Attention… class is in session!
But don't worry, it's not some terrible dream in which you have traveled back in time to your first day of school… it's just Mr. RC coming to you with the first day of our Mini RC Photo School! We've received countless requests for photography posts, so, for the Thursdays of September and October, we'll be diving in and sharing all the things we know about the topic. If you’re a newbie to photography, a person who wants to learn to utilize their camera better, or take better photos, consider this your introduction into the equipment we use and where you can source them.
Now full-disclosure, we are not here claiming to be full blown experts, or are sponsored in any way by the brands we list below, but I, along with Alyssa, would like to share with y’all the equipment we use to create our content and photos in the hope that it will inspire you, our RC community, to continue to have fun shooting and creating beautiful images, or even to just start shooting, whether you're grabbing your phone to snap a shot of your kids, or picking up a camera to shoot an epic vacation.
Scroll below to read and learn about the equipment we use, and how we have built up (and continue to build) our growing collection of camera gear.
Coming Up Next
Class 002 // Phone Photography Basics + Our favorite Photography Apps
Class 001 // The Camera Gear we use
Sony a6000 // For the longest time when we traveled we struggled with packing our camera gear in a compact manner for those adventures that would require us to be on foot. The Sony a6000 is part of the infamous Sony Alpha series, which means this camera packs quite the punch for the on-the-go photographer. The a6000 is a cropped frame body, meaning it does not have the same full-frame image capability as its much bigger brother the Sony a7RII or even the Canon full-frame family, however it is mirrorless, so it will provide hi-res, crisp images due to its high megapixel rate.
Pro Tip: As mentioned above, search on Amazon or other online retailers for bundle packages. The a6000 is a few models back, so with enough searching, you might be able to score a deal on one either brand new or refurbished. For example, our Sony a6000 was certified refurbished from Sony, and we were able to get a deal on the camera, 2 lenses and a camera case.
Pentax K1000 // For the photography purist, what can be better than shooting on 35mm film? Our Pentax was handed down from Dave’s dad, and while this camera has been mostly used as a photo prop, we have added it to our camera repertoire to add a different look and feel to our images. Needless to say we are excited to explore shooting in film more.
SD Card Reader, Lightning Cable for Apple iPhone // This little cable is a must if you want to have your camera images available immediately after shooting for any social sharing on your phone or device. This is especially handy if you don’t have a wifi capable camera/memory card or no wifi in general.
Case Logic DCS-101 DSLR Quick Sling Strap // For the longest time, we kept using the stock camera straps on our camera bodies. While appearance wise and functionality, they were fine, however we preferred a strap that was a little longer so we could carry the camera over the shoulder and know it would be secure.
Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Aluminium 3-Section Tripod Kit // After several bouts of blurred images from using a cheap tripod, we knew we needed to upgrade drastically in that department. After some extensive research and some professional suggestions, we decided that Manfrotto was the brand for us to save us from unstable tripod photos, and we have not looked back since. The sturdiness is unrivaled and the ability to adjust the various components of the tripod have been a massive help and major difference maker.
Vello ShutterBoss II Timer Remote Switch for Canon with 3-Pin Connection (Canon) // This timer at the time was considered an add-on purchase as something we should have in our photography arsenal, yet it never really came out of its box in the first year we owned it. That has since changed and we use this timer/switch whenever we are using the tripod to shoot photos. It allows us to release the shutter on the camera without actually touching the camera itself, allowing us to reduce shake and risk having an image be blurry.
HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT TODAY’S photography equipment class? FEEL FREE TO LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW+ we WILL CIRCLE BACK WITH AN ANSWER ASAP.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III // Our primary camera for our shoots is a Mark III as it provides us the the professional quality needed for shooting high-res images for our content and on collaborations with brands. This full-frame DLSR body is also key to ensure that no detail is missed when trying to capture the image we need. Though there currently is a Mark IV on the market, there was not enough of a difference to make the upgrade.
