Here are the products that I'm actually working with right now. No general recommendations or previous gear are listed. This is the real deal. Links may contain affiliate code that make me a small commission for any purchases. The cost of the item is always the same to you whether it’s an affiliate link or not. Thank you for your support!
Sony a7R III – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – High resolution full-frame sensor and can hold its own in autofocus speed and low light shooting. Excellent for wildlife photography.
Sony VG-C3EM Vertical Battery Grip for a7R III, a7 III, a9 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Frankly a necessity for me with Sony a7 and a9 cameras. It changes the way I hold the camera and feels night and day more comfortable.
Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – The range isn’t great, but can be useful for triggering away from camera.
Sony FS5 – eBay – Great compact cinema camera with Super 35 sensor. Has the HFR and RAW paid upgrades enabled.
SmallRig FS5 Mounting Plate Kit 1843 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Adds numerous mounting holes to the top of the FS5.
SmallRig Low Profile NATO BUN2468 – B&H | Amazon – Used to quickly detach external monitor from FS5 when packing away.
Atomos Shogun Inferno – eBay – Recorder and monitor supporting up to ProRes RAW 4K 60p and 2K 240p from FS5 (with RAW paid upgrade).
Superbat SDI Cable – Amazon – Connects Shogun Inferno to FS5.
Kastar BP-U68 Battery – Amazon – Third-party battery for FS5 with both D-tap power output and USB port. I run a D-tap cord from this camera battery to the Shogun Inferno to power both the FS5 and recorder.
GoPro HERO9 Black – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – The latest and greatest GoPro. The possibilities are endless.
GoPro HERO9 Media Mod – B&H | Adorama – Adds a 3.5mm mic input and improved microphone to the HERO9.
GoPro Max Lens Mod – GoPro – One of the coolest things I've used. The HERO9 can be in any orientation and what's recorded will always be perfectly level with the horizon.
GoPro Light Mod– B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Far brighter than I expected from this little guy. Great for pre-dawn and post-sunset hiking. Internal rechargeable battery.
GoPro Magnetic Swivel Clip – B&H | Adorama – Great for POV filming while clipped to a backpack. Can attach to anything magnetic as well.
GoPro Shorty – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Nice compact selfie stick that can transform into a table tripod.
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – The best telephoto lens Sony has ever made when factoring quality, reach, and price.
Kirk Replacement Foot for 200-600mm – B&H | Adorama – Adds Arca Swiss mounting compatibility directly to the foot rather than needing to add a separate plate.
Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – My favorite focal length for landscapes a lot of the time. Also used for much of my YouTube vlog and in-studio content.
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Low-mid telephoto zoom with wide aperture and reasonable price.
Sennheiser MKE 200 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Compact mic with built-in plastic windscreen means less to worry about without monitoring.
Rode Wireless GO – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Wireless microphone and receiver pair with internal rechargeable batteries.
AmazonBasics XLR Cable – Amazon – Connects microphone to FS5 or recorder.
Bags and Straps
Shimoda Action X70 Backpack – Shimoda | B&H | Amazon – This is my video backpack. The build quality and thought put into it is incredible. Very comfortable and the fit can be adjusted more than any other backpack I've seen on the market.
Shimoda Medium Accessory Case – Shimoda | B&H | Adorama | Amazon – I use this for keeping together all my audio gear.
Shimoda 4-Panel Wrap – Shimoda | B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Stores flatter accessories like lens filters and cables.
Atlas Pack Athlete Backpack – Amazon – This is my photo backpack. For photography, I generally don't walk around with the camera in my bag so its "origami" feature is perfect. I can haul my gear in it to a location, take it out, then collapse that space so it's more roomy for accessories or clothing. Build quality and comfort is top notch.
HEX Ranger DSLR Mini Sling – B&H | Amazon – A nice small sling for when I want to carry a couple extra items but a backpack would be overkill.
BlackRapid Breathe Sport Camera Strap – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – The perfect strap for carrying around the Sony camera bodies with 200-600mm lens. Attach the anchor point to the lens foot and be sure to use the included safety loop.
OP/TECH USA Binocular Backpack Connectors – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – I have a set of these for both backpacks. Inexpensive and are great for carrying my binoculars with a backpack on. Uses the same connector that OP/TECH USA uses across their lineup of straps and harness for easy switching.
Cartoni T628/2C Smart Stop ENG Tripod – eBay – Used with my video camera setup. A two-stage, carbon fiber 4-2-2 tripod with one lever to drop both stages per leg.
VariZoom VZ-Rock LANC Controller – B&H | Adorama – Attaches to the fluid head panning bar for quick access to record button. That way my left hand can be ready on the lens for focus or zoom changes and my right hand can stay on the pan bar and still start and stop recording.
Gitzo G1227 Mk2 Tripod – eBay – I’ve had this tripod for about 10 years and I bought it used. It will probably last forever. I modified it with a Markins TH-200 base (discontinued) that removed the center column for added stability.
Really Right Stuff PG-01 Pano Gimbal Head – B&H | Adorama – Awesome lightweight pano head that can also serve as a gimbal for smaller telephoto lenses.
Really Right Stuff MPR-CL Rail with Integral Clamp – B&H | Adorama – This nodal slide allows me to correct the parallax effect while shooting panoramas.
JOBY GorillaPod 5K Tripod Kit – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – Burly mini tripod and a surprisingly nice ball head.
Photo Mechanic 6 – Camera Bits – The best application for culling lots of photos and manages my images in terms of cataloging and metadata.
