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Photography, filmmaking, social media, travel & technology by @itchban

What I shoot with: Gear Update (May 2017)

What I shoot with Gear Update @itchban

Hi friends! It's probably about time that I updated you all on my gear setup. I've changed a bit of my kit around since my last gear update. Hopefully this will answer some of your gear related questions.

To put any photographers kit into context, you need to understand what and how they shoot. There is no single kit that is right for everyone, but read on; I'll provide some running commentary about each item.

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What & how I shoot:

If you've been following my previous gear blog posts, you'll notice that my set up has slightly shifted towards a more video friendly kit. Video is something I have been getting more involved with, and it is definitely more technical and gear intensive than a photography setup.

My shooting style is very much run-and-gun. I dislike using tripods and other equipment that I have to spend too long setting up because it slows down my process too much (maybe I'm just lazy). I like to shoot a lot of outdoor / nature type stuff so my kit needs to be relatively light weight and easy to pack.

*The kit pictured above is not my full kit (it changes depending on what I'm shooting & where I'm going). The kit above is what I brought on my road trip to film & shoot for the Mini Australia campaign.

mvp / Must-have items:

  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • Gorilla Pod, Ball head, Ulanzi Smartphone mount setup
  • Monopod w/ fluid head (awesome for video)
  • Palladium Boots

Cameras & Lenses

Notes: I recently loaned this Canon 1D Mark ii with the 24-70 f/4.0 for a gear review post. Stay tuned for that! This thing is a beast.

  • Canon 5D Mark iii (Main Camera)
    I very recently upgraded from the 6D. I decided to upgrade because I need better autofocus for my upcoming Japan trip. I plan to shoot more street photography there and the 6D's autofocus is horrible. I would have loved a 5D Mark IV but the $5000 price tag for body only still seems a bit ridiculous to me. I've also been experiment with Magic Lantern software to shoot RAW video - stay tuned for a blog post on that. 
  • Canon 16-35mm L f/2.8 Mark ii
    Very useful focal length. The mark ii is a little soft at 16mm f/2.8. Would definitely recommend the mark iii if you can afford it.
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8 iii
    The nifty-fifty. You can pick this lens up for about $160 new and the quality is pretty great! It also means you don't have to worry about it so much since it's relatively cheap.
  • Sigma 70-300mm
    This is a pretty cheap and nasty lens (you can pick one up for under $100 on eBay atm). Image quality is soft and pretty terrible - I'm only using it right now because I haven't invested in a proper telephoto lens. The focal length is pretty handy though, and the compression on it is awesome.
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art
    This lens is by far my sharpest lens. I highly recommend this lens, or any from the Sigma Art range. It is super quick at f/1.4 and the focal length is a great walk around photo lens. It is also plenty wide for a video lens too!
  • DJI Mavic Pro with 2 spare batteries & charging hub
    Probably my favourite gear purchase to date. Even when I'm not actually using it taking photos/video , it is fun to just fly around. It is so small there really is no excuse for you to not bring it with you everywhere you go. The only downside is the camera is not the best. The dynamic range, low light, and most the video capabilities are only barely passable. I would definitely recommend getting at least two spare batteries.
  • Sandmarc Filter pack for DJI Mavic Pro
    The filter pack includes a polariser, ND4, ND8, ND16. The polariser is great for cutting reflections in water - which is very apparent when flying high up in the air. The ND filters are great for getting that cinematic shutter speed for video (not really required for photo).
  • Pentax MX 35mm Film Camera
    Picked up another film camera recently and I love this one much more than the last. This one is an SLR style camera and that shutter clack feels so good.
  • Kodak Portra 400
    This film stock is probably one of the most used VSCOfilm filters on Instagram. 

Equipment & Accessories:

  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • Rode VideoMic Me
    Good quality sound is pretty crucial to any video. One annoying thing however, is that it uses a 3.5mm headphone jack (my iPhone 7 is missing this port). I have to carry around that annoying lightning adaptor - Rode mic please sort this out!
  • Incase iPhone 7 Plus Case & Incase Battery pack
    Especially love the Incase battery pack. It comes inbuilt with the lightning cable and the charging cable that tuck away neatly into the body of the battery pack. 
  • Zhiyun Smooth Q Smartphone Gimbal
    It is essentially a clone of the DJI Osmo, except with a larger battery (lasts 8 hours) and a stronger motor. There is a pretty big problem I've discovered though. It seems to conflict with the built in Image stabilisation of the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 7 & Plus models. This conflict causes micro jitters on the edges of your frame if you move around too much. It still works fine if your actions are relatively smooth.
  • Moment Wide lens & iPhone 7 Plus plate mount
    If you Instagram story / Snapchat a lot, this wide lens is pretty useful! Check my review on it here.
  • Gorilapod with ball head & Ulanzi Smartphone mount
    This setup is perfection. The DSLR grade gorilapod is sturdy enough to hold your smartphone in any situation. The ball head makes it easy to adjust the orientation of the phone and the Ulanzi smartphone mount is super strong, well built and sturdy.
  • Chrome Industries Niko Backpack
  • HOYA Variable ND filter
    Super essential for video! It lets you keep the shutter speed low so you can get nice depth of field / bokeh.
  • Manfrotto Lens UV protectors
    I only keep these UV protectors on my lenses to protect them from damage / the elements. I try to take them off when I can as they aren't too great for image quality.
  • Monopod with fluid head
    Super happy with this purchase. It definitely helps a lot with video to get steady shots - especially when shooting with longer focal lengths. Pans and camera movements are super smooth with the fluid head. It only costs $50 on eBay too!
  • Sandisk Extreme Pro CF / SD / Micro SD cards
    Sandisk cards are quality and quick. They haven't let me down to date, so I haven't really tried any other brand.
  • Tripod (eBay / China brand)
    Like I mentioned above - not really a fan of tripods. I will be switching this tripod out to a Manfrotto Befree series soon though.
  • Intervalometer
    Necessary if you're a Canon shooter as they've decided to not include a time-lapse feature in their most of their DSLR's. Why you do dis Canon???
  • Kathmandu Head Torch
  • DJI Mavic Pro car charger