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Scott Alan Photography

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The One-Two Punch In Photography

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We all like to purchase new gear. I think that is something that every photographer goes through at some point during the years while doing their hobby or business. And over the years I’ve seen so many people question what lens should they buy for this or that. During the last year and a half or so I have tried to practice minimalism to an extent. I’ve thinned out everything from the clothes that I own, to books, to my photography gear. While I like gear I’ve come to learn what I need and what I don’t need. After some thought I’ve come up with a photography minimalist gear list and there are only three items on the most basic list. I will compare my list to a more common list of what a lot of people end up with.

The minimalist photography gear list consists of the camera and two lenses which is as follows: (The One-Two Punch)
Camera – I won’t list a cost here because, one, there are many different bodies that can be used for many different reasons. Some might think they need a full frame body while others may want to take advantage of a body that houses an aps-c sized sensor and can shoot 12 frames per second. Plus this article is supposed to be about lenses.

Lens: Canon 24 – 70 F2.8L = $1699.00
Lens: Canon 70 – 200 F2.8L = $1799.00
Total = 3498

Compared to option 2 which covers the same focal range:

Canon 24mm f2.8 = $549.00
Canon 35mm f1.4L = $1699.00
Canon 40mm f2.8 = $179.00
Canon 50mm f1.8 = $125.00
Canon 85mm F1.4L = $1599.00
Canon 100mm f2 = $499.00
Canon 135mm f2L = $$999.00
Canon 200mm f2.8 = $749.00
total = $6398.00

The difference here is that option 1 allows one to carry around only two lenses and it covers all focal ranges between 24mm and 200mm. This focal range is useful from portraits, to weddings and events, to some sports, to documentary photography, and product photography, landscapes, and other types. Compare the costs and option 1 is almost half of what option 2 is. Many people would argue that prime lenses are lighter than the zooms, which is true, however, if one is shooting a wedding, event, or even portraits and decided to bring multiple lenses, I would bet that the weight difference ends up being very minimal if anything. Another argument would be that primes are sharper than zooms. While this is also true, while viewing the end product which would be an image on a screen or a print, no one would be able to tell that the image was made with a zoom lens rather than a prime.

I would like to note that during this quick research, I did not include all L glass throughout the primes. If I did the cost different would even be greater. I decided to go with Canon when comparing, but the difference would be about the same if comparing Nikon lenses. No matter what option one ends up choosing to go with, I’d strongly suggest buying used from Used Photo Pro or KEH and saving. In my personal and professional opinion one could build solid photography career with just one camera (it’d be wise to have a back up) and two lenses, the 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8.

Tools and The Level Of Importance In Photography

There are a number of things that have their level of importance in photography. Below I will list and explain each thing.

  1. Your Brain. Knowing what you want to photograph and how you want to photograph it is the first and most import step in the process of making an image. Knowing what kind of light you’ll need, knowing what king of lens you’ll need are all precursors to the end result.
  2. The Light. Light is the single most important tool in photography. The word “Photography” itself means to write with light or to light write. Just as important as light is good light or knowing how to use light. There are many difference sources of light such as the sun, street lights, lamps and interior lights, and flashes and strobes. Knowing how to use each one of these is beneficial to making great photographs. There are also modifiers such as umbrellas, soft boxes, grids, and gobos that help modify and direct the light as the photographer sees fit.
  3. ┬áThe Lens. There are many many many lenses made by many different lens manufacturers. Some lenses are “better” than others, however, it all depends on what the photographer is looking to do with the lens. There are even cheap plastic lenses used on Holgas, and Diana cameras that can make magical images with the right…… LIGHT (which is why light is number one “tool” on the list).
  4. The camera. The camera is important but definitely not the most important on the list. The camera is more than a sensor. The digital camera is made up of firmware and processors that help create the image we see on the back of the screen or on the computer.
  5. Post Processing Software. This is at the bottom of the list, however, for a lot of inexperienced photographers this seems to be more important than it really is. Software such as Lightroom and Photoshop are tool to help enhance or put the finishing touches to create the final product. Many images made by professional photographers actually need very little done to make the image they client may want. However, this is all dependent upon what the final result will be.

*Many people still shoot film. I would put film at number 4 on the list just as important as the camera. The reason being is because in film photography the type of film used will tremendously dictate the end result.

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