What Were Your Worst Photography-Related Purchases?

If you've been a photographer for quite a while now, then you probably will admit to a number of impulsive purchases. 

What were your worst purchases when it comes to photography? Do you have a stash of things that you wish you didn't buy but can no longer or just wouldn't bother exerting effort reselling? Buying new gear or even just small cheap accessories can often feel empowering, as if they nudge you closer to becoming the photographer you've always been dreaming of being. Then, a couple of years later, you end up feeling bad for all the money you spent on things that you've barely even touched. 

Coming to you from wedding photographer Jiggie Alejandrino, this video talks about some of his worst purchases that he wishes he never spent money on. The items he talks about in the video are of course based on his personal experience, what he shoots, and how he shoots. Some purchases he talks about are simply based on the fact that his choices were not future-proof and are now incompatible with the gear he uses. However, some are generally applicable to any photographer and should be heard, especially by a newbie who might be easier to influence.

Buying new gear and accessories should be thought of as investments. However, the fact that most of us when we are just starting out can't predict the exact kind of photography we will be doing and the exact kind of gear that we need, no one can really say that they've been spared from making such regrettable purchases.

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31 Comments

Justin Gammon's picture

fstoppers flash disc!

Jerome Brill's picture

This seem more like an attack on fstoppers than how the product worked. It has a pretty good rating on Amazon. What did you not like about it?

Justin Gammon's picture

Over priced and has been replicated well at an affordable price. Companies get greedy and just want to take hard earned money.
So you be silly to buy the fstoppers flash disc. The mag mod has also been replicated by knock off companies but I’ve not found one that works as well. Weak magnetic and breaks. They can justify the cost.
Nicco said that it’s no right for him!
Same here! Not right for me!
Not an attack on anyone! If they do read it! Take it as feed back and improve on it! Companies love feed back.

Jeff McCollough's picture

But it doesn't have magnets lol.

Justin Gammon's picture

I was just giving an example of a good product that can justify the price tag!

Jeff McCollough's picture

I misread your comment.

Actually while the Flashdisk is not cheap it works great for some things. I also have a Magmod setup and that works great too for specific things.

Justin Gammon's picture

I’d agree with that too! Just the knock off flash disc for me:)

David T's picture

5d2 and a7iii

Jerome Brill's picture

Personally the worst purchase for me was the Peak Design everyday backpack. Don't get be wrong, the bag looks fantastic. However, the divider system is not great. It's stiff and non formfitting. I found there was so much wasted space. You just can't go wrong with foam padding in other bags, even cheaper ones. It was also very uncomfortable to wear. I've since bought the Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II. I still also have the smaller smaller Pro Runner AW 200 and that thing is a beast. I'm still chasing the perfect bag.

Jon Kellett's picture

I've lost count of the number of bag options I've tried, from adapted bags to camera bags... I was happy with the Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II until I bought a 200-600mm lens, then I got the 450 as well - Like you say, the 450 is a beast. Best bag (for me) ever.

Greg Chaney's picture

I will say the Peak Design Everyday messenger bag was a big mistake on my part. It looks great. The Kickstarter campaign was convincing. It just doesn't handle well in the real world for me. The two biggest issues are the poor divider system that never seems to fit anything and the fact that when you sit it down, it falls over. Hopefully, you closed the cleverly designed catch or it dumps stuff out. I have more "purses" than I care to think about, and most get used once in a while for specific needs, but I never pick the Peak back up.

Stuart Carver's picture

My camera

Deleted Account's picture

Same. In my case, it's not that it's bad. It's just that I'd have a whole lot more money if I had never gotten into photography. Hell, I might have had one of those 9-5's with job stability, too. 🤣

Deleted Account's picture

Same. In my case, it's not that it's bad. It's just that I'd have a whole lot more money if I had never gotten into photography. Hell, I might have had one of those 9-5's with job stability, too. 🤣

Deleted Account's picture

Same. In my case, it's not that it's bad. It's just that I'd have a whole lot more money if I had never gotten into photography. Hell, I might have had one of those 9-5's with job stability, too.

Stuart Carver's picture

Haha yeah I’m glad I’m just a hobbyist, I don’t even like going to weddings as a guest, nevermind as the guy with the biggest potential for backlash if the couple or mother-in-law decide they don’t like the shots

Richard Twigg's picture

Lensball.

