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Photography Equipment Comparisons – Entry-Level Versus High-End Gear Does it Matter?

Photographers tend to get obsessed with having the latest, greatest toys. But does it matter which camera or bits of equipment you use? If so, how much? Or is it more about how you use it, and the skills you possess?

Let’s take a look at three video comparisons of some of the top level photography equipment available and some entry-level options.

Rich photographer – poor photographer

I like the play on words here, hinting at the concept of the “Rich Dad Poor Dad” series of books by Robert Kiyosaki. In the video, the guys over at f-stoppers do a portrait shoot with two different sets of lighting equipment. One which costs nearly $10,000, and the “poor man’s” version which will run you about $425.

Can you see a difference in the final portrait results? No, I can’t see much difference either.

$1100 versus $5499

In this second video, Peter McKinnon looks at the virtues of both the Canon 80D ($1099) and the Canon 1Dx Mark II (Note: at the time of writing, this camera is listed at $5499). Is the latter worth five times as much? You decide.

If you are a sports shooter, you may need the extra frames per second rate the 1DX offers. But if you’re a wildlife photographer you may prefer the extended reach of the crop sensor in the 80D. Portrait photography can be done with either, but you likely don’t need to spend the extra money on the 1DX if that’s what you shoot.

Note: when the video was made the 1DX was likely priced higher, so please note the difference in prices in the video to current pricing.

Camera shootout – it’s not about the gear

In this last video let’s see what happens if two professional photographers each pick up an entry-level Canon Rebel T3i and hand their Canon 5D Mark IV to an amateur. They do a little shootout with the same model, in the same lighting conditions and studio. Let’s see who comes out on top.

The Canon T3i is discontinued, the price for the current model, the T6 is $449 with the 18-55mm lens. The Canon 5D Mark IV  is $3299 + $1699 for the 35mm f/1.4 lens shown in the video = total $4998.

Your thoughts?

So what are your thoughts after watching the videos? Have you made the decision to invest in high-end lenses or a full frame camera body? If so, have you found it to fill your needs better – was it worth it? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

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Darlene Hildebrandt
Darlene Hildebrandt

is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor and online photography classes. She also teaches all about photo editing using Lightroom, Photoshop, and Luminar Neo and has courses available on all three.

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