My Camera Kits
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Many photographers worry a lot about what camera kit to buy. Which lenses, which camera is ‘best’, the camera bag and accessories they’ll need. Many of you have asked me what I have in my camera bag.
I made a video about this in 2012 but times have changed, kit has gotten worn out and my needs are different these days as well. So this is what my camera kit is in 2015.
I have two camera kits, one for whilst on the road running workshops and another for professional commissions. But why not use the same kit for everything? Let me explain. The travel kit first.
When I’m running photo Workshops and Masterclasses size and weight is an issue. DSLR cameras and pro lenses are big and heavy, as are laptops and external drives which I have to have with me so I can still run the business as well as have what I need to teach during the workshop. Filters, chargers, cables etc all start to add up too and when travelling or running workshops, there’s often some hiking to find the best locations involved so I prefer to keep this kit as light as possible.
The camera is a Fuji XT-1 mirrorless with 10-20mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses because it’s all very small and lightweight.
My professional kit is basically the same except for the camera. I use a Nikon D600 full frame DSLR, 24-70mm and 70-200mm f2.8 Nikkor lenses which are kind of heavy by comparison. Other items such as laptop and filters still come with me, but on a commission I usually have my car so carrying it all around is easier.
Why the Nikon over the Fuji? TheD600 RAW files are a little bigger and slightly higher quality. I find the Nikon faster and easier to use than the Fuji which is a little fiddly for me because of its small size. I often accidentally press a button and change setting un-intentionally but it’s still a fantastic camera. At the end of the video are some images shot on both cameras. Could you tell which was done on which if I hadn’t added a caption?
What you have to remember is Cameras don’t take photos. Photographers do that by blending their technical knowledge and creativity together to capture what they want.
Except in some specialised cases like sports or astro-photography for example, the camera used to do it is largely irrelevant. Think about it. If you had Leonardo da Vinci’s paint brushes, could you paint the Mona Lisa? People take pictures not cameras. First you have to learn camera controls and basic technique, then assemble them together appropriately to capture breath taking imagery.
The 7 Building Blocks of Photography has massively improved my photography overall. It has made me think about how I want an image to look, rather than just going out looking for an image, then get home and be disappointed. My approach now is to visualise, construct it block by block then make it happen. My 'hit rate' has soared.
- Neil Hanson -