You’ve made the decision that you genuinely enjoy taking photos. Most people’s first step after that is instantly going on Amazon and looking at photo gear. Then, you get lost in the endless pages of bodies, lenses, attachments, flashes, memory cards, cases, backpacks, etc. It can be extremely overwhelming trying to find your first photo kit, especially if you want to stay within a budget, which I high recommend. I recommend making a budget and sticking with it when you first start out because you most likely don’t know what you like photographing yet. And not knowing perfectly fine, I just wouldn’t go out and spend $2,300 on a telephoto lens if you end up liking to take landscapes. I’ll go over the top 3 things you need for your photography kit (body, lens, and memory card) and what I recommend for people starting out.
The body is the part of the camera that you attach the lens to. It controls the lens and all the camera settings and functions. Most importantly, it has the sensor which the image is recorded by. None the less, the body is a key element in your kit. A lot of my friends want to go out and buy all the fancy pro level gear right off the bat, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you don’t need it. At the beginning of your photography career, you don’t need 47 megapixels or aluminum alloy bodies or 20 frames per second. Don’t get me wrong, all those things are amazing and there is a need for them, but those features aren’t necessary. What I recommend is finding a brand you like, or a brand your friend recommends (if you don’t have a brand yet) and getting their entry level DSLR. Yes I know, that sounds boring, but it’s entry level for a reason. It has the key features you need to begin photography at an affordable price. If you need a more budget option, get last years model DSLR used. There is nothing wrong with used gear, half my gear is used and it saves a ton of money!
The lens is a series of glass elements contained in a plastic or metal cylinder that focuses light on to the sensor. In my eyes, this is the most important piece of your kit. If you have a $3,000 camera with a $500 lens and a $500 camera with a $3,000 lens, the $500 camera’s photo will look the best. The price in the lens is usually determined by the quality of glass it has, and the higher quality glass means sharper images, richer colors, and smoother bokeh. For many years, I was using a 7 year old camera with a good piece of glass on it, it was a 50mm f/1.2. Many cameras come with a lens, usually a 17-55mm or something of the sort, and that’s commonly called your kit lens because it came with the camera kit. Those lenses will do fine, but I highly recommend your first lens be what they call a “nifty fifty.” It’s a 50mm f/1.8 usually around $100. Now you’re saying, “but my kit lens goes to 50.” Yes, I know it does, but it goes to 50mm at f/5.6 or so. It probably doesn’t make sense right now, but just trust me on this and once we go over aperture you’ll understand. I will say, I still carry a nifty fifty around just incase I need something in lower light, and I can keep it in my camera bag without worrying about it getting broken or stolen because it’s inexpensive.
Ok, last but not least, memory cards. Memory cards store all the data recorded from your sensor of your camera. Sounds simple enough right? Well let's reiterate that they store everything, and I mean everything. There is no storage in the camera in case the card fails, the card is your only form of storage. I’m not saying go and spend $500 on a 512GB million times write speed card, but I am saying I do not recommend cheap no name cards. I would get a 64GB card from a reputable brand like Lexar, Sony, or SanDisk. They’re big names for a reason, because their cards are reliable. I have been there and it’s not fun, you go take a bunch of cool photos and are so excited to import them and look at them. Then you realize that your card is corrupted and you lost everything. Please spend the $40 and get a good card, you’ll thank me later.
Alright, that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed and are excited about your photography journey. Stay tuned for part two of becoming a photographer!