My Camera Kit

I thought it would be a good idea to talk you through my my camera kit. I am not sharing this with you because I think you need to have the same but I always think it's good to know what a teacher works with plus I shoot with some reasonably priced lenses (well reasonable as far as lenses are concerned!) and if you have a dSLR you might be interested in those. 

I have four main cameras. Plus I have a couple of back-up cameras because when I worked as a wedding and portrait photographer I always needed a spare back or two. 

My dSLR is a Canon 5D Mk III. 

Some of you may want to know why I shoot Canon and not Nikon, or indeed another brand. The answer is really simple. My very first SLR camera was a Canon and for the past 22 years I've continued to shoot Canon. Once you start to build a collection of lenses it is incredibly expensive to change to another brand because you not only need a new body but a whole set of lenses too. 

To go with my 5D I have these lenses:

50mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.4 (Canon) - great for portraits, vignettes
50mm 2.5 (Canon) - great for close-ups (and you can also use this for portraits and vignettes but the bonus is that you can also get much closer to your subject than the 50mm above) *** I have been using this lens for botanical photography for over ten years! Just brilliant for flower portraits. ***
85mm 1.8 (Canon) - great for portraits
35mm 2 (Canon) - great for portraits
24-70mm 2.8 (Sigma, Canon fit) - a brilliant all-rounder
70-200mm 2.8 (Sigma, Canon fit) - a zoom lens
20mm 1.8 (Sigma, Canon fit) - a wide angle lens 

Out of all these lenses I use the 50mm 1.4, 50mm 2.5 Macro and 24-70mm 2.8 the most. 

My small camera is a Fujifilm X-M1, which I currently use with the 16-50mm kit lens and the 35mm 1.4 lens. I got this camera last July to take to the USA and I absolutely love it. It's small and light. It takes great images - even with the kit lens and I have loved getting the 35mm lens recently. I will share some images from this camera on Flickr/Facebook soon.

My film camera is a Polaroid SX-70. A much loved treasure that I now use for a little indulgence, usually when we go on holiday. 

My phone camera is an iPhone 6. 

I have a shoot sac camera bag plus a couple of LoPro bags. And now I have this camera bag, which is the most beautiful camera bag I have ever owned! 

What do you need? 

There is a lovely phrase that says "the best camera, is the one in your pocket" and I firmly believe that. You need a camera that you are going to actually use. So, please don't feel you need to spend lots of money no new kit. You don't but you might like to or you might want to save up for something in the future. 

So, what do you need? This is a hard one to answer because I don't know what you all have already and what you might want a camera for, so if you want to add to your kit or buy something new but don't know what or where to start then please message me in the Facebook Group. By asking me in the group my answer may help someone else, so it's better for all of us than email. However, please don't worry about emailing me about it if you would rather do it that way! I know that you all want to take photographs of flowers, so I would say get a macro lens but that might not be right for what you want to achieve, so definitely ask!

The first thing to think about is what your budget is. 

Then think about do you want a dSLR camera, a compact camera or a bridge camera that isn't quite a dSLR but you can change the lenses. The lessons that are coming up may help answer that! 

If you want a camera body plus lenses then you need to split your budget between the camera body and the lenses. As you will begin to discover in the next lesson, it is the lenses that are really important. A great body but a rubbish lens isn't going to get you very far but the reverse will have a bigger impact. 

If you have a dSLR with a kit lens then the first thing you might want to save up for (I would highly recommend that you do!) is a 50mm 1.8. In the UK they cost about £80-100 and it's such a good lens for grasping Aperture Priority and using it well. It is a fixed focus lens, so you also have to move to get the images you want, rather than zooming in or out with the lens. This is such a valuable lesson. Your legs are really important in photography and easy to forget if you have a lens that will move for you! 

I hope that is a useful kit lesson. I also reviewed some cameras for John Lewis last year, which might be useful.