I’ve been researching and generally looking into the kind of gear that most keen amateur surf photographers use, not the pro’s who make a living out of it necessarily but people like me who have a full time job and want to pursue surf photography as a hobby and get decent results without breaking the bank.
After reading a bunch of stuff and having collected a few budget lenses so far this is what I have, read on for a detailed description and check out the next post to find out what’s on the wish list for the future.
If you see a link that takes you to Amazon so you can see more details, read reviews and purchase the items I’m talking about.
- Canon EOS 60D body, my first 2 digit canon EOS camera, it feels bigger and better than the Canon 550D it replaced, although the chip is the same so the image quality is pretty much identical it shoots faster and has better autofocus amongst other upgraded spec’s.
- Canon 50mm F1.8 lens, this is the cheap 50mm that everyone who shoots Canon starts out with, it’s fast at 1.8 and very affordable, the focus is pretty quick with the 60D and I’ve shot with it in the water a few times now, it’s great when you can’t get close in.
- GoPro WiFi BacPac & Remote, stick this on the back of the GoPro and it lets you change settings and trigger the camera remotely, the range is pretty good and it also allows you to connect wirelessly to the GoPro to stream video and change settings with their Android or IOS app.
- GoPro HD Hero 2 camera, a fantastic camera, I use it attached to the top of the housing to shoot video while I shoot stills with the 60D, I’ve also got many rigs for shooting video and stills when I’m riding my bodyboard.
- GoPro underwater housing, it’s rated to 60M so it will take anything the Aquatech can and more, I’ve extended it up so you can’t see the dome port in the footage, I also have the Dive housing from GoPro which has a flat port so it can shoot clear footage underwater, it’s currently on one of my other rigs.
- Canon EF 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto lens, I got this cheap off Ebay a few years ago, I think it was about £60, I have since bought a 70-300mm canon Image stabilised lens but I found the image quality wasn’t as good as this non stabilised version so I sold it on and I’m sticking with this until I can afford something significantly better.
- Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 DC HSM Lens, another second hand buy, I originally had a manual focus Peleng 8mm fisheye which I thought I’d lost, it was super wide and gave a really cool fisheye effect but when I couldn’t find it after moving house I decided to buy something a little more versatile and this was a good price, I’ve shot some decent photo’s with it and I think it’s been a great value addition to my kit. I found the Peleng in the end and sold it for more than I paid for it a couple of years earlier, if you buy sensibly, especially second hand, lenses really keep their value.
- Nexus 7 Android tablet, this replaced my netbook when it died, I will write a full post on the photography specific apps I use for it and how useful it can be for taking photo’s and particularly showing them off after a session (as well as facebook and Vimeo).
- SD cards, after I had a couple of cheaper cards fail I am now on board with paying extra for decent branded cards, the Sandisk Extreme 32GB card is the latest buy and I expect I’ll be getting a few more if I get any Amazon vouchers for Christmas.
- Aquatech CR60 water housing, this was purchased second hand, it came with the pistol grip and dome port, it’s the budget end of the Aquatech range and features 5 bolts on the back rather than the latches on the more expensive models, there’s also very few controls, a pistol grip shutter release, shutter release on top, the main dial on top and a button for start/stop video on the back. (my Canon 550D also fits in this housing although it is at a slight angle as the base plate is designed for the bigger 60D, the pistol grip remote has the same connector for the budget 550D range)
- Manfrotto 679B monopod, I bought this for my trip to Indo, it was a boat trip so I didn’t want to take a heavy tripod, in the end I only used it once in two weeks, I’ve yet to really use it properly.
- Manfrotto 190 XDB tripod with 391RC2 head, pretty heavy metal legs but decent quality, I’ve used it a fair bit but the majority of the shots I’ve taken have been hand held so far, I think I’ll upgrade to a proper fluid head at some point but haven’t felt the need so far.
That’s what I have right now, I think there’s a couple of things there which will stand the test of time butthere’s a whole lot of other bits that I’d like to upgrade to or add in, check out the next post for the low down on the wish list for future items.