Product endorsements & gear hang ups

11th January 2017
Happy new year everyone!

Do you remember I was asked to write up a Blog about tips for shooting candid wedding photography ? Regardless, there's a Blog from a few weeks ago about such a subject, that I was actually asked to write by a camera manufacturer.

Who that camera manufacturer is doesn't really matter, but I like doing that kind of help blog, so I was happy to do it.

Once it was live they asked me if I could tweak it to include a few mentions of their camera system, things along the likes of "that's why the XXXX camera fits the bill well for this kind of thing, because of it's XYZ...".

I said I'd be happy to do that, but only once I'd actually used the camera they were wanting endorsed. (you can deduce from that, it's not Fuji, as that's what I use). I know the camera is not out on retail sale yet, but there will be a lot of pre-production ones out, and I asked them to courier me one along and I'd field test it and give my verdict.

"No, we can't do that, but you can go to our website and read all about it. It would be good if you could mention how our camera would help in this field. We'll put links to your website and Blog on our website & social media."

So , did I do it ?
No.
Still put the Blog up , but I wasn't about to say how good their camera was if I hadn't even saw it in the flesh.

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So continuing on about cameras & gear... over the holidays, I had conversations with 3 different people... all along the same theme.
The conversations were with friends of varying photographic experience, but all 3 were saying how much they really needed a new lens.
I asked them all what they had just now , and to me their gear was fine.
It seems to be a common thing with some photographers... "I'll get better if I have better gear". But they won't, they'll just be poorer.

Don't get me wrong, there are some nice lenses out there, and having the right one for your job is quite important, but having the fastest 70-200 top end lens won't all of a sudden make your photos amazing.
I use a 24-105 equivalent (16-55) on my XPro2 crop sensor cameras now and again, but for about 80% of my work I use primes. Nice and small, fast, great wide apertures and to me they help you develop as a photographer... taking away the thought process of "do I zoom in... or out... in ... or out...".
Zoom with your feet :)

In the studio I've almost always got a 35mm on my Fuji (a 50mm equivalent), sometimes switching to my 56mm and shooting nice and wide at something like f1.4. Nice.
I can lift a camera up to my eye with one of those lenses on , and I know what my view is going to be, what's going to be in frame, and how the photo will look.

I'm all about minimalism. I enjoy walking into a wedding with my two Xpro2's on straps round my neck... a 23mm and a 56mm lenses... and that's me for the day until I need my lights for portraits later on.
I can shoot from the hip, up at my eye and above my head and know what's going to be in shot.

I've got the Fuji 50-140 (70-200) and it is one amazingly sharp lens, but it lives at home. I only don't sell it as I don't have anything I want to replace it with... it's like a credit note should I need another lens. But I can't see that.
There are times when my 23mm isn't wide enough for some wedding venues, and I'll put on the 18mm cheapy instead, and it's fine. Not as good as the 23mm but it gets me the wide shot I was needing.

(In saying that, when I'm out doing street photography, that's what I use... the 18mm, manually focused at f8).

I got a Merit Award at the 2016 UK Master Photography Awards with the 18mm on, and won the Scottish Wedding Reportage Photograph of the Year with my 23mm, and I reckon I would have missed both those shots with a zoom on.
I'd either have been at the wrong end of the zoom, or would have spend a few seconds wondering "zoom in, or out" and lost the shot.

Anyway , I've went a bit of tangent.
Zoom lenses have a real job to do in the world, but don't waste your life away wishing you had one as that would make you better. As it won't.
Sports photographers and maybe wildlife need zooms I reckon... but portrait & wedding work... primes. All you need to be able to control is your aperture, and be able to go as wide as possible. If you need to zoom... walk :)

There's also nothing wrong with those wedding photographers that walk into a wedding with lots of cameras, lenses, flash guns & bags etc, but that's just not me.

Enjoy your photography folks, and keep your cash for other stuff....
That's my worldly advice, and no swearing today mum.


G.x

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