10 things I can’t live without in my photography kit.

This post was written in 2017 and it is something that I often find is fun to go over again and then see how it has changed and boy lots of it has changed in the last 7 years.

So I am not going to change the post, but underneath each heading where the gear has changed I will tell you what I have changed it too now, or what I use now.

If your photography kit is anything like mine, you have a bit, but there will be pieces that you can’t live without.  So today I thought I would share with you my top 10 things that I couldn’t live without.

1/ My Camera

What would a photographer be without their camera.  I don’t think I am alone in my feelings towards it.  I have a Nikon D800 and it has been the most spectacular camera I’ve ever had. I have loved it, but it is showing its age now and I have ordered the new Nikon D850.  It is something we all have to do is to get a camera that we love using and one that will do what you want it to do.

This is a big one that has changed. I did get the Nikon D850, but I have now changed to Fujifilm and now use the X-T3 and the X-S10. Both great cameras and I have never regretted making the change.

2/ My 24-70mm LensLeanneCole-banyuleflats-20140525-9353

I first got the Nikon 24-70mm lens because I thought it would be a good portrait lens and that sort of thing for doing cycling.  I did have plans for doing some portrait work, but didn’t do much. When I got it I was using my Nikon D300s and I was a bit disappointed with it.  I found it wasn’t as wide as I had hoped, so I thought I had made a massive mistake.

Then I got the D800 and it was perfect for that camera.  Now I use it all the time and I am so glad that I got it. It is my go-to lens.

It is funny seeing this lens here as I can’t remember the last time I used it. It really isn’t part of my kit anymore. When I go out these days I’m more likely to take the Tamron 18-300mm with me. If I am doing long exposures I might take the Fujifilm 10-24mm or the 16-55mm. All three lenses are so important to me. 

3/ My Lensbaby Velvet 56

The Lensbaby Velvet 56 opened my eyes to new possibilities for macro photography. It is easy to use and the way it blurs images is amazing. I love the effects you can get with it. I have had it for a year now and I wouldn’t want to be without it. I’m now trying out the Velvet 85 which is another lens from Lensbaby and is a great mate for the 56.

This hasn’t changed, I still love my Lensbaby Velvet 56mm lens. Actually, when I first got my Fujifilm camera and wanted to do macro with it, I got the Velvet 56 for the Fujifilm because it was going to be some time before I could afford the Fujifilm macro for it. 

4/ My Benro Tripod

I got my first tripod over 20 years ago and it served me well.  It was a Manfrotto and while it wasn’t fancy, it did well. The aireysinlet-milkyway-lighthouse-stars-astrophotographyonly reason I decided to replace it was because the screws that I had to use to tighten the legs weren’t working too well and the legs would sink.  So it became time to get a new one.  I did get a Manfrotto one, but it is quite large, however, I became a Benro Ambassador for Australia and part of the  deal was a tripod. They gave me a Benro SystemGo Plus, FGP18C and it is now the tripod I use all the time. It isn’t a small tripod, more medium, but it is light and easy to carry around. The only time I have to use the other one is when it is really windy.

My Benro just sits in the cupboard now. Since I became part of the pro team for 3 Legged Thing I have used their tripods. Again no regrets. I have three of them, one for travelling, Billy, another that is small and good for the city, Bucky, and then I have a really large one that is good for landscapes and when the wind is strong, Winston. 

5/ My Remote Shutter Release

It is an underrated item, but I am glad I got it.  It has been so useful in so many situations.  I was also delighted when I found out that it was also an intervalometer.  That has been fantastic for doing long exposures and astrophotography.

This is something I don’t use anymore. Since I made the change to Fujifilm I don’t really need it. With their cameras you can take longer exposures than 30 seconds and don’t have to use Bulb. So I tend to do that, or I use the Fujifilm App on my phone which is really good. Makes doing everything so much easier. 

6/ My Computer

emu-flat-church-colourA couple of months ago I upgraded my PC and have been so happy with it.  I think any photographer these days understands how important having a computer that can keep up with you and what you are doing is an absolute must.

This is still sort of the same, however I tend to use a laptop now. When the pandemic hit and my husband started working from home he took over my desk and my monitor. In return he bought me a great Dell laptop with 32 GB of RAM. It has an OLED screen which I love. I always hated using a laptop before because if you moved your screen up or down it could change the light in your image. With this one it doesn’t matter, it stays the same, it is fantastic. 

