Update: This post was originally posted on 9th August 2020 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.
Please note that all prices mentioned in this post were correct on 5th August 2020
I was recently asked about the cost of getting into photography by someone in a business group on Facebook. They were asking as they are interested in taking it up as a hobby.
As in my post about the different types of cameras I advised her that if she was just going to use the automatic settings then it would be best just to stick with the camera on her phone. But if she was interested in learning photography properly then the price can start at a few hundred up to thousands.
After this conversation I realized it is a question that both my partner (who as I've mentioned before is also a photographer) and I have had before, and no doubt will again. So I thought I would break down the cost of photography in this post, before I start what I will say is this is just a snap shot and photography can almost cost as much as you want to spend on it. But it is not a cheap hobby, though it is one I'd recommend to anyone as it is highly enjoyably.
I also want to note that although I cite Jessops in this post quite a lot, I am not an affiliate of Jessops. I only cite them as they are a good photography store but by no means do I think you should automatically get your photography gear from them. I only used them as an example.
Point and Shoot
This is where many people jump into photography by getting themselves a point and shoot.
The blog post about the different types of cameras you get breaks down each type and looks at the positives and negatives of each. The main advantage of point and shoot is their compact size and from a price perspective they are also the cheapest.
My own point and shoot was Panasonic Lumix which was my 30th birthday gift, and was a great wee camera to get me started into proper photography. But how much money do you need to get in to this end of photography?
Well the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 costs £299.99 on Panasonic's own website. In theory this is all you will need to get sorted but I would advise getting a spare battery of you are going to be out for extended periods of time with your camera. When I went to Truckfest in 2019 my Lumix died on me and I didn't have another battery and I had only made it half way round. I wrote about back in August and about my disappointment. To avoid suffering my fate I'd recommend having a spare battery, and on the Panasonic website they cost £51.99. I haven't recommended getting a battery charger as my own Lumix allowed me to charge the battery whilst in the camera, but if you want one you can get them from £39.99. But I have not included this in the price summary below.
You may also like to get a small tripod if you are planing on taking landscapes or going to be playing with slow shutter speeds as this will remove the chance of handshake or being bumped interfering with your photo. You can get the Joby Gorrila Pod 500 from Jessops for £27.95 while on sale.
So here's the price breakdown:
Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90 £299.99
Spare battery £ 51.99
Tripod £ 27.95
As this demonstrates it does cost a few hundred to get into photography but I would highly recommend the Lumix if you decide to get yourself a point and shoot as it was fantastic camera and the detail in my photographs was always fantastic. In fact this is a photograph I got at Truckfest with my point and shoot.
For the sake of being completely honest you can get point and shoots for under £100 such as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W800 which you can get in Jessops for £69 but its abilities are far less than that of the Lumix or similar so I would not recommend it for someone who is seriously wanting to get into photography.
The next step with cameras is the bridge camera, this is a camera that looks like a professional camera but has a fixed lens. They are a great way to get used to the feel of the bigger camera but their operation systems are often similar to a point and shoot. My own bridge was my mum and stepdads bridge that they rarely used so I managed to inherit. And these foxgloves were captured with my bridge camera.
But if you go on to Jessops you'll see a variety of Bridge cameras ranging in price from £349 - £1,699. For this price breakdown I'm going to go with the Canon Powershot SX70 which costs £539. The reason I've chosen this camera is that it is the 2nd one on the list when you choose to show results starting with the lowest price. And it gives you more camera for your money compared to the £349 camera.
As far as the accessories for this camera I would recommend a spare battery which on the canon website you can get one for £54.99 and a battery charger for £55.99. The reason I am including the price of the battery charger here is I have never personally owned a canon so cannot say if you can charge the battery inside the camera, but even if you can having a battery charger means you can be charging your spare battery at the same time as having your camera on charge. This is a great time saver when you are going out.
Another accessory you will want to consider is a case to carry your camera while you're traveling to your location and also to keep it safe while in storage. You can get one directly from canon for £41.99. And for when you are actually taking photos you will probably find a strap useful as it means if you drop your camera it won't go any further than the end of the strap. Depending on the strap design you might have a sore neck from the weight of the camera stopping suddenly on your neck, but trust me that will be a small price to pay for your camera to be safe. The Peak Design strap has a great name and can be bought for £59 from Jessops.
The final accesory I would recommend is a tripod as with the one I recommended for the point and shot it helps reduce camera shake if being hand held, or the chance of being knocked into by another person. Tripods can vary in price from the Jessop TR120 Tripod at £29.99 while on sale to a Peak Design Tripod at £569. For the purpose of this post I'll be recommend the Jessop one as I am assuming if you are buying a bridge camera you are still learning photography and you will probably be restricted by a budget.
So here's the price breakdown:
Canon Powershot SX70 £539.00
Spare Battery £ 54.99
Battery Charger £ 55.99
Travel Case £ 41.99
Camera Strap £ 59.00
Tripod £ 29.99
As I am sure you have noticed by now I am recommending to use canon items with a canon camera, this is not to say you cannot use other brands but if you do please make sure it is compatible with your camera. You don't want to buy something because it is cheaper only to find you can't use it with your camera. And that obviously doesn't just go with Canon but with any system.
