In a perfect world,
spend weeks analyzing
a prospective piece of
gear. In the real world,
these decisions are
often made under the
gun. “Sometimes, I
have like 30 minutes to
research a piece of gear,”
Keith Ladzinski. To make
the right call when you’re
on call means keeping up
with technology. Here’s
how to keep current.
Social media may be awash in fake news, but
the Internet is brimming with great information on photo gear, if you know where to look.
New Jersey photographer David Patiño
says he doesn’t put as much stock in ultra-
techy sites and photo forums but does spend
extensive time Googling. “I like to dig through
You Tube and see if I can find videos of people
actually using the gear [I’m interested in],” he
adds. “That’s become my go-to information
source in the last few months.”
Before adding a new piece of hardware to
his inventory, Patiño says he’ll ideally spend
a “few days” on what he calls “hardcore re-
search.” Then, he says, he “obsesses” for an-
other two to three weeks, depending on dead-
lines or the expense of what he’s purchasing.
For Ladzinski, who is a Nikon Professional
Photographer, social media often provides ser-
endipitous gear news, but he’s also a proponent
of more systematic sources of information like
email newsletters. “I do put stock in reviews,”
he adds, both the user-generated kind on photo
retail sites like B&H Photo and formal editorial
reviews in photo publications like, ahem, PDN.
Ladzinski, who teaches photo seminars, frequently leans on the advice of friends and
peers in the industry to learn about technology. “I can’t stress this enough: a network of
peers is tremendously important,” he says.
They can be a source of honest feedback about
your work and can also help with gear deci-
sions, particularly for smaller, more obscure
pieces of equipment. “If it’s just a lens, I can fig-
ure it out. But if it’s something like a jib or mo-
tion time-lapse tracker, I seek feedback from
friends who have used it.”
Patiño also taps a real, in-life social network.
He hosts a monthly meet-up for photographers, filmmakers and other creative professionals in his studio where the talk often turns
to gear and tech-related problem solving.
Chances are, similar meetups are happening
What’s your gear IQ? Photographers
weigh in on keeping up with technology.
By GREG SCOBLETE