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Photography Equipment

Basic photography equipment you need to get started

By: Phil Pivnick



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Photography can easily become an expensive hobby and is definitely an expensive profession.  The equipment used is high-tech and precise.  Like anything else, the best equipment costs more and any photographer would want to work with the best.

When people ask me about how they should go about getting started in photography my response always has to be “how much are you willing to spend?”  For the most part, hobbyists are in no rush and can acquire the tools slowly.  Assuming this is the case, the first thing I suggest they do is to buy a very basic camera.

“Basic” is the key.  In photography the camera itself is one of the least important tools in terms of needing the best.  Aside from a few new digital factors such as mega-pixels and sensor size, one camera doesn’t really differ that much from the rest.  Get one that’s solid and comfortable but put your first big investment in the lenses and other accessories.

 There are cases where this isn’t practical.  If you want to be a sports photographer then investing in the camera that takes 8 frames a second may be a good idea, otherwise reward yourself with a better camera some time down the road.

Your first lenses should be those that best suit your immediate needs.  A wide aperture lens for those wishing to get into event photography, a stabilized zoom lens for those into wildlife and a macro lens for those into flowers, etc.  With each lens get the appropriate filters.  Some basic starting filters are UV and skylight filters as well as polarizing filters.  If you are planning on shooting under heavy lights then, in some cases, a tungsten filter will be a necessity.

Lights may or may not be a good thing to purchase next.  A flash, for example, is a great tool but can often get in the way of a person learning the art.  It is often advised to avoid using a flash until you’ve learned how to compose pictures with available light.  This helps the photographer become more astute.  If you are looking to get into event photography then a flash may be an unavoidable purchase in which case aim to get one with a rotating and tilting head.  Along with the flash, purchase a bounce.

Most people making their own prints these days are setting up digital darkrooms.  For this you’ll definitely need a fast computer with a lot of memory because if you’re looking for serious quality you’ll be working with RAW images that can be a hundred megabytes in size.  As for a printer, invest in one that can hold actual rolls of paper as this will work out better for you in the long run.

By the time you have all of this, any other equipment you need will suggest itself to you.  Oh, before I forget, when you buy the camera and the lenses and the filters, make sure you get yourself a bag big enough to carry everything!



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