You want to buy a camera and start with photography but don’t know what gear to buy/start with?
All these cameras and lenses out there can be really confusing for a beginner. What do you really need to start with?
What should I get?
A good camera to start with are cameras with APSC Sensors or Micro-Four Thirds. If you are more serious into photography or plan to get there I’d recommend to invest in a full frame camera.
Full Frame/ APSC Sensor?
The SONY a 6000 is a camera I like to propose to everyone asking. It’s a very good camera, it has the perfect size for traveling and a very reasonable price. Of course there are some others out there from other camera producers but I already told you that I’m a big SONY fan!
The size of the sensor changes the amount of the scene captured by the camera. Although APS-C and full-frame cameras can share many of the same lenses, the visual effect they provide is different. It’s the angle of view that actually changes, as smaller APS-C sensors cover less of the image projected by the lens = you have a zoom effect (50 mm lens is not 50 mm on an APSC Sensor camera).
Perhaps the biggest advantage of going full-frame is image quality. The sensor is bigger therefore the size of the pixels too, results better quality even at higher ISO sensitivities. With a full frame it’s easier to create that blurry images because the depth of field is smaller than on an APSC sensor.
What do I photograph?
First question to ask yourself: What do I photograph the most? Do I mainly do landscapes, portraits, sport or architecture etc.? Each system has it’s own advantages, so depending on your photography style and topic it’s better to choose the one rather than the other. To explain: APSC is nice for sports and safari because with a 200 mm lens you are much closer to the subject than with a full frame. On an APSC sensor the 200 mm are ‚closer‘ because you add a crop factor to the it. With full frame you can capture wider angles (eg. architecture).
3 Cameras on a budget I can recommend
* I’ve always worked with SONY so the following are some I picked from the internet (so check out the SONY a 6000 I mentioned in the beginning of this post)
- Canon EOS 200D
- Nikon D5300
- Canon EOS 4000D
I’d recommend you to invest in good lenses rather than the most expensive camera, at least when you’re getting started with photography. The faster the lens the more light comes in, means you can take better pictures even without that much light plus you get that blurry background.
Here again, it depends what you prefer to photograph if a zoom lens or a prime (fixed) lens is the best option for you!
First things first but there is so much more about the technology of photography. Hit me up for 1:1 private photography lessons!
Three years ago I bought a SONY a 7 II and with it my addiction for gear has started. In the beginning I used to shoot with manual lenses from Minolta (with an MD MC adapter) because I couldn’t afford any other lenses. I still don’t thousands of €’s for lenses but I now do appreciate what a good lens does and set priorities on how I spend my money. A fast, good lens is more important than the camera you shoot with (said a teacher in the first day of my photography class I’m not attending). You want to start photography and need a camera for a reasonable price? Read my article on equipment for beginners.
Since some years I’m in a happy relationship or should I call this a partnership (?) with my Sony a 7 II. We’re super buddies, no joke. I used to have a Sony a 55 before so I’m a super Sony fan since quite a while.
Going full frame and mirrorless was the perfect choice for me. I love that this camera body is so small and light weight, which makes it perfect for traveling. The 35 mm sensor finally allowed me to create that depth of field in my photos (I was always wondering how all those photos with blurry background I used to save on my Pinterest were made). BIG sensor = greater depth of field!
After two years of shooting with Minolta lenses, which work only manually I decided to go for SONY native lenses which cost loads but the expensive camera with shitty lenses (they totally did a great work in the beginning but they can’t beat the new lenses which are now available) was not an option for me anymore.
I bought lenses, tried them and sold them after one week. One of these lenses was the Sigma 24-105 mm F 4 (with an MC-11 Adapter) and the SAMYANG 14 mm F 2.8 I used a lot for Astrophotography. Great lenses but I have to admit I prefer fixed lenses over zoom lenses because they allow me to create that blurry effect I like, also I now prefer a lens which works with Autofocus as well.
The 85 mm is a portrait lens – I currently use it for festival photography. It does a great job and the 85 mm are a great focal length for capturing people in natural moments without getting to close (getting too close always distracts people and their reaction changes but I’m too shy for it anyway).
Wide angle | Landscape, Streetstyle, Interior
The 28 mm is my current ‚always on the camera‘ lens (most phones have a focal length of 28 mm.) I bought it months ago because a friend recommended it to me (before that I was never considering it) and I love it! The 28 mm give every shot a urban look and besides that I love that it’s super small and light weight with the camera – always on!
