The Ultimate 2021 PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR Guide
This guide is also great to share with anyone wanting to purchase something as a gift, or wanting to know which piece of gear to buy next. Easily share this page by clicking on one of the social media buttons to the left or below.
If you have any questions in your quest to find the right gear, click ‘contact’ at the top of this page to shoot me an email. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Megapixels: This will determine the size of the file you end up with which determines how big of a print you can make. All the cameras listed below are at least 24 megapixels, which is plenty; -unless you plan to do billboard work. Be careful, too large of megapixel and will slow down your editing workflow as your computer tries to deal with the massive image files.
ISO: The higher the ISO that the camera can achieve, the cleaner the image will be in darker situations. However, if a camera can hit 25,600 ISO, it doesn’t mean you should shoot there. But often it means that at 6400 ISO the files will be clean from digital noise.
Sensor Size: Some cameras have a cropped sensor, while some have a full frame sensor. I would go into the details here, but if you have the money to do so, I would recommend getting a full frame sensor. The reasons for me are two-fold: First, it is easier to achieve that beautiful depth of field, and second, digital files have less digital noise at higher ISO’s.
If you have questions, email me.
The Nikon D5600 is an excellent cropped sensor camera. If you can’t afford a full-frame camera, this camera will be a good choice for you. It has a 24.2-megapixel sensor and a max ISO of 25,600.
To keep costs low, Nikon has removed the focusing motor from the camera body which means every lens you purchase will need to have the AF-S designation.
This camera features wifi and Bluetooth so you can easily share images you’ve taken.
Canon Rebel T8i/EOS850D
The Rebel series from Canon is their beginner line of cameras and is an excellent way to get into the Canon ecosystem. Outside the US, this Canon Rebel T8i is known as the EOS 850D, so don’t be confused by the name.
This camera is a modest upgrade from the T7i, by adding 4k video mode, but is hamstrung a bit during video shooting by frame-rate restrictions. Even with that, this is an excellent choice and a wonderful camera for the beginner.
Sony a7 II
Not really a starter camera, but a great way to get into mirrorless, the Sony A7II is a full frame, mirrorless camera which allows for a smaller, more compact camera body.
It features a 24.3-megapixel sensor and a max ISO of 25,600 for clean and beautiful images even in low light.
It also features image stabilization built into the camera, which allows you to have sharp photos even at slow shutter speeds.
The Nikon D610 is the camera I use on a daily basis and is an excellent and affordable camera. It features a full-frame 24.3-megapixel sensor and can reach an ISO of 25,600.
This is Nikon’s most inexpensive full-frame sensor camera and one that I would recommend to anyone.
One drawback is the focus system, which is better on higher-end Nikon cameras, but it has worked fine for me.
Canon EOS 90D
The Canon 90D is a cropped 32.5-megapixel sensor camera capable of a max ISO of 25,000.
This camera is an excellent choice if you want more than a starter camera, but can’t afford a full-frame Canon camera. A real strength of this camera is the 4k video capabilities.
It features wifi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to share images quickly.
The Sony A7rIII is a powerful full frame, mirrorless camera that has an incredible sensor.
It features a 36.4-megapixel sensor and an incredible max ISO of 51,200 for clean and beautiful images even in low light.
It also features image stabilization built into the camera, which allows you to have sharp photos even at slow shutter speeds.
The Nikon D750 is a full frame sensor camera featuring a 24.3-megapixel sensor and 51,200 max ISO for better images in low light.
This camera features faster focusing and processing for a faster photographic experience.
It also features built-in wifi allowing you to share images quickly.
Canon EOS 6DII
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a full-frame camera with a 26.2-megapixel sensor and a high ISO of 40,000 for beautiful images in low light.
It also features a better focus system and faster processing speed than the EOS 77D. This is an excellent camera both for photography and for videography.
This is Nikon’s latest camera and is difficult to get your hands on. It features a 45.7-megapixel sensor and a max ISO of 102,400 for beautiful low light images.
This camera acheived the highest rating of a DSLR ever at DxO Mark, an independent camera testing company. This camera features Nikon’s top of the line focusing and processing systems for lightning quick shooting.
Notice that none of the camera’s listed above come in the camera kit that includes lenses? This is because the lenses included in kits are most often, lower quality lenses. You would be better to purchase lenses separately.
Personally, I prefer to shot prime (single focal length) lenses instead of zoom lenses for two reasons, the first of which is cost; -prime lenses are just plain less expensive. This is a huge deal, especially if you are just getting started in photography. And second, because I believe they make you a better photographer. People get lazy with zoom lenses; they stand there and zoom to recompose. With a prime lens, you have to move and think to recompose the shoot leading to a better, more well thought-out image.
Don’t worry, if you prefer zooms lenses I give you recommendations for those as well. Below, you will find my recommendations for both prime lenses and zoom lenses.
PRIME LENSES (fixed focal length)
Wide angle lenses (35mm and below) are suitable for shots that require a large angle of view, like a landscape or ballpark shot. These lenses are also excellent for images where you want to show a lot of the surroundings or are working in tight quarters.
Normal angle lenses (35mm to 85mm) are lenses that yield the same field of view as the human eye. These lenses are great for all types of photography because the simulate the view of our eyes and give the feeling of being there. Everyone should own a 50mm lens.
