Camera Bodies and Lenses
Let me preface this by saying that if you are new to DSLR photography, you really don’t NEED all of this stuff to take great photographs. The majority of the pictures on the site were taken with my Canon T3i (used, body only is around $300) , and a lot of practice learning how to see how the camera sees. The main reason I upgraded my camera body was because I with getting frustrated by the noise at higher ISO’s, since I love low light photography. Noise may not bother you, and it certainly doesn’t bother the average viewer. People respond to subject matter and point of view, usually only photographer’s care about the other stuff. Often times you are spending thousands of extra dollars for incremental improvements that the average viewer won’t see. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to impress other photographers. Which camera gear and lenses you should get depends entirely on your goals and what you like to shoot. A lot of my decisions are honestly based on the weight of the gear, especially lenses, I walk and travel a lot and can use slower lenses and tipods. If I was more shooting weddings, or events I would choose different lenses.
If I was starting out and buying a new camera today I would be looking at the mirrorless camera systems. I have not had enough experience with them to make a good comparison, but they seem to be the way forward, although they still have advantages and disadvantages. The Canon rebel T3i was great intro gear, but I am not a reviewer and have not had a huge amount of experience with different brands.
That being said, I always want to know what equipment other photographers are using, and it’s a question I get asked a lot, so I will share what’s in my bag with you.
My latest Camera body is the D600. I got it with the lens kit, which I currently use as my everyday lens. My favorite lens I have for this camera is 85 1.8 mm which is a beautiful portrait lens and would highly recommend. I like the D600, however I really miss the flip screen, and for that reason I kind of regret the purchase, however I appreciate the ISO performance for low light photography.
My other camera, which I love is my Canon T3i. These are the lenses I use with that.
Sigma 10mm-20mm– I love the focal range, and really enjoy shooting wide angle. Its also pretty portable and takes 77mm filters. I use this lens on the majority of my night shots. I love this lens.
Canon 17-55mm f2.8– My walk around lens for my t3i, I like the focal range and, nice and fast.
I have a Canon 50mm 1.8 , good low light lens, personally don’t really use it except for portraits, but lately I use my d600 and 85mm for portraits.
I have a Hoya 9-stop ND filter for use for long exposures in daylight, honestly, nice to have, but rarely use it, or other filters.
I also have a selection of Fotodiox step up/down rings so I can use them on all my lenses, don’t use em much either
My Tripod is a Gitzo Traveler , I love how light and sturdy this is. I have no problem doing long exposures without a remote trigger with this tripod, however I do find it difficult keeping the leg screws tight enough, and I have some trouble with the extension arm, little annoying things that does not affect it’s performance, so as happy as I am with the results and the weight, I am not sure if I would buy it again as it was really expensive, but it is way better than anything else I have personally seen or had experience with so far. Almost every photographer who picks it up and feels how light it is is jealous. I also use the Induro Ballhead BHO. No complaints.
I also have a Gorilla Joby Tripod. I find this indispensable, really get one if you don’t have one. I bring it when I don’t want to carry a tripod, and use it on walls and gates, and in places that don’t allow tripods, and I also use it on my shoulders sometimes to stabilise my camera.
Spirit level Cube– pretty handy to use with the tripod, honestly used it a couple of times, and never again, but I still it’s a good idea.
I have this bargain backpack for travelling, have only taken it on one trip, no problems. ( update, I never really use it, once or twice, I use a regular bag, or my carry- on for travelling)
I always have a few lens cleaner cloths with me.
I use this Kingston card reader. which is a lot faster than using my laptops built in reader, and I have been told it is safer to prevent corruption for your memory card.
This Rain sleeve is pretty handy idea for the rain, I always carry one , and end up not using it. ( update: I still carry it and never use it)
I try to stick to class 10 fast memory sticks, mostly sandisks from amazon, especially for my D600.
I have Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5
I am currently a Creative Cloud subscriber. I use Photoshop and Lightroom. I don’t really use any presets, other than the one I make myself and I toy with the ones that come in Photoshop occasionally ( in the Color lookup panel).
Recently I spent a month in Dublin shooting everyday. I used only my d600 and lens kit and my gorilla pod occasionally ( and always a lens cloth), the entire trip. I find the more I learn and the more experience I have, the less gear I use. ( even though I brought all my gear with me).
When I want to do long exposures my first choice is still my T3i and Sigma 10-20 lens.
Other trips I brought only my Canon t3i, 10-20 and 17-55 and tripod, and was equally happy with the results. But with that setup I do a lot more long exposures and tripod work.
Sorry if this a is rambling post, my relationship with my gear is ever evolving, ask any questions below!
None of these pictures are straight out of camera, all edited, so not fair comparisons, just sharing the gear I used for these shots. There are lots of straight out of camera samples for probably every recent camera and lens all over the internet, so google that if you looking for direct and technical comparisons, which is what I did before making any purchase.