Yes! Another photographers "what's in my bag" article, and yes it is different to everybody else's. I have never spoken to a photographer on location that is 100% happy with their equipment, but the best thing is that it still gets the job done! Below is a list of items that best suits "ME" as a travel & landscape photographer, I have spent the last 3-5 years acquiring these items, and I am happy with them. Whenever I see a camera bag I will always try it on, or research a new lens - do i need it? Probably not. But I know how hard it is to buy camera gear; the expense, weight, technology and all the jargon.
If you have any questions or are interested in how I use something, please contact me - I will always try to help and give honest replies!!!
Canon EOS 6D
Canon EOS 6D - The cheapest (not the best) full frame camera Canon make. The image quality is as good as the Canon 5D iii, as for video (which suffers heavily compared to 5D iii) I have a dedicated camera for video, so the 6D suits all my needs perfectly.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM - My go to lens, used to shoot 90% of my images. I never shoot portrait, therefore always shooting between f/8 to f/13 for landscape. I would love to own the 16-35mm f/2.8 iii but then the issue of weight and price comes into play.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM - Once again similar situation with the 24-70mm f/4 shooting landscapes between f/8 and f/13. With the f/4 lens being half the price in any currency and 200+ grams lighter. Reviews on YouTube actually proved the f/4 to be equally as sharp throughout the focal range, in fact, the middle focal range resulted in being sharper corner to corner. With savings this great, I would highly recommend this lens, unless the extra stop of light is needed.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM - The latest and greatest addition to my camera bag! Recommend to me by Thomas Heaton. So much impact can be achieved with this lens, looking at Chris Eyre-Walker's photos, the impact he is able to achieve between subject and landscape creates a sense of scale and realism. Not having the image stabilization built in does not affect me, 99% of the time I will shoot on a tripod - handheld on the odd occasion for wildlife. In the long run, helps me, saving weight + back pain - another useful addition if you can handle a larger lens.
Fujifilm X-T1 - Small, compact, lightweight all in one powerful camera. This mirrorless setup is perfect for my backpacking adventures. Everything including a tripod, accessories and clothes will fit into carry on luggage (10kg). Plus the full manual ability just brings the enjoyment back to photography.
Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS - Pin Sharp! WOW! Just mind blown by this lens, I knew Fuji's primes are sharp. but let me tell you this is only millimeters behind. Full frame equivalent of 15mm to 36mm basically identical focal range to that of the Canon 16-35mm also being f/4. One thing that initially blew me away is the lack of distortion this achieves from such a wide angle. Basically glued to the front of the X-T1.
Fujifilm 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 WR LM R OIS Fujinon Lens - The perfect travel lens, sharp, light and versitle bit of kit . Only a few downfalls, not as sharp as the 10-24mm f/4 and also variable aperture. So why own it? Focal range equivalent to that of 27-206mm in full frame and light as a feather - thats why!
Canon 6D v Fujifilm X-T1
Let the great debate start - DSLR V Mirrorless. NO! One is not better than the other, if it was I would sell the other and spend the money on travelling. Please understand this is 100% my personal opinion, but this is the reason why so many photographers own both. Let me start off by saying this, if you own one of these cameras (or similar) lucky you, they are magic!
So why do I own both? The Canon has better image quality hands down. The Fuji is lighter and smaller - better for travelling. The Canon can exposure bracket up to 7 brackets where the Fuji is currently only 3. Fuji's lenses are smaller and lighter. Fuji packs smaller but the Canon interface is easier.
These may be small factors to you, but I travel all year round and when backpacking, climbing mountains, flying etc. having the Fuji saves not only money, but my poor back.
If I could own just one of these I would choose the Fuji, I really enjoy using it, I would own the X-T2 as a stand alone camera and the factor of exposure bracketing I would learn to deal with.
Body Weight: 770grams (inc battery)
Lenses Weight: 1920grams
Total Weight: 2690grams (no accessories)
Body Size: 144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2 (WxHxD mm)
Price: $5195 AUD
£3156 Sterling Pounds
Body Weight: 435grams (inc battery)
Lenses Weight: 894grams
Total Weight: 1329grams
Body Size: 129x89.8x46.7 (WxHxD mm)
Price: $3036 AUD
£1845 Sterling Pounds
** All prices & exchange rates are current as of August 2017**
Video / Vlog Setup
Canon G5X - Perfect little video/vlog camera, its small, lightweight, built tough, comes with a tilt screen and is also 60fps. This beast of a camera also comes equipped with a viewfinder, which to me was a major reason for buying this compared to it's little brother the G7X Mark ii. The G5X also offers amazing image quality allowing me on holidays to carry this as a solo camera for shooting B roll and 'holiday snaps'. The variable aperture of 1.8 - 2.8 makes it extremely durable in low light situations and has a handy 24-105mm (full frame equivalent) zoom range.
