I am often asked what camera, lens, or software to buy. There are plenty of tempting photographic gadgets and gizmos. I recommend using what you have and when you can articulate why it is not enough — then begin the purchase process by looking.
With so many camera manufacturers offering great products at a variety price ranges, it’s important to educate yourself. Read the product specifications, refer back to the terminology, and decide what matters to your photography needs and budget.
On this page and subsequent drop down menus, I will share the products I own and explain my purchasing decisions to help guide you in yours. I will also add articles about equipment in general and reviews. Hyperlinks are included to provide you with direct access to purchase these products at BH Photo. Feel free to email me and request a product review, email@example.com.
Canon 5D M III with 24-105 mm f/4 L lens
This light weight and excellent low light capability full frame camera is perfect for the professional who wants the ability to shoot in low light with superb detailed imagery. I recommend purchasing with a L series lens. The 24- 105 mm lens is my go-to lens.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Digital Camera
I love this camera. It is light weight, has an incredibly fast f/1.8 lens. It is my go-to camera if I am not working. While their is a newer model, the RX MIV, I did not see a need to upgrade.
The 5D M III camera comes with one battery, but you should always have two with you, the spare fully charged.
Memory continues to become cheaper and cheaper, but I caution buying just one extra large media card. Instead, buy two in case one breaks or is damaged. I am brand loyal. I use Lexar and I recommend the 16 GBs for the Compact Flash card, the 32 GBs for the SD card.
I have a couple of Canon Professional “L” series lenses. The 17- 40mm f/4 L lens enables me to shoot landscapes, large groups (25 plus), and interiors. The Canon 24-105 mm f/4 L lens (as shown in the photo) is my go-to lens for groups (24 mm) and portraits (105mm) and landscapes and seacapes. I love to photograph in the fog.
This lens has a fixed maximum aperture of f/4. When I bought this lens, I debated over the Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens because of its wider maximum aperture which helps create beautiful selective focus and bokeh, plus enables one stops more exposure in low light. However, I decided that the longer focal length (105mm vs 70mm) was more important to me, as I prefer the 105 mm focal length lens for portraits and a 70 mm focal length just wouldn’t be long enough. Since I was buying the lens with photographing children in mind, the f/2.8 lens was also not a huge draw, as children move and the f/2.8 aperture could cause focus problems.
Canon 70-200mm f/4L
When I bought this lens I debated over whether I should splurge and buy the 70-200 f/2 for approximately $1000 (at the time) more. I held the lenses on the 5D M II camera body — such an important thing to do! — and I was able to see that the f/2 lens was too heavy for me. When I photograph families or events, I am hand holding the camera for 3-8 hours. If I am tired, I will cause camera shake, so I like a light camera set-up.
In summary, consider the weight of the lens, coupled with the camera body and a flash or transmitter. Visit a camera store and hold the equipment. Remember, the equipment should fit like a good pair of jeans. If it feels good, then buy it.
X-Rrite ColorChecker Passport
The X-Rite Color Checker Passport is a tool I use to establish a white balance and create custom color calibrations to tweak colors. My photo sessions range from about 250 – 500 RAW images and I strive to establish an accurate white balance correct “as shot.”
I use a large bag to store all my equipment. But on the job, I’ll use a Lowepro Sling Bag. Their ergonomic design comes in several sizes and colors. Notice in the photo of me below, that I also use a BlackRapid RS-4 Classic Camera Strap with FastenerR-3 (Black)
Photographing and painting since she was twelve, Cheryl Machat Dorskind is the best selling author of “The Art of Handpainting Photographs” and “The Art of Photographing Children.” A passionate photographer and mentor, Cheryl is a New York Times acclaimed photo artist, a workshop instructor, a college professor, an online photo educator, a fine art mentoring expert (FAME), and a professional photographer.
Click here to purchase her new eBook, Photographing Children Naturally.