Photography Equipment

Camera Lenses

Our Recommended Equipment List

What equipment do I need?

This is the proverbial question that can never fully be answered, as we all know as soon as you buy something that is the latest all singing all dancing answer to everything needed in photography another latest version is just about to be announced!

So that being said, there are some basics that will considerably increase your ability to produce consistently better images.

For our suggested equipment list click here

The camera: Canon, Sony, Nikon, Hasselblad ………..

Your pride and joy the camera of your choice. If you are considering updating to a new model, we have tried most of the latest Canon and Nikon equipment and are always happy to offer our advice based on your budget, as unfortunately that is what it comes down to with all electronic equipment.

What functions do my camera need?

An ability to capture images in camera raw is extremely desirable, if not essential. To get the best dynamic range and leave the most manipulation options camera raw is really the way to go. If you can only capture jpegs and do not intend to upgrade your camera before a course we can still manage with that format but it does restrict what can be done post capture. If this all gobbledygook don’t worry we have explained quite a bit in another page in a separate blog here.

Filters & systems

We use 100mm square Lee filters and filter holders and also their range of adaptor rings, although other systems are available. If filters are new to you, the camera lens has a threaded end and an adaptor ring is purchased which is the same size as the lens, e.g 77mm for a Canon 24-70 mark 1 L series lens. You attach the adaptor ring by screwing it on and that then allows you to attach the filter holder, which clips on to it. The filter holder has slots in which you can then place the filters, which are moved up and down to cover parts of perhaps a bright sky or to balance a brighter and darker subject so it is more acceptable for us as photographers and of course so the camera can manage to accurately capture a better image.  We can then go in to the types of filters to use. We use graduated filters and also solid filters like the famous “Big stopper” or the “Pro-series” filters. We also on occasion use a polarising filter which works much in the same was as your polarising sunglasses, it removes reflection and can add features therefore to an otherwise bland picture, well worth considering. If you would like to more about Lee filters have a look here

What do we put all this on?

Well a tripod yet another serious investment and drain on our resources that comes in three parts. Firstly there is the base section known as the “Tripod legs” There are many companies that manufacture acceptable tripods we use Manfrotto and also Giotto. Have a look here at Manfrotto’s Website for further information regarding their range: www.manfrotto.co.uk

The next part of the trilogy is the “Tripod head” which attaches to the top of the legs and there are many varieties available. Finally we have the system that is use to connect the camera to the head. The head will most likely come with a system attached and you will then need to purchase accessory plates to screw on to the bottom of your camera and you are then complete.

Lenses

Just as expensive as you camera on many occasions think twice before you spend your hard earned money on lenses as you can often end up with some of these very expensive items that you will rarely use. We have written a blog here, which should explain more about this very important subject.

We use EF17-40mm lenses, EF24-70mm, EF70-200mm, EF24-105mm, EF85mm, EF50mm, EF400mm and EF100mm macro lenses, used mostly for close up shots of details perhaps flowers or anything we want to really focus on in great detail whilst in close proximity. We use Canon L series lenses, the professional range. (Although there are other brands which we are told are nearly as good.) The various numbers refer to the width of the angle you shoot and an excellent explanation is provided by Canon here

You can purchase which ever you prefer but my real workhorse is the EF17-40mm  as it offers the facility to achieve the big landscape that I prefer, with a wide angle of view, that would be closely followed by the EF24-70mm. Those two lenses and perhaps an EF100mm macro would make a superb all round kit, but you do not need them all one is good enough to start with and you can build them up as you feel you really need them. Have a look at our lens guide on another page.

Memory cards

Most cameras nowadays use either SD (Secure digital) or CF (Compact flash) cards. Whichever you have in your camera the quality of it is extremely important. It may be tempting to buy a very low cost version but it is not worth it. When you consider the cost of your equipment, and the potential value (personal and financial), only the best memory cards will do. SD cards come in HD form, SDHC, were the HC stands for high capacity and also SDXC denoting extra capacity, we use Sandisk although other quality brands are available. One note of caution is appropriate here, please do not buy very large cards of for example 64gb, (gigabytes) if you are just taking landscape images as you are risking disaster should you have a colossal failure of the card. We recommend more smaller cards of for example 2gb – 6gb maximum this reduces your risk, you will need more of them but you have exponentially reduced the risk of image loss. Sandisk do have a recovery software which can in many occasions will rescue your data and save you from otherwise loss. Another thing to consider is the mbps which you will see on the side of the card. This denotes megabits per second the speed at which that card can transfer and then store data, the higher the better, however the higher the speed, the higher the cost! If you intend to shoot video with your camera it may be better to have a couple of the larger cards for this purpose as recording video does use up more space.

Your kit bag

Now we have all this expensive equipment what does it all go in to? We use Lowepro and their equipment can be looked at here

Again other great manufacturers are available which you may consider.

Other bits and pieces

A triple-axis hot shoe bubble spirit level is an important piece of equipment to have and can be purchased at online auction sites for between £3-12. This clever piece of kit allows us to set the level of our image by adjusting the tripod head or legs, thus ensuring that the horizon remains level.  We all need cloths to clean our bits and pieces and we use Lee filters cloths as they do not leave a residue. A cable release is very useful and allows us to minimise the risk of camera movement which is caused when we apply pressure to the shutter release button on our camera. A headlamp or small torch if you prefer, is an essential piece of equipment for the early mornings when walking across uneven ground. We carry some wet wipes and also lypsyl to save the lips on cold mornings. A mat to sit or lay down on can be handy and there are many on the market designed to be light and easy to carry. We also carry a microfiber travel towel or similar which can be useful.

Your own electronic items

You certainly need a laptop or Mac to view your images whilst away from home or indeed at home. A good graphics card is an essential, and you will need, when your passion advances, some way of calibrating your display. We use a Spyder 3 Elite, there are other systems available which provide good results. And certainly a printer or a good reliable print company who will consistently supply you with  quality images that accurately represent the images you have created on your own media.

enquiries@raymondbrownphotography.com

Telephone numbers: 02890817194 & 07721907744

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