If you’ve been using a DSLR for a while and think you’re ready to upgrade, I’m going to tell you the one thing you can do to really bring your photography to the next level.
My friends always ask me what camera they should buy, but that’s really not the best question to ask. Camera bodies are like little computers and they need to be upgraded eventually but as long as it’s still working, a new camera by itself won’t make you a better photographer. The thing you really want to upgrade first is your lens.
So besides focal length, the other spec on a lens is the aperture. The lower that number, like f/4 or f/2.8, the more light that can come through the lens. This allows you to do a couple of things, first of all, you can shoot in lower light situations. The other thing is you can throw your background way more out-of-focus, giving you that smooth professional look.
So that first DSLR you bought, it probably came with a kit lens. Most of those have what’s called a “variable aperture zoom” which means, the more you zoom in, the less light it lets in. The problem is, you can’t shoot in low light situations and the background is not going to go out of focus like you really want it to.
Zoom Lens With a Fixed Aperture
One thing to do is, buy a zoom lens with a fixed aperture. Most companies make a 24-70mm that comes in both an f/4 and an f/2.8 version. Pros generally like the f/2.8 version because it lets in just a little bit more light. But keep in mind it’s bigger heavier and more expensive than the f/4.
You also should consider upgrading to a prime lens which doesn’t zoom at all. The main thing to remember about the prime lenses is you can get a much wider aperture, sometimes as wide as f/1.2. This will give your background that smooth creamy look that you are after.
At the end of the day, a quality lens is a good investment. Unlike a car that loses its value as soon as you drive it off the lot, a good high-quality lens could last you a lifetime. If you can only afford to do one or the other, invest as much as you can in a lens and hold onto that body as long as you can until the muffler falls off.
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