Zhiyun Crane M - To get a gimbal or not? This was a tough decision and full disclosure I should have shot more with the G5X before buying a gimbal, because the Canon G5X has incredible image stabiliser built into the body of the camera. Anything zoomed basically needs a gimbal to get silky smooth footage and slow motion just looks amazing, but you need to weigh those up to how much you would actually use it and price point, weight and an extra item to carry around.
Tascam DR-10C - Biggest downfall about the Canon G5X - no audio jack input. I overcome this by buying the Tascam TINY voice recorder. Small, easy to use and lightweight it does a perfect job out on the field - only need to match audio to video in post.
RØDE VideoMicro - Used for capturing inside audio; car, camper-van, tent or for some ambience noise.
Sennheiser Me 2 Lavalier Mic - Small omni-directional clip-on microphone best lavalier for the Tascam with the screw on jackport.
RØDE Minifur - MUST NEED deflects high winds in the outdoors - audio is so important!!
SanDisk SD Cards - Never have to much storage always carry backup for each item!
Micro SanDisk SD Cards - Never have to much storage always carry backup for each item!
Arca Swiss Plate - Allows the versatility of the G5X to attach to the ballheads, mini tripod and clamp.
G5X Spare Batteries - Battery life of the G5X is a little poor. I have 7 batteries which will last me 3 full days of recording before needing to charge - happens more often than you think. Rather have too much power source than not enough, never want to miss out on anything.
Tripods & Ballheads
Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Tripod - This high end model from Manfrotto has excellent build quality for a full sized tripod, I used it for my travels in extreme conditions such as Scotland, The Alps, Baltic Region or high wind locations to utilize the larger leg stance. In the pictures you can see the difference between this tripod and my travel tripod (Manfrotto 190GO!). An extended height of 170cm and folded height of 61cm, I would highly recommend this tripod due to its excellent price and quality.
Manfrotto 190GO! Tripod - My insane travel tripod, this took me years to find! A brand new range from Manfrotto that is ideal for backpack travel, it's size, weight and quality make it indispensable. I was after a tripod that had screw leg locks, folded small and was lightweight, with this tripod coming in at only 1.35kg and a folded length of 46cm it is perfect to fit into my Osprey Farpoint, along with my camera and clothes. The one (and only) downfall of this tripod is the price, it's expensive, but I have already saved this expense by using it as carry on luggage. Perfect for travel and is suitable for most conditions, if I could only have one tripod, it would be this!
Canon Manfrotto Ballhead - This 3 way locking, Arca Swiss ballhead from Manfrotto is extremely smooth and easy to adjust in slight precise movements. Unscrew the plate for small travel packing and light for an 8kg load rating.
Arca Swiss Plate + Adaptor - I always walk with the tripod clipped onto my waist strap from the backpack, every time I walked the standard ballhead plate would come loose. The screw that tightens the plate up always unscrewed, after to many close calls I lost it in Morocco. This forced me to upgrade to the Arca Swiss plate with adaptor, it also has markings on it to line up the Nodal slide for panoramic's.
Fuji Manfrotto Ballhead - An older ballhead from Manfrotto, would love to upgrade one day - but currently works fine. Same reasons as stated above for upgrading the ballhead plate once again. Good option to pick up a ballhead second hand!
Elia Locardi Signature Filter Kit - My idol owns one, do I need one? Well... No, not always, but when you work out buying this kit individually, it soon becomes a no brainer to get the necessary needs for a basic filters kit. I would love to own more filters, medium grad, hard grad, maybe a 2 stop soft grad, but my god are they expensive. Out in the field I don't want to be consistently concerned about being careful due to having 100's of dollars worth of filters to care about, I trust my gear in all conditions. You buy gear to use it, I find this the perfect "happy medium"!
Formatt Hitech Filter Holder - The brand new filter holder from Formatt Hitech. I jumped straight on board preordering this product. When first purchasing the Elia Locardi Signature Kit, there was no polariser in the filter holder. To be able to use a polariser a front adaptor was needed, a polariser itself and by the time I added this up it was similar price to the new filter holder. Some people would understandably say the new filter holder is fiddly which I could understand near a beach or in high winds. My argument to this is, scout the location and understand what you need before you arriving. I love the filter holder by Formatt Hitech, with many other competitors around I have never owned another brand so can not give comparison advice.
