Answer: While I value the tools that I need to create I am not a pixel peeper. I don’t spend hours nerding out on gear. So if you have landed here looking for specs on the latest cameras on the market this post might not be for you but what I can tell you with full confidence is what I use every day, why it is the best for what I want to shoot and a few quick tips I look for in a camera that might help you navigate what’s right to buy.
Don’t get too distracted by the latest technology. While it’s worthy to embrace technology do not fall into the trap of thinking the magic is all in the camera. After all it is the wizard, it is not the wand. Kind of like shopping for skis. Those 2020 skis will not make you ski better than you did in 2019.
I view my camera equipment as part of my toolbox but not necessarily my main tool. Yes, it does capture the photograph but it’s just one of the many tools. You can have the best camera on the market but if you have a shitty plastic lens what kind of photo do you end up with? A photo that looks like it was taken through a shitty plastic lens. Some people are into that look but that’s not the point.
Before I get into the list let’s level set for a second. Keep in mind I work for a company who a) makes a lot of clothing for poor weather b) is based on BC’s West(Wet Coast) and c) whose brand visuals lean towards moody weather. I have the pleasure of shooting in some pretty inclement conditions. This would look very different if I was a surf photographer. My goal is to share some principles and then alter where it is right for you.
I am a sucker for the clarity of an image. I admire this in other people’s photographs and I work hard to constantly improve it in my own. This can be tricky when shooting in a roaring storm, on the fly or chasing athletes around in the mountains on the edge of puking. Yet boy, do I some internal yelling when my favourite shot isn’t sharp.
This one is critical for the outdoor shooter. More often than not you don’t have access to power. So unless you travel with a catering truck, a band of assistants or a have a boat load of cash to buy a bag full of spares battery, battery life is pretty key. You can’t take a photo if your camera won’t turn on. In fact, I didn’t swap over to Sony for years because their batteries sucked in the cold. Even now if I am going to go off the grid for weeks without a Goal Zero kit I tend to side with my Canon system as their batteries are still one step ahead of Sony.
Some of the best moments for adventure photography can be when the weather is at it’s worst. The last thing that you want when you come across these moments is to be stuck inside with a camera that isn’t built for the outdoors. The body casing is what’s important to look at here.
Cameras come and go but lenses last a long time. This is where I put my $. I love these little guys. I have lenses that have outlasted half a dozen cameras. If you are going to invest in any camera equipment this is where I recommend you put your money. There can be an overwhelming amount of options. The key thing here is if you want quality in your imagery—go with glass. Most people don’t know that camera kits are sold with plastic lenses which is why they are so affordable. Skip the package and save for a few extra weeks to invest in a glass lens.