gearfocus Photography Articles

Best Lenses for Beginner Photographers

Best Lenses for Beginner Photographers

Photo by Garrett Morrow from Pexels

There are so many beginner photography lenses, and all in vastly different price ranges. Are the best lenses really the most expensive ones? Do you need the best lenses in order to learn as much as possible about photography? 

All of these questions may leave beginner photographers wondering whether photography is really only a hobby for the rich, which is truly disappointing because photography should be accessible to everyone.  

So, I compiled a list of the best lenses for beginner photographers at a wide range of prices so the best lenses are available to all. 

Prime Lenses

best beginner prime lens 1

Photo by Dave Craige on Unsplash

Firstly, you’ll definitely need a prime lens, even if you don’t purchase any of the other types of lenses on this list. 

A prime lens is the first choice of many photographers, because as you’ll see below, you can capture a wide range of subjects so you can try different photography niches before buying more specialized equipment. 

Likewise, many prime lenses are small, lightweight, and in the case of 50mm f/1.8 lenses, they’re also cheap.

These are the best beginner prime lenses for Canon, Nikon and Sony. 

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

CANON EF 50MM F1.8

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 a low-cost prime lens for all of your Canon DSLRs. A lens with an aperture of f/1.8 is going to function really well in low light shooting, which is why this is one of the best lenses for beginner photographers on my list. 

It’s a really lightweight lens, weighing in at under 6 oz. It’s also compact thanks to the updated design on the focus ring. 

It features a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 ft., which is more than enough for anyone other than macro photographers.  

Finally, it features a 7-blade circular aperture which will allow you to play around with incredibly soft backgrounds and bokeh. 

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is available for as low as $75 on Gear Focus. 

 

 

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D 

Nikon 50mm f1.8D

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8D is one of our best lenses because it shoots in low light well, just like the Canon prime lens, it weighs just 5.5 oz, and if you purchase a new one, then it comes with a 5-year warranty directly from Nikon.

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8D is available on the cheap new. While there are currently no Nikon 50mm f/1.8D lenses listed on Gear Focus, make sure you check for yourself because they rotate through hundreds of used products each week that can save you a ton.  

 

 

Sony 50mm f/1.8DT 

Sony 50mm f1.8DT 

The Sony 50mm f/1.8DT is known for its smooth autofocus motor and short minimum focusing distance of 13 inches, making it one of the best lenses for any Sony shooter. 

It also features a seven-blade circular diaphragm for smooth bokeh and will shoot well in the middle of the day or at dusk/dawn. 

It weighs around 6 oz and will fit in your pocket. 

The Sony 50mm f/1.8DT is available for less than $200 new. Again, this lens isn’t currently available used on Gear Focus, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any by the time you’re reading this article. It’s well worth a look. 

 

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

Wide-Angle Lenses

best beginner wide angle lens 2

 photo byNikolay Chekalin via iStock

Now that you have your best beginner prime lens picked out, you’ll need to be shopping for the best beginner wide-angle lens.  

Wide-angle lenses are used for landscapes or cityscapes, as well as architecture photography and any other photography types where you need to capture a large scene.  

However, wide-angle lenses take more know-how. We wrote an article all about learning how to use wide-angle lenses a while back, and you can read it here. 

But, once you feel you’re ready, come back and purchase one of these best lenses for wide-angles. 

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

Canon EF S 24mm f2.8 STM

The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM tops our list of the best lenses for wide-angle shooters because it weighs just 4.4 oz while packing a punch. This lens comes with a full-time manual focus so you can grow into this lens as you grow as a photographer. 

It also features a minimum shooting distance of 6 inches and shoots incredibly quietly. 

Now, this Canon lens is available for $130 new, or you can search Gear Focusto find a cheaper version. 

 

 

Learn More:

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX

Nikon 35mm f1.8G AF S DX

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX also features almost silent autofocus in an itty bitty body. This lens is known for creating photos that have incredibly realistic colors, as well as photos that are sharp.  

But, the real kicker that makes this one of the best lenses around is that it creates images that look as if they were taken with a human eye. This allows photographers to accurately capture exactly what they hoped to in their imaginations. 

 

 

Zoom Lenses

best beginner zoom lens 3

 photo byTommL via iStock

Alright, now that you have both your best beginner prime lens and your best beginner wide-angle lens picked out, it’s finally time to go shopping for the best beginner zoom lens. 

Zoom lenses allow you to use different focal lengths with one lens and are especially useful for photojournalism and events, since you can’t always get closer to the action with your feet. 

Also, if you travel frequently, a zoom lens will allow you to cover multiple focal lengths at once. 

Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD

Tamron 70 300mm f4 5.6 Di LD

The Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD is great because there are different versions for Canon, Nikon, and other popular camera brands.

This lens features a minimum focusing distance of 37 inches and can be used as an ultra-telephoto lens. 

This lens is also incredibly fun because you can use it with DSLRs and old school film cameras, so you’re never limited to a specific camera. 

Depending on the camera fit, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD can be found for $140 or less. But, make sure you check Gear Focusas well since they specialize in used camera gear.  

 

 

Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DT

Sony 55 200mm f4 5.6 DT

The Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DT is one of the best lenses for beginner photographers because of its versatility. 

It weighs a bit more than other lenses on this list at 11 oz, but if you use a zoom lens to replace your other lenses on long trips, you’re really saving yourself in the long run.

It features 9-rounded diaphragm blades for a smooth background and a minimum focus distance of just 37 inches. 

The Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DT is around $200 new and comes with a 1-year warranty from Sony. 

 

 

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6

Canon EF 75 300mm f4 5.6 

This Canon is the last zoom lens on our best lenses for beginner photographers list.

It features an incredibly wide field of view (32 degrees) to capture everything in sight. It performs well in low light situations and uses a DC motor instead of a USM to create quieter autofocus.

You can purchase a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 for $200 on Gear Focus.

 

 

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


How to Get the Best Deals on Photography Gear

How to Get the Best Deals on Photography Gear

Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

Who isn’t looking for deals on photography gear these days? Given the fact that cameras and lenses can easily cost you thousands of dollars, it makes sense to do some bargain shopping.

While you may need to forego the newest camera gear for the sake of your budget, this doesn’t mean you can’t find impressive deals on new-ish photography gear.  

In fact, if you talk to any of your photographer friends, they all probably have a process on how to buy used camera gear that they swear by.  

This one is mine. 

Explore Craigslist

craigslist

I always take to Craigslist first when I’m looking for deals on photography gear for one reason: Craigslist is the go-to dumping grounds for old photography gear people are desperately trying to get rid of.  

While this isn’t necessarily a good thing because a lot of this photography gear is damaged (and strangers aren’t exactly the most honest subsection of the population), it does give me a really good idea of baseline prices for the specific camera gear I’m shopping around for. 

I’m personally on Craigslist at least a few times a week, just in case someone does drop a really fantastic deal that I need. But, I understand that’s a lot of work. If I accounted for my time searching through Craigslist posts, I am probably not saving money at all in the long run. But at this point, it’s kind of like a game.

Besides, literally every time I use Craigslist to sell an item, I get bombarded with scammers. And when you buy from Craigslist, there's no guarantee that the seller isn't a scammer, either. There's just a TON of risk involved.

If you aren’t as obsessive as me, you should still be checking Craigslist to figure out what you can expect to pay for your specific photography gear elsewhere. Then, move on to a better, more secure option.

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

Stay Connected on Photography Blogs and Pages 

how to buy used camera gear 3

 photo by NickyLloyd via iStock 

Another great source of information is photography forums and Facebook pages. I’m personally on several dozen (remember, I’m obsessive). 

PhotographyTalk has one, but we definitely aren’t the only ones. These forums allow photographers to ask an endless amount of questions and connect photographers who may live in remote areas, but most importantly they’re a great resource for those of us looking for photography deals.

If you need help finding great photography forums, Photography & Tech Update created a list a few years ago that you can find above. 

Then, once you think you’ve found a great deal on camera gear, you can ask a forum if the deal is as good as you think it is.

The same can be said of Facebook groups, although you need to make sure you’re part of a group that is large and active. 

Format has a great list of Facebook groups for photographers here as well.

But, just like Craigslist, there are a lot of risks involved with scams in forums.

I can't speak to the behind-the-scenes work other sites do to block scammers, but it's an issue we deal with every single day with the PhotographyTalk forums.

We are constantly blocking people that spam the forum with too-good-to-be-true deals, and while many are stopped before they are published, some still get through.

Again, forums can provide a wealth of information, but buying gear from a person in a forum is still high-risk.

Learn More:

Use Amazon’s “Wish List” Feature

deals on photography gear 1

 photo by stockfour via iStock 

Out of all the tips about photography deals here, this is the one I think people forget about first. 

Amazon has something called “wish lists,” which essentially allow you to build a shopping cart that you always have available.  

They’re great to use for your kids around the holidays, but they’re also phenomenal at keeping track of all of your photography gear needs in one place so that you can track pricing on the photography gear. 

If you need help learning how to build a wish list on Amazon, this video by Support a Teacher with Courtney Jones is a great resource. 

This works because when you add camera gear to a wish list on Amazon the wish list tracks every version of that gear from every seller. So, if an individual seller adds a ridiculously low priced camera, you’ll see that price reflected in your wish list.

But, the key to using this tip to find deals on photography gear is also time, just like with Craigslist. There is currently no way to have Amazon notify you when the price drops below a certain point, so you need to be constantly checking your wish list.  

The other issue is gray market gear.

Some sellers on Amazon deal in gray market stuff that was intended for sale in another country, which can be fine, but can also present difficulties with things like warranties and being able to read the instruction manual. Though this option offers less risk than the first two options discussed above, it's still a risky move.

Purchase Gear on Gear Focus

gearfocus website

Once you have your baseline price set, the best deals on photography gear I’ve been able to find (without the immense time it takes to check websites for weeks on end) is Gear Focus. 

Gear Focus acts as a used camera marketplace for photographers, and it’s run by professional photographers who are constantly checking to make sure every camera deal listed on their site is legit. In other words, the risk of buying used gear is vastly minimized, that way you're sure you're getting the item you want as described. And with the Gear Focus Protection Plan, you benefit from multiple layers of safety to ensure your buying and selling experiences are positive ones.

Importantly, Gear Focus uses some of the lowest percentages for their sellers, so more sellers are drawn to their site over others.  All this means is more choices for you. Also, now through April 10, 2020, Gear Focus is ZERO seller fees. With so much uncertainty right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, having more money in your pocket is definitely a good thing. It's a nice gesture from Gear Focus to help people out during this difficult time.

Plus, when I say they have the best deals on photography gear, I mean every single aspect of photography gear. They have the basics like used cameras and lenses, but they also have used drones, tripods, vintage cameras and more. 

Head on over to Gear Focus and figure out why they’re the best stop for great deals on photography gear. 

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


How to Get the Most Out of Your Old Photography Gear

How to Get the Most Out of Your Old Photography Gear

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

In an age where new cameras, lenses, and tripods are dropping nearly everyday, it’s really hard to fight new gear acquisition syndrome. 

