Why I’m Not an Equipment Snob

I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating for any new readers to this blog: I am not employed, under contract, or personally sponsored by any camera, photographic or any other kind of company. The ads that you see on the right-hand side are from companies I know and trust and all income from them goes to pay the cost of producing this blog and does not affect what I write.

The cameras and lenses that are used to make the photographs you see on this blog is gear that I paid for with my own money. Occasionally images were made while testing equipment for product reviews for this blog or Shutterbug magazine but that is the only exception. You may be surprised to learn that after reviewing  equipment I must return it to the manufacturer. There are no freebies. Since I pay for all of my own gear you’ll probably notice that some of the cameras I use seem “old” and occasionally I’ve received an e-mail that asks “why are you using that old thing?” I’m not an equipment snob for good reason: I can’t afford to be.

My cameras include Canon EOS digital SLRs and many of my lenses are from Canon but not all. I use Pro-Optic Teleextenders and when a  reader asked me if I liked them better than Nikon or Canon’s I responded, “They work great and it’s what I can afford” and his reply indicated that he understood. Oh, I’ve tested one of Canon’s 2X extenders for Shutterbug and liked it a lot. But it costs $500 and the Pro-Optic is a hundred bucks.


For some of my infrared work, such as the digitally hand-colored photograph of a classic Buick Invicta convertible, I use a Russian-made 16mm f/2.8 manual focus Zenitar that I bought on eBay for around a hundred bucks. It reminds me of my old manual focus Sigma 16mm f/2.8 that had built-in filters, which the Zenitar lacks (although it comes with four filters that screw onto the back of the lens) that I uses back in the day when shooting Nikon F-series film cameras.


One of my other favorite lenses is the (no longer manufactured) Tamron SP AF 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens that is part of their Di-II series. Initially I used this lens to make photographs at car shows—and still do—but also use it, because of its flexibility, to shoot digital infrared images such as the above example. The lens was replaced by the even cooler SP AF 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II lens but my 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 works great and I can’t afford to upgrade every time a new product is introduced. Can you?

Heck, I even have a Holga lens for my Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four-thirds system cameras. Holga is no longer making cameras, but this lens was cheap and fun to use. And really when it comes down to it, that is the main reason I’m a photographer. When I sold my studio many years ago, my goal was to only shoot the kind of photographs that I wanted to make and write about the process, sharing what I’ve learned with others. That’s the purpose of my magazine articles, books, and especially this blog. And if you’re not having fun with your photography, why do it?

IR.book.coverYou can learn all about how I made the photograph of the pink Buick in my book The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography. The book is currently out of print but you can get an affordable used copy or not-so-affordable new copies of the book from Amazon.com.



Author: Joe Farace

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