Gavin Hardcastle - Photography Gear List

I often get asked about the equipment that I use to make my images and videos. I thought I’d put together a list of items that I use on a regular basis along with a brief summary of what I like about a particular piece of kit. Most of these I’ve purchased and some of them I rent.

If you’re considering purchasing any of these items please use the links provided on this page as I receive a tiny commission which helps me to continue running this site. It won’t cost you a penny more to purchase via these links and it might mean I can afford to pay next months bill from Adobe 😉

Landscape Photography Filters

Landscape Photography FiltersI mostly use filters from Breakthrough Photography Filters. I have a selection of ND filters but my favourite is the Dark CPL filter. This filter is a circular polarizer that has a dark coating that makes it also act as neutral density filter to force longer exposures.

The Dark CPL is ideal because you get both the CPL and the ND in one filter. I use the magnetic holder system so that I can quickly and easily try different filters without having to unscrew each one. I also use the Night Sky Filter for my astrophotography, especially in locations that have a lot of light pollution.

My Camera Bag

WANDRD PRVKE Camera Bag photography Bundle

The PRVKE 21 Liter from WANDRD

WANDRD PRVK Camera Bag

The camera bag that I use and love is the PRVK 21 Liter from WANDRD. To be honest there are times I wish I’d got the 31 liter size but that’s only when I travel internationally.

What I love most about this bag is that with the ‘Photography Bundle’, it comes with a removable cube section for all of my camera gear. This is basically a bag within a bag that I can take out of the WANDRD PRVKE and place at the top of my hiking backpack when I’m sleeping on mountains or remote beaches.

The photography bundle also includes extra hip straps for hiking and a rainproof cover. There are dedicated pockets for your passport, car keys and I can even fit my laptop in this bag.

Oh, and it looks cool too.

Learn More

Sony A7RIII Mirrorless Camera

Sony A7RIII CameraSony finally got it together and improved the major flaw on their A7 range of cameras – the battery life. They also upgraded the menu system but sadly dropped their Playmemories apps. That means no more built-in timelapse app which while fairly crappy was still better than nothing.

The Sony A7RIII features dual memory card slots and boasts much better low light performance for video recording. Finally, after dragging their heels for years, Sony decided to add a touch screen.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Sony A6500 Mirrorless Camera

Sony a6500In a way, I love this camera even more than the Sony A7RIII. That’s mainly because of the price.

With a 24MP sensor and the right choice of lenses you can produce stunning images with this tiny little camera. It also does a great job of recording video too.

It’s so small and ‘toy like’ that it’s easy to believe it’s not a serious camera but I’ve found it to produce gorgeous looking RAW files that rival or exceed the image quality of most high end DSLR cameras.

If you like the idea of great image quality at a small price the Sony A6500 mirrorless camera is the one for you. Read my Sony A6000 review here.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


GoPro Hero 7

Gopro Hero 7For relatively very little, you can buy this action cam that records crisp 4K video and takes decent stills.

I was so taken with what this tiny little toy could do that I made 95% of the film ‘Thaibodia 4K‘ with just this camera.

I wouldn’t use this is my ‘A’ camera for shooting stills but as an easy to carry addition to my camera bag I’ve found it has a permanent place in my kit list when I need to shoot quick 4K video at 60fps.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Canon 24-105mm f/4.0

Canon 24-105mm lensI originally bought the Canon 24-105mm as a kit lens with my Canon 5D MK II way back in 2010 and to be honest it never really impressed me in terms of sharpness.

That quickly changed when I used it on my Sony A7R for the first time and saw the true capabilities of this superb lens.

Now it’s my ‘go to’ lens when I need sharpness and a little more reach than my super wide lenses.

As an all rounder landscape lens, the Canon 24-105mm is worth every penny when used with the right camera.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM

Sony 16-35mm F2.8 G MasterNot only is this a super sharp lens but it’s plenty fast enough for astrophotography and delivers great sun stars if you like that kind of thing.

I find that the zoom range of 16-35mm on a full frame camera is the closest thing to what I see with the naked eye so it’s really easy to compose the shots that I see in my head.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

Sigma 85mm 1.4 lensThis is my favourite lens for creamy bokeh.

For street, travel and people photography, this is the lens I reach for automatically. The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 is also great for nature shots where you need to isolate a subject like a tree with lovely shallow depth of field.

It’s big and heavy but the autofocus works great and the sharpness is superb even wide open.

It’s available for Canon and Nikon mounts so I have to use an adapter to make it work on the Sony cameras.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Sony 10-18mm f/4.0

Sony 10-18mm f/4.0 lensI bought the Sony 10-18mm lens because I can attach it to both the Sony A7RIII and the Sony A6500 and get great results.