But making good use of your old photography gear is an incredible way to save money and to challenge yourself.

In this quick guide, learn how to get the most out of your old photography gear.

Bring Your Old Camera With You Everywhere

old photography gear 1

photo byanandaBGD via iStock

As soon as you put your old photography gear on the shelf the chances that you’ll put it back into your bag diminish. 

I know I’ve got a closet full of old photography gear that I just slowly stopped using until I never used it again. Sometimes I put something there because I got a better version, but oftentimes I just moved on to a different category. 

For example, I put my old DSLR in my closet once I got a mirrorless, but that doesn’t mean my old DSLR doesn’t deserve some love.

old photography gear 2

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

Every once in a while I will head back into that closet and pick out some old photography gear I haven’t used in a few months (or years) and put it in my camera bag just to see if it comes in handy.

Spoiler: it almost always does. And if it does, then I won’t get rid of it yet. It challenges me to become a better photographer with all types of equipment and saves me money in the long run. 

Something else to do with old photography gear is to trade it in to buy new-to-me gear on Gear Focus. 

gearfocus website

Gear Focus makes it easy to trade in your old photography gear because you’re in charge of the sale from the beginning to the end, and Gear Focus takes a very small percentage of your sale (just 3.5%) so you can use the rest to buy something new for when you just have to.  

Better still, you can invest that savings in getting a used camera body or lens to add to your collection of gear.

Since Gear Focus is made by photographers, for photographers, there’s no hassle dealing with scams like you find on Craigslist. And as I mentioned earlier, with low seller fees, you don’t feel like you’re getting ripped off, as is often the case when you list items for sale on eBay.

It’s tough to resist the urge to get a Sony a7R IV, but think of the money you can save by getting a used a7R III (or even an a7R II!) instead. For me, I’d rather have more money in my pocket, and buying used gear on Gear Focus allows me to do just that.

Recommended Photography Books

Use a Tripod 

sell old photography gear 3

photo by primeimages via iStock 

Whenever I use a tripod, which is admittedly not as often as I should, I love the outcome. Tripods help me learn how to save money in photography because they open entirely new avenues for my photography career.

When I first started out in the industry, I was terrified to work at night. Everytime the sun went down, I went home. Looking back it was the worst mistake I made as a beginner photographer because I could have gotten so much better at my craft so much faster if I had pushed myself in this way. 

sell old photography gear 4

photo by filistimlyanin via iStock 

Tripods allow you to do all sorts of fun things, like shoot at night or in low-light situations, and they let you chase incredible things in nature, like animals or long-exposure shots of the stars.

My tripod helped me to reconnect with photography numerous times; maybe it will do the same for you!

Best of all, your old tripod that you’ve had for years and years is all you need. Sure, there are fancy tripods that cost hundreds of dollars, but if your tripod still works and stabilizes your camera, why not save money and put it to use chasing new photography adventures?!

Learn More:

Use Manual Mode

where to buy used photography gear 5

photo byArisSu via iStock

I’m not suggesting you can’t use all of the incredible things new camera technology gives to us, but shooting manually, much like shooting with old film cameras, can be a blast.

Plus, once you learn how to shoot manually, you can handle almost any camera that is handed to you, which opens up a ton of opportunities if you travel in photography circles. 

where to buy used photography gear 6

 Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

There’s a reason we are seeing such a push for old film SLR cameras right now. They force you to participate in the act of photography more than newer cameras do since those newer cameras offer so many features and tools that automate the process of taking a photo. 

Again, this is all about getting to know your current gear better. If you learn to shoot in manual mode, you have much more control over the outcome, and the results you get can be much, much better.

Scout Locations for Your Next Shoot

how to save money in photography 7

photo by RichVintage via iStock 

I think scouting locations is my favorite part of any photoshoot and most of my friends think I’m insane because of it.

Scouting locations makes you see the world around you like you otherwise never do, with the eyes of an artist.

When you’re scouting photography locations, you can do incredible things like see your morning commute route in a completely different way or rediscover your city you’ve lived in for three decades.

how to save money in photography 8

photo by MichaelSvoboda via iStock 

Plus, scouting for locations oftentimes means traveling. Maybe you aren’t traveling across the world, but you could travel an hour outside of your city tomorrow and find something beautiful.  

And you don’t need any new equipment to do it!

There are so many opportunities to put your current photography gear to the test...take those opportunities to learn, explore, and find new ways of enjoying the gear you already have. 

Not only will this benefit you from a budgetary standpoint, but you stand to learn more about yourself as an artist as well.

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


How to Protect Yourself as a Photographer

How to Protect Yourself as a Photographer

Photo by hessam nabavi on Unsplash

It seems that every other day I’m seeing a news story about a photographer getting taken advantage of. Whenever you work with the public, it’s important to be vigilant. But, how do you protect yourself as a photographer? 

There are the basics, like making sure everyone you’re meeting and working for are who they say they are, and then there are the legal ways to protect yourself as a photographer.  

This list about learning how to protect yourself as a photographer is going to walk you through both.  

Editor's Tip: Looking for ways to survive as a freelancer in the age of Coronavirus? Check out these 8 tips to survive the Coronavirus outbreak.

Get Insurance

protect yourself as a photographer 1

photo byChalirmpoj Pimpisarn via iStock

I’ve talked pretty extensively about the importance of photography insurance here. But, photography insurance could be the only thing preventing your business from going under if a variety of unforeseen disasters happen.  

Photography insurance is also inexpensive, so there’s no reason for you to keep putting it off. 

full frame insurance

I’ve purchased photography insurance from Full Frame Insurance for the past few years and I love it for two reasons: you can buy photography insurance online and you don’t have to talk to a single person to do it. 

Like most photographers, I’m not a huge fan of salespeople. I’m not very confrontational and that style of communication makes me anxious, which is one of the reasons I told myself in prior years that photography insurance wasn’t necessary.

Thankfully, Full Frame allows you to get a quote for your photography business and purchase your photography insurance all at once. It takes just a few minutes, too!

protect yourself as a photographer 2

photo byskynesher via iStock

Better still, they offer you flexibility in terms of the policies you purchase. 

For example, you can buy a short-term policy for a gig that’s one to three days in length, or you can opt for annual coverage if that makes more sense for you.

Full Frame offers general liability insurance, camera equipment insurance, and even drone insurance, too.

In other words, Full Frame Insurance is your one-stop shop for all the coverages you need. The top-notch customer service, excellent prices, and quick and easy process to get ensured are just icing on the cake!

fullframe

 

Recommended Photography Business Reading:

 

Meet Potential Clients in Person

photography insurance 3

photo bymediaphotos via iStock

Another way you can protect yourself as a photographer is by meeting any potential clients in person. I don’t suggest meeting new clients at your studio, unless it's in a business park. You should meet potential clients in a heavily trafficked area, like a coffee shop.  

Meeting clients in person ensures they are who they say they are. It also allows you to better understand exactly what they’re looking for in a photographer. 

Besides, meeting in a more formal location to casually get to know one another can help you connect with this potential client, and that will pay dividends during their session later on.

Learn More:

Build a Foolproof Contract

photography insurance 4

 photo byskynesher via iStock

This is another way to protect yourself as a photographer that I’ve mentioned on PhotographyTalk before. Contracts are essential, yet oftentimes I find photographers using contracts they got off of the internet and don’t fully understand.  

Your contract should reflect your business and as such it makes the most sense to build one yourself. 

Taylor Jackson walks you through exactly how to build a contract specifically for photographers, which should include clauses about deliverables and last-minute turnaround fees. 

Your contract should be too specific rather than not specific enough. While writing a contract isn’t as fun as being out shooting photos, it’s a necessary component of a legitimate photography business. Take the time now to develop a bulletproof contract, and you can breathe easier when - not if - something goes awry with a client.

Use a Model Release

photography gear 5

Photo by Dom Hill on Unsplash 

If I’m being honest, I didn’t really understand the purpose of a model release for the first few years I worked in photography simply because I didn’t need one. Now, this may be the case for you, but a model release is one of the legal considerations for photographers you need to examine.  

Brendan van Son describes exactly how you know whether you need a model release, and then explains how to build one.

Just like having a solid contract is a must, having a proper model release form is hugely important. One lawsuit can completely destroy your business! Again, it’s better to be too careful and too specific when creating your model release form.

Buy Gear From a Trusted Source

photography gear 6

photo by EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER via iStock 

In a perfect world, you could buy brand new gear every time and receive warranties on your photography gear. Unfortunately, new photography gear is expensive and out of reach for many.  

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still protect yourself. You just need to do more research on where you’re purchasing your used gear from. 

gearfocus website

I started using Gear Focus a few years ago because they have some of the lowest seller fees in the photography industry, but soon realized they also had a great selection of used photography gear. 

Gear Focus also employs a slew of photographers and videographers to watch over their site and to ensure every seller is legitimate. That’s a nice layer of protection to ensure you aren’t getting scammed. 

You can contact the seller right within the Gear Focus website, ask questions, and if there’s a problem, Gear Focus has mediation services to ensure the transaction is fair. Nice, right?

There are many ways you can protect yourself as a photographer, and buying your gear from an established company is a great one. Combined with the tips I’ve discussed above, you are in a great position to carry on with your photography knowing that you have multiple methods by which you can protect yourself and your investment.

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


How to Sell Your Used Camera Gear

How to Sell Your Used Camera Gear

 photo by vorDa via iStock

As we barrel toward 2020, it’s hard not to think of how much photography has changed over the last decade.

We have smartphones now that have 50-megapixel sensors. Mirrorless cameras have become mainstream. Today’s cameras are as much video cameras as they are for stills.

Along with the technological changes, how we buy and sell photography gear has changed as well.

The last camera I bought in a physical camera store was probably my Nikon D750 back in 2014. Online shopping has taken over for me (and a lot of you) in terms of where we buy our cameras, lenses, and other accessories.

But how we sell used gear has changed, too, and that’s what I want to talk about in this article.

The eBay Era

sell used camera gear 

photo by Henadzi Pechan via iStock 

I used to be obsessed with eBay. If I had camera gear to sell (or anything to sell, for that matter), eBay was my first choice.

And while I successfully sold a lot of stuff on eBay back in the day, their huge fees were always a thorn in my side. 

I mean, I get that they have overhead, but between eBay’s cut and PayPal’s cut, I wasn’t getting nearly what I should in terms of profit from selling my gear.

The other issue I had with eBay was how complex it was just to list an item for sale.

With a gazillion categories to choose from, you really have to be dialed in and ensure you list your items in the appropriate spots, otherwise people looking for those items might not even find yours in their search results. 

It was complicated, no doubt. That’s why I started using Craigslist.

The Craigslist Era

how to sell your used camera gear 1

Once I gave up on eBay for selling my used camera gear, I started using Craigslist.

From a usability standpoint, I found Craigslist to be much easier than eBay.

Where an eBay listing might’ve taken me half an hour to put together, I could have my gear on Craigslist in about half that time. And since I live in the Los Angeles area, Craigslist gave me a huge audience of potential buyers.

