Have you reached a point where you're happy with your kit?

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#1 ImNewHere on 4 years ago

I am on an active photography site that has so many people who seem unhappy with their kit and so they buy, buy, and buy and complain that their images don't turn out how they want, so they blame their equipment and buy, buy, buy again. I know I fall into it at first, but I ended up buying and selling a lot, sometimes at a loss. Of course that was years ago.

Now, I am pretty happy with my kit. It covers everything from 8mm to 500mm. Sure, I don't have a full frame camera (the brand I use doesn't have FF, but they have a hell of a MF camera), and I have enough invested in lenses as a hobbyist that there's no way I could see myself switching, besides the fact that I have 2 DSLRs, a mirrorless, and a film camera that all take those lenses.

Sure, I would love to get something longer than the 500mm I have, but that gets into legacy lenses that are rare and expensive as can be or crappy knock offs or mirror lenses. Before I do those I'll simply crop my stuff. To be honest I think about the only thing I want and can get right now is a nice tripod, but I am not sure what to get there, so I keep using my cheap 60 dollar one from Best Buy.

Anyone else at the point of being fairly satisfied with what they have? What made you reach that point? Are there things that you would like or that you would think would make an improvement on your images?

#2 nathancarter on 4 years ago

I'm mostly happy with my kit: A decent full-frame body, a good backup body, pretty good lenses that cover from 14mm to 200mm. An adequate set of lighting gear. A little compact mirrorless for when I want to travel ultra-light.

The only things I really long for right now are a battery pack for my studio strobes, and maybe a few additional modifiers for my lights, and maybe one or two more strobe heads - I only have two strobes and three Speedlights, and sometimes I want a big stripbox on each side, in addition to the main light. And Elinchrom just announced a fresnel-lens modifier that is making me drool.

A few top-notch backdrops would be great, too. I make do with inexpensive fabric, and some homemade things - but sometimes I really wish for a nice plush raised-velvet background.

I sometimes lust after a nice portrait lens (85mm f/1.2 or 135mm f/2) but I can make do with what I have. It's pretty rare that I shoot portraits wide-open anyway, and my 70-200 f/4 is super sharp and really reliable.

So, overall I'm satisfied. I've realized that new gear will only make an incremental improvement to my results. I'll get more significant results by continuing to focus efforts on my vision, lighting, pose direction, and post-processing.

#3 WonJohnSoup on 4 years ago

For my still photography setup I'm pretty much settled in and what's funny is that as new gear comes out, I actually find myself downgrading to lower-tier gear because now it's cheap, small and has the capabilities of yesterday's top-tier gear.....which was more than enough for me. I like gear that "gets out of the way" and so when my skills improve to the point that I realize I don't need the "firepower" of certain pieces of equipment I trade it in for something more minimal which frees me up to employ my skills. Technique over firepower.

I do occasionally get my hands on a wide aperture prime and other specialized pieces of gear and I'm sooo tempted to buy it, but I've been able to step back to weigh it out and it's rare that I actually need it. Now, if I was interested in the "COLLECT ALL THE TOYS" aspect of photography (which I have nothing against, I used to be into it!), I would still be buying gear. Thank goodness I'm not haha :snoring:

Instead of new gear, I really wish I could have good assistants on set. More gear for me at this point is more than one person can realistically handle and not have the gear be more of a hindrance than an asset.

As for motion picture work, there's still a lot of room for gear to improve in that field before my skill level becomes the limiting factor, so I'm still buying toys there haha. Right now I'm looking at a used BlackMagic Pocket Cinema camera with a pistol grip and cheap S16 C-mount vintage lenses. Again, super minimal haha

#4 fam-cosplayphotographer on 4 years ago

Im satisfied and at the same time never satisfied...I know there are things that could make photos better with more hardware (d750 under exposing by 5 stops and still bring it back would be nice)...but the reality is...those things the client wont be able to see. Would the client actually care the difference in shooting a 1.8 lens at 1.8 or buying the 1.4 so the 1.8 would be a lot sharper? Nope...client wont give a sh#% so at the end of the day when I can acquire new hardware and its moderately affordable I do...and when it's too expensive I just remind myself im only trying to give in to an obsession I probably dont need.