On the A7RIII you get a ridiculously wide field of view and on the A6500 I get about the same coverage as the Canon 16-35mm on a full frame camera.

When you consider this lens in combination with the A6500, you’re getting a whole lot of wide angle image quality for not a lot of money.

I regularly post images shot using the Sony A6500 combined with the Sony 10-18mm lens and people can’t believe this is an APS-C lens/cam combo.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lensThis Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens is a cult classic for astrophotography and for the sub $300 price tag, you just can’t go wrong.

It’s also great for daytime landscapes if you stick to f/8.Other apertures are less than ideal for daytime shoots so get used to focus stacking if you want corner to corner focus.

The thing I love most about this lens is that is has a manual aperture ring and that’s great for avoiding ‘aperture flicker’ when shooting timelapse. The Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is available for Sony E-Mount, Canon and Nikon.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Benro SystemGo Plus Carbon Fiber Tripod with Monopod Conversion

I recently switched from Manfrotto to Benro tripods as I got sick of the Manfrotto products seizing up on me after not a lot of heavy use.

I prefer flappy leg locks over the twisty leg locks but I find these twisty, threaded ones to be better than most. For a carbon fibre tripod, this is one of the sturdier ones I’ve used.

I love the elbow system that allows me to get really low to the ground but also allows me to get really tall.

Buy at Amazon | B&H | Adorama


Arc’teryx Men’s Beta Ar Jacket

Arcteryx waterpoof Jacket for Photography

I do a lot of hiking and shooting in the rain so I need a waterproof jacket that is light and packs down small in my camera bag or back pack.

This one is Goretex and has hood with the ability to tighten it around your face. It fits over my down jacket nicely and the two make the ideal combination for most weather situations. I went for the trademark Fototripper blue 😉

Buy at Amazon


Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody Men’s

Arc'Teryx Down Jacket for PhotographersThis is my favourite jacket because of the amount of warmth it provides for such a lightweight item. Unless I’m shooting in subzero temperatures this is all I need to keep me warm with it’s down insulation.

I wear this under the waterproof shell shown above and I feel pretty invincible. If I know the weather is going to be cooler I’ll add a merino wool layer under my clothing.

For extremely cold subzero temps you’d be better served by the Arc’teryx Mens Therme Parka

Buy at Amazon


Filters

I only ever use two filter types. Polarizers and neutral density (ND) filters. As long as you’re not buying the cheapest Ebay crap you should be fine to use any of the decent name brands.

For polarizers I’ve used Heliopan, Tiffen and Hoya with great results.

I tend to pay extra for the ‘low profile’ filters so that if I decide to stack an ND on top of a polarizer I wont see a nasty vignette.

Fell free to ask any questions about my kit list and let me know how these products perform for you.

Cheers

Gavin Hardcastle

Published by Gavin Hardcastle

Gavin is a professional landscape photographer from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC. He teaches photography workshops all over the world and writes extensively about his experiences on location. You can read his photo guides and tutorials here at Fototripper.com.

37 Comments

  1. Gavin, thank you so much for this information! Can you please clarify what you meant when you said: (Regarding the Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f/2.8)

    “It’s also great for daytime landscapes if you stick to f/8. Other apertures are less than ideal for daytime shoots, so get used to focus stacking if you want corner to corner focus.”
    I’m not sure what focus stacking is?
    Thanks!
    Helen Watson

    Reply
    • Hi Helen,

      At f/8 you won’t be able to get focus in your entire image from front to back so you’d need to use a focus stacking technique to achieve front to back focus. The reason I mention f/8 is because that’s the aperture that will give you sharpest results. All other apertures on my lens loose sharpness the further away you get from f/8. That’s the main drawback with this lens – that and the fact that it’s a bugger to get the focus just right due to poor build quality. I’d happily pay double for this lens if it was made better.

      Gavin

      Reply
  2. Hi,Gavin,

    I have a question in regards to portraiture with a7r.
    Would the 35 mm be a good lens for portraiture on this camera?
    I like the size of the lens. 130g small.

    I tested the 10-18 mm on my a7r, but found that when I took portraits, cropped the pics went into extreme digital form.
    While some posters say you still retain the 36 mp.
    I found the pic broke down., reminded me of the 80’s first digital cameras.
    Is there something I’m missing?

    Reply
    • Hi Yve,

      If you mean the Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm, yes that is an excellent lens but check out the Zeiss Loxia also. Not sure what you mean by ‘extreme digital form’ but I wonder if you had the A7R set to crop mode when shooting with the 10-18mm which I would never advise as a portrait lens.

