How We Got Into Photography
Are you wondering how we take all of our photos and constantly trying to guess what camera and which lenses we use? In this guide, we talk about all of the camera gear that we currently use and also tips on the best beginner cameras and which one we started on.
We started our photography journey after being inspired by the amazing landscapes that we saw on a 5 week trip to Peru, Mexico and North America back in 2017. Kerry had always been obsessed with taking photos on every trip but only ever used a little point and shoot camera. After that absolutely epic trip together, we decided to make our first big combined purchase together. Our first camera was the Sony a6000 which we used for about 3 years before upgrading to the Sony A7iii. In this blog post we will take you through these cameras and show you the lenses that we have used with them along with any accessories that we have used and loved!
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Our Current Camera Gear
Before you get into photography as a hobby, something to note is that it is not cheap! Once you go down the rabbit whole of investing in a camera and all the lenses and accessories that go with it, you will end up spending quite a bit of money. In saying that, we use our camera almost every single weekend and absolutely love the satisfaction of leaving a beautiful place with a good photo to look back on. In our opinion, there is no better keepsake from a trip.
We upgraded to the Sony A7iii in February 2021 and we are still in love with this camera! It has a full frame sensor and the difference in low light quality from our old camera is insane and enables us to push our edits much further.
TIP: If you are thinking about buying a camera with interchangeable lenses, we highly recommend buying the body only and searching for a good lens separately. The kit lens that comes with the camera is usually not the best and in our opinion, a good lens is often more important that the camera body itself!
Full Frame Lenses For Our Sony A7iii
Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8
This was the first lens that we purchased. A wide angle zoom lens like the Sony FE 16-35mm makes a great travel lens and you can use it for almost anything from portraits to landscape shots. We are so impressed with the quality of this lens but it is a bit on the expensive side.
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8
Before we even bought our camera, we had planned to eventually get this lens. We actually ended up purchasing this lens shortly after we got our camera. The Tamron 70-180mm is a telephoto lens and is absolutely awesome! Having a telephoto lens that can zoom to 180mm gives you so many more creative options for taking photos. You can use it as a portrait lens to get that beautiful crisp subject with the blurred out background and you can use it to make the background look larger and more dream-like!
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
This lens, also known as a mid-range zoom lens, is our newest addition to our lens family and we now have the almighty “trio of lenses.” In other words, we have pretty much all of the focal ranges from 16mm to 180mm. Usually you would buy a mid-range zoom as your first lens because it is so versatile but we were weird and did it all a bit backwards.
DJI Mavic Air
We have had the original Mavic Air for about 3 or so years now! We use our drone a lot at the beach and love taking top down pictures for the awesome perspective. The Mavic Air is a great size for travelling, however, DJI have some even more travel friendly options now which is awesome!
Go Pro Hero 9
Our Go Pro used to get used more often lot as a gimbal for our videos as the stabilisation is amazing! Now Kerry has an Iphone 13 pro which is our go to for video and the Go Pro is used more for when we want to film in the water. We love that this Go Pro has a front and back video screen so that you can always see what you are filming.
Having a tripod as part of your photography gear is SO important! Please please please invest in a good one. Trust us when we say that it is 100% worth it! We started out with a really cheap tripod off ebay which ended with our camera face down in the sand with the lens cap off. Having your tripod fall over and your camera lens get scratched or dirty is enough to ruin your day. If you have read this far, you probably now understand how much camera gear actually is and you are going to want to do everything in your power to look after it.
When looking for a tripod, you want to find one that is sturdy enough to hold your camera, whilst also being light enough to be able to travel around with you. It is important to note that there are two main materials which most tripods are made from and you can usually choose from one or the other.
- Aluminium Tripods – these are slightly heavier and more affordable.
- Carbon Fibre – more expensive but lighter. However, we recently looked into upgrading our Tripod for the Peak Design Carbon Fibre because of all of the hiking we are doing and it will actually only save us 300 grams but completely break the bank. We decided to stick with our current one for now.
Manfrotto Befree Advanced – Aluminium
After our disastrous experience with the cheap ebay tripod, we opted for the Manfrotto Befree Advanced in Aluminium. We got this tripod for our Sony a6000 and the great thing about it is that we didn’t need to upgrade when we changed to the Sony A7iii. This tripod has lasted us years and it comes everywhere with us. There is no way we would be able to take the photos that we do together without it.
