Posted by: mylittlesnow | March 28, 2010

freeweelee’s guide to photography equipment – What you really need!

Boy oh boy, i can’t imagine myself writing a photography equipment guide but i think i have accumulated enough experience to share with everyone out there. You see, i first got myself into photography about 1 year ago and back then i wasn’t quite sure what i really need so as usual, there were some purchases which i regretted and there were some good purchase i have done so i hope by sharing, you guys will get to squeeze every single penny available to get the best bang for buck equipment.

So here’s a few pointers and tips for all of you (and btw, it’s applicable for Nikon as i’m using a Nikon system, but if you would like to apply these pointers on Canon system, pls feel free to do so at your own risk, but i’m pretty sure some of the tips and pointers are applicable on any system):

– DX or FX? Forget about FX, full stop! Unless you foresee yourself going pro in years to come, then for personal use and as a hobbyist, any decent DX DSLR camera will work fine.
– Should i get the cheapest camera out there or should i spend a bit more? Ok, here’s the thing, the only two things to consider here is the camera’s ability to use non AF-S lens as well as the ergonomics of the camera itself. AF-S lens means the lens itself has a built in focusing motor. For non AF-S lens, you can’t focus your lens unless your camera has a motor built-in. Good news is, nowadays, there’s plenty of AF-S lens out there and i’m pretty sure that 99% of the time, you won’t really miss not having a DSLR with built in motor. To sum it all, go to a shop and try holding the camera yourself. For example, the most basic camera available last year was D40 and it was kinda pretty small camera so some people might not feel comfortable holding it. Try a D90 and you will notice that the camera body fits better into your palm or hand compare to the D40, so decide for yourself on this one.

– You only need one or two lens which you will generally use most of the time. Here’s the thing, imagine if you are going to swap the lens many times when taking a photo. Is this practical? Oh hell no! In many actual case, you only need one or probably 2 type of lens. Generally, you will only need one zoom lens and one fixed lens and that’s it! My personal recommendation for zoom lens in random order: 1. 18-55mm VR    2. 18-105mm VR    3. 16-85mm VRII. If you have the extra moolah, try getting the longer zoom lens such as 18-105mm or if better the 16-85mm. Well, you may ask me, what about the 200mm or 300mm range? Actually, unless you are a wildlife photographer or into sports photography, you won’t ever need that range at all. With the 18-105mm lens, it will cover most of your photography needs. As for fixed lens, there’s no doubt that the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens is the undisputed DX fixed lens at the moment, period! You won’t need the 50mm or 85mm fixed lens, trust me on this!

–  You need a flash! Yes, to compensate for any lack of light problem, just get yourself an external flash unit. You hear people recommending those f/2.8 lens but i don’t think you want to lug around a big and heavy lens. A simple external flash unit will do the trick and it won’t cost you an arm or a leg.

So here you go, my very simple tips and pointers to owning a DSLR system. Remember, you might drool over all those fancy equipment out there . Those big, fast and fancy lens out there but end of the day, you might think to yourself that all you need is a practical system which is light, easy to carry around and doesn’t cost you much. So i hope you will find this article helpful and welcome to the world of photography! Happy shooting!

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