I did my research and waited until I found camera and gear that I really wanted,  I used to buy older almost point and shoot cameras once digital came around.   I finally decided to dive into the DSLR world.  So for those wondering, here is my list of gear.

First things first is the Camera kit.  I started looking at the Canon T2i many years ago, they had basic kits at Sams Club but I waited patiently for something that I could really love.   Then along came the Canon T4i with its swing out touch screen.   I was shooting up at  Father Serra Cross in Ventura and showed a Canon 60d owner how the touch screen worked, he about flipped out.  I love this camera, the features that limited me with other camera is gone and I can be creative without limitations of the hardware.  This kit comes with a new 18-135mm IS STM lens which is completely silent when focusing.

* The T4i has now been replaced with the T6s.

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Canon T6s


Canon 75-300mm IS USM Lens.   I was able to pick this lens up directly from Canon’s refurbished store.   List price was $650, refurb price was $249 with discounts, could not pass it up. This lens has the Ultra-Sonic focusing motor that is quite quick and fairly quiet but very noticeable compared to the silent stepper motor of the 18-135mm Lens that came in the kit.
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Canon 75-300mm IS USM


Canon 50mm 1.8 Lens. I decided to get a lens to allow me to create some better bokeh. Figured that the prime 50mm 1.8 would work. And on a crop sensor camera makes it more 80mm so it would be good for some portrait shots. Canon has since updated that lens with the stepper motor focusing system.
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Canon 50mm 1.8 STM


Ok, for many photos the use of a tripod is inevitable and in many cases a must.   I wanted something that was light and easy to use.   I will also be using this for creating youtube videos so a quick connect feature is a must.   I found the Manfrotto MKC3-H01 for a reasonable price. I love the quick lock grip handle that makes locking the camera in place easy. It has a switch to allow the head to either maintain a level top for shooting video and releases to a free motion mode for vertical photos.  The legs of this tripod get a little flimsy at the lowest segment so for long exposure or HDR shots I will only extend the top few sections which makes it more stable. This tripod is no longer available but the Manfrotto MKCOMPACTLT-BK Compact Tripod is a close replacement
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Manfrotto Tripod


One thing you can be without enough of is extra batteries.    I found that the stock battery for the t4i has 1120 mAh of power.   I was getting about 400 shots per charge, granted doing some live view does drain the battery faster.    Many of the replacement batteries were similar or had bad reviews.   I picked the Photive High Capacity LP-E8 battery.    This battery holds 1700 mAh of power so if I use the camera at the same rate I should get about 650 to 700 shots, add that to the regular battery and a 1000 shot day is possible. I took a chance with this off brand battery and lucked out. Be careful when buying these as some may not perform as you would like. Go though the Amazon comments to see what others are saying. The battery I purchased is no longer available.


Another item I use for travel, if  I don’t want to bring the full size tripod with me is a small Joby SLR-Zoom tripod with the Ball Head.   This does sell without the head but that makes it kind of worthless as you cannot position the camera where you want.    This tripod fits in the side pouch of the sling camera bag nicely.   And it grips to a pole or fence to get a nice stable shot.
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Joby SLR-Zoom


When I need to put a little light on something I bring out my Speedlight. Not waning to put out the large cost for the Canon brand units I found the Yongnuo YN-565 EX Speedlite. This has zoom and power features with remote triggering from my T4i and it functions just as advertised. Yongnuo has update this unit to version II with similar specifications.
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Yongnuo YN-565EX II


lightroom_med_2xphotoshop_med_2xAfter you have your images you need to get them back to the computer and that is where the Creative Cloud Photography Plan comes in.   Having both Lightroom and Photoshop helps to process and edit to end up with great images.  Head over to Adobe’s web site for all the details Link:  Adobe CC >>

Other Misc Stuff:
Rocketfish IR Shutter Release
Rocketfish UV Filter
Rocketfish Circular Polarizer

Check other info at my blog site