Photography Gear

I get a lot of questions about what camera gear I use to get my shots so I've put together a list of my most used equipment. This is the stuff that comes out with me on almost every trip, but whilst a good camera and set of lenses do help they are no replacement for good photography knowledge. I've seen other photographers produce incredible images on their smartphones - "The best camera is the one you have with you."

 

Camera body - nikon d800

The Nikon D800 is one of the higher end camera bodies on the market, boasting many features and a fantastic 36 megapixel, full frame sensor. It's not aimed at the beginner market, and while I do absolutely love the Nikon D800 the other bodies I've had have been more than up to the task. Two I'd recommend are the Nikon D3200 (beginner, budget friendly) and the Nikon D7200 (intermediate, more features than the Nikon D3200,) which is the one linked to the left. I found the D7200 to be the biggest step for me in my photography, providing many of the semi-pro features without the huge cost.

Lens - nikon af-s 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5

A wide angle lens is an absolute must for the majority of landscape photographers, and I've recently started using it for some more creative and dramatic equine photography too. This option is fairly budget friendly as far as good quality wide-angle lenses go, but if you can afford it I'd highly recommend the Tamron 15-30mm or the Nikon 14-24mmWhilst the Nikon 18-35mm may not have the low fixed aperture it is beautifully sharp and nice and light too, making it perfect for my needs. For those on crop sensor cameras I can recommend the Sigma 10-20mm, which was a staple of mine before I upgraded.

lens - nikon af 50mm f/1.8d

This could be the best photography purchase you ever make. You may be dismayed by the lack of zoom, but if anything improves your photography more than having to compose by moving around rather than zooming in and out I'd love to know. The 50mm is incredibly sharp, incredibly cheap, and suitable for pretty much all your photography needs. The 'Nifty Fifty' is perfect for everything from landscapes to pet portaits to weddings. It's the cheapest lens in my bag but probably the one I use the most. If you use a crop sensor camera I'd recommend the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G.

lens - sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 apo ex dg hsm os

It might be a bit of a mouthful, but all those letters are worth it. The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 is my go-to lens for all things equine and pet related. In addition I also regularly use it for landscapes and rarely leave the house without it. The one drawback is the size and weight, but if you are feeling strong it's well worth the effort. All of the big name 70-200 f/2.8 lenses offer excellent quality, so take your pick between this and the Nikon, Canon, and Tamron equivalents.

lens - Tamron 90mm f/2.8 di macro

The last of my most often used lenses, and one that I find a joy to shoot with all the time. Again, it lacks the zoom function so many newcomers crave, but the sharpness and character of this lens is just beautiful. Macro lenses are designed to focus closely on a subject, reproducing it to life-size scale on the camera's sensor. Because of the fine detail they need to pick up they have to be optically excellent, and this makes them very good for everyday shooting. I don't just use this lens for macro photography, but for everything from pet portraits to landscapes when I don't want to lug my Sigma 70-200mm around.

tripod - xsource carbon fibre tripod with ballhead

It's rare to find a landscape photographer out in the field without a tripod, and this is my constant companion. Having a sturdy tripod is a must, but it's weight must also be considered. Manfrotto, Gitzo, and Three Legged Thing offer a wide variety of incredible tripods, but with this carbon fibre number costing less than £100 I can't recommend anything else. It's sturdy, light, and cheap, and whilst I would recommend a Three Legged Thing tripod if you have an unlimited budget in terms of value for money nothing beats this.

accessories - l bracket

Possibly my best ever photography related purchase. An L Bracket allows you to change your composition from horizontal to vertical without fiddling around with your tripod ballhead and forcing you to recompose the shot. All you need to do is slide your camera out of the arca-swiss compatible ballhead (the tripod above is arca-swiss compatible,) rotate it, and slide it back in. You end up with the exact same shot, but composed vertically instead. It saves countless hours or frustration and missed shots over the years.

accessories - optech sling strap

I'd recommend replacing your designated camera neck strap as soon as possible. Not only does it draw unnecessary attention to the expensive brand of your camera, but I find them incredibly uncomfortable. This beauty slings over your shoulder and lets the camera sit by your waist. In one swift movement you can move the camera into position, and the camera detaches from the strap with an easy to use clip. Most importantly - It's massively more comfortable than the neck straps issued with the generic camera bodies.

accessories - filters

Filters are an essential part of my landscape photography fit. The polarising filter does something that no editing an replicate by reducing glare on the surface of water and lessening atmospheric haze. Neutral density filters allow you to lengthen exposure to produce a soft, dreamy effect, and graduated filters balance contrast between the sky and the foreground in those beautiful backlit scenes. There are a number of excellent filter manufacturers, but I would recommend Lee Filters, Nisi Filters, and Fomatt Hitech. 

These pro-level kits can be expensive, and whilst they can transform your photography I would recommend trying out some screw in filters from SRB Photographic first. They are incredible quality for the price and will let you see the potential of investing in some top quality glass in front of your lens.

smartphone - nexus 6p

As I mentioned at the top - The best camera is the one you have with you. A lot of the time I don't feel like lugging 15kg of camera equipment out on my daily dog walk, but the light waits for nobody. If I find myself out and about and a scene unfolds before me my smartphone is more than adequate at getting a shot. Obviously I'm not going to be able to print a 30x20 inch print from it, but it captures the memory very well. If I'm honest, there are a certain few photographers who produce better images with their phone than the vast majority of people do with £5,000 worth of camera equipment. It's also a fantastic tool for scouting out compositions.