Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, a way to make some additional income, or a potential career option, learning photography can check off all of those boxes. Now that cameras and accessories are readily available, what do you actually need to get started with photography? Here are 3 main items to consider:
While your phone can take surprisingly good photos these days, you’ll probably want to pick up something a bit more professional to show up to shoots with. There’s quite a bit of debate about which camera brand is the best when it comes to DSLRs, though Canon does outrank other companies in terms of sales. Regardless of if you choose a camera body from Canon, Nikon, Sony, or someone else, here are some key items to be on the lookout for:
Some cameras can get pretty pricey, and if you’re just starting out, it’s recommended that you don’t splurge for the most expensive body right away. Instead, look for something in the low-mid range.
Look for something with at least 12 megapixels. As a reference, most newer smartphones now have 10-12 megapixels, so your DSLR should not be lower than this.
Full-frame vs Crop Sensor
This is where the biggest difference can be seen. A full-frame sensor resembles the dimensions that you’d get with 35mm film (which is 24x36mm). In contrast, a crop sensor is cropped tighter than this. Simply put, this means that if you took the same photo with both cameras, the crop sensor camera would essentially show a tighter field of view than the full-frame.
Additionally, full-frame cameras are typically more expensive than crop frames. So, if you’re looking to save a bit, it’s recommended to start out with a crop sensor and then upgrade when you have the budget for a full frame.
Once you select your camera body, that will determine the type of memory cards you need to buy. There are several types of memory cards, but the two main ones are Secure Digital (SD) cards and Compact Flash (CF) cards. They are both very different in their physical size, so make sure you order the right one based on what your camera body is designed for.
When choosing the brand of SD card or CF card to go with, here are a couple items to look for:
- Reading and writing speed: This will determine how quickly the image is written onto the card, along with how quickly you can then shoot another photo.
- Reliability: This is important, especially when you’re shooting paid sessions. The last thing you want is your memory card to fail during a shoot! SanDisk is typically known as one of the most reliable brands for memory cards.
When starting out with photography, it can be easy to want ALL the lenses. Depending on the camera body you select, it might come with a kit lens. This lens is generally an 18-55mm lens with an aperture of f/4.5-5.6. As your first lens, it can definitely get you through shoots, but this is not considered a professional lens.
There are two different types of lenses that you’ll have the option of selecting:
- Prime lenses: These lenses have a fixed focal length. Common prime lenses are the 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm.
- Zoom lenses: Zoom lenses have a range of focal lengths you can shoot at. You can zoom in and out from the specified range that the lens is made for. Common zoom lenses are 24-70mm and 70-200mm.
Aim to add 2-3 lenses to your gear bag as soon as you can, and focus on ones that provide various focal lengths. Here is a recommended lens starter kit:
- 24-70mm zoom lens: Allows for wide angle shots
- 70-200mm zoom lens: Allows for telephoto shots
- 50mm prime lens: Great for portraits
While there are several additional accessories and tools you can use for photography, these 3 items are essential in getting started.