I bought a $200 camera and lens so people would stop giving credit to the camera for my photos

Oct 2, 2017

Phillip Haumesser

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I bought a $200 camera and lens so people would stop giving credit to the camera for my photos

Oct 2, 2017

Phillip Haumesser

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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When I began posting my photos online, I started getting comments like ‘wow, you must have a great camera’ or ‘anybody can take photos like these with expensive gear’ or ‘I can’t take photos like these because I can’t afford an expensive camera like yours’. It breaks my heart when I hear people say things like this. Or when they feel like they can’t get any better or they don’t have a chance because they have a cheap camera.

So I had enough of these comments and decided to prove them wrong by finding the cheapest camera and lens I could find and take some photos with them!

I got on eBay and found a used Canon t2i (EOS 550D) for $183 and a Pentax 50mm 1.7 lens for $15. And that’s it! All of the equipment I needed for just under $200! I took my boys and my camera out and did a photo shoot and these are the photos we took!

I did the editing with Photoshop and Lightroom, so I thought I would put that out there before everyone starts screaming photoshop! I don’t care that everyone thinks that editing is cheating! I have a vision in my head when I shoot, so I get what I need out of the camera and then I literally paint it the way I envisioned it. It’s a crucial put of my art. And before you say you can’t afford Photoshop and Lightroom, I only pay $2.50 a week for mine.

That’s literally less than a cappuccino!

About the Author

Phillip Haumesser is a self taught photographer based in a rural area of Missouri. He began teaching himself photography when his wife told him she wanted better photos of the kids. He has now ventured out to photograph weddings, engagements, newborns, maternity, family and seniors, but Phillip’s passion is still taking photos of his kids. You can find out more about Phillip on his website, and follow his work on Facebook and Instagram. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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46 responses to “I bought a $200 camera and lens so people would stop giving credit to the camera for my photos”

  1. Howardo Mansfieldio Avatar
    Howardo Mansfieldio

    $200??? I paid £1.99 for a Minolta AF7000 and about £35 for a lens. Full frame and f1.7 for low light / shallow DOF.

    Job’s a good ‘un.

  2. Dave Finley Avatar
    Dave Finley

    There’s the old story of the famous photographer who was invited to a high-society dinner party. When he arrived, the hostess said, “Your photos are wonderful. You must have a really good camera.” At the end of the evening, when he departed, he told the hostess, “The dinner was wonderful. You must have a really good stove.”

  3. James Avatar

    If Ansel Adams did darkroom trickery and techniques then it’s OK to Photoshop an Image.

    1. Vanitas Foto Avatar
      Vanitas Foto

      Have you read The Negative? By Ansel Adams…

      1. James Avatar

        I have not.

  4. Adrian Bawn Avatar
    Adrian Bawn

    Good photography has never been about the equipment. The most significant factors to a good photo are :

    Right time/Right place

    Get any or all of those things even slightly right and you have the basis for an excellent photograph.

    An expensive camera, or lens, just gives you a slightly wider margin of error on some of these points (like better low-light support, more exposure settings, better zoom, or a tilt/shift lens).

    Photoshop can’t replace skill. It just lets you add to that from an artistic perspective. But if the underlying image is bad, you can only do so much with PS.

  5. Michael Goolsby Avatar
    Michael Goolsby

    Nice pictures. The T2i is a really nice camera! ;)

  6. Alexandre Bettencourt Avatar
    Alexandre Bettencourt

    It’s actually a compliment if people say good things about my camera, and they do. It just means that they’re happy and I picked the right gear. Mission complete.

  7. Danilo Rocha Avatar
    Danilo Rocha

    I just could afford a Fujifilm s2100 for US$30 aprox

  8. Ian Moody Avatar
    Ian Moody

    I still use an old 5d mk2 from 2008. ?

    1. Marciano Kluivert Avatar
      Marciano Kluivert

      I Still use an 5D classic mk1 ?

