Sunday, February 19, 2012

When Good Equipment Matters

    If you go to a gathering of professional photographers, you'll almost always see speedlites by Canon, Nikon and Quantum. When you visit a photography studio you'll see floor lights by Bowens and Paul C. Buff. Professionals, who depend on their equipment for a living, cannot afford to take chances with either quality or reliability and the extra money is justified both by expediency and favorable tax laws related to equipment purchases.
    When it comes to cameras, the formula changes somewhat. In the triangle of camera, lens and lighting, the camera is the least significant element in terms of money. That may sound strange, but camera technology has advanced so far today that you can get an entirely decent DSLR for around $800 USD. If you need a model that's a little more durable and has better weather seals, you can step up to the next level for around $1,500 USD.
    The next level up in cameras from there depends on the sensor size. If you think a full frame sensor is a benefit, then you can step up to cameras like the Canon 5D MK II and Nikon D700 for right around $2,500 USD. The majority of professional photographers utilize cameras in this price range.
    There are fewer professionals spending more than $2,500 USD on their camera bodies. After that price point the jumps in price are geometric while the gains in quality are incremental. In this realm are cameras like the Nikon D3 and usually the only photographers carrying those type cameras work for a newspaper, magazine, or photo agency.
    It seems like folly for a hobbyist, even a serious one, to be thinking about dropping $4,000 to $6,000 USD on a camera body.
    If you want to raid the trust fund, spend your money on lighting and lenses. While those may not be the sexy topics in photography, they are the most important in getting consistently high quality photos. Even then, you need a reason to shop at the high end of the price market.
    You can get an entirely decent external flash for your DSLR, one that's compatible with the camera's internal metering system, for around $150 USD. If you're a professional wedding photographer or even a serious hobbyist, it might be worth it to look at a speedlite flash like the Canon 580 EXii or Nikon SB-700 or SB-800, which cost more than twice as much.
    In the case of lighting or lenses, it's easier to justify spending twice as much than it is for camera bodies. A good speedlite will serve up even, quality lighting for years and can serve you well even if you decide to change camera brands somewhere down the road. You may lose some of the integrated bells and whistles, but a good flash with a slave mode will always be useful.
    It's the same story with lenses. It will frequently be worth paying nearly twice as much for really fine glass, which will serve you well beyond the expected life of your camera. A fact witnessed by the number of people who pay to have their old Nikkor lenses re-mounted for use on modern Canon DSLRs.
    The time to spend the extra money on professional level equipment is when you have a reason to do so. Even then, spend your money first on lenses and lighting and, if you have any left over, then start looking at a camera upgrade.

Post Title

When Good Equipment Matters


Post URL

http://miamiphotograph.blogspot.com/2012/02/when-good-equipment-matters.html


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2 comments:

Adam Smith said...

This website is also for those student who has opted for photography as their career. The significance of photography is increasing day by day but the most important this is to understand the five W's before you enter into this profession. First of all what role plays a Nicon D3 camera is it is specially made for photo agency, magazines or even newspaper's. If you want a career in this field that lighting and lance is the vital thing.

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