I have a friend who is a phenomenal photographer. When I asked her what kind of camera she uses, she smiled and said, “I use my eyes.”
I liked what she said because sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in having the biggest and the best equipment, when what really makes a magical shot is, indeed, your eye. Yes, your eye is what makes up the composition and seeks out the best light, etc.
So as I talk about photography equipment, keep in mind that expensive, newfangled equipment does not necessarily equal good pictures. The best camera in the world can only go so far if you don’t pick up the instruction manual and know how to use it. Remember that your heart and your eye are the most precious pieces of photography equipment you’ll ever have.
Sure, having a big camera with all the bells and whistles is great, but I think some people go out and buy new equipment before they're really ready for it.
I guess the advice I have would be to completely outgrow what you have before you upgrade. Learning how to really see things...lighting, expressions, etc. can be done from any camera. My brother, who happens to be one of my very favorite photographers, just barely upgraded to an SLR camera (Single Lens Reflex…one that switches out lenses, etc.) this summer. Up until now his beautiful nature shots have come directly from his little point-and-shoot camera:
With that introduction, I must say that I do adore my photography equipment. Maybe it’s because I did start with a point-and-shoot, and moved up when I was ready. I’ve learned to really appreciate what I have.
Right now I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. Up until this year I was a complete Nikon girl (I had a Nikon D200). I believe Nikon and Canon are equally great, but I switched over because I wanted video capacity. (To read more about my Canon vs. Nikon woes click here.)
I personally think that a good lens is almost more important than the actual camera you use. Through the years I have always loved portrait lenses. My favorite with my Nikon was my 50mm 1.8. It was a "prime" lens (one that doesn’t zoom in and out…you have to move yourself in or out to capture what you want) which makes it much more cost-effective but not as user-friendly. (Canon has a comparable one).
But near the end of my Nikon years my portrait lens got replaced with a Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 lens which promptly took it’s place on my camera and rarely came off. Zoom lenses like this are more expensive...but worth every cent in my book.
The lens I use on my Canon is a 24-70mm 2.8. I love it like I loved my Nikon 17-55 lens.
A good telephoto lens is a great addition to have in your “bag.” I have not purchased one for my new camera yet, and I’m feeling lost without it because I love to take shots of my children without being “in their face,” and a telephoto lens can help you do just that. It is also a must for school plays, strings concerts, etc.
I can’t wrap this up until I say I always carry a point-and-shoot camera in my purse. It’s just as much a part of my photography equipment as anything else, because sometimes it’s all I’ve got when I really want to capture something. I mean, this photo is one of my very favorites not because it’s anything spectacular, but because it captures the relationship between two of my daughters at the science museum one random day when I wouldn’t have dreamed of dragging along my big camera.
I also use my point-and-shoot on trips to capture nature shots. I think the macro setting does a pretty darn good job.
The point-and-shoot I use is a Canon Power Shot SD750.
So there you have it, a brief overview of photography equipment.
Tomorrow I’ll get more into capturing nature, because man alive, it is beautiful and needs to be captured!