We use this tripod as a secondary tripod if we want to film a behind the scenes with the Go Pro at the same time as we are taking picture or if we are taking videos with the Go Pro. It is a lot shorter than our Manfrotto tripod but also lighter and easy to travel with. We also bring it along on backpacking trips as it is so much lighter!
Our Camera Bag!
Lowepro Flipside Trek Bp 450 Backpack
This is the backpack we have used since the beginning of our photography journey and since upgrading our camera, we have been able to continue using it by shuffling a few things around. The inside has split compartments with velcro separators which you can move around however you feel works best for you and your equipment.
Rubber Air Blower
Great for getting those tiny dust specks off your lens quickly. It is also great for hard to reach spots that you can’t get to with a cleaning cloth. We use it a lot for those hard to reach spots.
12 pack Microfibre Cleaning Cloths
A must have for any photographer! There’s nothing worse than going to edit your photos and finding out that there is a bit dirty spot on every single one of your photos. Always make sure your lenses are clean and ready to go before any photography outing and bring your lens cleaning kit with you just in case.
HOYA UV Filters – 67mm and 82mm
We used these on our a6000 and now use them on our A7iii to protect the lenses from getting scratched which makes us feel much more comfortable when taking our camera out and about. There are lots of different variations of filters based on your budget. We bought relatively cheap ones for our a6000 but then invested in pricier one for our new GM 16-35mm lens because believe it or not the quality of the UV filter will also affect your photo. If you are looking for a really good quality filter, you should go for any in the HD range. We recommend using 67mm and 82mm UV filters and stepping rings to suit other filter thread sizes.
K&F Concept Variable ND Filter / Polariser
An ND (Neutral Density) filter allows you to reduce the light coming into your camera which allows you more control over your settings. One of the main reasons we use our ND filter is to take long exposure shots of waterfalls. This effect makes the stream of the waterfall appear much more flowy and dream-like. Without putting the ND filter on our camera, our photo would come out super overexposed.
The Polariser part of the filter acts the same as your sunglasses do and cuts through reflections on water. You might want to use a polariser in the middle of the day to reduce the glare from the sun.
Variable ND Filter / Polariser – for the Mavic Air Drone
We use these for the drone as it makes the video footage appear more cinematic and as we shoot with the drone a lot over the ocean, they help cut through the reflections on the water.
Peak Design Capture Clip
We use the Capture Clip when we go hiking or are out for the day and planning on taking loads of photos through the day. The clip fastens onto your backpacks shoulder straps and you can slide your camera into the clip for easy access! This saves us so much time as we no longer have to stop and take off our backpacks to get the camera out.
Our Previous Camera Gear
Our previous camera gear set up was definitely catered towards a beginner photographer which is what we were and so it was perfect!
The Sony a6000 is an APS-C camera body. APS-C relates to the sensor size on the camera which is essentially smaller than the full frame sensor on the Sony A7iii. This means that the camera can be made smaller and lighter as opposed to a full frame. We found this really beneficial for travelling as it made us more likely to want to bring our camera along with us on adventures. We loved this camera and so you are probably wondering why we felt the need to upgrade. As we became more creative and wanted to shoot in lower light and push our edits further, we began to struggle a little with the picture quality. In saying that, we had this camera for 3 years before upgrading and it was well used. It is a great camera for beginner photographers and won’t put as big of a dent in your savings as a full frame.
Lenses for the Sony a6000
Sony Carl Zeiss E 16-70mm f/4
As we said before, it is a great idea to buy the camera body only and put a little bit more money into a nice lens. This is the lens we purchased when we got our Sony a6000 and it was our most used lens.
Sony E 50mm f/1.8
This was our go to portrait lens for our a6000 because of the lens’ low aperture, giving our photos that beautiful bokeh (blurry) background. This lens was tiny and so light! Another great travel companion!
Samyang 12mm f/2.0
We used the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 as our wide angle lens. We mainly used it for astrophotography due to the manual focus which we weren’t super fast at using day to day. For astrophotography this lens took some really amazing pictures!
Camera Lens Cap
We use this on our camera to pack it into our bag when backpacking.