8 lenses are amazing though the G series, f4 lenses are no slouches.  AND, camera ISOs are not what they once were.  Shooting at 12800 is very doable with the Sony sensors (though I have not tried the a6400 at this ISO).

What are your thoughts on these kits? Do you have a suggestion for my friend Vince? If so, please leave them in the comments below!