My Favorite Camera and Lens for Microstock Photography

I started selling my pictures through microstock almost two years ago in November 2007. Today, I have about 1800 pictures in my stock portfolio. I am counting here all pictures created for microstock, not just pictures accepted by Dreamstime or any other specific agency.

Since I am using Adobe Lightroom 2 to catalog all my pictures, I can easily sort them according to camera and lens. It provides some interesting statistics. .

Let’s look at cameras first.

Canon EOS 10D: 50 pictures (2.7 %)

I started submitting pictures to microstock with my first digital SLR camera.

Canon EOS 40D: 1500 pictures (81.5%)

Very quickly, I upgraded my old 10D to Canon 40D and this camera still remains my microstock work horse.

Pentax Optio W10 and W30: 10 pictures (0.5%)

I use these compact waterproof cameras for paddling, racing, and other outdoor activities to provide images and video clips for my blogs: Paddling with a Camera and Fitness Paddling. These pictures are generally too noisy for microstock. Nevertheless, I am selling a few of them in my microstock portfolio.

Unknown camera (scanner): 250 pictures (13.6%)

I scanned some of my old Polaroid transfers, watercolor abstracts and some other background textures, played a little bit with scanning 3-dimensional objects. This activity introduces more fun and variety into my microstock, but not so much of income.

Most of my microstock images were created with Canon EOS 40D camera. Let’s look at lenses I am using with this camera.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro: 1150 pictures (77%)

I bought this lens together with my Canon 40D camera. It is my mostly used lens for microstock photography. It works perfectly for macro and product shots in my home office with just 9′ of working space. I used to take it also for outdoor shooting before I got a zoom lens.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM: 300 pictures (20%)

It was my second lens purchased for Canon 40D funded from microstock earnings. I am using it as general lens for outdoor photography and in my studio when a wide angle is needed. I take it as a single lens for my paddling, hiking or biking adventures.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS: 40 pictures (3%)

A great lens, I love it, and, unfortunately, I don’t use it that much for microstock … I got it before my microstock time.

Canon EOS 40D camera with EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens are my mostly used tools for microstock photography (more than 60% of my portfolio). The above statistics also shows how microstock changed my photography during last 2 years from outdoor (landscape, nature, sport) to tabletop.

Is it time to upgrade my camera equipment? A full sensor camera?

This post is a shorter version of my article in Pixels Away blog which contains also pictures of my gear and more links.

Photo credits: Marek Uliasz.

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October 21, 2009


My god.. I am totally lost but don't mind I will look for it and learn! :)

October 21, 2009


I believe that 100mm lens with a full sensor camera will be equivalent to 60mm macro lens I am using with a cropped sensor Canon D40.

October 21, 2009


Sorry for the question, but why do you need 100mm (so much zoom right)?

October 20, 2009


I had a chance to shoot some pictures with Canon 5D. Certainly, I would need 100mm macro lens for that camera.

October 20, 2009


Hi! Don't you have already a full sensor camera? In some of your shots the exit info tells that you have shot with a canon 5d mark II.. right? cheers!

October 20, 2009


I agree Macro lens is perfect for most microstock pictures shoot especially for indoor product shooting. I used my EF 100mm f2.8 macro lens for most microstock picture shoot too.

October 20, 2009


>>> That must've taken a bit of cataloguing right there!

Actually, these numbers are immediately available from Lightroom 2 which allows to sort images according to camera and lens. Sometimes, the camera EXIF data are lost, so these numbers are not completely accurate.

October 20, 2009


My current style of microstock photography (or at least what is selling) and the above statistics don't justify buying another camera or lens. However, I would like to expand my stock photography and try something new including video.

October 20, 2009


How much does it really take away from pros? I think in the long run the skill and experience of the dedicated pro will win over the budget rates of someone who just takes snapshots on the side. After all, from the client's side of it, you get what you pay for. I started joining microstock 2 years ago when I was still learning to take snapshots. I agree that once you know your worth for the time & effort of every image you capture. microstock is not the way to go anymore thus I stopped submitting my images that I have worked on very hard. I can say that the quality of the photos I take now is not worth a few cents or dollars or easy loans anymore compared to 2 years back.

October 20, 2009


great blog, i've got an ef-s 60mm f/2.8 macro and i love it too :)

October 20, 2009


That must've taken a bit of cataloguing right there! Here are mine:
Canon 5D with 24-105mm f4 L-series, Canon 5D Mk ii with 24-105 and 70-200mm 2.8 L-series. With my 5D I've shot in access of of 500 000 images. After a shutter replacement and low-pass filter replacement, it is cracking again. It's my back-up these days.

Full frame is not negotiable for me as a commercial pohotographer though. It happens to also help my stock portfolio!

[imgl]10424670[/imgl] - Taken with my 5D.

October 19, 2009


Interesting. I suggest doing a review of your shots for how many sell at the maximum size to justify moving to full frame!

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