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Cameras, Lenses, Tripods, Ball-Heads, Drones, Lighting Equipment, Video, Bags & Backpacks & Software

Images shown on this website have been shot with equipment from a variety of manufacturers. I have no brand loyalty per se as unfortunately nobody pays me to use their equipment ! So I have complete freedom to choose the equipment I use !

Most of my work shown here was shot with Sony or Nikon cameras. A few images from 10 or more years ago were shot with Pentax cameras. Click the camera icon :

Whilst I am brand agnostic I do like to have very sharp lenses whose weaknesses don’t present too obviously unless I specifically want to see the effect of lens aberrations .

Hennce I still have the occasional weird & wonderful, usually ancient, lens in the bag ! 

Trial and Error. That’s how I came to the happy state I find myself in now as regards my tripods and ball heads. As for the many many other accessories that, to my wife’s chagrin, adorn our spare room, well they change nearly as often as the sun rises ! Click the Tripod icon to go to the section on Tripods & Ball Heads 

100mm Filters & Holders.  I've used 150mm, Round-Screw-Ins and now I'm back on 100mm squares. Click the icon to the right to go straight to them.

Backpacks and Camera bags. I'm worse than my wife when it comes to buying bags ! Check out my current amours below. Click the icon on the right to go straight to that section.

Lighting Equipment.  Click the icon on the right to go straight to that section.

Lighting Equipment.  Click the icon on the right to go straight to that section.

Lighting Equipment.  Click the icon on the right to go straight to that section.

Lighting Equipment.  Click the icon on the right to go straight to that section.

Lighting Equipment.  Click the icon on the right to go straight to that section.


PAGE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION ! BUT PLEASE BROWSE !

Cameras

I started out with an Olympus, moved onto Pentax and experimented with a Canon before owning a number of Nikon cameras that I really enjoyed using ; D3s, D600, D800, D800e & D500 and a plethora of lenses, of which the Nikon 105/2.5 AiS, Nikon 300/2.8 VR,  Nikon 200-500mm, Sigma 35/1.4 ART and the superb Tamron 15-30/2.8 SP were amongst my favourites.

I started using Sony cameras alongside my Nikons, initially with the A7 and the A7r (which is still a great landscape camera with it's 36 megapixels) until reaching my current happy state where I utilise a Sony A7rii for my landscape work, it's beautiful 42MP sensor gives amazing detail and dynamic range and the amazing Sony A9 (with it's wonderful silent shooting and superb Eye-AF) for travel, portraits, street and family & friends. Along with a range of lenses that can be used for hiking, backpacking, travel, portraits, mountain trekking, street and even birds and wildlife on the move. It also means I’ve also now managed to reduce the number of lenses in the lens dehumidifier cabinet to around 20 from the 50 or so I had before !

This is also a very light kit which enables me to carry 3 cameras (replacing my A7r with a Sony A6600 for extra reach for wildlife and for exceptional video) with very little weight penalty. In fact when you consider the reduction in weight from all the smaller accessories required for mirrorless compared to DSLRs (tripod, ballhead, backpack and so on) I've managed to reduce the total weight of my travel kit down to around 8kgs from the 14kgs when I traveled with my Nikons. 

However for those just starting out (and indeed also those like myself shooting for many years) the most important point to remember when building your kit is this, and I know it's a cliche : they really are only tools, don't become too emotionally attached to a brand.  

 
Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Sony A9 Camera

When Sony brought out their speed demon the A9 I knew that I had to have one ! It is an incredible feat of engineering (and advanced electronics).

Super fast AF enhanced by Sony's amazing Eye-AF (even for animals). After moving over to Sony (from Nikon) I've had the A7, A7r and A7rii (see below). As soon as I started using this camera it quickly became my go-to and was hardly ever out of my hands. I use it for virtually everything that doesn't need cropping so portraits, travel, most sport and family & friends. 

It's not a cheap camera by any means but with Sony having now released the A9ii the A9 is an incredible bargain.
Highest Recommendatio
 

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Sony A7rii Camera

My second purchase of the famous Zeiss line of Distagon 21mm lenses. After owning the ZF 21mm, when shooting with Nikon, I couldn't not buy Zeiss' virtual equivalent for Sony. Incredibly sharp, flare resistant and with amazing sunstars, it is one of the world's most iconic lenses that has never let me down.

Almost untouchable at this focal length (though the Voigtlander 21/1.4 may disagree) !


Highly Recommended for Landscape especially where it is simply superb but also as an incredible value for money General Use camera.

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Laowa 12mm Head-on with Shade
LAOWA-MSC-on Camera
Laowa 12mm
Laowa 12mm Reversed
Laowa MSC 2 pic
Laowa MSC on Camera
Laowa MSC Description
Laowa (Venus) 12mm f2.8 Zero Distortion   MF Lens

I had been experimenting with a few UWA (Ultra Wide Angle) lenses before this intriguing lens hit my radar.  Besides the Zero Distortion claim (actually it isn't far off - easily the lowest distortion of any UWA lens I've seen or tried) it has the unique ability to metamorphosise into a 17mm Shift lens by way of the addition of what Laowa term 'the Magic Shift Convertor'. Which adds up to 10 degrees of shift to the lens ! A wonderful ability to have when shooting interiors, buildings, trees, astro and so on.  Highest Recommendation.

Prior to this I tried out the Laowa 10-18mm which is an extremely wide zoom lens on a full frame camera, however the distortion, while 'interesting' wasn't what I required. It did produce some unique shots though !

 

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Zeiss Loxia  21mm f2.8    MF Lens

My second purchase of the famous Zeiss line of Distagon 21mm lenses. After owning the ZF 21mm, when shooting with Nikon, I couldn't not buy Zeiss' virtual equivalent for Sony. Incredibly sharp, flare resistant and with amazing sunstars, it is one of the world's most iconic lenses that has never let me down.

Almost untouchable at this focal length (though the Voigtlander 21/1.4 may disagree) !
Highest Recommendatio

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X

Voigtlander's second iteration of this fine lens made for the Leica VM mount but usable on Sony cameras with the aid of an adapter (more on those below). It has it's foibles but whatever it's few shortcomings for the most part they are invisible unless deep pixel diving. The benefits of this lens are many; very small and very light, super sharp, easy to focus with great haptics and possessing the most gorgeous sunstars (as do many of Voigtlander's lenses).

Highly Recommended.

Voigtlander MC Ultron 35mm f1.7    MF Lens
Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Cosina MC  55mm f1.2    MF Lens

There is a reason why many of the Tomioka designed lenses were highly sort after; they possess a unique character and although this lens may be 40 years old now it is still one of my favourite lenses and has been with me for most of my 15 years in Photography. 


Many other 50mm lenses are sharper and more clinical but the Cosina (manufacturers today of Voigtlander & Zeiss lenses, amongst others) has an incredible bokeh, it's a lovely lens to focus, and whilst wide open it's not as sharp as modern lenses it's kind to skin and stopped down soon sharpens up and can hold its head high even today.

Recommended if you enjoy legacy lenses and manual focus.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Samyang 85 / 1.4    AF Lens

As an alternative to the superb Sony 85/1.4 GM this is a wonderful lens that won't break the bank.
Excellent build quality (lots of weather sealing) it's a very sharp lens indeed and has a beautiful soft bokeh when used at fast F-stops. It's been a great addition to my kit (replacing the also excellent Zeiss Batis 85/1.8) and you'll see a substantial amount of my recent work taken using this lens. 

 

Highly Recommended. 

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Canon 135 L f2   AF Lens

Although surpassed by many modern day lenses this venerable legend continues to deliver beautiful portraits. Sony's own 135/1.8 is undoubtedly the best 135mm lens on the market today (but will likely cost you 4-5 times that of a pre-owned Canon), with strong competition also from Sigma and Zeiss, however I have never had call to complain at the results using this lens on my Sony cameras with the Sigma MC-11 adapter.   

 

Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 G    AF lens

Renown as likely best in class the output from this lens is phenomenal.  Sharp, fast focusing and with great reach it also works beautifully with Sony's x1.4 and x2.0 convertors (with the x1.4 the IQ is virtually indistinguishable from bare).  

Superb for picking out detail in landscapes and for festivals or sport where the subjects are often distant however it also makes a great portrait lens too.


