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Needing help for school - Gear Recommendations


I am going to be starting a college photography course at the end of the month and I need some help choosing the right equipment, I am hoping to be able to lease to purchase all of my equipment and if possible I would like to bundle it all together. I have a list of the required equipment needed.


In response to: Steve Thomas: "Will the need for a hot shoe center pin be a limiting factor for this person?"

Really, a lot depends on what Chris purchases.  As I understand it, she is looking at a T3i, which will have no issues as it's a legacy camera body.   I think we should hang fire and wait to see what camera she end up with - I seriously doubt it will be a recent model, just based on the economics of her situation.

In the same way, I think we have to realize this is a college course, so thinking of spending a significant amount of money on lighting is not really economical or necessary.  She needs a basic strobe (flash) and likely that could be dealt with later.  I have taught this type of course, and flash photography doesn't normally become a focus until well into the course schedule.  Furthermore, until that happens, she can use the built-in flash on the camera.


cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

He must have taken the same class I'll be taking. I need the exact same thing. I am interested in photography. My grandmother was an amateur photographer. I have always enjoyed taking photos hence my desire to take some classes. It is not just a passing fancy. My problem is I only have about $1000 to spend on this equipment. Thank you for your help.


I have always enjoyed taking photos and capturing the beauty I see all around me and have wanted to pursue a career in photography for as long as I can remember. Eventually I would really like to go into a partnership with someone who is a licensed cosmetologist to create our own business. I would like to offer package deals for event photography that include for example a wedding package that would include hair, nails, and makeup for the bridal party, photos of the actual event, as well as private photo shoots of the wedding party, parents, etc. Plus a private bridal photoshoot. I would like to have multiple sized offers and for all different types of events as well. But I would also like to offer professional photography of more personal life events as well such as labor and delivery shoots, boudoir shoots, all kinds of things really. Now as for my budget, currently it's going to be as low as possible as I am struggling with a whole new beginning and starting over from absolutely nothing but I do plan on upgrading things in the future I just need a starting point and from there I can start my savings for future upgrades if that makes any sense at all.

Thank you very much for your comprehensive response, and that does help a lot.  So, I take it that your interests are both serious and long term.  It seems like you have got a plan and I hope we can help you to get a good grounding in that.

That means that there would be advantage for you in getting gear that will not become obsolete, or that you will grow out of quickly; as opposed to a casual, passing interest where gear is less of an option and certainly not having gear you can grow with.

That said, I'm not sure of your experience to date with using dedicated cameras, as opposed to, for example cell phones, so I hope that I am not pitching my explanations too high or too low - if so, just let me know.

So, perhaps I can explain a bit about the gear landscape right now.   Canon have been making Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras for over 20 years, but they are now moving to a whole new system (as is the market in general) of Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens cameras (MILCs), called the R-series of cameras.   These cameras are the future and if you have long-term intentions that are serious, I would suggest getting started with this new system.  It will be more expensive up front, however - hence my question about budget.

There are two approaches to this.  You can get a good DSLR and lens, that should be fairly economical as people dispose of this legacy gear and move to the R-series MILC.  Otherwise, go straight onto the platform of the future: the R-series bodies and lenses.

There are several MILCs available and with many different lens options, but at this stage I think we need to go for a reasonably competent, but cheaper, R-series body with a good, all-round lens.  I would check to see if you can find a good price for a Canon EOS RP body with either the 24-105 STM or the 24-240 STM.  For the maximum range of options for photography, the latter lens is going to give you the most choice, but the 24-105 may be more available and likely at a lower price.  One good place to start is the Canon Refurbished gear site: HERE is a link to that.

I would recommend checking out a couple of videos on the EOR RP camera and lenses I mentioned:

A review of the RP from respected reviewer Gordon Liang: HERE 
A review of the 24-105 and 24-240 lenses HERE 

I have no doubt you will have a lot of questions and without knowing budget, I can only make recommendations on gear, not it's price point in relation to your assets.

As regards the other elements: we can work on those once we have established the big choices - lens and body.

cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

As an addendum to my previous post:  I will give you a link for the Canon EOS RP and 24-240 lens as reviewed by another respected reviewer, Justin Abbott:  he is a Canadian so his review style may seem a bit more familiar to you! {:-)

The EOS RP comprehensive review: HERE 
RF 24-240 review: HERE 

cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

As a starting point, I have been perusing the Canon Refurbished gear site.  This is gear that Canon have serviced by them and is essentially as new, but at a lower price than buying a new unit.  It may have come from their own internal users, for testing or demo purposes etc.  They also have some deals on new units there too, it appears. These all come with a one-year Canon warranty, so offers some peace of mind.

So, for the Canon EOS RP: with and without a lens: HERE 
If you got the body only (For $899) then lens option of the RF 24-105 STM: HERE 
Or... the option for the Canon RF 24-240: HERE 
FInally, a flash for the camera: HERE 

Now, all of this is based on the principle that you can afford this gear, which I have yet to confirm with you.  The links I have sent are the safe options, considering they are backed by Canon.  You can then go and look elsewhere for specific deals from other vendors - apparently there are some good ones out there, but since I am in New Zealand, I can't advise on those!

If all this is too much to afford, then we can look at the cheaper option of DSLR gear, but I shall await your input before I overload you.

cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

I have an EXTREMELY small budget so I really need to get everything for the lowest price I possibly can and then I just upgrade later on down the road. The reason for my budget being so low is because my husband and I are literally starting completely over from absolutely nothing at this time


Can you provide any more details about the “lighting kit”?  That alone could set you back $500 to $1000 USD alone.  I think this lighting kit could potentially be the biggest hurdle.

How many “lights” do they expect you to have available?  Should the wireless remote be capable of triggering the lighting kit?  Did they provide you with any gear recommendations.?

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Hi Bill:

I think they are referring to a flash (strobe) unit rather than something for a studio - esp considering it's a college-level course, I would not expect that students would have to foot the bill for serious lighting rigs.

cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


For a basic lighting kit, I'd highly recommend the following.  Budget for lighting can, as explained earlier, easily explode.  For my own gear, lighting takes of 40% of everything I've spent on photography.

  • A flash.  e.g. Canon's 430 EX III RT.
  • A flash controller.  e.g. Canon's ST-E3-RT (only necessary to have your flash off-camera which is really nice to be able to do).
  • A lightstand (I like Manfrotto's 1052BAC)
  • An umbrella (e.g. Westcott 2016 45" Umbrella)
  • A reflector

You can get really creative with a single light, and the above will let you place that light both on-camera or off.

If you get addited to flashes like I did, you can always add more over time and pick up other light modifiers.


Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers
click here to view the press release