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Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

animoto1 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Animoto Pro Both Patrick and I are full time wedding photographers when we are not managing Fstoppers. A huge part of our marketing entails making a public slideshow for every wedding that we shoot. Animoto.com is our favorite choice and if you click on the the link below you will get an insider deal. [Animoto's Site]

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eye fi x2 memory card Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Eye-Fi X2 Wireless SD Card Hopefully if you are a reader of FS then you saw how to tether your ipad to your camera. The Eye-Fi X2 card is the perfect companion for any SD capable camera (and some CF cameras can use

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Nikon MB D10 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Nikon MB-D10 Vertical Grip Many people think having a vertical grip is only beneficial for extra battery life but the truth is, it makes taking vertical photos 1000x times easier. Every Nikon camera Fstoppers uses has a grip on it, and when you start using large pro lenses you can really feel the difference in stability compared to a camera with out the grip. Of course you will also want to pick up a few extra EN-EL3e batteries for when you want to take over an hour of video footage.

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Smugmug Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Smug Mug As wedding photographers we needed a place to publish full weddings after each event. SmugMug allows us to upload full resolution images and their system allows our clients to order prints directly from Bay Photo. At the end of each month, we get a check from SmugMug and it requires almost no work on our part.

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Expodisc Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Expodisc White Balance Corrector If you shoot RAW then you can always adjust white balance afterwards but why spend time doing post when you can do it in camera? We actually shoot jpeg 90% of the time and the Expodisc does a great job capturing the correct WB in changing lighting conditions. What’s even better is this works well for video too which often burns the color into the file much like when shooting Jpeg.

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apple ipad Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Apple iPad 32 GB Almost every photographer these days is on the go, and the ipad is the perfect travel companion. The battery life is simply awesome for all your multimedia needs when traveling, and the ipad has become our favorite digital portfolio. Also the iPad allows a photographer to easily tether to a camera for on site review which is really cool. This is not a replacement for a true computer but it’s definitely a good accessory for any photographer.

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manfroto fluid head Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Manfrotto 503HDV Fluid Head The Manfrotto 503 HDV is the most intro level fluid head around but it really works very well. We have replaced all our other tripod heads with the 503 for both video and still shots and it’s built like a tank. If you plan on doing any panning with video you are going to need to purchase a fluid head. Of course there are some really nice alternatives but they can start getting very very expensive. Just make sure you buy some extra plates when you do buy one of these.

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manfrotto 190xpro tripod legs Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Manfrotto 190xpro Tripod Legs Don’t make the same mistake we made by first buying a cheap flimsy tripod thinking that the nice ones are overpriced. Unless you are backpacking or hiking, you will not want to get a carbon fiber tripod because stability comes with a price and that price is weight. The Manfrotto legs are built like tanks and when you need something to support a heavy camera you need it to be sturdy and heavy itself. If you want a tripod primarily for video then you might want to look at the 546GB because it has a bowl for fast leveling. For stills and video go with the 190xpro version and bypass all the value tripods they sell at the chain stores.

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manfrotto monopod Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Manfrotto 680B Monopod Having a monopod is probably the easiest way to stabilize a camera for video or stills and is super quick when a tripod is going to slow you down. A solid monopod like the Manfrotto can also allow you to get unique angles when paired with a remote trigger. We also use these with our softboxes so we can have a quick lighting setup for our assistants to use when lighting on location.

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steadicam merlin Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Steadicam Merlin The Steadicam Merlin is one of the best tools we have found for stabilizing your camera and getting that floating look in your footage. Having a few steadicam shots can really add a lot of production to your videos and really is the only way to go for moving video. We did a review on this unit and the Flycam 500 here if you want to hear our opinions on both.

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cinevate atlas 10 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Cinevate Atlas 10 Slider We have used a few sliders, and we were big fans of the ultra affordable Indislider (below) until we used the Atlas FLT by Cinevate. The Cinevate version is built like a tank and glides effortlessly. If you want the best portable slider money can buy, this is it.

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indislider best slider DSLR 150x150 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Indisystem Indislider Nothing gives your videos more production value than adding a bit of stabilized motion to your shots. The slider is a simple device that allows you to put a little bit of movement in your shots while also keeping the movements manageable. We’ve used a lot of sliders and the slider by indisystem is one of the cheapest yet smoothest we’ve owned. It’s also small enough to pack in your luggage for when you need slider shots on destination projects. Get the one with the legs and add a simple Manfrotto ball head to it and you are good to go! [Indisystem ]

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Zoom h4 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Zoom H4n Recorder If you are looking to record better audio for your DSLR videos then the Zoom H4n is the fan favorite pocket recorder. It has a really nice set of stereo mics built in and also allows a variety of XLR and 1/4″ jacks for pretty much any microphone. Great videos require great audio and the Zoom is the best unit for the price. Perhaps before you buy a nice mic, you may want to buy this and try the built in stereo mics first; they may just be perfect for your interviews.

