Silicon Savy Tech Bargain Store | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Affiliate Disclosure

Inside My Camera Bag | Neil Plumb

I’m Neil, the less attractive half of Lisa and Neil’s wedding photography.

I only shoot weddings, usually in Norfolk, England. I apologise about the cat in the image, but he and I struggle with ‘lay flat’.

I started shooting with Canon, and as our joint lens set grew and improved, I fell in love with Canon Glass. I still feel a little lost without the 135mm F2.0 L. However, after following and enjoying the first three versions of the Canon 5D range, we noticed Sony stuff.

Sony first appealed to Lisa based on its slightly retro styling, body size, and weight. I was less inclined to pay real attention early on, as I couldn’t see how the Sony lens set matched our Canon gear.

Skip forward maybe a year or two, and not only did Sony get their lenses in order, but the capability of their mirrorless offering was genuinely ‘night and day’ different from our Canons.

It was time to change!

My only remaining reservation was the size of the camera body. I’m 6’2″ with hands like shovels, and I get along just fine with the Sony Alpha bodies.

When we invest, we have to not only have the standard spare stuff that all wedding photographers have but also duplicate that, as there are two of us on the job.

We started our Sony experience with four Sony A7IIIs and loved them until the shutter failed on the first click of a wedding day!

The following week, we swapped out two Sony A7IIIs for Sony A9s, and that’s been the setup ever since.

The Sony A9 is a better camera for refinements, such as the non-rolling shutter and lack of banding indoors on the silent shutter. We keep the two  Sony A7IIIs as backup, and they’re still outstanding performers.

Our gear does around thirty-five to forty annual weddings, plus various engagement shoots. We’re not fussy about the gear; it has to deal with heat, cold, wet, and lots of transporting.

So far, Sony gear of all types has held up well, although we’re less confident about the weather sealing than the best of Canon’s DSLR gear.

If something significantly better comes up, we’ll consider gear change, but honestly, things seem pretty incremental rather than revolutionary right now across all the manufacturers.

Sony A9 Mark I – It’s a mirrorless workhorse, and once you’ve set up custom buttons (to avoid some of the annoying menu layout), it works well.

There is very little between us and the shot in terms of worrying about the camera. The body has a natural feel; it’s light, fast, and accurate.

Sony A7III – A disproportionately good camera but naturally not as good as the Sony A9. We keep one each as our backup camera, and the small size and weight make for easy storage in our carry bags.

Mamiya 645S – We’ve long been fans of medium format, Lisa tending towards film and me towards digital. Though there is a call for film photography at weddings, nobody asks for MF digital, so Mamiya gets a place in the bag. We shoot a couple of black-and-white film brands but always test and swap.

Sony 35mm f/1.8L II – this lens is the small and very light standard from the prime range. We love 35mm and use this around eighty-five per cent of the day for the storytelling feel. Great performance at a great price!

As importantly, we wanted to move towards less obvious gear, less weight, and less distance between ourselves and the folks we’re shooting. Years later, that still feels like a good decision.

Sony 85mm f/1.8 – This is a good portrait lens and gives a little extra reach down the aisle or across the room for speeches. It’s also lovely for more isolated dance floor shots with on-camera flash.

I sometimes flick a custom button on the Sony A9 to give the APSC mode, which (although cropped) makes for a 135mm or close to, which can save missing a distant event on the spur of the moment.

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM – It’s the only GM we kept, and we initially spent a lot of money replacing our L lenses like for like. Only the 16-35mm seemed useful and good enough to warrant its high price.

We use it mainly for the dance floor, where the wide angle, superb focus in low light, and overall quality ensure a solid output with an off-camera flash.

The wide end is handy if we’re in tight spaces, so the front of the car with the bride behind or even in the front seat of a cramped helicopter.

If a venue struggles for space at a push, we might use it for group shots, but we usually prefer the 35mm prime.

Mamiya Sekor 80mm f/2.8 – Though this lens is good, we’re still searching for a good example with the wider aperture.

Godox 860III Speedlights – We have used Godox for ages. They are relatively cheaper than OEM units and versatile. We’ve seen them improve to the current version with a few extra features and a very good battery life.

The hot shoe fittings are not the most robust, but we like them. If something is going to break, it’ll be the flash unit hot shoe and not the camera slot, which is more expensive to fix.

We carry spare flashes and shoe interfaces, which you can swap out in less than five minutes with a jeweller’s screwdriver and tweezers.

I have one Godox in my bag, and we take another four in a separate case that comes into the venue, usually after dinner.

Godox X2T-C Trigger – These are incredibly useful and easy to work with. I can control all the useful parameters of my off-camera flash plus a host of others by communicating with each separately from a distance.

We can even have Lisa simultaneously use another trigger for another set of lights without interfering with each other’s setup. These are superb value tools, and we rate them.

I use the standard Sony Strap and the Tamrac Pro 12L bag. I’m not a fan of either. Having tried many different options and brands and spent far too much money, I’ve concluded that all that stuff is overpriced and not very impressive. I’ve given up worrying about it.

We have a Manfrotto tripod; they make nice gear, but we seldom use it. For OCF light stands, we use whatever air-cushioned ones are available and of reasonable quality. In truth, these rarely get past a season without someone damaging them during a ceilidh!

My desktop has a few M2 drives, one for OS and the other for Adobe stuff and live edits. There’s also a heap of SSDs. All drives are Samsung, as I’ve found them reliable over the long term.

I prefer a desktop because I can upgrade components like RAM and graphics card as I need to. I tend to get a lifetime of around seven to eight years from my desktops.

I’m acutely aware that gear and its acquisition is a part of the whole ethos of camera users.

I think it’s potentially something that folks get hung up on, especially early on as they are finding their feet. At some point, I was the same, but over time, these things became a matter of practicality and functionality.

Good gear does help, though; it’s silly to pretend otherwise. The setup I currently use does all I can imagine and more.

Most importantly, I feel you get the gear you trust and enjoy using it so that it becomes second nature. The sooner your muscle memory takes hold, the more spontaneous your photos can be.

Website | Instagram

Credit : Source Post

SS Author
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply
Shopping cart