As far as cheap gear, I think it comes down to amount of use. I used to buy Snap On tools because it's what I make my living at. But for home, you'll see harbor freight tools in my box in the garage. Some...but not all. My tools are slowing migrating from work to home the older I get. That's another story. The point is, there's a place for cheap gear as long as you know where that place is. My photography business picks up more and more every year and I'm replacing my previous cheap gear for more professional gear. I started with a used 20D years ago, I now have several body's, the latest being a BNIB 1DXii. As time goes on, you'll just figure out needs and wants. But until it's figured it, no reason not to go cheap, especially if it's a hobby and you cant write off your equipment. My business pays for all the gear now, has been for years, nothing comes out of my personal accounts, so no reason to go cheap. If it's personal pleasure vs pleasing paying customers, leave the guesswork out of the equation with good/professional gear, nobody to blame except the operator.
There are sooo many choices out there for equipment, from camera's which is the main workhorse of equipment, to stands, modifiers, triggers, and the thing that sucks, is that camera stores are disappearing. It's not like you can go the the local camera store and look at this stuff hands on anymore. Nowadays the only stores left here in Portland are pretty limited to brand names they carry, which is good stuff, don't get me wrong, but the choices are limited. The smaller stores that were in the neighborhoods are gone which makes selection tuff. There's nothing worse than buying something online and then opening the box and setting it up and it was nothing like you thought it was going to be like via the online description. For that reason, cheap can work. I like to have something in my hands before I make a decision. But that limits my purchases. So now I depend on the good people here and youtube vids like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMsHgfPb0s
It's not hands on but its the next best thing. Good luck