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One thing that we photographers have in common is that we love gear. It is some mechanism built inside our heads that somehow makes us want to have each and every lens possible, along with every cool gadget etc etc.
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But, that can cost a bunch, and you need to determine which gear piece would be next logical step for you.
Being able to determine which gear upgrade you actually need can be good and in your budget by avoiding impulsive purchases or purchasing gear that you don’t actually need.
If you're new to DSLR photography, you may want to consider checking out this Fantastic Guide Intro to DSLR Photography. Covering step-by-step video series focusing on the basics of photography.
First Off – The Camera Body, Make Sure It Suits YOUR Style
Depending on what you shoot and what you plan to shoot different camera bodies will suit a different purpose.
For example, if you are shooting still life and studio portraits, buying a 7D Mark 2, or 1DX would be the wrong choice since you are paying for exceptional focus system and high counting rates, where you actually need dynamic range, tonal range and resolution.
In this case going for
- a Canon 5D Mark 3,
- a Nikon D810,
- or a Sony A7R is wise.
Therefore, for your photography hobby, job or whatever you want to call it, you need to know what you need the most out of a camera body, whether it's resolution, dynamic range, speed of focus, durability, and any other aspect you can think of and focus on that.
The things you need the most are the things that need to be the camera forte. I know that this sounds obvious, but people don’t often do enough research when it comes to cameras and often pay for features which they never use.
Consider 5D mark 3 and 6D – they are both full frame and they both have excellent sensors (the differences are really insignificant). And if you shoot in the studio, you’d think that getting the 5D Mark 3 is the obvious choice since it is the superior camera.
But in the studio, you don’t need that advanced autofocus system that the 5D mark 3 has, nor you need the more frames per second it has. So you’ll be paying more than 1,000$ higher price tag for the 5D mark 3 for features you’ll probably never need.
If you're just starting out or in need of a refresher, perhaps consider checking out this Fantastic Guide Intro to DSLR Photography – covering a step-by-step video series focusing on the basics of photography.
Beautiful Lenses – To Capture Those Great Shots
Lenses are even trickier to choose from, since you can’t really know which ones you’ll be using the most. However, you can get in the general area quite fast. Let’s say you are a bird shooter and specialize in birds only for the sake of the argument. By knowing the nature of the birds, you’ll know that wide angle lenses and short telephoto ones will do you no good, and even medium telephotos are a stretch.
So you know that you need lenses that are longer than 150mm to begin with. Therefore, you'll choose lenses in that general area. On the other hand, you know that longer lenses mean more shake, especially if handheld, thus image stabilization would always be a good addition.
However, if you are studio photographer, then you know the ranges you use the most, lenses from 35mm to 135mm are the ones which you’ll be using the most, and since you need supreme image quality it is better to stick to zooms.
Studio setups almost always equal tripods or monopods, thus you don’t need image stabilization, and so you won’t have to pay for it.
Flashes – You Need Some Light!
Flashes are where most photographers throw money in the wind. I guess they take the most time to master, and most photographers don’t really understand flashes enough in order to be able to determine which is the one right for them. This means most photographers do overkills on flashes.
First of all, it is really important to know what you are going to use them for. Several things are important about flashes, that is:
- recycle time,
- type (studio or flashgun),
- and power source.
If you need flash to photograph events, then you need a flash gun with decent power and recycle times which can be mounted on your camera. ETTL is good to have, but not necessary if you are handy enough with flashes.
For studio setups, studio flashes are a good choice since they are more powerful and they can hold different modifiers more easily, but you can do with flashguns as well if you are into tinkering and improvisations more. Of course, for off camera
Of course, for off-camera flash photography, you’ll need radio triggers (you can do optical as well, but they are a bit too inconsistent).
Just starting out or need a refresher? Perhaps consider checking out this Fantastic Guide Intro to DSLR Photography. It covers a step-by-step video series focusing on the basics of photography. Take your skills to the next level!
Choosing the right gear for you will end up saving you money in paying for features you don’t really need. That is why it is crucial to research available gear and be really honest with yourself about what you really need.
Then connect the dots and pick the right gear piece which satisfies your needs and doesn’t have any unnecessary features which will just increase the bill.
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