Don’t Let Equipment Envy Hold Back Your Photography

One of the things I see people ask all the time is “What camera body should I buy?” This questions is subjective as everyone will give you a different answer and usually with some sort of bias. “Oh buy the Canon 5D Mark IV or the Sony A7RIII or Nikon D800” or whatever. The reason why I say the answers you get will be biased is everyone will answer you based on their favorite camera. And they will tell you things like, “You need this camera because it has 90 focus points and 65 of them are Cross-Type”. Who cares, people “poo-poo’ed” the Canon 6D original model because it had only 11 Auto-Focus points, well if you are someone like me that has been shooting for over 25 years, I don’t give a rat’s behind how many focus points a camera body has, why, because I shoot in ALL MANUAL ALL THE TIME! I mean, my camera’s are set to Manual shooting mode, I select my own Aperture, my own ISO, my own Shutter speed and I set my AF on the lens to Manual mode and focus the lens myself.

The reason why the “What camera should I buy” question is a loaded question is people will answer and tell you to buy the camera they use. You want to get an answer to this question from someone like me who has been shooting for years and used a wide variety of cameras. I have used a Canon AE-1, 1D2, 1Ds2, 5D, 5D2, 5D3, 5DsR, 6D, 6D2, and 1Dx2 as well as several models of Sony and Fuji cameras as well. The most important item in your photography kit is the glass and the second is your photography knowledge. Just today, I saw someone post in one of the many photography groups I am in on Facebook and asked what Canon body/lens combo they should buy for portraits and that they had a budget of $8-$10K to spend. Of course everyone was telling him to buy the 5D4 and various lenses and when I read their responses I laughed to myself. If someone is moving from crop body to full frame, why would you tell them to buy one of the most expensive cameras??? Don’t get me wrong I am not saying the Canon 5D4 is a bad camera, but the camera is NOT the most important tool in a photographer’s arsenal, the most important physical piece is the glass or lenses being used on that camera body.

It doesn’t matter if the photographer is a hobbyist or a pro, the answer is the same, that the glass is more important than the body. As such I told this person in my reply to them, “Get a 6D or 6D2 or a good used 5D3 if you need redundant memory cards.” Even if you have a budget of $8-$10K I would never suggest that someone blow half that budget on a single camera body, if you want the most bang for your buck and if you are going to get paid to shoot for clients, you always want to have a backup body in case anything goes wrong. So in response to this person’s question, I suggested a Canon 6D2 and the EF 135mm F/2 L portrait lens, the Canon 85mm F/1.4 IS USM L portrait lens and the Canon 50mm F/1.2L USM lens. Since the 6D2 is only around $2,000 new, this person could buy 2 of them for $4,000 and still have plenty of money left for the lenses I suggested. If they are getting paid I told them to buy good used or refurbished 5D3 bodies which run about the same as the 6D2 and have dual memory card slots for redundancy and still get the recommended lenses and they would still have money left over.

My point is enough of this blathering about buying the newest, most expensive camera body and worry more about the quality of your glass and keep building on your photography knowledge and then you will make fantastic images and your clients will love your work and you will continue to get paid to do it.