Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a total gear junkie and tech weenie, and that I already own waaaaay too much photo gear! As a photographer, “gear-head,” an employee of the premiere photo distributor in the US, and someone who spends 200+ days a year visiting with college photography programs, I would like to think that I know what photography students want and need.
Several years ago I gave a photographer friend of mine a set of PocketWizards radio slaves for Christmas. At the time she was a graduate student at one of the premiere photo schools in the country. Upon opening them she burst into tears of happiness and nearly tackled me with a bear hug that I thought would land me in traction!
Anyways, this year I decide that I would come up with a top ten list of photo gear that any photo student would be happy to get. Given the state of economy, I also decided to keep the selections to under $200. I can’t guarantee you that these items will bring tears of joy, but I’m reasonably certain that these items will bring a hearty smile to just about any photo student’s face, without putting a huge hole in your wallet.
So, here they are, in no particular order. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
#1 Sekonic L-308S Flashmate- Limited Edition- Sekonic is celebrating their 60th Anniversary. For this they have come out with a limited edition version of their very popular compact L-308s Meter @ a very special price. This shirt pocket-sized Sekonic L-308S Flashmate is the smallest and lightest digital light meter in the Sekonic line-up. It is designed to read ambient or flash exposures in either reflected or incident modes, and it displays accurate exposure readings in full, half, or third-stop increments to mirror the exposure settings of today’s DSLR and film cameras. They are available in Red (my personal favorite) Light Green, and Pale Blue @ a student price of $165.
#2 X-Rite ColorChecker Passport- The ColorChecker Passport allows you to quickly and easily capture accurate color, instantly enhance portraits and landscapes, and maintain color control and consistency from capture to edit. It fits easily into your workflow to reduce your image processing time and improve quality control in your Raw workflow by working behind the scenes with Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom. Student Priced @ $79
#3 Benro Transfunctional Travel Angel- This is the most “usable” tripod I’ve ever used! It is an ultra compact tripod that also allows you to remove one of its leg for use as a monopod. The tripod folds down to under 19″ and weighs only 3.6 lbs, so it isn’t a drag to take this tripod anywhere! It includes a precision ball head and opens up to a maximum height of 63″ (5.25 ft) and will comfortable hold camera and lenses weighing up to 18 lbs. It includes many features and Includes carry case and shoulder strap. Student Priced @ only $189
#4 Tenba Messenger Medium Camera Bag- The Tenba Messenger Camera Bag is my personal favorite. It easily handles a pro type body, at least 2-3 lenses, speedlight, and a LOT of accessories! It is a classic, fast-moving, and body hugging design preferred by the world’s best photojournalists for years. Lightweight yet protective, everything within fast, easy reach. Customizable interior, loads of accessory pockets, and exclusive, innovative features geared to the real-world needs of the working pro. Available in Black, Burnt Orange, and Olive. Student priced @ $105.50
#5 Capture One Software- Capture One Pro 6 is a professional RAW converter and image editing software. Its powerful and intuitive toolset is used by professional photographers to achieve world-class image quality with excellent color and detail. It is extremely versatile- working with Canon, Nikon, Leaf, Mamiya, Phase One and more! It contains all the essential tools and high-end performance in one package to enable you to capture, organize, edit, share and print images in a fast, flexible and efficient workflow. It also allows you to plug in and shoot “tethered” with many Canon and Nikon Cameras and most digital backs. Capture One Pro 6’s powerful and intuitive toolset is used by professional photographers to achieve world-class image quality with excellent color and detail. Student Priced @ $129.
#6 ILFORD Galerie Gold Fibre Silk Inkjet Paper- Ever look at a photograph and just known that it was digital, but couldn’t necessarily explain why you knew that. Well, often it is the paper that gives it away. The GoldFibre Silk paper is a heavyweight premium quality inkjet paper coated on a true photographic baryta base, so it looks, feels, and smells like a print from the dark room.It is perfect for printing black & white or color images with excellent contrast and smooth tonal gradation to match those of traditional photographic printing. It’s large dynamic range also make it natural for printing bright colorful images as well. A box of 8.5×11 50 sheet box is student priced at $48.81.
Plus you can earn 20% in Ilford Bucks towards your next Ilford Galerie Inkjet paper purchase.
#7 PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers- These are perhaps the most reliable and versatile piece of equipment in my camera bag! These transceivers enable you to remotely fire your light or your camera (or both together). Ultimately, they allow the photographer to place their cameras, their lights, their subjects, and themselves where ever it is best. They are no longer limited to the length of sync cables, cable releases, head cables, etc… Free at last, Free at last!!! So Simple, So Advanced- Its “auto-sensing” design automatically switches from receive to transmit as needed and reliably triggers lights and/or cameras up to 1600 feet away. While this model is the base model, they are compatible with any other PW device ever made! Please note that a normal set up typically requires at least a pair of such devices, and may require a cable to connect to your device.
#8 Colormunki Display Colorimeter- This device is designed for the professional photographer, who doesn’t feel the need to also become a “color geek.” It offers professional quality coupled with a really easy, wizard-driven interface, ColorMunki Display offers everything you could possibly need to get you to a brilliantly-calibrated monitor or projector while helping you stay focused on doing what you love- creating images! The new Flare detect feature works great for seeing those damn reflections on those darn glossy Mac screens. Remember friends don’t let friends become “color geeks”, and with the Colormunki Display you don’t have to worry about that! Student priced @ $142
#9 Creative Light 5-in-1 38″ Reflector- It is like getting five seperate reflectors, but only having to carry around one! It offers silver, black, sunlight (soft gold), white, and translucent fabrics. The fabric variations zip on/off quickly and easily and enabling the photographer a low tech way of easily manipulating natural or strobe light to do exactly what they want. The fabrics and metal frame are high quality and long-lasting, proving the optimal price-performance ratio of all Creative Light products. 20″ and 47″ models are also available. The 38″ version is student priced @ $63.
10. Tenba 16×20 Airbook Portfolio Case- Whether you are carrying your portolio around town or shipping it accross the country, it must look good when it gets there. Student, amateur or professional, presentation can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. When a photographer ships a portfolio to a print committee or potential commercial or portrait client, the way that it is shipped inevitably becomes part of the presentation. A sloppy brown box makes a bad first impression. Tenba Airbooks are designed to move portfolios and prints safely, time after time, and look good doing so! On the front exterior is a plate that allows for a custom logo. It also has a built in pouch for shipping labels and documents to be included. Cutouts protect corners of books and prints from damage during shipping, even if the case is dropped. Available in a variety of sizes, to fit most popular portfolio books and mounted prints. The case accepts prints/portfolios that are 16″X 20″ in size (up to 2.5″ deep). The student price is $125