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

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.
  • 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

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…? ;)