Hi and welcome back.
I get asked a lot what I’m using for gear. After all this time using OCF and buying and trying the current “Greatest Thing,” I’ve narrowed the entire list down to what’s below. I’ve tried and owned and used so many gadgets and softboxes and manufacturers gear, but this is the refined list of what I keep with me every day.
I keep a Tenba 38″ Roller in my truck with everything below in it at all times, except my chargers and speedlights.
I’m giving you part numbers where I can, but you can just Google to see if your local suppliers have the gear or something close to it.
Lightstands: Manfrotto 1052 BAC Quickstackers, the best lightstands for speedlighting in general, a pack of three will store where I used to keep 1 stand:
Umbrella Bracket: Lumopro LP633, get these from Midwest Photo Exchange, BH carries Photek brand, same thing:
Boom arms: Matthews 40″ Hollywood Grip Arm, get Matthews as they are stainless steel and can be cut in length for any purpose with a hacksaw:
Rogue Flashbender XL Pro Kit, all the included pieces and the strip box attachment makes this modifier amazing, I own 3 of them and just love them (Tip: assemble the XL Pro on your speedlight backwards so the weight of the unit will not cause the flash head to tip forward, this also puts all the controls of the speedlight facing you for quick adjustment):
Rogue Flashbender Large with Diffusion Panel, this used to be the big one; the mid size is perfect for most speedlight applications and works great as a snoot:
Rogue Grid, this replaces a 7″ strobe reflector I hacked to fit my SB910 and is a must for any bag, I keep two with me always:
Westcott 26″ Rapid Box, this is not new to the market as it used to be marketed by Denny under the name Firefly, but the rebranding has added life to this modifier. It is a beauty dish or softbox and the light out of it is amazing:
Westcott Rapid Box Disc, spend the money on the disk and install it every time you use it, even when you add the softbox diffusion panel (Tip: put a dab of Loctite on screw that attaches to the disk so it stays put every time you install/uninstall it from the softbox):
Photoflex 45″ Convertible Umbrella, simply the best umbrella I’ve ever used, I keep one to two with me at all times:
46″ Photek Softlighter II 8mm Removable Shaft, eats a lot of light with diffuser on, but just a beautiful umbrella softbox with gorgeous light:
California Sunbounce Micro Mini Silver/White, get this reflector, pay the money, don’t ever regret it, it’s that good. I have two of them that are in my Tenba all the time:
California Sunbounce Enterprise Grip Head, again, spend the money! I think the older Grip Head Pro is better, but they don’t offer it anymore: (Tip: buy a Matthews 2.5″ grip head as it’s made of aluminum, bring the head and one of the CS tubes to a machine shop, have them bore the grip head to fit the tube: I did it!! Works perfectly for less money.)
Ansmann 2850 Mah NIMH AA Batteries, hands down the best AA out there! I own about 80 of them:
Ansmann Energy 8 Chargers, again, the best charger I’ve used, and I’ve used a bunch of them:
Pocket Wizard Plus II and III, excellent radio trigger system, a bit pricey, I own 9 of them but am currently looking for cheaper alternatives:
Hildozine, if you have PW’s, get Hildozines to attach the PW securely so it won’t fall or get damaged:
Nikon SB910, a fabulous and powerful unit, most often used as my key light:
Nikon SB800, I have 3 of these in my kit. They are the best flash ever made and I get one used when I need to replace one: usually cause I break it!
Nissin Di 866, if you are looking for a good alternative to a branded flash from Canon or Nikon, the Nissin line is very good:
Nikon SD9 and SD8A AA battery packs, Nissin battery pack:
I think that’s about it!
Wanna try some of this gear out, I’m at Foto Care June 25 and BH Photo Event Space July 8 running lighting and shooting workshops.
Till next time, happy shopping!