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sennheiser g3 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Sennheiser Ew112 G3 Mics We actually use the older G2 units but the G3 are even better with the upgrade. Wireless lav mics allow you to get the best audio quality while eliminating surrounding noise. We have two sets of these and double mic our subjects when using two cameras for easier syncing and redundancy. If you are using these directly into your DSLR camera, make sure your units come with these special audio cords.

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sennheiser mke 400 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone When you do not have time to mic up your subject or just want to run and gun with decent audio, the Sennhesier shotgun mic is the way to go. We usually double mic our subjects for easy syncing and if we have a third camera we often use it with the MKE 400 to capture side interviews or sound clips from others on set. It’s super easy to setup and sounds 1000 times better than the built in microphone which really is not usable at all.

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eneloop Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Eneloop Rechargeable AA Batteries If you google the best AA rechargeable battery you will find tons and tons of reviews on the Eneloop hybrid batteries. They are great for a number of reasons but we love them mainly because unlike other batteries they do not loose their charge when sitting in your bag. So when you pick up your pocket wizards, wireless mics, or strobe units, you know the batteries in them are going to work right away without having to charge them. Buy these in bulk to save the most money.

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Sandisk CF card Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Sandisk Compact Flash Cards Buying memory cards is probably the most boring part of investing in photography but it’s also one of the most important investments you can make. We personally use only Sandisk cards since we’ve never had one fail us ever. We also subscribe to the thought that having a few really large cards that remain in our cameras throughout the entire day is much safer than having multiple smaller cards that can get lost or reformatted when changing cards out throughout the day. You probably want to pick up a Firewire CF reader as well for quick transfer to your computer.

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pocket wizards Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Pocket Wizard Wireless Radio Triggers These days there are a lot of options when it comes to using radio triggers to fire your flashes. We prefer the Pocket Wizard system because they are the industry standard and are very reliable. The nice thing about using the industry standard is that if you need to rent a pair or if something happens to your own units, every rental house in the US is going to carry Pocket Wizard. We’d urge everyone to not skimp out when it comes to radio triggers because chances are you will eventually buy into the PW system down the road. Buy the best at the beginning and never rebuy gear when you decide you need to ‘upgrade’.

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magic arm super clamp 150x150 Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Magic Arm / Super Clamp It is always nice to have a way to mount a camera or flash in a place that will give you a unique perspective. The Manfrotto Magic Arm and Super Clamp allow you to secure your camera so you can use it as a remote camera. There are a million uses for these two products so I’d suggest buying the kit. These are popular with sports and wedding photographers when you often have to setup a camera and leave it hidden. Check out what sports and music photographer David Bergman did with his during our coverage of a Bon Jovi concert.

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fotodiox canon nikon lens adapter Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Fotodiox Nikon to Canon Lens Adapter While we all wait for Nikon to release a DSLR that shoots 60 fps video for slow motion, we have moved on to a Canon T2i for our fast action video clips. But instead of investing a lot of money into nice Canon lenses we found a way to use our older Nikon lenses with the new Canon body. Be aware that this adapter does not work with lenses that lack an aperture ring but it does allow you to use all older and now cheaper Nikkor lenses on your Canon cameras. Check out the Novoflex version for G style lenses.

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pelican 1650 camera case Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories
Pelican 1650 Bulletproof Case Buying your first camera case is always difficult and the process really never ends. This is our favorite case because it is practically indestructible, and it protects everything from the harshest of environments. When you open it you can see everything clearly and you need to make sure you buy both the accessory pockets and the dividers so you can maximize the storage. Unless we are hopping onto a flight, all our gear stays in this Pelican Case!


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savage vinyl photo backdrop Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Savage Vinyl Backdrops Every studio photographer needs a nice backdrop for portraits and usually they go with either paper or muslin. The problem with paper is it wrinkles easily especially in humid environments. Muslin or fabric is near impossible to use for full body shots because it is not easy to have a model walk on it and not have wrinkles show up. We recently switched from paper to the Savage 20′ x 10′ vinyl backdrops and they are great. You can wipe down any dirt that gets on them and they don’t distort with humidity like paper does. Paper and vinyl are both expensive to ship but we’ve noticed the vinyl lasts a lot longer. Buy a medium gray color for the most versatility.

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photoflex green screen Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Photoflex Chroma Key Green Screen Sometimes your shooting environment just isn’t as perfect as you need it to be. With this simple reflector style Chroma Key by Photoflex, you can easily film an interview anywhere and add a nice background later in post. Check out this awesome green screen tutorial for Adobe Premiere made by Dave Dugdale to see how simple using a green screen can be.

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drobo hard drive backup Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Accessories

Drobo Storage Backup System Once you start shooting professionally, backing up your client’s projects is of utmost importance. We love the Drobo because it is portable, redundant, fast, and easy to upgrade. If you buy one of these definitely get one with eSata or USB 3.0 so you can move files quickly and even edit directly off of it if you desire. Speaking of storage options, we also recommend backing up your data through off site companies like Carbonite or Mozy which offer really cheap online storage options that will cover you in case of fire, theft, or physical drive failure.

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