As you get into photography as a hobby, you soon realise that you have picked what can be a very expensive hobby. Unless you win the lottery, there is always going to be some camera equipment that you wish you could own and you dream of being able to own the latest and greatest camera body or the biggest and fastest lenses thinking it will make your images better.
It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into and there is always the risk that you start blaming your camera equipment if you think that your images aren’t very good, or not as good as the professionals. The truth of the matter is that even the most basic of camera is capable of taking a good picture, you just have to learn it’s strengths and weaknesses.
Here are a few things you should think about with the equipment that you have, it will help you get better results by understanding what sort of images your equipment is more suited to.
Let’s start with lenses. If you have recently bought a DLSR which comes with a kit lens like an 18-55mm, then the types of photography this will be more suited to portrait or landscape photography. The wide angle of 18mm will give you a wide field of view for landscapes and the 55mm will give you a good level of zoom for portraits that won’t result in much distortion making faces look natural.
If you have splashed out a little extra and have bought maybe a lens with more of a zoom range, maybe a 70-300mm then this still gives you a good lens for portraits at the 70mm end while it opens up more opportunities for more candid style people photography where you can get a bit more distance between you and the subject. It also allows you to explore wildlife photography more as you can keep your distance from the animals, but don’t think you can’t take wildlife photos if you haven’t got a long zoom lens, you just have to be a lot more patient to get close.
Now the camera body. Not everyone is going to have, or need, a DSLR and there are lots of different types of camera body from the more bank balance friendly compact cameras through to bridge cameras which may be a bit bigger but still have the fixed lenses. Compact cameras have historically reacted a little slower than a DSLR and this can be seen when you press the button to take a picture. On a DSLR, the picture gets taken immediately, but on compact cameras you might experience a small delay before the camera takes the shot. This means that when you are trying to take pictures of fast moving subjects like sports or wildlife, it’s a lot harder to grab that perfect moment with a slower camera than it is with one that reacts quickly. However, improved technique, like panning, is going to make this less of an issue.
Focus speed is also important and can have the same issues as slow reacting cameras. If a subject is moving, then the camera needs to keep that subject in focus while it’s moving, so a camera, or lens, that is able to focus quickly is going to give you more opportunities to get the shot.
Minimum focus distance can also effect the type of photography that you can do. A big zoom lens isn’t going to allow you to focus on subjects very close to you so macro photography is going to be tricky. Lens modifiers like extension tubes can help with cameras that have detachable lenses, but if macro photography is something you would like to try then check out what the minimum focus distance is. Compact cameras tend to be a lot more suited to macro photography as they have very small minimum focus distances.
ISO range is certainly going to play a major role in how your camera works in low light. If you want to take pictures indoors, at night, or in dark locations where you can’t use flash, like at gigs, then you’ll want a camera that allows you to use a high ISO value without degrading the quality of your image a great deal.
So before you start to blame your equipment, you first need to understand what your camera equipment is suited to. If you find that what you have isn’t particularly suited to the type of photography you want to do, then you can lust after better equipment and start saving for it. If you find out that your camera equipment has got what it takes to do the sort of photography that you want, then it’s just down to you to practice more so stop complaining and get out there with your camera.