Cameras, Lenses and Gear

updated 7/2015

Really Right Stuff TVC 33s Series 3 Tripod

Really Right Stuff
TVC 33s Series 3 Tripod

Equipment selection is often a battle between efficiency and necessity. A natural inclination towards a lightweight, simple gear selection can be overshadowed by a need for the precise tool for the job. I’ve included some links to the cameras and gear that I actually use in the field. There are of course, many options out there. I often shop on Amazon.com because their website is easy and efficient to use and free shipping can result in savings. I also buy direct from www.bhphoto.com and have included links to purchase from them if that is store of your choice. If you want to support a smaller company, consider www.tallyns.com, they are a Canon dealer and can often deliver the same products although sometimes shipping fees may increase the price. I also shop for other gear at www.kinesisgear.com, www.reallyrightstuff.com.

The Really Right Stuff TVC 33s Series 3 tripod  is my current and favorite tripod when I need the height. It works in very cold temperatures, which is critical for me. If you are doing work in subzero temps, this tripod is hard to beat, and I’ve tried a bunch. It is expensive.

Cameras

  • For most of my career I owned Canon’s 1D and 1Ds series cameras, but with the advent of the Canon 5D Mark III, I find sufficiency for what I do in the 5D version. The loss of frame rate is a slight compromise and occasionally something I miss, but most of my work does not require excessive frame rate.
  • Canon 5d Mark IV
    30MP full frame sensor DSLR, light weight option.

Lenses

To compliment the cameras I use a variety of common and special
purpose lenses, including:

Tripods and Mounts

All of this gear must be securely anchored to prevent vibration and soft photos.

  • Really Right Stuff  TVC-33 Versa Series 3 Tripod: My large carbon fiber tripod. Light but durable and works well in the cold weather conditions. I use the Kirk BH-1 Ballhead with this tripod.
  • For lighter weight gear, I use  use a smaller Gitzo G1227 carbon fiber tripod with a Kirk BH-3 ballhead.
  • Super lightweight Gitzo Trip: GT0541 carbon fiber-1.7lbs with a Really Right Stuff BH25 Mini Ballhead

Lighting

  • Canon 600 EXRT flashes
  • Chimera mini soft boxes
  • Canon wireless flash system

Shop at BH Photo

  • Kim

    Patrick: What would you recommend for a serious amateur? I’ll (hopefully) be photographing polar bear and Narwhales in June. I’ve a Canon Rebel XT w/18-55mm EF-S/3.5-5.6 (Don’t laugh)
    Could I work with it and add 1 or 2 lenses?
    Not sure if I should get video capability built into the Canon or carry something else?

    Lastly, my tripod is quite bulky, but I sensed you recommend it as an essential.

    Just trying not to be loaded down but still bring enough so I’ll be happy with my shots….

    • Kim,
      You will definitely want another lens that reaches more than 55mm. For choices,the sky is the limit but the budget is the ceiling. You will to figure out what you want to spend, and generally, you get what you pay for in optical quality. A tripod is essential, although it need be a bulky one.

  • john Doherty

    Hi there, excuse my lack of knowledge but I’m new to technology. My question is about memory pens. I have a fujifilm camera which can also take video clips, when I copied my photos and videos to the memory pen, I noticed that the videos only play when I put the pen into the pc, however when I plug the pen into the telivison I can only view the photos but not the video clips. Is this to do with the telivision or is it possible to purchase a memory pen that can play the clip when you plug it into the telivision? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi John, Sorry but I’m not familiar with memory pens.

  • todd baham

    HI there. Thanks for making the website, its very helpful. Im currently using a canon 60d with an 15-85mm lense. I am considering buying the 11-16 tokina. Is there a better lense for the aurora in your opinion? Thanks for any input.

    • Todd,
      I have not used either of those lenses, as I shoot a full size sensor, not the one sized at the 60d. However, in general, you want an f/2.8 at least, and as wide as you can get. So if the reviews of the 11-16 come out ok and it is a f/2.8, I would lean that way. You want to be able to grab a lot of sky space when the aurora begins to display.

  • Thomas

    Hi there,

    I came across your blog during my search of an aurora lense. Great stuff you have! Perhaps you can offer me your opinion. I shoot full frame with Nikon D700 and already have the Rokinon 14mm/2.8 which does a decent job most of the times. Sometimes I have difficulties to focus with that one.

    Now I’d like to get a new lense and I’m struggling between the 24mm/1.4 or the 14-24mm/2.8. The 1.4 is four times faster but has a smaller angle. The zoom is great but cannot take filters (for landscape photography during day time). I’m sure you are familiar with my agonizing over this.. I have only one body and restrains for investment, so it can be only one of them.

    Which one do you find more useful and/or more in use? Are they both as sharp? And – last question – if you’d have to chose, do you have an obvious choice?

    Thanks so much for your insight!

    • Thomas, Yes, that is a tough question to answer. Both have obvious merit. However, I would choose the 14-24 for versatility and optical quality.

  • Patrick: I noticed in your Ebook you recommend Gitzo GT3541 tripod. Why you do not list this in your camera equipment List?

    • Syed,
      There are very many options for tripods these days, and there are always new ones coming out. I updated the list to reflect my current equipment, but in reality, there are many that may work, it just depends on preference, budget, and style of shooting.

  • That’s nice.

  • Army of lenses, very like 24-105(second version is very sharp) and 70-200 2.8(nice stabilization). Never used 500mm.

  • FujiFilm

    This is really a gr8 blog on Latest Digital Camera & camera lenses.