This is an insight into what I think's the best photography gear and my thoughts on the photography gear you need to cover all situations, regardless of the type of photography you do. If you see some gear text coloured blue, it means it has a link you can click to get more info.
I am a Canon user and have been since the beginning. That's not to say Canon has the best camera bodies or the best photography gear by any means, it's just what I started with and what I continue to use with great success. But other brands such as Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm are equally as fantastic in producing quality camera bodies. I have 3 bodies which I'll explain below.
This is the camera I use about 90% of the time these days for almost all my photography work. The Canon 5D Mark IV is one of Canon's top of the line full-frame DSLR cameras and is very popular among all types of pro photographers around the world. It's called a workhorse because it covers just about every need you can imagine and I thoroughly recommend it, despite its hefty pricetag.
I also use the Canon 7D Mark II. The biggest difference here is that the 7D Mark II is an APS-C format camera, which means it has a smaller sensor than the full-frame 5D Mark IV. You can see the difference in sensor size by comparing the 2 pics above.
1 - The price. At the time of writing this the 7D Mark II is almost 1/3 of the price of the 5D Mark IV. Almost all APS-C format cameras are cheaper because of the smaller sensor.
2 - However, the smaller sensor can be great for certain things like shooting sports and wildlife. Why? Coz when you put a normal lens on an APS-C format camera, the mm range of the lens is extended approximately 1.5x. So a 10mm lens becomes a 15mm lens. A 50mm lens becomes a 75mm lens. A 100mm lens becomes a 150mm lwens and so on. This is great for sports and wildlife photography.
So if you're a long way from the action and you need to get closer but can't physically move closer or you simply don't want to, an APS-C format camera is perfect. For example, when I shoot surfing, I use the 7D Mark II and pair it with my Tamron 150-600mm. So when I'm fully zoomed in at 600m. that effectively gives me 900mm because of the 1.5x lens extension. Amazing reach!
3. The last reason is shooting speed. The 7D Mark II can shoot up to 10fps (frames per second). That's why it's a huge favourite with wildlife and action sports shooters. The 5D Mark IV, on the other hand, shoots at 7fps, which is still more than enough for the majority of situations. But at up to 10fps, the Canon 7D Mark II is gold for surfing and water shots.
The Rebel series of Canon cameras are a favourite for those just entering the world of a higher end camera with an interchangeable lens setup. This was my first Canon and it sets you up to learn everything you need. If you want a get a more expensive camera down the line then this is a good apprenticeship. For many, these Canon EOS Rebel cameras are all they need. And they're especially good value at less than $500 when you get 2 lenses included. Be mindful that they are APS-C format cameras.
In the following section I'll discuss the lenses I use. The only thing to really pay attention to is which camera body pairs with the different lenses. To eliminate confusion I'll start with all the lenses I use on the Canon 5D Mark IV and then move on to the lenses I use with my APS-C format cameras.
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens is my go-to lens for almost all my landscape photography. It's a wide angle lens that's perfect for getting the maximum amount of the scene in the frame. It's one of Canon's L series lenses (easily recognised by the red ring).
There's also a f/2.8 version available but for landscape photography you really don't need such a shallow DOF. If you're doing real estate work, on the other hand, you might think about the f/2.8 version so you can get lots of the interiors in the frame as well as really blur out any distracting background items.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L lens is a really good all-rounder that's ideal for a variety of conditions. Like the 16-35mm, it's an L series lens so you're guaranteed quality. Because it has such a good focal range it's usually the lens I take with me as a walkaround lens on my travels. I also often use it when I'm out playing with my daughter at the park or the beach and I don't want to get too close to her.
As the name suggests, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro is a lens used for macro photography. This is the type of photography usually reserved for taking photos of flowers, plants, or tiny insects. But you can also use it for portraiture and for getting really great, close-up details of things.
I put it in the best photography gear list coz of its flexibility. I love using it with my newborns and getting intricate shots of hands, toes, nails, eyes and so forth. It shoots at 1:1 magnification which means you can fill the entire frame with the smallest details and they'll print perfectly at that size.
Like the other lenses, it's an L series lens though it's one of Canon's cheaper L series options, which makes it an absolute bargain in my eyes, considering its range of uses.
