Monday, 2 April 2018

My Photography kit List 2018 (PART ONE)

I am often asked why I choose the kit I am using and my simple answer is usually because it works. For years I have been a Canon shooter but recently made the seismic shift over to a Sony mirror-less system.

I have to say that this move was very much a test and therefor my current kit could be considered pretty cautious. I have used the setup now for a few months and I have not been disappointed and with this in mind I will be taking the full leap into this system later in the year.

Right, so why did I switch? Well for may years I have been a dual wildlife and landscape photographer. I found myself gravitating ever more to Landscape photography and the only potential issue I saw with a mirror-less system was an optical viewfinder. I was pretty sure this would be an issue for wildlife photography, but for landscape? My other love is keeping fit and over the years this has included cycling, running and triathlon. Because of my busy life I would often find that these training sessions had to take place early or late in the day, and I would often be doing a trail run or gravel bike ride and be wishing I had camera kit with me. Now, the Canon kit as much as I loved it was not light weight and there was no chance of riding or running with that setup. The Sony however is a different matter, and of course there has to be compromises but I thought it would be useful to list all my kit which essentially I use when going out specifically on a landscape shoot (the big setup) if you like, and then how this breaks down in to different kit setups for running and cycling. Got it?

(Note I will put affiliate links to each piece of kit (where possible) so that you can purchase them if you wish) If you use a link it does generate a small amount of income so please if you want an item of my kit use the link from this post. Also note that I will only link to the items I actually use and would advise any of my mates to buy. If somethings rubbish I will let you know!

Ok, so here we go. this is my current setup for when I am out doing landscapes and nothing else.

Sony A6000 with 16-50 kit lens -

This is now a well established camera and has in fact been upgraded several times. However, I took the decision that I didn't want to spend the £800 to £1200 pounds on a mirror-less camera if I wasn't going to get on with it. The cameras that superseded it have mainly minor tweaks and it it generally acknowledged that for a budget camera that punches well above its weight this is the one to get. Certainly if you are considering making the switch to mirror-less I would highly recommend this camera.

 Pentax-M SMC 135mm F3.5 Prime Lens

No link here because this is an old lens. As you may or may not know with a simple adapter the Sony can use many old manual lenses. My thinking here was again around the idea that I didn't want to spend a fortune on lenses if in the end I ended up reverting back to Canon. I absolutely love this lens and will not be getting rid of it. Obviously if you are doing landscape photography you do not need autofocus and with the focus peaking available on the Sony this lens works like a dream and is pin sharp. Cost? £35 quid off ebay and then another £25 for the adapter (which can then be used with all Pentax lenses) The image below was taken with this lens, and please bare in mind this is my first ever attempt at candid photography never mind using a manual focus lens. I think the result speaks for itself!

Pentax-A Zoom 28-80 F3.5-4.5

Again no link and to be honest if I had one I wouldn't give it to you. I thought I would give a zoom lens a chance on the camera and it is definitely less sharp than the prime lens. Certainly its a usable lens but i think ultimately if you know its not quite getting the image quality you want it tends to get left in the bag unless really desperate. I would not go for a zoom again but as far as legacy lenses go I think Yes Yes Yes, but stick to the primes! Also there are now a number of blogs and vlogs that will point you in the right direction for this high quality old glass. You may find that the desirable lenses are starting to rise in value.

Benro FTF18A Travel Flat Tripod and IN0 Head -

This is a recent addition and was bought simply because I had previously used a much more lightweight tripod which was fine when I did mostly wildlife but with the switch to landscapes I was finding the lack of height a problem. The reason for this tripod was again size but also price. I think this retails for about £200 but I got this one for half price (bargain) Its not the lightest as its not carbon fibre but its sturdy enough and its unique design means all the legs come together in a row and save space. The only change I will make in the future is to the head which is capable but does not have a separate control for panning. Read the link above for a fuller description of the features but again for a cost effective capable tripod I highly recommend it.

Vanguard Up-Rise 48 Camera Backpack -

I love this backpack and despite the fact that at the minute it can look quite empty with my new Sony setup I would not switch it. In fact I'm glad I didn't because since switching to Sony I have also taken to Vlogging my adventures on my YouTube channel

So I now carry another camera for vlogging as well as various sound recording kit etc. I will list my vlogging setup in my next post.

I think because Vanguard are not considered as one of the top produces of camera kit they seem to try a bit harder so you tend to get a lot for your money. Its very hard wearing and has never let me down. It used to carry my Canon setup with various lenses up to 600mm so as you can see its really up top the job!

Vanguard VEO 204AB Travel Tripod -

This was my tripod when wildlife photography was my main vice. And I have kept hold of it because it still does serve a purpose within my setup (full explanation later). This again is a cheap tripod but although its not carbon fibre its very light weight. It is also fantastic for macro work as you can swivel the central column right around and the legs splay very wide. I think it won a number of awards for its design and has never let me down. Again comes with a simple but usable ball head. As mentioned previously its a little too short for me to be used full time for landscapes so has been relegated to other duties! 

Cokin A system filter and Kood Equivalents

Again this is a perfectly adequate filter system. You can find the filter holders for a few quid on ebay and I have also used the Kood filters that are designed to be used with this system. I don't use a lot of filters because a lot of the effects they give can now be recreated in software, however, the ones I do use are circular polariser (this effect can't be done in photoshop) Graduated filters and 6 and 8 stop filters. To be honest I like to try and get most of the image done in camera and these simple filters allow me to see the almost complete image on the back of the camera. Everyone's different I know and some just love sitting behind a computer screen to achieve these results but for me I much prefer being out there with the camera! Anyway the filters can be got off ebay for £10-20 so won't break the bank.

NEEWER Hand Grip (L Bracket) -

This is a recent edition and now I don';t know what I'd do without it. Basically allows you to orientate the camera form landscape to portrait without adjusting the tripod. You basically take the camera off the head and flip it over as the groove for the head runs on two sides of the camera. It also allows you to access the battery and SD card with the bracket attached (some don't) Now again in my search for value and functionality this bracket cost under £35. You can pay up to £200 for one of these TWO HUNDRED! Well there was no way I was paying that, and you know what this is brilliant and does absolutely the same job. Enough said really!

Joby Gorilla Pod SLR-ZOOM -

Right, I've included this here because it does play an integral part in my setup which will come in part two of this blog and my vlogging setup. For some of the stuff I do I just cannot carry a tripod and not having one is a massive compromise, especially for a landscape photographer. So in those situations where I can't carry one it does provide  some sort of support. Now don't get me wrong for me its a multi functional item I can use it for photography and when recording my YouTube videos. However its a bit like the scissors on a Swiss army knife in an emergency they're great but you wouldn't want to cut ten metres of canvas with them! Its grippy bendable legs allow it to be attached on fence posts etc if you need the height otherwise your pretty much at ground level.

OK, that's my current kit list in 2018 that I would use if going out doing landscape photography. In part two I will go into how this kit breaks down for doing some landscape photography when running and cycling and some specialist bits I use to enable me to do this. I will also reveal my plan for how this kit is going to be developed later this year now that I am fully committed to the Sony mirror-less system.

Thanks for reading and remember to watch my website for part two, and please do pop across to my YouTube channel for more exciting content and don't forget to hit that subscribe button, your support is very much appreciated.

No comments:

Post a Comment