This post answers the question “What camera do you use?“, plus much more. It’s an update to the old post with the same title since quite a lot changed since I wrote it (even since I updated it).
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Since I gave my Nikon D5100 away, and pretty much all of the photos in my portfolio I’ve made with it, I mainly shoot with my phone. Old post has more details about that camera and lenses I used.
I also used OnePlus 5 for a while, and I still do from time to time. I know it very well and can work around its shortcomings.
My main camera now is that of OnePlus 8 Pro. In most specs far superior than my old Nikon. I like the addition of a wide angle camera, as I quite enjoyed the 18 mm side of my lens on the old camera. I like that the portrait mode now works with any lens length, although not perfectly. Macro mode is awesome, and it works with any camera. That’s something I wasn’t able to do without a dedicated lens before.
Software could give more control. Not being able to completely turn off HDR is rubbing me the wrong way. Camera does a great job at doing multiple exposures and merging them but sometimes I want to blow out a background for that light feeling. Just. Let. Me. Break. The. Rules. Like. An. Artist.
Often white balance leans on a bit too warm and green side so I have to correct it manually in Snapseed.
This is not really a review so I won’t go into more detail as everything else is mostly positive and I’m pretty happy with it. Happy enough that I’m not planning on buying a dedicated camera for the time being.
There are downsides of not using a dedicated camera and I’m coping with those. See “Lights” bellow 😀
I’ve put everything that isn’t camera or lens in this section.
Nikon SB700 is a great addition to the arsenal for food photography and people photography… when you have a camera that can trigger it.
I haven’t yet figured a way to trigger a remote speedlight with a phone camera, so my go to is…
Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable 5600K USB LED Video Light with Adjustable Tripod Stand/Color Filters. They:
- are very affordable
- come with tripods that have ball heads so you can adjust position and angle
- really white, which is really important for white balancing your photos and getting predictable results
- come with diffusers and gels that help getting softer light and get different color light if you need to match your environment lighting
- powered with a 5V 2A USB port so you can power them with a phone charger or a power bank on the go
- are not flash lights, they are continually on, so they won’t cause blinking when photographing people and you can use them for videography (win-win)
- have adjustable, in 10% increments, light levels so you can fill the shadows of the environment lighting, and other things you may want to do (for example, if you light your subject too bright, when adjusted for exposure, your background will be too dark)
- feel cheep when handling, because they are, especially for everything you’re getting
- get the job done
Hmm, do I really not have any gadgets?
I gave away my main tripod too, so… well, I cope. The stands that came with the lights have standard camera mounts at the top which can take a phone mount too. They are not that sturdy for landscape photography but they serve a purpose.
What I use very often lately, and is really my go to for stands, is UBeesize tripod pro. I don’t remember where/how I got it because I don’t have those handy remote triggers or any extra joints you’ll get from the link I posted. What’s cool is that you can put it in weird places by wrapping those legs around things.
I also have a small Manfrotto tripod I got as a present and use it for those cool, low angle shots, and a lot of other times for placing it on furniture, walls and similar when shooting video or food photos. I don’t use it that much any more since UBeesize is a lot more versatile and I, sadly, don’t need the heavy lifting that Manfrotto can deliver, any more.
HP ProBook 4540s with Intel i7 CPU and 8 GiB of RAM and 750 GB HDD.
Sadly, I haven’t upgraded to a newer laptop in a long while. Happily, I was able to hack around it and upgrade it. Mostly because I can’t find a perfect laptop…
Upgraded with an SSD for the operating system and main data, the HDD is now only for storage, which extends its lifetime considerably. I use it not only for editing but also for software development, web development and mobile apps development. It’s my main tool for work when I’m not shooting. Running Linux Manjaro and it’s super snappy.
With my phone now having faster hardware and more RAM than my laptop, I do most of my photo editing in Snapseed, and I’m looking into more advanced ways of utilizing it for heavy lifting I know it can do.
There’s also a RaspberryPi media center with a 1 TB hard drive that’s shared on the network for backups and easy access.
I was lucky enough to get Vanguard Up-Rise 43 sling bag as a gift. Sling is good because the camera is easily accessible and it takes only a few seconds to get it out and shoot if you pre-set the camera settings. It’s got a lot of handy pockets and compartments, including a rain cover, who’s usefulness caught me by surprise when I needed it most.
Even though I rarely use it any more, since I gave most of my equipment away, it’s a great bag that doesn’t need any upgrades.
Now you know.
My bag, literal and metaphorical, is still not full. Things can be taken out and better things put in. If you are starting out, did this encourage you to get out and start shooting even with your smartphone?
What’s in your bag? What’s the basic you cannot go without?