Equipment is a tool to some and a toy to others, I am somewhere in the middle. I do not make my living from photography, so I don’t need the same equipment a full time photographer needs. However, I do have certain needs from my equipment, and feel that what I use now is well researched, well used, and helps me get the shots I want.
At the end of the day however, it is important to remember that the best camera in the world is nothing without someone to be in the right place, at the right time, pointing it in the right direction.
The images on this page link to Amazon, where I buy the vast majority of my equipment.
I said I wouldn’t bother adding a D7200 to the stable, as the D7100 was plenty, but when one came up at the right price, I snapped it up so that I had 2 full-size bodies.
It does everything the D7100 does, just that little bit better, although it is barely noticeable in day to day use.
My review can be found here – Nikon D7200 review
You can buy one here – Nikon D7200 on Amazon
I love this camera, it does everything I ask of it exceptionally well, and over the past 18 months I have used it in environments ranging from the Namibian desert in 40°c heat, through to shooting the Northern Lights within the Arctic circle, at -15°c.
Superb image quality, good high ISO performance and great handling and controls make this a fantastic camera.
My review can be found here – Nikon D7100 review
You can buy one here – Nikon D7100 on Amazon
After using the D7200 / D7100 this feels tiny in my hands, yet despite the small size the D3200 really packs a punch! Great image quality and ease of use make it perfect for those new to photography, or for those like myself who need a backup body, this is smaller, lighter and cheaper than a second D7100, whilst being able to do 90% of what it’s big brother can.
My review can be found here – Nikon D3200 review
You can buy one here – Nikon D3200 on Amazon
A new model, the D3300, was released in January 2014, and can be found here – Nikon D3300 on Amazon
Indeed, the D3300 has now been superseded by the D3400, released in August 2016, and can be found here – D3400 on Amazon
Yes, the name is a mouthful, but this is a superb lens. It’s fast, well built, optically superb and 1/3 the price of the Nikon 17-55mm, which does not have VR, not to mention lighter and smaller than the Nikon. I spent 3 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia and used this lens for 90% of my shots.
My review can be found here – Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 review
I got mine from Amazon – Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 on Amazon
I ordered one of these the week it was released, to replace an older 70-300mm VR and as soon as it arrived I knew I had made the right choice.
Light, fast and amazingly sharp, yet 2/3 the price of the f/2.8 version beloved of professionals, this lens makes a perfect combination with the Sigma 17-50mm. This is the other lens I take on every trip, between the 2 lenses I can cover 95% of normal shooting situations.
My review can be found here – Nikon 70-200mm f/4 review
I got mine from Amazon, you can too – Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4 on Amazon
Again, I ordered one of these as soon as it was released, and again I have not been disappointed.
I had previously rented the old version for a safari in South Africa, and whilst optically the lens was great, it was a little sluggish, relying on the camera’s AF screw. The new version is lightening fast, and optically it’s a step up, which is needed with the move to higher megapixel bodies, such as the 24mp D7100 & D3200 I use.
My review can be found here – Nikon 80-400mm AF-S review
You can buy one from Amazon here, although they sell out fast – Nikon AF-S 80-400mm VR on Amazon
I used to shoot a lot of macro with my underwater photography, using the Nikon 60mm and 105mm lenses (the old versions), however as I moved more into land photography I felt the need for something with a bit more focal length, so as not to encroach into my subjects comfort zone.
This lens fits the bill perfectly, and makes a fantastic macro lens. It’s big, heavy, and not overly fast. Yet the optics are superb, the build quality is excellent, and the price was hard to beat, even though it has one of the longest names of a lens I have ever seen.
This particular lens is no longer made, indeed mine was purchased used. The new version adds OS (Optical Stabilisation), which also unfortunately adds quite a bit to the price tag. Macro lenses are very specialised, and as such naturally cost more than a normal lens.
My review of the old version is forthcoming. You can buy the new one from Amazon here – Sigma 180mm f/2.8 Macro on Amazon
I have a love/hate relationship with tripods. I find they are essential for some shots, yet get in the way of others, so I tend to use them as and when needed.
Even though they are not my favourite things, I have still managed to end up with 2 of them!
Big tripod – Giottos Silk Road YTL9253 fitted with Sunwayfoto FB-44 ball head
This is a big, heavy tripod and ball head, but it is rock solid no matter what kit I put on it. I will take this with me when I will be working from the car, or from a hide, as it doesn’t pack down much, and carrying it gets boring very quickly.
Small tripod – MeFOTO RoadTrip
This is a great little tripod, it packs down small enough that I can fit it inside my cabin bag, yet is still sturdy enough to hold my D7100, with grip, and the 70-200mm f/4 whilst doing long exposures. A nifty feature is that one of the legs unscrews and can be used a monopod.
I bring this if I am flying with cabin baggage only or if I am doing a lot of walking between shooting locations.
Ahhhh, bags. I think I can now understand why women have collections of bags, as I never seem to be able to find the perfect combination of features. That said, I have now settled on just 4 bags, and use them variously, depending on what my needs are.
Lowepro Vertex 200 AW
For moving a lot of heavy, expensive camera equipment, this bag has been perfect for me. It’s comfortable, carry-on legal with most airlines, has loads of protection yet is very comfortable. It’s big, and when full it can get heavy, but I have not yet been questioned when boarding with it. I prefer a backpack to something with wheels as in my experience, those with wheels are more likely to be queried regarding the weight.
Lowepro Event Messenger 250 Shoulder Bag
Large enough to fit camera, lenses, laptop and a change of clothing, this is a great bag for an overnight trip, it’s also passable as a ‘laptop bag’ when flying, so means I can carry a huge load of camera gear onboard with me.
When travelling on airlines that only allow 1 cabin bag I will use this, as it is very light (weighing under 1kg), yet is right on the carry on size limits. I wrap lenses etc. in my clothing for protection, and have never yet been forced to check it at the gate, or had anything inside it broken.
North Face Sport Hiker waist pack
When out on day trips, I use this totally un-cool looking waist pack. It has enough room for a spare lens, couple of filters, guide book, and water bottle. It does also come with a detachable shoulder strap, so you can look like less of a tourist when wearing it.
These bags are all available through Amazon
I have used Lightroom since version 1. To me, it is pretty much a complete package when it comes to managing, cataloguing and developing my photos. It is simple, but with a little discipline and knowledge, it is a very powerful piece of software. I would be lost without it, and do hope that Adobe do not move to a subscription only model as they have done with Photoshop.
You can buy (for instant download) Lightroom 6 from Amazon here.
I get almost all of my kit from Amazon. They offer some of the best prices, fast shipping and easy returns. It’s as simple as that really. If I need something last minute before a trip, they almost always have it in stock, and can get it to me next day.
If you do decide to click through any of the links on this page, it costs you no more or less than it would normally, but I do get a small commission from them, which is always nice, and very much appreciated.