Our Photography Gear

One of the most common questions they ask me is: Which camera did you use for taking that picture?

You probably already heard the expression “The camera does not make the photographer” that I absolutely agree. The gear is useless without our vision and creativity. For me, the equipment is nothing more than tools that allow us to create what we visualize and want to capture.

That said, below you can see the equipment that I use. It is not the newest equipment, but in my case, it fulfills my needs and I can compensate the small handicaps that it might have through different processing techniques.

Camera

Nikon D800

The Full Frame sensor and the 36.3 megapixels of the Nikon D800 allow me to obtain quality images in all scenes, including those in low light situations.

Regarding the dynamic range, although it does not have the most advanced on the market as its successors, the D810 and D850, it is remarkable and the most complicated lighting situations can be solved with a simple bracketing of 3 to 5 images.

I would highlight especially its robustness, working without any problem ever under rain and sand storms, temperatures below 0ºF (-18ºC), high humidity and all kinds of harsh and challenging conditions.

Today, except in the second-hand market, it is not possible to find this camera. A similar updated option would be the Nikon D750.

Sony A7 II

In January 2019, Ascen got a Sony A7 II that is a Mirrorless camera with a 24.3 MP Full Frame sensor.

These cameras have practically all the features of a traditional SLR but they are much more compact and light, something fundamental in travel photography.

She also bought three lenses: Sony 24-105mm f4, Sony 50mm f1.8, and Samyang 14mm f2.8.

One of the most common questions they ask me is: Which camera did you use for taking that picture?

You probably already heard the expression “The camera does not make the photographer” that I absolutely agree. The gear is useless without our vision and creativity. For me, the equipment is nothing more than tools that allow us to create what we visualize and want to capture.

That said, below you can see the equipment that I use. It is not the newest equipment, but in my case, it fulfills my needs and I can compensate the small handicaps that it might have through different processing techniques.

Camera

Nikon D800

The Full Frame sensor and the 36.3 megapixels of the Nikon D800 allow me to obtain quality images in all scenes, including those in low light situations.

Regarding the dynamic range, although it does not have the most advanced on the market as its successors, the D810 and D850, it is remarkable and the most complicated lighting situations can be solved with a simple bracketing of 3 to 5 images.

I would highlight especially its robustness, working without any problem ever under rain and sand storms, temperatures below 0ºF (-18ºC), high humidity and all kinds of harsh and challenging conditions.

Today, except in the second-hand market, it is not possible to find this camera. A similar updated option would be the Nikon D750.

Sony A7 II

In January 2019, Ascen got a Sony A7 II that is a Mirrorless camera with a 24.3 MP Full Frame sensor.

These cameras have practically all the features of a traditional SLR but they are much more compact and light, something fundamental in travel photography.

She also bought three lenses: Sony 24-105mm f4, Sony 50mm f1.8, and Samyang 14mm f2.8.

I have not tested the equipment in all possible conditions yet thus I can’t make a totally faithful review. I will expand the information of this new gear when I become more familiar and know better the pros and cons but so far so good.

Lenses

These are the lenses that I use with my D800.

Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8

One of the best lenses created by Nikon. It is fast, versatile, robust and above all very bright, ideal for Northern Lights Photography and Milky Way photography.

It is the lens that I use the most in landscape photography and night photography. In lenses with similar range and characteristics, you can find the Tamron 15-30 f2.8 and the Sigma 14-24 f 2.8.

Nikon 50mm f1.8

Extremely light and bright prime lens. For its quality-price value, I think it is a lens that every photographer should carry in his backpack.

I use it mostly to capture landscapes that are a bit more distant and to make panoramas leveraging its perspective without distortions. It is also very useful for taking portraits and as a travel photography lens.

Tamron 100-400MM F4.5-6.3

Great quality and versatile telezoom. To me, it stands out for its low weight and size taking into account its wide focal length, with a weight of only 1.1 kg.

I use it mainly to photograph very distant landscapes and natural details.

I also use it for wildlife photography, although photographing in the 300-400mm range, the autofocus system is not very fast or precise, so capturing some elements such as birds in movement can become a challenge.

Although it is the heaviest lens in my backpack, it has become an essential lens I always carry with me. Shooting landscapes with a telephoto lens opens endless possibilities and I strongly suggest give it a try if it is something you have never done.

