As we begin our new blog, we wanted to share a breakdown of our gear.
By professional standards, it’s very basic – and some of it is quite old.
So off we go with some basic gear – and the goal of improving our photography and sharing what we learn.
Our Photographic History
Before we get to the specifics of our gear, I want to share our brief history.
For the past six years, we lived in Ecuador as a family and blogged about Ecuador travel. We also created content for Red Mangrove (a Galapagos tour company) visiting the Islands three times. A few months ago, we moved back to Canada. During our travels, we have collected some photography gear.
And while we are not professional photographers – we love photography. We own lots of books and want to improve.
This blog will chronicle our journey.
Our Photography Gear Bag
Generally speaking, I am going to focus on the action cameras (GoPro and Garmin) while Dena will learn the DSLR.
Okay, so here’s whats in our gear bag:
DSLR Gear (Dena)
The DSLR is new to Dena. While travel blogging, she primarily used our point-and-shoot cameras, while I shot with the DSLR. She is starting from the very beginning.
Canon Rebel T1i DSLR: shoots 15.1MP images and full HD video (1920 x 1080). This camera is no longer available. Here is the newest version of the Canon Rebel DSLR. This is also an entry level digital SLR camera. The newer version shoots at 18MP and can shoot up to 5fps – a nice feature for some situations.
- Filters: We keep these two filters installed all the time.
- Wasabi Batteries and Charger for the Canon Rebel: These are great aftermarket batteries for Canon.
- Lowepro Camera Bag: We use a top load bag that is perfect for our camera with kit lens. There is room for a couple of batteries, charger and remote.
- Joby Gorillapod Tripod: This is a great travel tripod for both the SLR and action cameras. Ours is more than 8 years old – and still works like new. The joints haven’t loosened at all.
Action Cameras (Bryan)
A few years ago, I bought the GoPro Hero3 Silver. I shot with it in the Galapagos, mainland Ecuador and on a road trip across the United States. Last month, we bought two new action cameras: GoPro Hero4 Black (their best model) and the GoPro Hero (their absolute entry level model).
We currently own 3 GoPro (and 1 Garmin) action cameras. Here are the specifics:
- GoPro Hero4 Black: When I ordered it, it was their best imaging camera. Shoots 12MP stills with 30 frames/sec burst, 4k30 video and is waterproof to 131 feet. They have since release “Sessions” but it doesn’t have the imaging strength of this camera.
- GoPro Hero3 Silver: This is my first GoPro. It is my favorite camera. Shoots 11MP stills with 10 frames/sec burst, 1080p video and is waterproof to 197 feet.
- GoPro Hero (Basic): This is the entry level GoPro. It appears to be marketed to families. The battery doesn’t come out – and the camera doesn’t leave the waterproof housing. Shoots 5MP stills with burst of 5 fps, 1080p video and is waterproof to 131 feet.
- Pedco UltraClamp 2.5″: This is my favorite mount. It can be mounted on a bench, door or even bus frame. Weight: 6.4oz.
- Pedco UltraPod II: This is a lightweight tripod that, when folded, looks like a large tent peg. It has the ball and socket mount that makes leveling a snap. Weight: 4oz.
- Camalapse 4: This is a modified kitchen timer with a mount screw on top (and an adapter on the bottom to mount to another tripod.) This is used in creating panning timelapse video – with majestic results. Spins 360 degrees over one hour. Supports up to 5 pounds.
- Wasabi Batteries: I have a set of these for each of the Hero3 and Hero4. Extra batteries are required for a day of adventure.
- Miscellaneous Mounts: These mounts are generic brands and inexpensive. We have an assortment of selfie sticks (4), bobber handles (for swimming), open housing, suction cup mounts and some random connectors.
The Garmin Virb Elite shoots 16MP images and 1080p video. It looks promising – I can’t wait to begin testing it.
Other Camera Gear
And to round out our set of gear, we also have this stuff.
- Canon Powershot SX280: We have two of these cameras. The image quality of this camera is outstanding. Comes with a 20x optical zoom. The drawback is a glitch that causes the camera to misread battery levels when shooting video – and shutting off in less than a minute. This model has been discontinued.
- Canon Vixia HF R500 Camcorder: This is a great camcorder. We have not used it very much – we had plans to produce a weekly video show in Ecuador but other projects interfered. We plan to use this camera to create videos for this blog in the coming months. Has 32x optical zoom, and shoots 1080p full HD video.
- Canon Rebel XSi: This was our first DSLR camera – we bought it seven years ago when it first came out. As we were packing to leave Ecuador, we gave this to our daughter. She plans on use this for her new blog.
Our Editing Software
We currently use a number of tools to manage and process our photos and videos.
- Photoshop CS6: Although I’ve only scratched the surface, I really like this tool. It is easy to make simple improvements and I learn new skills each week. I would love to have the time to become an expert in Photoshop.
- Bridge CS6: Bridge works hand in hand with Photoshop. It manages all our assets – allowing us to view the RAW files created by the DSLR. Images are easily sorted and managed by metadata or user-applied star rating.
- Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12.0: I’ve used this software for years. It is stable and does everything we need. It is not as powerful as Adobe Premier Pro – and it isn’t as complicated either. There are some great tutorials baked into the software that will guide you through basic video editing and creation. Version 12 has been discontinued and has been replaced by Movie Studio 13 Suite.
- GoPro Studio: This free program from GoPro is surprisingly powerful. If you are just getting started, this is all you need for time-lapse creation and video editing.
Just a few days ago, Dena downloaded the trial version of Adobe Lightroom CC, and I expect that we’ll subscribe soon. We’ve read that it combines the editing of Photoshop and the file management of Bridge – and Dena is loving it so far.
Two Computers – One Photo Library
Okay, so this tool isn’t in our “gear bag” but without it, it would be very hard manage our library.
We use an application called SugarSync to both archive our images to the cloud – and to sync them across our two computers. We have a 1TB plan (currently using 864GB) that automatically creates mirrored libraries on both of our desktop computers.
There are two primary benefits from SugarSync:
- Our files are accessible via any computer just by logging into our account. Our library would be unaffected by fire, theft or hardware failure.
- Both Dena and I have immediate access to the same library. When I upload my new images, they are also on her system within minutes. This eliminates duplication and lost files.
What do you think of our gear? Suggestions or comments? Please share your thoughts below.