What about laptops for military docs? Is this a separate service than you experienced with the Army reimbursing your laptop?Your need documentation that your school requires this item for everyone. When I was in school this wasn’t reimbursable but a laptop was and it was the same deal. A letter from a dean should suffice and many are interested in helping you out with how they present their requirements. For a camera here are my suggestions: You only need the cheapest DSLR body you can find. I got a base Canon refurb with a warranty for ~$200 and you really won’t be able to tell the difference until you spend thousands more on a full frame. The lens is where your money needs to go. The most basic lens that will get you by is a 100mm f/2.8 macro, and it can be from a less mainstream brand like Tokina. Don’t waste your money on Canon or Sigma lenses unless you’re going to get a Pro lens with image stabilization, like the Canon f/2.8L - don’t spend more than $400 on a lens unless it has image stabilization and if you’re getting one with IS you might as well get something really slick Those are really the two choices you need to consider, ~$300 for the Tokina or ~$800 for the Canon L pro. You absolutely need a ring flash and it has to be a “flash” meaning it can sync with the camera, not a $20 “light”. Yongnuo makes a functional flash for $100 and the $300 Sigma or $550 Canon equivalents have almost identical functionality just better build quality.