What camera did you use? What lens are you shooting? How do you edit your images? I often see these questions posted on social media, written in emails or spoken during my photography workshop series. While they’re always easy enough to answer, I hope you find value in this definitive photo and video equipment list.
Although it is impossible to write reviews for each piece of equipment, I do sometimes post both field tests and in-depth reviews on my blog.
Just remember, I’ve dubbed this my definitive photo and video equipment list for good reason. I want to emphasize the keyword: my. These gear choices might not suit every photographer or videographer’s needs; however, this is the gear I’ve grown to trust and rely upon. If it’s on this list, I would recommend it without hesitation.
This is a long article, which I am dividing into three categories: In The Field, In the Office, and Behind the Scenes.
Before I get started, I want to set a three ground rules:
- If you see an *, it means I didn’t pay for the product. It doesn’t change anything. I use and love every piece of gear on this list, but I feel it’s important to disclose what I’ve paid for and what I’ve been given.
- If you click a gear link, it might be an affiliate link, but most won’t be.
- If you’re reading this before a major purchase, please understand this is the gear I use. I will try to highlight updated gear whenever new versions of my favourite equipment is released.
With the introduction taken care of, let’s take a look inside my camera kit!
Photo and Video Equipment List: In The Field
As you’re about to learn, I use a lot of different photography equipment. It is very rare that I carry everything at the same time. In fact, it probably wouldn’t fit in my camera bag. And even if I could squeeze it all in, I certainly couldn’t lift it into an overhead compartment without assistance like Air Canada requires.
Sony A7Riii – Since upgrading to this camera, it’s been my daily-driver. It is truly a workhorse. On the technical side, it shoots 42.6 mp images with incredibly low noise from ISO100-6400. The auto-focus is fast and its battery life is incredible, especially compared to the A7Rii.
Product Update: In September 2019, the Sony A7Riv was released. I’ve opted to skip this model and hope to see an A7Siii soon.
Sony A7Rii – This was my first Sony camera, so it’s been in my camera bag since 2016. It’s been through hell and it’s no worse for wear. Whenever I read concerns about Sony’s durability, I wonder what other photographers do to their cameras. I’ve used mine in heavy rainfall, dropped it in deep snow, and covered it in dust. It’s shutter count is over 70k and it’s still working.
Sony RX100 VII – I only purchased it in December 2019 and I’ve only just begun to explore it’s limits. It shoots 20.1 mp raw images and s-log video. But I purchased it because it fits in my pocket, so I can carry this camera whenever photography is a secondary priority (when I go skiing or cycling).
DJI Osmo Pocket – Essentially, it’s a GoPro on a gimbal. I use it exclusively for video, especially high-action situations where I cannot use a larger camera. While I wish it had a wider field of view, it’s hard to complain about a camera that shoots 4k60fps for less than $500.
DJI Mavic 2 PRO – Inexpensive, great quality and only occasional connection issues. Owning a drone is indispensable when shooting video, but let me take this opportunity for a small PSA. Please follow the rules, wherever you fly. When you don’t, it makes it harder for everyone.
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM – If I could only own a single lens, this is what I’d choose. It’s great for landscapes, night sky and big-landscape/little person action shots. It’s tack sharp, too, so the only downside is the steep price tag.
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM – Truthfully, I’ve always felt this is an unnecessary camera lens. I prefer photography with wider or longer lenses. As I have transitioned to video, I’ve embraced this as my single-lens film lens. Much like the 16-35mm f2.8 GM lens, it’s tact sharp and shockingly expensive. Yet it continues to prove itself and I consider it money well spent.
Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0 G OSS – This is the only lens in my kit that I’d love to upgrade. I’d trade it for the FE 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 GM OSS in a heartbeat, as I’d simply love the additional reach. Having said that, this is a great lens that I use to compress mountain scenes. It’s also relatively inexpensive.
Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – I am sure this would make a great landscape lens, I never bother using it during the day. It’s too heavy to carry around and I don’t have ND filters that fit. I still consider this lens an essential, because there isn’t a better lens for night sky photography and timelapse.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art – When I traveled to Scotland last year, on a family vacation, this is the only lens I carried. It shoots beautiful portraits, compresses landscapes and easily stitches panoramas. It’s great for night sky images, too. With a retail price under $1000, it’s a lens every photographer should own.
