Overview and Review of My Gear
You will find here below an exhaustive overview of my gear within some insight and pro and cons of using those equipments. It is not really a deep-in review, but just my thought and explanation of the choice I made regarding my gear. When I start photography, I was quickly lost in front of the amazing choice of cameras, lenses, filters and so on... My goal is therefore to give you a little understanding of what's make my images and how you can eventually mimic it whether you are interesting in to do so!
I have as well put some external link of "real" depth-in review of my gear and link to Youtube video for gear demonstration and explanation, so then you can have more technical measurement and expert analysis on top to the demonstration....
- My Cameras & Lens Adapter:
I own 2 Sony mirror less full frame cameras: Sony A7 & Sony A7R.
I used each camera for different kind of shooting. The Sony A7 is used the most for portraiture and time lapse whereas I play with the Sony A7R for landscape and architectural photography.
Sony A7 has the main advantage (vs. the A7R) to have an efficient auto focus (AF) which helps a lot when shooting moving people. The A7R is a 36 Mpx (vs.24MPx for the A7), perfect when you seek for high resolution image and big print for instance.
Both cameras are extremely light weighted and can be paired with any kind of lenses from different brands (Canon, Nikon and so...) since you are using the right lens adapter. I own 2 adapter: the Metabones T Smart Adapter Mark IV for Canon EF or Canon EF-S Mount Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera and the Commlite adapter for Canon EF to Sony E mount.
Both lens adapter works greatly and allow to keep the EXIF but you loose the AF of your camera! It is not an issue for me since I do all my photograph with manual focusing and handle all setting by hand (no way for me to let my cameras decides ;-).
You can find out more depth-in review of the
- Sony A7 up there: test and review by DxOMark
- Sony A7R up there: test and review by DxOMark
- Metabones Lens Adaptater up there: Youtube video by PHOTIGY
- Commlite Lens Adaptater up there : Youtube video by Dave Dugdale
- My Lenses
I have 2 prime lenses which I used the most for my portraiture photography: Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA and Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8 ZA.
Both lenses are always paired with the Sony A7. The combo (A7 & 50mm or A7 & 35mm) is a great deal when you are targeting to shoot moving people (like kids) as the auto focus of the A7 is really well reactive and both lenses help to produce sharp images. Both lenses have a pretty nice bokhe and are powerful in low light situation.
I own as well 2 wide angle lenses: Canon EF 16-35mm f4 L IS USM used for my landscape and architectural images and Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L II USM used for my astrophotography and time lapse. Both lenses are extremely sharp and once paired with my Sony's full frame cameras, it turns out to a "Killer Combo"!!!!
My last lens is a zoom lens: Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0 G OSS. I used it for portraiture and landscape photography, mainly paired with my Sony A7.
You can find out more depth-in review of the:
- Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA: test and review by DxOMark
- Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8 ZA: test and review by DxOMark
- Canon EF 16-35mm f4 L IS USM: test and review by DxOMark
- Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L II USM: test and review by DxOMark
- Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0 G OSS: test and review by DxOMark
- My Filters
I always use filters when shooting and I have many different filters in order to cover my overrall needs in photography. All my lenses are always mounted with a circular polarizer (CPL).
CPL allows to get better contrast and saturated colors and has as well the advantage to remove the reflection and glare on water and on brilliant surfaces. Really a must have since you are involved in landscape and/or architecture photography!
I have a couple of CPL mounted on my different lenses: HAIDA Slim PROII MC C-POL 77mm mounted on the Canon EF 16-35mm f4 L IS USM, HOYA HD CIR-PL 82mm mounted on the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L II USM, HOYA CIR-PL Slim 72mm mounted on the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0 G OSS and HOYA HRT CIR PL UV 49mm for both Sony FE 50mm f1.8 OSS and Sony FE 35mm f2.8 OSS.
I use as well a lot GND (Graduated Neutral Density) filters in landscape and architecture photography. Those filters are extremely useful when you are shooting an image with a large dynamic range. It allows to balance correctly the exposure within a scene by stepping down the upper part of the image to one or several stops. It is typically used for instance when you have a very bright sky and a shadowed foreground.
I own the following GND filters: Lee Hard Grade GND (0.3, 0.6 & 0.9) and Format Hitech Soft Grade GND (0.3, 0.6 & 0.9). Hard grade means that the transition of the slide is "abrupt" while soft grade filters have a soft transition from clear to filtered part. Basically, hard grade filters are worth using when shooting a flat horizon, typically for seascapes images. Soft grade are much more used when you are taking landscape image where trees, mountains and so on are mixed within the bright sky. Indeed, the used of soft and hard GND will be done in regards to the scenery you are photographing.
In both case (soft or hard GND), 0.3 grade is equal to step down the exposure by 1 stop, so 0.6 means 2 stops and indeed 0.9 is equal to 3 stops reduction. One of the big advantage versus other screwable filters, is the easiness to place the filter and adjust them on your lens. Those filters are rectangular and need to be placed into a filter holder (see above image) which is clipping on an adapter ring. You can stack several filters quickly and again easily! It is very often to me to use several filters to avoid any exposure bracketing to cover up the full dynamic range of the scenery.
My usual filters stack is CPL + 0.9 Hard or Soft GND in case of sunset/sunrise image. When I do long exposure I can add as well ND (Neutral Density) filter. I have 2 ND filters: NISI Big Stopper (10 stops) and Lee Little Stopper (3 stops). Both brands deliver very high quality bulk filter with no (or very little) color casting, which allows to preserve the white balance set up during the shooting and indeed avoid too much white balance correction on post processing afterwards...
For more depth-in review, please click here below:
- How and why you must use Circular PoLarizer (CPL): Youtube video by
- Tripods and Tripod Heads
As you can imagine, since I own 2 cameras, I own 2 tripods! My favorite tripod head is the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3 Way Head With Adapto Body. This one has micrometric knobs to adjust position with precise movements. Even if this tripod heads is quite big, it is still pretty easy to carry and remain a nice portable tripod heads (I travel quite often and it is not an issue to bring it into my cabin luggage).
My second tripod head is Tripod Kit 290 Light with MH293D3-Q2 3 Way Head - 3 Section. The tripod head is clearly less convenient with its long joystick and less performant as well for panoramic photography but still worth using in other case.
Fore more depth-in review, please check it out here below: