Camera Gear

Hey! How’s it going?

I have recently re-designed my photography website, capsule and so I am starting a series of photography and photoshop tutorials on this blog, starting with my photography gear.

This past Christmas, I got a Canon 5D Classic from my grandparents. I could not have been more thrilled! If you are a serious amateur photographer or are considering starting a photography business, this is really the camera to buy. Canon doesn’t sell these cameras anymore (at least I don’t think they do) because they now have the 5D Mark II and brand new 5D Mark III out on the market. However, you can find these camera bodies used for pretty cheap prices (around $800), especially now that more photographers are upgrading to the new Mark III.

Before having the 5D, I shot with the original Canon Rebel, and that camera was really great to me! But because it was 7 years old, it was getting pretty worn out and there were things that I couldn’t do with it. So what’s better about the 5D? Well first of all, it has a full-frame sensor which means that when you put a 50mm lens on the camera, you’re really taking a picture at 50mm. The rebels have a crop sensor, which means that with a 50mm lens, you’re really shooting at more like 80mm. I wanted the full-frame to get the most out of my 50mm lens and be able to capture the entire image I was seeing in real life.

Another thing I needed was the ability to raise my ISO higher. The ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light, so the higher your ISO, the easier it is to shoot in low-light conditions. However, the higher you raise your ISO, the worse the image quality is. With the rebel, if I brought my ISO above 400, the picture was terrible. With my 5D, I can easily shoot at 400 or higher and still have a decent image. The newer rebels, like the T2i and T3i, handle shooting at higher ISOs much better, as do the Mark II and Mark III, but I’m happy with the 5D for now :)

What lenses do I use? I mainly use the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. This is an amazing lens and it’s only like $100 (which is crazy cheap for a lens). I keep this lens on my camera all the time and shoot all my portrait photography with it. This lens produces really nice images, and you can lower the aperture to f/1.8. Aperture and shutter speed can be tricky to grasp, so I’m linking to Pioneer Woman’s explanation. Basically, the smaller your aperture number (1.8 is very small), the more light you let into your image, and the blurrier your background will be. This low aperture enables me to shoot in low-light settings, which is great. It also lets me shoot really nice portrait photos with beautiful, blurry backgrounds like this:

I would recommend that anyone who is buying a new camera would just buy the camera body without a lens (the 18-55 kit lens you get when buying Canon Rebels are horrible!) and then buy the 50mm 1.8.

The 50mm 1.8 is the only lens I own for my 5D, but when I can, I borrow lenses from my photography class at school. I love this 50mm macro lens for food photos! You can find this lens used for around $200 and new for about $300, which isn’t too bad but I just don’t have the money for it right now. But I seriously love how much detail I can get with the food I shoot when using this lens!

So that’s the rundown on the equipment I use. But here’s the advice I would give to anyone who loves photography: don’t let the equipment you have limit you as a photographer. I shot some of my favorite images with the original rebel, photographs like this one:

I was able to take photographs like that one because I knew my camera inside and out. If you have an SLR camera, I would encourage you to learn how to shoot in manual, and to learn all the other amazing things your camera can do.

But what if you don’t have a fancy SLR? Well then learn everything you can about your point and shoot camera, or your iPhone camera, or whatever it is that you have. Great photographs come from all different kinds of cameras, and buying a $3000 camera will not make you an amazing photographer. I am not saying that your equipment doesn’t have anything to do with how your photographs look, but a camera is just a tool. If you don’t understand how to use it, it doesn’t matter how expensive it was…you’re still not going to take amazing images.

So yeah :) Please feel free to leave any questions/comments you have below. I’d love to hear what you want to learn about photography or editing, and see if I can cover it in the coming posts.

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