While my backpack is always changing, the stuff inside is pretty constant. Here’s what you’ll find me carrying around with me almost all the time:
Canon EOS R – Sharing the same sensor as the workhorse 5D Mark IV but with mirrorless capability and a tilt/flip screen, this camera body is the cornerstone of my kit and the first thing I pack.
Canon 5DSR – While more of a specialty camera body with it’s unfiltered, 50.6 megapixel sensor, it tends to be the camera body I’ll grab when a scene is static and likely to be a final portfolio image. It takes more time to create a careful, deliberate composition for a clean final image, but the detail is more than worth it!
Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS – An exceptionally sharp, lightweight wide angle lens. The IS is incredibly useful for blue hour photos and video work if hand holding, and the clarity can be even better than the workhorse 24-70mm 2.8L II. If keeping weight down is important on a long hike, I’ll pack just this and the 70-200mm f/4L II.
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II – The standard workhorse lens that I always the first lens I grab 90% of the time. It’s tough, remarkably sharp, and so versatile with the wide angle to short telephoto view. If I could only take one lens out for the day, this is likely to be my first choice.
Canon 35mm f/2 IS – The standard video work lens that I always attach to my Canon R for filming. The IS and focusing is a bit noisy so I do have to be careful, but it is so lightweight and sharp that it more than makes up for slight drawbacks. It’s also my top option for hiking when weight savings is paramount. If even the two zoom options are too heavy, I’ll take just this lens on my Canon R with a water bottle for those long, grueling hikes.
Canon 35mm f/1.4L II – A relative newcomer to the kit. I don’t have a ton of experience using this lens just yet, but it will be a top option for portrait work (more to come in 2021), when weather sealing is needed for video work, and for when image sharpness & detail capture paired with the 5DSR are the highest priorities.
Canon 50mm f/1.8 – This was the first non-kit lens I’ve ever purchased from many years ago. The low cost/financial risk and solid sharpness make this a great lightweight hiking option for when the trail may be rough or weight savings is critical. It will usually stay in the bag though for other options, especially so when poor weather might happen due to the lack of any weather sealing.
Canon 85mm f/1.4L IS – Another relative newcomer to the kit, this lens is an investment in portrait and video work. The lens is superbly sharp and weather sealed, and it has a huge max aperture, making it an ideal video and portrait lens, as well as an option to bundle with the 35mm f/1.4L II and the 5DSR when chasing the pinnacle in image quality.
Canon 85mm f/1.2L II – I came very close to selling this lens to fund the purchase of the 1.4L IS prime version, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. I likely would have not even covered the entire purchase, and there is something to be said about the magical rendering delivered with a 1.2 aperture and more ethereal final images. It’s entirely different from the 1.4L and is legendary for a reason. For now I’ll hold on to this one for studio portrait work even though for the purposes of this site, it won’t see much use.
Canon 135mm f/2 – This lens is sort of the same story as the 85mm 1.2L. It’s supremely sharp and has very unique rendering thanks to the f/2 aperture, however it’s not weather sealed and a bit niche for landscape work. I’m sure it’ll be used for portrait clients, but not as much for landscape work. I do think it’ll get used somewhat more often than the 85 1.2 though.
Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS II – This is one of the best zooms I’ve ever owned. I briefly thought about selling it to fund the 100-400L, but they are materially different enough that there is a place in my bag for both. On any given hike, I’ll choose either this or the 100-400 depending on weight savings concerns or reach needs. When I’m looking for a lightweight kit, I’ll choose this zoom, the 16-35mm f/4L, and the R and call it a day with ~85% of potential photographic needs met.
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II – Oh man, where to start. This lens is INSANE. It is so sharp, and so versatile, that if I could only pick one zoom it might be this. I could easily have a bag of the 35mm 1.4L II, 85mm 1.4L IS, and this zoom and never need another lens because all three are so stellar. The only time this one stays at home is when I need to save weight and choose to go with the 70-200 f/4L instead. Otherwise this lens is superior in every way.