Until you’ve used a light meter in the studio you probably won’t appreciate it. The [amazon_link id=”B000BTCJNG” target=”_blank” ]Sekonic Flashmate L-308S Digital Light/Flash Meter[/amazon_link] appears to be adequate for my current needs.
For serious retouching work you can’t beat using a graphics tablet. I started using a Wacom Graphire 2, but have since upgraded to the [amazon_link id=”B0021AEEIQ” target=”_blank” ]Wacom Intuos4 PTK-640 Medium A5 Graphics Tablet[/amazon_link]. There is a complaint about the pen nibs being soft and wearing too quickly, but I’ve not needed to buy any replacements yet. It has a scroll wheel, buttons and lots of clever stuff I don’t use (yet).
Getting a correctly calibrated screen is critical – the [amazon_link id=”B00169N0BK” target=”_blank” ]ColorMunki Photo[/amazon_link] has the advantage of calibrating both screen and printer. It’s expensive, but worth it.
The [amazon_link id=”B0036ZBUOG” target=”_blank” ]X-Rite ColorChecker Passport[/amazon_link] appears to be an expensive bit of plastic, but the value is in the software which generates camera specific profiles for use in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. If you’ve ever thought the colours in your images aren’t quite true to life, this may be the fix you need. It also includes a convenient grey card target.
I’m using the older [amazon_link id=”B002RL9ALU” target=”_blank” ]Eye-Fi Pro 4GB Wireless SDHC Memory Card[/amazon_link] to wirelessly transfer small JPEGs as I shoot (and auto-importing into Lightroom). It’s great to see more than what is showing on the back of the camera. It has since been superseded by the newer model ([amazon_link id=”B003E47XJ0″ target=”_blank” ]Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB Wireless SDHC Memory Card[/amazon_link]) – double the capacity and presumably faster over Wireless-N (802.11n) (though I’d still hesitate to consider using it to transfer 21MP raw image files). The cards support raw files, but the limited capacity when using raw files could be disruptive when shooting (unless you plan to buy multiple cards or are happy to stop, upload and wipe mid-shoot).
I primarily use Sandisk 16GB CF cards – I have a couple of these new [amazon_link id=”B002NO8PTY” target=”_blank” ]SanDisk 16GB Extreme CF Compact Flash Cards 60MBS[/amazon_link] and four of the older 30MB/s Extreme III cards. I don’t believe there is any performance difference in-camera (the cards are probably faster than the camera can support), but the newer cards might load images to the computer a bit faster (assuming a fast transfer interface like Firewire).
[amazon_image id=”B003A4H17S” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”small” ]Dell U2711 Ultrasharp 27 inch Premier colour Widescreen Monitor[/amazon_image]
Some people like dual screens – I’ve tried it and I don’t – I like a single large high resolution screen. The [amazon_link id=”B003A4H17S” target=”_blank” ]Dell U2711 Ultrasharp 27 inch Premier colour Widescreen Monitor[/amazon_link] fits the bill with a resolution of 2560×1440 … and a reasonable price. It has a built-in 4 port USB hub and a card reader (though unlike my older 24″ Dell 2408WFP the card reader doesn’t take Compact Flash cards).
The [amazon_link id=”B001GCUC6S” target=”_blank” ]Lensbaby Composer[/amazon_link] is easy to operate and can create some very interesting images. It’s also easy to miss focus completely so success can be a bit hit-and-miss with a moving subject.
If you find that the manufacturer’s own camera strap uncomfortable then one of these OP/TECH straps might be what you’re looking for. And if you ever find that your strap gets in the way, it’s possible to detach the shoulder/neck part. I own two styles – the [amazon_link id=”B000JJGWVI” target=”_blank” ]OP/TECH Super Classic Strap[/amazon_link] and the [amazon_link id=”B00007E816″ target=”_blank” ]OP/TECH PRO Loop Strap[/amazon_link]. The shoulder/neck component is the same, it’s just a matter of how it attaches to the camera. I’d suggest the classic for Canon bodies – it is possible to attach the loop style to a Canon body, it’s just not easy.
[amazon_image id=”B0039ZKKJE” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Think Tank Retrospective 30 Black Shoulder Bag[/amazon_image]
I bought a [amazon_link id=”B0039ZKKJE” target=”_blank” ]Think Tank Retrospective 30 Shoulder Bag[/amazon_link] last year with the thought having something smaller than my usual back-breaking rucksack. This is a spacious bag with a lot of room for gear … I do carry less, but it’s still heavy when loaded with a body and a couple of lenses.
[amazon_image id=”B001UE9H6S” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”small” ]Nespresso CitiZ and Milk by Magimix M190 Coffee Machine, Limousine Black[/amazon_image]
I probably drink too much coffee and the [amazon_link id=”B001UE9H6S” target=”_blank” ]Nespresso CitiZ and Milk by Magimix M190 Coffee Machine[/amazon_link] doesn’t help. Good coffee and way too easy.