While I still don’t know any proper camera jargon, I feel like I do generally know how to use one. I might not understand what all those numbers inside the view finder mean, but my fingers know exactly how to adjust the manual settings to get the right type of image without even having to think about it. It’s all just second nature after six years of learning as I go, and even though I’m entirely self-taught (and have a lot more to learn), I feel like my camera bag is finally feeling more professionally equipped.
Most of the items I’ve linked to below are already part of my everyday camera bag collection (with the exception of that 35mm lens that I’m still saving up for…). It’s admittedly a major investment, so I encourage you to make your purchases one at a time as budget allows. It has taken me the full six years to build this collection, and I’ve had to learn to be patient as I scrimped and saved before making each and every order.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera ($2,499)
- Tiffen 72mm UV Protection Filter ($14.68)
- Evecase Large Canvas Messenger SLR/DSLR Camera Bag ($49.99)
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens ($1,299)
- Canon Battery Pack LP-E6N ($64)
- Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector with Bag ($17.99)
- MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit ($199)
- Heavy Duty Muslin Clamps ($7.98)
- Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Wide Angle Lens ($1,049.99)
- Canon EW-78C Lens Hood ($34)
- Canon LC-E6 Battery Charger ($61.30)
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB CompactFlash Memory Card ($138.95)
Although I’m gung-ho about recommending that you make these types of camera bag purchases slowly, I will say this: if you think you’re going to eventually go with a full frame (as opposed to cropped sensor) camera, save up for that first. Don’t do what I did and start with cheaper camera bodies to “make do.”
I started with a Canon EOS Rebel T5, and then upgraded to a used $600 Canon EOS 7D. It wasn’t long at all before I felt like I needed to spring for the big investment, and I bought the Canon EOS 5D Mark III that I now use everyday. I probably lost at least a couple hundred dollars in the long run, and regret not splurging on the full frame camera from the get-go. See an example of a post I shot with my Canon EOS Rebel T5 here, an example using my Canon EOS 7D here, and one shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III here in case you want to compare the visual results.
So, if you want the type of photos that you see pros cranking out, do yourself a favor and buy a top dollar camera body! Although you’ll probably have to eat nothing but Ramen for a few months after the fact, it’s worth it in the long run. Did I miss any essentials in my roundup above (like a remote!)? Let me know in the comments below!