#5 SolarTempest on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=WonJohnSoup;4936385]Instead of new gear, I really wish I could have good assistants on set. More gear for me at this point is more than one person can realistically handle and not have the gear be more of a hindrance than an asset.[/QUOTE]
This! Having more help, more often, would be fantastic. :D

[QUOTE=jonashley;4936900](d750 under exposing by 5 stops and still bring it back would be nice)...but the reality is...those things the client wont be able to see.[/QUOTE]
Not so sure I agree with this! The increase in dynamic range allows for more options, particularly in tricky light. More flexibility for the photographer gives the client much better results, no? I love my current camera and wouldn't give it's capabilities up whatsoever. To clarify, it's not a D750, but similar.

[QUOTE=jonashley;4936900]Would the client actually care the difference in shooting a 1.8 lens at 1.8 or buying the 1.4 so the 1.8 would be a lot sharper?[/QUOTE]
Just wanted to say the Nikon 1.8G is actually sharper than the 1.4 (all versions), so those with the 1.8G shouldn't feel bad whatsoever about not splurging! =P

I became satisfied with my kit once I could shoot under any conditions and still get awesome results. Not just 'acceptable' photos', but ones I would really be happy with.

Haven't been really looking at gear much lately because I think I have everything I need? It gets so much harder to rationalize needing specialty lenses I know I won't use too much, despite their awesomeness. Something like the 14-24mm F2.8 + giant filters or the 24mm F3.5 tilt shift when I already own the 24mm F1.4. Plus all the "cool stuff" is super heavy.

A better second body would be nice... if I had the extra money just kicking around. >_> Hmm.. maybe a good backpack that's smaller than my Phototrekker, but not-ugly and not easily opened by other people in crowded areas?

#6 brucer007 on 4 years ago

Never. There is always something cool to have. For me, its a journey; not a destination.

#7 ImNewHere on 4 years ago

I could have used the Pentax FA* 250-600 f/5.6 today, but my wallet says that due to the amateur nature of my photography I can't justify spending 6-8k on a used lens, so will have to make do with my Sigma 150-500 and crop if need be.

#8 Foques on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=brucer007;4937150]Never. There is always something cool to have. For me, its a journey; not a destination.[/QUOTE]

This. So many time this.

if you're happy with your kit, you've a problem, in my opinion.... well, either that, or you've made a huge financial investment already, but even then there are better and cooler things coming out daily.

#9 nathancarter on 4 years ago

Well, of course there's always something new that I want.

But, I'm at the point where more gear won't improve my results as significantly as more practice, more experience, and more time to spend shooting and editing.

#10 TykeJack on 4 years ago

I just got my Nikon 24-70mm Wednesday. So now I can say that I'm happy with my kit. Could still use a newer backup camera to replace my D2Xs though.

#11 Patcave on 4 years ago

I think I'd like 2 more lenses: the Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 MKII, and the Canon 135L, but that would make my lens lineup too bulky (it'd get me up to 7 lenses, and it's better to have just 3-4 at best to keep the insanity in-check).

#12 jeproxshots on 4 years ago

A full frame would be nice, and once i get that a 50 would fit nicely, I have a sigma 70-200 but if i could get a canon 70-200 id pref that.

Lighting equipment: For the longest time I've been looking to make a beauty dish which i think will come about soon :)

#13 sukotsuto on 4 years ago

Though I have a lot of holes in the range of my kit, I'm fine with it. Right now a Nikon D600, 28mm f1.8, 50mm f1.8, and a 70-210 f4. Along with that a Canon EOS-M with the 18-55mm and 22mm f2 for when I want to use something smaller (I really enjoy the 22mm). I'm also down to two lights. Yongnuo 568ex with 622n/TX for wireless. I'd change things up if I could justify the expense, but not at the moment. It's more than good enough. I've downsized a lot over the years. When I had Pentax I was around 10-15 lenses.

#14 shumi31 on 4 years ago

Yes I am quite happy with my Camera as well as the lens that I am using now. But who knows that may going to change very soon!

#15 PanS on 4 years ago

Lenses, I am satisfied as I shoot primarily with but one lens, the nifty 50. As for what I want, I see not enough people wanting. I want to splurge on portable powerful monolights and well made soft boxes to leave the likes of Elinchrom and Paul C Buff behind with fancy Profoto. Alas, these light set ups cost more than most cameras. You can make iPhone shots gorgeous with the right light.

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