Below is the gear in my gear bag. Who am I? Well, my name is Shawn, I mostly do wedding photography and all that entails plus some landscape and wildlife photography. I’ve been working on this setup for about 3 years now and I’m pretty happy with where it’s at. By no means am I suggesting you run out and buy the gear listed here (although affiliate links are provided for your convenience). This list is mainly presented for your interest. I always think it is cool to see what gear people use the most.
Without further ado, here is my stuff:
Canon EOS R5
The Canon EOS R5 is my primary camera in my wedding kit. I use it for both photo and video jobs as my main camera. For photo I always use the battery grip with it which on a full day would typically require 1 battery change. For video I usually use it without the grip either hand-held or on the DJI Ronin S2 without the battery grip attached. As good as the R5 is for photo it’s almost better for video, I won’t go into extreme detail on that front but suffice to say it’s reliable and has great AF performance either way.
Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 L
The RF 28-70mm f/2 L is my primary photo lens that I use for most of the wedding day. It becomes particularly dominant when shooting in low light during a reception or in a church. The f/2 aperture is just enough to get into prime territory as far as the low light image quality goes. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of obsessed with this lens even though it is technically flawed (lots of focus breathing) it is also a technical masterpiece (sharp at f/2 corner to corner).
I’m sure some people will prefer the more typical 24-70mm f/2.8 L:
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L
The RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L is what I break out when I’m trying to stay out of the way at a wedding, I also like to use it for getting closeups wherever appropriate. I typically use it mounted to the EOS R as my second camera but sometimes switch it to the R5 for better AF tracking performance.
Canon EOS R
The EOS R is my second/backup camera and it is also a pretty capable wedding camera. It’s not quite as “set it and forget it” as the R5 which means you may need to work a bit more to get the AF to work well in low light so you might have to live with some missed shots, but it is definitely workable and I still get great shots with it. The biggest downsides of the R for me are the lack of a rear aperture selection wheel, and worse video performance compared to the R5.
Canon EOS RP
It’s more of a backup camera but I do let my second use it on occasion and as long as you are careful with your exposure the result is fantastic. You just gotta know what you’re doing, which is the irony of buying a cheap camera, right?
Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-f/6.3 IS USM
Not a lens I use a whole lot, but a capable performer nonetheless. I especially like it as a video lens. I have used it on a tripod with a fluid head or on my RS2 gimbal, either way it is excellent. The AF works great on the R or the R5 and the zoom range is amazingly convenient for doing things like shooting down the aisle at a wedding where you can track people on a tripod and count on the AF to keep everything in focus through a long focus pull that would be hard to do manually. The handheld stabilization on the R5 is also very good at the wider end of the range.
8x Canon LP-E6NH Camera Batteries
These new batteries from Canon are expensive but are great performers, especially in the EOS R where they seem to run forever. With the R5 performance is a little more “normal” but I have found it beneficial to change the stabilization function to “shot only” and it lowers the power usage noticeably. Sorry to all the generic battery people, it just isn’t worth it to me to play around buying cheap batteries, genuine Canon batteries are all I ever use.
1x 1TB & 2x 128GB CFExpress cards
I’ve filled up both 128GB cards at some weddings where I shot 4k video and photo so it’s always nice to have more storage. I decided to just “bite the bullet” and get a big CFExpress card for use in my R5 which covers me for everything except 8k RAW. Even with a 1TB card 8k RAW will fill up with only 41 minutes of footage. Yikes! The best bet for 8k is to use an external recorder and an NVME SSD.
6x 128GB SD UHS II cards
The EOS R only uses SD cards and the R5’s second slot takes SD cards so having some SD cards still makes sense for me. Most other photographers and videographers I shoot with have cameras that take SD cards as well so I can back them up if I am the primary shooter.
1x Canon Speedlite EL-1
I don’t have this flash yet but plan on getting one just to “make sure”. You never know, I might need to shoot 20fps at full power or whatever this thing can do someday…
1x Canon 600EX II-RT
Canon used this same basic flash design for almost 20 years, but they’ve now switched to the new design of the EL-1. The big difference is that the EL-1 uses Lithium batteries while the old Speedlites use AA batteries. Unfortunately, Canon was pretty conservative with these older flashes and they don’t shoot as fast as some of the newer and cheaper flashes from Yongnuo. With 4 AA batteries this flash tops out at around 5 seconds per shot on full power, a little too slow for my style of shooting! The relatively cheap Yongnuo mentioned later will shoot at full power once every 2 seconds with strong batteries. Even so the 600EX II is still a well-built and water-resistant flash unit that should handle professional use for a long time.
1x Westcott FJ80
This flash is a great option if you don’t want to spend $1,000 for an EL-1. I actually love this flash and it has been nothing but great for me. The main features are the flash has great light quality and it can keep up with the R5 in short bursts at 12fps. Plus, it works with the Canon RF system so it’s a nice item to have as a cheaper backup or alternate flash if something goes wrong with my main on camera strobe.
2x Westcott FJ400
A big 400w strobe that will blast loads of light at a high speed, this strobe is also capable of going 20fps. At lower power you get thousands of shots so I’ve never run out of battery using them either. 90% of the time I’m in rooms that need a lot less than 400 watts of power!! I like to use them as room fill or with grids on them for a more controlled and precise lighting effect.
3x Yongnuo YN650EX-RF
It’s important to have redundant flashes, not just for myself but for anyone on my team as well. Strobes are the only things I’ve ever had die at a wedding. Typically, I keep the YN650EX-RF’s for those use cases where I need to shoot fast (they can easily go 12fps at lower power) but it’s not super serious, such as during open dance. What is really nice is they use AA batteries so they’re a great option to have on hand if battery power becomes scarce. If I’m doing lots of burst shooting, I get 3 of these ready and just blast away getting all kinds of wild moments on the dance floor. If one of them overheats, I just take it off and pop on another. No fans needed, also, very cheap, $139… SOLD!
2x 8.5ft Matthews Hollywood Beefy Baby Triple Riser Stand with Rocky Mountain Leg
I recently added these stands to my kit because I wanted something heavy and super stable to hold my big FJ400’s. With a 15lb sand bag these stands are not going to tip over on accident… Don’t even bother with the stupid cheap aluminum stands, they “work” but they’re risky, not just to gear but to people! Buy a real light stand!