I often get asked by friends and clients what equipment I work with and I get it. If you are just starting out, or if you are interested in buying a new camera, there are a ton of different options, and to be completely honest, I really don't know much about the technical pros and cons of any given camera modell. I just happened to start out with an old Canon DSLR and have been pretty happy with the brand ever since. So while I can't provide much insight into what camera brand or modell is the best, I thought I could tell you what I use and some general things I wish I had known, back when I started.
While I must admit that by now I have a ton of stuff lying around at home, I only ever use about one camera body and mainly 3 lenses. Over the last year I’ve done a lot of different shoots and the pieces listed below get the job done nicely. It’s worth noting though, that if don’t plan on doing commercial work with your camera, you probably won’t need four lenses and the most expensive DSLR on the market (to be honest you don’t necessarily need it even if you do want to photograph professionally). After all, these days you can take amazing photos with an iPhone.
So here's what I schlepp around on weddings and shoots on a regular basis:
- 2 Camera Bodies (one main, one back up) Canon 5D Mark iii (full frame) Canon 7D (APC)
- 1 Mirrorless Camera (for travel) Olympus Pen E-PL7
- Prime Lenses: - Canon 50mm 1.2 - Canon 85mm 1.8 - Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 - Canon 70-200 2.8
- CF- as well as SD Cards and Pelican Case
- Batteries: - 3 Canon Batteries
- Shootsac – neoprene lens bag
Sounds like a lot right? And if I add up what those pieces cost in total, I’m getting a little queasy, but I didn’t just buy it all overnight. In fact, it took me quite a while to find this set up and so far it works nicely for what I need. So I don’t want for much more right now.
If I were to start out again, or if you are looking to pursue photography in a semi-professional way, I would consider buying a full frame camera right from the start, though. So you don’t need to switch out all of your gear two years into your photography journey because your lenses don't fit on a full frame body. Also stay away from kit lenses (the one's that come with your camera). If you have an older DSLR and think about upgrading, think about switching to a new lens first. A prime lens which you can open up to f 1.8 or f 1.4 costs about a fraction of a new body and will make all the difference.
Lastly, don’t put too much stock in equipment. Learning how to shoot in manual, knowing how to use light, understanding aperture, ISO, shutter speed etc. will get you so much farther than any new gear. So invest in workshops, courses etc. before you buy new stuff, and most importantly play around with your camera as much as you can. The more you shoot, the better you’ll get. 🙂
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