EQUIPMENT GUIDE – School of Photographic Arts and Sciences

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS) 2024 Freshman Equipment Guide

As a student in RIT’s Photo School, you will find that we 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 through our SPAS Equipment Cage. While you can borrow this gear, the intent is to make it available to supplement and extend your gear’s capabilities.

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

This page provides guidelines and suggestions on what to get and where to get it. We also include information regarding computers, software, and equipment protection insurance.

Note: Student loans may also be used to purchase equipment and supplies. Please check with your financial aid advisor for more information.

Required Equipment list for ALL SPAS students:

  • Digital Cameras:
    • A full-frame digital camera (DSLR or Mirrorless) that accepts interchangeable lenses
      • Full Frame (FF) is generally preferred, as this maintains normal focal length views
      • The Cage has a wide range of lenses to support most camera brands
    • Manual exposure as well as auto exposure capability
    • Ability to shoot in RAW format and HD video with customizable White Balance
  • Lens:
    • Lenses for BFA students:
      • Fixed focal length (prime) f/2.0 or faster is recommended. 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm, or you could choose a zoom lens in the range of 24-70 f/2.8
      • Slower speed zoom (“kit” lenses) are not recommended due to lower quality
    • Lenses for BS students:
      • Macro lens (50/60mm or 100/105mm) capable of reproduction of 1:1 (life-size with or without extension tubes)
      • Lens does NOT need to be auto-focus
  • ColorChecker Passport (formerly branded X-Rite, now Calibrite):
  • Remote Shutter Release/Tethering cords:
  • Light Meter:
    • Meter should be ambient and flash capable in both incident and reflective modes, as well as able to display in EV (exposure values)
  • Tripod:
    • Aluminum or carbon fiber legs, ball head with “Arca-Swiss” compatible quick-release plate (QR). (An extra QR plate is recommended)
  • Camera Bag:
    • Soft-sided bag with good equipment protection, comfort for carrying, and easy access
  • Media:
    • 32GB size or larger card for your camera: SD, SDHC, SDXC, CFexpress, and XQD are the most common. With high-speed transfer such as 100MB/s (see camera manual for recommendations)
    • A memory card reader to match the best computer connection, which most currently is USB C (multi-format capable, USB 3.2 speed preferred)
    • USB flash drive 128GB or larger, for example
    • Note: Reliable brands (such as Kingston, Lexar, and SanDisk) are recommended. Less expensive cards can corrupt easily, resulting in data loss
  • External Storage Drives:
    • Two drives, at least 1 or 2 TB in size (USB 3.2 and 7200rpm HD or SSD)
      • You must format these drives to exFAT so they will work with either MAC or Windows. (depending on your personal computer platform choice, but SPAS/CAD labs are MAC-based)
      • Stand-alone (bus-powered) hard drives are best; one drive will be a working drive, and the other should be an archive/backup drive
    • Adapters are often required to connect your devices to your computer. Spares are always a good idea!
    • Note: Trusted brand names such as G-Tech (SanDisk), LaCie, Seagate, and WD are more reliable



  • While purchasing equipment insurance is not a requirement, it is HIGHLY recommended as coverage for your personal equipment and the equipment you will be using from the photo cage. RIT has partnered with a company called Gallagher, otherwise known as “College Student Insurance”, for this policy:


  • The computers in our labs are Mac-based and will support the standard requirements of your assignments and projects. However, it is strongly recommended that you have your own computer. You will be working with memory-intensive applications, so your system hardware needs to provide a higher level of performance than most home computers. Some recommended guidelines include:


  • On campus, you will have access to many software programs. To facilitate the use of Adobe products on your computer, you can take advantage of the special pricing and register for your own educational Creative Cloud plan, which will provide you with access to Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and 20 other Adobe programs plus 100GB of Cloud storage for $19.99/month.
  • 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, and additional classroom tools. You use your RIT school email address to get started:
  • RIT offers Google Apps services as part of your RIT email account:

Where to Buy and Other Resources:


Further Questions:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school’s photo office at 585-475-2716 or so you can be directed to someone who can help you.