Today I’ll be talking about my camera gear path. I’ve had a few questions as to which cameras I recommend, what I started with, what I’m using, etc., so I figured this would answer a few of those questions. Kind of a technical blog post but it may help. By the way my truly first camera was an old Canon Powershot. I loved it. Then I went to Mexico, tripped on a rock, broke my toe nail, and smashed the camera. R.I.P. Eventually, I went ahead and bought my first DSLR.
1. Nikon D40 + 18-55 kit lens. I bought this new for about 500$. It was the least expensive DSLR model from Nikon at that time and I was super happy with it. (Any new Nikon DSLR you buy now will be superior to this one). The lens covered a nice range. I used it for general photography, taking pictures of friends and family. One thing that I thought was limiting for me after a few months was the low-light performance. I had to crank up the ISO a bit too high to my liking in order to get a fast enough shutter speed, and the camera didn't handle noise too well.
Guilin, China. Shot with the Nikon D40 + Nikon 18-55mm kit lens.
Lucia on a roof. Nikon D40 + Nikon 18-55mm kit lens.
2. Enter the Sigma 30mm f1.4. My favorite lens still to this day. Focus is super fast and quiet, and it’s a focal length that I really like. I love prime lenses and their wide aperture. One caveat for this one, and I don’t know if it was only my copy or not, is that the lens gets pretty soft at wider apertures. Despite this, it’s still a great lens.
Marc, streetlights. Nikon D40 + Sigma 30mm f1.4.
Asma flipping hair. Nikon D40 + Sigma 30mm f1.4.
3. Then I got a Nikon 55-200mm 4.0-5.6 VR to expand my focal length range. If you just have a kit lens and are thinking of buying a 55-200mm to expand, make sure you really do need it. Try testing the lens out at a camera store or borrowing from someone. I didn’t find too many uses for mine when I first got it and mostly bought it to be able to cover a wide focal range, but this was kind of an impulsive purchase.
Bumblebee. Nikon D40 + Nikon 55-200 f4.0-5.6.
Mélissa is disappointed from my impulsive lens purchase. Nikon D40 + Nikon 55-200mm f4.0-5.6.
A year later, I was working (not weddings) and had a few clients from time to time so I felt the need to upgrade. I decided to upgrade my camera body for 3 main reasons. 1) Nikon D40 was not fully compatible with old AF-D lenses that I wanted. 2) I started getting into flash photography, and wanted to be able to have the commander CLS mode. 3) I wanted better noise control in higher ISOs.
So I decided to sell everything.
Part 2 here.
P.S. Make sure you have good reasons to upgrade your camera body. Don’t just buy a new one thinking it will get you better images. Also, note that megapixels were not a reason in the upgrade at all. And in 99% of the cases, it shouldn’t be. Unless you’re printing huge pictures, megapixels won’t matter.