Techie bag

When I decided to focus more on photography about a year ago, the last thing on my mind was becoming a camera equipment nerd. You know the ones with their camera bags .. huge amount of lenses, filters and tripods. Only second to golfers in the equipment departure...

"Oooooo missed that shot .... Its because I didnt get that Goldplus Challenger 9000 club in Titanium."

Well, one year later I have a huge camera bag: body upgrade, 3 tripods, 4 extra lenses and several filters. And my wishlist of equipment is still growing. What happened? Wasnt I gonna learn the craft with ONE camera?

Equipment doesnt make a good photographer, but Ill share some of my thoughts and lessons learned during this year. Nothing new to anyone here I suspect, but please leave feedback if you feel my conclusions are wrong. And you can always help me update my wishlist :-)

Note: I flipped a coin and started out using Canon equipment, but I assume there is identical stuff available for nearly all brands.

1) Tripods

Why the need? Exposure and focus. For difficult shots such as water, sky and land in the same image, you (usually) need to bracket your shots. Having a tripod makes the retouch part a breeze. And with a tripod, switching to live-view, zoom x10 and manual focus adjustment on a couple of key points in your shot will merge into a crystal clear shot. Use a timer and back off from the cam .. this usually gets it right. Why 3 different tripods? Well the mobile one is the yobo, which I always bring along and can lock into insane positions on any surface. Then there is one for panorama and one for tilt. The tilt tripod is used mainly for macro and recently flash work.

Wish-list: None at the moment. 3 tripods does it for me, but I am considering a monopod just to try it out.

2) 100 mm Lenses

This is a must for sports or wildlife photography.

Without properly placed flashes, you need a light sensitive lens and a quick camera body (fps) to freeze sport moments. I currently have a Canon EOS 550D body and 70-300 4.5-5.6 IS which is really hard to use for sports. The IS helps for panning cars and boats, but not for football or indoor sports. I find its just to slow

For wildlife you usually want to get even closer, and a Kenko 1.4x adapter brings me close ... but not close enough. And you lose light. But IS here is invaluable so it still works .. sort of. Some animals move quite slow so you often have good time to focus.

If you go fullframe you need even more expensive lenses to get close. So for a EOS 5D and IS 400 mm + range .... it seems you need to sell your house and car. Maybe even your kids.

Wishlist: EOS 7D camera body and Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS. Alternative here is 70-200 L 2.8 without IS and 70-200 4L IS to split the investment.

4) Addons

During lowlight winter Ive started experimenting with strobes, which is a whole new bag of chips. Softboxes, RF transmitters/receivers, .... this can definetly empty your pockets. I dont know this stuff well enough yet though to give any advice or experience. Im experimenting with cheaper stuff until I learn more.

Now one addon I would recommend is a battery pack. Got mine on Ebay and yes it does make the camera body clumsy, but I appreciate the grip and you can use liveview continously on daytrips without concern of draining your batteries.

Wishlist: Pocketwizards and a couple of 480 EX flashes.

Hope you found this helpful, and please comment or discuss my current wishlist :-)

Photo credits: P0temkin, Sabina Pensek.

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March 11, 2011


Nice article and good photos

March 08, 2011


Thanks for your article!

March 05, 2011


nice pics

March 05, 2011


Great article! Thanks for sharing the info!

March 04, 2011


Yes big advantages of having one really good all-round lens, Ive stopped counting the number of times I get dust on my sensor for switching lenses in the "wrong" environment :-). The 550D auto-clean feature does actually work though, so less swabbing like I had to with my old 30D. Having a white "pro" lens does bring some attention, which is why I have actually considered the older 80-200 L which also gets good reviews. But I wouldnt say no to the "28-300mm 3.5/5.6 L IS USM"! :-)

March 04, 2011


Thanks for the insight into your camera bag, I think we are going in similar directions with Canon and the love of tech that follows, it's never ending. I think out of my kit which is all under 4 months old now since my upgrades that my 580EXII Speedlight has made one of the biggest changes to the way I shoot and the type of shots I can go for. 12 months ago I used a 50D and thought why buy a 5DMKII that does not even have a built in flash, then I bought the 580 and instantly saw the great results it can produce, then added the 5DMKII to it and again it produces some great results. I'm torn now whether or not to buy the 24-70mm L lens you have, I know other that have and it's a great lens but not sure I can justify it when I have the 28-300mm 3.5/5.6 L IS USM, a big lens to carry but gives great results with loads of diversity, it does cost the price of a small car but I would worry I would not use it again if I bought the 24-70. The other advantage to the 28-300 is that it is a great work out when you take it out for the day but on the down side it gets you lots of attention, touch wood not bad attention as yet but would have to be careful shooting in certain areas with it as it stands out so much. Also thinking now about adding additional slave units to my 580 but not sure what to have, guess more 580's would be a bit of a waste of money and a cheaper option would be a better idea... You could go on and on and on :-)

Brett, UK.

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