gear,travel,explore,photography

What gear is in my bag? My favourite camera is the Sony A7RII with it’s rugged build, versatility, compact size and ability to handle almost any kind of photographic situation. I am a travel photographer so my gear goes everywhere with me and size and weight become important factors. I use the Think Tank Photo Retrospective 7  bag which can hold all my gear when on location and the Tamrac Evolution 6 to carry all my gear when traveling. It is big enough to carry my macbook and numerous other things in addition to camera’s and lenses and it’s small enough to carry on to an aircraft.

CAMERA’S

Sony A7RII – Incredible hight quality images come from the sensor in this beast. Large dynamic range and 42 Megapixels. In body stabilisation and being mirrorless its small and affordable when compared with other manufactures DSLR cameras.

Sony A6300 Mirrorless Camera – A super camera to start out with and one that you can keep using on a daily basis even when your a professional. It’s an all round winner and excellent travel camera. I keep it in my bag all the times and it doubles as a backup if I break or loose my FF.

CAMERA LENSES

Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 – I recently acquired one of these and it produces the nicest images of any 50mm that I have owned. It’s the biggest and heaviest lens I have for my Sony system but it is super sharp and renders the images beautifully. The cons are sometimes in low light the autofocus ‘hunt’s a little which can be annoying but I am very happy with it. I also like being able to change the aperture on the lens itself.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 – I use this lens about 80% of the time. It’s the largest FF Sony lens I have but it is worth it’s size and weight. Most of my images are landscapes and I love wide angle shots. At f4 it’s not very fast but that does not matter to me as I am usually on a tripod and shooting bracketed images. Sometimes having a longer lens in my bag would be nice but for the few occasions, the 42 Megapixel files allow me to crop the image to get the zoom I need. I don’t carry a telephoto lens in my bag unless I know I’m going to need one.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8  

This is a small, fast and very sharp lens. Combined with the in body stabilising on the A7RII I can hand hold it down to about 1/10th of a second making it perfect for twilight shooting in the streets. It’s always in the bag.

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 – I have been using this lens for a while now on my full frame camera. You can see a strong vignette in the corners at 10 mm and 18mm but from 11-17mm it works fine. It’s a little soft around the edges but I have generally had good results with it and I love the super wide field of view and it’s small size. It might just be replaced real soon with this Voigtlander 15/4.5 III Leica M Aspherical Super Wide Heliar.  Here is a review by Jacob Surland. 

Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 II Aspherical    This is a fantastic low light lens and I have got some great star shots with it.

Cannon ‘Old” FD 85mm/f1.2  – One of the best things about the Sony system is that you can use just about any new or used lens out there from any manufacturer. Yes, most of them will only work in manual but this gives you a huge choice of lenses. This 25 year old magical lens gives a beautiful boke when shot wide open and it’s sharp. For optimum sharpness it’s best around f2. I use the Metabones adapter and turn on focus peaking and the magnification mode when using it. Shooting in manual slows me down a little and it takes practice to nail your focus overtime but it’s a fun challenge.

 Voigtlander VM-E Close Focus Adapter  – I use this to connect my Voigtlander M mount lens with my Sony cameras. It’s neat because you can fine tune your focus using the adapter. I also use the Sony remote

APSC  

When I’m shooting with the Sony A6000 I now use my much higher quality FE full frame lenses but if you are only using the A6000 or the newer A6300 I have found is all you need for traveling is these three lenses. The three of them them together with the body fit in a really small camera bag.

16mm prime with the wide angle adapter. It gives you 10mm super wide FOV.

50mm/f1.8 prime. Fast prime. Good for low light, street shooting and portraits.

55-210mm – With the 1.5 crop factor this gives you about 82-315mm FOV.

If your interested on a complete hands on review of all mirrorless systems every built jump on over to Steve Huff’s ‘mirrorless central’ page.

DRONES

Phantom 2 Vision + 

Fun and easy to fly. Take pictures with a birds eye view and in places you could never photograph before. It fits in a small backpack and travels well.

 

 

 

 

Software 

NIK Collection – Google is now offering this collection for free and it is a must have for every photographer. I use Veveza a lot and do most of my black and white conversions using Silver Effex Pro 2.

Macphun – Aurora HDR Pro – I have only been into photography for just over 4 years now and boy has HDR software come a long way. The best option used to be Photomatix until Trey Ratcliff teamed up with Macphun to produce his own HDR program. Gone are most of the work arounds and hassles that used to plague us HDR guru’s. Trey has some neat presets you can buy over on his site Stuck in Customs.

Tips and Tricks for Sony Cameras

Here is a really helpful video if your new to the A7R on how to use the new person tracking and eyeball focusing functions while shooting portraits. It’s really cool but it does require setting up your camera correctly. It does not work with the default settings. Gary Fong again to the rescue with a short video on how to set it up.

Here is another one. Your A7R does (HSS) with a moonlight using the these flash triggers. This gives you control of the ambient light while shooting portraits outdoors and allows you to use your fast lenses wide open in mid day sun. I love being able to take beautiful beach portraits without getting up for sunrise or having to wait for sunset. But then I’m a landscape guy for the most part and I like being there when the sun rises and sets just for the experience with our without a camera. If you want more details check out this video by Jason Lanier.