If you’re brand loyal with your cameras then this is the best Nikon DSLR camera equipment guide for you. There is some 3rd party gear but even Nikon will admit that other companies do some things better than they can.
1) Nikon D810 36.3MP DSLR Camera
Nikon just came out with the update to the D800 and improved the video quality quite a bit and added a 16.1MP “small” file size for photographs. That means you can take and store smaller picture files without sacrificing a lot of pixel quality. This camera is a true piece of art and feels like a dream in your hand. Nikon has been making the best professional cameras in the world for years and this is better than anything that exists in this price range.
$2,500 (price reduced!)
That seems expensive right? Save for it. Or just buy it on a credit card. Or make a post online that you’re booking gigs for the year and use the deposits to buy this camera. It is absolutely worth it and it’s one of those things that you purchase and smile every time you see it. Ever buy something when you were a kid with your own money and want to sleep with it at night? This is one of those items.
2) Nikon 85mm f1/4G prime Nikkor lens for Nikon Digital DSLR cameras
If you shoot weddings, portraits, or lifestyle photographs this lens makes your pictures look different than others just on the fact that the zoom range is so unique. 85mm lens gives you such intense focus on the subject with blurring in the background. The pictures are so crisp through this lens it takes you from being a $500/wedding second shooter to a $2500 – $3500/wedding main photographer. Everything you photograph looks interesting and professional.
3) Nikon 24mm f/1.4G prime wide-angle Nikkor lens for Nikon digital SLR cameras
Another great lens because of the unique focal length. In order to stand out as a photographer it helps to have angles and compositions that other people don’t. It’s standard practice for people to buy a 35mm and a 50mm lens. This lens automatically make your work unique and memorable.
With the D810, 85mm 1.4, and 24mm 1.4 you’ll be set up to take brilliant photographs and up your hire rates.
There are a few other pieces of gear that I particularly love, especially if I’m working out in the field.
Think Tank Airport International V 2.0
I’ll start with my bag – the Think Tank Airport International V 2.0 changed my life. And for $390 it better have. I’ve gone through 5 camera equipment backpacks in the last 2 years and haven’t been happy with any of them. I swallowed my pride and threw the $390 down on the Think Tank and haven’t regretted it for a second. Not a moment goes by when I’m in the field or at the airport that I don’t think about how happy this bag makes me. It rolls smoothly and stores all my equipment – 2 camera bodies, mics, laptop, power chords, batteries, lenses, and other misc stuff. It also locks shut and locks to poles if I need to leave it for 2 minutes to get a shot in the middle of the street. Switching from a backpack to a roller bag has eliminated all of my back and neck pain from hauling 60 lbs of equipment around and made all day shoots a lot less stressful.
Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap
Not only are the stock camera straps horrendous to look at but they aren’t functional at all. If you’re shooting with multiple cameras or need to move freely it’s unpleasant to have the camera body dangling from your neck. The Black Rapid RS-7 camera strap has a messenger bag style strap that lies across your body diagonally. The camera sits down by your hip, off to the side of your body so the space in front of you is open. Even more amazing, there are clips that lock the camera down by the hip if you don’t want to worry about it moving up and down the strap. The metal screw that connects to the bottom of the camera is really solid – solid enough where I have run sprints with my camera on my hip to see if I could break the connection – I couldn’t.
Buy 2 of these if you shoot multiple cameras so you can cross them over your chest and hold your cameras like a 2 pistols.
Rode Directional Video Microphone
This is a pretty small investment for a big upgrade to sound quality. The best content can be lost if the audio is weak. The Rode directional video microphone picks up stereo quality audio quite a ways away. I can point the mic at someone having a conversation over 50 feet away and pick up pretty clear audio. I use it for everything I film with the exception of 1 on 1 interviews. I don’t record anything anymore without the Rode mic mounted to my Nikon’s hot shoe.
Benro A3580F Aluminum Tripod
I like the Benro A3580F aluminum tripod because it’s really strong and doesn’t cost too much. I paid full retail price for it because I didn’t know about Amazon Prime yet – lesson learned – but you can get this tripod through the link for $168 (half of what I paid). Still, I’m pleased with the quality even at $300+. It’s pretty light weight but still feels sturdy. You can easily mount sliders and shoot with zoom lenses without losing stability. Also, and pretty sweet, the tripod opens almost all the way out with a special clip near the head so the camera can be mounted just a few inches off the ground. That means you don’t have to use stacks of books or lens caps to stabilize the camera close to the floor.
If you’re liking the sounds of this equipment list you’re looking at something like this…
1) Nikon D810 36.3MP DSLR Camera – $2,500
4) Think Tank Airport International V 2.0 – $390
5) Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap – $61.95
6) Rode Directional Video Microphone – $139
7) Benro A3580F Aluminum Tripod – $168
Total – $6,786.95
That’s a pretty juicy total. Maybe it’s not all possible now but it’s nice to start chipping away and have a wishlist. It’s really just a matter of 3 years (1 birthday and 1 Christmas each year) plus 1 random purchase for yourself.
If this is way out of your league but you still want nice gear, check out my other blog:
I’ve got a pro quality equipment kit on there for around $2500.