When a client hires us they expect our creative expertise – but when I go on an assignment, I know that choosing the right tools for the job is also vital.
I’ve been asked over the years just what equipment I regularly use and why.
This page will include links to reviews and articles related to the equipment I use.
It certainly isn’t saying that the equipment is what makes the image – that’s all down to me and the way I use the gear I have – but what I hope it will do is give a few ideas to those of you who want to make more of your own photography.
So, what’s in my camera bag …
What I use for my work.
Currently my main camera is the 50MP Canon EOS 5Ds. [general 5Ds info page – firmware etc.]
Some have asked why I didn’t choose the 5Ds R that doesn’t have an anti-aliasing (AA) filter?
Some people have asked why I choose the 5Ds instead of the 5Ds R – which doesn’t have anti-aliasing (AA) filter (and so,could be said to be slightly sharper). Well, I photograph stuff that often has a lot of fine detail and don’t want to deal with Moire.
However since the two cameras have been available I’ve looked at images and realised that much of the supposed finer detail of the ‘R’ version is illusory. Maybe when I update the 5Ds, there won’t be an AA and I’ll have plenty more MP to play with…
My previous (and now backup) camera was the 21MP Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3
I do miss the size and build of the 1 series cameras, but the 5Ds sensor trumps the 1D X and 1D X mark 2 by quite a margin for my work
When I got the 5Ds I did a print based comparison of the 5Ds with the 1Ds mk3 and 1Ds that shows why, for many a job, I could still get great results with my backup 1Ds mk3.
My old kit…
I still have my 1Ds (11MP) and 1Ds3 (21MP) – as they both still work well, fit all my lenses and never let me down in all the years I used them as my main cameras.
I still carry the iPhone 3gs that I won a few years ago (2009). I simply don’t use a mobile phone very much other than as an occasional telephone.
I know this will astound many, but it actually comes from my many years doing usability research before taking up photography – it simply doesn’t offer stuff I’m interested in and I’ve consciously chosen not to to be tied to a phone all the time. One other issue, I have to get my close up glasses out to use it…
My standard set of lenses (links to reviews)
- EF 8-15 F4L fisheye
- EF 11-24 F4L
- TS-E17mm F4L
- TS-E24mm F3.5L II
- EF24-70 F2.8L
- TS-E90mm F2.8
- EF 70-200 F2.8L
I’ve a collection of assorted old lenses that I sometimes use, such as Mamiya 35mm and 55mm lenses I use with a shift adapter
The Mamiya 55mm is sometimes useful for stitching shifted images. [article about this]
Nice, but not unfortunately useful enough for me to justify getting the TS-E50mm F2.8L Macro I recently reviewed.
My go-to lens for macro work is the Canon MP-E65mm 1x-5x macro lens
I often use lenses such as the TS-E90mm with extension tubes
For focus stacking, I have a StackShot motorised rail, driven using Helicon Focus software, such as in this example of a promotional image for a trade show. [article about the processes]
I’ve several flash units, starting with the Canon MT-24EX twin flash (used off camera here)
The Laowa KX800 [review] is something I often use on-location for product work – typically in places where there isn’t space to set up lighting.
The two little soft boxes simply clip on the flash heads.
More recently I’ve also used the KF-150 ring flash where I need flat lighting [KF-150 review]
For general use I’l pick a tripod like the KF TC2534 I looked at recently – here with its ball head.
There is also the smaller lighter MPB Harrier , shown here with the PHQ head in it
The PHQ4 tripod head [review] is my general purpose tripod head.
It’s a multi axis support that I find quick and easy to use with any of my cameras.
Like most photographers I’ve collected assorted bits of kit over time, that have all had times when they are useful.
One very useful tripod mount is the TSE Frame I use with the TS-E17mm and TS-E24mm tilt/shift lenses.
This lets me keep the lens still and shift the camera, when taking sets of photos to be stitched.
For more specialised use, such as with the Gigapan, I use a hefty survey tripod [article about this]
The GigaPan is for high resolution panoramic and survey photography.
More about using the GigaPan.
Working at height
I’ve a relatively lightweight Megamast which goes up over 8 metres.
It’s carbon fibre based and easily portable.
There’s a camranger WiFi controlled pan and tilt head
Here’s a photo of me taken with the camera at the top of the mast .
My standard bag for camera and 2-3 lenses is still the Lowepro Slingshot 202 AW
This is perhaps a bit more than I’d normally carry, but gives a feel for capacity. Just note, this is an older photo and shows the 1Ds I used previously not the 5Ds I use now.
My ColorChecker Passport card is a vital tool for ensuring accurate colour in the mixed lighting I’m likely to find in many industrial environments.
You can use it for simple white balance or to create DNG profiles for processing camera RAW files.
You might notice a green laser pointer in the kit in my bag. A great aid for pointing to things when with a client…
It’s also useful as a ‘laser star’ for testing lens performance.
Nothing special whatsoever.
A stout set of safety boots, high vis gear and hard hat is needed for some sites, but I’m afraid all that branded ‘photographer clothing’ you see advertised largely passes me by.
At the moment I’m printing with an Epson P5000 A2/17″ printer [P5000 review]
For software, I use X-Rite i1Profiler
For monitor calibration I use an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter.
For general patch reading I use an i1Pro 2 spectrophotmeter
For automated patch reading I use the i1iO ‘robot arm’
For patch reading for printer profiling I use the i1iSis
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