Classic | Reportage, Travel, Landscape
The 35 mm F 1.4 is the fastest lens I own at the moment. The quality is extremely good and it’s field of work is very versatile. It’s a bit big on my SONY a 7 II therefore I mostly use it for client work.
This is the newest gadget in the Gypsee tribe. It was my birthday gift from me to myself, haha … Because I want to do more video but somehow I don’t like to film with my camera when I’m traveling I got the DJI Osmo Pocket. It’s super small and the video quality in 4 K is (for my needs) ideal.
Memory cards & Batteries
I have several SD memory cards with different memory capacities (64 GB and 128 GB). I mostly have them in my camera bag, worst thing that can happen while shooting is to have a full memory card!
First things first: the battery life of my camera sucks! I have eight batteries which I have to change in very little distance. Three SONY original batteries and the rest are cheap alternatives which work fine but the quality is still not as good as the original ones.
When I’m photographing at night at Festivals I always have my video light with me/ on the camera. I don’t like to use flash (I still have to sometimes) and the light is a great alternative to create more light in the scene.
Does one ever find the perfect camera backpack? I currently use the evecase bag, it’s quite nice and the gear is safe but I’m still not 100 % satisfied with how handy it is for traveling (I like to travel only with hand luggage where everything finds it’s place). Time will come when I can afford a WANDRD backpack, check them out in case you don’t know them!
Laptop & Hardware for editing
Ladies and gentleman, this rad thing here deserves special attention. When I got it for my birthday I did not even know this existed. Loupedeck + is a huuuuge help in editing photos in Lightroom and Photoshop. It makes work so much easier and faster. I could not live without it anymore!
Side note: If you calculate all prices together and see how expensive photography is you may rethink before asking a photographer taking photos of you for free 🙂
This is a love story. A love story about how my greatest hobby allows me to learn about life and about myself. A love story that started traveling. And remained.
My first camera I got when I was 7 years old. We moved to Vienna and I had the first school excursion. Discovering Vienna!
My mom put in a new film for me because I wanted to take the camera on this city excursion.
I remember being so amazed by this new city and how different it looked than where I come from. I was pulling the film and pressing the shutter at every little detail I liked along the way.
No thinking, just doing. Following my desire to memorize those moments of joy and discovery.
At the end of the city trip I went home with the full film. I remember my moms angry face because I had finished the whole film …
After some time we developed the film. 36 frames. My first roll.
The pictures weren’t anything special (my mom must have them somewhere in her photo albums, need to look after them next time I visit her). They were quite boring I’d say.
But what was truly changing and incredibly beautiful for me, was that I was able to express. As through language I couldn’t because I didn’t speak German at that time (and for many years after).
I could create memories of how I saw the world. It allowed me to show what I felt. And still does.
Since then photography has remained a very important and beautiful companion for me. It followed me through all the beautiful times and the not so beautiful ones and through it I could express all the emotions that came along while life was happening …
Trying to capture a feeling in space and time, the feeling that makes you feel alive and present.
Shoot the world to learn about yourself!
We’ve become a visual culture and photography is a powerful form of visual expression, available to everyone.
What can we learn through the act of making?
It allows us a glimpse into our own mind – both its surface and its depths. In Zen tradition, practitioners make a distinction between the thinking mind and the observing mind — the mind’s witness.
The mind, in other words, can observe itself. The mind is associative, constantly making connections to past experiences, previous understandings, and its backlog of impressions from direct perception.
Aprox. 75-80% (at least) of the mind’s contents are unconscious, usually unavailable to conscious reasoning. Art can help you bring up content from your sub-conscious mind.
We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us. – Ralph Hattersley, Discover Your Self Through Photography
To observe the chaotic contents of our own mind, we sometimes need help. Art can give you the assistance you need. Keeping a daily journal of thoughts and impressions, writing freely, can help shake loose the wild mind.
Uncover your being through art/photography
Taking photographs daily of everything that catches your attention can uncover your sympathies, antipathies, your unconscious complexes expressed in metaphor and symbol, as well as the seeds of your genuine being.
Try it. Photograph daily for a month or two and observe the stream of consciousness found in those activities. NO judging, just observing!
Over time, you will find patterns and connections and understandings previously unavailable to the surface mind.
Enjoy the journey to YOUrself.
Photographs by me since 2007