in Photography

Photography Equipment Is Overrated

Too much for everybody!

Too much for everybody!

It’s always funny that 9 out of 10 questions people ask me about photography is about the equipment I use during my shoots. While equipment is a necessary tool (duh!) to shoot pictures for sure understanding the basic elements about composition, lighting and in the end using the equipment you have correctly is much more important.

There are so many people around that have the most expensive lenses and camera bodies and they know every technical detail about the equipment they have, but they don’t know anything about the art of photography itself.

Personally I’ve walked around with my small Canon Ixus 700 camera for 5 years and made some great photos with it. After I’ve made thousands of photos and reading tons of books and articles about photography, I’ve felt I’ve reached the limit of this small Ixus (which is still a great camera after all these years). So the summer of 2010 was the time I thought I was ready to go DSLR (digital single lens reflex) with a Canon EOS 500D with a standard kit lens 18-55mm IS.

It took me around 6 months to really understand how to use that set of equipment and decided I needed to buy a Canon L-lens. After another 6 months of wrestling with all this new sharpness and fast focusing I bought my first external flash.

My recommended DSLR kit set: Canon EOS 650D + 18-135 STM IS lens for around 900 euro.

My recommended DSLR kit set: Canon EOS 650D + 18-135 STM IS lens for around 900 euro.

If people ask me nowadays how they should start with photography I tell them this:

  1. Invest in a cheap okay camera and read read read many books and blogs. And then shoot, shoot, shoot photos as much as you can!
  2. If you’re still enthusiastic about it and shoot regularly after 1 year then think about buying a mirror-less or DSLR body on which you can change lenses and buy a standard kit lens with it. These are pretty good these days, so don’t worry! Don’t buy the most expensive body! Keep that money in your pocket to buy good glass (lenses) later on.
  3. Buy great glass! Great lenses cost a lot of money, there are some exceptions, but generally speaking; the better the lens the more expensive it will be. The great thing about lenses is that if you treat them with great care, they will be with you for 10-20 years and keep their value! Where as the body you bought will probably be replaced after 5-6 years and will get you nothing of very little in return.
  4. Invest in light! After you understand using natural light (which can be a lifetime exploration expedition by itself, it’s smart to invest in an external flash wireless flash. The things you can do with 1, 2, 3 or even 4 external wireless flashes is just amazing!

With each step there is so much new experiences and knowledge to get and learn that you will just need to take your time with it! So instead of putting down money and hoping for the best, invest in time and learn and really make photos!

For the people who are still interested in what I personally use as equipment; go to my equipment page.

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  1. I concur with your message. After shooting lots of pictures with an IXUS60 & IXUS1000 and reading even more posts and articles about DSLR-photography, I finally took the leap into it. And after consulting with you on different aspect my conclusion was also to invest in a somewhat entry-level body and paying a bit more money for the lens, in my case not the STM kit-lens, but a Canon EF-S 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 based on several criteria. I’m fully aware of the unlocked potential of the external flash, but I think I’m not ready to go there just yet.

    My word of advice could be, that even though you get advice from people, it should always be your choice in what you decide to buy. Don’t let the sales person push something different on you. As a moral support, think of all the hours you spent researching in what you want, …

    Nice post!