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By Eric Friend

What I use as a Professional Photographer – Camera Gear

As a photographer and a content creator, there is a bottomless pit of decisions. I have spent hours doing research and $1000s of dollars buying the wrong thing before I found what works for me! I hope that my money and hours spent can help you find things to love as well. Here is my current gear setup and what I like about it 🙂

Table of Contents:

  1. Photography Backpack
  2. Camera Recs
  3. Lens Recs
  4. Drone Gear
  5. Tripod Recs
  6. Camera Filters
  7. SD Cards and HD Storage
  8. Other Must Have’s

about the blog

Welcome to my photography blog, your comprehensive guide to mastering the art and science of photography. I’m Paige, ready to guide you on a journey of discovery, from capturing the perfect composition to deciphering the complexities of file formats and storage. This is where we will cover will include in-depth discussions on cameras, exploration of editing techniques, and a deep dive into photography’s fascinating world. Whether you’re a new enthusiast or an experienced photographer seeking to sharpen your skills, I’m committed to helping you elevate your craft to the next level. Welcome to your photography journey!

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Disclosure: Please be aware that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using those links. However, I only recommend products or services that I personally use or believe will be valuable to my readers. Affiliate links are a way for me to earn a small commission and keep providing you with high-quality content. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me through my contact page. Thank you for your support!

Photography Backpack

Camera Bag

I’ve used several bags during my time and the one I currently have is my absolute favorite. It’s a the Shimoda Action X30 v2 Backpack – Yellow. 

Shimoda Action X40 v2 Backpack - Yellow (520-131)
$339.95

My favorite features:

  • Amazing color options for both Men and Women
  • Comfortable for hiking
  • Tons of pockets/compartments
  • Flex top for extra items 
  • Tons of sizes and ways to customize the inserts 
  • Easy to clean material 
  • Water resistant + Waterproof cover 
  • Dual laptop sleaves 


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04/02/2024 07:28 pm GMT

Camera Recommendations

Camera Body

I currently use a Sony A7RV which is a full-frame mirrorless camera. This camera is a beast with over 61 megapixels and is the best camera I’ve used for landscape by far!

Why do I love it? I can blow my photos up to be on huge canvases without sacrificing quality to the picture. One of the printing companies I sent it to said it was one of the best files they see in terms of size and quality. The amount of data/layers within each RAW photo file allows for ease of control when editing or any type of post processing. As someone who is very picky, I’ve been happy with how things turn out.

Sony Alpha 7R V Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
$3,898.00

My favorite features:

  • 61 Megapixel (9504 x 6336)
  • Image Sensor - 35.7 x 23.8 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS
  • 15 stops of dynamic range at low sensitivities (does really well in low light)
  • A massive IOS range between 50-102,400
  • Continuous shooting up to 10fps
  • AF/AE Tracking
  • Eye AF for Video and or when shooting photos (the autofocus in soooo good)
  • Pixel shift can give you a photo file with up to 19008 x 12672 pixels
  • 8k video recording
  • High-Speed Wifi support
  • Wireless PC remote connectivity
  • 2 memory card slots
  • And the list goes on!


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03/29/2024 06:29 pm GMT

I almost always have GoPro with me for action shots or sometimes just to make sure that I have a camera that I can take into intense situations such as swimming into a cave or repelling.

GoPro HERO12 (Hero 12) Black
$425.49

Waterproof Action Camera with 5.3K HDR Video, 27MP Photos, 1/1.9" Image Sensor, Live Streaming, Webcam, Stabilization + 64GB Card & 50 Piece Accessory Kit - Bun...

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04/02/2024 09:16 pm GMT

Other Camera Recommendations

If you don’t see yourself printing your work but want something with a lot of those other features mentioned above, I’ve used both these cameras and love them as secondary options!

Sony Alpha 7 IV
$2,498.00

My thoughts:

Great with video and photos and will have a little smaller file sizes which is nice if you don’t see the need for 61 megapixels. Has many of the same features as my camera but with smaller files which can be nice if you don't plan on blowing up your photos huge. The smaller files will help you save on storage space.


* Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera,Body Only , Black

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04/02/2024 09:38 pm GMT
Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera
$800.34

Compact APS-C Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with Real-Time Eye Auto Focus, 4K Video & Flip Up Touchscreen - E Mount Compatible Cameras - ILCE-6400/B Body

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04/02/2024 08:09 pm GMT

Lens Recommendations

Sony Lenses

Lenses are one of the more expensive parts of photography and make a huge difference how your photos and videos turn out.

I have what some people call “the holy trinity” of lenses which are 3 Sony Gmaster 2.8 lenses that give me a range from 16 – 200 mm. Most people won’t be buying multiple lenses at a time because they are an investment but it is so important to think ahead about what lenses you want so that each lens serves a different purpose for you. You don’t want to buy a lens that will become useless in a year or two. If you take care of your lenses, they will last you forever! 

Consider the following questions when choosing your lenses:

What is the F stop range of the lens?

