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APS Gear Guide

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We live in a very complex world with tons of options for every hobby, passion, business, and interest that anyone has.  Hey, It's a free country!  The good news is that there are tons of options out there for gear as a photographer to suit your needs.  The bad news?  You may have to wade through a ton of crap to get the golden nugget.

Lucky for you, as an aspiring action sports photography professional you have found a simple and to the point guide for picking gear.  The first thing you must know is that it doesn't matter whether you go Nikon or Canon.  We use both here at APS though I'm partial to Nikon.  Head to a store and try out each to see which has controls that make more sense.  Maybe you'll even want to go Sony or Pentax, who knows, it's a crazy world out there and your probably crazy too!

Here are the top two entry level (and entry priced) cameras for photographers just starting out:

 

-Nikon D3100

-Canon Rebel XTi

 

Lenses are the most important and longest lasting pieces of photography gear you will ever own.  They determine the sharpness of the image, and will work with every camera you purchase.  Initially this is an important place to  invest the majority of your money.  So what kind of gear is best suited for action photography?

 

-A nice ultra-wide angle lens (if your shooting individual sports and can get close to the action).

-A fast f/2.8 70-200mm pro lens is key for all types of action.

-Fisheyes are a ton of fun and for skateboard photography are the most used style of lens.

-A kit lens to begin with that spans from wide (say 18mm or less) to zoomed (135mm or more) is great to get with your camera and won't drive the price up too much if you buy as a kit.

 

WHAT DO I CARRY MY GEAR IN?

 

Action Sports Photographers are often carrying there gear around in places that make most photographers cringe.  Wet, dusty, dirty environments where the gear is really put to the test as it rattles around on their backs and get's shaken to hell.  That's why we have very few packs that we recommend:

 

-Dakine Sequence

-Burton F:Stop

-Anything Made by F:Stop backpacks

 

FLASH GEAR TO BUY ONCE YOUR SET WITH LENSES, PACKS, AND CAMERA AND HAVE MANAGED TO SCROUNGE ANOTHER THOUSAND BUCKS FROM UNDER THE SOFA (Thank you stupid roommates!)

 

When it comes to choosing flash gear there are several options.  If your looking to travel lightly, and use the TTL (Through-The Lens) setting where your camera automatically controls the flash, look no further than the speedlights that the company of camera you own creates.  These are also the lightest and easiest units to carry around as you shoot action.  Here's a great site that will explain everything you could ever know about speedlights:  www.strobist.com.

 

For those looking for a more powerful source, check out www.alienbees.com  These flashes are highly affordable, and work great for shooting action because they also sell a very lightweight battery pack.  Elinchrom also offers an amazing solution that affords you a faster duration (MORE ON THIS HERE "LINK to D's Article on High Speed Sync) and is fairly portable.

 

FLASH STANDS: If you don't have one, you better have a lot of friends who are willing to work for free. (you don't…)

 

Manfrotto has always been my go to company, but there are several affordable options, and if you want adjustble legs than head on over to wal-mart and spend $15 a stand to get something that actually works on uneven terrain.

 

TRIGGERS FOR YOUR OFF-CAMERA FLASHES:

 

But how do I trigger my flashes?  This is what separates the men from the boys, taking the flash off the camera creates much better and more three dimensional images.  Triggering your flashes with radios is the most reliable and simple solution.  Here are a few products that we use and recommend.

 

-PocketWizards

-CyberSyncs

 

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At only 25 years old, Connor has been published in many major international publications and is a signed Getty photographer. His writing and photos have been published in Photoshop User and Light It Magazines, amongst many others. He believes that if you work at what you love, you'll be able to make a great living. Connor currently resides in Edwards, CO with his wife, Kelly, and dog Tucker. You can view his portfolio at www.cnwphoto.com

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