What’s In My Camera Bag?
I don’t spend a lot of time talking about photography gear. I prefer to focus my energy on the craft of photography. Gear comes and goes, but the photographic process doesn’t change a lot over time.
That said, without photography equipment, we’d still be drawing on the wall with crayons. I’ve owned a bunch of different gear over the years, and if anything, I own less now than I have in the past. I try to keep it as simple as possible. As a landscape and travel photographer, every piece of equipment I buy needs to be packed and carried. I’m pretty good at carrying stuff, but keeping size and weight to a minimum is a priority for me.
Fortunately, these days we photographers don’t need to choose between using eitherÂ quality or compact equipment. Since I bought my first digital camera, technology has developed at a scary pace, and now some of the best gear on the market is also some of the smallest and lightest. I’ve spent the last few years ruthlessly cutting my travel and landscape photography gear down to what I can’t live without. This is what I’m left with.
TRAVEL & LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
When Sony released the A7II, I couldn’t resist the temptation to switch from Nikon any longer. My previous kit was great, but it really wasn’t ideal for travel photography. The A7II is the perfect combination of size, weight, technology, and price. I was tempted to buy the A7RII for the extra megapixels, but I find 24MP is actually about perfect. The files are big enough to print large without clogging up my hard drives.
Sony 16-35mm f/4 Lens
The Nikon version of this lens had basically been glued to my previous camera, so the Sony 16-35mm f/4 was naturally the first lens I bought when I switched. It’s without a doubt the best lens for landscape photography. It’s wide without a lot of distortion, lightweight, and razor-sharp. I use this lens for 90% of my landscape photography.
Sony 70-200mm f/4 Lens
The newest member of my kit, the 70-200mm lens is long overdue. A wide-angle lens is a landscape photographer’s workhorse, but a telephoto lens like the 70-200mm gives so many more options. The ability to crop into elements of the landscape opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The f/4 version is cheaper and lighter than the f/2.8, and I don’t miss the extra stop.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 Lens
The one downside of the 16-35mm f/4 lens is that it’s not quite fast enough for astrophotography. You need an aperture of f/2.8 or wider to shoot in the dark, which is where this little beauty comes in. The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is lightweight, super-wide, and fast, making it the ideal astrophotography lens. It also happens to be cheap as chips. It doesn’t get any better than that.
3 Legged Thing Albert Tripod
I’ve used a few tripod over the years, and they’ve all let me down somehow. They’re either too big, too heavy, or too fiddly. This travel tripod by 3 Legged Thing is the closest to perfect I’ve found. It’s big enough when unpacked, but still packs down small, it’s super lightweight, and twist locks make it quick and easy to open and pack down. It also uses arca-swiss quick-release plates, meaning I can use it with my L-plate, which never leaves my camera.
Since I first began to see the aerial photography that was possible with drones, I knew I had to have one. Some days I think my camera must get kinda jealous of how much use my Mavic Pro gets. It’s so simple to use, it packs down unbelievably small, and it takes amazing aerial photos. Need I say more?
Nisi V5 Pro Kit & ND Filters
Having been a happy Lee filters user for a number of years, I didn’t see myself switching to another brand. That was until I tried using the NiSi filter kit and filters. The kit itself was worth switching for, especially with the in-built Landscape CPL filter. The quality and colour of the NiSi filters are the best I’ve used by far. It’s not a cheap filter kit, but a worthwhile investment in your landscape photography.
I never thought I would have much use for a GoPro. Boy, was I wrong. The uses I’ve found for this little thing are endless. You won’t see any GoPro photos in my photography portfolio, but it’s invaluable for behind-the-scenes photos and video. It’s also tough enough to handle the abuse that I regularly dish out.
MindShift Rotation180Â° Panorama Camera Bag
In the eternal quest for the perfect camera bag, I’ve temporarily settled on this one. It’s made by ThinkTank, who are one of my favourite camera bag manufacturers. I’ve owned a few of their bags, and they’ve never disappointed me. This is the perfect day hiking camera bag. It fits my camera gear in the bottom compartment, which rotates around your waist while the bag remains on your back. I love it. My little drone bag fits perfectly in the top compartment, which is great, except that I now have no space for anything else. Food, water, and warm clothes aren’t exactly optional on long hikes.
MacBook Pro 15″
It took me a while to decide between the 13″ and 15″ Macbook Pro, but I decided I was already cutting down enough from my 27″ desktop, so I went with the 15″. For the extra size and weight, I also got a faster, more powerful machine. Everything’s a compromise when you spend a lot of time on the road.
Wacom Intuos5 Tablet
One of the few things that made the cut when I sold everything to travel the world was my tablet. Yea, I could edit photos without it, but I really don’t want to. Once you’ve learned to post-process your photography with a tablet, you’ll never go back.
SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable SSD Hard Drive
There are cheaper external hard drives around, but they’re nowhere near as fast or small. SSD drives have no moving parts, which keeps them much smaller and lighter. The SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable SSD is the perfect backup hard drive for a travel photographer. I can just slip it in my pocket, so I have a complete backup of my laptop and photos in case they’re lost or stolen. It’s also dust, water, and shock resistant.
Just like the rest of my gear, the few travel and landscape photography accessories that I use are all things that can justify their existence in my camera bag. Everything on this list is only there because it has proven itself to be incredibly useful or indisposable. They’re all affordable, and I personally own and use each item. I never recommend anything I haven’t tested myself, so you know they’re worth your hard-earned cash.
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