Covering the Basics

   This is where I'll make my sincere recommendations for the best choices possible.  I use Canon almost exclusively and can only recommend what I use myself (even though other brands are absolute equals).

   The links below are from my Amazon Affiliate Program.  I do make a tiny percentage per item ordered, but will go to great lengths to offer compelling content over time and total honesty even if it means pointing you away from my own site.

   I left out protective filters because I don't use them, but for landscape photography I do sometimes use a B+W CPL and/or a Breakthrough Photography 6-stop ND filter (and to a lesser extent a 10-stop ND filter ).  77mm is very standard and step-rings allow you to have to buy only one set of filters.  The 67-77mm and 52-77mm step-up rings allow you to use 77mm filters on the 10-18 and 24mm lenses.

   The door is always open and please don't hesitate with any questions about anything at corsteiner@aol.com

Cameras

Canon 80D

   The 80D is possibly the best value do-it-all camera available today.  Remarkable image quality potential with a very intuitive user interface.  

   Comes with Canon's latest crop-sensor technology and a very advanced focusing system (particularly useful when using a focus point other than center).  

   The following directs you to a very nice package deal.

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Canon T7i

   The Canon T7i has much in common with the 80D in a slightly more "consumer-oriented" package.  

   This is a remarkable choice if you don't feel like going "all in" with the 80D.  Certainly no slouch, though, and is much more the same than not.

   The main differences will just be with the user interface (which many will find to be insignificant and they're not wrong).

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Canon SL2

   The SL2 is the smallest DSLR that I'm aware of and gives up nothing in image quality.  It's quite striking, actually.

   The function is very basic (which many tend to prefer; me included).  To a point - all center points are created equal and that's what we'll use most of the time anyway

   Paired with the tiny 24mm lens, too, and you have an ideal travel combo.

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Lenses

Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM

This happens to be a very good ultra-wide-angle lens.  Not necessarily used to "get everything in", but rather to get up very close, especially at the Start, to create unique effects.  

Used in landscape photography to create "foreground" interest.

Consider purchasing with the Canon EW-73C Lens Hood.  A remarkable value and a fun lens to use.

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Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

This is a fantastic lens that, with the 1.6x factor, effectively makes it a 38mm lens.  That's perfect for the Start of almost any race with the added bonus of being the quintessential "normal" focal length.  Another major bonus is that this lens alone is all you'll need for travel for GREAT pictures while traveling light.

Getting the tiny lens hood for this is optional, but does help a little.

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

50mm is often the ideal focal length for individual and small group portraits.  Paired with the 24mm lens offers an unbeatable combo capable of better image quality than any "standard" zoom.  Probably your go-to lens for pre and post-race pics.  

This particular lens is a very rare value.  Consider including the Canon ES-68 Lens Hood.

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

For one lens to nearly do-it-most (or the lens to start with) look no further than this venerable jewel.  It's the perfect focal length for portraits (if you have the room) and is exceptional on the course.  It's often "better" to be farther away, but the image quality is spectacular.

The Canon ET-65III Lens Hood is recommended.

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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

   This lens is capable of better image quality than THE zoom that costs 3x as much.  200mm (320 when you factor in the 1.6x crop factor) lets you be far enough away to be stealthy.  The image quality offered will allow you to bring your photography to the highest level.

   Just keep your shutter speed at 1/320 or faster.

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Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 C

I'm a big fan of Sigma lenses.  They offer a very nice "contrasty" look similar to that of the most expensive Canon lenses.  The largest aperture maybe isn't ideal all the time, but you gain some phenomenal flexibility with 100-400mm of zoom.  The 200mm prime lens definitely gets you better pictures, but this one is quite excellent as well.

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Compact Cameras

Canon G9 X Mk II

Having searched far and wide for the best choice concluded with this camera.  Nothing will beat a DSLR so stick with that, but this is my choice for a pocket or running belt with it's intuitive controls, 1" sensor and RAW capability. 

There may be "better" if you're to split hairs, but I appreciate a compact camera that's high quality and very simple. 

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Panasonic Lumix ZS200

     I'm going to declare this to be the ultimate travel zoom with its 1" sensor, electronic viewfinder and 24-360mm Leica lens.

     Extreme ease of use and 4K video doesn't hurt; along with the really lovely design.  

     I still prefer the others for pure image quality, but this is no slouch.

