What’s Your Next lens Purchase?

Today’s Post by Barry Staver with Joe Farace

Let’s take a minute to catch our breath and talk about lenses, their price tags and our need for them.

panaleicaJoe has always wondered why professional carpenters are not more like us in their feelings for their tools. Like us, they need expensive equipment to accomplish their work too, and cameras and lenses are nothing more than the tools of our trade. Yet while cabinetmakers may covet a new saw, they usually don’t rush out and buy one unless they can actually put it to work. That does not seem to be the case with photographers. We are more prone to acquire an item for the prestige of owning an interesting piece of hardware. Maybe carpenters would be more like us if they could hang an orbital sander around their necks.

One of the biggest mistakes many of us make when purchasing new equipment is doing so in anticipation of getting an assignment. Does this sound familiar? The phone rings and a client you’ve been after for a long time is on the line. They have a big job coming up, and want to know if you can handle it? “Sure,” you say, all the while realizing that you do not have the right gear to do the best job.

oly45If you can cover the cost of the new equipment and manage to make a profit on the job, you may want to go for it, but only after the assignment is guaranteed. But the way this scenario usually concludes is that our eager photographer runs out, slaps the new gear on his plastic, and the job is given to someone with a lower bid. If this sounds familiar, you know what happens next. The new hardware ends up sitting in a corner or becoming a very expensive bookend.

In these situations, it pays to look at alternatives to purchasing new equipment: Used equipment is available at a variety of places. eBay comes to mind but many of the larger camera stores maintain extensive used equipment departments.

Have you thought about rentals? Rental gear tends to not be as clean as your own personal equipment and occasionally will fail on the job. That’s happened to Joe but haven’t you had your own equipment fall apart on assignment too? Rentals offer significant cost savings and you may be able to bill a client for the rental cost.