Photo gear on a budget

Michael Zhang has a good set of advice to provide to help us all buy a lot of pro camera gear on a student budget. This is quite attractive because most photo enthusiasts quickly notice that the only limitation to our photo expenses is the money we can invest into it.

Let’s admit it, there is always some more expensive hardware that we could buy. Usually, this is a pro SLR camera, a major prime lens or exceptional pro zoom.

Lenses and cameras in a packaged deal on eBay - Cheap?
Lenses and cameras in a packaged deal on eBay – Cheap?

Now, in these times of budgeting for students, it is quite important to try and get the best out of a limited amount of money. Michael essentially offers a small set of very sound advice, that I summarize here with my own grain of salt:

  • Buy second-hand (everything is much cheaper than top-of-line gadget-freak-oriented new equipment, even if specifications are evolving – but more slowly than a few years ago).
  • Invest in lenses more than in camera gear (lenses will have a much longer life span and re-sell much better than camera bodies).
  • Be ready to sell back some of the equipment you have.
  • Buy your lenses in package deals (they much more interesting than individual lenses) even if you have to sell some. Sell individual pieces, never a package/set.

One of the good things about buying lenses in second-hand markets/fairs/auctions is that when you sell them back (when you reached the purchase power to grab even better equipment), the old gear can be sold without loosing too much (if you kept it in the same good condition as at purchase time).