Updated Mar 30, 2023
A tiny Canon, a big Nikon, a mirrorless Fuji, and many iPhones
In 2002 I purchased my first digital camera: a Canon S200. The “200” represents 2.0 megapixels. I took it everywhere, printed mediocre photos using iPhoto and Apple’s now retired photo-printing service, and taped the photos to my dorm room walls.
Now, I shoot with the Fujifilm X-T4 (which also works well as a Zoom camera). I arrived at this setup after dabbling with another Canon PowerShot, a heavy Nikon DSLR, and a virtually pocket-sized full frame Sony. The Fujifilm is the perfect combination of versatility, size, and weight.
12 megapixels, CMOS sensor
Mirrorless, 24 megapixels, 35mm full frame CMOS sensor
Mirrorless, 24.3 megapixels, APS-C sensor
Mirrorless, 26.1 megapixels, APS-C sensor
I swap between three lenses regularly (and my wife patiently watches me) depending on the environment and subject.
Fujinon XF35mm ƒ1.4
Prime, 53mm equivalent
Fujinon XF23mm ƒ2.0
Prime, 35mm equivalent
Fujinon XF55-200mm ƒ3.5-4.8
Zoom, 83-300mm equivalent
One cannot simply operate a digital camera without a few accessories. When trying to shoot a scene filled with movement, it’s helpful to increase the number of frames per second in burst mode. You can accomplish this with the Fujifilm Vertical Power Booster which also provides a much stronger feel in your hands.
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster
Grip, battery pack, 11 frames per second
When shooting long exposures, you can set a 2 second countdown so pressing the shutter does not vibrate the camera and affect the shot. I find those 2 seconds to be excruciating shot after shot. The Fujifilm Remote Release moves the shutter button from the camera to your finger.
Fujifilm Remote Release RR-100
Great for long exposures
One small, helpful addition to a largeish camera kit is a thumb grip. With the Lensmate Thumb Grip your thumb becomes a lot more useful while holding the camera.
Lensmate Thumb Grip
Confortable, confident one handed operation
The most important thing to note is that a bigger, better camera with more impressive specifications will not produce better photos. You need to practice, experiment, and not give up. Similar to learning an instrument or a craft, it takes years of mistakes to learn how to be good.
When friends and family come over for dinner, I will occasionally take out the Leica Sofort. It’s a great way to capture moments and make them tangible. By the end of the night there’s a collection of small prints on the table.
Instant film camera
Leica Sofort Case
Every gadget needs a case
Note: As of January 2020 it appears that Leica is shedding this product line. Check out similar products from Fujfilm reviewed on Wirecutter.
Every time I witness someone carrying a camera without a strap my stomach turns. I always have my camera strapped to my body. I’ve never dropped a camera, but in Marrakech I stepped out of a taxi without zipping up the side of my backpack. My zoom lens crashed against the ground on the first day of my honeymoon. Fortunately it still works.
I swap between two straps depending on my mood. The Peak Design Clutch fuses your hand and your camera in a somewhat uncomfortable fashion. If I were to purchase another Peak Design product it would be the Peak Design Cuff which appears to give your hand and wrist more breathing room.
Peak Design Clutch
Fuse your camera and wrist together
The Peak Design Slide Lite is a typical neck strap. I appreciate both its subtle design and ability to not irritate my neck after a few hours of wear.
Peak Design Slide Lite
Whip your head back and forth
What’s terrific about Peak Design products is how they all work together. The anchor mechanism is easy to connect and disconnect allowing you to swap straps quickly.
Bags, cases, backpacks
The camera bag says more about you as a photographer than the camera. Lowepro? You’re either an actual professional or you yearn for the 1990s to make a comeback. Leather messenger bag? You’ve never shot in a wet environment. No bag at all? Respect.
Similar to my straps, I am all in on Peak Design products. They are more functional than MacGyver, look great, and last forever (so far). When I’m confident that I only need my camera and lenses, I wear the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L. It comfortably fits my X-T4, all 3 lenses, sunglasses, extra batteries, extra SD cards, and the Peak Design Slide Lite.
Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L
Much cooler than a fanny pack
Note: Since purchasing Peak Design has upgraded the Sling line to a new a slightly larger version that, according to the website, can handle an entire “6-er.” I have not tested this yet.
When traveling with my tripod, iPad, noise canceling headphones, filters, or other large items, I wear the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This backpack should come with its own podcast. It has so many features, straps, buckles, sprockets, compartments, and secrets.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L
The swiss army knife of bags
If you really want to look cool and blend in to a new city, I recommend attaching the Peak Design Capture to one of your backpack’s straps. This allows you to casually walk around hands-free with your camera positioned at a convenient spot of your body. When you want to take a photo, press the button and slide the camera out. When you’re done, slide your camera back in. My wife is too kind to allow me to live like this.
Peak Design Capture
Keep your camera close and your coolness closer
Software at your service
The intersection of photography and software is thrilling. Year after year new, innovative apps launch that expand how we catpure and edit photos. Below are a few apps I use in my photography kit.
Lightroom CC allows me to view, edit, and share photos from my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. I also store all of my photos in Adobe Cloud.
Adobe Lightroom CC
Automatic subject and sky selection.
For casual shooting I use Apple’s built-in Camera app. When I want to shoot something in RAW format with the intension of making future edits in Lightroom or Darkroom, I always use Halide.
Halide Mark II
Fancy controls for a fancy person.
Shooting a long exposure of a lake while the sun is setting is a magical feeling. Historically this has required two things: a shutter release button, and a big camera. With Spectre you can accomplish this with an iPhone.
Make water smooth as butter.
With TouchRetouch you can make objects and lines disappear from your photos with a swipe or a tap. I’ve removed people, cars, power lines, and even cows.
Tap, swipe, disappear!
For years I struggled with a cheap, flimsy tripod that would fall over with a gust of wind. One day when I thought about shooting objects on a table with an overhead camera position, I realized I needed a new tripod. Something sturdy. Strong. Versatile. Occasionally I’m basic so I went with the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 thanks to a Wirecutter review.
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100
Mount your camera and just… walk away.