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  • Corey Green

Camera Gear

Updated: Apr 18, 2023


Bringing camera gear on a backpacking trip is tricky. I want my camera to be lightweight, but still capture impressive images.


Here's a list of what's in my bag and how I keep everything safe from the elements.


Links to all products are underlined. Just double click.

I am not affiliated with any of these brands.


Camera body: Sony a6500


Up until a couple weeks ago I was using a Sony a6500. I dropped it only a foot off the ground in my backpack and from then on it wouldn't turn on. I quickly ordered a new camera before my next backcountry trip. I chose the a6500 as a new upgrade to my a6000. I don't find that the a6500 is performing any better than the a6000. I opted for the a6500 over the newer a6600 primarily due to cost, but I also did not see much difference in camera quality. Much like I do not see much difference between the a6500 and the a6000. The key advantages to the a6500 are: in body stabilization (my sigma lens listed below does not have OSS), video in 4k, and weather sealed.

I contemplated fully "upgrading" to a full frame Sony camera, but a few things held me back: cost, weight, and my personal rush to get a new camera before my next trip. Switching to full frame would also mean having to buy all new lenses. After doing lots of research I learned that yes you can use crop lenses on a FF body, but the image quality on even the nicer cameras (a7r4) can drop to 18mp which is lower than the 24mp of these crop sensor bodies.

Regardless it ultimately comes down to cost and weight. Im curious to see if one could actually tell a difference in image quality.


Lenses:


Sigma 56mm f1.4- This has quickly become my favorite lens! It has replaced my Sony 16-70mm. The image quality is superb.


Sony 70-350mm - A powerful telephoto lens for aps-c sensors. I love having the zoom range like this to be able to see small details in the mountains. My go to lens!


Sony Zeiss 16-70mm - A pretty solid mid-range lens. I do feel that the sigma lens listed below has sharper images.


After doing extensive research online, and reading nothing but positive reviews on this lens I decided to give it a try.

So far the image quality seems good and the f-stop of 1.4 is nice for low light situations.

However this comes at a cost...this lens is very heavy. It also does not have OSS, image stabilization. I feel that with the lower f stop I will be able to increase the shutter speed enough to not have evidence of hand shake. Of course this lens not having OSS doesn't matter if you have a camera with full image stabilization built in (Sony a6600 or newer).


Sony 16-50mm (kit lens)

I replaced this lens with my Sigma 16mm f1.4. I wasn't super stoked on the image quality from the sony 16-50mm kit lens.


Sony 55-210mm (kit lens)


I love this lens! Even though it's a kit lens I find it takes great image quality and I have printed large prints at 36" x 42" using pictures taken with this lens. Also, because the Sony a6000 has a crop sensor, aps-c, this lens actually equates to 83-315mm. A powerful zoom in an ultralight package.

Update: I sold this lens as I replaced it with my Sony 70-350mm


Tripod:




Pedco mini tripod - mini tripod thats super lightweight for backpacking.




I keep my camera and whatever lens I have on it in this soft pouch off amazon. Link is available by clicking above on "cases".

For storing extra lenses I keep them in this soft case off Amazon. If my lens is smaller I will wrap it in bubble wrap and store in a sunglasses case.


I also keep all my ND filters in a small case purchased off Amazon.


Rain cover to go over camera while shooting in the rain.


Sea to Summit dry bag- keeps camera gear dry while backpacking




Filters:


Neutral Density Filters (ND)- Allow you to reduce the amount of light coming into the sensor. Good for shooting water/waterfalls in bright daylight. Adds motion to clouds/moving objects. I have the Urth 8, 64, and 1000 ND filter. These numbers indicate how many stops of light will be reduced from entering your camera. The 1000 is good for shooting on super sunny days and the 8 is good for low light. See if you can tell which images on my website are taken with an ND filter.

I have the Urth ND filter# 8, 64,and 1000


UV filters- I have HOYA UV filters on all my lenses to protect the glass.


Circular Polarized Filters (CPL)- Nice for reducing haze and bringing out colors especially in water. However, the light source (the sun), must be at a 90 degree angle. So it's not advised to use this filter at sunset. It's also been said that it can cause distortion and vignetting on wide angle lenses.


All filters come in specific sizes to your camera lens. For example my Sigma lens is 67. But my Sony lens is 47. For this scenario a step up ring of 67-47 would allow you to use the same filter on both lenses.


Cleaning:


I had a very dirty sensor from changing lenses outside. I purchased this sensor gel stick from photographylife.com They say on their website to only purchase from their site as some listed on Amazon are apparently counterfeit. Also make sure you buy the type specific to your camera. They have one specifically for Sony mirrorless sensors.

I've used the sensor gel stick a few times and am very pleased with the results. I also use a blower bulb to blow dust off.


I recently purchased a used GoPro Hero 8. I got a good deal on it and it came with the little GoPro tripod handle. I currently only use the GoPro for time lapses. I purchased it for time lapses while at my lookout.

I'm not super impressed with the GoPro, but it serves its purpose. It definitely does not and will not replace my camera.




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