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Should You Spend Money on a Camera or Lens?

You have some money saved up and you are ready to start building your gear collection. Should you spend your money on a good camera or a nice lens? It is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the quality of your images, and this excellent video will show you why. 

Coming to you from Christopher Frost, this informative video will show you the importance of prioritizing good lenses over advanced cameras. A mistake a lot of beginner photographers make is falling for enticing camera specs and blowing most of their money on a top-level body, only to pair it with a middling lens. That is not to say there are not situations that demand a more advanced camera — sports and bird photography are some examples. However, if you are shooting something like portraits or landscapes, where you do not need the latest and greatest autofocus system or extreme high-ISO performance, the lens you put in front of the sensor is going to have a far greater impact on the quality of your images than the sensor itself. In general, it is much better to use a previous-generation or more affordable camera and put that money toward a nice lens. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Frost. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Lens if I must choose.

If you have the camera you are comfortable with, then lens first. Always lens first...when you are satisfied with your choice if camera. Hey, that kind of sounds like I said...get your camera first and the..... it's like, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Now I'm confused. Let me start over......if you're a first-time buyer, then you obviously are deciding on the right camera 'system', so the camera brand will be your fist choice which follows with a lens. I don’t know of anyone who decides on what lens they want and then buy the appropriate camera body to go with it. But if you already have a system you are satisfied with, then after that.....oh hell....just get what you need and/or want.

Probable need both! A lens may be able to expand your diversity...large aperture, macro, shift/tilt? Your camera body will still be your camera body!

I read that to and tickled my funny bone

Easiest question ever. Get which one you 'need'.

I needed a full frame landscape so I got a 16 to 35.

I needed a wide angle for my crop so I got 11 to 22.

Needed more features on the body so I planned and bought a new one.

So the moral of the story is..





*And if you have extra cash, buy what you desire! Life is short, enjoy the craft, enjoy the gear, enjoy yourself! Cheers.

This pretty much covers it.

You'll get even better results by learning to take better pictures; the vast majority of training courses concentrate on gear and technique very few on basics such as subject choice, composition etc