- Consider features
- Third party vs name brand
- Buy used photography equipment
photo by Traimak_Ivan via iStock
Photography is a great hobby. Even professional photographers like doing photography just for fun. The equipment we use for our fun can sometimes be a little bit of an investment. Sometimes a big investment.
So we would all like to know how to save money as a photographer. I have three ideas for how we can save money when buying photography gear.
photo by hsyncoban via iStock
The newest camera is out, have you seen it? I’ve seen it and it’s fabulous, but wow does it cost a lot! Here’s the thing: it has features and capabilities I really don’t need.
So, sometimes in order to save money when buying photography gear, we simply need to shop for the features we really want and not purchase the newest and greatest simply because it’s there.
There is a mindset that we can easily fall into that’s been called Gear Acquisition Syndrome, GAS. What this term means is that we sometimes become enamoured of something just because it’s new and super capable, whether we need it or not.
We all have this happen to us from time to time. As a professional photographer, I find it is a constant balance between staying current and capable vs being realistic and reasonable. Simply because a camera or lens has a certain feature doesn’t mean it will make our pictures of videos better.
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As an example, while it might be nice to have a top pro level Full Frame camera, perhaps the APS-C prosumer camera of that brand will fit our needs and wants better. It will definitely fit our bank balance better. And then we can use the money saved to add another lens or a super capable flash unit.
Let me be honest, sometimes we simply have to bite the bullet and purchase a higher priced item in order to accomplish what we want and need, but the reasoning behind cautioning about GAS is that the equipment isn’t going to make us a better photographer. Though it might give us features we really want for the type of photography we do.
So, if you have the need, want, and budget, go ahead and get that tip of the line camera. It’s pricey because it’s good! But there are likely lower priced alternatives that offer just as good image quality for a lower price point. Check out our reviews on various levels and types of photography gear.
Third Party Vs Name Brand
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This tip for how to save money when buying photography gear works more on lenses, flash units, and other accessories. A third party item means it’s made by someone other than the camera manufacturer.
Looking at lenses, we may want a fast trio of zoom lenses to go from ultra wide angle, though normal, and on up to telephotos, but those lenses may be quite a bit more expensive than some slower lenses from the maker of our camera.
A lens from a manufacturer other than your camera brand could have a similar focal length range, fast aperture, and superb sharpness and yet cost less than the camera manufacturer lens.
This is not an absolute rule. Some photographers prefer to stick to the camera brand lenses because of the lenses having certain features in common or a similar sharpness, contrast level, or other variables. But current third party lenses and flashes are definitely worth consideration by even the most demanding photographers.
Buy Used Photography Gear
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Buying used photography gear doesn’t just mean really old and beat up or out of date used photography equipment. Right now on MPB.com, one of my personal favorite used photography gear retailers, I see items listed for sale as used that are actually still in production.
You should definitely stick with a trustworthy source for used photography equipment if at all possible. I’ve bought stuff at estate sales or online auctions that ended up not being very useful to me because of non obvious flaws.
Which is what MPB.com strives hard to not have happen. And if they do sell you an item that actually doesn’t match up to expectations, they have a generous and reasonable time for returns plus a 6-month store warranty on almost every item they sell.
They carefully inspect each camera, lens, or accessory before they ever obtain it themselves, and then they make sure you get a great piece at the lower prices that you pay for used camera gear.
You can definitely save money when buying photography gear by choosing the proper gear for us, considering third party items, and by buying used photography gear.