Telephoto lenses (85mm and above) are excellent lenses for portraiture. They bring compression which conveys a feeling of love and closeness. These lenses also allow you to take pictures of things that are far away and have them appear close.
Wide Angle Prime Lens
These lenses offer an excellent mid-wide lens with a fast f-stop of 1.8 allowing you to shoot in low-light conditions and still get the shot. The Nikon comes with a built-in focusing motor for lighting quick focusing. Sony doesn’t offer a fast and wide lens at a low price, so I recommend the Tamron, which is a great lens.
Normal Angle Prime Lens
If you are purchasing only one lens, this should be it. Every photographer should have a 50mm 1.8 lens in their camera bag. These lenses are so versatile! They are excellent for family, newborn, wedding and even landscape photography.
The 50mm angle of view mimics what our eyes see, so it is an angle of view we are all comfortable with which yields images that are pleasing to the eye.
Telephoto Prime Lens
The 85mm 1.8 is my go-to portrait lens. As a portrait photographer, I use this lens for around 80% of my images. The 85mm is a perfect telephoto focal length that allows you to get some beautiful compression in your pictures, without having to be too far from your subject. The 1.8 aperture also allows for stunning depth of field.
There are more expensive f1.4 versions of these lenses out there, but there is no reason to spend the extra money. These lenses are capable of delivering stunningly beautiful images every time.
Nikon Zoom Lenses
Nikon 24-85mm 3.5-4.5
With a range of 24-85 and a relatively fast aperture of 3.5-4.5, this is a great all-purpose lens.
Canon Zoom Lenses
Canon 17-55mm 2.8
This is a great lens. With a fast aperture of 2.8 and a great zoom range from 17mm-55mm, this lens can cover a lot of needs.
Nikon 70-200mm 2.8
This amazing lens will not disappoint! At 70-200, the zoom range is incredible and coupled with a fast 2.8 f-stop, the depth of field is absolutely beautiful.
Canon 70-200mm 2.8
Of all the zoom lenses, this is the best of the bunch. Best price coupled with excellent focal range and a low aperture. This lens would be a great gift choice.
FLASH AND LIGHTING
Below you will find on-camera flashes as well as studio strobes along with radio receivers that make it easy to create beautiful light anywhere.
No longer be afraid to experiment with off-camera lighting, because the equipment listed below is free from cords and free from hassle. They just work.
As with everything, if you have questions, hit the ‘contact’ button above and I will help you move down the path of off-camera lighting.
GOOD CAMERA FLASHES
These flashes use AA batteries, which is suitable for those who are seeking a flash where batteries and their replacements are plentiful. The negative of using a flash that uses AA batteries, is that recycle time and number of pops is limited.
These flashes are compatible with the radio transmitters displayed a little further down the page.
BEST CAMERA FLASHES
These flashes come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which gives a faster refresh time as well 650 full-power pops with each charge (many times more than AA batteries could.)
These flashes are also compatible with the radio transmitters displayed a little further down the page.
OFF CAMERA STUDIO STROBES
These incredible strobes are powerful workhorses and will not break the bank. Each one can be used in TTL mode with all major camera brands making them versatile and future proof. They are excellent for portability being completely wireless for both connection to the camera and power.
These lights features High-Speed Sync for use when shooting with a shutter speed over 1/200 allowing you to light and capture ambient light as well.
The AD200 pro is a step up from an on camera flash with a guide number between 52-60 (200ws), depending on whether you shoot with the flash head or bare bulb. It is perfect for small projects that require more light than a regular speed light. Whether you are wanting to simply lift shadows, or bring up the ambient light of a room a bit, this light is excellent.
For more power, the AD400pro is for you. With a guide number of 72 (400 ws) it delivers enough power for a group of people or for medium sized projects.
The largest of these strobes is the AD600pro delivering a guide number of 87 (600ws). This is great for large groups and larger projects.
These strobes will need a transmitter, scroll down to see those as well.
These wireless triggers work with any of the flashes and strobes listed on this page. This means you can begin to explore the world of off-camera flash if you haven’t already.
Place this trigger on the hot shoe of your camera, set the flash or strobe as a slave unit plus TTL, and you are ready to start shooting with off-camera lighting. It really is just that easy.
These triggers use radio waves so they can get much further away from the camera, over 100 feet. Plus, they do not require line of sight, so the light can be placed wherever you need it.
If you are looking to get into off-camera flash, these are the triggers you need.
Below are a few lighting accessories to get your started with off-camera lighting.
This is the exact 65″ large umbrella I use for large indoor group shots. Careful using this outdoors, it is big and will blow over even with the slightest breeze.
Click the image to see the latest price.
These cards are large enough capacity and fast enough for photo or video work. There are cheaper memory cards out there, but they will slow you down and are not worth the money you saved.
Hold still! These supports allow you to do just that, steady the camera so you can get the shot. Tripods are excellent for photography while monopods are awesome for either photography or videography.
Bonfoto Travel Tripod
THANKS FOR BEING HERE!
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I’m always happy to help, so if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I hope you find my recommendations to be helpful as you work to become the best photographer you can be!
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