As I started writing thoughts on Gear – #2 of the “1o Habits” series – the post naturally broke into two sections. Here’s the first half.
Avoid Gear Envy
David duChemin sums it up well: Gear is good, vision is better.
Yes – there are some start up costs to photography (most hobbies have them) – but it’s not necessary to take out a second mortgage to fund it.
Let’s start with lenses.
Often times – there are some sweet spots in lenses that just offer more bang-for-buck value. A little research through the forums – in places like PhotoZone or DPReview – can help find them. In the Canon line, examples include the 85mm f/1.8 – or if you really must get that L glass – something like the 70-200mm f/4L might work well – instead of the extra money on the f/2.8.
Another thought – on quality glass – it can sometimes be less expensive to go with a fixed focal length lens instead of a zoom. For example – in the L line – if the glass must be fast – skip the zoom and go straight to the fixed 200mm f/2.8L at less cost than the equivalent 70-200mm f/2.8L.
And while I’m on glass – and we’re talking bargains – check out the Sigmas and Tokinas, too. There are some gems in there.
Also – look for alternatives to big gear purchases. For example – macro photography. Instead of opening the wallet for a new lens – pick up a set of extension tubes. Much less expensive – and you’re still in the game.
As for gadgets – I really like the lower cost ones – see my 20 Photography Gifts Under $100 for a few examples.
Bottom line: It’s OK to scrutinize those big gear purchases – software, cameras, or lenses. Sometimes the “plunge” can be reduced to a splash if you’re honest about what you’re really going to do with the gear, research your options, and understand the tradeoffs.
Photos: (1) Billy – with a 50mm f/1.8 – wide open and (2) trailing phlox – 50mm + extension tubes.