Both is important. But generally if you could only spend on lens or body and could only pick one, I'd pick lens. But that also depends on what you use it for. If you're shooting under bright light and still subjects, invest more in lenses instead. (Since you won't really utilise more expensive bodies) If you're shooting fast paced events with subjects that move a lot under really bad/low lighting conditions get a good body. (Because you'll utilise the higher fps, better noise control at higher ISO etc) The lens or body doesn't really control the photograph, it's the photographer. (Quite cliche to say it now, but it's damn true)
georgewjohnsonFeatured By OwnerNov 7, 2012Hobbyist Photographer
This to me harks back to the age old obsession with camera kit rather over technique.
Both the body and the lens play an equal part in ensuring the correct image quality when the appropriate combination is selected for the subject at hand. Even if you bought the most expensive body and lenses available then simply expected them to work for any subject you'd still end up with poor shots if you don't understand how to apply them.
The real skill in producing good images comes from the understanding of the correct application of the kit to achieve a particular type of shot. Plenty of top notch photographers out there could probably use a $50 film camera to whip the arse of someone with $10k bag of the latest digital kit because they know exactly what's needed to attain result they seek. That's not to say that buying a really good bag of kit is pointless, just to say there comes a point where it starts to make less difference how good the kit is and starts becoming an issue about how good the photographer's skill is at working with the kit.
Full Frame cameras are best in low light situations, or situations where you need the widest angle of view that you can get. Crop sensors perform well in portrait situations or macro work. As has already been stated by a few here already, the lens will affect the clarity and overall quality of the image more than the camera itself. Some cameras will allow you to get the exposure properly more easily, but for the most part clarity is determined by the glass.
got it right. If you want the best possible combination for each photographic situation, you'd need several bodies tailored at different tasks, while also having many different lenses, each made specifically for that situation. So yeah, for wanting the best of everything, and you shoot everything, 15 isn't far fetched, in fact, you might find yourself with over 20 lenses. As for bodies, well, a body tailored towards a sport shooter is gonna excel in sport shooting, but it can't beat a body tailored at studio shooting, and vice versa....of course, that's not to forget other equipment you might need...even a good strap is essential if you plan on carrying the camera with you all day long.
That said, unless you're a pixel peeper, have lots of money, or are doing certain type of photography for paid jobs, you can get by with one camera and 2-3 lenses.
I'd say the lens. You manipulate your cameras settings to get a proper exposure, but the lens is what determines what you see, be it close or far, with shallow or deep depth of field, etc. lenses all the way!
What kind of gear you should have depends a lot on what you are planning to do with it. Landscape photographers, portrait photographers, macro photographers, sports photographers and fine art nude photographers often use entirely different cameras, lenses and other gear, tailored toward what they are shooting. If you want the best possible combinations for everything, one camera body and 15 lenses isn't going to do it for you. You'd need at least three camera bodies -- although 15 lenses is pretty close to right. On the other hand, one camera body and two or three lenses would be adequate for most things (not the best, but adequate).
Are you planning to also buy a very large bag for these 15 lenses?
Decide what you want to shoot and then get equipment that fits.
Personally, my main kit is one full-frame camera body and three lenses (a 24mm f/2.8, a 40mm f/2.0, and a 85mm f/1.4 - of which I'm usually using the 40mm or 85mm). But I also know that 90% of what I shoot is human subjects from a distance of 8-20 feet - so I don't need to carry around any super-long telephotos, special macro lenses, or zooms.
For people who don't always have the chance to stop and change lenses whenever they feel like, one or two zooms can be just the ticket. Especially if aren't inclined to shoot with "fast" apertures to create a narrow depth-of-field.
Both are essential. You can't choose between guitar and strings, they depend on eachother.
If you ask me, I don't think there's any reason to have a ton of lenses for every possible situation. Unless you're into extreme wildlife photography with 800mm lenses and that stuff, you'll have what you need for most situations with a decent wide zoom, a tele zoom and a macro/portrait lens. I'd rather put the money into a few good ones. Besides, you won't break your back with tons of gear and waste valuable time changing lenses all the time. I only depend on a 50mm and a 10-22mm, but I'm a bit weird.
You can keep lenses for a lifetime, but the body changes every few years.
Well you don't have to, but most do. The evolution of electronics is faster than the evolution in optics, so new cameras come out all the time, yet many people use the lenses they've had for 20 years to this day. That's why it's worth investing in some good ones. Unless you break them, they'll last.