Learning the ropes about cameras and equipment can be tough. If you’re just starting out, you know how overwhelming it is to walk into a camera store. What do you buy? How long will this digital camera be on the market before it’s considered obsolete and you need a new one?
One way to avoid a racing heartbeat is to know what you want going in. Do some reading. Go on the internet to a few online camera stores. Some of them divide their cameras and lenses into groups labeled something along the lines of hobby, semi-pro, and pro. Find your comfort zone and start looking there. Search for online reviews of the equipment you’re thinking of buying. Reviews will help narrow down your choices.
Most of us start with inexpensive but good quality equipment. Even if money is unlimited but you’re an amateur photographer, buying the most expensive equipment available is not the best choice. Top-of-the-line pro cameras have many manual adjustments that just won’t work if you don’t know what you’re doing. Overbuying can lead to frustration.
So, what’s the best gear to invest in?
- The best camera body you can afford at the time without breaking the bank.
- The best lens.
- Excellent quality lens filters.
These three items will directly affect the quality of your photos.
Also, consider buying an extended warranty on your equipment. Not only does this give added protection, it makes the camera or lens more valuable to trade in or to sell, because warranties are often transferable to a new owner.
Where can you save money?
- Buying less expensive accessories, or last-year’s models, on items such as tripods, camera backpacks, drop cloths, lighting equipment, etc.
These things will not directly affect the quality of your photos.
If you’re buying used equipment, look for a reputable dealer. Smart buys are those that are still covered under the manufacturer’s or extended warranty.
If you plan on shooting a lot of nature photography, you’ll likely be doing a lot of hiking. Consider the weight of your equipment when buying. For example, sometimes it’s better to buy a lens that’s a little bit less expensive (with an f-stop of f4 instead of f2.8) if it means it’ll keep you in the field twice as long because it weighs less. If you’re outdoors twice as long, you’ll get that many more shots and you’ll enjoy the hiking more. It’ll show in your photographs.
It’s always the photographer that makes the photo, not the equipment. A talented photographer can take a fantastic photo even on a simple point-and-shoot camera.