Equipment

Like many photographers, I’m a bit of an equipment nut. Many years ago, I used to work at a camera store and miss being able to try different cameras and lenses when I wished. But one thing I did learn, it is what is between your ears that makes a nice image. The equipment just facilitates what you see and create.

Most of my gear is getting long in the tooth, compared to the newer models available now. Though I intend to upgrade at some point, I’m comfortable with the gear below and it still works well for me. Remember, almost any camera and lens will capture great images, as long as it’s a quality build and the right type of gear for your photography needs.

CAMERAS

Canon 7D
At the time, I bought the 7D to shoot video if I travel, but it turns out I actually shoot very little video. In the future, the video features will be a minor concern in any camera selection. I have enjoyed the features that include:

  • Up to a 3 f-stop range on auto bracketing – this gives me more flexibility for HDR photos.
  • Two second self-timer – Allows me to shoot time exposures without a cable release.
  • Electronic level – I use this more than I thought I would and has reduced post processing corrections.
  • Live view and the option to magnify the focusing; great for landscapes.
  • Custom user settings – I can switch between setups much faster (great feature)
  • It just feels good in my hand. The contour of the grip is better than some cameras.
  • The viewfinder is larger and easier to use than the Rebel series cameras. I didn’t realize this until comparing them side-by-side. Full frame cameras are even nicer with larger viewfinders too.

The 7D has been replaced with the newer 7D Mk 2. The new features are of benefit to sports photographers, but landscape photographers may not need to spend the extra money.

Canon XTi  (my daughter’s camera now)
This was my first DSLR I bought on sale as they were phasing the model out. It’s still a great buy for someone looking at used cameras. Because I was worried about dust in the body, I purchased the Camera Armor to help keep the body sealed. Better yet, it gave me more to grip on to and felt more like the D series than a Rebel. It does not cover the battery grip below though. When I’m shooting on the tripod with the 7D, I would carry this for handheld and non-HDR photos.

LENSES

  Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
A great lens for general shooting, shallow depth of field photos or in low light. It’s very inexpensive too. I hope to replace it with the f/1.4 sometime. The 1.2 would be nicer, but is very expensive and much heavier.
  Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Not a fast sports lens, but still a nice general purpose telephoto. The IS feature works well also. Be prepared to use a tripod or monopod at the 300 end though. Also, the front element rotates on focus, which means you have to adjust your polarizer more often. The step up from here would probably be an L series lens.
  Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX
This lens stays on the 7D almost all the time. It’s my favorite for my wide-angle shots. I don’t use f/2.8 much, but the brighter viewfinder at night is nice and aids in faster focusing too.
  Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
My most recent purchase, this has become my walk-around lens. The 15mm is why I opted for this, as I tend to shoot more wider angle images. I’m actually quite pleased with the results and the flexibility on the range it covers. With its wide range and the image stabilization, it is a fun lens to shoot.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
This is the kit lens that came with the XTi. It’s actually not bad for general photos and many of my early photos were taken with this lens. But with its limited range, I usually am using the 15-85mm. 

STORAGE

Lowe Pro Pro Runner 350AW Lowepro Pro Runner 350AW
This is what I use for my primary storage and travel. With the equipment above, it is filled completely. It carries well and is built to last. I have a review of this bag here. If I buy any more gear, I would have to move up to a larger size, but then I would never want to carry it anyway.
Lowepro Flipside 300
The Flipside opens from between the straps and provides great security in urban areas where pick-pockets could be an issue. It’s a great size bag; not to big and not too small. It’s very comfortable and carries enough gear for a day shoot. Read my review here. It is my main bag when needing only one or two lenses.
Tenba Messenger Camera Bag Tenba Messenger CAMERA Bag
I won an auction on ebay for a Tenba Messenger bag. What was delivered was a Tenba Messenger Camera Bag. The auction had the smaller bag’s photo and description, but the larger “camera” bag was delivered instead. I decided to keep it for daily photo jaunts and sell an older Tamrac bag. I now keep most of my speedlights and flash triggers. I later discovered that it was the 2010 PDN Photo Bag of the Year, and it’s lived up to its good ratings.
Tenba Messenger Bag
After spending way too much time researching messenger bags, I decided on the Tenba Small Photo/Laptop Messenger bag for a daily carry/briefcase” bag. The “small” is misleading, as it’s large enough for a 15″ laptop. It’s been a great bag. I have used it on many trips and it’s superb. It’s very comfortable with a great padded strap, and the top entry zipper comes in much handier than I thought. Now, I would not buy a messenger that didn’t have a top zipper. It has a ton of storage pockets, plus the camera portion can pull out, leaving it open for an overnight bag if desired. Notice the manly brown color, but it’s available in others if you’re a girl. This is an older design and there are some newer, sleeker messenger bags on the market, but this one is hard to beat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *