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Thread: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

  1. #1
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    "Originally Posted by carregwen:
    I know CS5 is a big outlay, but consider it an investment. You might be happy to pay 600 for a new lens, so why pull back at spending the same on a processing system that will do everything?
    Reply by Colin:
    I agree. I think the same logic needs to be applied to training too; so many will spend thousands on equipment, but won't invest hundreds in learning how to use it.
    Cheers, Colin"


    The above is an extract from a thread on DxO optics, which made me think (a) what did I spend on my kit and (b) how much would it cost to significantly upgrade it and to what effect

    Item costs in GBP
    Nikon D80 with 18-135 kit lens 400 2nd hand as new condition
    Nikkor 80-400VR tele lens 830 direct import 1 year guarantee
    Canon 500D 77mm close up ring 100 poor mans macro
    Lowepro holster bag 30 can carry up mountains
    sub-total camera etc 1360

    Nikon Capture NX2 130
    (DxO optics for non- Nikon cameras) 100 current Amazon price, I paid about 70
    Supplementary prog for a few things not in NX2 60 eg GraphicConverter (mac) or PSE4/5 ebay
    sub total software 290

    MacBook pro 15” (1440x900) 900 2nd hand as new condition
    extra RAM to fill 4GB 90
    subtotal computer 990

    To improve on that lot:

    Nikon D7000 930 - increase 10MP to 16MP better high ISO, same size extra 100g
    Nikkor 17-55 VR 1000 professional standard
    Nikkor 70-200 VRII 1600 professional standard & much faster than 80-400VR
    2x converter 230
    camera etc sub-total 3760

    CS4 200-600 ebay buy now - I don't think this gains ANY improvement on photographic work except possible blending and stitching which I don't find necessary but can 'work-around' with what I have

    CS5 550-650 amazon UK - i assume this is full 64bit, but have all your plug-ins caught up with 64 bit, cos if not you have to operate it in 32 bit mode anyway

    I am a basic rate pensioner so anything like this comes out of savings & is also removed from pool for the 1001 important charities I would like to support. So an extra 4000 to upgrade my pics say 5% would be madness. I can already print A3, win some club comps and sell a few. I think all my kit is still available for anyone else wanting a 'budget bag'.

    As far as spending on training is concerned, my budget has always been zero. This included learning Microstation 3D computer aided design with 8 windows/file and even more tools than PS. No training fee as it came with carefully designed tutorials which take you through 90% of common operations quite quickly and online hypertext version of the manuals (about 800 pages) with auto-tracking each time a new tool is opened in window 9 with all tools still 100% functional, not like a web tutorial. I was also able to learn the competitor Archicad in about 3 weeks.

    There is no excuse for making something as simple and intuitive as photo editing any more difficult to learn & the spadework of 'how to' supply built-in training has already been done

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    I'm disabled so I would like all the toys but can't afford them. It would be nice to do a decent training course, such as Msc or MA but unfortunately graduates don't get student loans or help of any sort.

    My equipment cost a lot and I never buy anything on credit, I save up for it. In fact I can't even get credit since I applied once and a nuisance phoned up to tell me since I didn't have a credit history, he would do me a favour and let me have credit at 100% interest on a small amount, just to get a reference. I told him to go away.

    I would like the Canon lenses but I work around things; my camera has resolution 2250 LW/PH which means I am wasting money getting a sharper lens, but I can also save by working around the numbers. Such as, the lens is good at f6.4 and the camera is good at that so I am pretty much fixed on, it is not so good at 24mm focal length so I avoid that.

    However if I had the money, my camera would cost 19000, I would pay for a 10000 course and have all the studio equipment and pay for good looking models to experiment with.

    Nice to dream, but I will have to put up with taking pics with one hand tied behind my back.

  3. #3
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    For inexpensive training, especially if you have the time to really work on it for an extended period, lynda.com is great. You can sign up for one month for $25 (don't forget to cancel or they'll bill you for the next month) and get extensive training videos for many, many kinds of software. I've done their series on PS and Lightroom. I really recommend it.

