Which Camera do you use!?
One of the most frequently asked questions on my Facebook page is about my gear. I started off my journey in photography in the year 2010 with the entry level DSLR – a Canon 500D. Most of the early photos on my page and some on my website have been shot with this camera. Only towards the end of 2012, I upgraded to a full frame DSLR – Canon EOS 5D Mark III and it’s still my main workhorse. Even after the much-awaited release of 5D Mark IV, I will continue using my 5DMIII for most of my still photography work.
I strongly believe that you need not have the most expensive gear to make good pictures. I have made some pretty awesome shots with my 500D. But you do need to understand how to use the gear to its full potential. It is important to understand its limitations and learn to work around it. No matter which camera you have, you will need to give some time to get acquainted with its features and functions and learn to apply them in real time. For some, it may take a few months to get the best out of their gear and for others, years. But it is important to spend that time, “the courtship period”, with your camera before you decide your camera cannot take good pictures! Like they say “The best camera is the one that’s with you”. If you are not getting the kind of shots that you wish to take with your camera, please remember that most often it’s not the camera. It’s YOU. So, don’t go buying the most expensive equipment just because you know a professional photographer who uses it. Chances are, without spending time in learning how to use your gear, your shots (now although marginally better because of the extra bucks you have spent) will not improve beyond a level. Instead of investing a lot of money first, invest a lot of time into learning the nuances of photography.
So, then why and when to upgrade?
- When you realize that you have outgrown your equipment to an extent that it is hampering your creativity and not contributing to skill building, it may be time to upgrade.
- When you shoot commercially, you cannot compromise on quality (even to a slight extent). Especially, when you need to be doing high-quality prints of your work.
- Obviously, just a DSLR with a kit lens will not be sufficient for all kinds of photography. To pursue genre specific photography e.g. Wedding, Portraiture etc one would need specialized lenses.
- For serious photography, You would also need some must have accessories like tripods, filters etc. You would also need to invest in some external lighting systems.
- New equipment brings back that excitement into Photography. Because you have so much more to learn and experiment with.
So what’s in my bag?? While I did start off like anybody else with an entry level camera and a kit lens, over the last few years I have carefully chosen and upgraded my equipment to include the following. I, time and again, rent a few other equipment as well.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III – 2 Nos (Primary Camera Bodies),
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L Lens (This is my most used lens),
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L Lens (For my love of the standard focal length primes),
Canon 50mm f/1.8 II Lens (Inexpensive lens, but extremely awesome),
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II Lens (For those candid moments),
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens (For those gorgeous detail shots),
Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM Lens (Ultra Wide lens for travel photography),
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens (My main lens for portraits. I love using this for Wedding Films too.),
ETTL Flashes – Canon 580 Ex II (Discontinued now and succeeded by 600EX),
ETTL Flashes – Canon 600 Ex RT,
A couple of Manual Flashes,
LED Continuous Light,
ND Filters, GND Filters, Circular Polarizer,
Cactus V4 Wireless Flash Triggers (V4 is now discontinued and succeeded by V5),
Canon RS-80N3 Cable Release, Canon TC80N3 Intervalometer & Canon RC6 Remote,
Camera Batteries and Chargers,
Panasonic Eneloop Batteries and Fast Charger,
Lens cleaning kit comprising a blower, Zeiss lens cleaning solution and micro fibre cloth, and,
Plenty of fast CF and SD Cards go into my Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW and Lowepro Tahoe BP 150 bags.
In addition to this, I also use the following mirrorless equipment – Sony A7M2 mirrorless camera with Zeiss 24-70 f4 E-mount and Sony 70-200 f4 E-mount lenses. The Mirrorless range is great for travel as it’s compact and lightweight. But since it’s mirrorless, it has two LCDs – Live display and EVF, which makes it run out of battery pretty fast. So, I carry plenty of batteries for that. I, time and again, rent out Sony A7S or A7S2 cameras which are just amazing for video because of their low light capability.
In addition to the equipment aforementioned, we also use the Hero3+ GoPro (now succeeded by Hero4) , DJI Phantom 4 Drone and DJI Osmo for our Cinematic Wedding Films.
Our most used tripod is the Vanguard Alta Plus 233AP with a pan head. It’s lightweight and compact; perfect for travel – You can read our full review here. For heavier lifting, we use the trusted Manfrotto MT055XPro3 with a 3-way head. We love our Sirui P-204S (full review coming soon) and Manfrotto MMXPROA4 monopods for video.
Hope this helps in deciding your camera kit. Remember to make upgrades incrementally to your camera kit and buy only what you definitely require and will immediately use.