F stop (aperture) usually ranges anywhere from f/1.4 (the lens lets in lots of light, useful in low lighting) to f/22 (letting in less light). The lower your “F” number is, the price of the lens will typically go up. Lower F stop will also allow you a more shallow depth of field, meaning a smaller portion of the photo is in focus. This is how you create that really professional portrait look where the subject is focused while the background is blurred. It’s also very useful to create a Bokeh effect in landscape photos.

Ultimately it’s up to you on what you want, for me f/2.8 is typically as low as I need for most shooting conditions.

What is the Focal Length do you want?

Focal length is measured in mm and the majority of lenses will fall somewhere between 12mm and 600mm.
12mm being very wide and 600mm being very zoomed in.

I use GM lenses because these really are the best lenses you can buy for Sony! They will hold their value and last you forever if you treat them well. They are incredibly sharp and I’ve been so satisfied with the quality. 

Here are my 3 lenses:

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04/02/2024 09:36 pm GMT
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04/02/2024 09:39 pm GMT
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04/02/2024 09:38 pm GMT

16-35mm Zoom

Photograph of a swampy river reflecting the majestic Liberty Bell Mountain during a sunset in Washington.

24-70 mm Zoom

70-200mm Zoom

As you can see, this gives me a range from 16 mm all the to 200 mm (the holy trinity lol). This range covers about 95% of what I need while shooting. It’s rare for me to want something wider or something that zooms more than 200mm. If those situations come up, I may just try to rent something.

These are my next lenses I plan to buy! 

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04/02/2024 09:38 pm GMT

My thoughts: Tamron 35-150mm

Favorite Travel lens – I just took this lens to Europe and I’m obsessed! It’s great for hiking or traveling if you don’t want to lug around all your lenses.

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04/02/2024 09:37 pm GMT

My thoughts: Sony 12 – 24mm

Super Wide – I definitely run into situations where I would love to have something this wide. Situations like shooting a big waterfall or a large mountain. One con of this lens is the limited use of filters. 

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04/02/2024 09:36 pm GMT

My thoughts: Sony 100-400mm

Whenever I’m shooting wild life I wish I had something with more zoom. I’ve played with the idea of getting this lens many times. Every time I use it, the extra zoom gives an entirely different look! If I decide to change up my lenses I may have to grab this one.

Drones & Accessories

Drone Gear

For someone who used to hate flying my drone, I have absolutely loved the DJI Mini 3 Pro. It is so simple and easy to fly. Having the ability to shoot vertical video is also a game changer in the growing game of social media videos. For how much I travel I was looking for something super small but still capable enough to get what I need. This is one of my favorite purchases!

Let’s be honest though, the 4 is out, and it’s even better. I’ll include both links!

DJI Mini 3 Pro
$909.00 $829.95

Mini Drone with 4K Video, 48MP Photo, 34 Mins Flight Time, Less than 249 g, Obstacle Sensing, Return to Home, FAA Remote ID Compliant, Drone with Camera for Adults

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04/02/2024 09:39 pm GMT
DJI Mini 4 Pro
$1,159.00

Fly More Combo Plus with DJI RC 2, Mini Drone with 4K HDR Video, 3 Intelligent Flight Battery Plus for up to 135 Mins Flight Time, Smart Return to Home, Drone with Camera for Beginners

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04/02/2024 08:28 pm GMT

I was skeptical about this case and extra battery pack but get it! These batteries last longer and the charging case helps you keep things organized and charge conveniently!

DJI Mini 3 Pro Fly More Kit
$219.00

Includes Two Intelligent Flight Batteries, a Two-Way Charging Hub, Data Cable, Shoulder Bag, Spare propellers, and Screws, unisex, Black

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04/02/2024 09:39 pm GMT

You need ND filters! Make sure you have a good range for different lighting situations or you may force yourself to film using less optimal film settings. 

K&F Concept Mini 3/ Mini 3 Pro UV, ND/PL Filters Kit
$76.99

(5 Pack) UV Protection, Neutral Density & CPL 2-in-1 Filters Kit Compatible with DJI Mini 3 Pro/Mini 3 -Aluminum Version

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04/02/2024 09:39 pm GMT

Get yourself a good SD card with a good Read and Write speed. I love this one! 

ProGrade Digital microSD Memory Card
$90.99 $72.99

V60 microSD Card for DSLR and Action Cameras - High Speed Transfer of Files & Large Storage - Up to 250MB/s Read and 130MB/s Write Speed 256 GB

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04/02/2024 09:37 pm GMT

Tripod Options

Tripods

You need a tripod especially if you plan to do any long exposure. My most common use case is when I shoot waterfalls or low light situations. Tripods can be thousands of dollars and are worth the investment but here a couple affordable options.