Of course, Craigslist had some issues of its own that made it a less-than-ideal forum for selling things. 

how to sell your used camera gear 2

For starters, it’s always a little uncomfortable meeting someone you don’t know so they can look at your expensive photography gear. Questions run through your mind about whether the buyer is legit or if they consider you an easy target to rob. 

I’m not saying that every buyer on Craigslist is a danger or a criminal; far from it. But those thoughts do enter your mind. 

Additionally, there’s just so many scams on Craigslist. It’s exhausting, really! Even if a potential buyer isn’t trying to scam you, I found that I had to deal with low-ball offers and hagglers much more on Craigslist than I did on eBay.

So, again, the platform I was using to sell my old gear just didn’t tick all the boxes.

But today, there are far better options to sell your used camera gear.

The Gear Focus Era

gearfocus website

Gear Focus is my go-to for selling my used gear these days because it addresses the issues I had with eBay and Craigslist.

The expense of eBay was one of its biggest downfalls, but Gear Focus allows you to list your items for free, and when they sell (and only when they sell) do you pay a 3.5% fee. You won’t find a lower seller fee anywhere!

Better still, Gear Focus LOVES to give away camera gear! They have already giving away a Canon 6D MKII with lens kit, a DJI 4K Osmo Pocket, the new DJI Mavic Mini and there current giveaway is the beloved Panasonic GH5 with Lens kit! To encourage sellers, every qualifying  item you list counts as one entry into the giveaway!

how to sell your used camera gear 4

The other problem with eBay - the sheer amount of time it took to create a listing - is also resolved by Gear Focus.

It literally takes just minutes to sign up, create a listing, and post your item for sale. This is a huge benefit for anyone listing gear, but particularly for folks like me that often rotate gear through my collection and have multiple listings that need to be created.

how to sell your used camera gear 3

Gear Focus also addresses my complaints about Craigslist.

Not only are the sales transactions handled via Gear Focus (so there’s no meeting shady folks in person to conduct the sale), but they have safeguards in place to prevent scams.

For example, Gear Focus has admins that are photographers and videographers, so they can spot red flags in listings from a mile away. That’s excellent peace of mind when you use their platform to buy used gear.

Gear Focus helps sellers as well by providing assistance for setting accurate prices. All you have to do is contact their knowledgeable staff, and they’ll help you set a price for your gear that is reflective of its condition. The more accurately you price your gear, the more likely it is to sell, and the more likely the buyer is to be happy with their purchase.

gearfocus benefits

In other words, Gear Focus is a community of photographers and videographers that are trying to make the experience of buying and selling gear one that is as smooth and productive as possible.

Without huge fees, laborious listing procedures, or scammers, Gear Focus has been a breath of fresh air for selling my old camera gear.

If you have photography or videography equipment you no longer need, give Gear Focus a try. If you’re like me, you’ll find that it’s the most efficient, secure, and easiest way to sell your stuff!

 



We Recommend


Is the Canon 5D Mark III Still Worth It in 2020?

Is the Canon 5D Mark III Still Worth It in 2020

Photo by William Bayreuther on Unsplash

The Canon 5D Mark III is going on 8 years old, which if you read this site regularly, you’ll know is a sweet spot for getting a camera that has all the features beginner photographers need while saving a ton of money.

The Canon 5D Mark III, just like its follow-up, the Mark IV, features incredibly detailed images in both RAW and JPG and offers full HD video. 

The one complaint I had about the Canon 5D Mark III when it came out was that it was a bit pricey, but nearly a decade later and this may be the perfect full-frame DSLR for you. 

Let’s dive into our Canon 5D Mark III review. 

Canon 5D Mark III Specs

Canon 5D Mark III Specs

The Canon 5D Mark III features impressive specs for a camera of this age, including a 3” LCD with over 1M-dots, full HD video, and a 22.3MP sensor.

The camera also functions as a good wedding or travel camera because it offers great low-light shooting.

Jon Rettinger covers all there is to love, and a few things to not, in his overview above. 

Other Canon 5D Mark III Specs:

  • 22.3MP sensor
  • Full 1080p HD video capabilities
  • ISO range of 100-25,600
  • 61-point AF system
  • 6fps burst mode
  • 3.2” LCD with 1.04M-dots
  • 1.9 lbs
  • Weather-sealed body

Recommended 5D Mark III Books

Canon 5D Mark III Body & Design

Canon 5D Mark III Body Design

The Canon 5D Mark III features a slightly smaller screen, 3.2”, than other Canon DSLRs, but this doesn’t mean Canon left out the customizable controls. 

All of your shooting settings can be set with only your right hand, which is grand for me, but wouldn’t be for anyone who is left-handed and generally left out of camera designs. 

It also features dual card slots, a live view/video switch you can easily get to with your thumb, and some buttons that were new on this camera, like Picture Styles, Multiple Exposure, and HDR. 

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Canon 5D Mark III Build & Handling

Canon 5D Mark III Build Handling

The Canon 5D Mark III is built with magnesium alloy and polycarbonate, making it light but sturdy.

The body is dust and weather-sealed, fairly efficiently, and there is a rubber-textured grip for your fingers to ensure you can keep a tight hold on it.

It is a little bigger than similar cameras that have come out in the past few years, which is to be expected, but it still weighs under 2 lbs so it should be comfortable for just about everyone. 

Canon 5D Mark III Video Performance

Chad Soriano walks you through a variety of shots with his video test above.

While the Canon 5D Mark III doesn’t feature 4K video, and so probably isn’t the camera for videographers, it does feature Full HD video and can shoot for up to 30 minutes at a time. 

Chad Soriano walks you through a variety of shots with his video test above.

While the Canon 5D Mark III doesn’t feature 4K video, and so probably isn’t the camera for videographers, it does feature Full HD video and can shoot for up to 30 minutes at a time. 

As Joshua Zucker showcases, this camera’s low-light capabilities are best exemplified when shooting video. It can shoot at 30, 25, or 24fps.

Canon 5D Mark III Price

gearfocus website

Since the Canon 5D Mark III is so old it is no longer available new, but Gear Focusfeatures multiple Canon 5D Mark IIIs starting at $800. 

And, since Gear Focus is a marketplace made by photographers, for photographers, if you don’t see the exact version of this DSLR you want today, it may be on the site tomorrow. 

I use Gear Focus when I’m looking for a good deal, but don’t want to get ripped off by sellers. That’s because unlike Craigslist, Gear Focus has built-in fraud protections so you can buy with confidence.

In fact, all orders and transactions on Gear Focus are monitored by seasoned photographers and videographers who keep an eye out for fraud. What’s more, sellers on the site are securely verified via email and phone before they’re allowed to list a single item. If that doesn’t give you confidence to buy on Gear Focus, I don’t know what will!

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Mirrorless vs DSLR: Which is Best for You in 2020?

Mirrorless vs DSLR Which is Best for You in 2020

 photo bymirsad sarajlic via iStock

The mirrorless vs. DSLR debate has been raging for nearly a decade now, which is surprising to me because it felt like the longest decade ever.  

But, do you know whether to buy a mirrorless or DSLR in 2020? 

With this guide, you’ll learn all about the differences between these types of cameras so you can make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

So, What’s a DSLR?

mirrorless vs dslr 1

Photo by Chris F from Pexels

I suppose before we can get into the mirrorless vs. DSLR debate, you need to understand what each camera is and does. 

A DSLR can be thought of like a step up from the 35mm film cameras you may have used to shoot with back in the day. There is a mirror located inside a DSLR that allows light to bounce onto a prism and then into the viewfinder so that you can see what your shot looks like. 

Whenever you’re ready to take your photo and press the shutter button, the mirror flips up to allow light in through your lens so the image can be recorded on the camera’s sensor. 

Because of the space needed to incorporate the mirror, DSLRs tend to have larger, bulkier bodies than their mirrorless counterparts. 

Sure, So What’s a Mirrorless?

mirrorless or dslr in 2020 2

Well, it’s obviously a camera without a mirror. As such, mirrorless bodies tend to be smaller and lighter than DSLRs.

Additionally, a mirrorless camera allows light to stream in through your lens directly onto the image sensor, which is then displayed on the rear LCD or the electronic viewfinder. This allows you to see the image preview and make necessary adjustments to the camera settings before you take the shot.

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

Mirrorless Vs DSLR Size and Weight

best mirrorless camera for 2020 3

 photo byEXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER via iStock

If you’re looking to purchase either a mirrorless or DSLR in 2020, then there are multiple factors you need to consider, one of which is the relative size of each camera. 

Since DSLRs technically have more parts, they are usually slightly larger than mirrorless cameras.  

However, you also need to consider the other camera gear you will be using with your cameras, like lenses. While mirrorless cameras are technically smaller, most of their lenses are about the same size as the more conventional DSLR lenses.  

So, while you may be saving yourself a few ounces or inches when it comes to the camera body, it may not matter much considering your other photography gear.  

Mirrorless Vs DSLR in Low Light

best dslr for 2020 4

 photo bygeorgeclerk via iStock

Traditionally, DSLRs have had much better low light shooting capacity, but this is changing as the mirrorless vs. DSLR debate rages on and manufacturers are racing to create better products.

For instance, the Sony Alpha a6500is a mirrorless camera known for its low-light shooting, with an ISO range of up to 51,000.

But, it truly depends upon the type of camera you have. Whenever you purchase a camera with a larger sensor, whether it’s a mirrorless or DSLR, that camera will be better able to shoot without much natural light. This means that a camera with a full frame sensor will have greater low-light capabilities than one with an APS-C sensor. 

Learn More:

Mirrorless vs DSLR Video Quality

photography gear 5

 photo bySladic via iStock

This is the first category where mirrorless cameras reign supreme in the mirrorless vs. DSLR debate.  

Mirrorless cameras are typically much better for shooting film because they can use phase detection while shooting, whereas a DSLR’s mirror gets in the way so it has to use the less accurate contrast-detection focus method of shooting.

This is why most mirrorless cameras, like the Fujifilm X-T30, can shoot incredible 4K video with high-end AF systems. 

Now, just because mirrorless cameras are typically better for shooting video, that doesn’t mean DSLRs are completely out of the race.

For instance, the Nikon D780 was just named as the “most serious DSLR for video yet” by Engadget. 

It can shoot in 4K with eye-tracking phase-detect autofocus and full pixel readout. 

Mirrorless vs DSLR Shooting Speed

camera gear 6

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Again, this is one subject that mirrorless cameras typically rock out. Because of the lack of a mirror to get in the way of taking one photo after another after another, mirrorless cameras typically have faster shutter speeds and higher frames per second.  

For example, the Canon EOS R mirrorless camera features the world’s fastest high-speed focusing at just 0.05 seconds and can shoot as fast as 1/8000th second for up to 8fps.  

However, high-end DSLRs can compete with mirrorless cameras, you may just need to pay a little more for it.  

For instance, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, which I think is the best DSLR for 2020, also shoots as fast as 1/8000th second at up to 10fps. 

Mirrorless vs DSLR Battery Life

Mirrorless vs DSLR Battery Life

 photo byAlexthq via iStock

If you’re looking for photography gear to travel with, and you’re concerned about having access to power regularly, then you should definitely purchase a DSLR.

