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  1. #1
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Chicago, IL, USA

    Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    Been browsing B&H lately, which made me a bit curious and brought me to this question...

    What equipment do you considering essential to have, what do you feel is non-essential but a good idea to have, and what do you think is luxury equipment (stuff you really really want, but don't necessarily need)?

    Any and all gear from filters to batteries to lenses to bodies.

    I figure this is a pretty subjective question, and I'm guessing people's idea of what's necessary changes depending on the types of photography they do, so I think the answers might be interesting.

  2. #2
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    wa state

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    essential: body(D80 in my case), a zoom lens that goes from fairly wide to mid telephoto, a zoom that goes from mid-range to higher telephoto, a 50mm prime, a macro prime, a wide angle, a tripod, cleaning kit and rocket blower..and of course a computer with an editing program.

    Good idea: circular polarizer filter, neutral density filter, extra battery, extra memory cards, extension tubes, external flash, rc remote, diffuser, good bag and my vest.

    Luxury: hmmm? I don't think there is such a thing. If I want it, I need it.
    Keep Shooting!


    Please refrain from editing my photos without asking.

  3. #3
    has-been... another view's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Rockford, IL

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    Good topic! I use what I've got, frankly. If it's not ideal, whether or not I have something better at home, it's a moot point - it's not with me so I can't use it. Maybe I can't take the first shot I imagine because I don't have the right lens etc., but then maybe it just makes me look at the scene a little deeper too.

    More often than not, the two little things I wish for that sometimes I don't have unless I'm carrying the 86,423 pound (slight exaggeration) camera bag would be some way to be sure the camera is level and some way to clean a lens. And a spare battery.

  4. #4
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Mineral Point, WI, USA

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    It depends on what I'm planning on doing that day, but for most of what I like to do, a tripod and cable release are essential. Whether I'm using a long lens, or a wide angle, I like using the tripod. I always take extra batteries as well. Along with the extra batteries, having a vertical battery grip on my camera is a must have (most of the time).

    As far as lenses go, I'm generally shooting really long, or really wide so lenses that cover those areas are essential. Another essential for my type of work is a macro lens. I think everyone should have a 50mm lens in their kit. I love the cheap 50mm f/1.8. I like having something in the medium wide, to medium telephoto range but for me this is more of a "nice to have". I'm thinking of my 24-70mm f/2.8L lens. I think this is the most expensive lenses I own, and one of the least used.

    A bubble level that goes in the hot shoe is a must have for landscapes. A rocket blower is a great tool to keep in your bag as well.

    One lens that I would really like to have is a Lensbaby Composer, but to me, that is a luxury and not worth the investment at this time.

    My website

    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  5. #5
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    This is from the point of view of being away from home for a few weeks, taking everything I need for nature, sports, and street shooting. Of course I won't use everything every day, and some things I hope never to need, but last trip I used almost everything not on the last two lists except the rain sleeves and Araldite.

    Rocket blower, Lens cloth (or Pec Pads), Lens cleaner solution
    Lens hoods, tailored for each lens
    Circular Polariser
    At least 2 off-camera flashes, Softboxes for flashes
    Spare AA batteries for flashes
    Camera bag aircraft carry-on sized rucksack
    Lots of memory cards (about 100/150 RAW images per card)
    Pocket hard drive to back up memory cards (doubles as extra laptop disk)

    Good idea:
    Rain cover (Optech Rainsleeve)
    Remote release
    Monopod (for 300mm & up)
    Quality Lenses, f/2.8 zooms
    Small gorillapods for flashes
    Off-camera flash cord
    Two AA chargers, not just one
    Spare camera battery for consumer cameras e.g. 20D (never needed for 1DmkII)
    Vertical battery grip for consumer cameras
    Specific camera insurance (not on the house insurance)
    Backup camera just in case (for me that's the 20D as third DSLR body)
    Bubble level & Panoramic head on tripod
    Extension tubes (cheaper than a macro)
    Teleconverter 1.4x
    Optech straps (anti-slip, cushioned)
    Something to hold tickets/passes and business cards safe, but handy
    Local maps

    Useful Stuff:
    Large black sacks, Electrical tape, Towel, Torch, Jewellers screwdrivers, Araldite, Gaffer tape
    Power plug adapters for Europe/USA

    Assistant !
    The next model of camera (it's you that takes the good photos)
    The next longer prime lens (300, 400, 500, 600)
    The next wider prime lens (20, 15, 10)
    Bigger tripod for the longer lens
    Wimberley head for the much longer lens
    Tilt/shift lens
    Macro lens
    Graduated ND filter
    ND filter
    Radio releases - I don't do that kind of thing myself

    Not wanted:
    Big memory cards ... all my eggs in an easy to lose or corrupt basket
    Plain glass "protection" filters
    Camera armour

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  6. #6
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    OK now a serious answer, rather than my luggage packing list
    More or less in the order I afforded them.

    Lens from 24 to 200mm (24-70, 70-200)
    Tripod with level built-in.
    Battery grip.
    Spare battery.
    Off-camera flash.
    Extension tubes.
    Remote release.
    Circular Polariser.
    Lens 100-400mm.
    50mm prime.