Pro Tip: Since the 5D series commands a $3000+ price tag, be sure to search online, Amazon for one, where you can find bundle packages sold by either Canon or reputable camera and electronic stores. Though you will still need to shell out the $3000+, you might as well try to find a bundle that will include a camera case, SD card etc., rather than just getting the body
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 // Remember those days when everything wasn’t digitized and photos were truly in the moment? Well the Instax Mini 9 by Fujifilm brings all of the excitement of those in the moment shots IRL and we love using this camera when we travel. Though it can be challenging at times, because you can’t adjust settings or lighting, the real reward is walking away with one shot that acts as a souvenir and a great way to capture memories and moments with that nostalgic feel.
Pro Tip: The camera itself will run you $69 and a 2-pack of film (2 - 10 image cartridges) is $20, making each image $1 a piece. Shop this at retailers such as Bed Bath and Beyond or Michael’s where you can apply coupons towards your purchase for a discount. For us, Michael’s usually offers 40% off one item, so we will purchase our film there and the final cost will be $12 plus tax.
For the Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon 24-105mm f/4L II // This lens is the perfect all-around lens for whatever you may want to photograph, especially travel and landscape. It is one of the kit lenses than can be purchased in conjunction with the 5D Mark III, or on its own.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens // This lens was one of our first purchases prior to us owning the 5D Mark III. It is perfect for close up detail, especially for food photography. The ability to open the aperture to 1.4 also makes this lens very capable in low-light scenarios. This is a great foray into the world a prime lenses.
Pro Tip: Due to the lens having a high aperture, try to use a tripod in order to achieve a crisp clean shot as there is no image stabilization built into the lens.
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens // If you are looking for a lot of detail that might be far away, then look no further than this lens. With its super zoom capability, you can photograph things at a great distance with minimal effort and fuss. The image stabilizer built into the lens is very helpful to reduce shake when at full zoom.
For the Sony a6000
Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens // Standard lens with a decent zoom for a medium range. We like to keep this lens retracted mostly as the 18mm provides a nice compact composition.
Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Alpha E-mount Retractable Zoom Lens // A nice telephoto lens that works perfectly with the a6000’s high megapixel rate. That translates into high-quality, minimal grain images that are shot from a long distance.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus // Ok, we know it seems strange that we are promoting an almost 2 year old version of a iPhone, but truthfully, the 7 Plus has been more than capable of handling our camera phone demands and the dual lens on the phone allows us to use portrait mode which provides a quasi-DSLR-like image, blurring out the background and leaving you with a crisp image in the foreground.
Pro Tip: If you can, spring for a high gigabyte storage model of your phone. This will allow for greater flexibility in storing your images on one device. If that cost is above your budget, opt for more wallet-friendly options like cloud storage.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional // Another staple for our travel content is our drone coverage and aerial photography. DJI is the leader in personal drones, so in our opinion if you are looking at any brand other than DJI, we would advise you don’t. It comes ready to use out of the box, so you will be off and flying in no time! This is a real enhancement if you’re trying to get a different perspective or view of a particular location. That fact that it films in 4K is a major bonus especially for when we film our travel videos.
Pro Tip: Be sure to obey all laws and regulations surrounding drones and where you are permitted to fly. Additionally, our drone is a bit cumbersome and not as portable as more recent models, so it can make setup and breakdown a little more time consuming. If you’re in the market to buy, our recommendation would be to buy the Mavic Pro, or the recently released Mavic Pro 2. The Mavic line differs from the Phantom series as the propellers on the Mavic retract and fold into the body of the drone. This makes it more convenient for getting into the air quickly and more compact. For example, we have a separate backpack carrying case for our Phantom, whereas the Mavic can fold up into the approximate size of a water bottle.
SanDisk SD Memory Cards // There are a wide variety of SD cards on the market, but generally we have stuck with the SanDisk brand as it seems to be the most reliable from our experience and from what we have heard from fellow photographers. We recommend the Extreme Plus or the Extreme Pro series as those have higher write speeds, which make it faster for the card to process the images you are shooting.
So there is a peek into our photo gear and the equipment we use for all of our photography purposes and needs. Like many things, the world of photography has evolved from a hobby to a livelihood that allows us to create content and to continue to expand our knowledge (and equipment) to continue to put out the best quality we can offer. Be sure to check back over the coming weeks as we will dive deeper and share how we specifically use this equipment and tips on how you can put into practice yourself.
Until then, keep shooting!