What camera do I use for outdoor photography? What systems have I used in the past? Over the past year I have added a few things to my collection- with more to add in the future! I constantly review my equipment to see where I can improve, what I can wait on, and what my next investments will be. Here are the things I currently keep in my camera bag for 2021.
Sony A7R II
This is a recent edition to my camera bag for 2021 and I could not be more stoked about it. The A7Rii is my first full-frame camera, and has preformed exceptionally in the past few months. I tend to buy most of my camera gear used or during holiday sales, because upgrading to these cameras and lenses is a huge jump from Sony’s Mirrorless ASP-C cameras.
This camera has a 43.6 MP sensor and ISO capabilities up to 25600. I have noticed the shutter is exceptionally slower than my 6500, so I will likely grab this camera more for landscape, products and portraits.
Sony a6500 (discontinued)
This camera has been my go-to for about 3 years, prior to getting my full frame body. I believe the 6500 models have been discontinued, but the 6600 is worth the extra money over the older models. One of my biggest issues with the camera was that the LCD screen could not flip up entirely like the 6600 is pictured doing above.
This camera will still be my go-to for most outdoor backpacking trips because it is a fraction of the weight of the A7rii. Its mirrorless design makes it much more compact than other DSLRs or full frame camera bodies and the lenses follow suit. It is still my main camera body for action photography when it comes to things like surfing, or other shots where I need a fast shutter.
(Previous to owning a mirrorless Sony camera, I used the SONY NEX 5R for a few years to learn on. Start small, and work your way up! There is not point splurging on the newest camera if you have no idea how to use it. )
iPhone 12 Pro
It can be a silly thing to think about- but phone lenses and cameras really do perform now. I decided to upgrade to the newest iPhone after using an 8 for several years. So far, I have noticed a difference with the back camera (there are 3) and feel that the front camera is relatively the same.
I also tend to make final edits to photos and save them to my camera roll before publishing them on social media sites and the larger screen has made that a lot easier.
The one thing I am super un-impressed with is the portrait mode. Imagine opening snapchat and using a filter to blur your background- that is all it is. Sometimes I think it does the composition justice, other times it looks extremely artificial. I would much rather have the control of bokeh- its just not effective in my opinion.
Would I recommend adding it to your 2021 list? Yes, I suppose. But with other smartphones giving Apple a run for their money, maybe look into the Pixels before committing to the price tag.
Click here to find the phone cases above on my Etsy shop!
Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens
This lens was purchased in conjunction with my A7R II during the holidays. So far, its been performing great and I am extremely happy with the wide angle and sharpness it gives. It has so far done a great job with portraits and product shots in the little time I have had it. Can’t wait to use it for more landscapes in the coming months and try astrophotography with it.
Sony SELP1650 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens
This has been a great, lightweight lens for hiking and backpacking trips. Its wide angle lens and 3.5 f-stop has allowed me to take decent photos of the milky way and I will likely keep it for a while even if I wont be reaching for it as often.
Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens for Sony E-Mount Cameras (Black)
Currently, this is my main zoom lens I use in my camera bag. It performs alright- but I personally would recommend upgrading to a slightly more expensive lens if you have the ability to. It is phenomenal for beginners and learning the basics of photography, especially wildlife photography- but will likely need to be upgraded soon for my needs. ( Update July 2021, I have upgraded to the 70-200 f/4 Sony lens!)
Sunpak – TravelLite Pro Reverse Folding 63″ Tripod
Both of these tripods are awesome for travel. The Joby GorillaPod can bend its arms and I find it incredibly useful for stable shots when I don’t want to carry my full tripod- especially when backpacking.
The Sunpak tripod has been a great addition- but can be temperamental with dirt or sand. I brought it to a shoot near the beach sometime last year, and still have to clean it out periodically so it slides smoothly. It folds extremely small and is really packable and lightweight- making it my go-to for road trips or short hikes and shoots.
Peak Design Camera 6L Bag
I have been searching for a camera bag to add to my collection for a while, and am so happy that this bag is my primary one. An issue I have had for a while, is that standard backpacks and camera-backpacks don’t give me immediate access to lenses. Sometimes it bothers me having to stop, unzip my backpack, change the lens, zip it back up , and go- as weird as that may sound. With camera backpacks, I grow nervous about the compartments facing outwards, instead of upwards. To me, this sounds like I will unzip a bag and the lenses could potentially tumble out.
This bag is awesome because I can wear it as a sling or a massive fanny pack. Having it consistently on my front gives me direct access to lenses, in an upright position and it is big enough that I can carry a few personal items, and my A7Rii with the larger lens and zoom lens.
Peak Design Padded Camera Case
These are awesome if you want to use a standard backpack for your camera equipment. On backpacking trips, I will put my camera body and lenses in these to keep them more padded and protected from the elements. I bought a generic one from Amazon a few years ago- but there are tons of options online like these Peak Design Cases.
Topo Designs Climbing Rope Camera Strap
I use one of the Topo Designs Camera Straps for my primary camera body and I think they are super neat. They are handmade and are really sturdy!
Variable ND Filter
If you don’t have one of these in your camera bag for 2021, this is the year to add one. If you haven’t used filters much, a variable filter like this is a great all-in-one-tool. When shooting waterfalls or oceans, I always reach for these because I can easily control how dark the filter is and not worry as much about my camera settings.
PEAK Design Camera Quick Clip
These are awesome for hiking and backpacking. They attach to the strap on your bag or pack and use a quick-lock mechanism to release. It can take some getting used to having your camera on your shoulder, but is really convenient!
Battery Grip (A6500)
This was an awesome addition to my camera bag last year when my a6500 was my primary camera. It adds a bit of bulk to the camera but is really nice to have for the shutter-remote and battery life.
DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone Quadcopter UAV
With 48MP camera 4K video, this will likely be my first purchase of the year. I have been looking into drone photography for a while, but am looking for something that wont be a huge financial loss if I crash it.
Sony Telephoto Lenses
Sony telephoto lenses will likely be my big upgrade for 2021, as my zoom crop lens is simply not performing to my expectations anymore. These lenses are pricey, so I will likely be saving for most of the year to buy one. My ideal use for this is wildlife photography, so the longer the lens- the better for me. I would love to not be limited by my proximity, and still come out with crisp images and stunning bokeh.
Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS Interchangeable Lens for Sony Alpha Cameras
Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Super Telephoto Zoom Lens (SEL200600G)
Update July 2021: I pulled the trigger on the 70-200 model! Will update once I get used to the lens to see how I like it!
I would love to know what are your go-to items in your camera bag for 2021? Any thing you have added recently that you absolutely love? Leave a comment down below and let me know!
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