Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Commentary: Using The Right Tools

Part of doing any job is having the right tools to accomplish the task at hand. What does that mean though? As photographers we quickly think of having the right camera or lens, but what about the other tools that are often needed? Secondary items like filters, tripods, monopods, memory cards, flashes or studio lights and batteries all fall into this category. If you have the right cameras and lenses, why would you cheap out on secondary items? There are cases where cheaper secondary items are acceptable, but there are key moments when that can come back and haunt you.

Examples of this that I see often are people who use a cheap monopod that is rated to just barely hold the gear used. Generally that is fine, but it could bend or snap at the wrong moment because you are overloading it. A cheap third party battery or grip could short circuit your camera and void the warranty. At least if you have a first party item and that happens your warranty will cover the damage. A cheap no name memory card might allow you to buy more cards, but if it fails and you loose all the photos was it worth while?

It is easy to be short sighted and only consider the immediate cost of an item. For example I often read comments about third party batteries and grips like this "I could get three third party ones for the price of the first party one." True, but if you have to replace the third party one three times did you save any money? If it short circuits your camera and it costs you hundreds of dollars to repair it, did you save any money? Is a less expensive secondary accessory guaranteed to cause a problem? Nine times out of ten, no. Keep in mind that if you do go that route, and something does happen you could very well to be out of even more cash than if you had simply purchased the genuine item in the first place.