I do some professional and freelance photography, so my camera setup is going to be way overkill for most people. At the bottom of the post I will make a recommendation for an entry level camera setup similar to what I started with.
Prices are at time of writing (Aug 19, 2015) on Amazon.com.
$2,996.95 (body only)
This camera came out last summer right around the time I was looking to upgrade to a camera with a full-frame sensor. Truth be told, I probably would have been fine to upgrade to the Nikon D610 (the D750 hadn’t come out yet), but my theory was that considering that both of these cameras were going to make a dent in my bank account, I didn’t want to find myself needing to upgrade again in two to three years. I’m hoping that this camera will be my main shooter for the next 5+ years, with the possible addition of a mirrorless camera for longer hikes in a year or two.
Lenses: 50mm, 24-120mm, 14-24mm
This is my ‘I’m not really going out to take photos but want to take my camera with me’ lens. It’s fast, small, and lightweight. Considering the body that I have attached to it, it gives me a lot of flexibility to edit images as needed later on, on the chance that I got some really great shots. This is also my current long-hike lens, mainly because of it’s size and weight.
The 24-120 mm is my all-purpose lens. If I’m not doing a really tough hike, it’s the perfect lens to carry around because it is very versatile. I always carry a graduated neutral density filter around with this lens – I’ve been using this one made by Fotodiox and it’s been treating me and my photos well.
This is the newest edition to my lens collection, and I haven’t shot too much with it yet. I love shooting landscapes when hiking, so that is the main purpose for this lens (or any wide-angle lens for that matter). I took a few test shots with the lens shortly after getting it, but need to plan a good hiking trip to fully test it out, though I expect it to be pretty spectacular based on what I have seen so far.
I’ve been using, and pretty happy with, the Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap, though I will say that it is not the best for strenuous hikes. My camera always swings around a little too much and gets annoying.
I have two tripods: the Joby Gorilla Pod Focus with Ballhead X and a Manfrotto 4-Section Aluminum Tripod with the Manfrotto Ballhead with Quick Release so that I can make use of this Custom SLR Plate that is Tripod and Black Rapid compatible.
In terms of a smaller camera, I have a Nikon Coolpix 7100, which is a precursor to the Coolpix 7800. I very much want to upgrade to an interchangeable lens, mirrorless system (like the Sony A7), but I am waiting another year or two for the technology and lens options to develop further.
Less Expensive Recommendation
Clearly photographing on a semi-professional level can be a very expensive thing to get into, but I didn’t jump straight into that before developing my skills with a less expensive setup.
I started out with the Nikon D3100, which is the precursor to the Nikon D3300. I recommend starting out with a kit that includes two lenses, like this one. With an entry level camera body in hand, and 18-55 and 55-200mm lenses, you will have plenty to play around with and hone your skills. Not to mention, this camera will take great photos. In fact, I still sell photos that I took with my entry level camera… I just can’t blow them up quite as big.
If you’re curious to see some of my photography, check out LupiniPhotography.com. All photos are for sale on my site, and through the end of the year (2015) you can get 10% off everything on my site using coupon code PointPrincess10.