My setup isn’t too crazy, and as you’ll notice, I don’t use a lot of expensive equipment. I believe in using only the gear you NEED to get the job done, and so far, this gear has been enough. I have recently had a couple of shoots that would have been much easier if I had some more advanced equipment, so if any more projects like that come up, I might just upgrade a little bit.
My best advice for gear is to really assess what you’ll be using it for and get whatever is in your budget to accomplish that. Nothing more and nothing less.
So before you comment on my Instagram feed or shoot me an email asking what kind of camera or lenses I use, take a look at this list to find your answer. If you are in the market for new gear and want to support this site and what I’m doing, you can use the links on this page to help me earn a little extra cash to expand this gear list!
So this camera has been my workhorse for the past couple of months after I exchanged my D5200 that I used for a couple of years. If you follow me on Instagram, probably about 90% of the photos on there were taken with the D5200, but the newer ones were taken with the D7100 or my Sony RX100IV (see below). The 7XXX series is definitely a step up from the 5XXX series and the D7100 has some great features that I found missing with my D5200. I enjoy having the advanced features like AF microadjustments, a higher shutter speed, and the option to use older Nikon lenses without autofocus motors. If you are just starting out in photography or only shoot as a hobbyist, I highly recommend the D5xxx cameras like the D5300 or D5600 to do the trick. However, the D7200 or D7500 are perfect if you want to take your photography to the next level.
Due to its size, I have to admit that I was a little scared to purchase this camera. However, I have had ZERO regrets since taking the plunge. I am getting more into filming these days, so I wanted a solid camera that would deliver professional looking results. It may look small, but this camera packs an incredible punch. The 4k is gorgeous and the possibilities of using high frame rates is insane. The lens isn’t interchangeable, but the range is pretty decent for most scenarios. The updated RX100V gives you 30fps when taking photos and has an increased buffer for high frame rates, so if you have the extra dough, I’d go for that!
I purchased this lens after trading in my D5200 and my Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. I love 50mm lenses and the 1.4 aperture on this lens delivers some great bokeh. It doesn’t have a built-in autofocus motor, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using a D7XXX or full-frame camera to use this feature. I recommend this lens (or the f/1.4G model) for anyone interested in taking great portraits that separate the subject from the background.
I use this lens primarily for portraits or close up detail shots that need larger amounts of depth-of-field. Over time, shooting with this lens wide open has become a challenge on my D5200 because I can’t fine-tune the AF and it is slightly back-focusing. However, when I manually focus or shoot at a higher f-stop, this lens delivers great results. It’s very affordable and I’ve seen others recommend that this is the first lens you should buy for a Nikon DX. I actually prefer 50mm lenses to 35mm, but I am glad I purchased this one to at least test it out.
I love the look of fisheye lenses, so I just had to ask for this one when it came time for my birthday last year and my girlfriend asked me what I wanted. This lens has a 180 degree field of view, allowing me to capture some of the insane lookups, streets, and interiors you’ve seen on my Instagram. I love this lens so much that I often have to limit myself to using it or else my feed would be filled with crazy fisheye shots. It’s the only manual lens in my lineup, but the AE chip actually helps me get a good idea of when I’m in focus by showing me a green dot in the viewfinder. If you love the results you get with your GoPro, try getting one of these and taking the look to the next level.
After trading in my 18-200mm lens, I no longer had a lens to use for wide angle shots, aside from my 8mm fisheye lens used for special situations. I was in Japan and tracked down this Tokina lens for a decent price and went ahead and purchased it. So far, I’ve found it to be the perfect range for the stuff I typically shoot. I could go wider with something like the newer Nikon 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR, but it wasn’t available yet when I was shopping around. If I ever go full-frame, I won’t be able to use this lens, but in the meantime, it’s a great lens to have in my arsenal.
I don’t use flash all that often, but I used to do a lot of event photography which required me to have one available. After making the switch to Nikon, this was the flash I decided to purchase and it has been great. It’s powerful, the recycle times are pretty quick and it has a ton of settings to mess around with. My D5200 doesn’t have the built in flash trigger, so I have to use the camera’s pop-up flash to trigger this one in slave mode if I need to use it off of the camera. If you do buy this, definitely look into buying some high quality rechargeable AA batteries — they will save you a lot of money in the long run.
I’ve got a nice, in-depth review on this bag here, but if you’re looking for my brief thoughts — here goes. I have tried several bags and have never been completely happy with any of them. There were always several issues that ruined the product for me and had me hunting for alternatives. This pack from Incase is the closest I’ve come to being 100% happy. Aside from trying to get the bag on while wearing winter jackets and fitting things into the tripod straps on the side, I love every aspect of this bag. There’s plenty of space, it has easy access to my camera, and it is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Read my full review…
It took me a long time to buy a good travel tripod, and I struggled along the way. When it came time to purchase one, I knew I was looking for something compact and sturdy. This tripod from MeFOTO has proved to be really great during multiple shoots. It doesn’t get quite as tall as I’d like for some situations, but that would only increase the size and weight of the tripod, so I don’t mind it. This thing folds up great and attaches to the side of my Incase DSLR Pro Pack perfectly. It also comes in a bunch of cool colors, although they only had a black one for me when I bought mine 🙁
Unfortunately, I managed to lose this tripod while in Thailand. However, I’ll probably end up getting another, so I’ve kept it on this list. I used to carry this mini tripod with me everywhere! It’s small enough to fit in my pocket, so I can set up a balanced, sturdy shot within seconds no matter where I am. You will need a flat surface in most cases for this to stand up properly, but in a pinch you can get creative. It’s solid enough to support my D7100 with most of my lenses. However, it does struggle with my heavier lens (the Tokina). I highly recommend this for everyone to own!
I can’t tell you exactly how many lens caps I’ve lost over the years, but it has been way too many. While my jeans pocket served me well, it isn’t very comfortable to sit down on a lens cap you forgot was there. Not to mention, the caps somehow find there way out of the pocket and lost forever. This lens cap slip attaches directly to the shoulder strap of my bag, allowing me to quickly place my lens cap safely away. It fits every lens cap I have, so unless you are working with some major glass, you should be fine.
I prefer to use wrist straps when shooting with one camera, but when I’m out shooting with both my D7100 and RX100IV, I keep this neck strap on my RX100IV to keep it safe and accessible. The memory foam cushion on it is insanely comfortable and I especially love the quick release buckles that allow me to quickly detach the strap if I want to go back to using the wrist strap for a few shots. This strap is a little on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for when it comes to quality. It’s well constructed, comfortable, and adapts to any type of shooting I’m doing.