A list of my most used items in my camera bag. Almost all of my equipment was purchased used, either on EBay or through Amazon. I only really buy major upgrades when I think I really need it. Other than that, I’ll buy lighting equipment, or DIY some light modifiers, which is very satififying, considering some of the modifiers these companies charge a lot of money for can easily be made by even the greenest DIY’er (I.E., me).
Main Camera Body – I finally took the plunge and upgraded from my beloved Nikon D90. I recently purchased the D7100. I felt like it was a legit upgrade to the D90. It does everything the D90 did, but just a little better. Adding up all the little things, it makes a big difference. However, even now, in 2014, the D90 is still a fantastic camera for a serious enthusiast, I love it. I plan on adding my own D7100 review to the site soon. I have no regrets purchasing it!
Primary Lens – Nikon 50mm F1.8D AF lenses The classic nifty fifty. I bought this bad boy for 90 bucks on EBay, used. Super sharp and fast. It’s the older version, but if you have a DSLR that has an internal motor, you’ll save around 70-80 bucks. I use this for portraits and macro shots mostly. It’s a prime lens, so no zoom, you’ll have to move around to get the correct perspective. I think every photographer should have this lens, or the similar F1.4 version.
Secondary Lens – I got rid of my Quantarry 17-55 as part of the package when I sold my D90, and replaced it with a decent all around lens, the Nikon 18-105 mm – f3.5-5.6. Brand new the lens is about 400 bucks, I got it for a great price on EBay, around 150. This is a fun lens. It can go wide enough for landscape shots, and can also go in for some nice portrait shots, as well as some close up/macro shots, since the minimum focus distance is 1.5 feet. Throw Nikon VR on there, and I’m able to shoot a few stops more than without it. It almost makes up for the lens being so slow….who am I kidding, it doesn’t. But it’s a nice feature none the less. I use this lens just as much as the 50 mm these days.
Nature/Telephoto Lens – Nikon Zoom-Nikkor 70 mm – 300 mm F/4.0-5.6 AF G Although I love portraiture more, I do take a fair amount of nature/wildlife shots. I just can’t afford a fast 300mm lens. This one cost me $76 on EBay, and it was worth every penny. It’s quite a slow lens, but the image quality is very good for such a low price. Highly recommended it you are looking for an affordable telephoto. Amazon currently has it for about 160 dollars (as of 10/2/14), although you can probably get it cheaper on EBay.
Main Speedlight – Nikon SB-700. Outstanding flash. I admit I splurged a little on this one. I really wanted to experiment with Nikon HSS/Auto FP, and there were only a few off brands that were able to do it with a D90. I found it used for 250 dollars used and am loving it. it’s a lot easier to navigate the menus than I thought it would be. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, the next flash is pretty solid and a heck of a lot cheaper.
Secondary Speedlights– Yongnuo YN-468II. I can’t say enough good things about this flash. If you are just starting out with off camera flash and don’t want to sink a ton of money, this is a fantastic flash. It’s 100 bucks on Amazon, and worth every penny. Yes, it’s a Chinese flash, which I know some are leary of because of quality control concerns, but I assure you that it’s good quality. I’ve dropped it 2-3 times with no issue. On top of the durability, it has just about every feature a budding strobist could want including 2 slave modes, TTL compatibility, full manual control down to 1/128 and decent power with only about 2 seconds recycle time using NiMH batteries. Strangely, I don’t normally see these used on EBay too often. Either way, it’s a great flash at a great price. Grab one!
DIY GoBo and Snoot – Very cool light modifiers, I plan on posting how I made mine in the near future.
Gels – Rosco sampler pack. Great value if you want to experiment with adding/correcting color to your speedlight.
I also have a few light stands, gaffer tape, ringlights and other doo dads that I’ll eventually add here.