    2. Les Dishman Avatar
      Les Dishman

      Me too.

  9. Andrew B Hurvitz Avatar
    Andrew B Hurvitz

    I bought an old typewriter after people credited Apple for my prize winning prose.

  10. aleroe Avatar

    So you’ve proven that you don’t need the latest and greatest camera to take great shots. How about sharing with us what you *do* need? What did you look for when composing your photos? What did you look for when you were selecting the best of them? How did you decide what post-processing to apply?

    One of my hang-ups is trying to visualize which photos can be improved with post-processing (and what kind of PP to apply), and which photos are hopeless.

    1. Phillip Avatar

      That’s why I created the course, to answer all of those questions. ;)

      1. Kevin Maschke Avatar
        Kevin Maschke

        What course? Can’t see the link in the article :O

        1. Phillip Avatar

          Oh, sorry, wrong article! :D The course is on my website, it’s free! https://philliphaumesserphotography.com

  11. Ben Ef Point Avatar
    Ben Ef Point

    I love astrophotographery and always wanted to try it. All tutorials say you need a full frame or a camera with really great low light capabilities. My old Canon Rebel t1i/500d has a terrible low light performance from ISO 1600 onwards. So i tweaked around that issue by taking a 13 image vertorama and sizing it down to a normal size. 3,75GB file at 75% of the actual size but voila, my first Milky Way shot with a not Milky Way compatible camera and nearly no noise.

    1. Ryan Hartford Avatar
      Ryan Hartford

      holy shit. Great photo, but sounds like you worked hard for it. That’s probably the difference between a beast camera and a lower priced one, the amount of post. But good photo none-the-less.

  12. Stephen C Miller Avatar
    Stephen C Miller

    I guess I get the opposite kind of feedback. Did a photoshoot the other day and the model had beautiful blurry background with her face nice and sharp. Anyone with experience could tell it was shot with a telephoto wide open. I was told “Great shot, do you have the new iphone 8?”

  13. Cristian Babeș Avatar
    Cristian Babeș

    Canon 600D, a 50mm f/1.8 and a 18-55mm II (if the conditions are ideal this one can get some nice results)

  14. Paul Willy Brown Avatar
    Paul Willy Brown

    no shoes ! not good.

  15. David Groves Avatar
    David Groves

    I’m far from a good photographer, in fact I’d rate myself as quite bad. I’ve got some nice camera gear though, but only because I inherited it.

    I’ve used my nice camera equipment and poor (but improving) abilities with a camera to take some photographs that have impressed both myself and others.

    The way I view it though is that a bad photographer with bad equipment will occasionally take a good photograph. My hit rate is improving as I’m learning, but you wouldn’t hire me to shoot your wedding. At an event where there are certain shots you need to get, I would get some of them. What you are paying a pro for though, is they will get all of them !. The same applies to equipment. It might let you work quicker, or make mistakes and get away with it.

    Good equipment however can let you do some things you couldn’t do without it. A camera phone might not be very limiting in a situation like taking a studio group shot, where skill in posing your subjects and any lighting setup is going to be more important. You aren’t particularly camera/lens limited here. However good luck using it to get a closeup shot of a football game kicking off at night from 50m away. With that as the required output, give an Olympic pro photographer an iPhone and give me a high end sports camera and super long and super fast lens and I’m getting the better shot all the time, even though I’m way worse as a photographer in general. This shot is most certainly camera/lens limited.

  16. Tapio Tarkiainen Avatar
    Tapio Tarkiainen

    Olympus Trip 35 from 1967. 10€ +postal

  17. Marcel Mikolášik Avatar
    Marcel Mikolášik

    Fuji s5 pro

  18. Alexander L. Harris Avatar
    Alexander L. Harris

    I actually got some excellent photos with a freakin’ holga, expensive gear can’t compensate for shitty composition, boring subjects and yes, occasionally, glorious, beautiful utterly blind luck.

