There is no shortage of advice from the web, magazines, friends, and other sources.
What is near perfect for one photographer may not be right for another photographer. This includes what lenses for what purpose. What tripod or tripods or monopods, is best for your style of shooting. What camera body or bodies.
I have worked with many photographers from all walks of life both professional and non professional and it never fails, and it is not surprising that every one of them have their own requirements that might be similar but not the same.
Who do you trust?
I think when it comes to a matter choices and decisions and why decisions get made the only one you can trust is YOU. Only you can determine what your needs are. You can amass a tremendous amount of knowledge from all different sources which may help you think about the decisions you have to make but it ultimately boils down to you.
What plays into making a decision
It is not about a brand. Most digital cameras are quite capable of producing outstanding images based on current technology. So while digital users are very supportive of the brand they use and want to convince you that their way should be way to go, it is still up to you to research what is right for YOU.
MEGAPIXELS. How much do you need? Are you printing BIG prints (i.e. 16×20 or bigger) or are you simply sharing and viewing via the web?
SIZE Are you looking for a big or small form factor? There are Digital Slr Cameras (big) and there are mirrorless Compact System Cameras (small). Think about what kind of activities will have you bring out your camera. Macro work, people activities, landscapes, architecture, etc.
WEIGHT Digital Slr Camera bodies can be heavy and difficult for some photographers to carry for extended periods of time. Compact System Cameras are considerably lighter weight. Again, think about the activities you will be involved in. Bigger Dslr cameras have optical viewfinders which provide instant feed back and as of now can operate at higher shutter speeds and motor drive speeds.
LENSES Once you have determined what type of camera you want to own or do own, you need optics on the front of that camera. Serious photographers know that this is not an area to go cheap. Lenses play a major role in getting the best image, resolution out of the sensor in the camera. Inexpensive lenses will give a good image but not the best image possible. If you cannot afford a particular lens then save for it, but do not buy down just to have a particular focal length or zoom range. Again, this is up to you.
LENSES + There are zoom lenses. There are prime lenses. Zooms offer the convenience of having several focal lengths in one lens. Zooms can be heavy and cumbersome but offer a lot especially if you don’t want to carry a lot. Prime lenses are single focal length lenses. The advantages are size and weight and the ability to capture subjects in lower light situations and to also more efficiently blur the background when necessary such as in portraits. No matter what you decide, buy the best glass when you can. How do you determine what the best glass is? Go to Google and request reviews for particular types of lenses you are interested in. As an example, you can type in wide angle zooms or 85mm 1.4 and search.
LENSES ++ Whether you are looking to buy on line or preferably at a local camera store do not allowyour self to be swayed by into buying a different lens. You made your decision based on your research so go with it. If it is backordered then wait. There is no truth in the statement “AS GOOD AS.”
Times have changed and today it is possible to physically test your lens choice or your camera choice for a reasonable fee
In the past few years, rental web sites have become very good. Sites like borrowlens.com and lens lensrentals rent lenses and camera bodies which provide you with a chance to try before you buy and add to your decision making process. They also make it possible to use a lens that you would not normally keep in your bag, only when you need it. So if you have the hots for a lens or body that would not normally use a lot, then rent it. It is much more satisfying to get to use a lens for a fee than dropping a $1000.00 for something you don’t need all the time.
So what do you (meaning me) use? Where did the journey take me?
This is a question that I am asked a lot. But just to be sure that you understand what this article is about, my choices are not your choices and why I made my decisions are simply my decisions based on what works best for me. Getting to this point was quite a journey that was well worth it.
Because of a variety of personal reasons, if I was to continue my photographic endeavors I had to rethink all of my past approaches to equipment. Fortunately about the time I needed to make decisions the Compact System Cameras were coming into the market place. There was a functionality spread favoring Digital Slr Cameras but those things were over ridden by my real needs.
I needed a system that was lighter weight and smaller in size. At the same time I had to have excellent lenses and excellent image quality.
Where I am today and where I intend to stay is a system designed by FujiFilm. It is called the Fuji X system, it is Aps-c, light weight but not too light, it is small but not too small, it has incredible image quality due to an excellent sensor technology developed and produced by Fuji and some of the best optics I have ever worked with both zooms and primes.
My bag has the XE-2 and XT-1 bodies (but not always at the same time). I have 14mm, 23mm, 35mm, 60mm prime lenses and 18-55 and 55-200 zoom lenses band there are a lot more in the system I do not have. I use one body with the two zooms when necessary and the other body with the prime lenses.
It all depends on what my intent is for the day.