When someone decides to become a photographer, the first thing they ask is “what camera should I get?”. While it is true that sometimes gear does matter in certain situations, for an amateur photographer who just wants to take photos, will become confused with different camera brands and equipment’s that are being sold everywhere. The task of finding the right camera can be overwhelming and daunting and can be quite expensive as well.

However, most season photographers agree that gear does not matter, and that the person behind the camera is what matters the most. There’s no point in buying an expensive full frame camera with expensive lens, yet you don’t understand the artistic of photography, the nature of lighting, composition, exposure triangle and other settings.

A professional photographer knows all these things and most importantly, they know their gear very well. They know their gear’s limitations; what it can do and what it can’t do and can work with what they have for the right situation.

Knowing what you want to photograph is also important in determining what type of gear you should buy. For example, if you want to shoot sports then you need a camera that shoots multiple frames in a second so that you won’t miss out on important scenes, as well as a lens that can zoom closely. That’s why it’s essential to first think about what you are going to use the camera for before buying one.

Another thing you should know is that being a photographer is something you can’t learn overnight. It takes a lot of practice and understanding photography fundamentals to take professional photos. However, don’t let that stop you from being a photographer. You will find a lot of tutorials online and on YouTube and I will also share with you some tips from my experience.

In this article, I will tell you why gear doesn’t matter and I will show you some examples that I shot with my entry level “Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera” (or DSLR for short) Nikon D3400 camera and what you can achieve with it.

Let’s get started. You don’t need expensive camera equipment because…

1. Today’s entry level cameras are really good

With the advances and the improvements of technology over the years, camera sensors have gotten way better than ever before. Even the cheapest DSLR cameras can produce high quality images, and you can shoot pretty much anything with it. Compared to the cameras 10 years ago, it’s safe to say that a cheap DSLR is packed with enough features and megapixels to shoot in under most situations.

2. Have enough megapixels

While megapixels don’t mean anything these days, the cheapest cameras come equipped with enough megapixels that you can print high quality images with it. With that much detail, your printed images will look no different than a photographer who printed an image with their pro gear. In fact, the entry level Nikon D3400 camera (24.2 megapixels) has more megapixels than Nikon’s professional full frame camera, the Nikon D4, which has 16.2 megapixels. However, keep in mind that more megapixels doesn’t mean better image quality. It simply means that you can print larger images without losing quality, which most entry level cameras can do that with ease.

3. Manual control

All entry level DSLRs come equipped with full manual control. This means that you can take full control of your camera and can stretch its maximum capacity to get the desired image that you want.

4. Can shoot in RAW

In most cases, a camera can shoot in two file formats; RAW and JPEG. RAW is preferred by all professional photographers, since it is minimally processed by the camera and can capture a lot of detail uncompressed. This gives photographers total control over how they can process the image. Whether they change the white balance, sharpness, brightness etc., RAW gives you complete control.

JPEG is like the auto mode file format. The camera decides how to process the image, compresses it and gives you the final product. Unlike RAW, JPEGs are heavily compressed, leaving you with the final image that has few details and is limited to editing.

Even the cheapest DSLRs give you an option to shoot in RAW, giving you full manual control over your camera.

5. Can shoot in most environments

Even with cheap DSLRs, you can shoot under most situations. Simply add a speed-light/flash and you are ready to go. These entry cameras can even do well in low light environments, but of course with an added flash.

6. Able to record full 1080p HD Video

Most cheap DSLRs these days are capable of shooting in full 1080p HD video. So not only you are getting excellent image quality but you are also getting exceptional video quality for a good price.

7. Practice matters, gear doesn’t

The most important thing in photography is to keep practicing. Take as many photos as you can in different scenarios, so that you can familiarize yourself with your camera and its settings. Also, watch videos on YouTube, read books and spend some time learning about the fundamentals of photography.

8. Most likely your images will only end up on social media

There’s a high chance that the photos you take will never be printed but instead will be uploaded on social media websites. Therefore, it’s pointless in converting the high quality pictures of an expensive camera to a compressed low quality image that will be uploaded on Facebook. Like I said before, it’s a good idea to first know what you want to photograph before buying a camera.

Examples:

Here are some shots that I took of my wife.

Photography example 6

Taken with a Nikon D7200 with 55mm – 300mm Lens and edited with Lightroom

Photography example 1

Taken with a Nikon D7200 with 55mm – 300mm Lens and edited with Lightroom

Photography example 2

Taken with a Nikon D7200 with 55mm – 300mm Lens and edited with Lightroom

Photography example 3

Taken with an entry level Nikon D3400 and 18mm – 55mm Lens

Photography example 4

Taken with an entry level Nikon D3400 and 18mm – 55mm Lens

Photography example 5

Taken with an entry level Nikon D3400 and 18mm – 55mm Lens

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s not all about the gear. Don’t get overwhelmed by what camera you should get and get confused between all of the different brands of cameras there are in the market. Remember, it’s not the gear that matters, it’s you practicing that does. Keep shooting different scenarios, read books about photography, learn the art of taking photos then later on worry about the gear.

Also remember, that pro camera gear might matter in certain situations, such as you wanting to open up a photography business. In that case, you can benefit more from the pro camera gear, since they give you reliability, better low light performance and are weather sealed and some pro cameras come with touch screen and other extra features.

If however you can’t afford a camera then start taking photos with your smartphone. You can get decent shots with smartphone cameras these days, but of course, in good lighting conditions. It’s a good way to start practicing.

I hope you liked this article, subscribe and stay tuned for more articles about photography.

3 Responses

  1. Sudarshan Kar

    Great post, James! The passion you have for photography shows in the quality of your pictures. Your wife only looks beautiful in these shots! And might I add that your postprocessing skills is great as well?

    I have been trying to run a blog on teaching people how to become successful vloggers. While I’ve recommended many cameras so far, the D3400 has not come up in my mind.

    Hey, maybe I’ll include your recommendation in the next blog post I put out 🙂

    Thanks again, and cheers! Drop by my blog as well if you’ve got the time. I’d love to network with you.
    Sudarshan Kar recently posted…What cameras do YouTubers use? [2017]My Profile

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