Four years ago, I wrote about my photography kit, and that post proved quite popular. Seeing as it’s so long ago, and my gear has changed considerably since then, I thought I’d take you through what’s in my camera bag these days!
You’re about to see just how bad my Gear Acquisition Syndrome has become… Brace yourselves.
(You can click on any of the links below and they’ll take you straight to the relevant part of the post, so you can skip any bits that you’re not interested in.)
My introduction to full-frame photography! I bought this in April 2017, second-hand from a CEX store in South Wales (without seeing it in person!) and thankfully, it was in good condition. I managed to get it for around half the price that you’d normally pay for the 6D new. (This was just before the Mark II came out, by the way.)
I’d played with the 6D at The Photography Show in March 2017, and was really impressed. As I’d been looking to improve my photography skills for quite some time, I’d been on the lookout for a pro-level camera with a full-frame sensor. The 6D is Canon’s entry-level pro-level DSLR, if that makes sense?
The full-frame sensor is bigger than that of an entry-level APS-C sensor DSLR, so it allows way more light into the camera, which produces brighter and crisper images and allows you to shoot in darker situations. (Like this!) It also means that the focal length of my lenses is true. So a 50mm lens is actually 50mm on this camera, rather than about 85mm on my previous camera, the 600D, due to the cropped body.
It was honestly quite a jump up going from my old entry-level 600D to the 6D! I am so glad that I made that leap, though. After two years of full-frame shooting, I’m not sure where I’d be without it now! (Especially in Winter, where we bloggers are plagued by low-light shooting conditions, which I’m sure you’ve heard every blogger under the sun complaining about by now.)
Some examples of this camera in use:
Canon EOS 5D, 5D Mark I, 5D Classic, whatever you want to call it: This is the newest addition to my kit, despite the fact that it’s actually older than all of my other cameras, by far. It’s a fourteen-year-old workhorse of a DSLR. It’s a pro-level, full-frame beast from Canon’s flagship 5D line.
I’ve been looking for a way into Canon’s 5D range for a while (without wanting to spend three grand or so!) and for three hundred quid from MPB, this seemed like a great compromise.
A lot of people (like Jamie Windsor on YouTube) mention its colour science; how the photos it produces have a more ‘filmic’ quality to them than later Canon 5D models. And within minutes of shooting with it, I saw it too. Beautiful blues, gorgeous greens. You get the picture. (No pun intended.)
You’ll only have seen a handful of shots from this camera on the blog or over on Instagram, purely because I don’t really take it out with me very often! It’s a beast of a camera, but it’s heavy as a consequence. (The photos in this post were taken on it though, and so were these recent snaps, and I think you can really detect a filmic-looking grain if you glare closely enough at the images!)
Gosh, it’s so heavy, though. (If anyone wants me, I’ll be consulting a chiropractor.)
Shot with the 5D:
Canon 50mm EF f1.8 II STM Lens
The nifty fifty! The original has been with me through thick and thin. I bought this lens back in 2015, and it was the first lens I added to my Canon kit after the 18-55mm kit lens that came with my 600D.
The f1.8 aperture offers a nice bokeh and lovely shallow depth of field, and when I bought it, it was £97 new – bargain! I ended up repurchasing this lens late last year when the first started to dwindle after years of heavy use, and I still love it! (I’d definitely recommend this to anyone as their first non-kit lens purchase.)
Canon 40mm EF f2.8 Pancake Lens
The handiest, lightest lens EVER. A blogger’s dream lens.
I bought this after reading posts from other bloggers raving about how good this is for blog photography. It’s great for flatlays, whether you’re using a full-frame camera or a cropped-body one. It’s a surprisingly versatile focal length.
Shedloads of my blog photos have been taken on this stellar lens over the past few years. (Notably the York 2017 photo diary.) It’s fantastic for days out and for travelling with because a.) it’s so small and b.) it’s SO light. Plus, the quality is excellent: sharp, and the f2.8 widest aperture is good enough for a fairly shallow depth of field too.
It’s got a lovely quiet (STM) motor for the autofocus too, which is handy for video, or if you’re trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible…
Canon 24mm EF-S f2.8 Pancake Lens
Admittedly, I don’t use this lens very often. I rarely use this for blog photography because there’s usually a vignette around the edges at wide apertures, which I don’t really like.
