Photography Gear Reviews

What’s in my Camera bag in 2016?

The camera gear of 2016

Here I reveal all the camera gear in my bag in 2016. We look at the bags, camera bodies, camera lenses and the accessories that can make or break a shot.

The requests have been flooding in for me to make this video and I have finally buckled under the pressure. Here I bear my soul and reveal much of what currently makes it into my camera bag. Sadly my Canon 70-200 is out on loan and the DJI Mavic Pro drone is yet to be purchased.

Is camera gear everything?

Whilst the camera gear is not the key to good photography we cannot help to love it a little bit. Despite that we can not all afford to buy good camera gear. If you fall into this camp, I am planning to create a video around shooting with budget gear very soon.

I have posted links below to check out all of the camera gear below. Follow the link to see all the individual review.

Review Videos -

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Camera Gear Links

Canon 10-18mm IS STM Review

The Canon 10-18mm is Ultra Wide Angle on a Budget

The fact that Canon decided to make this lens is a great thing. Opening up ultra wide angle photography to a new audience is a welcome move with this Canon 10-18mm budget lens.

When you first strap an ultra wide lens to your camera it is an exciting moment discovering the new perspective it brings to the world. Scenes look bigger and it displays an image much wider than what your eyes would see. The Canon 10-18mm lens picks up nicely where your 18-55mm kit lens leaves off and is a perfect accompaniment to this on a cropped sensor EF-S camera.

Wide angle photography opens up your creative possibilities in landscape photography, architecture photography and is always used to sell houses by making rooms look bigger.

On paper the Canon 10-18mm lens is excellent. It has the ultra wide angle, it's relatively cheap, it's light, the front element does not rotate, meaning you can happily attach filters like a circular Polariser to improve your landscapes. It also has IS that assists video and the STM focus is an excellent focus by wire system that is literally silent.

So all in all the perfect lens?

Well no. In my written reviews over on my website one element of my star rating is ‘Joy Factor’. It describes that feeling you get when using a new product, the fizz, the excitement, the desire to use it again and again, that unexplainable feeling that makes you truly love a product.

The Canon 10-18mm does not have that. It just leaves you feeling flat and the images it produces are just ‘ok’ and nothing more. Other downsides include the plastic mount, the simply dreadful distortion when at the widest angle. Anything outside the very centre of the frame, whilst at 10mm, is going to be skewed out of shape like your image has melted. The lens is also quite slow at f/4.5 - f/5.6 with the aperture adjusting as you move through the zoom range. Also I have found the image stabilisation of very little use.

canon 10-18mm lens review
canon 10-18mm lens review
canon 10-18
canon 10-18

For stills it will allow you to handhold exposures down to around 1/20 second but at f/4.5 this will still be pretty dark in low light situations without a decent ISO boost. I have been using this lens for my blogs and I have haven't found the image stabilisation has been of any benefit over using a wide angle lens without IS. If you're stood still and handholding then it will do a good job but this is pretty restrictive for creating interesting and varied shots.

I'm not saying don't buy the Canon 10-18mm, especially currently at £180/$279. It will still do a job for you, as it is for me, it's just there are better options out there. The Canon 10-22 is a great lens and is pretty much L lens quality just without the red ring. The Sigma 10-20mm is also another good option and can be picked up very cheaply on the second hand market. Saving up for one of these lenses may be your better option.

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Unboxing the Perfect Vlog Setup

The best gear for your vlog setup.

Vlogging is becoming increasing popular with more and more people starting it up everyday. The concept is simple. Record aspects of your life in video and share them with the world. Family vlogs have taken YouTube by storm where we are allowed into people's homes to see how they live their life. Whilst this does not sound immediately brilliant, many are funny, cute and show experiences that the viewer may also be going through. Topics cover everything from a toddler potty training to break ups and deaths.

Many vlogs are creative, entertaining and moving stories that also provide valuable information and  are almost always free. It is little wonder people are tuning into vlog channels in their millions with the full spectrum of lives on offer, "hey, this guy is cool, he's just like me".

With the eyes of the world turning to vlogs it is also no wonder so many people are starting their own. Where to start can be a daunting prospect. A good story and an entertaining or interesting host are a must, but beyond that all you need is a camera.  Any camera will do to get started. We all have a mobile phones with a camera on, so do not waste anymore time and get started today.

This is a photography channel though so I wanted to enter the vlog world with the best shot possible using the best gear and vlog setup I either have or can afford. I decided that flexibility and weight were key. With camera gear this is so often a trade off as the better gear is often heavier.

Below is a list of my gear for my vlog setup and thoughts around why I chose each item:

GorillaPod SLR-Zoom - I knew I wanted to use a GorillaPod thanks to the flexibility it offers. Using the GorillaPod as a selfie stick keeps the camera away from your body which provides a better shot. It also ensures you don't see your whole arm in the shot. It acts as a small tripod and can be strapped to a post, fence or other object providing the flexibility for different shots. The GorillaPod SLR-Zoom is half the weight and cheaper than the more expensive version that features more links.

Buy the GorillaPod SLR-Zoom in the UK | US

Canon EOS 700D - This is where a trade off occurs in this vlog setup. The Canon EOS 700D is cheap and light and that goes in it’s favour. However the camera does not feature the Dual Pixel Auto Focus system ,featured on mid range cameras like the Canon 70d and 80d, that provides smooth and reliable auto focus whilst shooting video. The 700D does have a Hybrid AF system that does a similar job but just not as fast or reliably. The flip out screen is another feature the Canon EOS 700D provides and this makes composing your shot much easier.

Buy the Canon EOS 700D in the UK | US

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM - A wide angle lens really helps to take a handheld vlog to the next level. Having the subject appear further back from the camera coupled with the ability to capture more of the background creates a more appealing image and increased context. The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM provides that. Many vloggers are using the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. This offers a similar wide angle and has very slightly better low light capabilities but the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM has a couple of killer features. The first is the STM focus. This is very quiet and smooth and it would be greedy to ask for more, it is literally silent whilst focusing video. Secondly it also has image stabilisation. When it comes to hand held video this can really improve the quality of your shot.

Buy the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM in the UK | US

RODE VideoMic Pro - Using an external microphone is virtually a necessity when using a DSLR camera on a Vlog. The onboard camera is very poor quality and will be offensive to many viewers. The RODE VideoMic Pro is light but provides great quality. The key to this is the built in hi-pass filter that cuts out low level hiss and background noise and also the 20dB boost. This allows the gain on the camera to be reduced to a minimum level meaning sound quality will be improved with very little hiss. The final piece to the sound puzzle is to add a wind shield to keep quality up when shooting outside in windy conditions.

Buy the RODE VideoMic Pro in the UK | US

I will be starting my own vlog very soon.

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