DIYP 2012 Gear Guide
In the following page I will outline the gear that I use or otherwise recommend from research and from what I’ve heard from fellow photographers.
Is this a full list? Probably not. Does it represent anything but my personal opinion? Definitely not!
Enjoy the list, I hope you’ll get some ideas for your next gear purchase.
DSLRs – Entry Level
Nikon D5100 [B&H | Amazon] – If you’re a Nikonian (or looking to start as a Nikonian, this is a great entry level DSLR). Boasting 16 megapixels, 11 AF points, full HD and an articulating LCD it is a great budget camera.
Canon EOS 650D [B&H | Amazon] – Is a similar entry level camera for Canonistas. With specs similar to other entry level cameras it features 18 megapixels, an articulating screen. It shoots full HD movies, but if you go down to 720p, it can also capture 60fps which is great for slow motion.
DSLRs – Mid Range
Nikon D7000 [B&H | Amazon] – The Nikon D7000 is a great mid range camera, it’s great if you are just starting out, but also great if you are looking for a bit more featured body without the megapixel and big wallet that goes with the pro bodies. The D7000 packs 16.3 megapixels, full HD and great image quality.
Canon 60D [B&H | Amazon] – This mid range camera from Canon can serve as a first camera or as an upgrade. It is more robust that the 600D, and still has amazing video, an articulating screen, and 60fps at 720. if you are just starting out on video, this is a great option.
DSLRs – Pro
Nikon D800 [B&H | Amazon] – The Nikon D800 made quite a stir when it was announced mostly due to its huge 36 megapixel count. It is an awesome camera shadowed only by Nikon’s pro D4. With superior image quality, full frame sensor and great video performance it is a great camera for the pro.
Canon 5DmkIII [B&H | Amazon] – The 5DmkIII is Canon’s upgrade for the popular 5DmkII. It may just be the best DSLR for video that the market currently has to offer. Equipped with a full sensor it provides impressive handling of high ISO.
Cameras – Micro 4/3
Panasonic GH2 [B&H | Amazon] – while it provides great image quality, I would probably recommend the GH2 more for video. The video coming out of this little camera is compared by some to the video coming out of the triple priced Canon 5DmkIII. The GH2 is a great way to enter the videography world at a reasonable price.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 [B&H | Amazon] – This one from Olympus is probably the most coveted micro 4/3 of them all. Not only it provides superior image quality it also has a great look and it feels really well. It will do well as a second body but will also do a fine job on a family trip.
Cameras – Point & Shoot
Canon S110 [B&H | Amazon] – Canon’s S110 is Canon’s update to its popular S100. It is currently my point and shoot of choice. It takes extremely well low light photographs and darn nice full HD videos. If you want to go light, it is an awesome choice.
Sony RX100 [B&H | Amazon] – Inside this little camera hides a medium sized sensor, which probably makes it the best point and shoot on the market today. It’s a bit pricier than the S110 but if your main usage is low light, it is well worth the extra $$.
Hot Shoe Strobes
Nikon SB-910 [B&H | Amazon] -This has to be the king of strobes. After the successful SB800, Nikon released the SB900 monster and soon followed with an improved version – the SB910. If you are using either on camera or off camera flash in TTL mode, you would love it’s super easy controls and powerful pop.
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT [B&H | Amazon] – Canon’s best and brightest. It offers a GN of 60 meters, easy control and here is the fun thing, it has integrated radio communications with other similar strobes for up to 30 meters.
Nikon SB-700 [B&H | Amazon] – at roughly 2/3 of the price of an SB910, Nikon’s little bother is still a good find. It has the same iTTL control as the big brother and it can still act as a master. Sadly no sync port on this one.
Canon Speedlite 430EX II [B&H | Amazon] – The 430EXII is Canon’s mid range strobe. It is slightly less powerful than its big brother and lacks the radio communications, but it is great as both on camera and off camera strobe.
