Cameras don’t take pictures. People do.
It’s a motto I live by and a lesson I teach every photographer hungry to learn more about photography. It doesn’t matter if you have a second hand camera that’s 10 years old compared to your mate’s brand new state of the art camera. What matters is how you take the photo.
When you’re starting out with your photography journey, you might be wary of being attracted by the wrong features. It can be mind boggling to be faced with so many choices and so much ‘shiny’ as I like to call it.
I attended a fantastic event where I was lucky enough to speak but what I want you to take from the video is the chats I had with other photographers. Their varying ideas of what matters in terms of functions will be really enlightening for you when you’re thinking about your camera purchase.
Top tips when buying a new camera
Investing in camera equipment can be costly so you want to make sure you are buying the right kit for what you’re doing.
If you are after a camera for your holiday snaps that you can sling in your beach bag I wouldn’t recommend a DSLR, go for a compact camera instead that you can get for under £100.
This is the best advice I can offer you for when you’re shopping for a camera;
- Figure out what features matter to you. If you’re a 5 feature aficionado like I am, you don’t need the models with hundreds of functions you’ll never use
- Set a budget. Know what you are prepared to spend and what you will get for that
- Think about cameras that you can interchange the lenses. Some cameras only let you use the same brand lens which is limiting
- Physically visit a shop. Do your research online and have a rough idea of what you’re interested in and then go into a camera shop and handle the cameras. Get an idea of how they feel in your hands and how they work
- Speak to your friends about their cameras and ask them if you can borrow their cameras to take them out for a test drive. Get a feel for how it would work for you
- Don’t neglect accessories! A bag will make all the difference if you’re planning on hiking or traveling for example. A tripod is crucial if you want to play with longer exposures, think about what you want to do and buy the camera that fits around your needs
What is the cost of camera equipment?
How long is a piece of string? There is no way I could compile every model, every available price and every accessory, so what I have done is create a list for you of the equipment I have.
Keeping in mind that I’m a professional photographer who has been photographing for over twenty years - you are not expected to have anywhere near the amount of equipment I have but it will give you an idea of what I use and the level of investment. Some of my equipment I’ve had for years so I’m going to lay out each item along with a price. My camera equipment is insured for just under £15,000.00 to give you an overall idea.
We will look at the prices of;
- Tripods and tripod heads
I will also add a short list of the recording equipment and laptops I use at the end.
The D600 has been discontinued by Nikon but you can pick up a second hand 2012 model for as little as £429 from Park Cameras.
You can buy this 2016 mirrorless camera second hand for £500 from Park Cameras.
This Fuji is a 2014 model so getting on a bit now! Still a go to for me. Park Cameras sell this model second hand for £230.
Nikon AF-S-VR 70-200 F2.8 Lens
You can pick this baby up for just over £500 on Amazon. You can buy it new for £1999 as well.
Nikon ED 24-70mm F2.8 Lens
Brand new, this lens will set you back £1359 from Clifton cameras or you can pick up a second hand one from MPB for £500.
Nikon ED 17-35mm F2.8 Lens
Amazon sells this new for £1799 but you can get a second hand lens for £595 or less if you hunt around.
Fujinon XF 10-24mm 1:4 R OIS
Just under £800 new and around £530 second hand.
I also have two kit lenses from the Fuji cameras, both 18-55mm.
Nikon SB900 speedlight S/N
You can get this flash second hand for £200. The line has since been discontinued, originally released in 2008.
Benbo 1 Tripod
This sturdy aluminium tripod is £219 new and can be sourced for £90 secondhand.
Manfrotto 058 Tripod
Boasting simultaneous release of all three legs, this tripod will cost you £369 new.
Manfrotto 190 Go Tripod
This super lightweight and compact tripod will cost you £299 brand new.
The tripod heads I use are;
- Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 Tripod head - these go for roughly £100
- Manfrotto MOD 168 Tripod head (I have two of these) - you can kit up with one of these for £110
I do a lot of recording for my videos and post production plays a big part in what I do so I have also invested in the following equipment;
- Sony Camcorder PXW
- Vinten Pro 5 Tripod
- Sennheiser EK 100 receiver
- Sennheiser SK 100 transmitter
- Apple Macbook pro S/N C02X8175JGH6
- Apple MacBook pro S/N C2QMQ1K8FD57
Just remember that cameras don’t take pictures! Make sure you choose the best camera for you. Don’t be sucked in by the most expensive shiny professional camera when you can get a reliable camera second hand that gives you the same basic tools.
Make sure to watch the following videos for guidance on how to use your new camera;
Top 5 camera controls
Top 5 beginner mistakes
Once you commit to a camera and hand over the cash, the next thing you must do is get to know your camera.
If you aspire to;
- Control your camera
- Learn how to get that shot
- Save money for great locations rather than shiny gadgets
- Take more ‘keepers’
- Get your exposure right
- Create work you can be proud of
Then buy our beginners to intermediate course now. For under £70 you’ll have the basics at your fingertips...