Equipment List and Timeline

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Based upon a yearly survey of graduates, we estimate that the average amount spent on required equipment and supplies (excluding digital camera body, lens, dedicated flash) is between $2000 – $3000.

While the tuition at RCC is quite reasonable, we understand the purchase of photography equipment may seem costly. Our goal is to guide you toward making wise investments. For this reason, we recommend students delay equipment purchases until after the faculty has had an opportunity to explain in detail the equipment and supply requirements. To aid students in budgeting and planning, we have compiled the following list of the required equipment/supplies as well as a list of popular vendors. Some vendors may offer student discounts.

Please note at the beginning of each semester, instructors will issue a list of additional materials and supplies needed for classes such as: books, film, paper, matte board, etc.


Fall Semester – year one – need by 2nd week of classes

Tackle box kit – This kit contains smaller items that will be used for classes such as: Uhu glue, white gloves, stapler, #2 pencils, scissors, etc. A complete list and description of contents will be given during the 1st week of classes. The kit is available at the RCC Campus Store and may be purchased before semester begins.

Camera bag (padded)

  • Required only for students checking out medium format cameras from RCC Photography Equipment Check Out (ECO)
  • Must be large enough to safely contain and carry a medium format camera
  • Minimal interior dimensions of 12″ x 9″ x 6″
  • Must be fully padded
  • Must have a sturdy handle or strap system

Cable release – (Optional) Standard mechanical cable release for film camera 


  • Must be capable of holding 12 pounds! Medium format film cameras are heavy.
  • 3 way pan/tilt heads are preferred.
  • Ball heads are not recommended. NO VIDEO TRIPOD HEADS!
  • Standard or quick release plate heads are both acceptable.
  • Recommended brands include: Bogen-Manfrotto, Slik, Induro or Benro.

Light Meter –

  • Capable of reflected, incident and flash exposure readings.
  • Recommended models include: Sekonic L-308S, Sekonic Litemaster Pro L-478DR , L-758D, L-758DR. (Note: The Sekonic L478DR and L-478D both require a $105 5-degree Viewfinder reflective accessory attachment. Great units but cost a bit more.

Spring Semester – year one – need by start of semester

Digital Camera body – Professional level HD Digital SLR (single lens reflex) – minimum requirements:

  • Total manual operations
  • Raw file capture
  • Metal lens mounts
  • May be used with interchangeable lenses
  • Hot shoe
  • 1280 x 720 (or higher) HD Video Capture, 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • Auto Bracketing Exposure (AEB)
  • Audio input (3.5mm stereo mini-external microphone input)
  • Shutter 1/8000 to 30 seconds, bulb – X-sync at 1/160 or faster
  • Live view shooting
  • Custom Color Temperature setting (as well as standard presets)
  • ISO 100-6400
  • Burst: Min. 3 frames (shots) per second
  • Exposure Modes, Full Manual, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Bulb, Flash Off Camera,
  • 1/160 Flash Sync Speed or faster
  • Used cameras are perfectly acceptable but we strongly suggest that you obtain the camera from a reliable source that includes a written warranty.

Acceptable camera bodies include:

60D*, 70D*, 80D* D7200-7500*
6D D500 Series
7D Series D600 Series
 Mark III, Mark IV D750 Series
5D-S and 5D-S R D800 Series
EOS 1Ds Mark III, Mark IV D4 Series
EOS 1Dx Mark II D5 Series
EOS R5, R6 D6 Series
*Will get you started.

Technology changes rapidly. Please contact us regarding other manufacturers  systems.

Lens- Will need a lens capable of getting close to a 50mm focal length. Kit lenses, zooms and fixed focal lengths are fine. (i.e. A 24-85 zoom can be set to 50mm.)

Memory Cards – compatible with your HDdSLR (CF or SD are standard)

  • Capable of a minimum of 16 Gigabytes of storage, UDMA, 300MB/s or faster.

Multi-Card (SD & CF compatible) card reader – with USB or Thunderbolt connection.

External (portable) hard drive

  • Minimum 4TB capacity
  • Bus powered (does not need an external power cord)
  • Thunderbolt or USB II / III connection
  • Ability to format to current MAC OS extended file system


Spring Semester – year one need by start of 2nd eight weeks

Flash – Hand held “dedicated” electronic flash.

  • Flash must be “dedicated” to your DSLR system (Canon or Nikon – No after market brands)
  • Minimum Guide Number of 80
  • Hot shoe mount
  • Battery powered
  • PC connection socket
  • Capable of non TTL automatic function

Light stand – portable

Batteries with battery charger – 4 AA rechargeable

Summer Semester – year one – need by start of semester

Headphones – over-the-ear style, stereo (ear buds are not acceptable for course work involving audio/multimedia projects)

Optional Equipment and Software

Medium format camera with normal lens – used Fall and Spring 1st year

  • Medium format film cameras will be provided for limited student use by the RCC Photography Department. If a student wants unlimited access to a medium format camera, we recommend purchasing a used camera and normal lens. Please contact us for recommendations.
  • Acceptable brands are Bronica, Mamiya, Hassleblad, Pentax,  Rolleflex, Yashica, and Contax

Computer – used from Spring 1st year forward

  • A laptop loaded with software matching that used in your classes is highly recommended but not required.
  • Apple Macintosh MacBook Pro or iMac. Apple does offer educational discounts. See their web site for particulars.

Software – Annual subscription Adobe Creative Cloud – used from Spring 1st year forward

Popular Vendors

Academic Superstore


Apple Education Store


Freestyle Photo


Mid West Photo Exchange 


RCC Campus Store

Roberts Camera

Please note: Exact equipment model numbers and features are subject to change.