It is almost identical in size, build, and quality (even down to the f2.8 widest aperture and STM motor) to the 40mm pancake lens that I get a lot of use out of.
It doesn’t get as much use as the other lenses in my collection these days because I can’t actually use it on the full-frame DSLRs with it being an EF-S lens, rather than an EF one. (They don’t fit full-frame and if you tried to make them fit you’d either break the lens, your camera body, or both. Not ideal.)
It’s occasionally strapped to the front of my mirrorless Canon M10 though, via an adapter. With the adapter and the cropped-body of the camera, the focal length roughly comes out at a whopping 65mm, so I’m sure you can see why that’s the DSLR lens of choice for that camera over the 40mm or 50mm ones! (Plus there’s no vignetting when you’re using it this way!)
Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art Lens (Canon Fit)
BY FAR the most expensive lens I’ve ever bought, but probably my favourite. I justified buying it by telling myself that it was an ‘investment’.
The Sigma 50mm Art Lens is a pro-level lens which is perfect for portraiture. I don’t use it nearly as often as I’d like for blog photography, because this isn’t a lens that lends itself well to flat lay photography. It’s incredibly heavy, but the photos it produces are beautiful. (You can see examples of it from my radio photos on Instagram, to the photos in this recent post – even though it just about killed me holding this above my chest of drawers for ages to get these shots!)
The fact that the aperture goes as wide as f1.4 means that you can achieve such a lovely shallow depth of field, which I’m sure regular readers’ll already know I love, judging by my blog photos!
If you follow me on Instagram and wondered what lens I used for indoor shots (often of my radio) it’s usually this one! The bokeh is beautifully buttery and dreamy, but the arm ache this lens gives you is a pain for travelling and taking out-and-about shots with. (I took it to Skegness and regretted it after half an hour of lugging it around…)
Canon EF 85mm f1.8 Lens
The 85mm lens is a good’un that never seems to get the use it should from me. I bought it primarily so that I could do more portraiture, except I just haven’t got round to it yet. (Lame excuse, but true.)
It is a beautiful lens though! The bokeh is almost as pretty as that of my Sigma lens. I still find it weird shooting so ‘close up’ to things and people though! I’m far, far more used to 40 or 50mm as a focal length!
Yep, I’m quite the prime girl, aren’t I? I really should buy a zoom for the sake of versatility…
The Mirrorless Cameras
Fujifilm X-Pro 1
I mentioned this camera (and the story of how and why I got it) in this post, but this is a little mirrorless camera that I picked up second-hand early on last year. Why? Because I clearly have Gear Acquisition Syndrome, and also because I’d really wanted a Fuji X Series camera for ages and this came up as a really good deal. (So much so, that I travelled all the way to Manchester and back just to have a tinker with it and buy it.)
My first ‘proper’ camera that my parents bought for me when I was 16, after falling in love with photography, was a Fuji bridge camera. So, going back to Fuji felt like going back to my photographic roots, as cheesy as that sounds?
I didn’t use it for blog photography often when I first got it, but I’m increasingly turning to it these days because it’s much lighter than my DSLRs and the lens I have with this camera is fantastic. It’s the Fujinon 35mm f1.4, and it’s the only lens I think I actually need. It’s brilliant, and I adore it.
Shot with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1
You might’ve guessed by now that I’m a bit of a Canon fangirl? My go-to on-the-go camera is the M10 these days. I’ve had it for a couple of years, and it tends to stay in my bag wherever I go. I often just leave the 15-45mm kit lens on it (it has image stabilisation, and it’s also compact, plus surprisingly good quality for a kit lens!) although I do have a cheap £20 adapter from Amazon to put my DSLR lenses on it too.
It’s a small camera, with an APS-C-size sensor (the same size as an entry-level DSLR) so you can get DSLR quality photos on a much smaller body. It’s fantastic! (My back and shoulders love it!)
It’s dirt cheap now too because it’s been replaced by newer models – So if you’re on the lookout for a versatile new camera that’s very easy to use, I would highly recommend this!
Shot on this camera:
The Vlogging Camera
Canon G7X (Mark I)
The camera I used to use for YouTube, that I’m trying to find other uses for now too. (I don’t have the heart to sell this fantastic little camera.)
Yeah, it’s the same point-and-shoot that all the big name vloggers used to have (before they all upgraded to 80Ds, along with constant arm ache) and I can definitely see why. A lot of current vloggers have the Mark II version of this camera, and Canon have even just announced the Mark III – although at £699, I won’t be rushing to replace the Mark I anytime soon!
