Pestbarn

As we all perfectly know, designers are narcissists.

Complete photography gear: $700

Note: I usually write in swedish, so bare with me on my english.

During a certain period, long before I began studying the wellknown Strobist David Hobby, and the DIY-photographer and handy-man Udi Tirosh, I got a bit into model photography, shooting mostly my ex-girlfriend with a simple $180 Samsung Digimax A503. I got pretty decent pictures though, but only when I didn’t use the built-in flash, and shooting without the flash turned out to be pretty hard since camera shake was really obvious in the pictures when I didn’t use the flash.

Consequently, I bought a Joby Gorillapod which seemed to be a pretty good investment. It was really clingy, and I experimented with it alot – among other things I once attached it to a spinning ceiling fan doing a long exposure shot. It was a great fun back in the days.

After a while, I naturally grew out of the restrictions when using such a compact camera, thus I decided to upgrade myself to a more advanced camera. The result was a Fuji Finepix S5600, for the low price of $300. Now I started getting a bit more serious with the model photography, and also started getting better and better pictures. And yet still, no flash was used.

After another couple of months, inter alia trying out IR photography with the S5600, I sold both the S5600 and the A503, for $230, respectively $100. Next up was a used Fuji Finepix S9500, which I bought from my talented photographer friend for a mere $500. I kinda felt like staying with Fuji for a while, since I’d already learned how they worked. This was a little bit more advanced of a camera, with a zoom ring, manual focus ring, super macro mode (with a closest focus of ~0.39 inches) and 9 megapixel resolution on a 1/1.6 inch 5th-Generation Super CCD HR sensor. This is actually a really great camera, which resulted in a lot of great pictures, but still – yes, you know it – no flash were used. Ever.

It was at this point I started reading the aforementioned blogs about using small strobes in creative photography, and I decided to buy a couple of cheap strobes. The first one I bought was a Braun 340SCA VarioZoom, and it cost me a total amount of $20. That strobe was really well used until it broke a couple of months later, for an unknown reason. That was also the time where I started bouncing (yes, I bounce), which resulted in one of my best shots to this date (at least in my opinion), shown below.

I got more and more interested in using strobes, so I bought two even cheaper strobes ($12 and $7 for those), and I went wireless with them. I got a Cactus PT-04 radio flash trigger off of eBay for $19.95, with one receiver, and then I got a slave flash trigger with an optical photo sensor (one of those small hot shoe things which get triggered by the master flash) for $9.95, and there we go – a wireless two-piece strobe-kit. This is more than enough for a hobby-amateur photographer such as yours truly. Things get interesting when going wireless.

Here’s the end of my journey so far, I recently sold my S9600 camera for $360 and bought a kit containing a Nikon D40X camera body with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II AF-S DX ED Nikkor lens and a 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S ED DX Nikkor lens for the extremely low price of $643.95 from Cameta Camera auctions at eBay. I’m right now waiting for the delivery, and I am soon entering the world of system cameras. This means the total of my photography gear is $692.85, which at least I think is a really good deal. Things will get more interesting soon, so stay put and feel free to leave a comment!

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3 thoughts on “Complete photography gear: $700

  1. Hi, I recently bought a canon camera with 40d 17-85 kit for 1600 after using my lumix camera. I was getting sick of not enough control over my pics and wanting low light lens was a must.
    I have heard about the 20dollar wireless triggers. How do they go?
    still so much info out there about strobes not sure what to go for

  2. Pestbarn on said:

    Hi Naomi,

    The 20 dollar wireless triggers are working really great for me, just pop in the transmitter in the camera hot-shoe, and the receiver on the strobes hot-shoe. But it all really depends on what type of strobes you’re having – since none of my strobes have a sync contact, I can not use PocketWizards for wireless triggering. Therefore, if I want wireless, I actually have to stick with the Cactus triggers.

    If you’re buying strobes that have sync contacts built in, I would recommend the PocketWizard system over the Cactus system. I’m advancing in that direction too, but I need new strobes before I can convert to PocketWizards.

    Hope this helped you a bit!

  3. Your right Pocketwizards are great

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