Highly Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Tamron 70-180mm 2.8 Di III VxD   AF Lens

At a mere 149mm / 5.9" and 815g / 28.7oz it comes in at roughly half the weight of most other lenses of its ilk (70-200/2.8). Made specifically for Sony it utilises all of those cameras' features - most importantly the AF points and Sony's superb Eye-AF. I've found this lens to be very sharp indeed and has very fast focusing AF.
Tamron have yet again delivered a superb lens comparable to Sony's own f2.8 70-200mm, just as they have already done with their other lenses in this trilogy, with their f2.8 17-28mm and 28-75mm lenses.


 Highly Recommended.

TRIPODS & BALL-HEADS
 
Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X

I know that some photographers will disagree with me here but I've never found it necessary to pay the high cost of some of the highly vaunted tripods and ballheads. There are to my mind two arguments for using them :
a) longevity, which to some extent holds water but if they cost x4 as much then that means I can buy a new tripod every few years to the latest designs and using the latest materials rather than using the same tripod over a long period of time (and of course there is the issue of potential theft or loss - not everyone can buy insurance to cover such eventualities, I certainly can't where I live).
b) Fit for use. This argument is easily countered by actual use. I have regularly used my LeoFoto, Sirui and Manfrotto tripods for long exposures, up to a 3 mins exposure, without issue. So personally I see it as more about set-up and user-error than an issue with the brand of tripod or ballhead (exceptions being of course inferior design and heavy lenses). 

I have included links to all of my kit, some of the links are affiliate links which means if you choose to purchase an item, I may get a small commission.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Sirui T1204X :  940g

This excellent little tripod has been with me all over the world. It's light, strong and extends high enough for most circumstances. I have no problem using this for long exposures though as with all tripods, even the most expensive, you are best to shield it during exposures in very windy conditions.
My next tripod from Sirui, who are one of China's best quality accessory manufacturers and designers and I love their gear, will be the W-1204 which has waterproof, sand and grit proof twist leg locks (proof, not just resistant) for extreme environmental conditions.

 

4 leg sections. Min Height 9cm and Max Height (centre column down) is 140cms.


Highly Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
LeoFoto :  940g

This excellent little tripod has been with me all over the world. It's light, strong and extends high enough for most circumstances. I have no problem using this for long exposures though as with all tripods, even the most expensive, you are best to shield it during exposures in very windy conditions.
My next tripod from Sirui, who are one of China's best quality accessory manufacturers and designers and I love their gear, will be the W-1204 which has waterproof, sand and grit proof twist leg locks (proof, not just resistant) for extreme environmental conditions.

 

4 leg sections. Min Height 9cm and Max Height (centre column down) is 140cms.


Highly Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Manfrotto 055 CX Pro4 : 1,700g

I know it's not a light tripod but there are times when you need to have a heavier model. I've put it through the wringer from standing in salt water on the beaches of Iceland to exceptionally cold conditions in Inner Mongolia (lower than -30 C, note that carbon fibre can become brittle at these temperatures so I always wrap their legs with insulation) and it's still going strong after around 5 years.

 

4 leg sections. Min Height 9cm and Max Height (centre column down) is 140cms.

Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Triopo M2208 : 425g

There are times when you don't want to carry full size tripods around and a 'table-top' tripod is more than enough. For those times this is my go to with it's carbon fibre construction.

Previously I used the Beixin M225s (560g) which has aluminium legs and is also a very good and versatile little table top tripod.


Both Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Sirui G10KX : 311g

The heaviest lens I have to balance on my tripods is a Sony 100-400G at 1,511g.  For this I'm pushing it with the two ball-heads listed but with any other lens (all well under 1 kg and mostly in the 250-500g range) this head is very capable with no slippage during shooting long exposures.

Diameter: 29mm/1.1inch
Height: 90mm/3.5inch
Weight: 0.31Kg/0.7lb
Load: 18Kg/39.7lb

Highly Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Leo LH30 308g

I wanted to try this slightly different design to the Sirui G10KX and I'm quite liking this ball-head so far. Seems very well built and Leofoto have a good reputation.

  • Ball Diameter: 30mm

  • Panning base diameter: 47mm

  • Height: 80mm

  • Max load: 15kg

  • Weight: 308g

 

Recommended.

