- Reduce glare off non-metallic surfaces, like water and wet foliage.
- Minimizes haze, making far-off landscape elements appear more clear.
- Deepens the saturation of the sky, making the blue color darker while making clouds whiter for a gorgeous contrast.
- Quick and easy setup in under 15 seconds so you never miss a shot.
- Lightweight magnesium and aluminum alloy construction for easy transport.
- Included ball head with ergonomic knobs for easy maneuverability.
- Independent leg angles for accommodating uneven terrain.
- Angled rubber feet for a solid grip on the ground.
You don't need me to tell you that photography is an expensive hobby.
Just one look at the price tag on a top-end camera or lens, and you'll be left with sticker shock for the ages.
But that doesn't mean that you can't get a really, really good kit put together without having to take out a second mortgage on your house.
With that in mind, I put together a great kit (I think so, anyway!) that is ideal for a budget-conscious buyer.
Let's have a look!
The Camera: Sony Alpha a6000
Ok, so the Sony a6000 isn't the newest camera in the world, but despite its age, it's still an amazing camera at a great price.
It's mirrorless, so it's small and compact. That comes in handy whether you're into portraiture, street photography, landscapes, or something in between.
The 24-megapixel sensor is plenty large with excellent resolution, too.
Paired with a 179-point autofocus system, that means you can get high-res shots of subjects that are on the move (or still subjects, for that matter).
It's even got 11fps continuous shooting, which far exceeds most cameras at the budget-friendly price point of less than $600 at the time of writing.
That price is even more impressive considering the a6000 has Wi-Fi, NFC, and HD video at 30 or 60fps. There's a 15-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens included as well!
An Add-On Lens: Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN
Sony lenses are great, but they are also typically quite expensive.
To save a few bucks, I'd suggest pairing your Sony a6000 with something like the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN.
At f/2.8, you get much better low-light shooting than you do with the kit lens described above.
Given the crop factor of the a6000, this lens has an effective focal length of 45mm, giving you a great standard focal length for just about any photography pursuit.
With minimal aberration, reduced flare and ghosting, images that are sharp and high in contrast, and a solid, yet lightweight build, you get a lot of bang for your buck at less than $200 at the time of writing.
A Solid Circular Polarizing Filter
If you're a fan of nature photography, a must-have addition to your kit is a quality polarizing filter.
These filters do all sorts of great things for your images:
You can see each of those benefits at work in the image above.
The problem with some budget filters, though, is that they just aren't made well and diminish the quality of the final photo.
Not so with the Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Circular Polarizer shown above.
This filter has a multi-layer anti-reflective coating that preserves color contrast and image fidelity.
What's more, the filter is housed in a rotating ring that minimizes its form factor so you don't have to worry about vignetting.
All that for about $60!
A Sturdy, Stable Tripod
Getting a high-quality tripod is just as important as getting a high-quality lens.
In fact, I think tripods are one of the most underrated pieces of gear a photographer has.
That's because they do so much to help you take better photos.
Consider this: a tripod helps increase the sharpness of your images by keeping camera shake at bay.
They also let you extend shutter speeds when the lighting is low, again, doing so without worrying about camera shake.
You can use tripods to take still photos, long exposures, time lapse videos, heck - even real-time videos, too.
When looking at good tripods, the chances are that you'll notice a trend - big prices.
But there are exceptions to that rule, namely, the budget-friendly options from Vanguard.
The Vanguard VEO 2 204AB shown in the images above and below is an excellent budget-friendly buy.
At under $100 at the time of writing, you'd think there wouldn't be many features, but you'd be wrong. Consider this list of goodies:
In other words, this is an ideal tripod for a photographer that needs something sturdy, yet lightweight, dependable, yet cost-effective.
A Bag to Organize and Carry Your Gear
Of course, buying all the awesome gear above is all well and good, but you need a way to transport it in a safe and comfortable fashion. A bag that keeps your gear nicely organized is a nice touch, too.
Enter the Vanguard VEO 42...
This bag is ideally suited for photographers that have a strict budget but who don't want to sacrifice on comfort or build quality.
The VEO 42 is a lightweight backpack that holds a ton of gear but does so discreetly. In fact, it'll accommodate the Sony a6000 with a lens attached, an additional 1-2 lenses, a flash, spare batteries, memory cards, a 13-inch laptop, and the VEO tripod mentioned above as well.
It's easy to use too - there's a bottom access panel so you can quickly grab your camera or swap out lenses.
The VEO 42 is also convertible - take out the padded camera insert, and you've got a regular backpack that's ready to meet a new adventure.
With dedicated interior pockets, tons of padding on the back and shoulder straps, and an integrated rain cover, this camera backpack packs a mighty punch, especially considering it's less than $100 at the time of writing.
Putting It All Together
There you have it - a photography kit that gets you the gear you need to be a more capable photographer.
And the best part?
All of these items cost less than $1,100 - and that's for all brand-new gear.
If that's not budget-friendly, I don't know what is!