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Archive for April, 2022

Camera kits are the subject of a great many videos and blog posts. Everyone has their own idea about what the best kit looks like. This of course is highly subjective but there is at least some objective measures that make sense for the well rounded setup.

Not everyone is a photo-pyscho like me and has to have every damn piece of gear in the universe, but most of us would like to have a nice selection that covers a broad range of uses.

Kits can rapidly rise to outrageous costs, so having tiers is a good start. But many newbs to photography should consider what they can afford or justify now and how that gear may still fit in later should they decide to expand into serious gear or professional grade equipment. There are a few basic elements that ought to be in every well rounded camera kit. I will be focusing on bodies, lenses, and other ‘heavy’ gear, not so much on the extra memory cards, batteries, etc.

  • Camera body
  • Standard range zoom lens
  • High speed prime between 35mm and 85mm
  • Wide angle lens either fixed or zoom’
  • Telephoto zoom or prime

This basic setup can look many different ways depending on the photographer’s preference and subject matter. One should also consider the amount of gear you’re willing to carry as much as the amount of money you are willing or able to spend. Starting with full frame is ideal and getting a less expensive ‘starter’ camera and focusing on good glass could be beneficial in the long run. Look at the following scenarios below:

Kit APriceKit BPrice
Canon EOS R5 body$3900Canon EOS RP body$1000
Canon RF 24-240 f/3.5-6.3$900Canon RF 24-105 f/4 L$1100
Canon RF 16 f/2.8$300Canon RF 70-200 f/4 L$1600
Canon RF 14-35 f/4 L$1700
Total$5100Total$5400

In these two scenarios we have a very different outcome with a very similar expenditure. Kit A features a high end camera body with consumer grade lenses attempting to cover as much range as possible. Kit B utilizes a cheaper camera body that frees up capital to buy three professional grade lenses. Kit A covers 16mm to 240mm and Kit B covers 14mm to 200mm. I would argue that the extra wide angle is worth more than the extra telephoto nothing else considered. However there is much more to consider here as the two lenses in Kit A are not nearly as good as any of the three lenses in Kit B. Kit A offers a 45mp camera body with some serious horsepower under the hood, yet the lenses are not really capable of allowing that R5 to really do its thing. The RP in Kit B is a much more modest camera, but I would argue that superior images and more flexibility are available in Kit B. Kit B represents a better use of a fairly large amount of cash.

Since most people do not start out dropping five large on their first system, let’s take another approach.

Kit A StarterPriceKit B Upgrade laterPrice
Canon EOS RP body$1000Keep Canon EOS RP body$0.00
Canon RF 24-240 f/3.5-6.3$900Canon RF 24-105 f/4 L$1100
Canon RF 16 f/2.8$300Canon RF 70-200 f/4 L$1600
Sell RF 24-240-$650
Keep 16 f/2.80.00
Total$2200Total$2150

The above shows a starter approach later upgrading to superior optics. I would go with better glass before upgrading the camera body in most scenarios.

What about more kits?

Kit A PriceKit B Price
Canon EOS RP body NEW$1000Canon EOS RP body NEW$1000
Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 NEW$300Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 USED$300
Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L Mk I USED$400Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USED$300
Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS Mk I USED$500Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USED$800
Canon EF-RF Adapter$100Canon EF-RF Adapter$100
Total$2300Total$2500

You could add the Canon RF 50/1.8 to either kit for $200 or even substitute the 24-70 or 24-105 zooms for it to shave money off the cost. But some of you may be thinking $2500 isn’t budget enough. I get that. So take a look at these used Sony scenarios below:

Kit A PriceKit B Price
Sony a7 II USED$800Sony a7 II USED$800
Sony 50/1.8 NEW$250Sony 50/1.8 USED$150
Sigma ART 24-105/4 USED$400Sony 28-70/3.5-5.6 USED$200
Tamron 70-180/2.8 USED$600
Total$1450Total$1750

There is no silver bullet but I would find a way at some point to have enough pieces to meet that outline at the beginning of this post. One high speed prime, and zooms to cover wide angle through tele-photo. Canon has an advantage in the budget due to the wide range of EF lenses that can offer low priced used alternatives that do not sacrifice performance. Look at the cheap full frame kit below:

  • Canon 5D Mk III USED $500
  • Canon EF 17-40/4 L USED $300
  • Canon EF 28-135/3.5-5.6 USM IS USED $150
  • Canon Ef 50/1.8 Mk II USED $80
  • Canon EF 70-300/4.5.6 USM IS USED $350

This is less than $1400 and includes an L series wide angle zoom! It has a 17-300mm range with decent glass. Upgrade to EOS mirrorless body later and all the glass works basically native with Canon’s exceptional EF-RF adapter.

This is by no means a complete assessment, I may have bit off more than I can chew with this topic, but I hope what I did cover helps.

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