Skill VS Equipment

A lot of amateur photographers and videographers seem to think you need the best equipment out there to take the best possible picture/video they can. This is not the case, countless times I’ve seen £1000+ cameras spend their lives on ‘auto’ mode. It breaks my heart, it really does. Don’t get me wrong, once you reach a certain level the quality of your equipment will come into play.

So, I’m not skilled enough for expensive equipment? Correct! If you’re a complete amateur buy the low-end stuff, once you feel your skill starting exceed what the equipment/camera can offer then upgrade. I bought my first decent camera (a Nikon D3100) when I was 15 (5 years ago), fair enough at the time this may have been over kill, but it was a suggested camera for my photography course. I only put that camera out of service 6 months ago, it took me ages to use that camera to its absolute potential. I could have upgraded every year but I really wouldn’t have gained much.

You’re saying I should buy the cheapest camera and equipment out there? No, well kind of. Really ask yourself what level you’re currently at and where you might be in a years time. If you’re just starting a film/photography course it’s probably a good idea to get the mid-range stuff as there’s no doubt you’ll learn how to use it very quickly with the right tuition. If you’re just doing it as a hobby, the lower-end stuff will be a better bet.


What equipment should I buy as an amateur?

  1. DSLR camera, these offer a lot more functionality over point and shoot cameras. There are tonnes of decent new DSLR cameras around the £330 mark, cheaper second had of course, most DSLR cameras are fairy rugged.
  2. Secondary battery, cameras go through batteries unbelievably quickly so having a second charged up and ready to go is always helpful
  3. Second lens, depending of what you’re shooting a second lens is a nice addition. If you’re a landscape photographer/videographer get a 50-300mm lens. If you do a lot of close up shots get a macro lens, these just screw on to your existing lens and only cost around £15-£30
  4. Microphone, if you’re a videographer an external microphone is essential for clear audio, the inbuilt mics in cameras are have always been pretty poor. I use a Rode mic, costed about £60 but was a great investment.


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Written by Elliott Garner – The Visual Edge