The Truth About Photography Gear: 9 Things You Need to Know

The Internet is a bullion cave of information about cameras, lenses, and other photography equipment, though there’s always a satisfactory volume of BS circulating. There are opinions masquerading as fact.

We’re constantly told to buy new gear… while also conference that rigging doesn’t matter.

So I’ve motionless to lay out a law about camera rigging as we see it:

#1. Don’t Trust Camera Reviewers… and Not Just Because of Affiliate Links and Free Trips to Hawaii

“Thank we for revelation us a law about camera gear!”

YouTubers and bloggers are mostly indicted of pulling rigging to make income around associate programs like Amazon Associates and to compensate behind manufacturers for freebies like press trips.

Now, those are current reasons to demeanour during reviews with a doubtful eye, though there’s a force in a star that’s 1 million times some-more absolute than giveaway craft tickets: acknowledgment bias.

Confirmation disposition is a bent to find out and appreciate information in a approach that confirms a pre-existing beliefs. This is since people review reviews of rigging they already own. They wish to clear their purchases.

If a chairman usually spent $20,000 on new Nikon gear, they’re not going to demeanour for reasons they done a mistake. They’re going to endorse their preexisting disposition towards Nikon. So a “honest” reviewer that buys apparatus out of his possess slot competence be slightest infallible during all!

And let me be totally honest: this is something we onslaught with. Am we usually perplexing to clear my possess purchases? Or am we being truly unbiased?

I don’t reason behind when we adore a square of gear, like my Sony 24-105mm lens (a.k.a. a Volvo of lenses). But I’m not fearful to impugn products we trust are subpar, like Annie Leibovitz’ Masterclass.

So we wish I’m during slightest reasonable in my reviews.

#2. You Almost Can’t Avoid Being Obsessed with Gear

I’ve beheld a uncanny dichotomy among YouTubers and bloggers. One minute, they’ll tell we that rigging doesn’t matter, which, as I’ll plead below, is usually partially true. Then a subsequent minute, they’ll insist a latest camera or lens is a holy grail… even if they’ve usually used it for a few hours.

That hype sight is on tip of a normal promotion we see each day. So we’re constantly pushed to buy buy buy!

And let’s usually acknowledge that personification with and shopping new rigging is fun. That dopamine rush feels good. we quarrel it roughly each day!

Don’t be fearful to wish new gear. Just do your best to buy what we need instead of what we desire.

#3. You Don’t Need Great Gear to Make Great Pictures, But You Do Need Certain Gear to Make Certain Pictures

When we was a amateur with a Canon Rebel and pack lens, we was assured we indispensable a 5D Mark II to start creation ‘real’ portraits. But as we benefit ability as a photographer, we find that rigging matters reduction and less.

Most of a good photographs in story were done with rigging that is officious obsolete compared to what we own.

But infrequently a certain form of design requires a certain form of gear. For example, we use macro lenses for impassioned close-ups of facial features.

Other photographers need a 24mm tilt-shift lens for architecture, or a 300mm f/2.8 for indoor sports.

Sometimes, we have to spend a income to get a specific form of photo.

#4. Photographers Can’t Pass Blind Tests, So Let’s Stop Obsessing Over Brands

Tony Northrup did a good video display how photographers couldn’t tell a difference between Sony, Fuji, Nikon, and Canon colors:

This supports my long-held perspective that color science is a bro scholarship of photography.

And behind in 2015, Fstoppers did a camera shootout… and found that photographers couldn’t mark a disproportion between Sony, Nikon, and Canon cameras:

Fstoppers found that “…statistically no one could accurately theory that camera took that image. It was roughly 33% opposite a house and we competence have even scored aloft if we had blindly guessed that camera took that image.”

Let’s face a truth: your eyes aren’t utterly as good as we think. So don’t worry about picture quality. It’s good opposite a board.

Instead, concentration on your preferences for sensor size, ergonomics, lens selection, size/weight, durability, etc.

Now obviously, some photographers do need that final 1% of picture peculiarity from a Nikon D850 or Fujifilm GFX 50R.

