Cameras and lenses

Nowadays, it really doesn't matter what brand name you go for. Choosing a brand is maybe 1/5th emotion and 4/5th practicality. Hence, I started building my gear around Canon all those years ago, simply because my father owned a Canon camera. And that was a good decision, because fast forward to today Canon continues to provide excellent quality camera's and a huge range of lenses. That being said I always enjoy reading what other people use, hence this article. My current setup looks like this:
  • Canon 5D mark III
  • Canon 70D
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM
  • Canon Extender EF 1.4x III

Tripods

  • Gitzo GT5532S with Manfrotto 501 HDV video head: my main workhorse these days. Super stable!
  • Sirui UltraLight T-005X, with C10X ball head. For landscape photography while hiking or travelling light;
  • Manfrotto 055XPROB, as backup and for building setups;
  • Gitzo GM2541 Monopod for when I need to be flexible.

You might also like my blog post about tripods.

Bags

Don't forget the bag itself folks! Please don't be stingy here: your valuable equipment deserves a good and safe home. I currently have a Gura Gear Bataflae 26L to encompass my expanding gear. Very lightweight, good padding, durable and loads of space. I have a Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW for more travel oriented trips where weight and flexiblity are key.

Photography tools

  • Batteries: always bring extra batteries. For example: for my trip to Ethiopia I brought twelve spares, as AC power sockets where far and wide in between. For now this is still more reliable and cheaper than a high capacity power bank or solar panels;
  • Battery grips: I regularly use Canon battery grips on my bodies for double battery life + easier vertical shooting;
  • Battery holder: I love the dsrl battery holder of Think Thank. And what about this simple but great hack: put a red and green sticker on opposite sides of every DRSL battery you own, this way you can see on a glance which are still full. Saving valuable time during those action packed moments;
  • Beanbag: offers a stable platform for your camera if you use your car as a mobile hide, like on safari’s. They pack away easily and every travel destination sells beans or rice as filling;
  • Extension tubes: great value to focus even closer. Don’t buy the big brand names as extension tubes contain no optical elements, but make sure autofocus is still enabled;
  • Flash: I use a Canon Speedlite 580EX II with Canon OC-E3 Off-Camera Shoe Cord, often with a Westcott Micro Apollo softbox;
  • Filters: I prefer using filters in the field compared to post-processing. Filters are used in situations like long exposures with moving water, or in situations with a higher dynamic range. I use a Cokin pro Z holder with Cokin and 84.5mm Ultimate Line Gradual gradual ND filters. I store them in a MindShift Filter Hive Mini;
  • LensCoat: overpriced but they do offer good camouflage and extra padding. The white large super-telephotos of Canon might be easily recognizable during a sports game, it's terrible when photographing wildlife;
  • Memory Card Holder: I use Caruba and Gepe card holders to protect my CF and SD cards against shocks, dust and moisture;
  • Mobile hide: when working in a fixed spot or set-up, you can bring a mobile dog blind that sets up in mere seconds;
  • PocketWizard: for remote photography I use two PocketWizard Plus III, which are very reliable and have a wide range.
  • Recharger + power strip: having multiple batteries and only one recharger is a definitive no-go. You don't want to have to set your alarm for the middle of the night in order to wake up and change your batteries while on assignment. I always bring a travel adapter, a power strip and two Canon rechargers;
  • RocketBlower: I love this simple but effective tool from Giottos to clean my camera bodies and lenses of pesky dust;
  • The Plamp: if you are into macro photography, I recommend The Plamp by Wimberley. Excellent for keeping flowers or other subjects steady in front of your lens.


Equipment

Photographers often tend to collect a ridiculous amount of gear over the years. To prevent my studio from getting swamped – or my lovely wife kicking me out for that matter – I try to invest wisely and sell on equipment I don't really use. Here are my personal and unsponsered recommendations of equipment, based on extensive use in the field. Although… someone should start to sponsor me really! Anyone…? ;)