Tech Corner

Professional Camera Body or a Good Lens ?

Professional Camera Body or a Good Lens ?

The fairytale story into photography always starts with what brand to buy (Canon or Nikon) and then after you decide what camera body, lens and accessories. I did a lot of reading before I jumped in and most of the experts said that if your on a budget or in general, they said glass is more important.

The newer DSLR bodies out, especially when you look on the entry level DSLR’s have more features packed into them than the older professional grade models. So a Canon Rebel this year would have more features than a 1D series 5 years ago. With technology we all win.

So I started to read about primes and after looking through online galleries, it’s really hard to differentiate if an entry level or professional SLR took an image. It all came down to exposure and the idea behind the image. Put a 1D in the hands of an amateur and a Rebel in the hands of a professional and you’ll see the camera body has little to do with the final image.

So my first setup, my first baby was the Canon EOS Rebel XT (aka 350D) and the Canon EFs 60mm f/2.8 Macro. I heard the 60mm was tack sharp, the range was ideal for portraits which was my main subject for photography at the time and the 2.8 was pretty fast for lens. I have to admit at first when I got it I thought to myself what a mistake I have made. The 60mm on the Rebel which is a 1.6x crop made it a 96mm. Looking through the viewfinder it seemed like I was already ten steps ahead and had to take extra steps back to get the shot in frame. It was a perfect lens though to learn from.

  • You don’t rely on the zoom and you appreciate the advantages each focal length has to offer.

Why you should concentrate on goood glass over a professional grade DSLR first.

1. The value of lens hold their value much better than a camera body and in recent times when Canon has been increasing prices to make up for the devaluing US dollar it makes perfect sense. Five years down the line when your ready to upgrade try to sell you lens and camera body, I can bet you will get close to the value of your lens back and you’ll pretty much be giving away your SLR at the cost someone is willing to buy it for.

2. Get the top of the line lens. In the case of the Canon get primes or preferably L glass (red line). If you have to save up for an extra month, DO IT! It will work out in the long run and save you money. Why get a not so good lens and have to upgrade it later on (sell it back at a loss and eventually buy the L glass).

3. The lens that you own are the eyes of your camera. The faster and larger the aperture the more creative freedom you have with your photography. There are also speciality lens like fish eye, tilt shift and macro that does cool effects of their own and filters such as infrared that you can attach to your lens to record amazing results in the right situation.

4. Lens stay with you. After you have your collection of lens together guess what? You can concentrate on getting your dream camera body and you would have had all the quality glass to go with it already.

WARNING not for the faint of heart. Since I started out with a prime and got so used to the 2.8 speed, I couldn’t get anything slower. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L was never an option for me and I developed an addiction for speed and went with the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L . Currently I’m shooting mostly L Primes which is costly to most but I’m sure it would have taken me an extra couple of years to accumulate my collection if I never bought top glass from the start.

Everyone shoots different subjects and has different style of photography so everyone will require different type of lens. Whatever you do though try to ensure you concentrate of your glass first and then camera body after.


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1 Comment

Annderson - 30. Nov, 2012 - Reply

Rye,I have a Canon Rebel EOS XT and I love it. You can opt out lenses it is quick, light, ecexllent pics and GREAT price. I am an avid photography, medium format camera, an Canon Elan, Leica, I have pretty much used and own them all. I read some where long ago that you can have the best most expensive camera in the world but unless you take a lot of pictures, study from what you have taken and learn to take better ones it doesn’t matter how much $$$$ you spend on the camera the pictures still will only be so so. Some of the best pictures in the world were taken from a very simple no bells and whistles camera. From my blog…one2achieve, all the pics were from my Canon. I have bought all of my equipment, except my medium format camera and Leica, from BH Photovideo in NY online. They are awesome. Five Star. Any questions just drop me a line. Your pics are beautiful so I think any camera you choose will be just fine.