Friday Perspective - Want vs. Need - Photography Gear

7:00 AM

Will you look at that, it's Friday already, finally! after work today - I'm on vacation!

I wanted to write a little bit about my photo adventures ever since purchasing a DSLR this year. While I am fairly new to the Digital aspect of the SLR cameras (unless you count the many years of digital point & shoot cameras), I have had a good amount of years working and collecting film cameras, as well as medium format and fun vintage Polaroid cameras (between my husband and I we have at least 8 in our collection). The best part with film was working in a darkroom and developing the photos. I'm really glad I went thru it all, even though my parents didn't think much of it. But, I wish I had stuck with it more.

Photography has always been one of my creative outlets. These days, I use my iPhone to take daily snapshots. It's quicker and much more compact. This has changed since owning my own "entry-level" DSLR (Nikon D3100), I have found many more situations where I take it out and actually use it. That is, if I remember to bring it.

Side note: Remember those craft projects I was supposed to do? Yeah, well they never happened (yet!) and one of those projects was also to make my own camera bag. Because the ones I really want - come with crazy price tags (like this brand and this brand), which yes, I'm sure they're worth it. because they sure are lovely to look at.

Anyway, I have two lenses right now and haven't invested in more glass, as they (photog peeps?) call them, because I wasn't sure yet whether I was going to stay in the DX framework. I'm not going to go into the whole DX vs. FX here, but I'm sure if you google it you'll find a plethora on the subject matter. But the half of it is, a DX camera and an FX camera have different sized sensors, DX being cropped and FX being full which has all sorts of different advantages and disadvantages. From the naked eye the frames have clearly different bodies. Full frame cameras are bigger and usually heftier (not so much with the Nikon D600 though - it's a DX type body but with an FX sensor & capabilities) and not to mention the price tag - $2000+ for the body only (although the newly discontinued D700 is going for less than $1800). Also with a heftier price tag is the prime FX lenses. One nice thing is, you can still use an FX lens on the DX body and vice versa, but doing so would defeat the purpose of the full frame.

For a few weeks now, I've been getting antsy and wanting to upgrade. Heck, even a few hours ago as I replied back to one of the comments from yesterday's post, and said I wanted an upgrade. I was having major upgrade-itis. It wasn't until three things - One, I thought about what I had always known and admired about photographers and artists - its not always about the fancy gear. You'd be surprised what people can do with what they have. Just take a look at this (one guy uses a Nikon D40! And the other guy uses a D3100 too & D7000 (and a D700)- check him out too) Better more expensive equipment doesn't make for automatically better images or make a better photographer. And two, I asked myself to really figure out if it is a need vs. a want (in a photography sense) thing and have I really maxed out the potential in my little entry DSLR? And three, I got this flash diffuser - and oh my gosh it does wonders! I am not a flash person, I love using natural light whenever I can and also feel a sense of accomplishment when I can get good pictures under low light conditions without ever firing a flash. But when I strapped this thing on - there were such clear differences that I found myself opening another aspect of this little camera (and myself) that I haven't thought of using before. So..

Anyway, I will probably still upgrade one day but still remain in the DX format for a few more years and just use my SLR cameras to get the full frame (ha, I am used to the whole instant gratification with the DSLR's that that maybe difficult!)

So what was my point again? Oh right, I'm trying to convince myself to listen to my gut and keep on the path I know and love and not look at other's people's work and actually most importantly their gear and get all green with envy. I am pretty happy with the images I get and the quality of the images is certainly there (at least for me). It's hard when you doubt yourself. I guess part of it is also - if I ever do get a chance to get paid to photograph other families (which I would love to do!) - will they have a bias in their perspective of what a professional photographer's gear looks like? Probably, but you know - I should just let the pictures do the talking ;) Don't get me wrong - probably for a wedding - my camera would be a little dinky in comparison - but I would probably still be able to get some nice candid shots - why not? Hey, it's not like I would charge an arm and a leg..not that I want to be shooting weddings anyway. I like kids & family portraits - that's sort of my focus, oh and pets too.

blah blah blah...anyway.

Here is my gear for now (with affiliate links):

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR FX Lens - so if I ever did upgrade to a FX, I'll at least have this nifty guy

Post Editing gear:
2005 iMac running only OSX 10.6.8 (this needs an upgrade!)
PC (yep, I use a PC!)
Photoshop CS6 (I have adobe creative cloud, one of my go to tools is curves)
Lightroom
PicMonkey (yep, I so use this and love it! Simple to make watermarks if that's all you need to do or create something quick and easy)

If you like Photoshop and want to look at quick actions/effects and edits, I suggest taking a look at Totally Rad! - I don't use it, but I would- it's on my wish list.

If you don't have the money to shell out for Photoshop, Photoshop Essentials is pretty good, it was recently on sale for $59 (while regular Photoshop is at $399+) or you can do the Creative Cloud membership (I got in with an intro offer of $19.99/mo) OR you can use Picmonkey - it's still free but now they have the "royale" edits which is $5/month I think. Oh and Pixlr too.

Here are some test shots without a flash, with a flash, and using the lightscoop (unedited & unaltered images, well except for the watermark):

F/1.8, Shutter Speed:1/50s, +0.7EV, ISO 1600 (overhead incandescent light)

Shutter Speed: 1/80s (overhead incandescent light)
 F/16, at 1/200s, +0.7EV, Spot metering, ISO 200 Built in flash (overhead incandescent light)

F/1.8, 1/100s, ISO 800 Built in flash w/ lightscoop

F/4. 1/60s, +0.7EV, ISO 800 Built in flash w/ lightscoop

{* This post is not sponsored by any company or individual! However, some of the links provided are affiliate links, some are not.}

Here are a couple of online resources, I just found a few weeks ago:

Moms Who Click (not to be confused with Clickin Moms, which is a paid forum)

So what about you? What's your gear? Do you get gear envy? Do you have a DSLR? I hear it far too often, having a nice DSLR and never bothering to bring it out. Even if you think you don't know how to use it - you just have to press a button and start somewhere. So if you have a DSLR hiding somewhere, bring it out and use it! Just go out there, have fun and keep on shooting! What? That photo too dark? Stop, adjust and start shooting again. That didn't come out how you wanted it? Adjust and shoot it again! It's not like you're going to ruin a bunch of film or anything, right? So what's stopping you?

*Update: I bit the bullet and upgraded my gear and I couldn't be happier! I'm also licensed & insured now, and am constantly refining my craft, learning every day! Thank you for following my journey :)

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