6 Pieces of Gear You Will Regret Buying in 2022

There is a lot of advice on what gear you should buy in 2022. But, if you look beyond the marketing of companies, is there gear that you probably don’t need in 2022? The answer is, yes, there is a lot of gear you don’t need. Here are my top picks on what you should not get.

Before you read this list in full, be aware and acknowledge the fact that it is simply my recommendation to the vast majority of photographers. There are times when a photographer will need all of these bits of gear, but let’s face it, most of us don’t.

Filters

The stupidest purchase you can make is a UV filter. It does sound very harsh, and I will admit to making this mistake myself. While there is a case for protecting your front element with one of these, I don’t think it adds anything. What a filter does is simply introduce yet another layer of glass and yet another possibility for decreasing your image quality. Lenses are already complex enough, and everything but the best optical quality will result in sub-par images. By adding a filter, you simply negate all the engineering of your lens. Cheap filters can also cause unwanted lens flare among other nasty artifacts.

For the people who put a UV filter to protect lenses, I would like to say that a lens hood does a much better job and protection. I always have a lens hood on in case I bang my lens against something.

UV filters used to be helpful in the days of film when the UV light would decrease image quality. The same can be said about other filters, such as graduated filters.

Again, in the days of film, you did not have the luxury of being able to edit images to precise detail and “recover” detail from a vastly under/overexposed image. Nowadays you can use Lightroom or Capture One for this purpose. There are certain filters such as variable ND that are helpful in some applications, but those also need to be tip-top quality to ensure the best possible image quality at the end.

Rig/Cage Case

A rig case is useless unless you do a video. I would struggle to find a useful application for one in photography. Perhaps if you need to mount several things at once, such as a flash trigger, Speedlite, and something else. But otherwise, there is no need to spend your money on metal bits and pieces that make your camera look “more pro.” Besides adding extra weight, it won’t do anything. Save the money, and invest in something that will help you take better pictures.

Light Meter

I would like to make the case that you don’t need a light meter in the modern photographic environment. Measuring light is as easy as taking a digital frame and seeing what things look like. If you want to get extremely precise, you can even go as far as to measure the color levels of individual pixels in Capture One or any other software of your choice. But it does not make sense to own a light meter these days. Even if you shoot film, there is still a strong possibility that you own a digital camera. Even in that case you can still take a test frame on digital, a so-called Polaroid, if you will, cross-check, and then proceed with shooting on film. I’ve done this a lot of times, and it works like a charm. Believe me, you lose a lot more by using a light meter. First of all, it means having a slower workflow since you have to fire the flashes, walk to the set, and calculate the flash power afterward. It takes away the speed and intuition of being able to set light by eye, not by a predefined rule of having the right exposure. There have been many times where I overexposed or underexposed an image and got the desired result that the client, as well as myself, was happy with. If everyone would expose only to what the light meter told, most of the pictures would look the same. An analogy would be if everyone cooked a dish with the same ingredients or painted by numbers. Using a light meter will not only make you slower but also restrict your creativity. The amount of light in the picture is your decision, not the light meter’s.

Lensball

A Lensball will be a purchase you shall regret. Not only is it an overpriced glass ball, but it is also by far the stupidest photography accessory to exist. What a Lensball does is create one single look that all photographers know. There is arguably nothing creative about a Lensball, that is, if a Lensball can even be considered a creative tool. There is not much more to say about this product than a waste of money on something that screams “lack of creativity” and “amateur hour.”

Camera Skin

This is the pinnacle of ridiculous purchases. A team of designers has worked to make your camera black, invisible while also making the logo stand out. Moreover, nothing has ever shouted “amateur hour” to me more than having a camera or lens skin. Not only does it not protect your camera, but it also attracts attention to it, which is something you shouldn’t want. Unwanted attention to your camera and other expensive gear will make the change of theft a lot higher. If you want a camera skin, consider bashing your precious one around for a few years, covering it in tape, and using it as a tool. I promise you, you will be able to tell that it’s your camera by simply looking at where the scratches are. If you’re a professional, you likely own two of the same camera; in that case having a camera skin is even more useless, because you simply need to put a sticker with “1” and “2” on the camera. I can see a filter, light meter, and even a rig case being useful in rare select cases, but there isn’t a situation where a camera skin or a Lensball is beneficial. Save the money, and get some good photography education instead.

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