I filmed my Weekly Snippets vlog series on this camera. It’s got a flip-up screen, which is great for vlogging, but I haven’t really used it for that. (No-one needs to see me awkwardly talking to a camera about my mundane daily life, after all, do they?)
Nowadays, seeing as I don’t bother with YouTube, I occasionally use this for the odd Instagram Story video – if I’m feeling particularly fancy. With the built-in WiFi and the Canon Camera Connect app, it’s really quick and easy to get images and videos off this camera (and the M10 as well) and straight onto my phone.
The Canon G7X has a
Shot on the Canon G7X Mark I
Over the past few years, I’ve become a bit of a film convert. I treated myself to this gimmicky pink instant film camera about three years ago, and while I only use it for special occasions because the films are pretty expensive, I still love the photos you get from it. It does work out at something like £1 per photo, so you really have to make sure that whatever (or whoever) you’re photographing is worth it!
Mine’s pink, although you can get them in a range of different colours. Even though I don’t use it that often, it crops up sometimes in my blog photos, because it’s quite a nice photography prop too, being so aesthetically pleasing! (See!)
Olympus Trip MD3
My Mum picked this up for me last year for £15! It was from the London Camera Exchange, and it’s a lovely little film point and shoot from 1998.
I’ve been using it for my 35mm Diaries series. (With mixed results, admittedly, but that’s more my fault than that of the camera.)
It’s lovely to load up a roll of film in this (usually Kodak Gold 200, but I’m currently tinkering with Portra 400) and leave it in my bag on days out. It’s not heavy, and it’s so handy to be able to grab it and snap without having to think about settings.
Shot on the Olympus Trip MD3:
LOMO Smena-8/Cosmic 35
This is the latest film camera to my collection. It was actually a birthday present that I received last month.
The Smena-8 is a soviet film camera from the 60s or early 70s. The camera is made by LOMO, and I have the Cosmic 35, which is the British export of the Russian model.
(Can we just take a second to appreciate the great condition this camera is in, despite its age? The previous owner(s) have clearly really looked after it well over the years.)
I’m yet to try it, partly because I’ve still got a roll of film that needs using up in the Olympus Trip MD3, and also because I’m also slightly terrified of using a fully manual film camera for the first time ever. (With this camera, you even have to wind the film along to the next shot yourself – which a lot of people understandably forget to do, and end up taking lots of accidental double exposures!)
But, you’ll be the first to know (after Jessops) when I’ve got some snaps from this vintage camera to share!
THE MISCELLANEOUS BITS
TRIPODS: I use an Amazon Basics tripod when I can be bothered with the faff. I’ll occasionally put my mirrorless cameras on the Manfrotto Pixi tripod, which lets me prop my cameras up vertically so that I can shoot a video for Instagram Stories. (I also have a clamp to fit my phone to this tripod too.) I’ve often got my Canon G7X on the original Joby Gorillapod (which I’ve had for YEARS). On top of that, I have a cheap, sturdier full-size tripod from PC World for my DSLRs too. I’ve had it since about 2010, or something ridiculous. (It does squeak a lot now though.)
STRAPS: The camera straps that I use on my cameras are normally the ones that came as standard with them. The one exception is the brown 5D strap, which is a cheap one that I picked up on Amazon.
MEMORY CARDS: For all of my cameras, except the 5D, I use myriad SD cards. My favourites are Lexar ones, (is it sad that I’ve got a favourite brand of memory cards? I didn’t really need to ask, did I?) but I’ve also got an array of Sandisk ones and My Memory own-brand ones too. The only CF card that I use for my 5D is a refurbished Sandisk 16GB.
BAGS: I only have two camera bags. A Canon-branded one that came as a free gift with my old 600D years ago, and an Amazon Basics one, which fits two camera bodies, a couple of lenses, my Kindle and loads of other bits and bobs in it too. (It’s a proper bargain if you don’t mind the bright orange interior.)
LENS ADAPTERS: I’ve previously mentioned that I own a Canon EF-M to EF lens adapter from Amazon, and I also have a Canon EF to Fuji X mount adapter too, so I can put Canon lenses on the X-Pro 1 body.
Right, I think that’s covered everything!
What camera(s) do you have?