7/ Adobe Photoshop

There are so many different types of software for working on photos out there.  I don’t know them all and some I will never use, but I do love Photoshop.  I love what I can do with it and what it can do to my images.  There isn’t anything I don’t like.  It is great to experiment and find out new tools and see what else I can do.  The learning never stops.

This hasn’t changed. Though I don’t like all the AI that is creeping into it. I also don’t like how one version will work better than another. I have to say if I could find an alternative that did everything that I loved in Photoshop I would leave Adobe in a heartbeat, haven’t found it yet. 

8/ The Formatt Hitech ND Filterspinnacles-phillip-island-victoria-578

I have a few filters now from Formatt Hitech and I love them.  Long exposure photography has become an important part of my work since I first got my filters. I love doing images of the city and ocean with them. Simplicity becoming a key component of that.

This is still much the same, though I am looking at using other filters, but I want to do a whole post on this, so you will have to wait to find out more.

9/ The Benro Ranger Pro 400 Bag

I have many bags, but the Benro is by far my favourite and the one I use the most.  It doesn’t stop me from changing lenses and it isn’t too big to carry around.  My tripod fits on it nicely and well, I think it is so comfortable, so I am never tJonesy-camp-night-sky-milkyway-105ired of wearing it, well almost.

I still have this bag, but it isn’t my favourite anymore. I have a Mindshift bag that I have had for quite a few years now and I still love it. It is smaller and I find that I can get everything I need in it, so it works really well. 

10/ My 14-24mm Lens

When I had a cropped sensor I loved this lens, but when I went full frame I found it a lot harder to use, it is very wide. Then as I got more into long exposure photography I could see the benefits of it. Getting filters was expensive, but it has meant that I have far more options with it. It takes great long exposures. I love it again now.

This is a funny one, as I don’t have this lens anymore. I sold it a few years ago because I found the filters for it too big and a pain to use. Though I do miss it sometimes for Astro photography. I did end up getting a Samyang 14mm lens for doing it, so a compromise. 

So there are my Top 10 pieces of photography kit that I really couldn’t live without.  So what are your favourite items and what couldn’t you live without? Has your list changed over the years?

The photos today reflect the images that I was able to get because of my top 10 favourite pieces of kit.


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  1. Leanne, have you tried Affinity Photo? I’d be interested in hearing your views on how it stacks up against Photoshop.

  2. Thanks for the info Leanne and I’m sure it can be useful for a lot of photography lovers (and also for me) 🙂

    1. I hope so, it is good to share what we like and why, hopefully it helps people when they are trying to decide what gear to get. Thanks Rudi.

  3. Interesting, and fun to read now since I recently made a complete change. I’ve never done a gear post with the exception of my Monopod since many people asked about it.

    This might finally get me to do a gear post because people have seen my current kit, and photographs, and are very surprised. Thanks for posting.

    1. It is funny how much people seem to enjoy posts like this. So I am sure you will find that others will enjoy it if you do one Ted. Thank you.

  4. Very beautiful photos, Leanne, I have been using a MacBook Pro for years now, those big towers are redundant, you can’t take them anywhere!

    1. Thank you John. Yeah, the laptop is good, but I miss my big monitor. I think that is the one thing that I do really miss.

    2. The monitor on my laptop is amazing, I love it for everything, but it is a bit small for processing photos, I miss my 27″ monitor.

  5. When I bought my XT3 and the kit lenses, I also bought the macro lens. I love that lens. Does great macros even in a breeze and my inability to hold the camera super steady.

    1. I love that lens too. I was so happy when I was finally able to get it. I’m thinking of doing a series of posts on my gear, why I have it and why I love it. What do you think? Definitely lots of macro stuff.
      Thank you Anne.

  6. This was interesting, Leanne. I appreciated not just the ‘I don’t use it anymore’ but also why you don’t use it. Good info.

  7. Since first trying a 24-70mm lens, it has been my go-to almost all the time. I rarely switch out with any other lens because this one is so good. I had a Manfrotto tripod, but just switched to SunwayFoto because I messed up one of the legs to my old one. As to my camera bag, I started small, but as my kit got bigger, so did my bag. I am still using my crop sensor camera, but have eyes on a full frame to take advantage of all my lenses capabilities.

    1. It is funny what you said about the bag, I was the opposite, I started big, thinking I had to take everything. Took me some time to realise I didn’t have to take everything. I could plan what sort of photography I wanted to do an take what was appropriate for it. I have the full frame, but I don’t really care about it that much now. You can get really good wide angle lenses for crop sensors, so I don’t care anymore. Great to hear about your kit Rick, thank you.

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