Monday, July 11, 2011

Simplify Your Lens Lineup

There is a saying that you might have seen if you've read one of the more popular digital camera forums, "lens lust," that is a strong desire to have this "great" lens or that "wonderful" lens. You might have even seen someone say, "cameras are here today and gone tomorrow, but lenses are forever!" That sounds great, but does that mean you need to collect them all? One of the most tempting things to do when you have a interchangeable lens camera is to buy lenses to cover every possible type of photography that you might want to try. At first that seems like a great idea, you would not want to miss a great photo opportunity, right? The problem is that you are tying up a lot of money up in equipment you might not even use.

Here is simple bit of advice for those who are new to DSLRs or ILCs, start out simple. Having one or two kit lenses isn't a bad thing, despite what some might lead to believe. Even if you buy better lenses later the kit lenses might be nice for when you want to travel, thanks to there light weight and small size. Obviously if you have specific needs for a set of lenses, by all means get those lenses, but don't go crazy! If you find yourself needing a lens once or twice a year for special events consider renting rather than buying. Renting could save you a lot of money, and the cost savings are not just up front, but also in terms of insurance as well.

For those who have a large set of lenses already, think about the lenses that you use regularly. Now consider your other lenses. If you find yourself looking at a lens that you haven't pulled out of your bag for six months, maybe a year, or more, do you really need it? Would selling unused lenses allow you to have a better lens(es) in the focal ranges you use consistently? When it comes to specialty lenses, consider rental rather than buying, as I suggested before. For example, in April this year I rented a Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 VR to shoot at a wedding. Why rent? I don't usually shoot weddings or take a lot of portraits, so having a fast F2.8 zoom in that range wasn't practical for me. Spending $100 to rent one for a week made a lot more sense than spending $2100 on a lens I couldn't afford at the time.

To sum up what I'm saying, keep your lens lineup simple by owning only the lenses that you use regularly. Tying up finances in equipment you don't use, makes little sense. Secondly consider renting lenses that you would only need for special events, rather than buying them. If you think that sounds silly, you might want to rethink that, considering that well known professional photographers work with these principals.

Simplify Your Lens Lineup Part 2