I’m not much of a gear head. As much as I’d love to be able to have endless disposable income to spend on lenses and lighting hand over fist, it just doesn’t happen. I’m not a full-time photographer, so the investment can be a little hard to justify. That being said, I have gathered up a few bits of essential gear over the past few years.
Nikon AF-S 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX
This is the first lens I owned, which came with my D70s body back in 2007. I don’t use it very often, in fact, I can’t remember the last time it was attached to my camera.
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8 D
If anyone has a Nikon and doesn’t own this lens, they probably shouldn’t have a dSLR in the first place. This is, of course, my go-to lens for portraits and food photography.
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X
This was my first lens purchase from another manufacturer. I opted for the Tokina instead of the Nikkor 12-24 AF-S DX not only because of price, but this quote from Ken Rockwell pretty much sums it up:
“This Tokina 11-16mm is the world’s fastest and sharpest ultrawide lens for small format digital cameras (Nikon DX and Canon 1.6x). Considering its bargain price of under $600, its the world’s best ultrawide lens for digital SLRs.”
Done deal! It’s been a joy to shoot with.
Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8D
I can’t review this lens much yet, because I just got it last week and I’ve been too busy to get out and shoot. Watch this space!
Some of these filters are B+W, and some are cheaper generic brand names I’ve had to pick up in a pinch.
77mm Circular Polarizer
77mm Neutral Density Grad filter
67mm Circular Polarizer
67mm UV filter
62mm -> 77mm step up ring
Lighting and Accessories
Two Nikon SB-600 Speedlites
I mostly use these for bounce flashes, but I occasionally pop them on a couple of lightstands, throw on some umbrellas and use the Nikon CLS to shoot.
One shoot through umbrella
One reflective umbrella
Collapsable gold/silver reflector
While this gear isn’t mine, I did pick it out for the studio and can use it whenever I want. We’re moving soon, so excuse the mess in the photo. I can’t wait to get more gear and have a proper space in the new location!
Canon Rebel XTi
This camera’s been around the office long before I have. It comes with the terrible 18-55mm lens which feels more like a toy than a tool. Nevertheless, I’ve used it for a few studio shots when my personal camera’s been left at home. It gets the job done in a pinch (but just barely if I have to use that lens).
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM
Again, I don’t use the work camera often, but I have taken a few shots with this telephoto lens. A little soft, but a good first telephoto for beginners.
Three AlienBees B800 lights
I adore these. Straightforward, simple, portable, and powerful. I hope we can pick up a fourth light soon.
Other studio gear
Shoot through umbrella
Three 107” seamless paper backdrops (Black, White, Thunder Gray)
While “everything” is a nice answer, realistically, these are things I’ll probably pick up at some point in the future.
AlienBees ABR800 Ringflash
Nikkor AF Micro 60mm f/2.8D
Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4D
Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Zoom