Here’s a list of gear that I personally recommend to you. If you’re thinking of creating a photography kit, and you have plenty of cash to spend but you’re not quite sure on which to go for, I guarantee you that anything you pick from the following list of recommended stuff, covering all sorts of brands, will satisfy you 100%
Ok, here we go then. Let’s start with the biggest of them all: DSLRs
I think most professional photographers – and most amateurs starting off photography in a serious sense – would want some sort of DSLR camera. It’s normal. And it’s not a bad thing at all. A DSLR can achieve very high quality, and give you a lot of versatility when it comes to lenses, while also performing very well in terms of shooting speed and autofocusing
Getting the right DSLR can be a bit of a challenge. I always recommend getting the best one you can afford, but when there’s a limit to what you can afford, knowing what you need from it can often help. If you can afford it, I always recommend going full-frame. Here, the Canon 5D Mk III and the Nikon D800 are great choices. The new Nikon D600 (and now the updated version, the D610) is also a fantastic option, giving you the power of digital full-frame magic at a significantly lower price. I recommend it over the Canon 6D
If you feel full-frame cameras are out of your budget, look at some of the more powerful APS-C sensor cameras, such as the Canon 7D, which are also extremely powerful, give great results, and cost quite a bit less than the full-frame ones
WIth DSLRs, and other interchangeable-lens camera systems, buying the body is only one part of it. Getting the suitable lens is a whole new thing, and equally (or more) important! Knowing what you shoot, and what you want from your photographs is a great way to start your decision on what lens to buy. From there, again…buy the best you can afford! For me, I find that for specialist, specific uses, I prefer prime lenses i.e. fixed focal length lenses (that do not zoom), as they give the best quality, with fast aperture, and are very comfortable to use. If I want a long telephoto lens, or a long portrait-suited lens, or even a wide-angle, I’d get a prime lens. A nice collection for me would be a 24mm or 28mm, coupled with a 50mm, and an 85mm prime lens, on a full-frame camera. Note that if you use a APS-C DSLR, your focal lengths will be different, and you might want a different set of lenses, but that should give you a good place to start from. On top of this set of primes, I always find a general ‘walk-around’ lens to be extremely useful too. For those times when I’m out on the streets, or at some event, and I just can’t be changing prime lenses to get the focal length I want, a good standard zoom lens is something I absolutely need! A super-fast (and super-expensive) 24-70mm f2.8 (on full-frame) or a 17-55mm f2.8 (on APS-C) is a very nice option, but the slower 24-120mm or 24-105mm f4 lenses work fine for this purpose too. This zoom, along with a set of primes, would be a great kit indeed. Start off with a single zoom, and build from there
Alright, if you’re buying – go ahead and use these links! Thanks!
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Zoom Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Autofocus Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Autofocus Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Nikon D800 SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Nikon D610 SLR (Body Only)
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
Mirrorless cameras are compact. They are powerful. They have a large (APS-C, usually) sensor, and produce fantastic images. They also allow you to change lenses. Consider them a mini-DSLR, if you will. They’re gaining huge popularity due to their lower prices, equal-to-mid-range-DSLR image quality, and very compact size. In fact, I now recommend you buy one of these mirrorless cameras instead of a mid-range DSLR. I’d only recommend a large DSLR if you can afford a full-frame one. If not, mirrorless is the way to go!
Again, lenses come into play too. You need to get the right ones for you. Most of these systems have their own lenses, and have a fairly decent selection (although not as wide as a DSLR selection) of lenses. Go for the 1 zoom/3 primes option again, if available. That really works well. The Fujifilm primes for the X-series is particularly good, as is their very high quality standard zoom!
If you’re going for Leica, it’s going to be all manual, and all prime. They cost a bomb. But I guess you could say the results are worth it. It’s up to you!
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Fujifilm X-Pro1 (Body Only)
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 XF R Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Sony Alpha NEX-7 Digital Camera
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Sony E-Mount 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Sony E-Mount 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Sony E-Mount 35mm f/1.8 OSS Lens
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Leica M9 Rangefinder Digital Camera Body
Buy yours here at B&H Photo: Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux M Aspherical Manual Focus Lens
And lastly, of course, we have the wonderfully useful compact camera! Gone are the days when compact digital cameras suffer in terms of image quality compared to the larger ones. The new crop of premium, high-end compact digital cameras come with loads of manual controls, larger-than-average sensor size, RAW shooting capabilities, and a lot of other features that bring them fairly close to mirrorless cameras in many ways. And boy, do they take good pictures! On my last vacation, I shot purely using my Sony RX100, and felt it gave better results than a cheap, small DSLR would have given! Maybe it’s just me. But that’s how I felt. It just responded to me. And that’s wonderful
The Sony RX100 is one of the best compacts on the market today, packing a superb f1.8 Zeiss lens with a class-leading 1″-sized image sensor, and is truly something amazing. Not long after, Sony came out with the RX1, a very unique, and very expensive compact camera of sorts, a camera that packs a full-frame image sensor (!), a fast fixed focal length lens, and a lot of the usual fancy controls and features into a pretty compact little camera! It’s really something fantastic. Sure, it’s above the budget of many of us, but it’s a wonderful piece of technology, and puts Sony right up there with the best camera manufacturers of today! Now both models have been updated, giving you the option of the RX100 II and RX1R models as well. If you’re looking for a superzoom, the Sony RX10 is a superb option too
If you’re looking at something cheaper, there are plenty of other compacts to choose from: Panasonic’s excellent Lumix LX-7 (with Leica glass!), Olympus has it’s XZ-2, Fujifilm has the XF1, the X10, and the new X20, which are superb…and yeah, the choice is quite big…get the one that suits you the best. In this area, the decision should be easier, but still…ask yourself what you want from it…go to a store, test it out…and see if you how it all feels. If you do, that’s the one for you!
Buy yours here from B&H Photo: Sony Cyber-shot RX1/RX1R
Buy yours here from B&H Photo: Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Buy yours here from B&H Photo: Sony Cyber-shot RX100/RX100 II
Buy yours here from B&H Photo: Panasonic Lumix LX7
And that’s about all I can think off right now. If you have any questions before making your purchase, just go ahead and contact me – email works too: firstname.lastname@example.org – and I’ll get back to you in no time! And if I helped you make up your mind or anything of the sort, please help me out by buying from the links and ads that are placed on this page – it’ll really make a difference! Good luck and happy shopping!