This is my friend and co-worker, Joseph. Isn't he a handsome dude? I shot this image with a lens that could be collecting pension soon.
When people start out in photography, they often think that they need the latest and greatest equipment to do the job. While that's partially true - you do need the right tools for the job - you don't need to shell out $$ every time a new goody comes along.
Professional photographers will tell you to always invest in glass. Get a decent camera body, but save up for great lenses. The lens I used for this image of Joseph was built in 1962, and was purchased for under $100. Of course, it's a manual focus lens, which can be a challenge at times, but using vintage lenses makes you slow down and think a little more about how you want to compose your shot.
It can be some trial and error, for example, the body I used this lens on (Nikon D300) couldn't give a reading on the f-stop. For the most part, it said I was shooting at f0, while the lens itself was set to f4. Getting a crisp, clear image takes a little practice if you're used to autofocus lenses, but using this glass is so much fun!
Check out your local second-hand stores and garage sales for cheap, vintage gear. Even on websites like eBay or Kijiji where people are cleaning out their basements, you can find great glass attached to outdated cameras people think are useless. I've bought gear before just for the glass, then tear apart the camera body to show the kids how it works!
There are several groups on Facebook as well where photographers are looking to upgrade their gear and are selling great items for a decent price.
The only frustration with shooting this setup is the shutter on this body is starting to go. It's only 150% of it's shutter life...lol. Every 10 frames or so, it will stick. This is usually when the best shot is laid out before me, and I can be seen cursing away, trying to get the shutter to unlock.
So there you have it. A 54-year-old lens, almost 10-year-old body that's been well-loved, and a cheapo flash that sat atop Minolta SLRs when they were cutting edge. Who knows? Maybe this lens will find it's way into my usual rotation.