  19. Scott Avatar

    You should also use MS paint instead of Lightroom and Photoshop…

  20. Fyrblade Avatar

    It’s always the software not the hardware

  21. Dave Bottoms Avatar
    Dave Bottoms

    The takeaway is, as long as you’re a wiz at photoshop and lightroom, the camera and lens don’t really matter. Well, a fast prime lens (f1.7) sure makes a big difference. I like using photo editing tools (mostly LR), too, I should mention. Nice photos, but the editing is totally obvious.

  22. Anthony Kerstens Avatar
    Anthony Kerstens

    If I gave a rat’s ass about what anyone thought about my gear, I would tell you what I’m using right now.

  23. Josofa Harris Avatar
    Josofa Harris

    What adapter are using to fit a Pentax lens on the Canon or did I miss it?
    I ask as I have both of these but have never used them together because they didn’t fit…

  24. Blank Stare Avatar
    Blank Stare

    I use an older Canon I bought used from KEH for $75.00 and I use the open source free software GIMP and GIMPhoto.

  25. Stephan Hughes Avatar
    Stephan Hughes

    I don’t use any modern lenses. All of my lenses are vintage lenses. I get excellent results with them. As much as i would love to own Zeiss lenses, i love the look an old Minolta 50mm 1.7 gives me.

    1. Uncle Bro Avatar
      Uncle Bro

      I honestly like older lenses better. Call me a me pot smokin hipster if yuh want but I like the way my images turn out with old glass. To me the newer lenses produce images that are too sterile. like waaaay too clean. I mean if you are shooting professionally and your type of work requires that, cool beans. Shoot sometimes I’ll jack my iso up to about 6400 on my d700 and switch to monochrome then shoot black and white at night with my 50mm f1.8 af-d or my 85mm f1.8 af-d. It’s actually a lot of fun. I would like to get some even older lenses. like a nikkor-s 50mm f1.4.

  26. Stephan Hughes Avatar
    Stephan Hughes

    “The best camera is the one that’s with you”

  27. Razvan Daniel Ionescu Avatar
    Razvan Daniel Ionescu

    Spent $10 on a Chaika-II and adapted the Industar-69 28mm F/2.8 lens for infinty focus. Using this lens almost always on my X-E1 for more than a year now :)

  28. Frans Fourie Avatar
    Frans Fourie

    Bronica SQ and Yashica

  29. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    Question is, why would you care for what people say about your work? A professional aesthetic critique is well-known to the ears when it comes. Anything else is simply a gossip.

  30. JustChristoph Avatar

    You lot must be loaded! I make my lenses from loo roll tubes and sticky back plastic. Thank god I watched Blue Peter as a child.

    1. PaulC Avatar

      Don’t Joke – Matthieu Stern has just posted images taken with a lens made of frozen water !

  31. Shaun M. McDougle Avatar
    Shaun M. McDougle

    I have been using a mobile phone all year for an image every day. I wanted to see what limits I could overcome. Check it out: #imageaday2017

  32. Sergi Yavorski Avatar
    Sergi Yavorski

    Good for you, but you apparently don’t do photography professionally

  33. Martijn van Oers Avatar
    Martijn van Oers

    1970’s 100 mm Nikkor e-series lens. Bought for €80,-. True gem!

  34. Uncle Bro Avatar
    Uncle Bro

    I’m still using a d700 and mostly cheap old nikon af-d lenses (i’m lucky with the 70-200mm vr2) for portraiture and experimental work. I love my af-d lenses. They work great are hella sharp and best of suuuper cheap.

  35. Roman Romanenko Avatar
    Roman Romanenko

    Excellent point. I think any good photographer from the old days would blow everyone away today by using even a camera phone. Combined with even a mediocre post processing software would not even present a problem.

  36. Alberto Avatar

    Photographer makes the images. Many of my best pictures are taken with compact second hand cameras. https://www.flickr.com/photos/albertoperezpuyal/albums