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 🙂
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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I currently use a Sony A7Riv 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.
My favorite features:
- 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
- Pixel shift can give you a photo file with up to 19008 x 12672 pixels
- 4k movie recording
- High-Speed Wifi support
- Wireless PC remote connectivity
- 2 memory card slots
- And the list goes on!
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!
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.
If you are looking for something a little less expensive or if you don’t need all the advanced capabilities this camera is a great option as well.
Mirrorless camera that has a ton of great features such as Real-time eye auto focus, 4k video, flip screen, etc.
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:
24-70 mm 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!
This lens came around after I bought my 16-35mm Lens which is probably my favorite lens. If I had to pick another wide angle I would absolutely get this one! Being able to go to 12 mm would be useful for shooting waterfalls and other massive landscapes.
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!
For someone who used to hate flying my drone, I have absolutely loved this one. 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!
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.
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
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:
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.
Full 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
- And more!
A couple other useful items!
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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