Photo Equipment, gear,toys whatever you call it, most photographers are more interested it the hardware of the business than any single aspect. Ok I've said it STUFF RULES!!
Can you make great shots without the latest great Gear? Of course you can, but try shooting a Great Gray Owl at sunset with you 50mm lens hand held. Think Tripod,Telephoto Lens, E-TTL flash, Flash extender, external battery ....... See,, STUFF RULES!! But you still have to use Stuff with a creative eye to make interesting photos. Get the stuff you need but remember your only subject is light.
Not only as a evaluation but to help my students that use selected equiptemnt from both the Nikon System and the Canon system. I am also constantly evaulating new equeptment as it comes to market.
The most important piece of equipment I own is an alarm clock. Be there early and plan to stay late.
Remember "it's all about the light"