Hardware

Hardware

Updated

This is the stuff I use to make my images. Because I mostly do landscape photography, I can relax and take my time; I don’t find I need anything very fast or flashy to photograph rocks and plants. My gear list reflects this. If you’re shooting sports, wildlife or people, your list will be much different than mine here.

CAMERAS

I have 3 Canon Rebel XTi DSLRs. These are ancient and outdated “prosumer” cameras for advanced amateurs and were first released in 2006 and discontinued in 2010. I bought my first in 2008 and added 2 more used a couple of years ago for under $150 each. The XTi is a good little camera with a 10.1 mega pixel APS-C sensor. The quality is good enough at ISO 100 and with my lenses and printer that I can make a 16″ x 20″ print of acceptable quality. I use these only on full manual and almost always on ISO 100 to keep noise down. Instead of needing faster ISO’s, I wish I had ISO 50, 25 and 12 as options!

LENSES

I use two pro-level Canon cameras –a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and a CanonĀ EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. The 24-105 is my “big subjects” lens (think Monument Valley, the Rockies, etc.) while the 70-200mm is usually used for close ups and macros of plants and flowers. For macros I use the 70-200mm combined with a Canon 500D close-up lens, which is really nothing more than a magnifying glass. As most of my time is spent in Missouri where big, open landscapes aren’t the norm, the 70-200mm is what I use the most.

MANFROTTO MK055XPRO3-BHQ2 ALUMINUM TRIPOD WITH XPRO BALL HEAD AND 200PL QR PLATE

I bought this tripod in 2018 after my under $200 old tripod finally gave out after many years of service. The Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-BHQ2 is wonderful and I would recommend it to anybody. The only possible downside to it is it weight about 7 lbs. itself. That’s a tad heavy when photographing for long periods. BUT, that isn’t a ding against the tripod. The weight contributes to it’s sturdiness. To criticize the tripod for its weight would be a little like complaining that your wonderful 4×4 high-clearance off-roading truck was hard to get into because it sits so high off the ground.

HOODMAN HOODLOUPE

$90.00 seems a crazy price for these things, but a HoodLoupe is invaluable for viewing camera info and reviewing images in the daylight. Maybe people using LCDs that flip out and can be viewed from various angles don’t need a HoodLoupe, but for me I have to have one.

FILTERS

  1. Canon 500D close-up lens. Mentioned under “lenses” above, it works more like a filter than a true lens. Basically it’s a magnifying glass I screw on the end of my trusty 70-200mm to get in closer than the camera’s native ability. I use it almost daily and use Photoshop’s focus stacking to compile multiple images for macros/close-ups to get around the limited depth-of-field of the 500D.
  2. UV filters
  3. Circle polarizers
  4. Rectangular graduated neutral density filter, handheld in front of the lens to darken the sky on occasion. Not used too often.
  5. 10-stop solid neutral density filter for long exposures to blur water, clouds, etc. Seldom used

Remote Shutter Release

Handy little tool for those of us too clumsy to gently squeeze a shutter button and thus avoid a blurry image. Also provides me a “bulb” setting so I can lock open my shutter for long exposures.

12″ Reflector

This cheap little item has paid for itself many times over. I haven’t used it as a reflector as much as I have used it as a shade. For instance, my smaller zoom lens lacks a lens hood; at times I have used this “reflector” to shade the lens to avoid stray light messing with exposures. I’ve used it to shade the light off me as well in order to see to focus or compose an image. And then I have used the diffuser screen to do just that–diffuse too bright of light when shooting plants or flowers. It’s also entertaining to see if you can fold the thing back up and get it stuffed into its carrying bag in one try.

An Old Black T-Shirt

  1. A worn out cotton t-shirt is perfect for cleaning lenses, filters, cameras and mopping up sweaty photographers in the field.
  2. It can double as a black background when shooting close ups or macros of plants and you want to isolate the subject from everything else. Just keep it moving to avoid actually photographing it.
  3. It can be used as a t-shirt, albeit an old worn out one.

Spare Batteries and Flash Cards

Don’t leave home without spares of either.

Backpack

I have a Manfrotto Pro Light Bumblebee-130 Camera Backpack, a nice backpack received as a birthday gift from my youngest son. It accomodates all my stuff here and then some.