Tripods, Gimbals and Sliders
Gitzo GT2545T Tripod with Arcatech GPSS Ball-head – I spent some serious money on this tripod about ten years ago, and it’s been worth every dollar. It’s put up with unbelievable abuses, like being submerged in the ocean, driving tent pegs into the ground, or hiking through desert landscapes. I’ve never cleaned it and, honestly, it still works as good as the day I purchased it.
Benro TMA37C Mach3 9X Carbon Fibre tripod – It’s heavier than my Gitzo, but decidedly more stable. I use it when I’m not venturing far from my vehicle. It’s inexpensive and works well; however, it’s nowhere near as durable as I’d like. I’m constantly fixing its locking mechanisms.
DJI Ronin S – After two years with a Zhiyun Crane, I upgraded to the Ronin S and immediately discovered the benefits. In my opinion, it’s far more intuitive to use.
Rhino Slider – Adding motion to timelapses is critical, so I purchased a used Rhino slider and arc a few years ago. I love how easy it is to use; however, I wish it had a third axis to add vertical motion.
Photo and Video Accessories
Lee Filter Kit – When I first dove into photography, I bought a Lee Filter holder, 3 graduated neutral density filters, a little stopper and a big stopper. Everything except the big stopper is still in my daily kit.
Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND Filter – In 2020, I want to shoot more long exposures and I needed a colour neutral ND and, in my opinion, this is the best one on the market.
Polarpro Variable ND Filter – Variable ND filters are essential for video and I had no idea what to buy. I chose this one because Peter McKinnon recommended it.
Pholsy wired release – I borrowed this wired release from Jack Fusco and simply never returned it. I felt bad until I realized it cost less than $10 on amazon.
Cleaning Kit – I primarily carry four products: a blower, sensor swabs, lens cloth and a lens pen.
f-Stop Tilopa Backpack – This bag is an absolute beast. It’s massive, maxing out at 50L, but I’ve always managed to sneak it onto airplanes as a carry-on. It holds a shocking amount of camera gear and still has space for extras like avalanche gear, extra layers, and food. It’s an adventure photography essential.
Lowepro Toploader Zoom 50 AW II – When I hike, I want quick access to my camera, so I rarely keep it in my backpack. Rather than a Peak Design clip that leaves the camera exposed, I’ve always favoured the Lowepro Toploader Zoom bag. I just slide it onto the waist belt of whatever backpack I’m using.
Mindshift Rotation180 Horizon 34L backpack* – Think Tank and Mindshift have provided me with a few different camera bags to review. I’ve loved them all, but the Rotation180 Horizon has stayed in constant rotation. The system makes it so easy to quickly access my camera when shooting action sports like skiing or mountain biking. If you’re interested, you can read my review.
Photo and Video Equipment List: In The Office
My office changes constantly, as I either work in my office or from a random hotel room. I’ve tried to match my office and on-the-road workflows as much as possible, but they’ll never be identical.
I’m fortunate to work with both Dell and Samsung, so I favour windows and android work environments. In my experience, they’re less expensive, perform better and remain equally reliable.
Computers, hardware, and hard drives
Dell XPS27 all-in-one* – I love this computer. It’s monitor makes post-processing a total joy. It’s also the backbone of my entire DAM setup. And if you believe my initial review, it’s sound system is incredible (and really loud). It’s no longer available and I’ll likely have to replace it in the next 24 months, but, right now, I cannot imagine a better system.
Product Update: Dell replaced its all-in-one XPS systems with an XPS Desktop tower, allowing the user to pick their ideal configuration and monitor. My pick would be the Dell Ultrasharp 27 4K PremierColor.
Wacom Intuos Pro – If I am being honest, I don’t use this as often as I should; however, it’s irreplaceable for difficult image processing and masking.
X-Rite i1 Display Pro – Because I can control my office environment, I calibrate my monitor diligently to ensure colour accuracy when I edit images and video.
Dell XPS15 2-in-1* – Whenever I am on the road, I use the Dell XPS15 2-in-1. It has plenty of incredible features, but two stand out: it’s essentially colour matched to my XPS27 and it’s tablet display and Dell pen perform even better than my Wacom tablet.
