“It’s not about what equipment you have, it’s what you do with it.” - Aphex Twin
A lot of people have asked, over the months and years, what equipment and gear I use and I want to give a comprehensive look at what I am using now and let you know the good and bad about it and where to get it if you want it as well.
I’m going to break it down into 3 general categories: Photography, Graphic Design, and Miscellaneous equipment, so if you are only interested in camera and lenses then you can just look at that section.
I will give a disclosure that I don’t have the newest or fanciest equipment, but like the quote said above, it’s what I do with it. I will make a post soon about the best budget equipment to get started with photography, graphic design, and travel (there will be 3 posts), so keep an eye out for that. Without further ado, my equipment:
Canon 5D mark III
The Canon 5D Mark III is my main camera that I've been using for the past 4 years or so. It’s been absolutely fantastic, but it’s not perfect and can actually be outshined by a lot of the newer cameras. Some of the specs are:
22MP full frame CMOS sensor
Can shoot 6 fps
ISO range of 100-25600
Can record 1080p HD video
Some of the downsides of this are that it has a fixed screen. Meaning it doesn’t swivel out or anything and some people might not mind that, but the amount of times that it would have been helpful, makes me wish that I had it.
It also doesn’t have a touch screen as a lot of modern cameras do. Whilst it’s good that it records 1080p video, it does not record 4K and in today’s world, that is becoming more and more needed.
The sensor is great though, it is full frame which means you have a lot more image to work with, more detail, and that has saved me on occasion when I needed to crop something out, I could do so and still have plenty of image to work with. The interface is very easy to use too, the menu is simple to navigate and with so many tutorials online, if there is something you are struggling to find, you can figure it out really easily. There is a newer Mark IV that came out not long ago but if you don’t want to spend that much money, then I still think the Mark III would be a very solid first full frame camera for anyone to use.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
You can’t have a camera without a lens and one of my favorites is one that every photographer should have. We call it the “nifty-fifty” This lens is small, light and discreet making it perfect to just throw in your camera bag. It’s great for so many things, portraits, action, anything really. Because it’s f/1.8, that means the lens can really open up to let in a lot of light, making it perfect for night time photography or just general low light photography without the grainy noise. Another great thing about this lens is how well it can capture Bokeh. Bokeh is what we call the really soft and blurred background whilst having the subject really sharp in focus, this lens is phenomenal with that, It’s also one of the cheapest lenses you can get for your camera so this one is a must have!
One thing to keep in mind, you can get this for a crop sensor camera too, but then it has an effective focal-length of 80mm so keep that in mind.
Canon Zoom Lens EF 24-105mm f/4.0
This was the first lens I got for my Canon camera and it’s a beast. It has a real weight to it which I like because it makes it feel more durable. This lens can go wide angle as well as mid-telephoto meaning you can use it for a lot of different types of photography. It’s been my main lens that I use for the majority of my work over the years. You can take a look at my portfolio of photography to see the photos I've taken with this lens. The glass is really nice on it so images come out very crisp. The downside is that this lens is more on the expensive side, when I got it, it was several hundred dollars more than it is now so it’s not as bad as it once was, but definitely something to keep in mind. I think it’s worth the money because of just how much you can use this lens for and how good it is.
This was my first DSLR camera and I still use it as a B camera. It has a crop sensor which might turn some people off, but you can definitely work with it and some of my favorite photos have been shot with this camera. It’s a very budget friendly way to get into photography if you don’t mind that it’s not full frame. It does come with a 24.2MP sensor so you have plenty to work with. The downside is that it is a bit outdated but because of that it’s cheaper than a lot of newer cameras. It’s definitely a good camera to have as a backup if you can’t afford to have two full frame cameras, which is why I have it
Nikkor AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
This is the kit lens that basically came with my D3200 several years ago. It’s an alright lens, I don’t use it for much. It’s very light which is good but it’s not my favorite lens. For the same price I think you can definitely get something better, but it has its upsides too, it can go really wide angle which can let you get some great landscape photos, or you can get creative and do some portraits with this lens. If you are starting out and don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on lenses, then this is definitely one that you want to have in your arsenal.
Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Lens
This was probably my favorite lens for my Nikon camera. With the zoom going up to 200mm you can get some really up-close and cool photos. I used this a lot in zoos and on my travels to zoom into things I wasn’t able to get up close to physically. With the aperture opening up to f/4.0 you can get a good amount of light into the camera too, which is really nice for a zoom lens like this. This was definitely an essential lens to have in my starter kit early on.
This little camera is one of my favorite things in all my gear. It is a fantastic 4K action camera. We have all heard of GoPro but when I was looking for a good action camera, I found YI and they are fantastic. This camera shoots 4K at 60fps and has a Sony IMX377 image sensor that can also take 12MP photos. The back has a touch screen which is one of the most intuitive interfaces I've experienced on a camera, it’s incredibly simple and easy to use. You can do some really cool things with this camera like time-lapse, hyper-lapses, and slow motion, just to name a few. It’s also incredibly affordable, one of the cheapest ways to get into creating 4K content. Definitely check this camera out, it’s a must have for any creator or traveler, it slips into your pocket and you can capture great moments in a moments notice.
If you need to have any accessory, it has to be some lens filters. I found out about the benefits of using these 2 years into being a photographer! Sounds crazy, but it was one of the best things that I learned. I have Lens filters for my Canon Lenses as well as my YI 4K+ and it improves the quality of my images so much! The filter I use the most is probably one of the Neutral Density filters which reduces the amount of light passing through the lens. Great to use when it’s too bright. I also use the UV filters because it protects the lens, but it also gives sharper contrast and removes ghosting effects that sometimes happen from reflected light. One of the best things to have in your kit and it’s both small and very cheap.