Lowepro Filter Holder - I do not use it for it's intended purpose. By taking the filter dividers out allows me to place the Formatt Hitech cases for the filers and Filter holder inside. The Lowepro case also has a belt holder on the back, which makes it perfect out in the field for all conditions.
RRS Travel Clamp - Best accessory I own, RRS small clamp acts like a tripod on any surface it can clamp to (round or flat). In cities this allows me to leave my tripod at home, the ballhead also screws into the side of the Manfrotto tripods (pictured right.)
Manfrotto Travel Tripod - Made my own Arca swiss Manfrotto mini tripod, 1/4 of the price compared to the RRS. Little larger but not used much, just a good accessory.
Travel Tripod Arca Swiss - The Arca swiss plate I used to convert the Manfrotto mini tripod, contact me if you are interested in how I made this.
Rain Cover - Cheap rain cover for extreme conditions, for lighter rain just use a shower cap.
Canon 6D Cover - Chopped, cropped and mangled to fit around the L bracket. Used on my 6D for travel and protection . Good way to keep the camera in good condition.
Microfibre Cloths - Always, always, ALWAYS travel with multiple microfiber cloths. Lightweight and cheap, you never know when you need a clean one.
Canon Batteries - I own four genuine canon batteries, my camping trips can last 5-7+ days with no power. Sometimes I'm able to recharge on a form of transport, so as power is limited I travel with multiple batteries.
Fuji Batteries - Another mirror-less debate is the battery life. I own three genuine Fuji batteries, fully charged I would compare three Fuji batteries to only two Canon batteries. Another reason I can not travel solo with the Fuji backpacking.
Canon Remote - Simple, cheap and should be in everybody bags.
Fuji Remote - Simple, cheap and should be in everybody bags.
Sandisk SD Card - Own multiple of these, one in each camera and three in backup. Always used the Sandisk SD card never had any major issues with them in my travels.
140mm Nodal Slide - Used incorrectly probably 95% of the time. I am not a huge panoramic shooter, I turn it around and use it as an extension to get over a rail, platform on a viewpoint.
Hot Shoe Level - No such things as to many levels, get it right in camera.
Travel Camera Kit
The kit that took me 100+ hours of youtube watching and internet surfing to build. With a budget in mind, I wanted to build the best possible kit to backpack around Europe (and the rest of the world). This is the completed version after around 12 months of research and saving. The one thing I would upgrade to as stated previously would be the Fuji X-T2.
The Daylite Osprey bag is a great little backpack, allowing me to carry everything pictured to the right, plus a rain jacket, water bottle, keys, wallet and other small items. The reasoning behind a backpack rather than a camera backpack was to look discreet, carrying expensive gear in large crowds never ends well. The eagle creek waterproof pack is only 25 x 19 x 9 cm and 5L small, so you can tell by fitting a ballhead, camera, x2 lenses, RRS clamp, nodal, remote and accessories I have packed well.
During the day I will carry only whats needed to scout locations, by doing this the bag will weigh only 1.5kg with a jacket, food and water. When the golden hour approaches I will usually not take food, be wearing all my clothes needed for the shoot, so all equipment will weigh in at 4kg (tripod included) not bad at all.
I can not stress enough how important it is to location scout. During the day I love exploring cities by foot, viewpoints whatever it may be. By doing this there are two major positives, you explore the city like a local and you can work out what camera gear is actually necessary for your shot. The amount of times I have went to a location with just the gear I needed, X-T1, 10-24mm and RRS clamp and set up in 10 minutes with minimal gear. Another photographer with a 10kg bag will always approach me and ask what gear I am using and amazed at the quality of gear I use, and how small it packs down to.
As good as the RRS clamp is I have had some incidents in larger crowds where it has worked to negative effects. I was in Lisbon, Portugal in February 2017. I location scouted this view point during the day, perfect, only needed the RRS clamp. When arriving for sunset the place was packed, and the vantage point had a rail around it (where I was going to clamp) soon discovered people were sitting on it to take photos of themselves, as it was only a metal rail I had camera shake the whole 2 hour sunset. So it can backfire! Perfect situation it has a small ledge, bring the mini tripod and no one can bother you, arrive early!
When travelling to cities I highly recommend another alternative then a tripod. Climbing vantage point, churches, buildings or whatever it may be not everywhere permits tripods. This is why I have the three alternatives, Clamp, mini tripod and tripod.
TIP: If going to a beach or muddy place bring some CD's put your tripod legs on top of them, protect it from getting dirty and also sinking into the soil underneath.