Now this is where things get a bit more expensive again, for instance when you buy a dslr generally you only buy the body and you have to buy the lens separate. This can be a good thing as you can choose the lens that is suitable for the type of photography you do, but it is expensive. For instance the cheapest DSLR that you get on Jessops is Canon EOS 2000D for the body it is £329 and the most expensive DSLR is Canon EOS-1D X Mark III for the body only is £6,669.
I 'll let you recover from that shock then I'll tell you about the cost of lenses.
Now because both of those camera were canon I am only going to write about Canon lenses. The cheapest Canon lens is the Canon EF 50mm F 1.8 that costs £99, the most expensive Canon lens is the Canon EF 800mm F5.6 which costs £13,209.
So if you went for the cheapest body with the cheapest lens it'll cost you £428, where as if you go for the most expensive body with the most expensive lens it'll cost you £19,878. Obviously there are a lot of factors involved with this such as what type of photography you are wanting to do and the stage of photography you are at. In other words have you progressed to a professional or if you're a serious hobbyist.
So for the point of this post I'm going to price up the Canon 2000D as I am assuming you will be on a budget. As with the bridge camera I recommend a spare battery and battery charger. Again from the prices from the canon website itself is £51.99 for the battery and £54.99 for the charger.
I would still recommend a tripod and will use the Jessops one from the bridge price breakdown for demonstration purposes, but if you decide to get a tripod I would recommend spending time handling different ones to see which one you like the best. And I would also still recommend a camera strap, so for this demonstration purposes I am going to use the Peak Design one again as mentioned above.
Another accessory I would recommend investing in at this stage especially if you are going to be doing landscape, motor sport, or even wedding photography is a backpack to carry your camera, lenses, spare battery, water bottle, phone and all your other bits and pieces in. I personally haven't got one yet but that is primarily because I only have one lens that I actually go out shooting with. But it is on the list of things I want to get. This is an item you can spend almost as much or as little as you want. But for demonstration purposes i'm going to include this one from Jessops, it's a Lowepro Tahoe and cost £49.00 on sale.
Now for the really difficult item the lens, as I've said before it really depends on what you are shooting will depend on what lens you want to get. But for an all round lens I'm going to go with the Canon EF 24 - 105 mm F4 which in Jessops costs £1,119. Now before you think I've gone mad there with the cost there is very good logic behind this. Not only is this lens a good all round lens for shooting a variety of subjects, but when you get to this stage you want to be investing in good glass (lenses). Because although you will likely change your camera body at some point in time, most photographers tend to stay with the same operating system. And canon lenses will go on canon body's generally speaking no matter what the body is, the same goes for Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and all other camera makes.
So this is the cost breakdown:
Canon EOD 2000D Body £ 329.00
Spare Battery £ 51.99
Battery Charger £ 54.99
Camera Strap £ 59.00
Tripod £ 29.99
Backpack £ 49.00
Canon EF 24-105 mm Lens £1,119.00
As I said photography can cost thousands but these are investments in your art, time and skill.
The final type of camera system you get is mirrorless and in fact this is the type of system that I shot with myself. Again as with the DSLR you can get a cheap body or an expensive body. On jessops the cheapest mirrorless camera body is the Olympus PEN E-PL9 which costs 329.97 on sale, and the most expensive body is Fujifilm GFX100 body which costs £9,999 (am I the only one that finds it disappointing that it doesn't end in 99p?).
When it comes to the Olympus lenses they for from £79 for the 9mm F8 lens to £2,199 for the Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm at £2,199. The Fujifilm lenses range in price from £169 for the Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 up to £5,198.97 for the Fujifil XF 200mm F2.
Again you can see you can spend from £408.97 for the Olympus body and its cheapest lens up to £15,197.97 for the Fujifilm body with the most expensive lens.
For this posts demonstration purposes I am going to use the Fujifil X-T3 purely because this is my camera and I think it's a fantastic camera and it doesn't cost the earth unlike some cameras. So, the X-T3 body alone costs £899 on sale from Jessops, and the lens I have is the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 which costs £849 currently at Jessops.
I would still recommend a spare battery which costs £49 from Wex, now although you will get a battery charger in the box with the X-T3 (I cannot guarantee this with the other camera's mentioned in this post as I have not ever used them but would assume they do. In that case the mention of the battery charger is if you require a secondary one or your original breaks somehow) if you require to buy one you can get one from Wex for £54.
The camera strap, backpack and tripod for demonstration purposes I am going to use the same as I have already mentioned.
So, the price breakdown is as follows:
Fujifilm X-T3 Body £ 899.00
Fujifilm XF 10-24 mm Lens £ 849.00
Spare Battery £ 49.00
Battery Charger £ 54.00
Camera Strap £ 59.00
Tripod £ 29.99
Backpack £ 49.00
I will admit that the mirrorless system is the most expensive system and this is not helped that there are less different lenses that are compatible with the systems. But my partner who was a staunch DSLR man was amazed by the colour and crispness of the photographs I got with my mirrorless system when I got it. And now he also has a mirrorless system😁. This is one of the photographs I have captured with my X-T3.
That being said the mirrorless system generally speaking is lighter than DSLR's due to the fact that DSLR's still take photographs with the use of mirrors where as the mirrorless system is as it say on the tin is mirror less.
So I hope this post as long as it is has helped demonstrate the cost of photography, and although it is expensive to get into I hope it hasn't put any inspiring photographers off. I can vouch it is the greatest hobby there is as there aren't many hobbies where you can get to be creative, capture memories that will last a lifetime and if like me keep fit by going to walks just for the sake of getting photos.