Technology Requirements

Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

All Design, Illustration, and Photography students are required to purchase a laptop computer for their classes. A MacBook Air, Chromebook, iPad, tablet, or a similar device is NOT sufficient for these classes.

We recommend purchasing your laptop computer in the summer before your first semester at Kent State AFTER you attend your orientation program to be sure that the requirements are up-to-date.

Laptop Computer – Minimum Approved Hardware

  • Apple MacBook Pro*
  • Apple M2 or M2 Pro Chip
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512 GB Hard Drive

*Any size screen is sufficient, but larger screens will be better for design, illustration, or photography courses.

Photography Program Camera Requirements*

*This is only required for Photography majors or minors.

Camera Requirements

Photography in VCD is a digital-based program, and all work is done with digital cameras. As such, there are several camera options for you to consider. However, before deciding on your preferred camera system, consider your major or area of concentration and the extent of your future involvement in and with photography. 

List of Cameras

If you plan to major in Photography or take Photography classes beyond Photo 1, your camera will need to be tetherable (hard-wired) to a laptop and able to fire an accessory flash and trigger devices (if not sure about this, send me an email, and I’ll explain).

The primary programs we tether with are Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro. Please research the camera before you purchase one to be sure which programs it will work with. [Note: Photo Majors are required to work with Capture One beginning with their second program year.] We recommend either Nikon or Canon cameras primarily for interchangeability with classmates, depreciation value, current state-of-art, and availability of rental equipment in the VCD Resource Room. If you already have another brand of camera, send me an email with the camera’s brand and model, and I’ll get back to you.

All cameras used in Photography in VCD classes must have interchangeable lens capability; feature a manual mode that allows for setting ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds; allow manual focusing and can work in monochrome (black and white) mode. 18 megapixels is the minimum acceptable sensor resolution. Mirror-less cameras are acceptable but be aware of their limitations with inter-changeability with our inventory of cameras and lenses and fellow students, and there are certain issues with tethering in a studio flash environment. If you are uncertain about any of these points, please email your camera model along with your question.

DSLR cameras offer excellent technical and image control and allow the use of a broader range of Interchangeable lenses with a wide range of focal lengths. The cameras listed offer recommendations to allow for a spectrum of sophistication and price considerations while meeting the requirements for both photo majors and minors. Camera technology is advancing rapidly so please carefully research your decision.

Note: If you currently own a DSLR that is not listed but meets the requirements, it may be fine for this class. However, tethering is required to advance in the photography program. In all cases, if you are unsure or have questions, send me an email!

Notes: Tether-able means the camera will connect directly to a laptop. This is not required for Photo 1 but is for all other Photography classes.

The prices/specifications are for reference only. Please confirm pricing, specifications, and tetherability.

Kent State Student Discounts

Back-to-school specials are available at the Kent State University Bookstore at (330) 672-2762 or visit their website at It is also strongly recommended that students purchase an upgraded three-year computer warranty.

Software – Recommended and Required Subscriptions

Microsoft Office is FREE for Kent State students:

Adobe Creative Cloud* is only $75/year for Kent State students:

*You can wait to purchase your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription until you need it in your first semester classes so that you can get the most out of your purchase.

Other Recommendations (optional)

1 TB External Hard drive (USB or Thunderbolt)

2-3 USB Jump Drives (at least 16 GB each)


Please email with questions about the requirement and purchasing your laptop computer.