Probably the question I am asked most often, besides “what made you leave NY to live in London?”, is what “camera and/or lens should I buy?”
Ahhhh, so much gear so little time (and money). It seems like before you can even finish gasping at Innovation A, Innovation A.2 comes along swiftly followed by Innovation B and C, blowing your socks clean off – in High Definition of course.
Now more than ever its time to stick to the fundamentals. Any photographer, videographer, director or musician will tell you that the idea or concept is what matters – and of course your ability to present it in a somewhat interesting way. When I was completing my Marketing MBA, after finishing all the case studies – rife with SWOT and competitor analyses – one thing was at the core of it all. All the bells and whistles in the world don’t really matter. The same goes for photography, gear be damned, the product has to be good!!!!
Think back to when your uncle would take photos at the family event and everybody’s head would be cut off. Now imagine if he did that with a £2,000 21megapizel camera. Or how about if he recorded a video of your wedding that only showed the back of the bride and groom’s heads for the entire day – but it was in 1080p HD. Would gear matter then?
Now I know there is the school of thought that says buy the most expensive kit that you can afford. I personally subscribe to another way of thinking – buy what will deliver what you need with a reasonable amount of foresight. What this means is by no means should someone be taking an introductory photography course with a Canon 1Ds or Nikon D3X. The idea of ‘buy the best’ may work for flatscreen TVs but does not apply to photography.
An example. In my exhibition rhythmic urbanism earlier this year, 1/3 of the prints were photos taken with my Canon 350D, and three of those were with the kit lens that most newcomers “hate”. Trust me, the prints looked fine.
So while I will never be one to discourage anyone from loading up on the latest thingamagig, keep in mind that 3 months after you buy it (and still haven’t learned how to take it off of Auto mode) there will be a bigger, better version being introduced. You will never, ever really catch up. Best bet? Buy something reasonable and shoot with it for at least a couple of years before even thinking about upgrading. Yes, my opinion, but I don’t think you would find many photographers who would disagree.
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