I frequently get asked what camera, lens or gear I use. I also get asked what I recommend someone buy when they are looking to start out or upgrade. The answer to this really depends one what you are going to be shooting and what the final images are going to be used for, such as for web use or prints. Although I don't shy away from the answer I do want my images to be viewed as a result of my talents and not just the gear used. A lot comes down to the skills of the operator as well in post processing. I do get a few, "that's what I use and my images don't look anything like that".
Here is a list of the common gear I use and for the most part when I am shooting is always with me. These purchases were made after extensive research and comparing product as well as trying to mitigate costs. Photography is not a cheap business or hobby.
I do try to shop for price, If I ship in person I use Henry's. They are Canadian and they also provided graded used items that are more budget friendly. I use BHPhoto depending on what the purchase is. BHPhoto has an amazing section as well as free or reasonable shipping.
If you have any additional questions about the gear I use, ask and I will try to answer your questions. The links to to BHPhoto are not affiliate links and I'm not compensated in anyway for the reviews below.
Nikon D750 DSLR Camera Body
This was the first purchase I made after deciding to officially start my business. It was purchased for its nighttime capabilities for shooting the northern lights. It's the only camera body I use even as I have expanded into landscapes, nature and preparing to move in to some Macro.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED Lens
A great fast prime lens for Astrophotography. Again this was purchased for its ability to capture the northern lights and it does an amazing job. It's an ultra wide angel lens and avoids any of the curved distortions of a fisheye, that I am not personally a fan of.
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Nikon F
When you start looking at telephoto lenses you may notice that some cost more than a car. They tend to be prime lenses as well, so when you consider this has a focal range of 150-600 at the a fraction of the cost something has to give. That is the minimum aperture, ƒ5 and as you move closer to 600mm where you will likely be using it it's ƒ6.3. That means you need a lot of light, even more so when you are trying to freeze wildlife with faster shutter speeds. In good lighting it it performs well. It's fast at focusing, but that doesn't make shooting small wildlife on the move easy. I also use the lens for landscapes, it has a nice effect of condensing the scene and can make some nice rolling hill scenes.
NiSi 100mm System V5-PRO Filter Holder Kit Second Generation II
Knowing that I wasn't going to be in view of the northern lights forever I knew I had to widen the scope of my photography. I have always loved long exposures, skies, oceans and waterfalls. Neutral density filters are key to burring the motion. Although waterfalls can be captured without the use of filters by shooting in early morning or as the sun falls, with ND filters I don't need to be picky when I wanted to go. This kit contains Graduated ND Filters, 3,6,10,15 stop ND filters and Centre polarized filter and comes with a nice carrying bag as well as step up rings. It's an easy system to use. Nisi also has an app to do all of the math. It's glass and there is almost no colour cast, even on really long shots.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F
Is a great portrait lens that after a great deal of research I have been very happy with the results. It has round and smooth bokeh and with an ƒ1.4 wide open allows for some amazing creativity with depth of field. I also use this lens in nature and landscapes shooting. It does have a larger filter thread at 86mm. I had to get an adapter ring to use my Nisi filter system on it, but at about $20 is not much of a complaint.
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card
SD cards are pretty inexpensive these days and can come with ample space. My 128GB card at one time was 1/4 of my computers HD space (I have since changed that) I only shoot RAW, but even with my large file sizes I have never had space to be an issue, in fact I use it as a mini back up as my RAW pictures and seldom have to move the files else where. It may even be better to just get a new card. Speeds and price and capacity were the main factor in picking this particular one. When creating a focus stack of about 2GB in RAW images you will be thankful.
Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG for Nikon Lens
A lens will have a minimum focus distance, you will not be able to focus on a subject within that distance. Extension tubes are added between the lens and the camera body and vy doing so reduces this distance. Being closer to your subject allows you to fill more of the frame effectively increasing the magnification of you lens. Extension tubes turn most lenses into a macro lens and amplifying the magnification of true macro lenses. The small downfall verse using a dedicated macro lens is that your depth of field will be smaller when shooting at the same aperture because you are closer. Depth of field is already a battle with macro work, but is cheaper than a dedicate lens and can be used an any of your current lens for that mount. This particular version retains the electronic connections and maintains the auto focus. There are much cheaper versions, but turn it manual focus only.
Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II Camera and Laptop Backpack (Black)
After my ill prepared trip into the depths of the Ice Freezer in Tuktoyaktuk. Researching gears bags started the next day. I settled on this bag as it meet the extensive list of requirements I wanted there is also a smaller version. With my current set up (inside compartments can be rearranged, via velcro) I am able to house my telephoto lens attached to my camera, my Nisi filter kit, two more lenses, various other items; extension tubes, cleaning supplies, safety supplies, small tools, business related items as well as the potential for a laptop. It has a chest strap to assist with the weight as well as any shifting the tripod that can be mounted on the outside, this makes travelling on snowmobile or ATV easy. Other features are Molle webbing on the outside for the potential to add numerous items to it, it does come with a pouch I choose not to use. You are able to access the bag from three points, top, back and side, each having there own purpose. There is a weather covering built in.
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum-Alloy Tripod Kit with SBH-100 Ball Head
I do a lot of long exposure photography. Northern Lights and blurring water and cloud motion with ND filters. Some of my exposures exceed 10 minutes. A sturdy tripod is a must and has to be able to remain still throughout the shot with the elements attacking it. This tripod has not let me down and also hits some other nice attributes. Unique set up options for low profile shots, an attached ball head and is compact enough to be carried on my gear bag or fit in my suitcase when travelling. It also has foam on the upper portion of the top legs, something my bare hands have been thankful for as grabbing metal in -40c is not fun (based on experience)
Platypod Stackable Gooseneck (2-Pack)
These are flexible arms, but stiff enough they will stay where they are positioned without sagging. They come as a set of two and can be used individually as 2 or stacked for a longer reach. Connection is through a 1/4" - 20 thread adapter. This could be swapped with a double sided adapter for other sizes as well. I use mine for my lighting (Litra torches) and will have clamps in the near future as well. I looked at trying to find and or make my own and found for the ease, functionality rewires and cost these were the best option. (I got two sets)
More to come:
LITRA LitraTorch 2.0 Photo and Video Light
Platypod Max Camera Support with BE-117 Ball Head Kit