Tag Archives: camera

For Beginners: What Camera Do You Need? What Lenses Do You Need?

As a beginner, you get caught up in figuring out what gear to get. People usually say to get the best glass available. That is true. So one common thing I see in forums is beginners getting caught up in which set of lenses to get. They end up getting a couple of primes or a few zooms. That’s a lot of lenses just to get pictures of their kids, cats, and flowers.

What do they really need? Just one lens. Just pick one. I would recommend a something in between a 23mm and 50mm and stick with that for a year or so.

As for the body, it doesn’t matter. Anything that is at least a micro 4/3 or higher will do fine. 90% of the people won’t be able to tell the difference if it’s shot with a m43, APSC, or Full Frame sensor. Seriously, they can’t, unless you’re planning to print huge prints and paste them on your wall.

For camera bodies, it more about how it fits, the usability, and the style points. As long as it’s a modern camera, the IQ won’t matter much. They will all look similar.

Once you shoot in one focal length for about a year, you begin to realize what you need. I shot my X100 and X100s (the same camera basically) for a whole year. I realized I’m more into portraiture. So I wanted a longer lens. So I got the X-E1 and got the 35mm lens. Now I’m 90% content.

When the 56mm f/1.2 lens came out, I pre-ordered it. But I’m wondering if I really needed that  lens. I’m so happy with the 35mm, I wonder if I made the mistake getting the 56mm. Sure, it’s probably good for closeup face shots, but I do that anyway with the 35mm since the distortion doesn’t seem bad.  I’ll probably get it and see if it’s something I would want to keep. If not, I’ll just sell it.

Now, my X100s is my snapshot, food, travel, and do everything camera. My X-E1 is my portraiture camera. That’s all I shoot these days so I don’t need anything else.

Will I be able to shoot sports or wildlife? No, but it’s nothing something I need to do or interested in. So I have my gear set.

Here are some stuff I did with my year with the X100s:

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So as you can see, you can do a lot of stuff with just one body and lens.

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I Need a New Camera

I’ve outgrown my Fuji X100s. It was my first “real” camera, and I had it for about 9 months. So after 9 months of “serious” shooting I’ve outgrown it. 

I’m not suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome. If you don’t know, the Fuji X100 is a fixed lens, APSC, compact camera. The lens is stuck at 23mm with a crop sensor. So I can’t change lenses. I’m stuck.

I’ve managed to squeeze a lot out of my little Fuji X100. I love this camera. But I need a longer lens. I wish Fuji came out with a 85mm equivalent of the X100. Then I can just use that camera along with the Fuji X100 and be good for another year or so.

Why do I need a longer lens? Well, since I mostly shoot people, it’s great for that. I don’t have to worry about distortion so much. Even when posing models, I have to watch out for limbs that’s nearer to the lens because it could look bigger.

So what system should I upgrade to? I’m not sure yet. But here are my thoughts:

A Full Frame Can-Nikon/Sony System

Canon has there 5d Mark III that looks freaking sweet. They have those gorgeous 85mm 1.2 or 70-200mm 2.8 lenses. Of course, Nikon and Sony have similar quality lenses and bodies as well. 

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can move up to a DSLR. Why? They’re just too dang big and heavy. I’m so used to my compact and light Fuji x100. Every time I use those behemoths, I get tired. Also, the 5D Mark III is about $3000. They’re too expensive. Not to mention I have to get a $2000 lens. To me, it doesn’t justify the cost for the same image quality, bigger and heavier system, and to learn a new system.

Micro 4/3 Mirror less Cameras

I seriously thought about the Olympus OMD before I got the Fuji X100. But now, there’s no way I can “step down” to micro 4/3 sensor after using the APSC sensor. Using a M 4/3 camera would feel like a downgrade for me. 

Fuji X-Pro/ Fuji XE1

Well, this would look like a logical choice. I mean I love Fuji. The X-Pro or the XE1 would work almost identically as my X100s. And they would keep the same Fuji Colors in my images. I love those colors.

But, their 56/1.2 won’t come out until next year! That means I would have to wait a while. And their 55-200mm lens is too slow. And since I have the X100s, getting the X-Pro or XE1 would be a downgrade in speed and technology. 

Pentax 645d

Now this is where it gets interesting. When I heard about this camera, it intrigued me. A medium format (kinda) camera for less than $10,000! This thing costs as much as a Canon 1DX, and it’s (almost) medium format! 

This is probably is the most tempting right now. Sure it’s big and heavy, and I did say I don’t like big and heavy. And I did say I don’t like expensive. However, it’s medium format! I’ll sacrifice the bulk and weight to get some gorgeous pictures. The upgrade in quality would be worth it unlike the Full Frame cameras. 

Also, if want to get serious into Fashion/Commercial/Editorial photography, the industry standard is a Medium Format Camera. 

Of course, there are some cons to this system. Their lenses are not leaf lenses like the other Medium Format cameras. Their sync speed is a pathetic 1/125 sec. 

Also, it’s a medium format camera. So it’s going to be slow, unusable in low light, and clunky. It would force me to slow down, and I’m not a patient person. Then again, maybe that’ll be a good thing for me. 

Sony Nex

I’m not a fan of Sony Nex’s. Maybe if they come out with the rumored mirrorless Full Frame camera, I would be more interested. But by that time, I would probably get the Pentax or the Fuji X-Pro 2 anyway.

Leica M

Leica was pretty tempting to me. They have gorgeous lenses. They have great image quality.  But their low-light capability is bad. Also they’re all manual focus. Also, they cost as much as the Pentax. So if I had to choose, I would go up to medium format anyway.

Phase IQ180

Ah, my dream camera. Too bad it costs $45000 or so. For that money, I rather buy a Tesla.

The Winner is…

So what would I do? What will my next camera be? I’m not sure. I’ll probably end up just using my Fuji X100s until the X-Pro 2 comes out or I save up enough money for the Pentax.