      Cheers
      Gavin

      Reply
  3. Hi Gavin thanks for the quick reply.

    What I ment in regards to the 10-18 mm is, I took a pic of a person across the table.
    When I cropped the pic. for a close look, the picture quality degraded and would not be useable.
    When I took a similar pic. with a different lens, including 10-24 Nikkor, lens and camera, the picture did not degrade to that leve and was useable.

    Some people are pleased,with this lens on a7r. Perhaps the one I tested was no good.
    Not sure if camera was set to crop mode as you suggested.

    I definitely liked the weight, size of the lens.
    The pic looked fine until I cropped it for a close look for details which then were degraded.
    Maybe I should give it another try?

    Reply
  4. Very nice website!! As for your gear, what bag do use to carry your equipment while you go hither and yon to make your images?

    Reply
    • Hi Pat, I use massive LowePro bag but in all honesty it’s a total pain if any kind of hike is involved. Check out Tamrac as I’ve recently been impressed by their quality and usability.

      Reply
  5. Hi Gavin,

    What adapter did you use for canon lens on a7r II? Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Gavin hi I was reading your gear list and watching some of your landscape on YouTube and notice that I don’t see you using any graduated filters, do you use them or is it something you do in post? Do you need them? Love your articles

    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Garvin,
    What back packs due you use ?

    Reply
  8. what camera backpack did you use on the video “My Most Successful Landscape Photography Shoot Ever! to Lewis River Falls. it wasn’t the osprey.

    Great Videos, Keep Them Coming!!

    Reply
  9. Hi Gavin,
    Love the videos and wish I was there for all the fun. My
    Question is what lens adaptor do you use on your Sony equipment for Canon lens. I’m looking at getting something for my XT-2 for my old Nikon lens. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks my Friend and Have. Great New Years.

    Don

    Reply
  10. Hi Gavin, interesting to know you use the Canon 24-105mm on your Sony cameras. I have the lens and a Sony A6500. What converter do you use to get such amazing results?

    Reply
  11. Gavin hi, wondering do you still use the canon 24-105 on your Sony, and if so why not the Sony equivalent.
    Thanks

    Reply
  12. Gavin what ball head do you use on the new tripod?

    Reply
    • Until recently I’ve been using a heavy duty Manfrotto ball head but it seized on me after hardly any use. So, I can’t recommend them any longer. I should be receiving the new ball head from Breakthrough photography so if it’s any good I’ll post a review.

      Reply
  13. Maybe I missed it, but what coffee do you prefer?

    Reply
  14. I started watching your vlogs after seeing you on one of Thomas Heaton’s youtube videos. I really love your enthusiastic attitude and just can’t get enough of you and Uncle Grumpy aka Adam Gibbs, your banter is really funny. How long have you been living in Canada?

    Reply
  15. Gavin,
    Does the B&H affiliate program work like Amazons, in that as long as I use you link, I can buy something else, and you will still get credit? I spend more than I should there, and would like you to benefit from it, what ever small percentage that may be.

    Reply
  16. That’s something we shall have to remedy. (William Wallace’s uncle Argyle -Braveheart)

    Reply
    • Gavin, I’ve made a few purchases at B&H using your links, enough to take Uncle Grumpy to lunch and buy him a new lens cloth 😉

      I have some Really Right Stuff I need to buy and will be sure to use your links again. Thanks for the great videos, the ladder was Classic!

      Reply
  17. Hi Gavin, I noted you change tripod quite often on your videos, I curiuous about which head and what leggs do you prefer if you ciuld only choose 2 of both.

    Reply
    • I’m currently trying out a few different brands. Can’t be sure on new gear until I’ve put it through it’s paces but the tripod leg that I favour are the Benro ones listed.

      Reply
  18. Hey Gavin ,
    First of all Love your Youtube Content. It actually makes tickels my Trigger finger for some Juicy Pics . But anyway I was wondering how much the Battery life is Improved from the A7 RII .I also on the fence switching to Sony as well.

    Reply
  19. Hey! Just watched Tomas Heaton’s YouTube channel and you mentioned that your still sporting the a7rii, is it that you upgraded to the a7iii and you dedicated the 2 for vlog recording or is the 2 your main camera cause the 3 is listed here and I’m just a bit confused. Hate to see you leave the Sony system since I also just purchased one and was looking forward to your experience with the same camera. Ultimately whatever makes you feel better is always the best option.

    Reply
    • I often rent and borrow the R3 but can’t justify buying a 4th Sony camera just because the batteries on the pre-3 versions are an abysmal joke. When the R4 comes out I’ll either buy that or switch to Nikon if the upgrade isn’t significant.

      Reply

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