My first lens ever was the Canon 18-55, it's a kit lens and it's aperture ranges from 3.5-5.6. I wasn't 100% sure what that meant early on, but I knew the lens was frowned upon. I kept reading about constant apertures and how those lenses were the best way to go. I then purchased the Sigma 17-50, this lens was a constant 2.8 aperture and was favored by the forum members in which I communicated with. It was relatively cheap, though, expensive back then, coming in at around $320 or so. I took my first picture with this lens and I hated it. I had done further research right before it came into the mail, Sigma lenses were some third party lens that wasn't accepted by real Canon shooters. It was the budget brand and serious photographers used L lenses that were native to the Canon system.
Now, I was no serious photographer, but I wanted to be accepted by those who were. If they were using L lenses than I wanted to use L lenses too. I never touched my Canon again after reading that article, I sold my Sigma and my Canon sat there lifeless for months. Eventually, I had saved enough to purchase a Canon 24-105L lens, it was everything I wanted in a lens, it was a much longer focal length than the Sigma and it had a red ring.
When this lens came in I was beyond excited. I remember mounting it to my camera and taking pictures of it from every angle to post on Instagram. Nobody knew I was a photographer at this time and this was going to be the first post to let the world know that I was legit. I swear I had it all, Canon T3i, 24-105L and a Manfrotto tripod with a fluid head. I was ready to take on the world.
I took a few test shots around the house, all of the photographs came out dark, they weren't sharp and a few of the images were blurry. I couldn't figure out why this was happening, L lenses shouldn't have performed in this way, right? Truth is, I really didn't know how to use my camera, I was shooting indoors at ISO 100, f/4 and like 1/15th of a second, to make matters worse I was using the tele end of my lens at 105mm. I posted this issue to a forum I was active on at the time and many of them told me that my T3i wasn't a good camera to shoot indoors, it had bad low light capabilities and that the 60D was more suitable for my shooting style.
I had no shooting style at that time, but I still took their advice. I shelved the Canon T3i and saved for a 60D. This pattern took place for a while, every time I ran into a problem I would blame my gear. I wasn't getting bokeh in my images at 24mm with the 24-105L, so I sold it for the Sigma 18-35 (funny how sigma was a frowned upon brand, but I dropped $800 on a lens no problem). The Sigma was great, shooting at f/1.8 was awesome, I never took full advantage of the lens as I shot on JPEG but it stayed with me for a while.
One day at the park I met a friend and I told him I was going professional, I had a few gigs under my belt and I wanted to take freelancing seriously. He wished me good luck and gave me a few pointers, as we were talking I noticed he had a Zeiss lens on his camera, I asked him to shoot with it and with no hesitation he let me. His exact system was a Canon 5D Mark II and the Zeiss Distagon T 35 f/2. All I knew at that moment was that I was shooting with at least a $1000 lens. I looked through the viewfinder and it was huge, I was able to see everything. I took some pictures and the quality was flat out amazing, far better than anything I had ever taken on my camera. I went back to him and explained how amazed I was, he looked at me and said you have to get a full frame... Or something along those lines.
Guess what? I shelved my camera again... I needed a full frame, I wasn't a real photographer unless I shot full frame. I sold everything I had the next day, my tripod, my 60D and my 18-35. Ironically I also got paid that week so I took all my earnings, my check and purchased a Canon 6D.
I kept the Canon 6D for a while, with it I purchased a Rokinon 35 and 85, both lenses having fast apertures at f/1,4. I'll never forget the first image I took with this setup, it was a group of people in Campus Martius (Downtown Detroit) at around 6PM at f/1.4. A GROUP OF PEOPLE, AT F/1.4.
I'm not writing this to say that these were all bad purchases by any measure, but to say that the problem was never my gear. By not having a certain level of gear I made myself wait to even learn how to use my camera. I went through a T3i, a T4i and a 60D before I even started to shoot. I was shooting JPEGS on a 6D for at least 3 months before I realized what a RAW photo was. I purchased fast aperture lenses before I knew what they did, I shot everything wide open because I thought that was the point. People's eyes were out of focus, I was blurring out details of a photo that a fashion brand needed because I had no idea how to shoot. I didn't know that shuttered speed affected my shot. I just knew how to press the shutter, and press the shutter was all I did. I could have gotten those same pictures with just about any lens.
I noticed that this was happening to me with my idea of doing YouTube too. I told myself I needed a GH4, a Rode VideoMic Pro, a lavalier system, preferably from Sennheiser and a secondary camera for multiple viewpoints. I talked about vlogging for a year, a YEAR! And it never happened. It wasn't until last week that I told myself "just do it", cliche but just do it. Learn the craft first Keenan, be consistent first Keenan, gain a following, then upgrade if needed. I don't know what I need because I haven't even tried it yet. Do it for a day, if the audio sucks, buy a mic Keenan. If the quality sucks, buy a new camera Keenan, but first, at least attempt it to see if those things are even necessary. I started my vlog with my iPhone 6s +, an Olloclip, a Rode VideoMic Me and a Joby Gorillapod that I already had. No it's not the most professional setup, but it's allowing me to create.
Don't let gear hold you back from doing something, don't let gear hold you back from learning the craft. Remember the less you have the more creative you naturally are. Let's not make the lack of gear be the reason why we wait to create. If I would have started taking pictures in 2012 or 2013 when I first purchased my camera then I would have been light years ahead of where I am right now, but instead. I waited until 2014... I waited 2 years to create, simply because I didn't have the "perfect lens". Don't make the same mistake as me. Make what you have count, create today, don't use the lack of gear as your excuse to procrastinate.