  4. #4

    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Chris

    A very interesting thread. Thank you for starting it.

    I know you only started this today, but I'm surprised that have not been more replies already. After all, this gets to the root of many questions around purchasing upgrades for any photographic gear or software - best summed up as "Will it improve my photography?"

    If you refer to the thread I started back in August you will see that my list of 20 things that contribute to being a good photographer actually don't list all that much in the gear and software department. And I would strongly argue that improving some of the 20 items (some of which may not cost s) will improve someone's photography far more than new toys. Test time! So, you reckon you are a good photographer?

    I don't know how much I have spent, but I'm sure my wife could tell me if I had the nerve to ask her. I would guess about 8,000 on gear (that's camera gear not 'gear' gear), software, courses, books, videos, accessories - I still haven't worn the sleeveless shooting jacket (maybe Wirefox would like it to pose in Wilmslow)

    I pulled up at the lights yesterday in my nearly-new Peugeot which cost 16,000. Nice car, and does the job very well. Next to me at the lights was a small model Mercedes, about the size of mine. It must have been worth about 26,000. It does the same job, it doesn't go any faster, it doesn't give you an Indian head-massage while you drive along the motorway, and it doesn't make you a better driver. It's just a Merc. The lady driving doesn't need it, she could have a Peugeot, which would do the job just as well. But she obviously has the money. What I'm saying is that people generally buy up to the level that they can afford for things that give them pleasure, or things they consider as important tools. I would never, ever buy a personalized number plate for my car, or spend more than 17,000 on a car, but I would buy a more expensive camera.

    Looking at another aspect of this - I often see people who have all the latest gear and software, and they obviously will never take a good shot in their life. If it makes them happy to have it, then fine. But it won't make them a better photographer. The gear is just a tool.

    I'm a pensioner too, although I'm 'only' 58. And I just remembered that I must upgrade my Canon 5D to the MarkII...


  5. #5
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Peugeot You could get a second hand Jag for that price. Only having fun but my last local shopkeeper had a 128,000 merc, this he got by working 16 hours every day six days a week, after his parents gave him a load of dosh to buy a shop with.

    I can think of better things to do than afford a car you can't drive because your too busy.

    The difference with photography is that you can't choose, if you want to sell photo's you have to have the best equipment, nobody is going to say your pics are any good when you shot at a compromise 35mm instead of 10mm and f5.6 instead of f2 ect ect. They just see them as they are.

  6. #6
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Chris
    I think you should be applauded for a very common sense attitude towards your photography.
    I must take care not to be branded an hypocrite given that I possess a fairly extensive kit, but none of it has been bought on a whim or because it's the latest thing. I too have had to save before making a purchase and even then choose between say a lens and some other item I may want.
    The pace of progress is frightening and the pressure from the marketing men to upgrade, relentless. It takes a strong will to resist, whether tempered by personal financial circumstances or not. Credit cards rule OK!!
    The truth of the matter is that 6 mega-pixels is more than enough for those of us that just publish photographs on the web. I can still get cracking images from my D70 even if they are not pictorially worthy of publishing here.
    It took me so long to save for my D2X that it was superseded shortly after purchase. Is it still a good camera? - yes. Does it have limitations? - definitely. Would I like to upgrade? - certainly. Am I likely to? - No. It does everything I need provided I work within those limitations and is likely to see me out. Besides my computer can just about handle files from its 12.3Mp, upgrade my camera and its a computer upgrade too. The endless spiral.
    As for training - I'm self taught (I know Rob - it shows!!) but I doubt anybody has as many book marked websites offering free tutorials as me, or the complete Time Life Library of Photography bought for 10p at a jumble sale!
    Yes Lightroom was an indulgence, but it has enabled me to keep my editing simple, catalogue my images, produce slide shows and web pages in a manner that suits me, so is in my book, value for money.
    It's wifey's turn next, as we save for a new kitchen!

