We photographers love our gear 🙂 On this page I tell you about mine, and which reasons I had getting them. If you are reading this, you are probably a photographer yourself. And then you also know that gear is in constant change 😉 I will do my best to keep the links below up-to-date.
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Last updated my gear: May 12th 2021.
It all starts with a good camera. Below my current line-up, and why I choose these.
Sony A7Riv – Now the camera I grab for most shoots I do. Unless I really need lots of zoom, as the Sony 200-600 G lens does not reliably work with this body (argh!). The high megapixel count is awesome, as it provides lots of cropping options. If the wildlife is far away, often it can still produce good quality photos because of this. I explain more about this in my vlog where I compare this camera to the A7iii.
Sony RX10M3 – If you photograph yourself, you know how much it suck if you miss a photo because you do not have a camera with you… On hikes, family trips and other activities where I can not carry my full frame, I will take my Sony RX10 with me. A bridge camera, but one I know delivers good quality photos. Even zoomed out to its fullest and seen at 100%!
I use camera bodies that provide awesome quality images. t would be a shame to put lenses on it that break the whole chain of quality. Below are the lenses I use the most.
200-600 G (SEL-200600G) – My first choice for wildlife photography. The zoom gives me options for compositions. And frankly, the 600mm f/4 is a bit out of my possibilities 😀
70-200 GM (SEL-70200GM) – This is a gem. I love the bokeh on this lens. If possible, I use this lens. With the A7Riv, there is often enough pixels to crop and have enough resolution left. With the 1.4x I still have f/4 left.
90 G Macro (SEL-90M28G) – I should use this lens more often, it’s amazing! I am just more into mammals and the occasional bird… The ability to switch from manual to auto focus by shifting the focus ring is working great while doing macro.
1.4x Teleconverter (SEL-14TC) – Works great wit the 70-200GM! I even used it on my 200-600 when there is enough light. See the long eared owl vlog for example.
Tamron 17-28 f/2.8 & 28-75 f/2.8 – These two lenses I use mostly for family trips and the occasional landscape photo. They do come in handy for wildlife now & then. For example on the beech marten vlog where I used a remote to switch the camera on to record video of the animal jumping.
Sigma 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary – I bought this lens as my Sony 200-600mm was in repair. So I no longer had zoom beyond using the 70-200GM with a 1.4 converter. I was so pleasantly surprised! This lens is very lightweight, so it is the perfect lens to use when walking around. Opposed to the 200-600 which is quite heavy. And, the image quality is actually amazing, especially considering this is a ‘contemporary’ lens. Sigma brands the upper quality lenses into the ‘sports’ category. This is a keeper! Do check this page with my first photos from this lens and vlog with my field report.
Post processing is necessary to bring out the qualities of a photo. Check out my post processing playlist where I teach you the techniques I use, using the soft- and hardware below.
NIK Collection – This set of plug-ins allows me to get my photos look the way I want them too. The Viveza plugin allows me to edit precisely very specific parts of a photo without having to create masks. Color Efex Pro has a series of filters which can be stacked together to create complicated effects in a breeze. And again, if needed only to specific parts of the photo.
DXO PhotoLab – This is the best RAW development tool there is, period. Getting good photo’s from RAW files require some work to get it right. PhotoLab offers all the tools I need. It includes several tools that can do part of the work automatically, much like a camera would develop a JPG file itself from the RAW data. But of course, using a tool like this I can still change every setting to my liking. It also includes amazing denoising tools. It can work with the NIK Collection as well.
Topaz Labs – Must have, period. I use Denoise AI or Sharpen AI on almost every photo. It will do an amazing job of removing noise and improving your photo. It saved many high ISO noise photos for me. Sharpen AI is amazing with those shots where a bird or animal just moved a tad too much, causing motion blur. Happens all too often in the evening when I had to lower my shutter speed.
Affinity Photo – This is my main post processing app. It is an alternative to Photoshop. It can do as much, but will cost a lot less.
ACDSee Photo Studio Professional – I use this app to manage my collection. Recently I also started using it to develop my RAW images. Although Affinity Photo can do that too, it is sort of basic. I was surprised to see what ACDSee actually could do!
To let wildlife come really close, you need to stay undetected. Generally, you want to have the wildlife come to you, instead of you having to get close to them. I use the items below to maximize my chances to have the wildlife come to me while I stay undetected.
Buteo Photo Gear – Producers of several high quality photography hides. I own two of them, the Photo Hide Aquila Mark II Two Person, and the Photo Hide Falco Mark II.
The first model I use most of the time when I need a hide. It has a lot of space so I can move around freely without having the fear that I am seen by the animals. Even with two persons there is plenty of space to move around. The second hide is awesome for low angle photography where I want the photo to be taken while I am lying on the ground. As it has a groundsheet I don’t need to bring any other equipment.
Ghillie Suit – A ghillie suit blends me in the environment, but still gives me maximal flexibility when it comes to looking around. I use it when I do not know the exact direction the wildlife would be. In those cases I would use a tent. If you have not seen it already, you might want to watch the beech marten vlog to see how close I got while wearing one!
