What’s in my camera bag – Jan 2022 edition
Every so often I get asked whether I have switched systems, and whether I am shooting with Sony or Nikon. What complicates things even more for the casual visitor to the Tangents blog and my Instagram feed, is that I occasionally post photos taken with Canon and Fuji as well. So the answer to “what’s in your camera bag”, is slightly complicated … and hopefully this video unravels some of that.
Even though I photograph events and weddings with a Sony-based system, I still have a substantial Nikon system. The Nikon cameras are primarily used for timelapse photography projects. Since the timelapse projects can take place over weeks, or months, or even years, the cameras and lenses I use for timelapse photography need to be entirely independent of the camera gear I use for events. So there seems to be redundancy and overlap … but sometimes I don’t have enough cameras for a project! For example, with this project I had to rent additional cameras and lenses and tripods: Time-lapse photography project with multiple cameras.
My original decision to move towards a Sony-based system was that at the time, Nikon didn’t have a 4K capable camera, and neither a 16-35mm f/2.8 optic that could take filters. And then I discovered the incredible fast auto-focus of the Sony A9, and the eye-focus of that camera. I also quickly adapted to the mirrorless system, especially with the advantages that mirrorless cameras have over DSLRs. What clinched the decision was when I realized how amazingly sharp the Sony lenses are.
And from that, developed the complicated cross-brand camera systems that I have.
In the video I explain some of the rationale behind the camera and lens choices, but please ask if there’s something you’re curious about. I’ll happily answer.
Websites & related links mentioned in the video
- Camera sensor cleaning with the Eyelead Sensor Cleaning Kit
- Review: Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM lens
- Photography using vintage lenses
My main camera bag for events & weddings
- Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM (B&H / Amazon)
- Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM (B&H / Amazon)
- Tamron 35-150mm f/2 – f/2.8 (B&H)
- Sony 20mm f/1.8 G (B&H / Amazon)
- Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM (B&H / Amazon)
- Sony 50mm f1.4 ZA (B&H / Amazon)
- Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM (B&H / Amazon)
- Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM (B&H / Amazon)
My backup camera bag for tough situations
- Nikon D5 (B&H / Amazon)
- Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR (B&H / Amazon)
- Nikon SB-5000 flash (B&H / Amazon)
My camera gear for timelapse projects
10 Comments, Add Your Own
Hi Neil, I’m also an event and fashion photographer in Milano (Italy) and I’m your big fan since when you teached me, with your videos, how to use the BFT! Thank you very much for that! ;) Interestingly I had the same transition from Nikon D5 to Sony A9,A9ii and A1.. I also try to avoid changing lenses and so I use three bodies: two A9II and one A1 with different set of lenses. At the beginning of my transition into the Sony world I also had to keep one Nikon D5 with 24-70 and a flash for really low light stuff like receptions, clubs and concerts because I also found the A9’s af was struggling a bit sometimes especially with almost complete darkness and low contrast subjects or even with fast flashing lights but now I’ve adapted my style and I think I can manage comfortably every situation with my Sony mirrorless bodies only.
Here some tips, that you probably already knows, that I found useful for extremely low light scenarios:
– Use primes: mirrorless cameras focuses better with fast primes (24f1,4 GM; 35f1,4 GM; 50f1,2 GM are in my opinion the best)
-Set the camera correctly: I set the Aperture drive in AF to: “FOCUS” and that allows to open the iris when focusing even in AF-C
– Set the AF assist function of the Profoto A1x/A10 to Auto if you are shooting in AF-S or to Always ON if in AF-C: the red pattern of light that the flash emits is really helpful in total darkness and if you set it to always on it stays on while your af-c is focusing and it switch-off immediately before the shot(it works for single shots only, not for bursts).
Thx for your attention and great content as usual on your website!
1.1Neil vN says
Thank you for the tips!
Specifically this piece of advice: ” I set the Aperture drive in AF to: “FOCUS” and that allows to open the iris when focusing even in AF-C”
I have it set to Standard. I am changing it to “Focus Priority” on your advice, and see if it has any effect. Thank you!
My pleasure… hope this new AF set will be useful for your kind of shooting as it was for mine..
in my experience this “Aperture drive” set to “focus” is especially useful with fast primes: let’s say You want to shoot a portrait @ 2,8 in a dark studio: if You’re shooting with an f2,8 zoom lens you’re already wide open and using all the light that the lens can gather in that particular situation while if you’re using let’s say a 50mm f1.2 @2.8 the lens will try to focus wide open allowing 2 full F-stops of light more to the sensor for focusing.. you should also consider that this Focus priority will work only if your “Drive mode dial” is set to “single” or “Low” (3fps) not for high speed bursts.
The AF on the Sony’s looks pretty impressive, along with the glass. Honestly I’ve been wanting to rent a Sony body.
Coming from Nikon, was there a large learning curve on the post production side? Admittedly I spend too much time on the internet and it seems like a majority of the concerns are on the Sony colors. (I don’t notice this in your work though).
2.1Neil vN says
I didn’t have any big issues in changing my workflow to adapt to Sony. I like the skin tones and colors I get out of the Sony as well.
If you’re not entirely happy, check your profile that you use in Lightroom — try Camera Matching Standard. That helped, although I recently also like the look of the “Adobe Color” profile.
3George Andrews says
Hi Neil and thanks for all the work you have done teaching all of us about lighting for making subjects look their best. Love your books. I’m wondering if you use any of the bounce modifiers on the market for you on camera flash work; where you can’t bounce off a wall or ceiling. There are so many new devices for diffusing that small speedlite now.
3.1Neil vN says
I rarely use any on-camera flash modifier other than the black foamie thing. On rare occasions I will use the plastic dome that comes with the Profoto A1 flash, but that’s only in a pinch. I tend to prefer going to off-camera flash in situations like where I have black ceilings and walls.
In case you haven’t seen this yet, check out this video:
4Brittany Johnson says
This is such a great read! I’m making the switch from Nikon to Sony this month & I can’t believe how incredible the Sony cameras are! Do you find yourself using more of the prime lenses or zoom lenses? I’m curious as to how the autofocus differs between the two.
4.1Neil vN says
I mostly use the zooms. They are convenient. The primes are used in low-light situations, where I really need the f/1.4 and f/1.8 apertures.
I was tempted to look at your Sony camera configuration, when a friend told me to look at instead the Nikon Z9 mirror less system and the new Astonishing 85mm F/1.2s recent release.
I am so glad I did not spend money on a Sony camera ystem ( I am Nikon and Fuji film user)
The lens is out of this world !
I’ll stick with my Nikon system.
Interestingly enough, Nikon will no longer make DSLR’s