June 14th, 2011

PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT

The gear I take on assignment depends on what is needed. Contrary to what it might look like, I prefer to work with the minimum amount of equipment.

Being familiar with the gear is most important to me. To that end, I’ve always carried some form of Leica in my kit – a camera I’ve used since 1979. After Leica’s R cameras were discontinued in 2009, Canon’s EOS system became my professional SLR of choice.

Today, I carry a minimum of three digital camera bodies for my professional work, each with its own lens attached. Leica’s Q with 28mm 1.7 lens is always nearby. My Canon DSLR cameras are mounted with Canon EF EOS 16-35mm f/4 IS-L, 50mm f/1.4, and 70-200mm f/2.8 II IS-L lenses. A Canon 250D close-up lens converts the 50mm into a usable macro. A 1.4X extender III makes for a longer and closer focusing telephoto.

Specialty lenses like Canon’s 14mm f/2.8 L II, 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, 24mm f/1.4 L II, 35mm f/2 IS-II, 24-105 f4 IS-L, and 500mm f4 IS L are also enlisted. Leica’s 80mm f/1.4 R lens has the best bokeh around and was adapted to my Canon cameras. One or more Gitzo tripods come along with a pan head and cable release. DJI drones and GoPros are also used as needed.

The Profoto B1 500 AirTTL has proven ideal for flash. A pair of Canon Speedlites with modifiers provide supplementary light. A Leica SF20 flash accompanies the Leica Q. A Zacuto Z-finder and Rode microphone handle basic video. My 17” Apple Macbook Pro and two Lacie external hard drives are carried in a Case Logic bag. Think Tank’s Roller Derby and Pelican cases are my choice for transporting the main photo kit.

Photo equipment is simply a tool. Seeing and having something to say are MUCH more important. That said, I look for equipment that is not only of the highest quality and easy to use, but also produces characterful rendering.

Note: The following list is constantly being updated

**

I. MAIN KIT:

#1 DP Carry On – Pelican Case

Leica Q with 28mm 1.7 Asph-IS lens – on person
Canon EOS 5D Mk III cameras (2)
Canon 16-35mm f4 EF-L IS lens
Canon 24mm f1.4 EF-L II lens
Canon 50mm f1.4 EF lens w/ 250D close-up lens
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 EF-L IS II lens
Canon Tele-Extender 1.4X III
Extra cards and batteries
Lapel mic, polarizer, ND filters
Charger, cable release
Sunscreen, eye drops, sensor cleaning kit

Additonal DP Carry On Bag – Computer / Ext. HD / Leica SF20 flash / trigger / papers

#2 Asst. Carry On – Pelican Case

Canon EOS 1DX II camera & 24-105mm f4 EF-L IS lens – on person
Canon 15mm f2.8 EF fisheye lens
Canon 35mm f2 EF IS-II lens
Canon 600EX-RT flash with modifier
Flash remote
Interfit battery
VarioColor LED
Rhode microphone
Zacuto Z-finder
Roxant Pro camera stabilizer
Extra cards and batteries
Gaffer tape

Additonal Asst. Carry On Bag – Clothes / GoPros

#3 Checked Bag – Pelican Case

Canon 500mm f4 EF-L IS lens w/ walkie-talkies
Profoto B1 500 AirTTL portable lighting kit
Canon 600EX-RT flash

#4 Checked Bag – Samsonite

Soft box and reflector, flash adapter
Small Gitzo tripod w/ fluid head, Leica ball head
Gitzo 320 tripod w/ Micro-D 360 ball head, broom
DJI Drone
Clothes, accessories, everything else

**
II. SECOND KIT: BIGGER PRODUCTIONS

As needed. All of the above, plus another assistant:
Canon 14mm f2.8 EF-L II lens
Canon 17-35mm f2.8 EF-L lens
Canon 50mm f2.5 Macro lens or
Leica 60mm f2.8 R Macro lens converted to Canon
Leica 80mm f1.4 R lens converted to Canon
Canon Tele-Extender 2X III
Mathews suction cups and Bogen Magic Arms
Camera Car, Harness
Apple boxes, ladders
A/C Flash: White Lightning Ultra 1200s, soft boxes
Tungsten Lighting: Lowell Tota-light kit
Daylight Lighting: LED lights, Westcott 150W Ice Light
Manfrotto Avenger C stands, sand bags
Analog: Leica M6, M4-MOT, Leicaflex SL2 MOT, Canon EOS-1 V, Fuji G617, Nikonos IV

More for Production Video:

Gitzo 504 tripod and large Bogen fluid head
Wimberly head
Rhino slider
KenLab Gyrostabilizer
More Leica M and R lenses
Zacuto eyepieces, Marshall monitors and hoods
Rode Blimp with Sennheiser shotgun microphone
Portable 8-track recorders
Hasselblad Pro lens shades, filter adapters
Leitz table tripod with ball head, dolly roller
Handgrip, roller table, light meter

III. THIRD KIT: BIGGEST PRODUCTIONS

As needed, All of the above, plus two or more strong assistants:

More Gear for Stills (All Rented):

More portable ARRI and AC flash systems
More light stands, soft boxes, umbrellas and grids
Extra Canon cameras and lenses
Leica S, Phase One, and/or Hasselblad digital kit
Budget

More Gear for Video (All Rented):

Bron Kobold or Joker Bug HMI
Extra Zacuto eyepieces, Marshall monitors, audio rigs
Various handgrips, rigs, sticks, sliders, rollers & dollies
Canon Cinema cameras
Arri Alexa or Red Epic with Leica lenses
More Drones
Chase Car
Budget

**

Note that there is back-up redundancy throughout. After the shoot, the used digital cards stay in a secure holder inside a zippered vest pocket on my person. As soon as I return to my hotel, the RAW files are backed up on my computer, Dropbox, and two hard drives. The drives are kept in different locations, or one is FedExed home. I love what I do, but I’ve also learned not to assume anything.

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