Gear List
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!
Photo Camera
Sony a7R IIIB&H | 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, a9B&H | 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 CommanderB&H | Amazon – The range isn’t great, but can be useful for triggering away from camera.
Sony TOUGH-G Series SDXC UHS-II Memory Cards – B&H | Amazon – Built to take some abuse.
Video Camera
Sony FS5eBay – Great compact cinema camera with Super 35 sensor. Has the HFR and RAW paid upgrades enabled.
SmallRig FS5 Mounting Plate Kit 1843 – B&H | Amazon – Adds numerous mounting holes to the top of the FS5.
SmallRig Magic Arm 2071B&H | Amazon – Connects the external monitor to the FS5.
SmallRig Mini Ball Head 761B&H | Amazon – Connects the external monitor to the Magic Arm.
SmallRig Low Profile NATO BUN2468 – B&H | Amazon – Used to quickly detach external monitor from FS5 when packing away.
Shape FS5 BaseplateB&H – Adds rail support to the FS5 kit.
Shape 15mm RodsB&H – For adding components to the kit, such as the lens support.
Shape Universal Lens SupportB&H –  Allows safe mounting of my 200-600mm onto the FS5.
Atomos Shogun InfernoeBay –  Recorder and monitor supporting up to ProRes RAW 4K 60p and 2K 240p from FS5 (with RAW paid upgrade).
Samsung 860 Pro SSD – B&H | Amazon –  Storage used inside Master Caddy II for Shogun Inferno.
Superbat SDI CableAmazon –  Connects Shogun Inferno to FS5.
Kastar BP-U68 BatteryAmazon –  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.
Action Camera
GoPro HERO9 Black – B&H | AmazonThe latest and greatest GoPro. The possibilities are endless.
GoPro HERO9 Media Mod – B&H – Adds a 3.5mm mic input and improved microphone to the HERO9.
GoPro Max Lens ModGoProOne 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 Display ModAmazonLarger than the front-facing display on the HERO9.
GoPro Light Mod– B&H | AmazonFar 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 – Great for POV filming while clipped to a backpack. Can attach to anything magnetic as well.
GoPro Shorty – B&H | AmazonNice compact selfie stick that can transform into a table tripod.
SanDisk Extreme microSD – B&H | AmazonSo far, so good on speed and reliability.
Lenses
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSSB&H | Amazon – The best telephoto lens Sony has ever made when factoring quality, reach, and price.
LensCoat Lens Cover for 200-600mmB&H | Amazon – Protects and quiets the big blinding white lens.
Kirk Replacement Foot for 200-600mmB&H – Adds Arca Swiss mounting compatibility directly to the foot rather than needing to add a separate plate.
Sony FE 35mm f/1.8B&H | 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 VXDB&H | Amazon – Low-mid telephoto zoom with wide aperture and reasonable price.
Gobe 2Peak ND FiltersB&H | Amazon – Relatively inexpensive, good quality neutral density filters.
Audio
Deity S-Mic 2 – B&H | AmazonNew to me. Will report back soon.
Deity V-Mic D4 Duo – B&H | AmazonNew to me. Will report back soon.
Sennheiser MKE 200 – B&H | AmazonCompact mic with built-in plastic windscreen means less to worry about without monitoring.
Rode Wireless GO – B&H | AmazonWireless microphone and receiver pair with internal rechargeable batteries.
Zoom H4n Pro – B&H | AmazonHigh-quality field recorder.
Kopul Studio Elite 4000 Series XLR Cable – B&H | AmazonConnects microphone to FS5 or recorder.
AmazonBasics XLR Cable – AmazonConnects microphone to FS5 or recorder.
Bags and Straps
Shimoda Action X70 Backpack – B&H | AmazonThis 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 Extra Large DV Core Unit – B&H | AmazonThe DV Core Units only fit inside the Action X70, and are about deep enough to safely hold video equipment.
Shimoda Medium Accessory Case – B&H | AmazonI use this for keeping together all my audio gear.
Atlas Pack Athlete Backpack – AmazonThis 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 | AmazonA 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 | AmazonThe 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 | AmazonI 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.
OP/TECH USA Binocular Harness – B&H | AmazonMore comfortable than a neck strap and keeps the binoculars close to my chest when leaned forward.
Workspace
Apple iMac 5K 27-inch – B&H – I have the aging Late 2014 model, so I've linked newest version here.
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch – B&H – I've used this as a laptop replacement since 2018.
Apple Smart Keyboard Folio – B&H – Way better than one might expect. I've written countless articles on this and genuinely like it as a keyboard.
Samsung T5 Portable SSD – B&H | Amazon – Used as a work drive. Fast and reliable.
Seagate Backup Plus – B&H | AmazonUsed for redundant storage.
LaCie BOSS SSD – B&H | AmazonOn-location SD memory card backup and file storage.
YouTube “Studio”
Impact Muslin Background – B&H | AmazonFor the price, this is actually quite nice.
Neewer 700W Softbox Kit – B&H | AmazonGood 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 | AmazonAgain, good enough for starting out. I use these as my rim and accent lights.
Neewer 12x12 Gel Filters – AmazonI'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 | AmazonI 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 ClampsAmazonI use these to clamp the background to the unfinished ceiling boards.
Miscellaneous
Vortex Diamondback HD 8x42 Binoculars – B&H | AmazonI 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 | AmazonWhen I'm using a tripod or just sitting around, this is the blind I'll carry with me.
Auscamotek 300d Duck Blind NettingAmazonIf 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 BottleAmazonKeeps beverages hot forever.
VELCRO One-Wrap Cable Ties – AmazonCable management.
ASICS Ace Low Profile Knee PadsAmazonKneeling 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 PicaridinAmazonAn absolute game changer for dealing with mosquitos. I wish I knew about this stuff sooner. Get the lotion.
Sawyer PermethrinAmazonTreat your outdoor clothing with this every 45 days for tick and mosquito repellant. Works wonders.
Winter Clothing
REI Stormhenge 850 Jacket – REIMy 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 – REISolid 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 HatAmazonFleece hat at a reasonable price.
Columbia Fast Trek II Neck GaiterAmazonNeck gaiters are underappreciated in the quest to warmth in the outdoors.
Smartwool Base Layer Bottom 250AmazonWear these next to the skin...
Smartwool Base Layer Crew Top 250AmazonAlong with these...
Smartwool SocksAmazonAnd, of course, these.
Hot Hands Hand WarmersAmazon 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.
B&H Photo Used Dept. - More expensive than the above and usually doesn’t have what you’re looking for in my experience. It’s my last ditch effort to find something in used condition before heading to eBay.