Fergal O'Callaghan's picture

I enjoyed the video. I would like to see your follow up best items you bought. Light modifiers would be the worst sort of things I bought. So many stupid options to purchase and people keep inventing new versions. On some of the things he bought. i'd have to say Lowepro bags have been great , Guragear (Tamrac) too. least favourite Peak Design. Peak Design at least are the most reliable projects on Kickstarter (Kickstarter in general disappoints big time - I can't think of any of the 100 or so projects reached expectations). I just find their bags over engineered and not really practical or comfortable. Comfortable is important if you are lugging it around. Lowepro are great for comfort. Screw in filters I agree. I stopped using UV filters after an accident. They break and get stuck and then a pain. I don't think they offer any protection except from fingerprints on the lens itself. I don't regret the printer. Yes there is alot of waste and ink is expensive but I love the option to print myself. A bit of skill, process and patience required.
Biggest wastes - cheap lens and cheap tripods. As a Canon user an L lens never disappointed. A good tripod is a great thing. There are still alot of good cheap ones. I've had Gitzo's and Manfrotto's break on me but after sales service was good.

aurèle brémond's picture

A best purchase video would be great indeed !

Front glass of lenses are treated and fingeprints are so easy to remove on it. Easier than on filter :'D

Ivan Lantsov's picture

his vid camra!

Jeff McCollough's picture

The Gary Fong stuff. None of it works and it kept falling off of the camera flash.

Jeff McCollough's picture

I seriously don't have a clue why people buy Thinktank rolling bags that are just as or more expensive than pelican cases. It's crazy.

About printers, was he born yesterday? EVERYONE knows that printers are cheap but ink and paper are expensive. You can calculate the cost per print by doing some simple math before investing in printers. It's not that hard.

Dave F's picture

Pretty much any purchase that’s made before you know exactly why you need it and how you’re going to use it is a waste of money.

Case in point, this guy:

Bought a light meter, doesn’t shoot studio.
Bought a ton of filters, doesn’t shoot landscapes.
Apparently thought UV filters as “protectors” would magically shield against dropping a lens.
Bought a printer before he was printing a lot of his work.

Agree with him on tripods. Would say the same for light stands.

No “worst purchases” list, especially for a wedding photographer, is complete without mentioning Gary Fong. Even if he never bought one, should still be #1. (Half) sarcasm.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

TWO WORDS: MINI SOFTBOX

Greg Wilson's picture

Sony a7iii perhaps. Despite great specs on paper it was the worst skintones out of camera, almost incurable in post. And the overall ergonomics was quite bad compared to other systems.

David T's picture

I agree on ergonomics, skin tones I didn't have any problems with, except when I used the Adobe Color Profile in LR. C1 or "Camera Standard" in LR fixed color issues.

Andrew Eaton's picture

Sekonic flash meter, I have one and its very useful. In the studio it speeds setup time no end. Filters.. yeah I have wasted a bit too much money on them. UV filters... Use them all the time. smashed them up and saved my lenses a good few times... Cheap tripods.. never really bought cheap ones.. Photo printers... yeah wasted some money on them, but I love printing... cheap memory cards... never done it... :-) Camera bags... oh god... I have wasted some cash there... I want a bag that is bigger on the inside and no matter how much I put in it, it only weighs 3kg :-]

charlie sanders's picture

I purchased a THINKTANK rolling camera bag because it actually holds more gear than the pelican of similar dimensions,it’s lighter and because of that , I Can carry onboard (well, before my travel bubble burst)Worst purchase (before off camera) was any light modifier that attached to the speed light(besides a felt flag I use to direct light to a surface when I can’t carry a Chimera)Next would be the inexpensive tripod (failed on first trip) . The Sony f828 was another $1k failure. This thing was the noise king of the time AND because I shot raw mode, would take 6-7 seconds before I could take another shot. Found my way to Canon(sigh of relief). The only filter I use now is a circular polarizer, all the other filters were given away (I learned photoshop) and lowered the weight in my bag.
I’m not in the photography business and My first venture into my hobby was like any other I’ve taken a shot at and lost interest so, I tried not to “invest” much into it. It all changed when a spark lit the fire. To capture new, happy moments in time brought experimentation with some gear I wish I should have scrutinized.

Michael Steinbach's picture

The original Fong light globe/diffuser. Don’t get me wrong, it's still a piece of junk, but now it stays put, I think.😏

ignacy matuszewski's picture

Sony A7, the original. What a absolute piece of junk. I'm rather DSLR guy, but was experimenting with early mirrorless. Even Samsung had better cameras than sony, with good and affordable lenses.

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