Gear guide - Pt. 1

I have read 101 guides which summarize all of the astonishing equipment that’s becoming more accessible than ever. If you’re reading this, I am assuming you have some sort of relationship with photography.

Al Jivraj is a phenomenal actor, flawless teacher and an amazing human being. I absolutely loved shooting him.

When it comes to gear, a part of me wanted to write my take on what’s necessary and what isn’t but I think there’s enough information to confuse all of us so I wanted to approach this a little differently.

I guess I should just dive into it. Let’s do this!

It’s never enough.

It doesn’t matter how you put it, there will always be something better and don’t ever say, “Once I buy this, that’s it. I’m done.” because you’ll never be “done”.

Starting out, I bought my first camera (Canon 5D III) and I told myself that I’ll use this for a good three years before even considering anything else. Less than a year later, I’m saving up for medium format.

When you’re truly in love with the craft, you’ll find yourself walking down a rabbit hole when it comes to gear and you’ll never know how far you’ve gone until you realize you’re there. It’s not a scary hole though. It’s actually a wonderful experience.

It’s never enough because you want your next shot to be better than the last.

Your gear gives you an idea of where you are and sometimes you’ll find that you’re out growing a specific component because you want/expect more from your equipment. 

A lot of people say that equipment doesn’t matter and I know where they’re coming from. You could give an XF 100 to someone who doesn’t know the basics of photography and they won’t know what to do with that kind of hardware.

My connection with gear is pretty deep because it didn’t come easy and I have a profound amount of respect for the gear that I own. It may sound funny but your relationship with gear is somewhat similar to your relationship with a partner.

No matter how good your gear is, it won’t always function the way you expect it to and the way you treat your gear is no different than the way it’ll treat you.

“Really good” gear cannot be determined by what a manufacturer tells you or by what you read on someones blog. Understanding what type of hardware (and software) works for you is something that you’ll have to learn on your own. It will take months or possibly years for you to figure it out but googling away can certainly give you information but until you don’t hold that camera in your own hands, you won’t know what’s right for you.

I’ve taken shots using a lighting kit that that costs no more than a thousand dollars that are far superior than a ten thousand dollar lighting kit. 

I’ve taken shots with an eight thousand dollar lens that was supposed to be far superior than my three thousand dollar lens but the results weren’t close to the sharpness and colour rendition that I’m used to.

If you can’t afford something, don’t cry about it. just rent it and step up your game. People will appreciate your images and you will eventually be able to get paid assignments that allow you to own the gear you love.

I wish I knew how to summarize this post but I really don’t. I can actually go on for another few pages but I think I’ll stop here.

I’m actually just feeling lazy right now (it’s the wine) but remember, with great gear comes great responsibility so tread with caution and love.

Kabir Ali