Bang For Your Buck: The Best Photography Equipment For $6000 Or Less
So many people ask us what camera they should buy to shoot weddings. We also get asked about flashes, modifiers, batteries, lenses, etc. There are so many options that it can be hard to know what is the best piece of gear for the money, right? We all know photography gear can get expensive in a hurry and we don’t want to have to settle on something we know we will have to upgrade in a few months. In the SLR Lounge Photography 101 course, Pye shows that you can make incredible images using basic gear, but what if you have a small budget and want the best gear that your money can buy? In this article, I will introduce you to some of the best photography equipment on the market for your money.
The Nikon D750, Sigma lenses, Yongnuo speedlights, Mag Mod. Does it get any better? I would say no and here is why. All of the gear I will mention is what we currently use and love.
Best Photography Equipment: The Camera
First, we will start with the camera. The Nikon D750 has changed the game, in my opinion. Aside from the button layout, the camera is incredible. The dynamic range is second to none in its price range. Some would even say its better than Nikon’s D3s and D4s. This camera is also a low light beast in every way. I have little to no problem focusing in low light. Shooting at High ISO is no problem. I have shot portraits at ISO 5000 (see image below) because it was getting dark and we were losing daylight. Lastly, this camera produces colors I have not seen on a Nikon body before. Everyone says go with Canon if you want the best color. Not anymore! The best part is that this camera can be bought new for right around $2400!
Best Photography Equipment: The Lenses
Next, let’s discuss lenses. Recently, we have been blown away by Sigma’s lens options. We currently use their 35mm 1.4 Art, 85mm 1.4, and 70-200mm 2.8. The 35mm 1.4 Art is amazing. There really are no words to describe it, you just have to try it out for yourself. The bokeh is amazing and it’s crazy sharp. The best part is that it comes in at $900, as apposed to the Nikon 35mm 1.4 that comes in at $1600.
The 85mm 1.4 is by far my favorite portrait lens. It’s the perfect amount of compression. The images this lens produces are so crisp and clear. This lens comes in at $970 as apposed to the Nikon 85mm 1.4, which comes in at $1500. For those that like the compression of a 70-200mm 2.8, you will love Sigma’s version. I personally love the compression at 200mm. I did have one of my 70-200’s from them go soft, but they replaced it for free and it has been amazing ever since. This lens comes in at $1200 as opposed to the Nikon version, which is right around $2000.
Best Photography Equipment: The Flashes
We own 2 Nikon SB-910’s and they just sit in our bag. At $550 apiece, they are an expensive piece of equipment to have just sitting around. Whenever I am using flash, I use manual mode 99% of the time. So the appeal for TTL is nonexistent for me.
I have found that Yongnuo makes some excellent speedlights. I own 6 YN 560III speedlights from them. These speedlights are extremely well made. When you hold them in your hand you can really feel the quality build. There are 2 reasons why I went with these over the SB-910s. The first is that they have a wireless triggering system built in, similar to the Canon 600 line. The second reason is that they are only $75 a piece!!
I love using these for lighting the dance floor at receptions and don’t mind nearly as much when a guest knocks them over. We also have found that Tenergy makes the best batteries when is comes to the rechargeable kind. They last forever and have an insane refresh rate. Tenergy have 2600 mAh as opposed to Eneloops that come in at 1900 mAh. I use the same batteries in my flashes for an entire wedding day without having to change them.
Best Photography Equipment: The Modifiers
Lastly, let’s talk about speedlight modifiers. I have recently fallen in love with MagMod. MagMod is an incredible interchangable speedlight modifier system. They have everything from gels to grids, snoots, etc. This system has become my go to lighting for a wedding day. Its super compact, easy to use/setup, and extremely versatile. The basic MagMod kit can be purchased for $89. Read Pye’s review of it here.
There you have it! You can get everything I’ve mentioned for under $6000 which is how much one Nikon D4s costs! What do you think? What would you substitute from this list and still stay within budget? Comment below.
About the Guest Contributor
Easton and Laura are a husband and wife wedding photography team based out of NJ. They were recently named one of the top 100 wedding photographers in the US. You can see more of their work at www.lureyphotography.com