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Stop Worrying About Breaking Your Gear

Photography is a really expensive hobby and/or profession. The cost of cameras, lenses, filters, bags, etc. all add up very quickly. And while it's important to be careful to protect all that pricey and fragile equipment, it's just as important not to go so far as to miss shots because of it.

I found this latest video from Thomas Heaton to be really on the mark. When I was first starting out, I went to extremes to protect my gear, probably spending more time cleaning it than actually shooting with it. If there was so much as a drizzle, I didn't shoot. And while my gear was in immaculate condition, I was missing out on a lot of good shots. The truth is (at least for landscape photographers, toward whom this video is oriented), some of the most interesting subject matter is found in conditions that might place your gear at risk. And while there's a difference between taking a calculated risk and being irresponsible, a lot of us tend to err on the side of being overly conservative. Be reasonable and take care of your gear, but make sure you're also using it for what it was meant to do: taking pictures. 

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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I too suffered from GPS (Gear Preservation Syndrome).

I cannot agree more !

you can always tell who's new and is carrying the family jewels and who's seasoned and is carrying their garden tools.

100%, I keep telling this my students all the time. Insure your gear and stop worrying !
Cameras are a tool like in any other job, expensive yes, but a tool nevertheless. would a farmer stop growing crops out of fear he might break his tractor ? the same should apply to photographers and filmmakers. If you don't challenge yourself and your gear you will never grow and excel and progress, just dont be stupid and reckless about it.

And use lens caps only when a lens is stowed in a bag. How many shots are missed because photographers are taking off their cap, or looking for it after they've lost it. Use a lens hood.

That's what I do! Good tip!

If I have my lens hoods on, (which is always) I never bother with the lens caps. Just throw it front element/lens hood side down in my bag. :)

I remember being careful when I just got my camera. Now, well, its in quite risky places a lot of times. I have so many times stood waist deep in the water with my camera on a tripod infront of me trying to get the right angle on a waterfall for example. It also almost fell down from a bridge a while back...but that was for me being stupid, but hey, it made it and I got a nice shot.

Reminds me of that one time Kai was playing around with a 7D: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCT-YMgjm9k

I've always beat the crap out of my stuff. One Reason I stick with Canon is I've beat the crap out of it and it does me ok still lol. Not saying others won't, I just built up some trust =)

I'll take my gear anywhere I go and everything gets used and dirty in the field. I do take care cleaning the camera and lens glass however. Seeing the liquid propellant spray on the lens from that can of air made me cringe a bit.

This wave almost cost me my camera. After it landed, the water wash went from ankle to chest deep, submerging my lowepro backpack with a few lenses and sprayed my camera good. The bag turns out to be quite water resistant and kept everything dry even though it's not sold as that. I wasn't worried at the time as all my gear is insured, until I got home to find it doesn't cover saltwater damage... The camera is fine, but the precious Sony hotshoe contacts are gettting replaced as we speak - they corroded up 2 weeks later. But hey I got the shot... :)