2211 Hardware and Software Recommendations

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS)
Fall 2021-2022 Equipment Information

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS) Supply List

As a student in RIT’s Photo School, you will find that we and others are available to support you with photographic gear and the opportunity to benefit from special EDU pricing on select products that you will need for your education and your career.

When you are on campus you will have access to the widest assortment of photographic gear on the planet. And while you will be able to borrow this gear, the intent is to make it available to you in order to supplement and extend the capabilities of your own gear.

To achieve the greatest success in school and beyond, it is essential that you come into the program with your own camera and other select equipment that you will be using on a very regular basis. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to become intimate with and fully understand the most important tools of your trade.

This document provides guidelines and suggestions on what to get and where to get it.

We have divided this list into different sections so it’s easier to understand. We also have included information regarding computers, software and insurance for your protection.

NOTE: Under proper circumstances student loans may also include the purchase of equipment and supplies – please check with your financial advisor for more information.

Required for all SPAS students:

  • Digital camera:
    • A Full Frame (FF) digital camera that accepts interchangeable lenses
    • Manual as well as auto-exposure settings (can be a mirror or mirrorless style)
    • Ability to shoot in Raw format, HD Video, and has customizable white balance
      NOTE: A wide range of Canon, Nikon, and Sony lenses are available from the Cage to support your camera brand choice. Full Frame is preferred as it maintains a normal angle of view for all lenses.

  • Lens:
    • Lenses for BFA Students
      • Fixed focal length (prime) f/2.8 or faster is recommended. 35mm, 50mm, 85mm or you could choose a zoom in the range of 24-70mm f/2.8.
      • Slower speed zoom “Kit Lenses” are NOT recommended due to lower quality

    • Lens for BS Students:
      • Macro Lens (50/60mm or 100/105mm capable of reaching 1:1 Life Size reproduction – either with or without an extension tube)
      • Does not need to be auto-focus

NOTE: For more information on lenses, click here.

  • X-Rite Color Checker Passport Photo 2
    • X-Rite Brand and model MSCCPP-B only

  • External Flash:
    • Adjustable head, dedicated to your camera
    • Off-Camera Flash Cord (OCF) or Wireless triggering between flash and camera

  • Remote Shutter Release/ Tethering Cords:
  • Light Meter:
    • Able to read ambient light and flash, in both incident and reflective modes, and have settings to display in EV values

  • Tripod:
    • Aluminum or Carbon Fiber legs with Ball Head that uses “Arca-Swiss” compatible Quick Release (QR) system and QR plate (a spare QR plate is also recommended)

  • Camera Bag:
    • A soft-sided bag that will carry your gear comfortably and protected while providing you with easy access to all your equipment

  • Media:
    • 32GB in size or larger (fast cards to match your camera: SD, CF, XQD, etc.)
    • Card reader(multiple format capable) – USB3 interface
    • USB flash drives: 32GB or larger – USB3 speed
    • Any required adapters (dongles) to make sure these devices can properly connect to your computer – get spares as these can easily be lost

NOTE: Purchase a brand name product to assure reliability, this is not a place to save money. Some brands to consider: Kingston, Lexar, Sandisk

  • External Storage Media:
    • Two external drives, at least 1 or 2TB each – USB3 speed (7200rpm HD or SSD). You will need to format these as ex-FAT drives before you begin using them so they can work with both Mac and Windows computers. Stand-alone (bus powered) drives are most convenient. You will use one as a “working” drive and one as an “archive” drive.
    • Any required adapters (dongles) to make sure these devices can properly connect to your computer – get spares as these can be easily lost

NOTE: Purchase a brand name product to assure reliability, this is not a place to save money. Some brands to consider: G-Tech, LaCie, Seagate, Toshiba, Western Digital (WD)


While purchasing insurance is not a requirement, it is HIGHLY recommended for your personal belongings, as well as the equipment you will be using from the photo cage. RIT has partnered with a company called Gallagher, otherwise known as “College Student Insurance”: https://www.collegestudentinsurance.com


Computers in our labs are primarily Mac-based and will support the standard requirements of assignments and projects. However, it is also highly recommended that you purchase your own computer for use when labs are closed or for possible distance learning. You will be working with computer-intensive applications, so your system hardware DOES need to provide a higher level of performance than most home-based computers. Here are the guidelines to help you get the best out of a new computer:


  • On campus you will have access to many software programs. To facilitate use of Adobe products on your own computer, you should take advantage of the very special pricing and register for your own educational Creative Cloud plan. This will provide you with access to Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Premier Pro, and 20 other Adobe programs plus 100GB of Cloud storage for $19.99/mo: adobe.com/creativecloud/buy/students.html
  • As a student, another essential suite of products you will have free access to is Microsoft Office 365 Education, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools. Use your valid school email address to get started anytime: www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/products/office

    NOTE: Google Docs does not provide all the necessary functions offered in Office365 – do not use in place of Office365

Where to Buy and Other Resources

Special Offers - Updated monthly

We’re pleased to introduce this new online portal providing access to support, special offers and special pricing that the imaging industry is making available to you, as RIT Students and Faculty. Click below to see the latest offers:


To get back to the Main CAD recommendation page, click the link below:
2201 Hardware and Software Recommendations