Photographers Resource

*EVERYTHING THAT IS DISCUSSED ON THIS PAGE IS LINKED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE 

The most common question, if its in person, Flickr, or forums, is…what gear do you use? Before I tell you, I want to make a little statement that will go a long way for you passionate ones. There will always be a life long argument about gear and Photoshop. One side will say, oh its the camera that makes the photographer, or Photoshop makes the photographer, in some cases this is true, but if you are just starting out, this is absolutely false. Many people quickly get discouraged or feel lower when someone with a “full frame” is present, just because they have a high end camera doesn’t make them good, just because they have a giant flash on top of their camera, or some fancy looking bracket doesn’t make them the best.  I am not pointing any fingers here but this is the true generalization of photography. We think people with giant cameras and big flashes MUST absolutely know what they’re doing, which I will personally say 60% of the time is wrong. I have been to every major location in Arizona for photos, and have seen plenty of people with 5d”s to D3”s firing direct TTL at their clients face. In simple term, the photo is going to look horrible, and no Photoshop or retoucher will be able to save it. So the point I am getting at is, work with what you have, once you are able to unlock the FULL POTENTIAL of your camera and
are receiving creditable raves, then maybe it is time to look forward to upgrading.

My first lens ever was a Sigma 28-80 3.5 5.6, if you CLICK HERE (it will take you to a Amazon search) the price is only 45 dollars, I have seen them go for literally 10 dollars. The images that I have created with this lens are nothing short of amazing, because I was forced to work with what I have.

DSC5910

Both of these images vary GREATLY, but as you can see you can do A LOT with a 10 dollars lens. But to criticize myself, you can actually see the detail lost from the poorly cut glass, and there is absolutely no background blur. I want to express all of this because I have been down the road of, better gear is going to make me a better photographer. I had purchased a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 70-200 2.8, expecting to take the most amazing, life changing blow your mind out of the water photos. I was beyond wrong, and sadly, I didn’t know that tell 3 months later, when I as ripped apart and man handled by the world of Nikon professionals. My white balance was always off, my composition was poor, and beyond that, I had no understanding of light. Myself, got a helping hand for 2 seconds and took off with it with brute force. I was determined to prove them all wrong AND I DID. A direct quote from a member, “I have never seen so much improvement from an individual in 3 weeks’ time  But I still look back at my old photos and believe there is ALWAYS room for improvement. So with that rant out of the way, I hope that I have pounded in your mind, it’s not always your gear or knowledge of Photoshop, it begins with the press of your shutter. This is what is in my bag currently.

My Bag

Nikon D700
Canon 7d
Sigma 50 1.4 EX DG
Sigma 30 1.4 EX DG
Nikkor 70-200 2.8
5 Flashes
Transmitter / Receivers
Manfrotto Master Stands

I will openly admit I don’t even own a tripod, as my statement goes, work with what you have. But in my case, maybe I do need a tripod 🙂

Gear Recommendations

So for the people that are skipping though half of the dialog and want to know about what camera’s and what
awesome accessories to buy, listen up! My personal style is LOW F stop, high color, and high contrast, that look is achieved with lighting, I CAN NOT STRESS on the importance of lighting enough, if its natural, or artificial, it is the most fundamental thing to taking a photo. No one wants a blurry or noisy photo. So we combat that with flashes, lights, strobes, reflectors etc etc. To answer a few FAQ”s about “the look” or general high end style of photography, almost all portraits are shot with “fast lens”” usually anything F2.8 and below. Generally, I stray away from F3.5 or F4, the low light capture is usually poor, and the background will never compare to a F2.8 with compression. The most popular len”s and focal length being 24-70 2.8, I personally find it to be one of the the best lens on the market, and I know many high end photographers that live by it. It provides great compression but at the same time you are table to shoot at 24 at 2.8 for a great look and low light capture.

Example photos

A perfect lens for starting out and the only lens I would recommend, especially if you do not want to break the bank, is the Nikon, Canon, Sony or any 50 F1.8 lens, they are only 100 dollars and provide a ton of background blur and amazing low light capturing ability.

Example photo’s

Advanced photographers, my recommendation, and every professional SHOULD have this in their bag, is the Nikon or Canon 70-200 2.8, this is by far one of my favorite lens and the best purchase I ever made, this lens made me who I am today, and I’m proud that I took the time to understand it. The compression and background blur this lens creates is surreal. The photos speak for them self’s

Example Photos

I could go on all day about which lens you should buy and why, but I leave that to you to contact me, feel free anytime, shoot me an email and will do the best I can to direct you in the correct path, if you are on a budget or have Goldman Sachs money, I will be here to advise you. I wouldn’t’ want you to buy a lens that doesn’t have the focal range of your need, because I see it all the time.

Beginner Gear Recommendation

For people just getting started, first establish a brand, PERSONALLY, I love Nikon, why? Because of the amazing light capturing ability of the sensor. I can shoot 6400 ISO and not have a worry. Plus I absolutely love the ergonomics and feel of the body. I find the controls on the Canon to be more challenging to a beginner and a professional. It feels clumsy and some buttons feel misplaced. But again, that is only my opinion. Another brand that I am really eyeing currently is…Sony. Their new LCD view finder, coupled with mirror less technology, its absolutely industry changing, and I expect Nikon and Canon to follow suit. When you look though the view finder on the Sony, its a “what you see is what you get” experience, unlike any camera. I say all of this because it is expensive to switch between brands, lens do not interchange, unless you want to drop some serious cash on a lens adapter, which ends up killing photo quality.

