Saturday, August 13, 2016

My Photography Kit (Blogging & Every Day)

One of the most important lessons I've learned is that an artist should be able to produce good work, irrespective of the medium of expression.  I am a firm believer in producing art with one's available resources and upgrading when those have been thoroughly exhausted.  Of course, there exists technical advantages to using more expensive photography or materials for fine art.  My line of thinking is that if I'm good at what I do, my skill and talent should be evident in the work.  If I'm not, no expensive piece of equipment is going to make me a good photographer or artist.  This philosophy may not be for everyone, but it is the one that works for me.  Now with that in mind, let's get to talking about my photography kit!

I shoot with the Canon Rebel XS (around $500), a now discontinued entry level digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera.  At the time, it was the cheapest camera offered by Canon.  My only requisites were that my DSLR take decent quality photos with full manual control.  The Canon Rebel XS is a 10.1 megapixel camera which is enough for my current needs.  With a few affordable prime lenses, I've found that my kit is more than adequate for blogging and every day photography.

18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (Kit)

18-55mm / Long Beach landscape.

The 18-55mm lens is decent as kit lens go.  The Canon Rebel XS is a cropped sensor camera so my pictures are always more zoomed in than the focal length of the lens.  This is by far my most wide angle lens; it performed pretty well for my landscope shots from Catalina Island and Joshua Tree.  I need to be close to an object and zoom in to get any sort of bokeh (the blurry background effect) with this lens, but it's certainly doable.  While I don't reach for the 18-55mm as much as my prime lens, this is my go-to when multiple focal lengths are needed.  Fun fact: a photograph I took at a concert with this lens was retweeted by Built to Spill!

50mm f/1.8 (< $125)

50mm / Bokeh.

If you only buy one prime lens in your life, let it be the "Nifty Fifty."  There are reasons why the 50mm is such a popular lens.  I immediately noticed how much more light this lens let in due to its wider aperture (lower f number).  I love this lens for drawing focus towards things in the foreground while achieving a wonderfully shallow depth of field.  It's excellent for portraits or when you want all the focus on a subject.  There is some loss of sharpness when shooting with the aperture wide open at f/1.8.  This is akin to getting one's pupils dilated at the optometrist's - a lot more light hits the sensor (your retinas, in this case), but there will be some loss of visual acuity.

24mm f/2.8 ($149)

24mm / Portrait of Stella with bokeh.  24mm / Wider angle shot.

The 24mm is a prime lens that is a nice compromise between the 18-55mm and my "Nifty Fifty."  Firstly, it's a pancake lens and compact enough to tuck into my pocket.  The wider angle means that I can use it for landscapes which I did for hiking up a mountain, but the big f/2.8 aperture lets me take portraits in a similar fashion to the 50mm.  The lens if so lightweight that it makes carrying my camera around a breeze.  All in all, this is my most versatile lens so long as I don't need to zoom.

28-200mm f/3.5-5.6

28-200mm zoomed in with bokeh.

This is a discontinued telephoto (aka, zoom) lens that belongs to my roommate.  I use the 28-200mm when I am photographing musicians or situations where I want to take a portrait from farther away while retaining decent bokeh.  It isn't the best for low light situations, but I've managed to use it at concerts with some success.  Unlike the other lenses I've mentioned, the 28-200mm does not have image stabilization so I rely on the steadiness of my hand.  I don't personally find the lack of image stabilization a problem.  If you don't either, then older Canon telephoto lenses may be an affordable option.  I'm looking into buying this for myself so I don't keep taking my roommate's!

That's my photography kit in a nutshell!  I really do think it's the lens that contributes the most to a photograph and all of the ones I use are relatively affordable.  There are no pending updates planned; I want to use what I have to the best of my ability before adding anything else!  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, eh?

What's in your photography kit?  Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I have a 16-50mm kit lens and also a 35mm f/1.8 prime, and while the prime lens takes such lovely pictures I just can't get used to the crop factor! I reckon when I travel I might take my kit lens anyway, I'm a landscapes and scenery person and it lets me get more into the shot!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous snaps! This was very helpful to me as I am completely a DSLR newbie, I'm kind of figuring it out as I go haha! My favourite is the Long Beach landscape :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara | (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

  3. I actually wanna buy a 24mm lens soon. But also got me thinking if I should sell my 18-55mm lens, any thoughts? Honestly, this is very interesting post. I could compare each lens and know what to get. Anyway, your photos are always impressive! glad to know the lenses you use :)

    Love, kandice.

  4. I have the same problem with telephoto lenses! I probably haven't used mine in over a year because it's such a hassle to use haha.

  5. The 50mm 1.4 is one of the best lenses. My favorite right now is the 24mm -70mm 2.8f. Perfect for everything!!!

    have a lovely day!
    ❥ Vicky | The Golden Bun - Instagram TGB-

  6. I definitely agree! I used to shoot for many years with the canon s110 and shoot! Recently upgraded to Sony a6000 with a Samyang 12mm lens

    Nat - Dignifiable

  7. I definitely agree! I used to shoot for many years with the canon s110 and shoot! Recently upgraded to Sony a6000 with a Samyang 12mm lens

    Nat - Dignifiable