So people have been asking me a lot of questions these days about photography. One question in particular that I get almost every time is about which cameras, lenses and other equipment they should purchase. And a lot of times, I really don’t feel like I can substantiate this with an answer without first asking multiple questions myself. Like,

What do you take pictures of? People? Are you the person among your group of friends who is always documenting the moment? Does everyone expect you to be the one uploading and tagging shots on facebook??

Landscapes? Are you always bringing your camera when going on that next adventure?

Art? Is normal photography too mainstream? Are you trying to express some creative impulse? Do you hang around coffee shops with large framed glasses and an ipad?

A lot of times photography is less about the equipment you own, and more about the subject that you wish to put on the SD card (please don’t troll me about this). And in fact, you don’t need to spend ridiculous amounts of money to have the right camera. Most of the time, the best camera is the one you own.

But in order to give an answer to this small rant. I think the question here is worded incorrectly. Most of the time, people ask about camera equipment, not because they want to buy something, but because they have a desire to take better pictures. In this case, I would recommend buying a FILM CAMERA!Sounds crazy, but it’s not.

The problem with point-and-shoot cameras is in the name. The purpose is to be able to point at a scene and just take a shot. Automation destroys the desire to learn and makes photography less rewarding. So throwing yourself into manual settings really opens up a new world for people. If you can take a decent picture with a film camera, you will probably take AMAZING ones in digital. Also, film bodies and lenses are dirt cheap. You can pick them up from craigslist for <$100 and these used to be top of the line professional equipment.

To give you a step in that direction, I would recommend the Canon AE-1.


You can find these on craigslist and ebay for $50 with a 50mm f/1.8 FD fixed focal length lens. The fixed focal length means that the lens doesn’t zoom. But this is more of an advantage. It causes you to think more about composition and the quality of pictures are outstanding. You can also purchase a variety of other FD lenses, zoom and fixed for dirt cheap. You just have to remember one thing, make sure to buy film!

Thanks for reading this little rant. It’s a lot of fun for me to talk to others about photography. If anyone has any questions at all that they would like me to answer, let me know!


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