DSLRs last much longer on each battery charge because they don’t need to use an EVF or LCD screen, whereas a mirrorless camera does, and those features use a ton of power. 

However, I always recommend having an extra battery regardless of the type of camera you purchase, so it doesn’t make that much difference in the long run. 

Mirrorless vs DSLR Lenses

Mirrorless vs DSLR Lenses

Photo by ShareGrid on Unsplash

This is yet another reason to side with DSLRs in 2020, they’ve simply been around longer so there are way more lenses to choose from. 

Granted, this is bound to change with the influx of mirrorless cameras the market is seeing.

gearfocus website

You might be able to pick up any of the cameras I’ve mentioned in this article on Gear Focus. Since Gear Focus is a used camera resale store, you’ll find cheaper options than anywhere else.

But, since Gear Focus is run by professional photographers, you won’t need to give up quality for a discount. Their team constantly monitors listings in the site to ensure that each transaction is legitimate and satisfies both the seller and the buyer. 

Try searching for any of the above cameras right here on their site. 

Learn More:

 



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Photography Business Tip: Things Photographers Can Do During Stay-at-Home Orders

Photography Business Tip Things Photographers Can Do During Stay at Home Orders

photo by scyther5 via iStock

While I’ve been under my stay-at-home orders in California for weeks, I’ve been trying to read at least one photography business tip everyday. As difficult as it can be to try and stay motivated during this time, I want to come out of this pandemic and be more productive as a photographer. 

A lot of these photography tips during the pandemic focus on building new streams of revenue, because if you’re going to be stuck at home then you may as well learn how to make more money as a photographer through the internet.  

Plus, most of my photography friends are struggling financially now because much of our most busy season was cut short.  

So, here is a short list of photography tips you can use during the pandemic.  

Table of Contents

Get Creative

Huge shout out to Nicolas Doretti for the helpful video that teaches you how to do a number of photography tricks, from levitation shots to working with beautiful shadows.

Although this doesn’t technically fall into the “photography business tip” theme of this article, I think remaining creative while being cooped inside is really important because it will help you to keep your spirits up so you can actually process information from your daily photography business tip. 

One of my favorite ideas from this video is to use a colander to filter natural light streaming in through your windows to create more unique portraits. 

But you can really use any interesting objects that only let some light through, like lace

photography business tip 1

 photo by mediaphotos via iStock 

Another interesting idea is to do what everyone is doing and pull out your old Christmas lights, tangle your model (which could very well be your dog) in them, and snap away.  

All photography tips during the pandemic need to keep you inside, and all of the tips from the above video do. Make sure to watch it for more. 

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

Be Productive 

make more money as a photographer 2

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash 

If you are like 95% of the photographers I know, then your equipment looks nowhere near as organized as the photography gear in the photo above. And that sucks, because it means you have photography gear you own but you aren’t using. 

Tackle one bag (or, if you’re like me, one closet) at a time and divy up your photography gear into three piles: one for gear you use all the time, one for gear you use on occasion, and one for gear you haven’t used in the past year.

Then, take the gear you haven’t used in the past year and make more money as a photographer by selling it to purchase new gear that will allow you to offer your clients new products (like maybe a drone). 

gearfocus website

I’m doing the same thing this week and I’m selling my old gear on Gear Focus. 

Gear Focus is great because it’s owned by creatives, which means they understand the frustrations of using traditional sales methods like Craigslist or eBay. The risk of scams on Craigslist and huge fees on eBay are primary reasons why Gear Focus was built the way it was.

So, not only are their fraud protections in place to ensure buyers and sellers on the site are protected, but Gear Focus also has one of the lowest seller fees in the industry (at just 3.5%). 

Best of all, it’s free to join Gear Focus, and free to list as many items as you want. Seller fees only kick in when your item sells.

Give it a go, and you’ll see just how easy it is to sell your old, unused gear and make a little cash!

Learn More:

Focus on Making Working From Home Better

I did a video a little while ago with everyone’s least favorite photography business tip: learning how to work from home as a creative. 

I covered 11 tips (and you should definitely watch the video to see them all), but I think the two most important are to make sure you’re sticking to a regular schedule and to make sure you have a dedicated work space.  

None of the tips in the video require you to spend any money and all of them will make your experience over the next few weeks more meaningful and more comfortable. What’s not to like about that?!

Stay Connected

be more productive as a photographer 3

Photo by visuals on Unsplash 

This is the perfect time to ensure your clients know exactly what your photography business is doing during the pandemic. I know I tend to neglect my social media presence (especially during my busy times). 

Social media check-ups aren’t my favorite part of my business, but in times like these when businesses are shuttering it is essential for you to keep your clients updated on what your next steps are.  

While you’re at it, you can also host some online events for your clients to either educate them about parts of your photographic process or do some giveaways, but the important thing is that you need to strive to over-communicate. 

 

For another photography business tip about staying connected, make sure you check out the video above. I’ve included lots of other tips on how to improve your photography business too!

Find Ways to Make More Money

For another photography business tip about staying connected, make sure you check out the video above. I’ve included lots of other tips on how to improve your photography business too!

Find Ways to Make More Money

If you don’t currently have an online store, now is the time to set one up. While you may not be able to photograph your clients in-person, you could still sell your services for a later date (at a discount) or sell prints of your favorite pieces all from the comfort of your house. 

While you’re already on your computer, you can also sell your photography on some stock websites or reach out to clients you’ve worked with in the past to remind them of your services. 

For more tips on how to make more money as a photographer, make sure you check out the video above. 

Learn More:

 



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Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Photography Gear

Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Photography Gear

 photo by Alberto Gagliardi via iStock  

Selling your photography gear doesn’t have to be so stressful. I know because I thought it was and I made the mistake of letting my camera gear sit in a closet, getting older and losing value, more times than once.

Not to be preachy, but you’re never going to learn how to sell used cameras if you keep putting it off. Plus, with so many resale websites specifically for used camera gear, you truly have no excuses. 

But, that doesn’t mean that you can create a horrible post and expect to sell your used camera gear. Unfortunately, these types of posts are the ones I see most often on camera gear resale sites. 

So, in light of the New Year, figure out how to sell used gear to make some money for new gear, but don’t make these mistakes while doing so. 

Not Highlighting the Flaws in Your Camera Gear

selling your photography gear

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Nobody is expecting your Kodak from the 1970s to be in mint condition. 

If you’re really interested in selling your photography gear, then you need to be honest about its condition, because if you aren’t, that person is going to return the gear and you’re going to need to start from scratch.

But, being honest about the condition your gear is in doesn’t mean that you can’t still take beautiful photos of it.  

Take the above picture as an example. It is a clearly well-loved camera. There are scratches on the lens and sun damage on its body, and yet the photo only showcases its character. 

Taking Forever to Respond to Prospective Buyers 

how to sell used lenses

 photo by BongkarnThanyakij via iStock 

Think about selling your photography gear in a different way. Think about it from the buyer’s perspective. Is there anything more frustrating than reaching out about some used gear that caught your eye and then not hearing back for a week?

In the age of Amazon Prime and same-day shipping, we are accustomed to 24-hour customer service and while I’m not advocating for this, it may be a good idea to make sure your notifications on your phone are on so you at least know when someone is trying to reach out. 

The downside of our competitive market is that if you don’t get back in a timely fashion, your prospective buyer will find someone else to buy from.

You might not be a customer service rep in real life, but when you’re trying to sell gear, you need to put on your customer service hat and give interested buyers rapid responses to their questions.

In addition to being timely with responses to buyers, you also want to be sure your camera gear is as clean as possible before you list it for sale.

Not sure how to clean your gear? Get some tips for doing so in the video above by Gear Focus.

Selling Your Photography Gear With No Photos

how to sell photography gear 

photo byAlexRaths via iStock

My personal pet peeve is when a photographer tries to sell their used photography gear with either no pictures or only using the manufacturer’s pictures. 

When you’re selling your photography gear, please use at least 8 photos of your actual camera or lens.

I’d much rather see boring product photos than no product photos at all.

I know what a Canon EOS 1-DX looks like, but what does yours look like? 

 

Editor’s Tip: What does it take to sell your gear online? Find out some trade secrets that will help you sell your gear faster!

 

Being Vague in Your Description

how to sell used cameras

  photo by iBrave via iStock

I also hate when people write about two lines in their product description. If I’m going to spend $1,500 on a new camera body from you and you can’t bother to tell me any information about the history of that camera, then I’m going to choose another buyer.

A good product post should be between 300 and 500 words and should include information about where you bought the camera originally (whether you bought it new or secondhand), what the shutter count is, any physical damage to the camera, and whether your package is body-only or comes with any add-ons.

Finally, you’re going to need a place to post your incredible product description and that place should be Gear Focus. 

gearfocus website

Gear Focus is a used camera marketplace that is seller-focused, meaning it’s easy for you to list your gear and the most profitable place to do it.

Take their fees as a perfect example: Their seller fees are also some of the lowest in the used camera gear community at just 3.5%. That means more money in your pocket at the end of the day!

Gear Focus protects your money, too, whereas other resale websites like eBay don’t. And since Gear Focus employs seasoned photographers, you know there’s a knowledgeable helping hand when you need it (and they’re always on the lookout for scams, which is nice too). 

Seriously...if you have used gear, head over to Gear Focus and see how easy it is to sell your old stuff. Good luck selling your photography gear in the new year! 

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Selling Your Camera Gear 101: Tips for Cleaning, Packing & Shipping

Selling Your Camera Gear 101 Tips for Cleaning Packing Shipping

 photo byPeopleImages via iStock

Selling your camera gear can actually be pretty stressful... 

You’re concerned about getting ripped off because selling a camera online through the classic methods, like Craigslist or eBay, means you’re a prime target for scammers.

Plus, you’re worried about getting the most money you can since your gear has already depreciated in value while you’ve owned it.

To maximize the chances of your gear selling for top dollar and to minimize the chances that the gear will be damaged in shipping, you need to learn the proper ways to clean your camera and package it for shipment. 

Thankfully, the guys over at Gear Focus, a leading camera resale website, created videos to walk you through these important parts of selling your camera gear. 

How to Clean Your Gear

As Gear Focus points out in their video, you’d be pretty upset if a used camera you just bought arrived at your door with fingerprints and dust. So don’t do it to someone else, especially when learning how to clean a camera takes only 5 minutes. 

Before you start, make sure you have the following:

Start by brushing dust off of the glass, so that you don’t accidentally scratch your lens by dragging dust across it with a microfiber cloth. 

Next, very gently wipe your microfiber cloth in circular motions across the glass. You don’t want to press too hard and accidentally take the protective coating off.

Now that your lens is clean, you’ll want to start on your camera body by gently wiping the lens brush across any crevices.

Next, just like with the lens, you can use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe any smudges off of the camera body.

Once the camera is aesthetically appealing, you’ll want to move on to cleaning the sensor.

It’s very important that you tilt the camera body with the sensor facing the ground, that way any dust or debris falls out of the camera and harmlessly to the floor. Then, you’ll use the rocket blower to puff any dust out of the sensor. 