My Pick
Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber)

Ultra-Portable, Stable and Compact Professional Camera Tripod

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04/02/2024 09:37 pm GMT
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04/02/2024 09:38 pm GMT

Camera Filters

Most used Filters

I got away with not having ND and polarizer filters for awhile but I would highly recommend getting at least a few. They will come in handy if you plan to do video, shooting long exposure, harsh light, and much more! A couple things to check: 

  • Make sure to get the correct fit for your lens
  • Do you want 3 stops, 6 stops, 10 stops? There are a lot of options so make sure to get a range or consider your use case
Breakthrough Photography 77mm X2 3-Stop Fixed ND Filter
$89.00

for Camera Lenses, Neutral Density Professional Photography Filter, MRC8, H-K9L Glass, Nanotec, Ultra-Slim, Weather-Sealed

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04/02/2024 09:35 pm GMT
X4 CPL 77mm Circular Polarizer Filter
$149.00

Schott B270 - MRC16 - Nano Coating - Weather Sealed - 25 Year Support by Breakthrough Photography

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04/02/2024 09:35 pm GMT

SD Cards & HD Storage

Camera SD Cards

SD Cards

The prices for SD cards will range from 10s of dollars to 100s of dollars. There’s a lot of factors for this but the two things I pay attention to are the read and write speed. Many cards will only advertise one of these one numbers if any. Many SD cards will lag when the camera is trying to write data to the card. This can cause you to miss shots. These are the SD Cards I have been loving: 

ProGrade (256GB)
$229.99

Digital SDXC UHS-II V90 300R Memory Card

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04/02/2024 09:36 pm GMT
ProGrade (128GB)
$144.99 $125.99

 Digital SDXC UHS-II V90 300R Memory Card

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ProGrade (64GB)
$79.99 $69.99

Digital SDXC UHS-II V90 300R Memory Card

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04/02/2024 09:36 pm GMT
ProGrade Digital microSD Memory Card
$90.99 $72.99

V60 microSD Card for DSLR and Action Cameras - High Speed Transfer of Files & Large Storage - Up to 250MB/s Read and 130MB/s Write Speed 256 GB

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04/02/2024 09:37 pm GMT

Travel/Portable HD

While traveling, especially on a long trip, I try to hold my data on portable HDs and then transfer them to my NAS when I get home. I’ve used a few different brands and have really loved these SanDisk drives. They are affordable and super compact.

SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD
$199.99 $159.99

Up to 1050MB/s, USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2, IP65 Water and Dust Resistance, Updated Firmware - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-2T00-G25

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04/02/2024 09:37 pm GMT

Home Storage Set Up

I have gone the NAS route for my main storage. This is good for so many reasons! 

  • Data redundancy 
  • Accessible over wifi
  • Easy scalability 
  • Cost effective long term solution 
  • Security 
  • And more! 
This was an intense set up but it’s been one of the best things I’ve done to keep my files secure and safe. It’s helped me streamline my process 100% compared to using a normal HD set up.  
 
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APC UPS 1500VA Sine Wave UPS Battery Backup
$299.99 $275.61

BR1500MS2 Backup Battery Power Supply, AVR, 10 Outlets, (2) USB Charger Ports

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04/02/2024 09:37 pm GMT
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04/02/2024 08:59 pm GMT

Other Must Have's

Curtsod Headlamp Rechargeable
$14.9942

2-Pack 1200 Lumen Super Bright with White Red LED Head Lamp Flashlight, 12 Modes, Motion Sensor, Waterproof, Outdoor Fishing Camping Running Cycling Headlight

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05/26/2024 12:32 pm GMT
Hollyland Lark Max Wireless Lavalier Microphone System
$249.00

With Professional ENC, Studio Quality Audio, 22H Duration, 820ft(250m) Range, Compatible with DSLR Camera, iPhone, Android, PC-Black

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04/02/2024 09:28 pm GMT
NOMATIC 8L Camera Sling Bag
$159.99

Cross Body Bag for Photographers - Black DSLR Camera Bag

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04/02/2024 09:39 pm GMT
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04/02/2024 09:36 pm GMT
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TIANSONG USB C SD Card Reader for iPhone 15/Mac/iPad
$12.99

USB 3.0 Type C to SD/Micro SD Card Adapter Dual Slots Read and Write Simultaneously Memory Card Reader Compatible with MacBook Pro/Air Android

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04/02/2024 09:10 pm GMT
Meixitoy 120 LED Phone Light
$49.99 $29.98

Selfie Light, 5000Mah Rechargeable Clip Video Light, Adjusted 3 Light Modes, for Phone, Camera, Laptop, iPad, Light for Phone for Selfie, Video Conference, TikTok, Vlog

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04/02/2024 09:10 pm GMT
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03/29/2024 07:02 pm GMT

Until Next Time!

I hope this can help guide you while you’re going through the confusing world of camera gear. Start simple and work your way up. You don’t need a ton of gear to get started. Be patient, buying everything at once would get very expensive so take it slow. As you advance your skill set, you will start to feel the gaps you have in gear. Don’t buy something too soon as this can cause new photographers to be very overwhelmed. Practicing composition, understanding light, and understanding editing will advance your photography more than gear. When you start feeling that gap of technical capabilities, that is when you should look at upgrading your gear. I hope this helps 🙂

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