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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    CS5 550-650 amazon UK - i assume this is full 64bit, but have all your plug-ins caught up with 64 bit, cos if not you have to operate it in 32 bit mode anyway
    Only if you need to use that / those particular plugins on that occasion. Both versions are installed at the same time so one can take their pick on a case-by-case basis.

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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    I can still get cracking images from my D70 even if they are not pictorially worthy of publishing here.
    ...
    the complete Time Life Library of Photography bought for 10p at a jumble sale!
    I publish pictures here taken with the D40 adn D70 and have had few complaints.

    My copies of the T/L Library cost me $10.00 at the local GoodWill thrift store. You beat me there.

    Pops

  9. #9
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Chris

    An important discussion, especially for a forum that prides itself on being a place to encourage participation in photography and to learn.

    For our sins, we have chosen to engage in a hobby/pastime/money earner (for a few) that can be enormously expensive to pursue. But if we're truly committed to learning and helping others to grow, what we must never do (and thankfully I don't think it happens here in the way I understand it happens elsewhere) is promote a message that says you've got to spend lots and lots of money in order to a) be any good at making images and, b) enjoy photography.

    Yes, it is legitimate to point out that the spending of money can bring resources and access to a greater range of tools than would otherwise be the case. The spending of money can also provide access to learning resources and opportuntities.

    But, just because some of us may not be able to afford to secure access to this equipment and resources does not mean we should consider ourselves as lesser beings and somehow less worthy than those who can spend vastly greater sums. And those of us who are lucky enough to be able to afford these things must not resort to telling people that they must always be spending more in order to improve.

    The thirst for knowledge and the desire to learn cost nothing.
    Last edited by Donald; 30th November 2010 at 11:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    "Originally Posted by carregwen:
    I know CS5 is a big outlay, but consider it an investment. You might be happy to pay 600 for a new lens, so why pull back at spending the same on a processing system that will do everything?
    Reply by Colin:
    I agree. I think the same logic needs to be applied to training too; so many will spend thousands on equipment, but won't invest hundreds in learning how to use it.
    Cheers, Colin"


    The above is an extract from a thread on DxO optics, which made me think (a) what did I spend on my kit and (b) how much would it cost to significantly upgrade it and to what effect

    Item costs in GBP
    Nikon D80 with 18-135 kit lens 400 2nd hand as new condition
    Nikkor 80-400VR tele lens 830 direct import 1 year guarantee
    Canon 500D 77mm close up ring 100 poor mans macro
    Lowepro holster bag 30 can carry up mountains
    sub-total camera etc 1360

    Nikon Capture NX2 130
    (DxO optics for non- Nikon cameras) 100 current Amazon price, I paid about 70
    Supplementary prog for a few things not in NX2 60 eg GraphicConverter (mac) or PSE4/5 ebay
    sub total software 290

    MacBook pro 15” (1440x900) 900 2nd hand as new condition
    extra RAM to fill 4GB 90
    subtotal computer 990

    To improve on that lot:

    Nikon D7000 930 - increase 10MP to 16MP better high ISO, same size extra 100g
    Nikkor 17-55 VR 1000 professional standard
    Nikkor 70-200 VRII 1600 professional standard & much faster than 80-400VR
    2x converter 230
    camera etc sub-total 3760

    CS4 200-600 ebay buy now - I don't think this gains ANY improvement on photographic work except possible blending and stitching which I don't find necessary but can 'work-around' with what I have

    CS5 550-650 amazon UK - i assume this is full 64bit, but have all your plug-ins caught up with 64 bit, cos if not you have to operate it in 32 bit mode anyway

    I am a basic rate pensioner so anything like this comes out of savings & is also removed from pool for the 1001 important charities I would like to support. So an extra 4000 to upgrade my pics say 5% would be madness. I can already print A3, win some club comps and sell a few. I think all my kit is still available for anyone else wanting a 'budget bag'.