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Sony RX100 III

This is probably the best compact camera, but you do give up some simplicity in operation and, in my opinion, your DSLR is standing by when you need more features.  It does have a tilt-screen and viewfinder which are nice.  The quality is the same as the newer versions IV, V and VI which have features you might not need so the version III is usually ideal.

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Essentials

SanDisk Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB 95MB/s Class 10 SDHC Memory Card.  

Pretty much the right size, speed and reliability for anything including video. 

There are cards with more capacity, but it's often a better idea to have two 32GB cards than one 64GB card (and, consequently, 32GB is still huge).

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Domke F-803 Shoulder Bag

This is my favorite bag for carrying a DSLR with a lens attached, another lens and some basic gear.  

Extremely durable and the perfect size for on-location shooting.  

Really fits all that you'll need at one time.  Anything bigger gets to be too big and smaller won't big big enough.

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Think Tank Shoulder Bag

The Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney is ideal for a DSLR and lens or a DSLR/small lens and another small lens or flash (plus some basic items).  

It's my go-to bag more often than not when I'm just on the go and don't feel like messing with much.

Minimalism is a great thing.

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Lastolite White Balance Card

This is a really nice tool for custom white balance that folds out and then is stored in a durable carry case.  Allows you to precisely calibrate your camera to the current environment.  Your camera will often do a great job, but you can take your photography to a higher level when challenging (like indoors or in the snow).

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Sirui T-025x Small CF Tripod

I have a large tripod and this tiny carbon fiber one (with the C-10S Ball Head), but actually use this a lot more.  So if I could only have one this would be it.  

I've removed the center column (as shown) and reattached the ball head directly onto the center.  Ideal, to the extreme, for when on the go.

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Spyder5PRO

Calibrates your computer screen to an industry reference standard for precise color accuracy.  Also determines optimal brightness.  Essential if you shoot in RAW and a good idea regardless.

In case you were wondering - the color CHECKR isn't really necessary unless you're doing product photography.

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Canon Remote Switch

     The Canon RS-60E3 is the correct remote switch for most Canon crop-sensor cameras.  Just double-check to make sure.

     You can use a timed shutter release on a tripod, but this is much better.

     3rd party brands are probably just as good, but what the heck.

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Sensor Cleaning Kit

     Sensor cleaning is performed infrequently and a lot easier than it looks.  Just view This Video (and others), take a deep breath and carefully dive in.

     The following kit is all you need and is correct (for a crop-sensor).  VDust Plus is the do-it-all cleaner with no downside.

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Zee Pro Bulb Blower

     Basic bulb blowers may potentially pick up dust and blow it onto your sensor.  The Zee Pro has a filter in the front and in the rear allowing for particle-free clean air to travel through.

     Used for lenses, cameras, sensors (prior to cleaning), keyboards, etc.

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Flash

Canon 430EX III-RT

There's bigger, "better" and much more complicated, but I've found simple and inexpensive to be the best approach to lighting.  You can spend the rest of your life perfecting studio lighting skills, but nice and easy is usually best when on the go.  More about that in upcoming blog posts.

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Rechargeable Batteries

The Panasonic eneloop pro 2550mAh NiMH high capacity advanced individual cell batteries are a great choice.  Seamlessly convenient.  I've actually never needed a 2nd set for any shoot, but a 2nd set to have on hand isn't a terrible idea.

Haven't yet had to replace any.

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Demb Classic Flip-it

The Demb flash modifier/reflector softens and redirects on-camera lighting.  It allows you to maximize use the ceiling and walls as your on-site studio or the modifier itself if nothing to bounce off of.

For smaller/medium sized flashes.

Click Here for Guide

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Instruction

"Understanding Exposure"

This book is the foundation of your photography education.  All photography journeys begin here.

Bryan Peterson is an all-time great and will teach you the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  These principles have defined photography from the beginning.  Some things don't change.

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Camera-Specific Training

The single most critical training tool is this site's DVD and/or Download specific to your camera.  Exceptionally well-presented covering every aspect of your camera plus photography in general.  Type your camera into the search bar.

This is not an Affiliate link, but just too important to not include.

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Lightroom Training

The "Lightroom 5 Develop Video Workshop" is OUTSTANDING if you shoot in RAW and use Lightroom (with 2 additional sessions to address Lightroom 6).  "The Image Correction Master Class" really tops it off.  George Jardine is remarkable instructor.  Also not an Affiliate link, but must be included.

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