Along the way on my photography journey, I've met lots and lots of other photographers, both online and in person. Something I hear over and over again from people in photography forums that I'm a member of, as well as during my online or in-person mentorships is, "...but I only have an entry-level/crop sensor camera and the kit lenses. I need to upgrade to get better photos." Yes, there are some advantages to eventually upgrading your lenses or even your body. But there are also advantages to using your "el cheapo" gear and don't let anybody tell you that you can't create great photos with it. Beautiful photos are made by photographers, not gear. Don't feel held back by your equipment...read on to see some of the advantages!
- Dom Perignon bokeh at a PBR price. A lot of camera kits come with a lens that can zoom to 200 or 250mm. You know what that means? You can get some LOVELY background blur (that "bokeh" that you often hear so much about) without having a more expensive lens with a wide aperture. The longer the zoom, the better the blur. I know, right?! You can even do this with 18-55 lenses if you zoom all the way to 55 and your subject is a distance from the background. The photo below is one of my most-purchased fine art prints. It was taken with my old 60D and the 55-250 kit lens that I got on my first Rebel wayyyy back in the day. The aperture here was not extremely wide...but check out that out of focus background. All because of that zoom!
- So much less weight. So much less money. I take a lot of photos of surfing. I have a 70-200 2.8 now, but before I got that, I used my old trusty kit 55-250. And you know what? Every once in awhile, when I want to carry something much less heavy, I'll break out the 55-250. I still keep a crop body around to shoot most of my surfing with...I get that extra reach....so the 55-250 will fit on it. At the end of the day, my arms are a bit less tired. And let's not forget that the kit lens is a heck of a lot less expensive than the pro lenses...but you can still get some awesome photos. More money in your pocket is never a bad thing.
- Hey, did you know you have some portrait lenses there? And you've got some great versatility, too? There are certain lenses and focal lengths (mostly primes but some zooms too) that are regarded as great portrait lenses or great "portrait lengths". Guess what? Depending on the kit lens(es) you have, you've got at least some of those focal lengths built in. You don't have the advantage of a super wide aperture, true. But these can be seriously useful either outdoors or even with a very simple "studio" setup. The photo below was taken with a crop body, 55-250, one off camera flash, and one umbrella. See? Portrait! And if you chase kids around outdoors, or doing some outdoor portraits of your kids or family, that 18-55 can give you a lot of flexibility at a very light weight.
Even with all the advantages that kit lenses have, there still may be a time when you want to step it up at least a little. This is where the 50mm 1.8 comes in. It's a prime lens with an aperture wider than any kit lens, but it's quite inexpensive for both Canon and Nikon shooters. It's a wonderful way to get used to a fixed focal length and get used to shooting at wide apertures. My 50 1.8 cost under $100. You seriously cannot go wrong with this lens. Look at those eyes! They agree!
So how do you use YOUR entry-level gear to capture great images? Tell me all about it!