Do not let your rocket blower touch the sensor or any internal parts on the camera.

Once your sensor is completely free of dust, you’re ready to package your camera gear for shipping!

Learn More:

How to Pack Your Gear When It Sells

Gear Focus points out in their video above that you’ll want to package your gear differently if you’re sending a lens versus if you’re sending both a lens and a camera body.

But, regardless, you’ll need the following items:

  • Proper sized box
  • Bubble wrap or newspaper
  • Packing tape
  • Optional: printer and scale

Firstly, wrap your lens in one layer of bubble wrap. Then, create a cradle out of newspaper in your shipping box so that you can set your lens right in the middle so it won’t jostle around and hit the box during shipping. 

Then, put more newspaper on top of your lens and pack it tightly before closing the box.

It’s helpful for you for insurance purposes to take multiple photos of this process, so that if anything happens during shipping you will have proof that your item was in perfect condition when you boxed it up.

Now, if you’re looking to package your camera gear together for shipping, you’ll want to start in the exact same way as the process above. Wrap your lens in bubble wrap. Then, wrap your camera body in bubble wrap. 

You’ll also place both items in a little nest of newspaper, but it’s really important that you place some newspaper between your lens and camera body so that they also don’t bump into each other during shipping. 

You should be all good to go! Make sure you ask your shipping carrier to place a “fragile” sticker on your box. 

Shipping Tips for Photography Gear

selling your camera gear

 photo by gorodenkoff via iStock 

Purchase insurance. I can’t say it enough. If you’re selling your camera gear, chances are it’s worth more than the nominal $50 insurance most shipping carriers include in their pricing structure and you do not want to be responsible for repaying your buyer if your lens breaks due to a careless delivery driver.

Also, include tracking. Depending upon your shipping carrier, it may be more expensive, but that peace of mind is always worth it. 

Once your camera is ready to be shipped, make sure you use a trusted and secure resale website, like Gear Focus, to sell your camera gear. 

There’s a reason Gear Focus makes videos outlining how to ship photography gear safely - they actually care. Gear Focus is a group of photographers and videographers dedicated to reducing seller fees and creating a safe place for photographers to do business. 

In fact, they have some of the smallest seller fees on the market at just 3.5%, which means more cash in your pocket at the end of the day.  

Plus, you can rest assured that your buyer is verified and there is a full staff of photographers who are on stand-by in case anything goes wrong.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your old gear, clean it and package it up, and get it sold on Gear Focus!

Learn More: 

 



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Selling Your Camera the Easy Way

Selling Your Camera the Easy Way

Photo by Reinhart Julian on Unsplash

Have you ever purchased a used camera? It can be difficult to sift through bad pictures of cameras, dirty cameras, and posts with absolutely no information in them.

Why are photographers so bad at selling their old equipment? You would think a photographer could take a good picture of their camera kit. 

Selling your camera doesn’t need to be difficult, though. In fact, there are more sites that cater to selling your camera now than ever before. 

Now all you need is to learn how to sell used camera gear. 

Clean Your Kit

As Peter McKinnon showcases, the best tip for selling your camera is to clean it properly before you even put it online.

Lenses with fingerprints, viewfinders with a layer of dust, and pieces of debris stuck in your hot shoe mount all say the same thing to any potential buyers: you don’t care about this camera.

And if you don’t care about your camera while selling it, then of course the next logical assumption is that you also didn’t care about your camera while using it. 

selling your camera 1

Photo by Math on Unsplash 

You’ll know your camera is clean after you’ve hit all of the major components: take a microfibre cloth to the screen and viewfinder, use air to clear out the hot shoe mount, and clear any gaps of dust. 

Cleaning the sensor and mirror (if your camera has one) can be a scary task, but it’s necessary to clean these delicate items if you intend to sell your camera for top dollar.

Don’t Lie in Your Post

selling your camera 2

photo by vorDa via iStock 

It’s so frustrating when someone lies in a post they put online where they’re trying to sell something, but this frustration is only increased tenfold when the thing they are selling is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

If you’re truly trying to sell your camera quickly, then the worst way to do so is to embellish your post about it because as soon as the buyer receives it, they’re going to send it right back. 

You’ll want to include info about the number of actuations, or shots the camera has taken, whether there are any scratches or dents on the body, and what shape the lens is in.  

One trick I’ve found with my sales post is this: I’ll write up the post, being as honest as possible, and then let one of my friends read that post before showing them the camera. I’ll ask them questions like, “Would you be happy if this came in the mail based on the post about it?” 

Include All of Your Extras 

selling your camera 3

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash 

Have memory cards that don’t fit your new camera? Throw them in with your old camera.  

Freebies allow you to remain competitive, while also being eco-friendly. I know my junk drawer is filled with old tech that’s going to end up in a landfill eventually; why not put that equipment to good use?

selling photography gear 1

Photo by Owen Young on Unsplash 

Some examples of extras I’ve included with a camera sale before are:

  • Memory cards and memory card holders
  • Extra batteries
  • Camera cleaning kits
  • Straps
  • Old powerbanks 

Basically, if I know I won’t use it again and I know I can’t sell it by itself, I’ll include it with my camera. 

Use Good Images

selling photography gear 2

Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash 

It hurts me so much to go browsing used cameras and need to sift through horrific photos of those cameras.

We are photographers. I understand product photography might not be your niche, but there are some rules you need to follow with a sales post online, especially since nobody reads product descriptions before seeing product photos.

I’m of the belief that taking boring product photos on a white background isn’t necessarily the best way to go because I like to see pictures of equipment in their natural environments, like the photo above. 

Regardless of your background, though, you’ll need to use a lot of natural light or a studio flash, you’ll need to nicely arrange your camera alongside its extras, and you’ll need to do a little post-editing to ensure you have balanced exposure throughout.

how to sell used camera gear 1 

Photo by Math on Unsplash 

Additionally, you need to ensure every single angle of your camera is captured. For many of my posts, I’ll have over a dozen shots. A good example of this is to look at a new camera on a camera manufacturer’s website, like Canon or Sony. Try and replicate the shots they have of their products, this way you don’t forget any angles. 

Ship Your Gear Safely

Perfect Image Camera understands that half the trouble with selling photography gear is packaging photography gear for transport.  

There is nothing more disheartening than hearing your camera got injured on its journey to its new home, especially because that means you’ll probably end up paying for it if you didn’t have insurance. 

how to sell used camera gear 2

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash 

You’ll want to include an excess of bubble wrap, use a correctly sized box, and print the shipping label, as opposed to handwriting it because this leaves room for error.

Lastly, I mentioned insurance. Make sure to purchase it if your courier doesn’t already guarantee its packages. 

Bonus: Choose Where You Want to Sell Your Camera Wisely

gear focus website 

Truly, none of these tips for selling camera gear are going to be helpful if you end up choosing a bad camera resale marketplace.

That’s why I use Gear Focus. Firstly, they were recommended to me by a trusted friend, which is how they’ve picked up most of their business. The marketplace was created by photographers, which means they understand the razor thin margins most professional photographers work on.

Instead of Amazon or eBay which charge over 10% of your sales in fees, Gear Focus only charges 3.5%, plus you can try it free for the first month.  

Additionally, they often have killer specials, so if you list your item for sale, you might be entered to win an awesome prize, like a new camera or a drone. 

Gear Focus is simply a far better idea for selling your gear than the likes of eBay or Craigslist. Trust me...I’ve tried selling on those sites before, and the experience was nowhere near as smooth as Gear Focus!

Learn More:

 



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Spring Cleaning Tips for Photographers

Spring Cleaning Tips for Photographers

 photo byPeopleImages via iStock

Spring cleaning for photographers is a topic we don’t cover enough on PhotographyTalk, because, frankly, it isn’t very sexy. But, it is important. 

Keeping your equipment in tip-top shape will allow you to get the most for it when you eventually sell it to upgrade, plus clean equipment just plain works better! 

In this article, we are going to cover how to clean your camera, how to clean your camera lens, and how to create an inventory if you don’t already have one. 

Clean Your Camera

Our friends over at Gear Focuscreated this video about learning how to clean your camera, but here’s a quick overview:

First, you’ll need a rocket blaster and a microfiber cloth. Use the rocket blaster to gently spray air at the body of your camera to remove large pieces of dirt before taking a microfiber cloth to the body in a circular motion. 

Next, take a separate cloth to your LCD screen to remove any fingerprints.

Make sure your lens cap is on for the entire cleaning session. You don’t want to get any gunk in the camera that might attach itself to the sensor during the cleaning session. 

 

Recommended Photography Reading

 

Find and Clean Your Filters 

spring cleaning for photographers 1

Photo by Roman Koval from Pexels 

If you’re doing a spring cleaning for photographers, then you don’t want to miss any equipment. Your filters will need to get done as well.  

This video by eHowArtsAndCrafts shows you exactly how to clean your filters, but pro tip: you pretty much clean your filters exactly how you would clean the body of your camera. It isn’t rocket science. 

Finding all of your filters, on the other hand, may be.  

Learn More:

Don’t Forget Your Sensor

how to clean your camera 2

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash 

Your camera’s sensor is the most important aspect of your camera, so you want to make sure to include it in your spring cleaning routine. 

Nigel Danson walks you through how to clean your sensor without damaging it. Sensors are incredibly fragile and you don’t want to accidentally touch your sensor while you’re attempting to clean it or your whole camera could be ruined.  

As our pals at Gear Focus noted in their video, you need to clean the camera body as well. 

Just give the body a once-over with a brush to knock any big chunks of dirt or dust away. Then use a microfiber cloth to give the body a good wipe down. 

Update Your Inventory (or Create One)

If you don’t already have an inventory for your business, then this video by David Hay is a good resource for starting one. 

While some tips for photographers lists will tell you to create a fancy inventory, I basically just have a running list of all of my camera equipment in an Excel sheet in case I need it for my insurance.

Find a system that works for you and stick to it. 

Sell Some Old Gear

gearfocus website

Since your equipment all looks brand new now, you should challenge yourself to sell some old camera gear you no longer need on Gear Focus. 

I can’t tell you the amount of money I’ve lost by simply letting equipment sit in a closet instead of going through the hassle of selling it. But, with Gear Focus, it isn’t a hassle.  

Gear Focus has some of the lowest sellers fees available in the industry (less than 4%), which means more money back in your pocket. And now through April 10, 2020, there are ZERO seller fees. It's just one way that the fine folks at Gear Focus are trying to help creatives out during the coronavirus pandemic.

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


Tips for Buying a Used DSLR

Tips for Buying a Used DSLR

 photo byArisSu via iStock

Buying a used DSLR doesn’t need to take hours out of your schedule. In fact, if you use a reputable online used camera dealer, it can be as easy as a few minutes.

The last used camera purchase I made took me less than a half hour and it was shipped right to my door.

However, in order to make this purchase the easiest one of your career, you need to know a few tips for buying a used DSLR. 

Check the Shutter Count 

If you don’t understand how to check the shutter count on a DSLR, this video by SuperUser TechMods is very helpful. 

