Yesterday I spoke to you about not falling into the trap of always buying new gear when it comes out and about gear envy. Today I am going to go over how to determine what gear you should be spending your hard earned dollars on.
First thing that you need to know about camera's is the random types of cameras. Let's discuss DSLR camera bodies this time around. With that said, this will primarily apply to Nikon and Canon, but really applies to all DSLR's.
There are two different types of DSLR's. You have the crop sensor body and the full frame body. Nikon and Canon both have multiple products in both of these formats, but that isn't all you need to know about this. For instance take a crop sensor body such as a Nikon D5500 or a Canon Rebel series body. Those crop sensor bodies are what most consumers buy at your local Best Buy or at someplace like B&H Photo or Adorama. They are typically under $1200 for a kit that will include a lens and some other add ons. Then you move to the FX of Full Frame sensor bodies. From Nikon this would be the D610, D750, etc. and from Canon the 1DX, 5D III, etc. and these bodies usually start at about $2000 and go up from there.
So why does understand a crop or full frame sensor body matter you ask. One of the biggest things that I have seen people not understand is why a lens that says 14-24mm f/2.8 isn't as wide on a crop sensor body vs. a full frame body. The reason for this is that when you buy a lens, you are buying a lens with a rating that is 35mm equivalent. A full frame body is a 35mm equivalent, whereas crop sensors are not. Nikon crop sensors are 1.5 multiplication and Canon at 1.6 multiplication . What that means to you is that when you go to buy a lens for your crop sensor body, based on your manufacture you need to multiply those by either 1.5 or 1.6. Your 14-24 is now really a 21-36 on a crop sensor body.
But what gear should I buy? I learned a long time ago that spending money on quality glass/lenses is the best thing that you can do for your business or even hobby. Does putting a $150.00 lens on a $3000.00 camera body make sense? Not really, but you can certainly put $3000 glass on an $800 body. Lenses are the most important thing that you will buy, not the body, not the flashes, nothing else is as important as amazing glass.
I know that some of you are saying that you can't afford all that glass. These real issue is that you can't not afford the glass. This is a must have list in my mind for any photographer that is serious about their craft.
NIKON: 14-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8
Canon: EF 16-35 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8
There are numerous other lenses that you can add to that including fisheye, super zooms, etc, but these are the ones that you should strive to own. The reason for that is because a great lens should last you at least 10 years and keeps it's value, whereas you will most likely change your camera body at least 2-3 times during that same 10 year time span.
Now that we have discussed the lenses, lets move on to some other essential gear. Another must have in your bag is a good flash. You will hear plenty of people say that 3rd party flashes are fine. For me personally, I prefer Nikon flashes (or Canon if shooting Canon). It will most likely come down to personal preference and cost, but you get what you pay for. And once you add that flash, learn how it works. Don't be a photographer that says "I only shoot natural light" because all that means is that you don't know how to use a flash. Even if you just buy one flash, at least buy one and learn it.
What am I suppose to carry all my gear in? Well that really becomes a personal opinion. All I can tell you is what we use here at Damon's Photography. We utilize a Hard Pelican case as well as a ThinkTank StreetWalker HardDrive bag. Something that you want to consider is how you are going to transport your gear and how much gear you have. For places that we have to fly to I will try to get everything in the HardDrive bag so that everything stays with me. If we are driving somewhere like the race track I will usually take both the Pelican and the ThinkTank. Make sure to get a bag that you can grow into and not grow out of in a short time!!
What accessories do you need? Well that all depends on what you are photographing. There are a few things that I don't leave home without. The first thing is a cable shutter release for my Nikon D3. I use this for more things than I can even list. I always have a flash with me as well. Another thing you should always have is an extra camera body battery with you. Don't ever be stuck in a situation where you get to a shoot and you run out of battery power!! The last thing that you need to consider but is a must have is quality memory cards. This cards are what you are relying on to store your work until you get home. There are only two brands that we will use at Damon's Photography and that is Sandisk or Lexar. Stay away from cheap cards that you find at your local Wal Mart or Target. With regards to cards, unless you are doing video, don't buy the biggest cards either! if you have a card crash it's a lot better to have it happen on a smaller card, than one you have 2000 photos on.
I am sure there are some things that I haven't covered and I will in the future. Make sure to sign up for our email list so you don't miss any blogs.