Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Camera Equipment - What's in your bag?

Have you seen the news about the new Nikon D4?  Check out this review!

  It is such a beautiful piece of equipment and yes of course I want it, but it is also not necessary to upgrade yet. I shoot with a D3 which I recently upgraded to last year. I will probably purchase the D3S as my main body. Almost every pro photographer will trade in their D3S for the D4…LOL! Honestly, upgrading to the best is not always the solution.  I heard this at workshop a few years ago, if you cannot shoot with a crappy camera, then what makes you think you can shoot with a good one.  It really stuck in my head during my journey, but it is so true though!  Trust me it took me a while to learn how to use my DSLR and I am still learning to this day. So, before you buy a camera or equipment, know what you are getting into and remember camera equipment is not cheap.  Here are a few tips from my experience when I started.

  Finding the right DSLR maybe overwhelming, but also exciting.  Before picking the right DSLR, it is important to first set a budget.  As a beginner, a budget of $1,000 will get you a decent body, lens, and accessories.  Once you figure out the budget, then you might want to decide about choosing between a Canon or Nikon.  If you will stay a hobbyist then, either brand will be sufficient.  If you intend to be more than an enthusiast, then you might want to think about which model will benefit you the most.  Sorry Nikon all the way! :) One last advice before you buy a DSLR, make sure you learn how to use it in manual setting.  If you are just going to use Auto mode, then you might as well buy a point a shoot.  Do not waste your money, but of course it is your choice.

So, here is my advice for beginners and semi pro level:

  For starting off, the kit lenses are not too bad, and it is a good way to practice. I recommend at least two lenses a telephoto and a wide lens.  Telephoto runs between 70mm-300mm and wide starts at 28mm to 105mm. If you buy the kit it usually comes with a 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and it is perfect for starting off. It also depends on what you are shooting too, so if you just want to take pics of your kids and family parties, etc. I suggest getting the 50mm f1.4 it is very affordable.  I never take this off my camera, it is my everyday lens. I use this for portrait shooting. 

If I was to start all over again I would buy a mid range body and the 50mm lens.  When my bf bought me the D90 kit, after a few months I sold my kit lens to B & H Video and traded it for the 50mm f/1.4. I made a trip to NY a few birthdays ago and I made a visit to B & H Video. It is like a Best Buy on steroids...I love it!

Here is my recommendation for the more serious shooters:

Portrait Lenses - 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4
Wide Lenses – 17-55mm f/2.8 (DX format) and 24-70mm f2.8 (FX format)
Telephoto Lens – 70-200mm f/2.8 and if you can afford the 300mm f/2.8 or 400mm f/2.8 a must if you are shooting sports. I am still saving up for these two lenses. Another option is renting lenses; I usually rent my long glass from Calumet Photographic. 


Lighting – A flash is a MUST! Majority of the beginner and mid range cameras come with a built in flash, but that will not do you any good.  The range is like 5-10 feet if that.  I started off with the SB -900 a powerful flash, but maybe the SB – 600 is great for starting off.  Also, think about what you will buy, because if you ever upgrade make sure the flash is compatible with it. I also love the David Honl Lighting Products for speed lights.  Dynalite also has great lighting products for more advanced photographers.

Monopod/Tripod – If you are shooting family portraits or anything really, a tripod can come in handy.  Bogen and Gitzo are very good as well. Gitzo is a little pricey but worth the money. I love mine! 

Filters – Filters can protect UV rays and also protect your lens in general.  There are so many types these days.

Lens Hood – A definite must. It will protect your lens and also blocks sunlight and prevents glare. I swear my lens hood saved me a few times.

Remotes - Pocket Wizards Multi Maxes and Plus II are great remotes for more serious photographers.

Camera Bag – Invest in a good camera bag that has cushion to protect your gear.  I love all the Think Thank Products...it is the best!  More cushion the better.  A few months ago, the glass on my 85mm collapse…OMG! It is an older version and I travel with it, so who knows what caused it. I did send it Nikon and they fixed it for a pretty price, but it is all brand new again.  Lessons learned…protect your gear!

Like I said this is just my opinion and from my experience, but there are tons of articles and reviews out there to help you. Happy shopping!  


David White said...

The best camera bag will be able to hold all of a photographer's equipment that they use regularly.

Laptop and Camera Bag Combo