Unfortunately for my bank account, camera gear can get expensive quickly. Like most people I want to get the best gear for the money, and often this means matching your shooting style to the right equipment. Here is a brief list of what I use (I’m sure i’ve missed some things) and why.
Canon 24-70 L- If I only had one lens this would probably be it. It covers a nice range, has a large constant aperture, focuses relatively close, has weather sealing, and is very sharp across most of its zoom range. Of course I’d jump on a new version with image stabilization if it ever came out.
Canon 70-200 2.8 IS L- Very useful for larger wildlife, I also use this lens when shooting landscapes and want to isolate part of a scene.
Canon 100-400 L- While not the fastest telephoto lens, the 100-400 I have is amazingly sharp, compact, and covers a nice range. This along with the 17-40 and 24-70 almost never leave my bag, since they cover a huge focal range without breaking my back.
Canon 100 macro- Razor sharp and has more uses than the mp-e 65mm macro.
Canon MP-E 65mm macro- Very specialized lens, but if you want to shoot at 5x life size this is the easiest way and gives unique images.
Extension tubes- I always carry a few extension tubes. They take little room and are a quick and cheap way to make any lens focus closer.
1.4x teleconverter- Also compact, and a good way to get a little more reach. The 1.4x I feel doesn’t cause as much image degradation as the 2x, and is best used slightly stopped down.
I also have a selection of fast primes and tilt shift lens that see less work, but are invaluable for certain situations.
Photo Trekker AW II– This is a big bag that hold most of my gear when traveling on a plane or stored at home, it is also comfortable for hiking.
Lowepro Stealth Reporter D400 AW– This is my main bag for short hikes and daily shooting. It’s a shoulder bag which is important for me since often I will be in sandy or wet locations where I cant put down a backpack. The bag is also large enough for several lenses, filter, flash, etc.. and carries comfortably. Also the Stealth Reporter has a waterproof cover that tucks away and a zippered top flap for when I want to get to something without opening the bag.
Lowepro Slingshot 300 AW– Another bag that I usually carry, this isn’t as convenient to get into as the Stealth Reporter so usually I’ll carry both bags criss-crossed over my shoulders, with the slingshot holding less used (but still vital) lenses and gear.
Lowepro Street and Field Belt System– Not used as much but the best option for distributing the weight of lenses etc.. when hiking long distances. Also makes things easy to get to for quick lens changes.
Hoya ND x400 – This unique filter drops the exposure by 9 stops and lets me take interesting daytime long exposures.
Really Right Stuff Brackets– All my cameras and lenses have quick release mounts from Really right stuff. They are amazingly well machined and the L-mounts make rearranging from horizontal to vertical quick and painless.
These are tools and items that are often overlooked but which I find invaluable.
Collapsable Reflector– Wont take much room but is invaluable for getting light into dark places or softening direct sunlight.
Watch- A must for planning sunset and sunrise photography
Hand held GPS– Used often to find and record hard to find locations. Also gives moon phases and tide table for night and coastal photography.
LensPen– I was afraid the first time I used it, but does a great job cleaning filters (even multicoated).
Leatherman Multi Tool– Has a million uses from tightening a tripod leg to pulling a fish hook from a finger.
Extra Batteries and Memory Cards– I always carry extra Hybrid rechargeable batteres for the flashes (hold a charge longer than regular rechargeables), and extra 16 gig cards. I also carry two extra camera batteries.
Sun and Bug Screen– A must for most locations
There are probably another dozen things I forgot, but I find all these tools useful and some a necessity in the right circumstances.