The shutter count should be the first thing you check when buying a used camera. It literally tells you how many photos the camera has taken throughout its life, but it essentially tells you how beat up the camera is. 

The best part about this tip is that nobody can lie about it, because used DSLRs track their shutter count. It’s basically like the mileage on your car.

buying a used DSLR

Photo by Paul Postema on Unsplash 

Typical DSLRs should last for at least 100,000 shots, while mid and professional grade DSLRs can last up to 300,000. 

You can Google the exact DSLR you are planning to purchase to get the lifetime actuation rating, that way you get a better idea of how much life might be left in the camera before you buy. 

Buy Used Cameras That Are at Least 2 Years Old

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash 

If you’re in the market for a used DSLR, then you surely want to get the best deal on your purchase. You can’t do this if your used DSLR was released less than two years ago. 

Obviously, camera prices drop as they become older. But, again, much like a car, camera prices drop drastically after the first and second years of owning them. 

Plus, when you buy a new DSLR you get a warranty on it. But, if you’re buying a used DSLR that is under two years old, you’re probably buying it right after the warranty ended, which could make the purchase even more expensive than if you had gone with a new camera in the first place. 

buying a used camera 3

Photo by Pavel Anoshin on Unsplash 

Additionally, when buying a used DSLR, buy it in January, April or December which is statistically when prices on used DSLRs are lowest, according to Tom’s Guide. 

Who knew that a little calendar-checking could result in you saving money?!

Test Shoot (or Buy From a Reputable Source)

buying a used camera 4

Photo by Luke Lung on Unsplash 

No matter what you find on your inspection of a used camera, you need to take it for a test shoot.  

Even if you’ve asked all of the typical “questions to ask about used cameras,” a test shoot can reveal a broken LCD, a faulty sensor, or recording problem. 

Steer clear of anyone not willing to let you test shoot. 

gearfocus website

Another option, if you’re looking for the fastest way to buy a used DSLR, is to use a reputable online camera resale site, like Gear Focus

While you can’t test shoot cameras you buy online, you can rest assured that your new camera will be exactly how it was described, unlike places like Craigslist, because you can return it if it isn’t. 

Gear Focus features a 7-day return policy for most of their used cameras.

Additionally, some sellers offer their own warranties through second parties on Gear Focus, which gives you double protection.

Besides, sites like Gear Focus have fraud protections built in, so the community - which was built by photographers, for photographers - already has a leg up on other resale sites.

Get more details about Gear Focus in the video above. 

Learn More:

Check Out the Sensor

Although Theoria Apophasis’ video is an overall take on how to inspect a used camera before buying it, he includes great information about inspecting the camera’s sensor.

Inspecting the sensor is probably the most important part of buying a used DSLR because it’s harder to do than inspecting the body or lens, and a scratch on the sensor completely ruins your shots.

what to look for in a used camera 5

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash 

In order to inspect the sensor, shine a light on it (like from your phone) to ensure there are no visible scratches. 

And understand that sensor problems do happen with older DSLRs. You need to go into the sale understanding what problems you are willing to put up with and which you aren’t. 

Buy From Hobby Photographers

what to look for in a used camera 6

Photo by Korie Cull on Unsplash 

As a professional photographer, I understand this may not make sense and also paints us in a bad light.

But, while professional photographers understand how to store their camera and carry it around more effectively and safely, hobbyists simply don’t shoot as much.

This is especially true of professional photographers who work with other photographers. There may be multiple hands on that camera in any given day, and it goes everywhere with them.

Oftentimes, you can find used DSLRs from amateurs that are barely used at all, and that’s a good thing from a shutter count perspective and from a wear and tear perspective, too.

Learn More:

 



We Recommend


Top Software and Gear Updates That Rocked 2019

Top Software and Gear Updates That Rocked 2019

photo byzeljkosantrac via iStock

It was a great year for photography, particularly on the software and gear fronts.

From camera accessories to post-processing software, camera bags to lighting gear, we saw tons of new, updated, and innovative products and services come to market in 2019.

It would be impossible to review everything that rocked the photography world this year, so we’ve done the next best thing and outlined more than a dozen of our favorite updates below. 

Luminar 4

skylum top software ai sky replacement 

I’ve been a big fan of Luminar going back to when it was called Luminar 2018. And when Luminar 3 came out, I got my copy and began enjoying it immediately.

Now Luminar 4 is here, and with a host of improvements and expanded capabilities, it is the best Luminar yet. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Luminar, let me give you a quick overview… 

It’s chock-full of revolutionary tools that help you create better photos, faster.

That’s thanks in large part to artificial intelligence that drives easy-to-use tools that streamline your workflow yet still give you pinpoint control over how your images look.

Joining tools like the Accent AI Filter and the AI Sky Enhancer from Luminar 3 is a suite of new AI-powered tools that take image editing to a whole new level.

skylum top software ai skin enhancer

For portrait enthusiasts, the AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer tools will revolutionize the way photo editing is done.

Using human-aware technology, the AI Skin Enhancer detects all the skin in a photo, smooths it out, removes blemishes, and does so while preserving the texture of the skin, pores, and hair.

It takes just one click to apply the Skin Enhancers edits, and then with a single slider you can adjust its strength for a picture-perfect result.

The AI Portrait Enhancer gives you a host of tools to quickly and easily make detailed changes to portraits, like whitening teeth and eyes, removing dark circles under eyes, and removing red eye, just to name a few. 

In all, the Portrait Enhancer includes twelve revolutionary tools that turn editing portraits into a process that takes a minute or less!

Luminar 4 has some goodies for landscape photographers as well. 

Primary among them is the AI Sky Replacement tool. 

As its name suggests, this tool replaces the sky in your photos automatically - there’s no masking or selections to be made on your part. 

The selection algorithms work so well, in fact, that it knows to exclude leaves, grass, and animals from the sky selection.

skylum top software sky replacement

Not only that, but this tool relights the entire image, that way the foreground matches the brightness of the new sky.

It’s advancements like this that make Luminar 4 one of the most powerful, easy-to-use editing programs on the planet today.

Need more convincing? Get Luminar 4 today and see for yourself!

Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light

Gone are the days when you have to lug around huge lights to get the key light or fill light you need for awesome portraits.

Instead, companies like Hakutatz have developed powerful pocket-sized LED lights that give you the power to customize the type of lighting to your specific needs.

This particular light has RGB, amber, and white LEDs, so you can add accent colors to your photos and videos or dial in the ideal white balance by using the amber or white lights.

This light is completely adjustable, with controls for saturation, brightness, and color temperature. Better still, you can adjust the light’s settings via a well-designed and user-friendly smartphone app.

That means that with a simple touch or a swipe of your finger, you can fine-tune everything from the RGB color to special effects. You can even control multiple lights at the same time right from the app. No wonder their Kickstarter campaign was such a huge success!

hakutatz 3

Hakutatz literally puts the power to dial in complex lighting schemes in the palm of your hand, and does so in a way that’s clean, simple, and super functional. That’s by this little light rocked the photography world in 2019!

Be on the lookout for Hakutatz’ online store to have these lights in stock in December!

Learn more about the Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light

Hazard 4® Cyclone™

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Framing shots with your action cam in direct sun can be frustrating; glare in your eyes and the camera’s tiny, reflective screen are really fatiguing. Blowing sand, water or snow don’t help. But the best action is shot outside - Cyclone™ is the first real solution.

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This patent-pending optic blocks the sun, but it’s lens also magnifies the screen and protects it. You effectively add mirrorless camera style composition and review to your tiny affordable GoPro or DJI action cam that survive where real mirrorless can’t. Better still, the viewfinder mounts to your action cam’s bottom screw in seconds, so there is no fumbling. But you’ll probably choose to keep it on since this little guy doubles as a tiltable handle - keeping fingers out of frame and for extension. With cheap additional hardware you can even head mount it for hands-free composition while biking, paragliding etc, and it tilts out of the way at will. 

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hazard 4 4

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The simple, waterproof, tough, design accordions flat for easy portability and flattened can be a selfie mini tripod. It has diopter focus - even helping out ageing eyes. The high-vis cap self closes to protect the lens. And you get a tether loop action cams don’t include.

hazard 4 6

Hazard 4® has a reputation for innovating outdoor photo accessories; the Cyclone™ is no exception. As usual they have gone above and beyond to design a multi-functional, easy to use bombproof solution to a common video shooter problem. Perhaps this may push GoPro® or DJI® to finally up the resolution on their LCD’s under magnification and drive the mirrorless wars into the action cam space. Either way, you don’t have to rely on the wide angle lens for your framing anymore- you can actually compose like a pro.

This device is currently on Kickstarter, with a fund date of January 7, 2020. Head over to Kickstarter now to learn more about this device.

The Camera Pack by Nomatic and Peter McKinnon

nomatic camera pack 1

Billed as a “functional camera pack for all types of travelers,” the Camera Pack by Nomatic and Peter McKinnon is certainly worthy of inclusion on this list. 

The Kickstarter campaign to fund this pack had a goal of $100,000. It raised nearly $2.3 million. That speaks to the reputation of Nomatic and Peter McKinnon! 

This bag is ridiculously well designed and has a functionality level that’s off the charts.

It’s designed to cure the woes of travel photographers who have to have one bag for their gear and another bag for their personal items.

nomatic camera pack 2

The Camera Pack solves this problem by having a clothing side and a gear side which are separated by an interior panel. This keeps everything neat and tidy so you aren’t rifling through the entire back when you need something. 

Better still, the bag has a “Cube Pack” inside, which serves as the ideal organizational module within the interior ecosystem. However, as the gif below shows, the Cube Pack converts to a daypack, so if you need to run and gun a little, you don’t have to take the larger Camera Pack with you. Ingenious!

nomatic camera pack 3

Overall, the Camera Pack can hold 35 liters of gear, but can be expanded to accommodate up to 42 liters of gear. That’s a lot of stuff! And with a full clamshell opening, you can see all the gear you’ve stowed away with ease. 

And everything is neatly organized thanks to a main camera compartment with moveable interior dividers. There’s a sleeve for your tablet, pockets for your camera accessories, and quick side access for easy retrieval of gear, too.

nomatic camera pack 4 

On the clothing side, there’s compression cubes for your clothes, compression straps to keep everything where it should be, and more pockets for smaller items.

This is just a really well designed and impeccably built backpack. And with the input of a photography expert like Peter McKinnon, you know that it’s been designed with photography needs in mind. 

Learn more about the Camera Pack by Nomatic and Peter McKinnon

GearFocus.com

gearfocus top software and gear updates 1 

If you buy and sell your used photography gear on places like Craigslist, you’re doing it all wrong. 

That’s because there are much better alternatives that take the hassle out of buying and selling used gear. GearFocus.com is certainly one of the best.

One of the top reasons GearFocus makes our list of the Top Software and Gear Updates is because they focused on building a community where people like you and I can buy quality used gear and get fair market value for stuff we sell.

Unlike other used gear sites, GearFocus doesn’t take a giant chunk of your profits when you sell your gear. Instead, they offer the lowest seller fees among B2C and C2C marketplaces, which means more money in your pocket when your item sells.

