3 Important things to consider when buying camera equipment for the first time

Are you looking to buy some pro-level camera gear? for your office or you just getting into it as a hobby? Sony, Canon, Nikon and several other top brands suddenly come into your sights.

The overall experience from purchasing equipment based on youtube recommendations was fairly disappointing. You start to realise that a lot of the online reviews you have been watching have been sponsored in some way or form by the companies of products they are reviewing, or if they weren’t they have been sent the product for free to make a so-called “Un-bias review”.

Here are some three main things I wish I considered before I started acquiring very expensive pro-level gear and not rely completely on YouTube videos. Even if you a hobbyist and looking at getting some pro-level gear, the following points should be considered before making a purchase.

  1. Image Stabilisation:
    I watched a review by Fro Knows Photo, explaining how fantastic the trinity of lenses ever videographer should have in their kit. The 16-25mm 2.8, the coveted 24-70 2.8 and the superb 70-200mm 2.8. And I was totally convinced. 

After rushing out and going into massive depth for these lenses, I quickly began to understand the importance of image stabilisation. 

If your camera body does not have image stabilisation (Which mine did not) you really are going to need Image stabilisation on your lenses or be prepared to fork out for a very expensive gimbal. Un-stabilised shooting makes for very poor videography and Images. Unless you plan on leaving your camera on a tripod that if constantly fixed to a very stable location.
  2. Mobility
    After my very first wedding shoot, I was completely exhausted. I had a 5-foot tall WestCot bag + a Video camera backpack. Hauling that from a Carpark to the reception in the middle of the city almost gave me a heart attack – even before the event actually started. 

Consider the size of the equipment you are purchasing.  THINK SMALL with everything from the size of your camera to even the camera cases you will undoubtedly have to lug around. Sure you want something as hard as a Pelican case to protect all your gear, but you will be cursing while you are dragging it through the mud. Remember that you will sometimes have to go to very difficult locations on the beach, in the jungle or to an office location and you will want to be as small and as agile as possibly. Shooting while you are tired and your hands are shaking always makes for poor footage or photos.
  3. Don’t judge a book by its price tag
    My go-to lens is not a part of the holy trinity, it is not even an F2.8, it is actually the cheapest lens in my kit. The Sigma 24 – 105 F ART. In my opinion, this $800 AUD lens outweighs the 24-70 F 2.8 Canon lease which can cost over $3000 AUD brand new. The lens is amazingly sharp at F4 and has a beautiful colour profile and almost always on my camera, while the other expensive lenses sit in an airtight case on my shelf. I wish I was more open to trying out cheaper, aftermarket gear when I first got into videography. None the less I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way.