I'm not quite sure what Sigma was thinking when they decided to call this line of lenses "Art" lenses coz it's ridiculously pretentious and means literally nothing, but one thing's for sure, these Sigma prime lenses are fantastic. Almost every test out there shows that there sharpness throughout the frame is pretty much unrivalled - I've never experienced a lens that creates such incredibly sharp images and that's why it gets a run in my best photography gear list.
If you love 50mm prime lenses (especially fantastic for portrait and people photography, then I highly, highly recommend the Sigma 50mm Art lens. I have a Canon mount lens but it's also available in a Nikon mount and a Sony mount. For the record, Sigma also has a 35mm prime and a 85mm prime in its Art series of lenses.
The Tamron 150-600mm super telephoto zoom lens is an absolute whopper of a lens. It's one of those massive big things that looks like a mini bazooka attached to the camera. It gives you a real sense of power and professionalism and it sure does attract lots of comments and interest from passers by.
I use it mostly for surfing and action sports photography where I need to get in close to my subject but I might not necessarily have perfect access. When you pair it with the Canon 7D Mark II with it's 1.6 crop factor APS-C sensor, it effectively gives me a range of 900mm. That is unbelievably brilliant for getting things 100s of metres away.
As you can imagine, it's also a brilliant lens for both bird and wildlife photography. There's actually a newer version available here, but I have the original, which is quite a bit cheaper.
Affectionately known as the "Pancake 40" because of its small, flat appearance, the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens is a great little walkaround lens that's pretty fast at f/2.8. It's a real cheapy at just over $100 but it gives such amazing quality for its low price.
I use this lens when I go out for a quick walk with my daughter or we go for a ride down to the beach and I can't be bothered taking my camera bag or attaching a big chunky lens to my body. This belongs in the best photography gear list simply because it's so beautifully lightweight and small you barely notice it's there. Perfect for little outings but don't be fooled by its price - it still produces wonderful images.
You can use most of the lenses listed above with the Canon 7D MKII. If it's an EF mount, then you can use it with the 7D MKII. You just have to be aware that because the 7D MKII is an APS-C format camera with a 1.6x crop factor, the focal length of the lenses will be different.
For example, a 50mm will become about 75mm. A 100mm lens will become about 160mm etc etc.
However, there are some specific lenses designed for APS-C format cameras like the Canon 7D MKII that will not work on full-frame cameras like the Canon 5D MKIV. I'll talk about a couple of those lenses here.
The Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens is an absolute steal for what it gives you performance wise. It was the first wide-angle lens I bought and I immediately fell in love with it. Absolutely perfect for huge, open landscapes, or for people taking photos of housing interiors like real estate agents, for example.
Just remember that coz of the APS-C format of the Canon 7D MKII, the Sigma 10-20mm is effectively a 16-32mm lens. That almost equates exactly to the Canon 16-35mm L Series lens I wrote about above. But the Sigma is almost 1/3 of the price. Bargain!
Before I bought my full-frame Canon 5D MKIV the Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 was easily my favourite lens paired with my 7D MKII. I could have had only this lens on my photography gear list and been happy. With such a massive zoom range from wide-angle to telephoto, the world's your oyster. Normally, with such a big zoom range the trade-off is sharpness. But this is remarkably sharp through the entire zoom range.
I used it for all my travels through Europe and my honeymoon to Greece, many photos of which were internationally published. It's also quite light and mobile, much more than other less flexible lenses. Massively recommend this lens, especially for travel photography.
P.S I'm currently the Top Viewed Writer on Quora for 'Digital Photography' and have over 3.5 million answer views. If you'd like to see more of my writing on Quora, you can click here
P.P.S I've built my 2 photography Instagram accounts to over 70,000 followers. If you'd like all the info on how I did it, you can get it all here
Hi there Iain here. I made this site simply because I want to find ways of adding multiple income streams to my life so I can retire early and live the good life. Why rely on one income when there are so many ways out there you can earn, especially online? So as I learn about them all, I want to pass my knowledge on to you so you can do the same. Here's hoping we can all retire early and go travel the world or sit by the ocean sipping cocktails!
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