Speaking of which…

#5. If You Have to Ask, You Probably Don’t Need It

When it comes to large purchases, we try to follow a elementary order “if we have to ask, we substantially don’t need it.”

If we have to ask if we need a middle format digital camera, we substantially don’t. The same goes for ultra-high megapixel cameras, imagination f/2.8 pro zooms, and macro lenses.

Now, if we know for certain we have a specific need for Sony’s new 135mm f/1.8 G Master lens, by all means, buy it. But if you’re not sure, take a step back.

Think about renting first. Then, wait a few weeks to let a honeymoon outcome disappear. That way, you’ll have a decent thought if we unequivocally need that square of gear.

#6. If It’s Dumb, Buy It Used and Buy a Good Stuff

I’m a large fan of shopping used print gear, especially if it’s things that doesn’t have electronics. I’m articulate about things like tripods, light stands, umbrellas, hold equipment, and softboxes.

It’s easy to tell what kind of figure these equipment are in, and people mostly sell them unequivocally inexpensive used. And incidentally, this is a form of rigging that can final decades if we buy a good stuff.

For example, my favorite all-purpose light mount is a Avenger 635b.

They go for about $130 code new. we bought cave for $40 used, and it will substantially endure me.

And I’ve picked adult all my Chimera and Plume softboxes used for about 25 cents on a dollar.

#7. Look during How You Actually Use Your Gear

Photographers mostly take an impractical perspective of how they’ll use their rigging in a genuine world.

I adore holding prolonged walks around New York City, even in complicated sleet or snow, though do we know what we never see when it’s raining and showing? Photographers regulating weather-sealed pro camera bodies.

Where do they all go? we see photographers armed with Nikon D5s or Canon 1D Xs all a time… only when a continue goes wrong.

Take a picturesque perspective of how we indeed use your gear. Do we unequivocally need a camera that can tarry a drop in fiery lava? Do we unequivocally need a battery hold on that Canon Rebel? Do we unequivocally need Profoto D1s if you’re sharpened elementary headshots in your vital room?

I trust rich people should usually buy whatever they want. The rest of us should be some-more realistic.

And vocalization of rich people…

#8. Leica Is Not Overpriced. You’re Just Not a Target Market.

I always giggle when photographers call Leica (or any other brand) overpriced. There’s no such thing as overpriced. There are usually opposite perceptions of value.

Leica is not for people who review facilities and advantages on a spreadsheet. It’s for people that wish a vibe and a red dot during any cost — a same approach valuables shoppers wish a blue Tiffany box. The high cost is indeed a feature.

Marketing guru Seth Godin put it best:

A oppulance good gets a value from a miss of application and value. A standard consumer would demeanour during what it costs and what it does and say, “that’s ridiculous.”

When a good like this (and it competence be a use as well) comes to market, it infrequently transcends a value equation and enters a new realm, one of nonesuch and amicable proof. The value, ironically, comes from a miss of value [emphasis mine].

And let me tell we — I’m utterly happy sharpened Sony, though we unequivocally wish a Leica SL.

Why? Because there’s something appealing about carrying a camera we never see on a streets. And hell, it usually looks cool. How’s that for logic?

#9. Skip a First Generation of Any New Camera (and maybe a second)

New lenses seem to be flattering fantastic opposite a board, though it’s still utterly singular for a camera association to spike a initial era of a camera series.

Canon launched a 5D array in 2005. But they didn’t ascent a Fred Flintstone-level autofocus until a Mark III in 2012. The strange Fuji X100 wasn’t unequivocally good. Neither was a Sony a7 or a Hasselblad X1D. Just recently, a Canon EOS R, Nikon Z6/Z7, and Panasonic S1/S1R have all underwhelmed.

So never rush to buy into a new complement usually since it’s new. Let other photographers be a guinea pigs, afterwards collect adult a second or third era when a kinks get worked out.

That’s what we wish we did with my Sony-from-Canon switch.


About a author: Michael Comeau is a Editor of OnPortraits.com, an all-new online village dedicated to simple, classical mural photography. Click here for some-more information. The opinions voiced in this essay are only those of a author. This essay was also published here.