For the Camera brands I recommend

Nikon | D5100
Price $600

Canon | EOS Rebel T3i | EOS Rebel SL1
Price $650 – $800

Sony | a NEX-5R |a65
| Price $599 – $799

Lens recommendation

This applies to all 3 brands, 18-55 that comes with the camera, believe it or not, you can make some spectacular images from it.
50mm F1.8 | Price $80 – $130

Memory Cards

Since all these cameras shoot HD video, I would highly recommend that you get a class 6 and above. The only brand I suggest ..
SanDisk
SanDisk16GB Extreme SDHC Memory Card | Price $30

Flash

Nikon SB700 | Price $325
Canon 430EXII | Price $280
Sony | Price $349

Intermediate level

This gear recommendation is for people that want to step out of auto mode and into AV, TV, M, modes. The cameras will be more advanced, with more ISO control and faster buffer speeds. Then lens will be more focused on getting “the look” of a high end photo but without breaking the bank. Maybe at this point, consider charging for photos, and always remember, BE A REGISTERED BUSINESS. But always remember to get your photos critique by professionals to see if you’re ready.

Camera body

Nikon D7100| D600 Price $1200 – $2000

Canon 60d | 6d |Price $890-2000

Sony a77| Price $1000

Lens recommendation

Primes

All brands, 50mm F1.4 (absolute must)

Brand recommended, Sigma, why?
I have shot with all the 50”s and the Sigma has a MUCH larger front element than any other 50, and has by far the fastest focus lock of any of the 50”s. | Price $450

All brands, Sigma 30mm1.4 if you want to be more little wider, remember, we are still on crop body sensors, which means you do not get the full use of the focal length. Unless it is a Nikon DX lens or Canon EF-S series lens.  This lens WILL NOT WORK on a full frame camera. | Price $420

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G | Price $200

Sony 85mm f/2.8 | Price $250

Standard zoom

If you want a zoom lens and still want to maintain a good looking photo, my recommendations are as following..

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II | Price $850
Canon EF 17-40 f/4L  Price $780
Sony 16-50mm f/2.8| Price $ 799

Telephoto zoom

Canon 70-200 F4 | Price $710
Sony 70-300 F4.5 F5.6 | Price$ 900

I did not post a Nikon lens due to the extreme focal length of the
18-200.

Memory Cards 

SanDisk 16GB Extreme Memory Card x2| Price $40 x2
Anything better than this, but I highly recommend staying SanDisk

Flash

These same flashes work on a intermediate level.
Nikon SB700 | Price $325
Canon 430EXII | Price $280
Sony | Price $349

Tripod

Manfrotto Basic tripod

Advanced level

Read this with thick skin, this section is for pure professionals, and when I say professional, your life is 99% funded by photography. I will post the camera and lens that I would use at a wedding, or at an ad campaign. The prices are unreal and everything will be the highest of quality. By this time, you must of had plenty of experiences with all the brands, seeing what you like, and are fully committed to this. Get ready to see some outlandishness prices and some amazing recommendations. If you even have a remote thought of video, I would highly suggest that you stick to Canon, the 5d has plenty of 3rd party support for video firmware, software, and hardware. If photos are your niche, then Nikon will always win on that category.

Camera body

Nikon | D800 | D4 | Prices $2600 – $6000 (your decision on these will be based on… if you’re spending your time in the studio or if you need HIGH ISO, personally I love the body and feel of the D4 and the ability to shoot at 11 fps for weddings)

Canon | EOS 5D Mark III | EOS-1DX | Price- $3499 – $6800 ( your decision again is based on, Video, ISO, and FPS, I would recommend the 5D MIII if you wanted to stick canon)

Sony |  a99 | Price-$2800

Lens recommendation

Primes (this applies to all brands and bodies)

Brand specific 24mm F1.4 (amazing for interior shots of a building)
Brand specific 35mm 1.4  (my favorite focal length)
Sigma 35mm F1.4 (priced perfectly, amazing performance)
Sigma 50mm F1.4  (its just an industry standard to have this)
Sigma 85mm F1.4 (phenomenal for portraits)
Brand specific 135mm F2 or F1.8 (again, a great portrait lens)
Brand specific 200mm F2 ( The ULTIMATE portrait, automotive, sports lens)

Wide angle zoom

Sigma 18-35 1.8 (THIS WILL, AND NEEDS TO BE IN YOUR BAG)
Canon 16-35 2.8 (great for in doors)
Sony 16-35 2.8
Nikon 14-24 2.8 (a must for in door wedding venues)
Brand specific 24-70 2.8 (if you need something fast and don’t have a second body to keep switching, this is the lens for you)

Telephoto zoom

Brand specific 70-200mm F2.8 (AN ABSOLUTE MUST IN YOUR BAG!) A must for automotive, weddings, portraits, and much more. You may be wondering why I listed so many primes, because every situation calls of a different lens, sometimes I want a amazing portrait with high compression, and other times I want to shoot a couple with a wide, but still want that F1.4 look.

Brand specific 300 or 400mm (a must for professional Motorsports, sports, or wildlife photography)

Memory Cards

SanDisk 32GB Extreme Memory Card x2| Price $170

Flash

Speed lights
Nikon SB910 | Price $550
Canon 600 EX-RT | Price $470
Sony | Price $349

At this point, we want to start considering using plug in strobes.

Paul C. Buff Alien Bee’s (remember they are from 400w to 1600w, you do not want to get something too powerful, then you are not able to dial it down, i recommend the AB800.)
TritonFlash™ Battery Powered Strobe
Profoto D1 monolight series (from 250w up to 1000w, these are the best flash heads you can buy)

Tripod / Light stands

Manfrotto Master Stands
Manfrotto Neotec

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There are many more accessories to buy, gels, light modifies, transmitters, etc etc, if you have any questions on gear, shoot me an email at Charles@Siritho.com or shoot me a text or call me at 251-253-two zero three two Don”t forget to visit the “like” page for deals and updates.

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