Aputure Light Storm LS 1/2W LED Flood 

Aputure is a company moving up the consumer-prosumer ladder to deliver professional-level gear at very aggressive prices. I have the baby in the Light Storm family (the LS 1/2), having sold off my entire ARRI Softbank IV kit and slowly adding back LED-only lights. This guy is the new high water mark in my kit.  Really robust, very cleverly designed, with a built-in wireless control and the highest CRI of any LED I've tested. I suggest you check out its bigger and bi-color brothers, too.

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Aputure Amaran HR672C Bi-Color LED Flood

The Amaran HR672C is not the first LED panel I owned, but it was my favorite until its younger siblings the Light Storms came along. Incredibly well-priced and fully kitted-out with case, batteries, AC adapter, diffuser, wireless remote, and diffuser, you really can't touch it for the price (just under $300).

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Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

I have three of the 600EX-RT's older brothers, the 580 -- and they are fantastic even now. If you want the very best in OEM DSLR flash systems, this one is it, full stop, irrespective of brand. Not cheap, but very inexpensive when you think about brands like Elinchrom and Profoto. Frankly, if I were doing portrait photography only, this is the one thing that would probably keep me in the Canon camp at this point.

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Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Fashion & LSC-SM-FC

This is the perfect portrait complement to the Canon 600EX-RT. I've used it on a number of headshot assignments, and although expensive compared to the cost of the materials, it is a steal for what it actually allows you to do without going to bigger lights.

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Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector Disc

Too many people don't realize that a light is just a source -- it's how you shape it that determines the final outcome. I've had this forever, and it's just a great tool as a reflector, a diffuser or an absorber. For just under $40, it's a must-have part of your kit.

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Sekonic C-700 SpectroMaster Spectrometer 401-700

The C700 is not a must-have for most filmmakers, but it is an amazing nice-to-have. I had access to one just long enough to measure the outputs of my different LED panels, and it was eye-opening: it told me not only what the 15 different CRI measurements were for each of my lights, but the CRI and the filters necessary to correct tints.  Pretty amazing.  Pretty expensive, too, so not for the faint of heart.  Truly worth it for high-end DPs.

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Profoto Pro-8A 2400 Air Power Pack

I owned an earlier version of Profoto's flagship power supply when I photographed modern and ballet dancers in mid-flight. This is arguably the baddest-ass pack on the market, and for a couple of years it was the Rolls Royce of all my gear. If you need something like this, you want THIS.  I chose it over the Elinchrom, which of course is great kit, too. Expensive as all get-out at almost $13,000 for the pack alone - no heads.  I'm not even going to list the heads.  You'll find them if you want them!

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