Additionally, GearFocus ensures each transaction is safe and secure by screening and monitoring every single post and transaction. Gear Focus was made by creatives, for creatives and they’ve been in this business long enough to be able to spot suspicious listings and red flags from a mile away. Without scammers creating fake listings, the buying and selling experience is enhanced so you can get the best deal on used gear and the most money for the items you sell.

Heck, they’ll even intervene on your behalf if something goes wrong! Having that kind of peace of mind alone is enough to land these guys on this list!

It’s not often that you find companies like this that prioritize community building and supporting one another over making a buck. That focus on customer service is just the icing on the cake for patrons of GearFocus. They are here to help FEED YOUR PASSION! 

Learn more about GearFocus.com

Litra Studio 

To say that the Litra Studio is powerful is an understatement. 

Weighing in at just 33.5 ounces and measuring 5.5" x 3.9" x 2.9", the Litra Studio is certainly easily transported without taking up a ton of space in your camera bag.

But don’t let its small size fool you - this light can produce over one million unique colors that will help you light up your portraits and videos.

litra studio 2

The Litra Studio can produce up to 3,000 lumens of continuous light and up to 6,00 lumens of flash. In CCT mode, you get 2,000-10,00K adjustable bi-color lighting with green and magenta color shift controls to allow for tunable blue and green screen optimization.

On top of that, this light is fully tunable and dimmable, and offers CCT, HSI, RGBWW, gel presets, flash modes, and effects, too.

The light it produces is clean and flicker-free at all shutter angles. The CRI and TLCI of 97 speak to its impeccable color accuracy.

Litra even made sure this light is rugged and durable. It’s waterproof, has highly efficient passive thermal management, and offers up to 20 hours of battery life on the low setting.

That makes this a go-anywhere, do-anything light that made huge waves in the photography world this year.

Learn more about the Litra Studio

GoPro HERO 8

While the GoPro HERO 8 doesn’t boast any major updates, it does represent a culmination of a wide range of smaller updates that, taken together, make it the best GoPro thus far.

In fact, I’d say this is the most innovative and user-friendly GoPro yet. 

It has built-in mounting pins so you can directly mount the camera to accessories rather than needing a frame to do so.

There are built-in digital lenses for multiple field of view settings from Narrow and Wide to Linear and Superview. The camera’s physical lens cover is not not removable and it twice as strong as those found in older models.

Also on the ease-of-use front are numerous capture presets that allow you to create and save popular types of videos. SuperPhoto, which is GoPro’s version of HDR, gets a refresh that results in improved image quality as well. 

The GoPro HERO 7 debuted incredible image stabilization with HyperSmooth, and the HERO 8 builds on that with even better results with HyperSmooth 2.0.

The HERO 8 also gets upgraded TimeWarp features, including an auto mode that uses sensor to detect motion and adjust the recording speed accordingly.

The camera also has improved photo-taking capabilities with face detection, smile detection, and blink detection functions, as well as LiveBurst mode for taking 1.5-second-long images before and after the shutter button is depressed. 

Add in built-in GPS, motion sensors, live streaming capabilities at 1080p, 4K video at 60fps, and a host of mod accessories to expand the camera’s capabilities, and it’s no wonder that this rig set the photography world on fire in 2019! 

Learn more about the GoPro HERO 8

Aputure 120D II

As far as studio lights go, it’s tough to beat the quality lights that Aputure puts out. 

And at the top of their lineup is the 120d II, a light I reviewed earlier this year and was very impressed with.

This light is 1000-watt tungsten equivalent, so you get plenty of brightness for your studio work. It’s fully dimmable, too, and has a CRI and TLCI of 97+. That kind of quality light is a must-have for discerning photographers. 

Aputure also included a variety of built-in lighting effects so you can dial in custom looks for your images. With this light, there’s nothing stopping your creativity!

But what’s really impressive about the 120d II is what’s “behind the scenes.”

It has an integrated power and control box, which keeps clutter to a minimum in the studio. Any studio photographer will appreciate that!

What’s more, it has an 18dB quiet fan, which keeps that annoying “whooshing” sound to a minimum so you can concentrate more thoroughly on getting killer shots.

Add in the fact that this light is 25 percent brighter than its predecessor and that it has DMX controls, a wireless remote, and excellent portability, and you have the makings of a top light for your photography studio. 

Learn more about the Aputure 120d II

Exposure X5

Exposure X5 is yet another software update that sent shockwaves through the photography world in 2019.

Its predecessor, Exposure X4, was highly functional, user-friendly, and super powerful, so it was hard to imagine how the folks at Exposure could make X5 better. But they did.

For starters, Exposure X5 has custom camera profiles that allow you to control how the software interprets color from RAW files. These profiles (created by X-Rite, among others) can be applied automatically by matching the serial number of your camera or by using the camera model. Furthermore, these profiles can be matched to a specific lens or ISO range.

You get advanced chromatic aberration correction in X5 too. This allows you to remove unwanted artifacts using lens profiles, or you can remove them by making manual adjustments if you prefer. 

There’s also a new fringe removal tool, so X5 makes getting rid of chromatic aberrations easier than ever before.

There are a host of other new features too.

Exposure X5 includes new complementary color presets, new season-inspired looks, and new light and airy presets that give you expanded creative potential when editing your photos.

There are more black and white film options than ever before, support for grayscale TIFF and JPEG images, and new image flip options too. Exposure X5 also has multiple language options, including English, German, and French. 

But for me, the best new feature in Exposure X5 is 3D color masking.

Basically, you can use this tool to make incredibly precise selections for applying adjustments to your photos. You can see it at work in the video above. 

This fine level of control is made possible by using specific color characteristics (hue, saturation, and luminance) to define the adjustment areas.

What this means is that you can quickly and easily target specific areas for color masking, like the sky in a landscape photo or skin tones in a portrait. This is all done with just a few clicks.

Exposure X5 is powerful, easy to use, and incorporates tons of new features that make it the best Exposure software to date. If you’ve never tried exposure, give it a test-drive for free

Learn more about Exposure X5

Holdfast Tanker Belt

I’ve been a Holdfast customer for a long time, and what initially drew me to them was the absolutely outstanding build quality of their products.

They use only the finest materials - things like full-grain leather and stainless steel - so when you buy a camera strap or harness or bag, you get something that is durable and will last you for years. 

But as the years have gone by, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the sheer innovation that these guys display when developing new products. That being the case, I had to include Holdfast on this list of the best gear updates of the year.

One of Holdfast’s latest products is the Tanker Belt, which changes the way you carry your gear.

It’s actually two belts in one, the first of which cinches around your waist like a normal belt and the second, outer belt, which forms loops for attaching your gear.

This ingenious design means the belt stays put (as do your pants) while maximizing the amount of gear you can carry around your waist.

There are three D-rings on the belt for attaching things like your keys or a wallet, and the D-rings are moveable, so you can customize precisely where your items hang on your waist. 

And, as you’d expect with Holdfast, this belt looks and feels like a million bucks - it's gorgeous handmade leather is something to behold! 

Better still, the Tanker Belt was designed with functionality in mind, so it’s compatible with a wide range of Holdfast products.

You can attach the Ranger Leash to the belt and take Fido for a hands-free walk, or you can add a cell phone pouch and keep your smartphone safe and secure and out of the elements.

Add a lens pouch or two (small, medium, or large) so you have extra glass for your next shoot too!

With sizes from 28-inches up to 44-inches and multiple colors (black, tan, chestnut, and burgandy), you can customize the Tanker Belt to your specific needs and tastes. 

Learn more about the Holdfast Tanker Belt

Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7 Lens

I picked up a Panasonic GH5 earlier this year, and it quickly won me over with its astonishing video capabilities.

It wasn’t until recently, though, that I got to test out the Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7 lens, and I have to say, I wish I would’ve gotten my hands on it a lot sooner! This is a fantastic lens, to say the least.

You can get some of my thoughts on this lens in the video above, but I want to expound on its features a little bit more. 

Make no mistake - this is a gigantic lens, especially for a micro four-thirds camera. Fortunately, it’s not hard to handle at all, and despite its footprint, it’s actually not all that heavy.

panasonic 10 25mm 1

But it’s massive size means that Panasonic was able to cram lots of goodies inside to help you get superb images.

This lens is supremely sharp, beautifully responsive, and gets you clean, crisp images each and every time. Its bokeh is buttery smooth and there’s wonderful brightness throughout its aperture range.

It has 17 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical lenses and four extra-low dispersion elements which work to all but eliminate spherical aberration, distortion, and chromatic aberration. The result is images with impressive quality. 

But where this lens was a game-changer in 2019 was in its video capabilities…

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It’s compatible with up to 240fps high-speed sensor drives and offers silent operation thanks to the inner focus drive system and the de-clicked aperture ring.

The focus clutch is a nice touch as well, as it enables instant switching between autofocus and manual focus as well as improved accuracy when manually focusing.

With next to zero focus breathing, a micro-step drive system that accommodates brightness changes when panning and zooming, and Leica build quality, this lens certainly doesn’t disappoint! 

Learn more about the Panasonic 10-25mm f/1.7 lens

Sony a7R IV

When the Sony a7R IV was announced earlier this year, it set the internet on fire with news of its massive 61-megapixel sensor. And while the sensor is impressive, it’s just the beginning of the impressive specs of this camera.

Paired with a BIONZ X image processor, the a7R IV’s back-illuminated sensor is capable of rendering images that are beautifully crisp.

You get an eyeful of all that beauty with the brand-new UXGA OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder, which has a whopping 5.76-million dots of resolution for a clean, bright, detailed look at what you’ve framed up in the shot.

This camera has a native ISO range of 100-32000 for low-light shooting, and with 15-stops of dynamic range rendering, you’ll have no problem getting tons of details in the shadows and the highlights. 

Of course, the a7R IV carries on the Sony tradition of excellent autofocusing, with an ultra-fast hybrid AF system that has 567 phase-detect AF points to give you quick and accurate autofocus tracking. 

Throw in UHD 4K video at 30p, Real-Time Eye AF tracking, 10fps shooting, and a bevy of other features, and you can see why the Sony a7R IV was one of the best gear updates of 2019.

Learn more about the Sony a7R IV

Haida M10 Filter System

The Haida M10 filter system is something I’ve been testing as of late, and I have to say that I’m impressed with this system.

Like the other products and services on this list, I’ve found numerous innovative and unique features that compelled me to include this product on this list.

Haida is a great value for the money with well-built components that show an attention to quality and detail that many filter companies just can’t match.

I have multiple components in my kit - the M10 filter holder, a circular polarizer, a couple of solid ND filters, and a soft-edge grad (shown above) - but you can also buy complete kits of varying sizes, including their Master Filter Kit, their Professional Kit, and their Enthusiast Kit, if you’d rather go that route. 

Either way, I think you’ll find, as I have, that the Haida system is one that enhances your ability to get quality shots.

The aluminum alloy filter holder can accommodate two 100mm filters, but it can expand to include a third slot if needed. The Haida filters are made of shock-resistant optical glass and features 10 layers of anti-reflective nano coating and 10 layers of scratch and water resistant coatings.

