In the past the photographic equipment I used was a mix of entry level and more advanced gear that I acquired over the years. The priority has been “lens quality over body quality”. My reasoning behind this stance was simple: Take the best camera on the market and attach a mediocre lens to it – the picture quality will be mediocre. A quality lens, however, puts you in the position to get the maximum out of the sensor you have. Once you have upgraded to good lenses, however, you feel the obligation to buy a new camera body that lives up to the glass. And that is why I upgraded to my current full frame body in 2013. And that implied selling two of my lenses and buying new ones.
Another basic notion of mine has been to buy equipment that can be carried around during travelling, skiing and other activities that require getting from A to B without having a truck at hand. While the definition of “light equipment” changes with amibtion (having climbed Mount Kenya’s Point Lenana with a 12kg photo backpack), the idea of travelling light is the main reason I opted for zoom lenses instead of primes. I know using zoom lenses puts me head on with most professional photographers, but I don’t care.
Here is my equipment list, complete with some small remarks.
- Canon EOS 6D
The EOS 6D is not a bargain compared to amateur DSLR, but it does offer full-frame capabilities at the lowest possible price in the Canon range. Image quality is superb and it beats most pro-level cameras on low-light performance.
- Canon EOS 7D Mark II
The EOS 7D Mark II has joined the eqipment list in order to capture wildlife on safari. It is super fast, has a super accurate autofocus and 1.6x crop “magnification”. And hence it is a great addition to the full-frame 6D.
- Canon 16-35mm 2.8L USM II
Replacing my splendid Tokina 11-16mm lens (suitable only for crop sensors, see below) the 16-35mm covers the ultra wide angle range and it is also the fastest zoom lens in my gear.
- Canon 24-105mm 4.0L IS USM
The 24-105mm is a standard zoom and the workhorse among the lenses. While it needs some software correction of distortion and vignetting, it is a solid well-working lens and is very sharp.
- Canon 50mm 1.8 II
The only prime lens in the list, and the cheapest lens Canon has on offer, the 50mm lens stems from times when I used a Canon 400D and my standard lens was an 18-55mm 4.5-5.6. The 50mm brought substantially better low-light qualities, prime lens sharpness and a good bokeh to the lens line-up. While serving dutifully on occassions, I rarely use it.
- Canon 70-200mm 4.0L IS USM
The 70-200mm lens is a replacement to my old Canon 90-300mm 4.0-5.6. I was looking for superior quality and I found it. There is no zoom lens beyond this one, except maybe for the same as a 2.8 IS, but that weighs twice as much and can hardly be carried around.
- Canon Extender 1.4x II
Allows for 1.4x magnification using the 70-200 lens at the epxense of one f-stop.
- Canon Speedlite 430EX
This Speedlite has served me well as a hotshoe flash ever since I bought it. I mainly use it in combination with a tiny foldable softbox and an extension cord.
- Elinchron D-Lite RX One (2x)
Complete with the necessary gear such as tripods, umbrellas and a transmitter the two RX One studio flash sets mark my entry into studio photography. Stay tuned for first projects…
- Tripods: A Cullmann Nanomax 260 with ballhead serves as a lightweight standard tripod. Once I need something even more portable I use a Joby Gorillapod SLR zoom, although it is not sturdy enough to cope with my current equipment properly.
- Bags: I own an f-stop gear Luka UL photo backpack (for hiking, skiing and when I need loads of gear…), an Alpina shoulder bag (for fast access, and when I carry my main luggage in a backpack) and two types of inserts (handy when the camera is stored in a bigger backpack or a messenger bag).
Since not all pictures were taken with my latest equipment, it is worth mentioning which equipment I formerly owned.
- Canon EOS 400D
My first DSLR body, used until mid-2013 and for more than six years, was the EOS 400D. It proved suprisingly durable and was a more than decent choice. You rarely need more than 10MP, the sensor is decent, give it a good glass and it will do its job. I sold it on and I’m sure it will continue to perform!
- Tokina AF 2,8/11-16 AT-X Pro DX
This first super wide angle lens has been on my list only for a few months since it is not suitable for full frame sensors. It is a very strong lens and the 2.8 aperture comes handy. I regret I had to sell it.
- Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 DC OS HSM
The Sigma lens was a replacement for the standard kit lens that broke down after three years in use. I chose the Sigma for it’s low light and high speed capabilities. I didn’t find a comparable lens in the Canon lineup, especially not for an affordable price. I enjoyed using this lens, and it is surprisingly good for taking close-up shots (e.g. of butterflys). Sadly, it also doesn’t work with full frame sensors.
- Canon EF 90-300mm/ 4.5-5.6
A mediocre telezoom that served until I bought the hugely superior 70-200mm 4.0L. The lense already served me during analogue times.
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm 3.5-5.6
A kit lens that came along with my Canon EOS 400D and eventually broke down.
- Canon EOS 500N
This film SLR served me from about 2002 up until I entered digital age in 2007.
- Tamron AF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 Aspherical
The kit lens of the EOS 500N.
- Revue 960 Af Zoom or similar
From mid-1990s up to 2002 this was my my first autofocus camera; I haven’t been enthusiastic about photography back then.
- Some fix-focus camera
A giveaway camera that introduced me to photography as a child.
Plus, this is the software I use:
- Adobe Lightroom 6
A very capable piece of software to develop and sort RAW images. So capable I rarely use Photoshop anymore.
- Adobe Photoshop CS2
The standard photo editing software. Used when heavy editing is necessary.
A freeware tool to stitch panorama pictures.
- Adobe InDesign CS2
The software I use to create my photo books and other print products.
- Adobe Illustrator CS2
Whenever my graphical work requires vector graphics.