Product Update: Dell has recently updated their XPS15 with various configurations. It now maxes out with a 2tb SSD and 64GB Ram. An XPS17 is due for release this summer.
WD My Book 6TB Harddrives – Photography, timelapse, and video are all data-intensive, especially when it’s important to have an active copy and backup copy of each file. I’ve used these WD My Book harddrives for years and I’ve never had an issue. I always wait until they’re on sale and buy them in pairs.
Sandisk Extreme Portable SSDs* – I don’t feel like it’s hyperbole to suggest these are indestructible. I’ve seen one run over by a toy tractor, skipped across salt water like a stone, left out overnight in the rain and strapped to a toy sailboat for a race across a puddle in the Faroe Islands. Beyond durability, these SSDs are fast enough to support 4k video edits.
Apple iPad Mini – Remember a minute ago when I said favoured Windows and Android work environments? I didn’t lie. I’ve kept my old iPad for a single reason. I use it to see how my images look on retina displays.
Post Processing Software
Like most photographers, I rely heavily on Adobe Creative Suite, but there are a few important plugins and softwares that I use to make my job easier.
Adobe Creative Suite
- Lightroom Classic – I use this to organize all my work and for 80% of my editing.
- Photoshop – I use this for advanced editing, like luminosity masks or clone stamps.
- Premiere Pro – It’s the only video editing software I’ve used and, yes, I wish it crashed less frequently.
- After effects – I’m still a beginner, but I’m learning to do a few basic animations.
Additional Software and Plugins
- Raya Pro 4.0 – The fastest and easiest way to create luminosity masks in Photoshop
- LRTimelapse – The fastest and easiest way to edit a timelapse and remove unwanted light flicker.
- StarStax – A free software that makes creating star trails easy.
- PhotoPills – an powerful phone app to assist with shoot planning.
Smugmug – My website is based on a wordpress template; however, it’s powered by Smugmug and its image storage. I cannot recommend a better system. If you’re looking for a website solution, check out Smugmug using this link and it’ll save you 15%.
Photo and Video Equipment List: Behind the Scenes
As an adventure photographer, I simply don’t believe my photo and video equipment list would be complete without mentioning the gear I use when I am in the field. This isn’t photography gear; it’s adventure gear.
Eddie Bauer* – I’ve worked with Eddie Bauer for the past five years and I’m constantly impressed by both the quality of their products and its cost. It’s easily the most affordable mountain apparel company. Five of my favourite items include:
- BC Evertherm Jackets
- BC Freshline Ski gear
- BC Sandstone Stretch Jacket
- Guide Pro Pants
- High Route Grid Fleece
Technical Gear – For backcountry skiing and winter mountain travel.
- G3 Skis, bindings and skins – this Canadian company makes some killer backcountry ski gear!
- Mammut avalanche gear – I use their entire kit: avalanche airbag, transceiver, shovel and probe.
- Eddie Bauer Kara Koram -30C Stormdown sleeping bag* – staying warm on cold overnights.
- Black Diamond – Glacier travel kit, climbing harnesses, whippet, ice axes and ropes.
- Smith Helmets
- Eddie Bauer* – Kara Koram 20F sand Flying Squirrel 40F sleeping bags, Stargazer 2 tent, and Alchemist 40/55L pack
- Thermarest – NeoAir XLite and NeoAir XTherm sleeping mats.
- Black Diamond – headlamps
- MSR – PocketRocket deluxe and XGK-EX stoves
Photo and Video Equipment List: Wrap Up
When I started putting together this list, I had no idea that it would surpass 2500 words! The craziest part? I am sure that I’m forgetting a few items that will inevitably be added in the future.
Please remember that this photo and video equipment list is designed to help you understand what gear I use regularly. It is not a list of essentials and you don’t need to own everything on this list to launch your career.
My rule of thumb is that I only purchase new equipment when either my current gear is holding me back or the new gear will pay for itself. If you’re just getting started in photography or film making, I will always recommend attending a workshop or investing in your portfolio before purchasing more gear.
If you have any specific gear questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page on my website.