The holder rotates a full 360-degrees, which is enormously helpful for getting just the right positioning when using graduated ND filters.

I also like the fact that Haida incorporated gaskets in the filter slots to help prevent light leaks. They even include a “dummy” filter housing that can be dropped into the filter if you’re shooting without the circular polarizer in place. Again, this helps prevent light leaks so you get a cleaner exposure. 

The pinch and pull system for adding and removing filters make using this system super easy, as do the rounded edges of the rectangular filters - they’re much easier to slide into the filter holder without sharp edges.

This is just a well thought out system for beginners and enthusiasts alike!

Learn more about the Haida M10 filter system

Sony a6600

Though the Sony a7R IV probably got more attention, the Sony a6600 is certainly not something to forget about…

With a much smaller price tag than the a7R IV and more applicability for more photographers, the a6600 rocked our world this year by bringing many flagship features to a mid-range camera.

Its 24.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor is ideal for capturing beautifully resolute images while the native ISO range of 100-32000 gives you excellent low-light shooting capabilities with reduced noise.

As I get more into video creation, I appreciate the fact that this camera sports UHD 4K video capabilities that can be internally recorded in XAVC S format.

The five-axis image stabilization is a dream, giving you five full stops of stabilization, while the weather-sealed construction means you can head out in adverse weather with less worry about what will happen to your camera.

With additional features like a beautiful XGA OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder, a tiltable LCD monitor, 11 fps continuous shooting, and much more, this camera is certainly worthy of the title of gear that rocked 2019!

Learn more about the Sony a6600

RODE Wireless GO 

rode wireless go

A final product I wanted to mention on this list of the top software and gear updates is this handy little guy, the RODE Wireless GO.

This wireless system automatically pairs in just three seconds and transmits via RODE’s new Series III digital transmission system. It’s a 2.4GHz system that’s optimized for short-range operation, particularly in environments in which there is a lot of RF and Wi-Fi interference. It also offers line-of-sight range of up to 70 meters.

You also get broadcast-grade audio thanks to the built-in condenser mic’s superb isolation and transparency. Alternatively, you can use it with a lavalier mic using the 3.5mm TRS input.

Additionally, the Wireless GO system operates up to seven hours on a full charge, and since the unit is so small and compact, it’s super lightweight and portable. 

You can even use up to eight systems in one location if you have the need!

If you’ve ever used a ROD mic before, you know they’re some of the best in the business. The RODE Wireless GO is certainly no exception!

Learn more about the RODE Wireless GO

 



We Recommend


Where Should You Spend Your Money - Camera Body or Lenses?

Where Should You Spend Your Money Camera Body or Lenses

 photo byEXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER via iStock

I was thrilled to hear about the stimulus checks the U.S. government is sending out this month because it means I’ll have a little bit of money to spend on some new photography gear.  

But, that means that I’m going to have a little over $1,000 to spend on either a camera body or lens, and there’s essentially no question more difficult to answer for me. What’s more important: camera or lens?  

Since I’m sure there are other people like me trying to figure out the pros and cons of a camera vs. lens upgrade, I decided to do an article about it.  

Camera Bodies

camera body or lens 1

Photo by Markus Lompa on Unsplash

While all of the attention is typically given to camera lenses, camera bodies are also an important part of the process. They control the amount of noise you’ll get during low light shooting, the frames-per-second, and video capabilities, just to name a few.  

Camera bodies also vary a lot more than camera lenses because they come in just about every shape, size, and color imaginable. 

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There are a few reasons why you would want to upgrade your camera body over your camera lens. For instance, if your current camera body is uncomfortable for you to hold, that’s a red flag and a reason you might want to upgrade it. 

Another reason you may need to upgrade your camera body is if you’ve outgrown your current model. For example, many camera bodies built for beginners don’t allow you to control as much of the shooting process as you may like once you’ve grown more proficient in photography.

 

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Lenses

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While the camera body allows you to have a shooting experience, the lenses control what that shooting experience looks and feels like.  

For instance, while most camera bodies will allow you to shoot most styles of photography, you need specific lenses for specific types of shoots. You’ll never be able to shoot an ultra-wide angle shot without an ultra-wide angle lens.  

upgrade camera body or lens 4

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In this way, lenses are much more unique than camera bodies. You’ll know when to upgrade a lens when you’re trying to shoot a new type of photography and can’t without one.

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Which Last Longer?

when to upgrade a lens

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If you’re thinking about upgrading your camera body or lens, then chances are you’ve outgrown one of them and chances are you’ll outgrow the other in the near future. 

Such is the nature of photography. You’re supposed to grow with your equipment until you need to grow with new equipment. 

However, if you only have so much money to upgrade either your camera body or lens, which one will last you longer? 

Consider this scenario: would you rather shoot with an expensive body and cheap lens or cheap body and expensive lens? If you're 9 out of 10 photographers, you’d rather shoot with an expensive lens. 

That’s because lenses just plain last longer. Invest in a good lens today, and you can shoot with it for decades.

So, Is a Camera Body or Lens the Better Option?

YCImagingYCImaging did an excellent video talking about this subject. 

Overall, I think a great lens is a better investment because even the greatest of camera bodies will be outdated in less than 5 years. You may as well purchase a lens that you’ll be able to transition from camera body to camera body. 

gearfocus website

But, regardless of whether you’re looking to upgrade a camera body or lens, you can do so on Gear Focus.

Gear Focus is not your average used camera website because it is run by creatives for creatives, which means they’re keeping an eagle eye out for every listing, ensuring that listings are legit and not scams. That’s a big peace of mind for buyers!

Gear Focus also promises sellers the best prices for their equipment since the website runs on just 3.5% of each sale, which means 96.5% of the sale price is yours to keep. You simply won’t find seller fees that low anywhere else.

You can try places like Craigslist or eBay, but with the potential for scams on the former and huge fees with the latter, Gear Focus is the clear winner for me.

So, if you’re in the market for a new-to-you camera or lens (or both!), or if you want to unload some of your older gear, head over to Gear Focus!

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Why You Should Upgrade Your Kit Lens

Why You Should Upgrade Your Kit Lens

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Your new digital camera is a fantastic photographic tool. It is capable of performance we never even imagined just a decade ago. But it’s not only the camera that is involved in making photographs, you have a lens, too. 

Many digital cameras, whether DSLR or mirrorless, come in a kit with a zoom lens in the normal range. For APS-C cameras, this lens is often in the general range 18-55mm, MFT cameras 14-42mm, and Full Frame format 24-70mm or 28-80mm. 

For the most part, kit lenses are packaged with entry level up to some prosumer level cameras. A fair amount of photographers will inform beginners that you absolutely need to upgrade your kit lens right away. 

Do you need to upgrade your kit lens? What are some desirable kit lens alternatives? What should you look for when considering a kit lens upgrade? 

Kit Lens Characteristics 

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The normal lens for 35mm film photography was most commonly the Nifty Fifty, a 50mm lens. It gave a decent representation of what the eye sees when dealing with full frame 35mm film format. It’s still the “normal” lens for Full Frame digital cameras.

Figuring in the crop factor calculations for the smaller formats, normal for for APS-C cameras is around 35mm, and 25mm for MFT format cameras. Crop factor for APS-C format is 1.5X and 1.6X, the factor is 2.0X for MFT format.

Zoom lenses that include the normal focal length plus a little telephoto and a fair amount of wide angle are some of the most useful lenses made. Add in macro or close focusing capability and you have a lens that probably covers most situations for a large number of photographers.

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What’s Wrong With a Kit Lens?

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So why do so many experienced photographers recommend replacing the kit lens? Two reasons are usually cited. One, kit lenses are usually somewhat slow in maximum aperture. Two, kit lenses are generally manufactured with lightweight materials. 

What these characteristics do is both beneficial and limiting at the same time. The benefits are that these kit lenses can be small, light, and relatively inexpensive. The drawbacks are the previously mentioned slow maximum aperture, especially at the telephoto end of the zoom range, and that the lighter weight materials are not as rugged or durable as heavier duty materials. 

Something good to say about kit lenses is that every single one I have ever used or tested has been very sharp. Yes, kit lenses have very good optical quality. There are good reasons to pick other lenses, though.

Kit Lens Alternatives

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Since one of the most limiting characteristics of kit lenses are the slow apertures, many photographers new to interchangeable lens cameras will opt for a fast prime as their kit lens upgrade. You’re often not replacing your kit lens, you’re supplementing it.

A fast prime gives beginner photographers a great way to get into selective focus and controlling bokeh. In the APS-C format, prime lenses in the 35mm and 50mm focal length are relatively fast, f/2.0 or f/1.8. They are also small in size and aren’t very expensive.  

Another alternative some photographers choose is a macro lens. Especially if you are finding yourself enjoying the world of ultra close up imaging, a macro lens is a great choice. In the APS-C format, macro lenses of 40mm focal length are budget friendly and are faster than kit lens zooms, an f /2.8 aperture is common. 

gearfocus website

You can find a lot of these lenses at very low prices from used lens sellers such as Gear Focus. While it may make you nervous to think of spending money on a used item, sticking with a well respected seller with a proven track record gives you the best of both worlds - low prices and consumer protection. 

Other Kit Lens Upgrade Ideas 

kit lens alternatives 4

Photo by Markus Lompa on Unsplash 

Besides the normal focal length zoom range of lenses sold with the camera, other inexpensive lenses in different ranges could be considered kit lenses.

Among the first extra lenses purchased by a large number of beginner photographers are telephoto zoom lenses. The prices of many longer lenses could be shocking to new photographers. Some telephoto and telephoto zooms cost more than double or triple the price of the camera and lens kit. 

However, most camera makers also make longer zoom lenses with similar characteristics to the camera kit lens. For APS-C cameras, zooms in the range of 50-200mm or 70-300mm are made with lighter weight materials and slower maximum apertures. This keeps costs low while allowing you to enjoy using telephoto zooms.

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photo by filo via iStock 

The same thing applies to the wide angle side of things. Again, focusing on APS-C format, kit style lenses in focal length ranges of 10-20mm or 12-24mm are common in low price, slow aperture models. 

So, for a new photographer on a budget, you could get a great camera and 3 or 4 lenses covering super wide angle to significant telephoto and they could all probably fit into the bag that came with your camera and lens kit. 

Of course, kit style lenses are not all that is open to budget conscious beginner photographers. Excellent condition used lenses can be found at local camera stores and through online sellers such as Gear Focus. For peace of mind, look for sellers that offer some sort of consumer protection, such as return privileges or a limited warranty.

Learn more about the benefits of websites like Gear Focus in the video above.

How Many Lenses Do You Need?

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photo by 66North via iStock 

Well, what do you want to do photographically? After using your new camera and kit lens for a while, you probably know what you’re leaning towards. 

Are landscapes and architecture your thing? Consider wide angle lenses. Portraits? A fast prime could satisfy you. Wildlife? Perhaps the longer telephotos and telephoto zoom lenses are your first next lens purchase.

You don’t have to replace your first lens, but a kit lens upgrade is a good idea for your next major photographic purchase.

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