Laptop - Soon to be my 100% independent workhorse! I previously had the luxury of an office where I was able to do all my editing, but frustratingly when on location this restricted me. Looking into the future, my plans are to be on the road for 4+ months at a time and location editing will obviously become a major issue. So I purchased the Dell 15" XPS (this is my third) with 32GB RAM, 4GB Graphics Card and 1TB SDD and UHD 100% Adobe RGB Screen which will be amazing!! This will be able to fly through editing the images and vlogs with a breeze! A lot of money - but sometimes it not always camera gear that needs upgrading!
Wacom Intuos Pro - This, in my opinion is needed for editing, makes life so much easier. Creates a seamless effect, however it does take a while to get used to.
Datacolor Spyder5Pro - Vital for obtaining that perfect color display, one of many recommended, does exactly what is intended.
Logitech Speakers - Everyone needs good tunes to get through the hours of editing, next investment for the desk, coffee machine! #lifegoals
Editing can be frustrating, time consuming and sometimes boring but see it as a process towards finishing the job. We take so much time and effort towards getting the shot, don't ruin it by rushing post processing. Make an environment you enjoy being in, hang up inspiration or previous and future adventures to help you concentrate.
Osprey Farpoint 40- Such a simple purchase when looking for the "ultimate" backpacking travel backpack. Seriously, try it. Google "best backpacking backpack" and the first 10 results will include this in their list! The ability to open your backpack like a suitcase is a dream. No more smelly clothes at the bottom of your backpack. A laptop compartment, 40Lt, hides the straps for flights, large opening compartment, passport compartment, I can rave on about this bag for a while!
Osprey Daylite - As written in my previous post, it's mainly used as my camera backpack. Even when I'm not using it to carry my camera gear it can easily hold a water bottle, lunch and a jacket for the day. I personally find the heavier you pack the bag (3-5kgs) the comfier the bag becomes, when lighter it sits a little awkward on your back. I would highly recommend to find a store and try before purchase.
EBags 4pc Classic Set - If you can not tell by now, organisation is my thing! Every item I travel with has a spot it "has" to be in. Multiple reasons, I may have slight OCD, but also I can not remember the last thing that got left behind on my travels (a jacket in NZ...shh) also when I want something I know exactly where it is. These Ebags make life so much easier, along with the Eagle Creek Camera case everything has a "spot".
TIP: As you can tell by now, I like green? Well yes, but it's not my favourite colour. This fact is if I see something green lying around when packing up, I own all green things, so it could be mine? Bag, camera case, ebags, towel etc little tip that works for me.
Clothes & Shoes
Hiking Boots - This is my second pair of Salomon Boots in the last 5 years. Now everywhere I go I wear them - travelling obviously. If you see me out for dinner in them I have cold feet - sorry! Highly recommend, fully waterproof, very durable.
Nike Shoes/Sneakers - In need of new Nikes, I always own Nikes. Two reasons why, they are comfortable and affordable but also they are extremely light due to the fact they don't have a proper sole. Stylish, easy to pack and travel with.
Thongs/Flip Flops - I'm Aussie, they are thongs ok! Havianas are super comfy, little heavier compared to other thongs, but do the job!
Fleece Jumper - I own one expensive (North Face) fleece jumper and also a cheaper decathlon one. Now, honest time there is around $50 difference between the two, but not much warmth difference. Major difference is the North face fleece fit so much better underneath the arms. I wanted a stylish one to double up as a jumper if was out.
Head Torch - A must! Sleeping in hostels, photography at sunrise/sunset and simple safety for early morning hikes. I also went bright orange because usually when you need a head torch - it is dark!
Rab Down Jacket - I got it on special for starters (40% off) but I want to start introducing into my photography a human element. I have spoken how Chris Eyre Walker's photography has influenced me lately, I bought the Koi (yes bright orange) so when I am in nature, sunset, sunrise or ocean setting this jacket will stand out in the image, giving a human element and scale. Keeps me super warm and is also a light jacket to travel with. I also own the Rab Lightweight Jacket for whenI need to pack lighter but still want to be warm.
Travel Towel - Help an Aussie company out when I can - Sea to summit. These guys are based in Perth, Australia and make mint gear! Yes, another expensive company but they make the best quality gear and lightest gear I have ever used. Tents, sleeping bags, pillows, sleeping mats and even camping accessories -get on them!
Others - I always buy Nike tops, most of the tops I own now are bought second hand. Nike fits me best for my body shape. I use warm 500 hiking socks, hate getting cold feet. Nike hat, thinsulate 40gram beanie/hat, fleece gloves, Montane ski mitts (still need to buy) quick dry underwear etc etc.