Tripod

Sirui 1204–X

Ultralight carbon fiber tripod, very sturdy and stable despite its low weight and size. I have used several tripods throughout the years and until now, this Sirui model is the tripod that has best adapted to my needs. These are some of the reasons why I love it:

  • It is Light and compact: it only weighs XX and folded measures XX, fits inside the hand luggage and on the side of the backpack, something useful for hiking.
  • It has 3 leg sections: offering more stability.
  • Twist lock tripod legs systems: instead flip, which makes easier to fold/unfold the legs.
  • It uses a replaceable center column: I can leverage the center column when I need more height or stability, as I can add weight to the hook, or remove the central column to set it at the ground level when I want to get close to a foreground.

Sirui K-10 X Ballhead

I have used both pan heads and ball heads and without any doubt, I photograph more comfortable with this ball head system. Within the line Sirui K –X, this is the lightest and most compact, and it can easily hold the weight of my equipment with guarantees.

Sunwayfoto L-Plate

As soon as I tried an L-plate it became a must-accessory on my equipment. It is always attached to my camera and it is essential for shooting vertical images and panoramas.

Sunwayfoto leveling base

This piece located between the tripod and the ball head allows me to move and level the camera set-up without having to move the tripod legs. It is especially useful for taking panoramas.

Tripod

Sirui 1204–X

Ultralight carbon fiber tripod, very sturdy and stable despite its low weight and size. I have used several tripods throughout the years and until now, this Sirui model is the tripod that has best adapted to my needs. These are some of the reasons why I love it:

  • It is Light and compact: it only weighs XX and folded measures XX, fits inside the hand luggage and on the side of the backpack, something useful for hiking.
  • It has 3 leg sections: offering more stability.
  • Twist lock tripod legs systems: instead flip, which makes easier to fold/unfold the legs.
  • It uses a replaceable center column: I can leverage the center column when I need more height or stability, as I can add weight to the hook, or remove the central column to set it at the ground level when I want to get close to a foreground.

Sirui K-10 X Ballhead

I have used both pan heads and ball heads and without any doubt, I photograph more comfortable with this ball head system. Within the line Sirui K –X, this is the lightest and most compact, and it can easily hold the weight of my equipment with guarantees.

Sunwayfoto L-Plate

As soon as I tried an L-plate it became a must-accessory on my equipment. It is always attached to my camera and it is essential for shooting vertical images and panoramas.

Sunwayfoto leveling base

This piece located between the tripod and the ball head allows me to move and level the camera set-up without having to move the tripod legs. It is especially useful for taking panoramas.

Filters

Lucroit HQ ND 6 stops

The filter that I use the most for making long exposure photography. I use Lucroit for the great quality of the materials; their crystals are resistant, don’t subtract any quality to the lens and, something very important and not frequent in other filters, don’t produce color casts.


uso de filtros en fotografia mejores aplicaciones

como usar un filtro ND correctamente

 

Lucroit HQ ND 10 stops

I use it mainly for long daytime exposures.

Lucroit Circular Polarizer

The main reason why I use the polarizer is to eliminate reflections when photographing forests, lakes, waterfalls and any landscape likely to produce any reflection.

I do not use any type of gradient filter or special effects filters since I simulate the effects through different techniques on Photoshop.

In this article that I wrote about Lens filters in photography, you can find more information about lens filter types and the use of filters in landscape photography.

Backpack

F-Stop Tilopa V3

como elegir la mejor mochila para un viaje fotografico

I have used different backpacks from other brands such as Lowepro but none of a quality like this model of the F-Stop brand.

It has the perfect design to protect the gear, but especially to protect your back when carrying the equipment for several hours.

As a compartment, I use the ICO medium slope, having extra space to carry clothes and food.

I use the backpack with these straps to be able to add the sleeping bag and mat on multiday hikes, and this rain cover for rainy days.

Other must-have gear

headlamp

Fundamental for night photography. This headlamp offers a great illumination although there is a significant caveat; When you stop using it, you have to remove the batteries because the on button is very sensitive and it is common to find the headlamp on in the backpack or the batteries already dead.

Minimaglite

Very cheap and light flashlight. I use it to illuminate elements when doing night photography and when I include myself in the scene.

