Gear - What Do You Need to Get Started?

March 30, 2014  •  1 Comment


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“Your camera takes such great pictures!!”  Every photographer just ‘loves’ to hear that (dripping sarcasm…).

But really, does the equipment make a difference?  Canon or Nikon?  How much do I have to spend?

I am predominately a live music and entertainment photographer; in my world, your equipment will definitely play a huge part in the success and quality of your images.  Why, you ask?  Music and concert photography is a variable light environment, and when I say variable I mean ‘generally pretty dark…’  Low light is the name of the game, and the only way to ensure you get the shutter speeds needed for clear crisp images, is fast lenses and high ISO performance.

Does this mean that you can’t get into music photography without taking out a second mortgage on your house?  Absolutely not!  Investing in “fast” lenses and high performance cameras will certainly make your life easier, but your Canon T3i or Nikon D3200 paired with a 50mm f1.8 will get you in the door.

As you grow as a photographer you’ll want to expand your kit; do you have to be investing in expensive f2.8 lenses when the time comes?  The answer is no, and yes…  With the excellent high ISO performance of the latest round of DSLR cameras on the market, many of you could get away with a sold f4 lens – the Canon 17-40 or 24-105 are worth a look.  Two things to keep in mind, however; first at f2.8 a lens is allowing twice as much light into your camera and on to your sensor – twice as much is an awful lot of light in an already light starved environment.  Second, most lenses perform best stopped down at least one stop from wide open.  I tend to shoot most shows at f4, even though all of my work horse lenses are a fast f2.8.  Just a bit sharper and just a tad deeper depth of field gives me better images, especially when I can get very clean shots at 1600-2000 ISO with my 5D mk III,

Canon vs. Nikon?  Two top of the line brands with top of the line gear.  The truth is I started with a Canon Rebel so many years ago, and once you have your cash tied up in a brand, it tends to stay your brand!  I’m a Canon guy, but I would never dissuade anyone from shooting Nikon; both brands will serve you well…!


Comments

Renée(non-registered)
Very helpful... thanks. Always feel like I should be shooting wide open, but not always getting optimal results (e.g. chromatic abheration with my 85mm is a pain).
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