This is a piece of gear that I sometimes love and sometimes loath. It’s a battery grip. On the good side, it really increases the battery capacity of your camera so you can keep going for a long time. Great for when you are spending the whole day out and won’t have time to charge batteries during the day. It also adds a considerable amount of bulk to your camera which is both good and bad. Some people like having the bigger and heftier camera, but when you are traveling and walking around for the whole day, it gets really heavy carrying a big setup around. But it’s great, it has come in handy a lot for me. Batteries drain faster in the cold so whenever I have a night shoot or in the winter, I tend to use this grip for the better battery capacity and also the added grip is very nice to have. If you have the means so splurge and get this, i’d recommend it.
This is a given for any photographer, but having SD cards is so important. And having multiple can really come in handy and can help you stay organized. Investing into a good quality, high capacity card is a good investment, definitely have a 64GB card. There are photographers who are die hard fans of certain brands and for myself, I’ve found that Lexar and Kingston are two brands that I use and have found to be very reliable.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2
This is one of the coolest and most fun things in my gear. Because my main camera doesn’t record 4K I've had to improvise to get some nice video and I use my YI 4K plus or my phone and having the DJI Osmo mobile 2 means I can get buttery smooth video footage that you can’t even tell was shot on a phone. It’s fairly small so you can fit it into your bag and travel with it easily and you can get some really nice panning shots. You can even download the DJI app and have access to a lot more features and you can even set it up to work remotely so you don’t even need to be by the gimbal. It has a super long battery life of about 15 hours which is great if you are out all day, and it can also charge your phone which has come in handy for me before. If you are into video, this is definitely something you should also have in your gear.
Joby Gorillapod Tripod
This is one of my favorite tripods. I have about 4 tripods but this is the one I wanted to put on this list because it’s the one that I use the most and also the one that I think has the most functionality. The legs are super durable and can bend in all kinds of ways meaning you can have this tripod set anywhere and it will stay there. It also has a sturdy design so you can really throw this around without trouble. I have some aluminum tripods that got dented from a little toss and being in my bad, but this tripod has been durable and great for years. They have cheaper versions of this but I got the 5K kit model which is for DSLR cameras, so keep that in mind if you are getting one and have a DSLR you need to make sure you have a tripod that can support it.
I wasn’t able to find my exact bag on Amazon, but I linked one that is very similar to mine. Having a good quality camera bag will be crucial if you want to travel with a camera. The standard camera bags that come with the camera that goes over one shoulder is very uncomfortable to travel with, so I got a great quality camera bag that has modular compartments so you can really pack however you need to. I’ve even been able to pack clothes and my camera gear into the same bag and travel like that. It’s a must have for anyone with a camera. Things stay more organized and safer too, the bag has a lot of padding and you can even find waterproof bags so you have very little to worry about. There are numerous bags to choose from but I linked one of my favorites, for the price and features, it’s unbeatable.
I’ve been getting into making videos lately and to get my feet in the water I got this micro shotgun microphone from Rode. For such a little microphone it packs quite the punch. It has really great sound quality. For a starter microphone it’s great and it fits right onto the hot shoe of my camera. You can also have it detached and on a separate stand. If you’re thinking of getting into video, this could be a great first microphone for you, it’s definitely been great for me.
Blue Snowball Condenser Microphone
This was the first microphone I ever got several years ago and it still stand up to this very day. I use this mostly on my streams and it’s fantastic. It’s one of the cheapest condenser microphones that you will find on the market and honestly it’s one of the best. It has 3 settings for how it captures the sound so you may have to play around to find what works best for your situation but it’s super simple to test and figure out and setup is simple plug and play. Definitely a great and budget friendly microphone if you need one
HP Spectre x360
This computer was one of my biggest investments that I've made into myself. For years before I used very cheap dell computers and a macbook from 2011. A good computer is very important to someone who wants to pursue anything creative. It allows you to have a better workflow and a faster turnaround for your clients, that was the reason I got this computer and it’s been great for me. It’s definitely on the expensive side and I don’t recommend you get this unless you know that you will have work lined up to pay it off, even I didn’t get it until about 7 years into my career as a photographer, so no rush to get anything this fancy. But it’s a great Windows machine. I use this as my mobile editing station (I have a desktop also that I built) but for a laptop, you won’t get much better than this and it’s worth the money.
Huion Inspiroy H950P Graphics Drawing Tablet
This is probably my most recent purchase. I got this in the winter of 2018 and it’s one of the best tablets I've ever used. For a long time I was editing my photos and creating my photo manipulations with a mouse and that was a huge pain. I got this tablet as a gift and it’s fantastic. One of the best tablets under $100 so if you want a budget tablet, this is the one! This tablet can connect to your phone so you can even draw on there. It has 8,192 levels of pen pressure which means it measures the pressure you put onto it very well. It has 8 buttons on it that you can customize to be whatever you want it to be. I use it in Photoshop so I have it set to some of the shortcuts that I use often. It’s also super thin and light, you can easily travel with this and create on the go.
There you have it, that is all my gear that I use currently. It’s not the fanciest but I make it work and I enjoy using all of my equipment. If you enjoyed this rundown of my equipment definitely let me know, and I may end up making more in the future as I upgrade and get more things for my work.
If you enjoyed this, make sure you subscribe so that you don’t miss out on future posts and have them delivered right to your email! Also share this with your friends, I know when I started out I wish I would have had someone tell me what to get and what they had, a lot of creators keep that to themselves so I hope that by sharing my experiences and what I have, I can help you make your decision on some of your own equipment.
Love Yourself, Love Others, Love the Earth