What do I use and what do I recommend to you?
Over the years, many people have asked me what equipment and software I use to produce my art work. Generally, I believe you should pick the tools that are best for you. It is important that you carefully consider the type of photography you practice, as it will greatly affect your choices.
Below is a list of at least some of the equipment that I make use of, and why I chose it. But I chose it because it meets my needs and it may or may not meet yours. So choose wisely!
Disclosure: Most of the links below do lead to stores where you can purchase the items in this list. None of the companies discussed on this page have compensated me in any way for the particular statements I’m making, but many of the links below are links that will provide me a referral compensation (no cost to you) if you choose to follow them. Feel free to ignore the links and go to the stores yourself to search for what you want. Of course, if you appreciate the work I put into this page, feel free to use the links to help you build your tool set while providing me some small gains as well.
There is always a strong debate in the photography realm about whether you should purchase a Canon, Nikon, Sony or other brand of hardware. My answer: if you stick with one of these major carriers, they all produce excellent equipment and your images will be stellar if you have the skill to use them. As one person told me recently: if you buy the best oven in the world, it won’t make you be the best chef unless you build your skills along with it. Cameras are the same way.
That being said, I chose the Canon line of equipment because it best met my photography needs, quality expectations and interface style. Before the digital lines of Canon’s, I actually shot Nikon film. And when weighing my switch to digital, I thought long and hard and did a lot of research about whether I should switch brands or not. I’m happy with my decision in switching to Canon, but I bet I would have been equally happy staying with Nikon and I know there are a lot of happy Sony users out there too.
My camera equipment:
- My Primary Camera: Canon 5D Mark III – because I shoot both action and landscapes. You might consider the Canon 7D Mark II for night photography and general landscape work, or the Canon 1D Series for action shots.
- My backup:I also have a backup 50D that I take with me to locations where I’m concerned about theft. Note that the 50D is considered superior to their newer 60D and 70D, as they removed some of the quality in the later line to make the cameras cheaper for the entry level consumer market.
- A collection of lenses, which I have collected that concentrate on “minimalism” and “macro” in nature:
I tell my students all the time that they absolutely must use a tripo at least 75% of the time. The image quality drastically improves on a tripod, even when you think it couldn’t make any difference at “that shutter speed”. Take whatever shutter speed time you have in your head and cut it in half, because that’s more realistic. IMHO, of course.
- Manfrotto 4-section Carbon Fiber Tripod: This tripod has been on multiple backpacking trips and around the world with me, fits diagonally in my carry-on luggage. After many many trips, it’s not in perfect shape but has held up quite well considering everything I’ve put it through. I’d certainly buy it again.
- Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head: Whatever head you get, make sure it has a quick release plate. This one is rock solid, holds my heavy 100-400mm very steady and, honestly, is even better than the tripod that it sits on. The only downside is that it is fairly heavy, which doesn’t shock me given the build quality. But you will feel it after 7 miles of backpacking. I know, because it’s been with me on treks like that.
But where the heck do I put all these things??? In backpacks, of which I use two on a regular basis. I have a big one and a small one. And I love them both:
- A Mineshift Gear Rotation 180 Backpack — I live out of this bag. I was part of the original Kickstarter production of these bags, and they’ve lived up to their hype about them.
- A CaseLogic Camera and Laptop Bag for when I travel on planes, though the Mindshift bag will fit in overhead compartment too.
What about software?
If you’re looking for suggestions about Software too, please jump over to my page devoted to Software I Use