Batteries

I always carry 3 batteries in my backpack; two Nikon official batteries, and a Pantone clone battery. In long photography sessions I load the dead batteries while shooting with this USB charger.

Filters

Lucroit HQ ND 6 stops

The filter that I use the most for making long exposure photography. I use Lucroit for the great quality of the materials; their crystals are resistant, don’t subtract any quality to the lens and, something very important and not frequent in other filters, don’t produce color casts.


uso de filtros en fotografia mejores aplicaciones

como usar un filtro ND correctamente

 

Lucroit HQ ND 10 stops

I use it mainly for long daytime exposures.

Lucroit Circular Polarizer

The main reason why I use the polarizer is to eliminate reflections when photographing forests, lakes, waterfalls and any landscape likely to produce any reflection.

I do not use any type of gradient filter or special effects filters since I simulate the effects through different techniques on Photoshop.

In this article that I wrote about Lens filters in photography, you can find more information about lens filter types and the use of filters in landscape photography.

Backpack

F-Stop Tilopa V3

como elegir la mejor mochila para un viaje fotografico

I have used different backpacks from other brands such as Lowepro but none of a quality like this model of the F-Stop brand.

It has the perfect design to protect the gear, but especially to protect your back when carrying the equipment for several hours.

As a compartment, I use the ICO medium slope, having extra space to carry clothes and food.

I use the backpack with these straps to be able to add the sleeping bag and mat on multiday hikes, and this rain cover for rainy days.

Other must-have gear

headlamp

Fundamental for night photography. This headlamp offers a great illumination although there is a significant caveat; When you stop using it, you have to remove the batteries because the on button is very sensitive and it is common to find the headlamp on in the backpack or the batteries already dead.

Minimaglite

Very cheap and light flashlight. I use it to illuminate elements when doing night photography and when I include myself in the scene.

Batteries

I always carry 3 batteries in my backpack; two Nikon official batteries, and a Pantone clone battery. In long photography sessions I load the dead batteries while shooting with this USB charger.

como elegir el mejor equipo fotografico de viajes linterna frontal

mini maglite como elegir el mejor equipo fotografico de viajes

bateria nikon d 800 para viaje fotografico

bateria recargable usb para viaje fotográfico

Memory cards

I use both Lexar SD cards and SanDisk compact flash cards. Most of the time I prefer to use compact flash cards because they are more reliable and have a higher writing speed and reading. But I have no problem with using SD cards when I run out of memory of the previous ones. Normally I have 320 Gb for my 10-15 day trips photographing landscape.

tarjeta memoria equipo fotografico para viajar

tarjeta memoria equipo fotografico viajes

Heat Smart 3 Globes

Under snowy conditions and freezing temperatures I always use these gloves from The Heat Company. These gloves allow me to use the camera comfortably while maintaining the temperature of my hands.

You can see more details about these gloves in this specific review that I wrote.

Heat Smart 3 Globes

Under snowy conditions and freezing temperatures I always use these gloves from The Heat Company. These gloves allow me to use the camera comfortably while maintaining the temperature of my hands.

You can see more details about these gloves in this specific review that I wrote.

Drone

Phantom 4 Pro

Most of the time I am photographing, the other half of the team, Ascen, is flying a Phantom 4 Pro, for our promotional videos.

We bought this drone a few weeks before they launched the Mavic Air and we still do not know if we regret it.

The Phantom’s camera has an unparalleled quality: a 20MP sensor and stability difficult to overcome even in windy conditions. However, it is so big that needs a special backpack (we use the Manfrotto Aviator D1) where it hardly fits anything else.

In the case that you want to carry in the same backpack photographic equipment and drone I recommend you sacrifice some quality and go for the Mavic Air.

Equipment that I use for editing and storaging

MacBook pro-2016

Powerful and top-notch laptop to process my images both in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Wacom intuos Drawing Tablet

I use it to paint details in Adobe Photoshop. It certainly helps to make a difference in that step of the processing.

WD 256GB My Passport SSD Portable Storage

This solid hard drive is dedicated specifically as the principal hard drive for Photoshop, improving the speed and keeping the Ram memory of the computer from running out when processing large files as panoramas.

WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

I use several 4 tb hard drives both to save my entire portfolio and Raw files without having to take up space on the computer and to make backup copies.

Where I have bought my gear

I bought some of the most important elements of my gear, such as the Nikon D800 or the 14-24 lens, in the second hand market. 

Buying second-hand equipment is a good option to save money and invest in other items, such as a lighter and more robust tripod or a more powerful computer for processing.

The only point that I consider essential when buying second-hand equipment is to buy products in optimal conditions. It is often difficult to know if it has been well-maintained beyond the simple external perception and the shots counter in the case of the camera. For this reason, in my case, I buy all the second-hand gear through the company MPB.com, who operate in the US and the European Union and give 6-month warranty in all their products.

If you are looking for any camera, lens, or accessory and want to save a good amount of money while having guarantees, I recommend you take a look at the catalog on their website.

Photography gear Rental

Regarding those lenses and accessories that I use in certain trips, I commonly rent them. This way, if I am going to take a safari tour to photograph animals, I do not have to spend 3000€ on a lens that I would probably use 4 times a year.

In my case, I opt to rent those lenses that I do not use more than 5 or 6 times a year. As for example, the Sigma 14mm 1.4 for photographing Northern Lights, or the Nikon 500 mm for wildlife photography.

Besides, I also usually rent the equipment before deciding a purchase, since it doesn’t matter how many reviews you read online: you won’t know how comfortable you feel with a camera or a lens until you test it. From my point of view, it is worthwhile to always try before and “secure” the purchase.

From the time I have been living in the US, I always rent through Lensrentals.

Next Purchase

Some people also ask me which gear I would buy next. If I had to change my camera right now I would probably opt for a Mirrorless system, trying to maintain the current performance of my Nikon D800.

The camera that seems the best option right now and that several colleagues have already used, is the Sony A7 RIII.

Also, if I move to a Mirrorless camera, I would have to acquire new lenses. These three ones would be indispensable:

Where I have bought my gear

I bought some of the most important elements of my gear, such as the Nikon D800 or the 14-24 lens, in the second hand market. 

Buying second-hand equipment is a good option to save money and invest in other items, such as a lighter and more robust tripod or a more powerful computer for processing.

The only point that I consider essential when buying second-hand equipment is to buy products in optimal conditions. It is often difficult to know if it has been well-maintained beyond the simple external perception and the shots counter in the case of the camera. For this reason, in my case, I buy all the second-hand gear through the company MPB.com, who operate in the US and the European Union and give 6-month warranty in all their products.

If you are looking for any camera, lens, or accessory and want to save a good amount of money while having guarantees, I recommend you take a look at the catalog on their website.

Photography gear Rental

Regarding those lenses and accessories that I use in certain trips, I commonly rent them. This way, if I am going to take a safari tour to photograph animals, I do not have to spend 3000€ on a lens that I would probably use 4 times a year.

In my case, I opt to rent those lenses that I do not use more than 5 or 6 times a year. As for example, the Sigma 14mm 1.4 for photographing Northern Lights, or the Nikon 500 mm for wildlife photography.

Besides, I also usually rent the equipment before deciding a purchase, since it doesn’t matter how many reviews you read online: you won’t know how comfortable you feel with a camera or a lens until you test it. From my point of view, it is worthwhile to always try before and “secure” the purchase.

From the time I have been living in the US, I always rent through Lensrentals.

Next Purchase

Some people also ask me which gear I would buy next. If I had to change my camera right now I would probably opt for a Mirrorless system, trying to maintain the current performance of my Nikon D800.

The camera that seems the best option right now and that several colleagues have already used, is the Sony A7 RIII.

Also, if I move to a Mirrorless camera, I would have to acquire new lenses. These three ones would be indispensable:

However, at the moment I do not consider changing my current camera because it continues covering my needs. I prefer to wait and see the advances in the market, especially in the field of Mirrorless cameras by Nikon and Canon.

If you want to see more information about what photography equipment for travel I advise depending on your level and goals, I recommend you to see this article on Photography equipment.

And if you have any question, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment and I will be happy to help you.

Notice of affiliation links: if you buy through some of the links that you will find in this post, we may take a small commission without affecting at all the price you pay for the items. Buying through these links helps us to continue with this project.

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