- See list of SanDisk Extreme Cards HERE
- See list of SanDisk Extreme Cards HERE
- See list of SanDisk Ultra Memory Cards HERE
- Lee 0.3 Graduated Neutral Density Filter. See HERE
- Lee 0.6 Graduated Neutral Density Filter. See HERE
- Lee 0.9 Graduated Neutral Density Filter. See HERE
- B+W Kaesemann Circular Polarizer
- Tiffen UV Protection Filter
- Hoya HMC UV Digital Slim Frame Multi-Coated Glass Filter
- Hoya Neutral Density ND-400 HMC Filter
- SIRUI 4 Section Pro Carbon Fiber Tripod N2204
- Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro Tripod
- Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH Aluminum Tripod
- Gitzo GT0531 Series 0 6X Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod
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For photographers, buying new camera gear can be very exciting. Even just looking at new camera gear can get your mind racing, what if I had that piece of equipment...or that one? Unfortunately, photography is an expensive hobby, and we can't buy every lens and gadget we see. That's why it's important to know what gear to invest in, what gear not to invest in, and what to wait on to buy better quality gear. It's usually better to save up and buy a high-quality piece of equipment rather than buying things with a stepping stone pattern starting with the most affordable gear and working your way up. It's much cheaper in the long run also, but there are exceptions, such as lenses. For example, you can't just use your 50mm to photograph birds while you save up for a $2,000 lens. In this case, it would be better to invest in a cheap telephoto until you could afford a nicer one. With all that said, here are some investment DO's and DON'Ts:
DO invest in: Quality lenses
Good quality lenses aren't going to necessarily improve your photography, but they will improve the quality of your photos. Upgrading a lens can mean better sharpness, focusing speed, contrast, and color, and fewer aberrations and sun flares. Quality lenses also have a more solid build quality and better handling for focusing. While you don't need any of these things to create great photos, the more you learn about photography and the more familiar you become with you camera and lens setup, the more you'll notice the quality of your photos compared to others in your field. And if you can take great photos, then you should have a great lens to take them with. Purchasing a quality lens is also a great investment because it will keep its value. Good lenses depreciate very slowly if at all, and some even increase in value over time.
DON'T invest in: A Slightly Newer Camera
Once you invest in a camera, almost any other one that comes out after yours is going to be better in some way. Maybe it has better low-light performance or maybe it adds a new HDR feature. In any case, you don't need to upgrade every time a new camera comes out. Unlike quality lenses, the value of cameras depreciate very quickly. But this doesn't mean that the camera is not good. DSLRs from five years ago may not have as fast a frame burst or have video capabilities, but they still take great photos and can compete with today's cameras. It can be difficult not to get caught up in the hype that a new camera brings when it's first launched, but you have to stop and think, will this camera really add to my photography? Are there things that this new camera can do that is essential to improving my personal or professional photography needs?
DO invest in: Extra Batteries and Memory Cards
You can't go wrong here. If you shoot enough, there will be a time when you need an extra battery or memory card. This is a fairly inexpensive investment, but one that will benefit you greatly. Memory cards are becoming cheaper and cheaper, which means you can get higher capacity cards for less. So be smart and stock up because nothing is more embarrassing than traveling to a location with a ton of equipment and a model only to find a dead batter in your camera.
DON'T invest in: Cheap Filters
A cheap filter is one of the worst things you can buy for your lens. Plastic and poor-quality glass filters degrade image quality by causing your photos to lose sharpness. Some of them can even reduce contrast and add strange glares from reflections. Most professional photographers don't use protective or UV filters, and this makes perfect sense. If you're investing in a $2,000 lens, why would you put a $10 filter on it? Those who do buy filters will invest in high-quality ones such as Hoya or Tiffen.
DO invest in: A Sturdy Tripod
This only applies to those who need them. For instance, if you're a street photographer, you photograph on the fly, and you know that you don't need a tripod. But if you're doing studio work or are into nature or sports photography, then consider investing in a good tripod. Cheap tripods will only frustrate you with their poor handling, flimsy construction, and low weight capacity. A good tripod will be easy to set up and easy to carry, and will ensure you get a steady shot.
Image credit: djedzura / 123RF Stock Photo
Written by Spencer Seastrom