As somebody who makes money with her camera, I get many questions about which gear to buy. I am not a gear junkie. Here the list of gear I would recommend. I try to divide it by budget and needs. Any feedback or suggestions are welcome. If you order through the Amazon link I do get a little cut from Amazon.
Photography is cool I want to take great pictures (and want to make money doing it)
The first advice don’t over spend it on gear! Yes that big expensive camera and lens are pretty exciting. Relax order this book and start reading
Order a super zoom camera. Stay with me for 1 minutes. Yes they are cheap, they have some limitations, you can’t change the lens, ….. BUT they have an insane reach, you could hardly carry or afford that on any DSLR. Try to stay away from the extreme zoom and shoot as you please. Once you have used the camera for a few month. Open the pictures (all our your favourites) sort them by focal length and then you know what lens you may want to buy if you are not happy with that small camera. Small advice if your favourite zoom (focal length) is above 200 or 300 mm shoot some more. These zooms will cost a rather large fortune and are a real pain to drag along.
My favourite cameras in this selection. This category does get frequent updates so check for the latest updates from the vendors
Add money for a small tripod, you can thank me later for this investment. 2 Warnings don’t buy cheap tripods, and buy a light one. yes that 300$ tripod may sound good but let me tell you once you had real and light tripod it makes all the difference in the world. Also invest in a solid ball head that can grow with you. And definitely one that supports an ARCA plate but more on this later
my favourite pockedable and carry everywhere tripod from Oben the TT-50. Oben has also the TT-100 and TT-200 I own all of them but the 50 is hands down the best. I have had over 10 taken away by friends.
a larger and affordable version for some light gear
Super light, just better than my cellphone camera
Cameras are cool but they can get heavy and painful to travel around. Yes we do love our big DSLR, Lenses, tripod, Filters, Timer, …. There are however many days where I just want to take a small camera to take great pictures. I bough the Small Sony Rx100II when it did come out, the initial had some minor flaws the version III and IV are better in some respect, in the ned they are all great cameras with their own personality. These cameras support shooting in RAW and have some crazy quality if you want to print large
The Sony RX100IV for the great low light performance and bright lens
The Sony RX100II for the little longer zoom and flash hot-shoe
These cameras have all wifi and to process the pictures on the road I recommend a Tablet my Sony Xperia Tablet is currently not available.
want to travel with an even lighter camera a friend of mine owns this
and definitely take the oben TT-50 with you. with that gear I have sold one metal print which was 180x40cm (71x16inch). with that tiny gear.
MY RX100 will do about 90% of what my pro DSLR does for me. Yes at times it can be frustrating, however as soon as you look at the quality of the pictures there are not many reasons to complaints
I really want to be a photographer and want a real camera
This category is the hardest of all DSLR go anywhere from 300$ to 7,0000. There is also a new blend of cameras “Mirrorless” pretty awesome but not “a real” camera. I will structure this a few sections based on what you may be interested to shoot and what to expect. For casual user this may be in many cases an overkill except if you are really into : shutter speed, F-stop, motion blur, low light, …
To stay out of the brand war I will list the most common brands. Shooting with a Sony I got a lot of funny looks for my first assignments in sports but when I got a 2 page spread with my pictures and a cover this stopped. In the end it is all about personal preferences. This was back in 2012 today it is mostly about what you have invested in and personal preference.
Try out all your cameras see what you like best Canon or Nikon it is really a personal choice and they are very similar, Sony is different in the sense that you get an electronic viewfinder and you see exactly what the picture will look like. It is great to see the picture get brighter or darker as you change the speed or aperture of your lens.
Sport, Wild life, Artistic Performance, ….
For all these be warned your budget will get a serious dent or should I say black hole. You will need to decide Full frame or Crop sensor. Larger sensor or better reach with your lens it is all a trade off.
The Canon 1DX or what you see at many pro events
Nikon D4S the other big boy in town
The ones I own the Sony A99 II
Reasonable Budget or landscape(with some limitations) gear
Sony A68 or A77II
This is a tough one lets cover the basics. 70-200mm f2.8 great portrait and sport lens or anyting where it is dark or you need fast speed or booth. Make sure you test the lens to see if the focus is fast enough. some 3rd party lenses are rather slow.
Next in line you probably want a wider lens. This could be the 24-70 f2.8 lens or a 16-35 any thing more extreme like a fish-eye lens should not be over used. Some brands have a 35-105 a good overall zoo but not as bright.
For portraits and if this is really your thing the 135 1.8 or the 85 1.4 are great lenses, they are however very expensive and also specific in their use.
One piece of advice good lenses are never cheap. I know that 70-600mm lens seems like a steal but except if you shoot at the beach in full sun then it will not be fast, bright or have great image quality.
You want the walk around lens look for the 28-300 or anything in this range. Good for most things except sports or close up portraits. If you don’t shoot at very low light there are in many cases lighter and cheaper lenses. Stay away for anything with more than 5.6 these lenses are really only any good if you shoot at the beach in the sun or landscapes where you could not care for the opening of then lens.
Check e-bay, KEH or your local shops for good deals on used lenses. They hold their value pretty well and will last a long time if you don’t damage them.