What’s in my bag?
My Primary Camera
Starting around $1,100 which includes an 18-55mm lens.
See my full Sony NEX-7 Review. I use this camera. It can be used in almost any photographic situation and is one of the best models available in this class. I use it to take photos of everything, from kids to landscapes to architecture to objects. This tiny 24 megapixel beast has a thousand other features that those clever Japanese crammed inside… see the full Sony NEX-7 Review for more information and sample photos.
My Backup Camera
Starting at $2,800 for the camera body. (my Primary camera, strangely, is HALF the price and six times smaller)
Even though I recommend the Sony NEX-7 below and use it as my main camera, I understand that we are currently in a transition period where many people like to use bigger, professional DSLRs. I used to have the Nikon D800 as my main camera, and I shot with it for over a year, so it is a system I know very well. If you are going with a big DSLR, this is the right choice! See my full Nikon D800 Review.
Sony NEX – First Three Lenses
If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first three 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 NEX-7 comes with a 18-55mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.
- Sony 10-18 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great new lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. See my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.
- 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. I’ve also used it to zoom in and get shots of the moon (like you can see below)
- Zeiss 32mm prime f/1.8 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – f/1.8 will give you some incredible depth of field. It’s great for taking photos of people, objects, or other little things you find throughout your day.
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.
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.
What I carry
- TVC-33 Tripod Legs from Really Right Stuff – An excellent set of legs for most small to medium-sized cameras. I recently switched from the high-end Gitzo tripod legs to these from Really Right Stuff. I love them, they are lighter and stronger than the comparable Gitzo.
- BH-55 Head from Really Right Stuff – This company makes remarkable products… When you go to the site, you can choose the best setup for your camera. This is what I use on my professional cameras.
- L-Plate bracket for the NEX-7 from Really Right Stuff
- L-Plate bracket for the Nikon D800 from Really Right Stuff
Entry Level Tripod and Head
- Manfrotto 190XB 3 Section Aluminum Tripod – An excellent set of legs for most small to medium-sized cameras such as the Sony mentioned above. It supports 11 pounds, so you have room to grow.
- Giottos MH-1000 Large Ball Head w/ Built-in Quick Release – A simple and easy to use quick-release head that you will enjoy.
More Reviews and recommendations
I have many other reviews and recommendations you may find helpful!
- Photo Editing Software Reviews – reviews of five must-have software packages along with many others
- Camera Reviews – recommendations for digital cameras for any budget to skill level
- My Favorite Things – I often get asked about the things I uses in my professional and personal life so I decided to compile this list of my favorite things!
- Other Reviews – various other software and hardware reviews