Probably as it is with most folks, I have stuck with the camera maker that I was first exposed to - Canon. Although I must admit, I have been lured towards Nikon over the years every time I hear that catchy-as-hell tune “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon and more recently towards Sony because of it's rave reviewed Mirrorless technology. Having said that, I am still drinking the Canon punch for now. Listed below are some of the main pieces of gear that I am currently using as of March 2016 along with some thoughts on why I have chosen them. Keep in mind that at the end of the day, this gear list is just merely a personal opinion derived from countless hours of research and personal testing by someone who has only been known to be wrong about like 3 things ever. So please don't sweat it too much if you happen to use different gear or have found that some of the items listed aren't that great or that maybe what I have to say is just completely wrong- because as it turns out, I have a ton of "wrong" chips to cash in. Whatever, here’s that list.
• Canon 5d Mark III - It’s a great all-around camera that does relatively well in low light. The Mark III is my go to for hand held shooting and produces pretty decent imagery at higher ISO’S, by higher I mean everything above the 100 ISO I typically shoot up to 2000ish. It does have a 22.3 mp sensor, which is plenty for most applications, but I find it limiting for producing images that I eventually want to print big (30" x 40"+)
• Canon 5DSr - Currently the deemed the resolution king and has the largest megapixel count of any dSLR in the entire world, which means the ability to print BIGGER. However wonderful that may sound, it does come with some shortfalls. I have found that It is not the most ideal at higher iso’s and it is definitely not ideal for hand-held shots in lower light. The sensor is notably more sensitive to shake than the 5d Mark III and I generally only use this camera on a sturdy tripod. The other draw back is that I find myself shooting 8-10+ frame panoramas and when try to stitch them together, my computer starts to smoke and melts into a heaping mess of goopy plastic. Not really, but the resulting image size is really LARGE and makes for a time consuming process. All in all though…amazing camera.
• Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II: Very sharp for a zoom lens and covers some very ideal focal lengths. Wished there was an image stabilized version, but alas…no dice just yet.
• Canon 16-35 f/4L IS: One of the highest/sharpest rated wide angle zooms on the market. It covers the staple focal lengths for most all traditionally composed landscape imagery.
• Canon 70-200 f/2.8L II IS: Great for sports and for portraits. However, I have been using this lens more and more for landscape imaging. I love the scale and juxtaposition that it brings to the table, that is just not quite as possible with the shorter focal lengths.
• Canon 70-200 f/4 IS: I had this before the f/2.8 version. I kept this version as well because it is tack sharp and weighs about 400 lbs less than it’s f/2.8 counterpart. So despite the loss in “lens speed”, it will hopefully help me make up for it in “hike speed”.
• Canon 11-24 f/4: Touted as the world’s widest full-frame reticlinear lens and it is nothing short of amazing. Ideal for architectural shots where you don’t have a lot of room to work with and want to avoid converging verticals. Although it isn’t the most ideal lens to take in the backcoutry due to it’s weight and big fragile bulbous front element, it does produce some incredibly unique landscape images that you wouldn’t be able to capture otherwise.
• Canon 2x III & 1.4 III Telephoto Extenders: Ideal solutions to increase the focal length of the 70- 200’s without having carry an extra big/bulky super zoom lens.
• Feisol Carbon Fiber Tripods CT-3442 and CT-3472: Strong, sturdy, lightweight, great value.
• Arca Swiss Monoball PO ball head with RRS lever release clamp: One of my favorite pieces of gear. Brilliant engineering. Saves me a lot of time and frustration when composing shots during time sensitive moments i.e. sunsets/sunrises.
• Manfrotto 405 Pro Geared Head: Heavy and big. I definitely leave it at home while hiking, but I think it has it's place for Architectural stuff where maintaining a “perfectly” horizontal and vertical camera plane is critical. Still trying to get used to it.
• Filters: I mainly stick with circular polarizers and neutral density filters. I use a handful of screw on types as well as the Lee Filter system which is compatible with my 11-24mm lens.
• L-plates/brackets: Indispensable. I have one on every camera and battery grip. It makes swapping from landscape orientation to portrait orientation a breeze. if you use a tripod very much, then I would go as far to say that an L bracket is the single best investment you could make as far as accessories go. I couldn’t imagine not having them.
• Nodal Slide: A critical piece of gear when shooting panoramas. It helps create images that can more easily be stitched together without errors. the basic idea is that it moves the camera back and puts the point of ration at what is called the Nodal Point or “No-Parralax Point". If you are ever having a hard time falling asleep and want a sure fire way to get some shut-eye, then research all about finding the nodal point for each of your lenses at different focal lengths. Its done the trick for me on more than one occasion.
• Packs/Bags: I am constantly trying to find a camera pack I like. I think I have tried nearly everything on the market so far without falling in love with anything. One of the last ones I haven’t tried yet are the F-stop packs. Currently waiting for one to arrive in the mail. Stay tuned.
Another pack I also nearly always wear, is a chest pack made by Hill People Gear. The pack has made a huge difference in having an easily accessible and ultra convenient place to stash lens caps, remotes, cell phone, keys, headlamp and other small items. It can easily be worn with a backpack as well, which is a big bonus. Oh, it is also important to point out that it has a dedicated pocket for my Smith and Wesson Governor -which is loaded with some hot .45 long colt -which is plenty adequate to take good care of any sort of wild creature that wants to eat me for dinner…or steal my gear (smiley winky face).
So that's pretty much it folks. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions about any of the gear I use or whatever else you might be wondering about i.e. gardening, parenting, woodworking, life coaching, etc. doesn't really matter, I just love emails.