    As far as spending on training is concerned, my budget has always been zero. This included learning Microstation 3D computer aided design with 8 windows/file and even more tools than PS. No training fee as it came with carefully designed tutorials which take you through 90% of common operations quite quickly and online hypertext version of the manuals (about 800 pages) with auto-tracking each time a new tool is opened in window 9 with all tools still 100% functional, not like a web tutorial. I was also able to learn the competitor Archicad in about 3 weeks.

    There is no excuse for making something as simple and intuitive as photo editing any more difficult to learn & the spadework of 'how to' supply built-in training has already been done
    Just going digital was enough of a cost analysis for me. When I looked at the costs of film, batteries, and processing and the cost of doing the same with a digital system, the new technology won out. Granted the computer, printer, and electricity costs were already grandfathered in, at least the initial outlay, and I find that I print out fewer prints when I can view them on the computer. the only time I print images now is to share with someone who doesn't own a computer.

    Now for the additional costs, they will come in time, I plan to take a course very soon, either one of the Nikon mentor series or one at a local college.

  11. #11
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Returning to the issue of cameras "not good enough to post here" reminds me of a situation I read about in Southern California, a few years ago. Art studio had a picture the size of a door priced at ~$10,000. They had another, different photographer, wall sized, priced at $25,000+++. Both sold.

    Each was taken with a disposable camera.

    It isn't the tool that builds the staircase. It is the carpenter.

    Pops

  12. #12
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Cor amazin Pops; it is a bit like a million dollars for a tin of Andy Warhol peas, I can go down the bull ring and get one for 20 pence.

  13. #13

    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    It isn't the tool that builds the staircase. It is the carpenter.
    Sean, are you listening? I think this should be on the CiC banner at the top of the page.

    Nice one, Pops!

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    I can't resist this; it is like an Advert I saw where David Bailey is selling a compact and suggests he always uses one for his fashion shoot. He didn't tell you he mean't compact medium format costing around 40,000

    Something taken with a P&S and enlarged to the size of a wall is either total abstract or horrendous, and agencies insist on a minimum resolution for magazines.

    Good try though

  15. #15
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    It isn't the tool that builds the staircase. It is the carpenter.
    Pops

    That is an absolute gem.

    Have you got that phrase copyrighted or can the rest of us use it?

  16. #16
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Didn't know Ferrari made compact cameras did you

    http://www.hasselblad.co.uk/ferrari

    I think I will get into a 2CV and give one a race; in fact I did beat a BMW once at the lights, but the thing I was driving had 270 horses under the bonnet, even though it was a series 1 Land Rover.

    The carpenter would not do very well with a bread knife and dinner set and a piece of sand paper.

  17. #17
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    I publish pictures here taken with the D40 adn D70 and have had few complaints.
    Pops
    So do I Pops, probably 50% 0f my posts are taken with the D70. I didn't make my point too well.
    The D70 is my go everywhere camera and I have hundreds of family shots, record shots etc. that I wouldn't dream of posting here, but they are nevertheless very fit for purpose.

  18. #18
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    My God, the lunatics really have taken over the asylum!

  19. #19
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    That's a cheap one Donald. If you had a model like Kate Moss, well just well known, I suspect if you did a photoshoot with a disposable, you would I think be justifiably regarded as a lunatic.

    But I bet you could sell it though

    The minimum equipment is what I've got in my signature for landscape, but I would much prefer portrait but that is impractical, I even looked at used medium format film, but even they cost more than my camera, the lights are only a couple of hundred quid but I don't have any models even though one girl relation is a student in acting college.

    But I've been looking at disposables and found these pics:

    I like thi one
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/katine/gal...206479&index=8

  20. #20

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    Re: Do you spend thousands on your equipment and training?

    No, I haven't spent thousands because I don't have it ! Even then I'd think carefully about what I bought and whether it would actually help me take 'better' pictures.
    My wife probably thinks I've spent too much already but I enjoy what I do with what I have, and don't think a higher specification camera and lens would help with what I want to do now.
    If I was a professional and trying to sell then yes, I can understand needing high spec cameras and lenses to get the shots needed, but at the moment not for my hobby.

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