What is in my kit
One of the last photos taken on the my Pentax K1 the sharpness of the Pentax is substandard to the Canon R5 but its color is second to none
I recently was asked by shotkit.com to write a feature for them on what is in my kit. Before I shared with their thousands of readers I thought I would share with you my dedicated followers what is in my camera bag. About 3 years ago I switched from Pentax to Canon. Yes I was a Pentax hold out having shot Pentax for over 30 years. I did have their 450mm lens and numerous other lenses and had the K1 and K3 camera body models but I was simply unable to get the crisp sharp photos I was seeing other wildlife photographers produce and my camera was not as fast in the field.
My camera kit
So I made the switch to the Canon R5. It was tough and I will still contend to probably my last breathe that nothing beats Pentax's color! But I am a Canon user now and I love the fast fps of the R5 and the eye focus, as well as it being full frame. For wildlife photography its an excellent camera.
The great detail even in low light of the Canon RF 400mm f.8
In terms of lenses I started with Sigma 150-600mm contemporary lens simply for its reasonable cost and the reach it has. I also purchased the Canon RF 800 f11 at same time because hey it was 800mm and was similar in price to the sigma lens. At first I used my 800mm all the time because I loved its reach, it was a novelty! But it has to have a lot of light and it is not great in early morning or late evening when the sun is low. Since it was not great at gathering light as it is an f11 its autofocus is slow and I miss a lot of shots especially if the animals are moving fast. When I went to Alaska two years ago I rented the Canon EF 400mm F2.8 L IS II. I was blown away by the sharpness of the images and the fast autofocus. When I came back home I longed for that lens, I wanted that lens, I needed that lens. Fast forward to a year later, I did not go on any photograph tours and instead put my earnings from my print sales and workshops towards the purchase of the RF 400mm f2.8 lens. I love it! I use this lens all the time. I choose the 400 f2.8 over the 600 f4 because of the better light gathering of the 500mm and the fact that I do a lot of owl photography and other photography in early morning or late evening like moose, foxes, and porcupines. So when I first got the 400mm I also bought the 1.4x teleconverter because I was worried about not having enough reach as I was used to the 600mm focal length I got with the sigma. At first it was always on my lens. A few times I took it off when I needed more light and it was long after sundown and gradually I just started using it less and less and got better at getting closer to my subject. Now I rarely use the teleconverter and have no issue with the reach of the 400mm not being enough.
A habitat photo taken using the RF70-200mm lens
This year I added the RF70-200mm 2.8 lens to my kit. I wanted to start working on adding more habitat and environmental photos in my portfolio. I am still working on mastering this style of photography. Now days the 400mm is my go to lens in most instances. I use the 800mm when I am kayaking to take photos of young chicks during the day so as to not get too close and because I have unobstructed view and usually do not have to worry about the background being too close to the subject to be a distraction in the final image. The 70-200mm I take with me most times and will if the opportunity presents itself use it to grab so larger animalscape habitat photos which I use a lot to support NGOs looking for wildlife photographs to supplement a campaign or article. I also take it on longer hikes as the 400mm can start getting heavy after 5 or 6 km!
A photo taken of a bald eagle staying close to its nest using the RF 800mm f11 on a tripod
Lastly you might ask about a tripod. I have one nothing fancy with a gimbal head and I rarely use it. The only time I have used my tripod is when I am sitting on an osprey's or eagle's nest that is at a distance and I have my 1.4x teleconverter on my 800mm lens and you just cannot handhold that kind of focal length any slight movement and you will lose your subject out of the field of view. I find in the field things are moving to fast to photograph bears, foxes or moose on a tripod, you miss too many shots moving and setting up again. I do however have a home made bean bag made out of upholstery fabric and filled with rice that I use to steady my lens in lots of places. When I'm on the beach, on kayak, on the window ledge in my vehicle, it is especially handy when I want to shot video with my camera. Any slight movement in shooting video is easily noticed in the final product but resting the camera on the bean bag prevents any movement.
A photo taken from my vehicle with with my camera resting on my bean bag
That is what I use for all my photography. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me an email I happy to chat more about my equipment.