My Photography Equipment

The two best pieces of equipment a photographer can own is a set of eyes and a great imagination.

This section is added with a little hesitation because it is not meant to be a recommendation or an opinion in on the what’s the best camera. It is simply list of what I use to make photographs. If you are a gear head like me, you may want to know what your fellow photographers are using. In reality, it is the talent and not the camera that makes great images. I just happen to use Canon and Lumix equipment.

One piece of advice I can offer for someone willing to carry a bunch of camera gear all day on their back is to look for really good lenses but stay away from fast ones. Most of my lenses have a maximum aperture of F4 which is fine for landscapes. These lenses are lighter in weight and usually less expensive too. For instance i use the Canon 70-200mm F4 L series lens for a moderate telephoto. It is less than half the weight and price as the more popular 70-200mm F2.8 lens and has the same quality optics and build as all Canon L series lenses.

Okay, another piece of advice. The older I get the more difficult it becomes to do longer hikes with heavy gear. Since I’m not giving up either photography or hiking, I’ve turned to Olympus for their micro 4/3 system. This camera actually belongs to my wife who is much smaller than me and never liked the full frame Canon system. While it will never replace the quality of an image made with a big sensor, it comes pretty darn close and with less than half the weight and size, it makes a very compact system for long hikes and bushwhacking.

Cameras

Canon 5d Mark IV – My all around camera with awesome image quality. This one is fitted with an L bracket so I can easily switch from horizontal to vertical shots quickly and without moving the tripod.

Canon 7d Mark II – This is my people and critter camera. It can shoot at 10 frames per second and has very good noise control at high ISO.

Olympus EM1 Mark II – This little mirrorless camera body is virtually weatherproof. It is also small and light. While it will never replace the quality imagery you can expect from a full frame camera, it comes pretty close and has a nice, almost painterly, look to the photographs it creates.

iPhone – To see why I use this as a camera, take a look at my iPhoneography Gallery.

Tripods

Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Carbon Fiber Tripod with Arca Swiss Ball Head – This tripod is relatively light weight, sturdy and easily packs into a suitcase for travel. The ball head is simple to use and is indestructible. The tripod is fast to set up in the field and my non-photographer friends and family often admire the snazzy patterns of the carbon fiber in the legs.

Oben Carbon Fiber Lightweight Tripod and Vanguard Ball Head – This tripod weighs about 3 pounds and is always in my backpack. While not as sturdy as I’d like, I use a slightly heavier ball head to help stabilize the flexing in the narrow legs.

Filters

Tiffin and B+W Polarizers
Assorted Neutral Density Filters, including a B+W Variable Neutral Density Filter
10 Stop Neutral Density Filter

Lenses

Canon 16-35mm f4 L Series – This is my main ultra wide angle lens and is what I shoot most of my abandoned building with. Why f/4 and not f/2.8?. It saves weight and money. Since most of my work uses a tripod the faster f-stop is not needed.

Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L Series –  This lens is my go to lens for most photography. It is super sharp and covers the focal lengths I shoot at most of the time.

Canon 70-200mm f4 L Series – This is a great lens with awesome sharpness. It is also $1000 less and over a pound lighter than the popular 70-200mm f2.8 lens. The quality is the same and I appreciate the weigh savings and the ability to spend that $1000 on traveling to the great places to photograph.

Canon 100-400mm L Series – An ideal zoom lens for Wildlife which I rarely shoot and all around heavy duty telephoto lens.

Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro – I don’t do a lot of macro work, but this lens is awesome when I do. It is also a great portrait and product photography lens.

Rokinon 14mm f2.4 – This lens is an excellent value that is great for very wide angle work and night photography.

Olympus Pro Lenses – These lenses basically parallel the Canon lenses listed above. The focal lengths are sized for the micro 4/3 sensor and equivalent double the full frame focal lengths. 7-12mm f/2.8, 12-45mm f/2.8, 45-150mm f/2.8 (add a 2x extender and this tiny lens becomes equivalent to a 600mm f/5.6 lens), 12-100mm f/4 (great all around hiking and walking around lens), 60mm f/2.8 macro lens.

What Else?

Spare batteries, rain covers, lens shields, extra compact flash and SD cards. Basically, anything that can help avoid an “Oh Crap” moment if the weather changes, something fails or runs out of power or space.