    I should have bought the polariser sooner.
    And the 50mm f/1.8 prime.

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  7. #7
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Mundelein, IL USA

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    My essential list (Things I use all the time):
    - Good body with Live View and Image Stabilization.
    - Good zoom lens in the 70-200 f/4 area
    - Good macro lens.
    - Solid tripod with a 3-way head with handles (used like a video head)
    - Remote release
    - Manfrotto articulated arm (not magic arm)
    - Extra battery
    - Cleaning Kit
    - Good size bag
    - PS Elements
    - Photography Review for all the knowledge

    Other stuff I use quite often:
    - Homemade light box and lights
    - Flash (body has remote flash control built in)
    - Macro twin flash
    - Telephoto in the 28-75 f/2.8 range
    - LightRoom
    - Micro positioning slide plate (macros)
    - Ball head
    - Monopod w ball head
    - Good long lens f/2.8

    - Hoodloupe that Canon-Bob just mentioned in another post.
    - Geared head
    - Heavy geared studio tripod
    - All weather cover for body and lens
    - Sling pack

    I am no better than you. I critique to teach myself to see.
    Feel free to edit my photos or do anything else that will help me learn.
    Sony/Minolta - way more gear than talent.

  8. #8
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    rockin' it in the D

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    needs...decent camera, decent lens, light meter

    wants...everything else.

    i'm not including batteries or cards or anything like that. i count that all under camera.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Apple Valley, Ca - USA

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    light meter
    Light meter? Are you shooting film? A light meter is just a less advanced form of chimping....imo...

    Sony A700
    Sony CZ 16-80 F3.5-4.5
    Sony 50 F1.4
    Minolta 70-210 F4
    Sony F56-AM Flash

  10. #10
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Portland, OR, USA

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    Ok Camera with lens, (light meter optional if camera has a meter), and tripod.

    Other lenses: micro, wide, long, and Teleconverter. If you in camera meter will not meter with an older lens you need a light meter.
    Filters Polarizer, Graduated ND filter
    AND you can go on and on..... opps out of money have to back to work

    Panorama Madness:

    Nikon D800, 50mm F1.4D AF, 16-35mm, 28-200mm & 70-300mm

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    A day stolen... away, with my cam. It's easy to forget this is supposed to be FUN, unless it's being done for money (and then it's still fun, but not as much, because it's business too).

    I'll take my bag which contains my cam, which always has the 28-135mm lens on it. Beneath the lens in the bag is my 50mm 1.8 II and the (Chinese hood for the lens. I have 2x 32Gb cards, 2x 8Gb cards, 3x 4Gb cards, 2 spare batteries, straps (for bag and cam) cotton fiber (for cleaning a lens on the fly) a small blower (I don't carry the big Rocket). Sometimes, in another bag I put on my belt, I carry the 70-300 IS (+ Chinese hood) and the kit lens I got with the 20D.

    I have a tripod in the car. It's a $12.50 Wal-Mart special. It works (they ALL work - lol) and it weighs nothing. Start lugging that Manfrotto around - presto - no more fun! I can sling the w/m tripod under the bag, and never know I'm carrying it.

    I have been known to carry the external flash, but not always, by any means. Only if I think I might be shooting indoors and/or after dark. Bag has spare batteries.

    If I'm doing night shots in nasty parts of cities (near the river) I CARRY A GUN. And my license for it, of course. I stay away from the Nazi state of Illinois...

    I don't think it matters too much what gear you take. My problem is, where do I go? Where do you go when you want to get some good shots?

  12. #12
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    rockin' it in the D

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultra Magnus
    Light meter? Are you shooting film? A light meter is just a less advanced form of chimping....imo...

    nope, and i don't use it so much anymore, but still dig it out in tricky lighting.

    but it sure helped when i was working on learning how to get the camera to expose how i wanted. and sure helped me understand exposure better than shoot, adjust a little, shoot, adjust a little, shoot...ect...
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  13. #13
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    KY, USA

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    There are no luxuries... It's all essential and I want more, more,more!!!!!
    Don't forget about the Gallery. Are your photos there??

    Nikon Samurai #13

    "A photographer is known by what he shows not by what he throws. The best photographers have the biggest trash cans." Quote from Nikon School sometime in the early 1970's.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jetrim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Ft. Lauderdale

    Re: Essential, non-Essential, and Luxury Equipment

    I like to travel fairly light so essentials:
    wide-medium-long lenses
    circular polarizers
    2 cards
    extra batteries
    blower and cloths for cleaning
    lightweight compact tripod
    and most importantly, high quality comfortable bag to store everything in that isn't irritating even when you're lugging it around all day

    non-essential but a good idea:
    reflector (home made or commercial)
    laptop or other storage device you can dump cards onto when full

    At least one spare everything
    pocket wizard

    I would rather have less "stuff" that's higher quality, than more stuff that's barely adequate. That said, using Diadache's "15 truths about photography" it's getting very close to the time I need to upgrade my current body as it is hampering my ability to capture the shots I want to, and know I could otherwise. If I can find one, I'll probably go with the S5pro, if not, the D300.

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