I recently bought a more traditional ghillie suit which blends me into the environment even more.
Photography & Video Accessories
All those ‘little extra things’ that I need. The list gets longer and longer. Below the most important items that make my life a lot easier!
Buteo Photo Gear Beanbag – No photographer can be without a beanbag! Whether I am lying on the ground, using it in a public photo hide on the edge of a window or photographing from my car window, a beanbag is where I put my heavy 200-600mm to rest on. It gives a lot of flexibility while keeping the camera steady.
Mindshift Backlight 36ltr – I actually own two of these, also a smaller one for my vlogging gear. Love these bags. They are very comfortable when fully loaded, come with the usual velcro pieces to customize the inner section. It comes with a rain cover, which is about the only thing I do not like. Would have been awesome if the fabric itself was waterproof!
Benro C4780TN Tripod – Lightweight, stable, and able to open the legs flat on the ground for macro, or getting that beaver in the water on eye level. Love it!
Manfrotto 438 Leveller – This goes below the tripod and head and allows me to very quickly level my camera. Essential if I want to do panning video’s!
Manfrotto 128RC Head – Very basic, but I have it for decades and it simply works. Works with the 200pl quick release plates from the same company. All my photography gear, including the vlogging gear, have these.
Godox V860II High-Speed Sync Camera Flash – I try to prevent the use of camera flash unless I really have to. When I wanted to photograph a barn owl in the barn of a friend I simply had to. I bought a set of these flash lights, and couldn’t be happier!
Godox Xpro Wireless Flash Trigger – This device goes on the hotshoe of the camera, and then remotely triggers the flash lights.
Neewer light reflector – I use this set of reflectors for a lot of purposes. To fill in darer areas of my face when vlogging, but also as a reflector for one of my flash lights for a softer light.
Reflector boom arm – Handy to keep up reflector shield. But also microphones or other gear.
Sometimes having the right tools with me saved a project. Some of them I have on me all the time.
Victorinox Multi-tool – This little gem is on me every single day. I have the one which comes with a big leather carrying case. Inside is a bit wrench with all the bits that could ever come handy in photography. Saved me countless times! Oh! And do not forget to buy a little LED AAA flash light, as that will fit in the carrying case also.
SmallRig cases – These camera cages are very handy to add any accessories to my camera’s. For example my Rode microphone receiver, another microphone or a monitor. And… Most importantly for me, they protect my camera when I let it drop again, because I am more occupied keeping an eye on the animal instead of keeping my expensive gear safe…
Lenscoat – I don’t know why manufacturers decided that white was the perfect colour for a lens… For us wildlife photographers it sure does not make it easier. Ah well… Using the protective rubber sleeves from Lenscoat have other benefits too, like protecting your gear from scratches while making photos on a rough surface.
Wacom Tablet – These come in various sizes and functionality. I LOVE these while editing photos. It allows much easier to follow curves in the photos I am editing. Also, it saves me wrist pain (RSI). I have a Intuos Pro myself.
Being a wildlife vlogger, you have two jobs. Not only make awesome photos, but also shoot the proper video so I can make a vlog that you appreciate. I want to use tools I can rely on, and that provide me the quality that I need for that.
Sony A6600 – I used to own the A6400, but switched to this APS-C body. It is said to focus as fast as the Sony A9’s… Using it with my long telelenses is amazing! Another big reason is that it uses the same large batteries as my full frame bodies, which last a long time.
Sony 16-55 G f/2.8 – This zoom lens gives me the most flexibility, so this is the one that is usually attached to the A6600.
Sigma 16mm f/1.4 – I LOVE this lens. It is very sharp. And the f/1.4 allows me to blur out the background even if I stand in the bushes.
Sony RX100M7 – The RX100 series has the same image sensor as the RX10. They are amazing camera’s, I owned several. Right now I have the mark 7, which has a 70 to 200mm zoom.
Joby Gorilla Pod – If I do not want to carry much, this is a handy tripod with a lot of capabilities. Can be folded around a tree or other high placed item so I do not end up with only very low shots…
Manfrotto 290 Light – I have it with the photography head.
Rode VideoMic NTG – This is now my main vlogging microphone. It is powered and offers some very useful features. Using the knob on the back I can quickly set the desired audio volume. Optionally I can have the second stereo channel to record at a 20dB lower volume, in case hard sound distort the audio. And the sound is just awesome!
Rode VideoMicro – Nice little backup microphone which does not require power. I often have this on my main camera as well, just to have some audio recorded on the video I record.
PolarPro Variable ND – In order to get an exposure of 1/50th of a second, which gives a nice quality video, I use the ND filters. They come in two versions, 2 to 5 stops, and 6 to 9 stops. Being in the shade or bright sun made me buy both versions in the end. Not cheap, but at least these do not give me weird crosses, colour cast or other problems!
MIOPS Capsule & Slider – Whenever you see sexy parallax camera movements while I am away from the camera, you are looking at either the capsule, slider or both. It is amazing how much a little movement can add to the overall quality of the video!
From time to time I make vlogs about my gear. They will end up on my gear playlist on YouTube.