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What's The Best Photography Gear For The Money

What is your annual budget for buying camera gear? Mine is about $0. I have no budget for buying new gear. What I do is buy my gear piece by piece as I get paid for gigs.
So, if you are like me (limited income, limited budget, economic downturn, penny pincher), you might be asking the question, "What kind of gear can I get that is good enough to look professional and produce professional results without maxing out 3 credit cards?"

I would love to list off all the high end camera bodies and flash systems that the unlimited budget people use, but that's not going to help you. I'm also not going to waste time telling you about Wal-Mart super sales. To get professional gigs, you need professional gear, not the cheapest you can find. Here are some suggestions and reviews from my personal experience of gear that is in my camera bag (or lack thereof).

Nikon SB-600
I just got this flash recently and its been a great help to all of my low light photography. I would definitely suggest a shoe-mount flash for your SLR or DSLR. Don't ever use the pop up flash except for emergencies. The light from pop-ups are either way too harsh and shadow forming or not powerful enough when you need them to be (plus they wear your camera battery down alot quicker). The SB-600 is a great high to middle of the road flash and its made by Nikon so you know you're getting good quality. Some key features are:
  • newest i-TTL system optimized for use with Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS).
  • Flash Value Lock (FV Lock) allows photographers to change the composition or zoom of the shot while maintaining the desired lighting of the subject.
  • High Speed Sync Mode available with Nikon CLS compatible cameras with high speed sync capability.
  • Flash color information (sent to your camera) for more accurate flash control.
  • Lens coverage of: (Auto) 24 - 85mm, (Manual) 14mm - 85mm
  • Recycling time of Approx. 3.5 seconds (manual, w/R6 (AA batteries), 4.0 seconds (Lithium Ion AA batteries), 2.9 seconds (NiCd AA batteries), 2.5 seconds (Ni-MH AA batteries)
Price is right around $175 on Adorama and B&H right now.

I'm shooting a wedding next Saturday so this arrived just in time. I always learn new stuff at weddings so I'm sure I'll blog about what I learned this time here.

In the mean time check out my other blogs and stay tuned for more sage advice from ... me.

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