Capture One 20 – Capture One – I use Sessions for base adjustments to get my images on the right track before finishing in Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop – Adobe – Still the king. After Capture One I bring photos into Photoshop for finishing.
Topaz Labs DeNoise AI – Topaz Labs – Gives me another stop or so of ISO performance from my cameras because of its ability to recover noisy images.
Topaz Labs Sharpen AI – Topaz Labs – A magical application that can reconstruct out of focus images.
Topaz Labs Video Enhance AI – Topaz Labs – It runs like a sack of potatoes on my older computer, but can upscale 1080p video to 4K when I really need that.
Apple iMac 5K 27-inch – B&H | Adorama – I have the aging Late 2014 model, so I've linked newest version here.
Apple Smart Keyboard Folio – B&H | Adorama – Way better than one might expect. I've written countless articles on this and genuinely like it as a keyboard.
Neewer 700W Softbox Kit – B&H | Amazon – Good enough to get started. I've used them for the past couple years as my main lights with no issue yet.
Neewer NL480 LED Light Kit – B&H | Amazon – Again, good enough for starting out. I use these as my rim and accent lights.
Neewer 12x12 Gel Filters – Amazon – I've cut these to size to fit on the LED lights for color accents when needed. The heat from the lights will warp them but they still work fine.
SmallRig Super Clamp 2058 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon – I use a couple of these to hang my two softbox lights from the unfinished basement ceiling boards. It's nice not having light stands in the way if I can get away with it.
Heavy Duty Spring Clamps – Amazon – I use these to clamp the background to the unfinished ceiling boards.
Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 Binoculars – B&H | Amazon – I don't have an extended history using all types of binoculars to say if these are comparably great or not, but I am happy with what they are at the price I paid for them. I do know they are considered the "standard issue" binoculars and you'll see many birders use them.
LensCoat LensHide 2 – B&H | Amazon – When I'm using a tripod or just sitting around, this is the blind I'll carry with me.
Auscamotek 300d Duck Blind Netting – Amazon – If I'm going to be laying around or know I'll be getting dirty, this is the blind I'll carry with me to toss over.
Stanley Vacuum Insulated Bottle – Amazon – Keeps beverages hot forever.
VELCRO One-Wrap Cable Ties – Amazon – Cable management.
ASICS Ace Low Profile Knee Pads – Amazon – Kneeling for an extended period of time (or any amount of time on some surfaces) is no fun, but these help make it not a problem. Have used the same pair for a couple years now, but will probably try some waterproof yachting ones next time.
Sawyer Picaridin – Amazon – An absolute game changer for dealing with mosquitos. I wish I knew about this stuff sooner. Get the lotion.
Sawyer Permethrin – Amazon – Treat your outdoor clothing with this every 45 days for tick and mosquito repellant. Works wonders.
REI Stormhenge 850 Jacket – REI – My mid-winter jacket. Keeps me warm even while not moving around much with the proper layering. Unbeatable price for what you get.
Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket – REI – Solid autumn and early or late winter jacket.
Vallerret Skadi Zipper Mitt PSP – B&H – Great for video camera operation where I can get by with just a thumb for most things. I like the dual layer approach.
Columbia Fast Trek Hat – Amazon – Fleece hat at a reasonable price.
Columbia Fast Trek II Neck Gaiter – Amazon – Neck gaiters are underappreciated in the quest to warmth in the outdoors.
Smartwool Base Layer Bottom 250 – Amazon – Wear these next to the skin...
Smartwool Base Layer Crew Top 250 – Amazon – Along with these...
Smartwool Socks – Amazon – And, of course, these.
Hot Hands Hand Warmers – Amazon – Always keep a couple packs in the bag. If you have the forethought to do it, give them an hour head start before heading outside.
Camera Recommendation for Beginners
I’ve always carried the philosophy that when the budget is tight, it’s better to use older used professional-level cameras than brand new entry-level cameras. Usually you find that their prices are comparable and sometimes from just looking at the spec sheets the entry-level gear may sound better. However, the thought put into them in the design process is fundamentally different and more often than not I find the older professional cameras will inspire more confidence and usually push through working in difficult situations.
Think of it this way. The iconic images that were created with the older pro cameras still stand the test of time today. That’s because the imaging technology and spec sheets were not the most important thing, the craft was (and good lenses). I find that the efficiency, reliability, and durability with older professional products give the user the correct tools for perfecting their craft, whereas newer products targeted at beginners just try and seem dazzling to make a sale and could care less what happens thereafter in the field.
With that in mind, here are the trusted places I’ve personally purchased from to find used professional-level gear. I don't have exact models to suggest here, but just look at what the flagship cameras were 5-10 years ago for an idea. If you really, really want a place to start, I was quite fond of my time with the Canon 1D Mark IV which can be found for around $600.
LensAuthority - This is essentially the LensRentals’ used department and it’s always my first stop when looking for something to buy. From my experience it has the lowest prices (often even lower than eBay) and not to give you false expectations, but the items I receive are usually in better condition than what the website states. Where I live, they don’t even charge the sales tax which is even greater up front savings compared to others.
MPB - I’ve used them a few times and the prices are usually pretty good. Inventory can be hit or miss.
UsedPhotoPro - UsedPhotoPro is the used department of Roberts. They almost always have coupon codes to use so be sure to search them out before purchasing. A bonus is that you gain reward points that can be used for future savings.
KEH - KEH seems to list many of their same inventory on eBay, however using their website to order from instead can be less expensive.
Adorama Used Dept. - Usually more expensive than the above, but can be worth checking when not finding what you’re looking for from the places above.