John Greengo’s Gear Picks for Aspiring Photographers


This article is part of creativeLIVE’s 12 Days of Giving series. To catch a free rebroadcast of John Greengo’s Fundamentals of Digital Photography , click here

What camera would you purchase if you were starting your photography career today? With an endless amount of options to choose from, it’s no easy task selecting the essential gear that is capable of taking the highest quality images and also beginner-friendly. As pro photographer Scott Robert Lim says, “Incredible photos can be shot with the most simple equipment” — but how do you know which simple equipment is the best? One thing is for sure, cameras are not cheap so it’s important to do your research and take your time. When in doubt, ask a photographer who has been in the game for a while. We reached out to pro photographer, gear guru, and creativeLIVE instructor John Greengo to get his picks for beginners.


As a super special bonus, we teamed up with Adorama to provide the creativeLIVE community with discounts on several of John’s picks below!

Canon Rebel T5i (w/ 18-55 mm kit lens)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Although people consider the T5i to be only a minor upgrade from the T4i, it’s a fantastic camera for beginners who want to shoot advanced photos. This camera provides you with an 18 megapixel sensor and some of the best quality video coming out of dslr cameras today. It’s perfect for anyone  interested in packing light but having the tools to capture great stills and video. Greengo believes it’s “an obvious and great choice for anyone looking to get into photography.”

Nikon 530081jhYjWrJuL._SL1500_

“This camera is packed with advanced level features,” says Greengo. The 5300 is the rival of the Canon Rebel and is the first Nikon to have Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS built-in. The 5300 shoots up to 5 fps on a 24 mega pixel sensor and shoot 1080p HD video at 60 fps.  The D5300 is also made with a newly developed carbon fiber reinforced plastic material, similar to what is used in formula 1 race cars. Boom.

Canon 70D (w/ high performance video)516Z6M67+rL._SY300_

This camera combines many of the must-have features of any enthusiast camera (wifi connectivity, articulating touchscreen LCD) with more advanced capabilities like built-in wireless speedlite control and an autofocus system that features 19 cross type focus points. “Video enthusiasts will also love the new, faster Dual Pixel AF for Live View and movie mode,” says Greengo. It’s a camera that can keep pace with you as you passion for photography grows.

Nikon D7100 (18-105 lens)


Similar to the Canon 70D, this camera can accommodate the enthusiast or beginner looking to buy a camera that they can “grow into.”  Like the 5300, it has plenty of advance features, but is superior when it comes to speed and image quality. The ISO performance at both ends of the spectrum—down to ISO 100 and up to ISO 6400— is phenomenal.

Olympus OM-D E-M5


“This is a super-compact, yet full-featured camera,” says Greengo. The new mirrorless camera from Olympus comes equipped with an electronic viewfinder that enables you to check exposure levels, white balance and preview Art Filter effects in real-time. It’s also ridiculously weatherproof , shoots well with high ISOs and above average metering, autofocus and image quality. For a full review of the camera, check out The Phoblographer’s feature article.

Fuji XE2

“This camera has a great traditional feel, a rangefinder style and his really compact for the image quality it can produce,” says Greengo. The camera looks and feels like a traditional leica, bu


t comes with the latest technology to ensure amazing image quality, focus and metering.

Microfiber cleaning cloth

Keeping your gear clean is essential. Don’t forget to buy key cleaning supplies such as a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Giotto’s Rocket Air blaster 259157

This handy little device easily removes dust and debris from cameras, lenses and filters with a one blast of air. It’s uses a simple one-way valve to prevent Blaster from breathing in dust and spreading it back to your equipment.

Extra camera batteries!

There is nothing worse than setting up for the perfect shot, only to realize that your camera has run out of battery. Buy a few extras depending on your camera type.

 Remember to check out Adorama’s special discounts now!

Topher Kelly FOLLOW >

Topher Kelly is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and editor at CreativeLive. Follow Topher on Twitter@Topher_LIVE.