LP160 Quad-sync flash [MPEX] – the LP160 from Mpex is the mother ship of Strobists. It packs a guide number of 140 feet like the mid range strobes from the bigger companies, but it has a four way sync system: Optical Slave, PC-sync, 3.5mm jack & hot shoe
YONGNUO 460II [Amazon] – The Yn-460ii is as cheap as you can find them. at about 50 USD per piece they are not the most reliable strobe when it comes to repeatability, but they are great if you are looking for a quick/cheap way to experiment with off camera light. They are also the most hackable strobes in existence.
Hot Shoe Strobes – Triggers
Hot Shoe Strobes – Light Modifiers
Manfrotto 5001B Nano Light Stand [B&H | Amazon] – this is the best small indoor light stand that I’ve seen. It practically fits in a bag when folded and extends to almost 2 meters. It is perfect for indoor assignments with small modifiers.
Manfrotto 026 Umbrella Swivl [B&H | Amazon] – there is no better way to mount a strobe and an umbrella than a swivel. In fact, I am not sure if there is another way. For the price of this swivel it is really not worth it to go to the cheaper plastic copies.
Honl Speed Strap System [B&H | Amazon] – Probably the most versatile strobes modifiers system around. With a grid, 2 snoots, flags, small softbox and gel pack, it contains almost everything you’ll need for an on location portrait session.
Westcott 43″ Collapsible Umbrellas [B&H | Amazon] – Continuing with the “small” theme, this is a great on the go umbrella. it collapses really small and works great with the rest of the back packing items.
Westcott Apollo 28″x28″ and 50″x50″ Softboxes [B&H | Amazon] – I love those softboxes for their portable design and quick setup/tear-down time. It give beautiful light, and is great for both indoor or outdoor use.
Tripods & Straps
Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod & 498RC2 Ball Head [B&H | Amazon] – I love this combo as a great balance between cost and weight. not too pricey even for the carbon fiber version, still super light and stable
Nasty Clamps [B&H | Amazon] – You are not a complete person till you tried one of those clamps. They are a weird mix of a pony clamps tethered with locline that provide flexible and fast solution for strobe placement.
M plate + Glide Strap [B&H | Amazon] – The M-plate is one awesome quick release plate. It is compatible both with arca swiss and Manfrotto tripods. Combined with a Cloop it makes a really comfortable strap/quick release system.
FS-PRO camera strap & F-1 mounting plate [Amazon] – The FS pro is one of the more comfortable straps I’ve used. It has some really nice innovations, like front quick adjustment, offset hanging, arca swiss compatibility and safety 3-way buckle.
Lowepro Fastpack 250 Backpack [B&H | Amazon] – My day to day travel bag for small assignments. Carries a SLR with 24-70 lens, and extra lens, 3 strobes 3 Pocket Wizards, a laptop and some more. And it has convenient side access
Think Tank Airport International V2 [B&H | Amazon] – The Airport International V 2.0 Camera Bag from Think Tank is an awesome, awesome bag. I love it for it’s fine build and huge capacity. And the fact that I don’t have to check in $20,000 worth of camera gear when I go on a plane.
Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Hard Drive [B&H | Amazon] – The big gun when you have to haul more than just a lens and a strobe. Carries your biggest lens (70-200+hood) a few strobes, lenses, laptop and more and more.
Mag Filters [Amazon] – Mag filters are to a point and shoot what threads are to a DSLR. They add a threaded filter to the lens allowing point and shoots to accept filters like CPLs and ND grad.
Bokeh Masters Kit [B&H | bokehmasterskit] – This is our little creative kit that provides some magic in night shots. It has the magic ability of transforming light into shapes. It’s a fun and easy little gadget.
Griptight [B&H | Amazon] – Griptight provides a way to mount a cell phone on a tripod. It is pretty smart in the way that it is built allowing any type of phone to be attached and used as hands free camera.
When you buy an item by clicking a link on this list, DIYP gets a small percentage of the purchase, while the price does not change for you. It is a great way to show your love for DIYP, and helping us to provide more great free content.
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.