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It’s almost Christmas and you are a newbie photographer looking to fill in some gaps in your gear, or you have a special someone in your life who needs to get some much needed gear! Well look no further because we have a ton of stuff here and it’s all not just of good quality, but also budget conscious so you can get what you need in terms of cheap photography gear for Black Friday. This is gonna be easy! Calm down.
When we are done here, you will be like Santa! Or a rich Uncle or whatever. Not the one that gets all touchy, the good uncle.
I’m going to just throw a bunch of stuff at you with short explanations for them. You don’t need a ton of details anyway, you are either a photographer and know what this stuff is or you are shopping for one and couldn’t care less.
Listen though, it’s getting close to Christmas and this stuff is going to get scarce. Get that cart filled and make that purchase. Shipping times can be a pain this time of year too. Do it!
Let’s do this! It’s almost Black Friday already, get a move on.
That page has a decent breakdown, get reading. Or just pick the Canon or Nikon in your price range for this person, but keep in mind what kind it is, since whatever you buy along with it will have to be compatible. I only suggest Canon and Nikon as they are the easiest to shop for this time of year and the accessories are easily found with third party sellers of decent quality. Just making things easier for you. If you absolutely KNOW this person needs a Sony mirrorless or something else, that chart has them too. Go do it! I will repeat the chart at the bottom of this page for you though, just in case.
But now lets talk cheap gear for your kit.
I need a camera bag!
Go to this page here. We already covered this. Get with the program. Gosh.
But here are a few cheap favorites anyway.
What about memory cards and stuff?
Always good to have somewhere to store the actual pics. Kind of a requirement.
This is one of thoseplaces I sugest name brands. You don’t want a third party card that may die holding an entire wedding or baby photos or whatever. So try for some of these is you need SD (check what kind of camera you are shopping for):
If those are a little pricey, go for the smaller ones. Still always good to have. Trust me.
All good. Now if you need CF cards instead:
Again, a bit too costly, go for the cheaper and smaller ones…
What about storing the cards themselves? Two quick suggestions.
and my personal favorite…
I need a specific lens and I don’t know what I’m doing!
Awesome! This page is a start to this question. It presents a few cheap options. It focuses on Canon gear, but a quick search will find Nikon and other equivalents.
That page is just a starter, but the suggestions are fairly versatile. If you can get the major two lenses or maybe all three you will cover a lot of bases for your kit. I would go into more detail but Black Friday isn’t the time for education. You have gifts to buy. Go do that.
Batteries! Yeah, it sounds boring but you have no idea!
It would be a Black Friday suggestion list without something that sounds boring.
Your photo shooting gift recipient probably has flashes and triggers, and all of those need batteries. Quick and easy fix for this is the tried and true . I’m not even going to go into deep details here, just know they work well, recharge fast, have a decent refresh rate in the devices, and are just all around useful for everything. Even non camera gear. You should get some for your house as well.
Rechargeable batteries are the socks of the photographer world. As a kid you say what the hell is this, but as an adult you really need that shit.
Get a big set. Maybe two.
Get the charger too. Maybe two.
These things are life savers. Take my word for it.
Stocking stuffer ideas for photographers
Alright, this stuff is icing on the cake. Smaller cool gadgets, universal items anyone would possibly like. Easy little stuff that is useful but maybe not already in the kit bag. PLus it’s all fairly cheap so bonus for you!
Just get them all that stuff. It’s all useful and raises skill level. Everyone can use more skill and tools wih which to shoot.
Before you go…
If you are a photographer looking for affordable gear advice, come back often, things are growing and we want you involved. Check facebook for us as well. Were there somewhere.
Have a look around the site a bit, the about page is a good place to start so you understand why I’m being so rude to you. But honestly, aside from calling you out before you make dumb gear decisions, I want to help. Every YouTube gear head and photography educator seemed to move over the fact that there are so many new photographers out there that have kids to feed and bills to pay that will not be buying that new camera they just reviewed until it’s outdated. We have to shoot with the antiques just to get by. That’s why I’m here. I welcome you. Stick around.
(Here’s the ‘what camera to buy’ stuff again, in case you need it. Some of the fluff was cut out, but the chart is the big thing anyway. Worship the chart!!!)
What camera should I buy? I need something cheap.
Below are some common examples of what you can generally afford in different camera categories at different price ranges, with and without lenses. Upper tiers and larger formats are left out. Go for the used stuff, and check the local pawn shops. Maybe Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. The major content producers are going to say that’s crazy but beggars can’t be choosers. Just be safe and test the gear. You are at the point where full price is out of the question anyway. Find a way to get the gear cheap, follow the links and check the used prices first. Unless you are rolling in it. If that’s the case buy the rest of the stuff in your cart too, help a brother out…
What camera should I buy? I need something cheap.
Start at the top and make your purchase decisions according to this chart.
This is the try not to take any important contracts and don’t touch a wedding section. You should be binging YouTube and going out tolearn at this point. Maybe do some portraits.
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$100 – $200
Getting a little better. Get some portraits going, maybe bigger groups in trickier light. Don’t start taking high end fashion and merchandise work, because you don’yt have the detail or capabilities quite yet (dynamic range, low light, etc). I wouldn’t suggest weddings, but you can pull it off with some flash and some deep learning.
I’ve done many weddings on a T1i, so it can be done. Just don’t charge to much.
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Generally the same as above. Tread with caution in all you do. Low light is an issue here, certainly. And you will not have dual slots. You don’t need them at this point anyway, calm down.
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Alright, in terms of low light: with some good flash work and Lightroom Wizardry you can do this. If you have a good portfolio, maybe dip your toes in the wedding game. IF you have a backup camera as well, lots of batteries and memory. Don’y show up and do a wedding with only one of anything. Be careful. Shoot RAW, it’s forgiving in post.
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You can do weddings in more or less a comfortable way now. Still beed that deepm education, setting shit to auto is a mistake. Don’t do that to yourself. LEarn settings and how to shoot manual. Or at the very least one of the priority modes. Portraits and such are a breeze now. Controlled light for everything if possible.
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Now we’re talking. It’s all about those weddings now, at least if you are into that. You can shoot pretty much any gigs you want )in terms of light and image quality) aside from high end fashion and product work, as they will be fairly hard to get into without the best of the best.
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$1000 – $1500
You’re fine at this point calm down and work on your skill. If you can afford anything past this good for you, but make sure your skill is doing the work, not the gear. Get gud!
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$1500 – $2000
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You’re saying “what the hell are you talking about?!? Some of those are $4,000 dollars!” Yeah, you are correct. Calm down.
The bottom of the chart is a glimpse into your future, so as to let you know how far along you are coming. Each time you want to upgrade? Consult the chart and make the call.
Gear will not replace skill and education.
If you still need to understand why the cameras are where they are on the chart, you should head over the the Photography Subreddit at Redit.com. Those people are amazing and deserve the credit with not only the original version of this chart but everything they do.
So after this step you build on your gear. Work through some of the other pages and, most importantly the regular posts on this site and build on your gear stash. Start with a bag, batteries, memory, lenses, flash then accessories. Don’y buy shit you don’t need. Build a foundation, and shoot photos. Buying a Lensebaby and Kickstarter Petzfal lens when you can’t even afford memory cards is just dumb.