Yesterday I received a fabulous book in the mail written by the talented Elizabeth Messina. She says something that I have to share before I start this post. “A camera is just a tool. You are the most important component in any image you create, and you are in control of the framing, the exposure, and the perspective. You can shoot with the fanciest digital camera available or a plastic Holga. Experimenting and learning about different cameras is a wonderful way to find out what your tool of preference is.” I cannot stress this enough. These are just the tools. I started taking “portraits” and playing pretend senior pictures in grade school with an old film camera and then my parents point and shoot when we “upgraded” to digital. I take pictures every day with my iPhone. I don’t know who said it first because I’ve heard it a million times now, but it still rings true. The best camera is the one in your hand.
These are the two cameras I have in my bag. The 5d Mark III & the 5d Mark II. Both great cameras, I had been waiting a long time for the Mark III and debated even buying the Mark II last year because there were always rumours the Mark III was just around the corner. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I didn’t wait. And if I didn’t have the money saved up for the Mark III right away, it wouldn’t have been even close to the end of the world. The Mark II is a beast. It’s an amazing camera. You can do so so so much with it. Heck, they shot an entire episode of the TV show House with that camera! I think there are a lot of approaches to take with upgrading gear…but my biggest recommendation is to not go into debt for it. Buy the gear you can afford and work it till you know every single button and every single function. Which means shooting a lot. Challenge yourself to take more pictures than last year, to shoot in new environments and test yourself in different lighting situations. Save pennies, and then eventually when there is nothing left to learn and nowhere else to go, invest and upgrade. My first DSLR was the Canon Rebel XSi, and it was an amazing camera. I’d like to think I’d worked it into the ground and taught myself a lot of what I needed to know.
The Mark III is what you’ll see me carrying now, and I keep the Mark II with me as a backup. I’ve only shot two weddings and two portrait sessions with it so far so I’m definitely still adjusting to all of the nuanced differences, between this and adjusting to Lightroom 4 for editing. But I am so happy to have a backup camera in my bag at all times (previously I had to rent one for every wedding). I’ve had two lenses fail in the past year at critical moments and without a backup I would have been in real trouble.
Two other things with gear that I must say: the first is to absolutely get it insured! Make sure that if an accident were to happen that you’re covered. Secondly, get a Canon Professional Services membership. I’m sure Nikon has something similar too :-) I have the Gold membership with is absolutely worth the $100 a year just for the expedited shipping back to me, faster turnaround, and two free cleanings a year.
I feel like this post is a lot heavier than I wanted it to be! The biggest point I wanted to drive home which I really hope I’ve gotten across is that you can really take beautiful pictures with ANY camera, these are just my tools of choice for right now.
Happy Happy Thursday folks! We are so close to the weekend :-D