Trey’s Gear and Tools

Sony a5000 Mirrorless Camera

Good Camera: Sony a5000

Priced at under $500, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at below the $500 level.

If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7R below.

Sony a6000 Mirrorless Camera

Better Camera: Sony a6000

Starting at below $800 which includes an 16-50mm lens.

The Sony a6000 is the replacement for the Sony NEX-7 which I loved. The a6000 has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, 2x higher screen resolution, 7x the number of focal points, 24MP compared to 19MP, and more than 3x faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 3.5 fps).

Best Camera: Sony a7R

Starting at just over $2000

A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. This is currently my main camera. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. It’s Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!

Camera Lenses

First Three Lenses for the Sony a7R

Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! :)

  • Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm Review.
  • Sony 10-18 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. Even though this lens is made for the small Alpha line, it works fine on the A7 series of cameras and is still full frame. Instead of 10-18mm, you’ll get full coverage from 12mm to 17mm. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.
  • Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 Prime (Amazon | B&H Photo) – In short, a great for portraits and objects of things

Other Goodies for the Sony a7R

  • Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
  • Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount.
  • Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
  • Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses

Sony Alpha – Two Great Lenses

If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first few lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a5000 and a6000 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.

  • Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
  • Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.

Nikon – First Three Lenses

Following are the first three lenses I would recommend getting if you bought a professional Nikon camera.

  • Nikon 14-24 Review – A great wide-angle lens for landscapes and architecture
  • Nikon 28-300 Review – Perfect walk-around lens mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
  • Nikon 50mm Review – Ideal for cute children, family and close-up objects where you like a blurry background

I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend.  Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.

DJI Phantom Vision Quadcopter

I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives. I have the DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H3-3d 3-axis Gimbal and Gopro Hero 3+ Black Edition.

I set mine up so it records HD video and also takes a photo every five seconds. Check out my full review of the DJI Phantom 2 with a behind the scenes bonus video.

 

What’s in my photo bag?

Tripod and Head

My best advice for tripods is to visit your local camera store and try them out!  Find one that you find easy to use…  I’ve tried many, and my recommendations are below. A tripod is composed of two parts – the Legs and the Head.  The head simply attaches to the legs, and these have universal connections.

  • RRS Tripod (link) – And here is the tripod.
  • RRS Head (Small) (link) – This is the Really Right Stuff tripod head I use. It doesn’t have to be too big because the camera is small.
  • RRS Head (Big) (link) – This is the ballhead I used with my much bigger DSLR systems. It’s highly recommended if you use hefty DSLRs!
  • L-Plates for your camera (link) – These allow your camera to attach to the tripod head. These “L” plates are of the variety that enables you to easily adjust it from landscape to portrait orientation.

Entry Level Tripod and Head

More Reviews and recommendations

I have many other reviews and recommendations you may find helpful!

Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement.

  • http://ggconfidential.com/ Eve

    Hi, Trey. I absolutely love your photography, and it’s been somewhat of an inspiration to take my hobby more seriously and start learning photography on a semi-professional/semi-entry level DSLR. I basically narrowed it down (with a price range in mind) to Nikon d5100/5200 and Canon eos 600D, with the popular opinion in mind that these two brands rival all the others.

    And then I found out that the amazing photos that you make were taken by Sony. A COMPACT sized Sony! ;-0

    Please, there is no end to my exasperation. Could you advice me, a small handed beginner photographer with the love of photo filters on the camera to buy?

    Thanks,
    Eve.

  • iknowdatsright

    Is the new Mac Pro part of the editing gear?

  • treyratcliff

    Yes – I am using one of those now when at home – I really like it :)

  • Richard Houghton

    Trey, what a pleasure it is to view your photos. How often do you use the Nikon 14-24mm?

  • treyratcliff

    Not so much any more — now that I switched to the Sony

  • Frode

    Hello Trey. I hope you can help me a little bit here. I’m torn between getting the A6000 and the A7. The main reason for considering the A7 is less noise at higher ISO. Weathersealing seems handy to have as well, but it’s not a dealbreaker. I’ve sold all my old gear, so I don’t really have to consider if I can re-use any lenses, like many other people have to. I’m not a proffessional, but more in the advanced amateur (is that even a term?) category, but I’m not made of money and the A7 is about 1000$ bigger investment + generally 30-40% more expensive lenses within the same focal range. I’ve seen you take some amazing photos with the NEX-6. I’m just wondering if you think that the A7 is worth the extra dent in the wallet on a tighter budget?

  • treyratcliff

    The A7 will be MUCH better in the low light for sure because of the bigger sensor @disqus_KivPrHFIjm:disqus . But if expense is a problem, the A6000 will treat you really well. You might have some noise in the low-light shots (for handheld), but nothing wrong with a bit of noise! If you’re on a tripod and doing landscape work with the A6000, then you’ll have no troubles at all..

  • treyratcliff

    Thanks @GreyGooseConfidential:disqus for the nice note! I think you’ll be good with ANY of the cameras above — we just re-did the recommendations btw! :)

  • Frode

    Thanks for the reply. I guess I’ll save up a little bit more and go for the A7 + 24-70mm F4 lens to start with. I was also quite surprised at the amazing quality you get with the 10-18 E-lens on the A7R, so that might be my next lens purchase.

  • Daniel Vincent

    Hi from Austin, Texas Trey.

    I wanted to know more about your editing hardware setup. What computer(s) do you use (home and mobile), wacom tablet?, etc. And what are their respective specs/model which you recommend for good, better, best results?

    And lastly, if you were sitting with an a7r today with no wide angle for landscape would you wait on the 16-35 FE or go with the 10-18mm? If the latter, would you eventually carry both or just one and if just one which?

  • Nick

    Hi Trey,

    Grateful if you would advise which of the RRS tripods you are using with the A7R – the link above seems to go to their home page (same with the link for the RRS Head (small)).

    Thanks
    Nick
    Hong Kong

  • Martin Winstanley

    I’d be grateful too if you could relink the tripod and Ball head. the present link is straight to the home page.

  • Sam Camilleri

    Yeah I use a Canon 600D. I use it mainly with a 50mm prime f1.8 lens. Great for low lit shots. It’s a decent camera and if you’re starting out, will do you just well.

  • Sam Camilleri

    Some images I took with the 600D, 50mm f1.8 lens…

  • Jay

    Trey,
    What is the strap you are using that is in the Lightroom intro video? Thanks.

  • Carlos Mendoza

    Trey,

    You don’t think that the 55m Prime for the Sony is overpriced. There are same kind of lenses for Nikon and Canon that are less expensive that the one from Sony.

  • Kevin

    Hey Trey,
    what do you think about the new Sony Alpha 5100 ?
    I’m thinking about buying the a5100 instead of the a6000.

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