How much is reasonable for a hobbyist to spend on camera gear?

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748

Alex Notpro wrote:

I'm just wondering if there's a rule of thumb (or just your own opinion), like they have for other items such as engagement rings, to spent "two months' salary", or for housing, to spent "a third of your income" or whatever?

I will pick the best answer for my own purposes

You know that's an impossible answer. There is no rule of thumb. Too much depends on how much your spendable income is or how long you've been involved in photography. Some completely well to do amateurs demand the very best and won't put up with second best ever. Others make do with used gear or crop cameras and lenses.

I spend a lot on my gear. I use it for a living, but even if I didn't, I'd spend a lot. I always have. I don't have one piece of gear I'd not own if I were and amateur. Not one. I have four pro or semi pro camera bodies of which one is APS-C crop, a D300 and the other three of Full Frame or FX in the Nikon world, a D700 (around $2700 new), a D3S (around $5000 new) and a D800 ($3000 new). I've spent as much as $5500 on a single lens and will spend more than that this year, and I'm not anywhere close to the top spenders.. not close.

If you like me, enjoy taking photographs of birds, even a budget birding lens might cost close to $2000 and a good one could go for over $10000. It all depends one what you want to do and how deep your pockets are.

How much you spend also doesn't mean so much for taking compelling images either. Expensive stuff might just make it easier at times to get those great shots. A guy with a $13,000 Nikon 800 f/5.6 might be able to get a great shot of a Tree Sparrow where you and I might have to learn to sneak way closer with a cheaper less telephoto lens. Yet we both could come up with that same great shot. It was just harder for us. A point and shoot in a great photographer's hands might create significant images compared to a Canon 1DX in the hands of a bumbling fool.

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Cheers, Craig
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