Filters & Holders
 
Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Benro 

There are a lot of good filters out there today and if I were using round filters then Breakthrough, K&F and B&W would all be high on my list, especially the magnetic versions.
However after using 150mm (NISI - excellent) and then onto Round Screw-Ons (various brands) I've now switched back to 100mm filters so that I don't have to bother with step down rings and issues when I need a gradient filter.
The Benro filters are really excellent, as is the holder which has frames for each individual filter and includes the now standard rotary dial for moving the CPL and gradient filters up and down. Virtually no vignetting or colour cast, I love them.


Highly Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Haida 

After spending an inordinate amount of time gathering data and watching reviews on all of the main candidates it came down to Benro or Haida. In the end I bought both holders (the holders alone aren't that expensive) and I wanted Haida for a specific reason - they also make a dedicated ring to fit their holder for the Laowa 12mm f2.8 lens, without which is otherwise impossible to use filters on.
Laowa & Nisi also make versions but Haida's looked the best. They also make wonderful filters - I've been using their Round Screw-Ons for a long time so when it came time to buy some 100mm squares it came as a no-brainer to include theirs in the discussion. 


Highly Recommended.

BACKPACKS & BAGS
Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
`Boreas Lost Coast 60L & 45L

I have a blog post on this backpack that I'll link to below. However I would just say that this pack has been up into the Khumbu and to Annapurna


Highly Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Triopo M2208 : 425g

There are times when you don't want to carry full size tripods around and a 'table-top' tripod is more than enough. For those times this is my go to with it's carbon fibre construction.

Previously I used the Beixin M225s (560g) which has aluminium legs and is also a very good and versatile little table top tripod.


Both Recommended.

Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
Sirui G10KX : 311g

The heaviest lens I have to balance on my tripods is a Sony 100-400G at 1,511g.  For this I'm pushing it with the two ball-heads listed but with any other lens (all well under 1 kg and mostly in the 250-500g range) this head is very capable with no slippage during shooting long exposures.

Diameter: 29mm/1.1inch
Height: 90mm/3.5inch
Weight: 0.31Kg/0.7lb
Load: 18Kg/39.7lb

Highly Recommended.

SOFTWARE
Samyang 85 - 1.4 C
Samyang 85 - 1.4 D
Samyang 85 - 1.4 B
Samyang 85 - 1.4
Samyang 85 - 1.4 X
ON1 RAW 2020 ;  Luminar 4 ;  Noiseless,  Tonality;  FRV;  Affinity Photo (inc. for iPad)

POST PROCESSING

Once the RAW images reach home we now begin the business of processing them. I’ve been through any number of programs and computers but am very comfortable with those I am using at the moment.

Main Computer : 5k Retina iMac containing a 4 gHz i7 processor and 32GB memory.

Laptop : 4k Retina 13.3″ MacBook Pro with a 2.7 gHz i5 processor and 8GB memory. Weight 1.57kgs

POST PROCESSING PROGRAMS :
ON1 Photo Raw :  This program alone cover 90% of my processing requirements. 
Skylum : Luminar, Aurora HDR and Creative Suite (mainly Noiseless, Tonality and Snapheal).

I'll occasionally use these when ON1 doesn't meet my needs.
Adobe : I no longer use any Adobe products.

iMovie & Final Cut Pro : Meet all my video processing requirements and since I use Apple computers these are specifically designed to run on them. 
Resize Sense (part of the ON1 suite),
NIK Software (complete suite and if you are on a budget it’s very good & free) !
FRV (Fast Raw Viewer) : what more can I say than for just US$20 it outperforms (with fewer functions) the fast, but much more expensive, Photo Mechanic - the professional photographers' gold standard for viewing & marking images with a XML sidecar.
Zerene Stacker (stacking multiple images) and AutoPanaGiga (panorama creation from multiple images). 

Affinity Photo : designed for Apple computers. It’s very similar to, and as capable as, LR. Pretty much a replacement for Photoshop.
Perfect Photo : Full suite.
There are other programs too but to be honest I hardly ever use them any more as the programs above cover almost all my requirements and cover them extremely well

DRONES
LIGHTING EQUIPMENT
VIDEO
CLOTHING & BOOTS
TREKKING & CAMPING EQUIPMENT