One of the most popular questions we get on the #askVENTH show is about Brian’s camera gear – what camera he uses, which accompanying lenses and whatnot. Well, remember this equipment post from way back in Brussels? Yep, he’s still going strong on that same gear! It’s months later and he still hasn’t upgraded or added any new fancy lenses or cameras – even making it through the Christmas gift-buying period without splashing out, now that’s commitment. His will-power’s stronger than mine when it comes to buying shiny new things…
Refresh our memory, what camera does he use again?
Brian’s still shooting on his Canon 5D Mark II – yes, Mark II – because he finds it more than adequate for what he’s shooting and the quality of the end-products it produces, and he hasn’t yet seen the need to upgrade. He did look into upgrading to the Mark III, but didn’t find the new applications that significant or relevant to what he was shooting (fashion portfolios, YouTube videos and short social media advertising videos). The only thing that he potentially might need in addition is a medium format from time to time, but weighing up the expenditure for a new camera, it’s a little ridiculous – renting is a much smarter option for those occasions. When you run your own business, you have to think carefully about which upgrades you actually NEED to be able to do a better job, and if it’s not completely necessary to improving your end-product, forget about it – it’s not worth the money if you can already utilise your current equipment.
He also owns a couple of other cameras, including a Fuji Instax mini 90 Neo Classic, Polaroid (which he’s gotten rid of now as Impossible Project film was a bit pricey compared to the Instax Film) and an old film Canon 3000N from the early ‘90s that was a steal at £4 on eBay! He’s kept this one as it leverages the set of lenses he currently has, and is great for providing another option to shoot on film without having to splash out on new glass. It’s also modern enough for the autofocus system to work relatively effectively as well, which is pretty darn handy.
What about lenses?
Lens-wise, Brian has a bit more love for zooms than prime lenses for the versatility that they offer. He shoots in a free-flowing handheld manner, so it allows him to track his subjects effectively and gives him the flexibility to adjust his cropping quickly – without having to get all up in their face and creep them the hell out by zooming in super close really quickly. Top tip: that’s only going to freak your model out, so just don’t do it.
He does have one prime lens, which is an f/1.4 15mm standard Canon lens, which he uses to film the show, amongst other shoots. He’s not that fussed about purchasing the flashy f/1.2 lens though, because he doesn’t shoot that much stuff with a shallow depth of field, so it’s not really relevant to his work, plus he didn’t really see enough of a difference in clarity between the 1.2 and 1.4 to really justify a purchase. Especially in the artistic style that he shoots, clarity isn’t necessarily a huge concern.
Being a very mobile person what with travelling the world and all that, there isn’t that much space to lug a load of equipment around with him everywhere that he goes, it’s not feasible or necessary. So the only two other lenses that he has for the majority of his shoots are the standard kit lens that comes with the 5D, a 24-105mm f/4.0 L-series lens (not the most amazing lens in the world but very versatile), and a 7-in 200 f/2.8 L-series Canon lens, which is one of his favourites to shoot with. It’s quite a big lens so it’s a little on the clunky side, but the quality is sharp and there’s never been a circumstance where Brian’s had to zoom further than 200mm, so it suits him perfectly.
Aside from that, he also shoots quite a bit just using using his iPhone 6S+, especially for video stuff. All you need is a good bit of lighting and believe it or not, the iPhone capability is pretty impressive – it can shoot 4K video and shoots 1080P at 60fps, which is pretty good quality.
It’s not about equipment, it’s about YOU
Even though Brian is seriously considering upgrading parts of his gear, he’s not racing out the door to do so. He’s weighing up his options and has procedures in place for when to upgrade, and reasoning behind these that are beneficial to his business as a whole, not just because it’s new and shiny and he really, really wants it. And that’s what YOU should be thinking about too when considering new gear, do you really NEED it? Is it going to vastly improve your end-product? There aren’t any limitations to prevent you from starting to put out good quality images, just learn the limitations of your gear and how to work with them. If you think these limitations are really holding you back, then maybe it’s justified to splash out on something new. But at the end of the day, it’s not the gear, but what you do with it that counts. Learn how to use it properly to put out a high quality product that you’re proud to put your name to, and you’ll get hired no matter what camera or lenses it is that you’re using. Stop blaming your equipment and put the work in to produce something awesome!