A77 owner, wanting to grow: need purchasing advice

Started Apr 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
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VirtualMirage Veteran Member • Posts: 3,956
A77 owner, wanting to grow: need purchasing advice

I've got some money to spend and I am looking at wanting to "grow" more as a photographer. That growth, for what I am looking for, requires more equipment.

Right now I do a little bit of everything and enjoy the results of each of them (candid, landscape, macro, portraits, events). I've done a few events and weddings which have been enjoyable, but stressful. Right now, I am not doing photography for pay (it is still a hobby) but I would like to potentially get to the point where I feel I can charge for my work (maybe as a weekend side job here and there). As of lately, portraits and studio work seems to be really peaking my interest. But I also still much enjoy just going out and taking pictures.

I also have a 4 month old who the wife and I love taking pictures of. The wife and I much prefer taking our own pictures than going to a studio and having someone else do it. It would be nice if I was more equipped to do so aside from the current use of a bounce flash, corner of the room with the baby posed resting in a boppy covered with some colorful blankets.

So I've got essentially three paths I am looking at going down with my most recent purchase. At some point I will be doing all three, but I am just not sure which one to start off with. My budget is to stay below $1200, if not below $1000. See below for my purchase options:

Option 1:

  • Purchase Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM.

  • Sell my Minolta Beercan to keep my kit size down and to offset extra cost.

This should will allow my whole lens kit to be at f2.8 or faster, which is great for indoor events and at night.

Option 2:

  • Purchase a backdrop like the Lastolite HiLite (either a 5x7 or 6x7) with train.

  • Purchase a monolight kit (maybe 2 lights to start), probably Alien Bees, with umbrellas and stands.

This should get me started for learning more about studio photography and portraits with multiple controlled lights. I like the Hilite backdrop since my workspace will be relatively small at first, limiting how much distance I can get the subject away from the backdrop.

Option 3:

  • Purchase a better tripod as well as a monopod (for my excursions).

  • Purchase a ball head.

  • Purchase a shutter release remote (I have/had one, but it's been misplaced).

  • Maybe purchase a second flash and a light stand.

This will help me a little more when I need a solid structure to place my camera or flash on. The monopod would be great when going outdoors since I don't like lugging a bulky tripod but need a little extra stability.

Just so you know what I currently have to help get a better idea of what I may need, below is the gear that I currently own:


  • SLT-A77


  • Sony 35mm f1.8

  • Sony 50mm f1.4

  • Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro

  • Tokina 11-16 f2.8

  • Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 IF EX DG HSM

  • Minolta 70-210 f4 "Beercan"


  • Sony HVL-F56AM

Then of course the camera bag, a non-fancy Hakuba tri-pod, extra batteries, SpyderCube, SpyderCheckr, LensAlign, flash diffuser, etc.

This might not be the best forum to start this thread in, but I wanted to hear what my fellow Sony users had to say.

Any help or guidance would be great.


 VirtualMirage's gear list:VirtualMirage's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD +18 more
Sony SLT-A77
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