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Wildlife Photography 101 | Gear Recommendations

Wildlife Photography 101 |  Gear Recommendations

Have you ever wondered what equipment a wildlife photographer takes with them into the field, my name is John E. Marriott, and I invite you to join me for our first wildlife photography 101 How-To, for a peek inside my vehicle, and my camera bags to see the crazy and not so crazy gear that I use in the field every single day. Let’s start with my camera bags. As you can see they’re pretty weighted down full of gear. So my first bag really can be anything. It’s just a car bag and it fits a lot of gear, but it’s not comfortable at all to wear when I’m hiking or anything. My second bag is a very specific bag, and that’s an F-Stop hiking backpacking bag that I can fit all my gear and including my big lens, but it’s really comfortable to walk around in so it’s what I use anytime I’m off on the trails, or if I’m flying out to a location and gonna be walking around at all. So you can see I managed to pack my camera bags pretty full of stuff. And I’m gonna just unload them for the most part and give you an idea of what’s in them I can fit a couple different lenses and camera bodies. Into my second bag, which is also pretty full. Lenses are interchangeable they may go in one bag one day and in a different bag the other day. This is pretty much a summary of what’s inside my camera bags. I take three different cameras with me whenever I go out I start off with my 1DX Mark II, which is sort of my flagship big pro camera the most expensive one. It’s excellent in low light and really good for action stuff, great autofocus and so on. I’ve got my Canon 7D Mark II, which is a crop camera that allows me to turn my five hundred for instance into an 800. So it just gives me more reach when I desperately need it. But it’s not as great in terms of the quality of the files. And then my other camera, is my Canon 5D Mark IV. Which is probably provides the best files of all, the one I like using the most, but it’s not quite as great for the fast action sequences as the when 1DX Mark IV is. So when I go on any kind of a trip I have to decide between two of the three and it’s almost always the 7D II that gets left home. Between my lenses I always take my 500 f/4 that’s my big telephoto Use it all over the place. If there’s no weight restrictions, and if I think I’m going to be in low-light, then I go with my Sigma 120 – 300 f/2.8. If there are weight restrictions, or if I’m going to be hiking quite a bit, then I go to my Canon 100 to 400 which is not as great in low light but it’s fantastic for hiking around with because it’s nice and light and provides a good zoom range. Or I’ll take my 70 to 200 f/2.8. Which is really excellent in low-light, but doesn’t provide a lot of reach. So there’s kind of advantages and disadvantage to each of those lenses, and whenever I go on a trip And I have weight restrictions, I usually have to decide between two of them. It’s usually the 500 and then one of these three, depending where I’m headed to. Of the rest of my gear that’s in the camera bags, probably the most important for wildlife photography is my teleconverters. I’ve got a 1.4 times teleconverter and a 2 times teleconverter. The 1.4 turns my 500 into a 700 It adds 40% more reach and the two times doubles the reach. The problem is it also has the light, so if it’s in low-light conditions I can’t use these teleconverters nearly as much. I also have a whole series of filters and filter holders that I take with me ranging from a warming polarizer to neutral density filters to split neutral density filters. Using this holder attach them to my various lenses and use them for both wildlife and landscape I’ve got a pair of very light medic gloves that keep my hands dry when it’s pouring rain out. A little waterproof crushable case for my cards, so that’ll float if a need be. A lens cleaning cloth. A couple more rain covers one for my pack and one for a lens if I’m in a bind and just need something quick. A couple of extra batteries for my camera bodies. Wide-angle adapter so that I can stick this onto my gimbal head, when I’m on trips and turned this into a tripod that’ll allow me to do wide-angle landscape photography. A self-timer, a remote so I can go set up a camera and then trigger it remotely. Then finally my to landscape lenses although I also use this one for wildlife, and that’s my 16 to 35 f/4 Canon wide-angle zoom. And my Zeiss 21mm f/2.8. Which I used for my Astro photography and Northern Lights and things like that. Let’s take a look at all the other gear. I have with me in the back of my vehicle. I’ll start off with my tickle trunk of sorts. This blue bag includes back roadmap books from all over BC in Alberta. I also have all of my various rain covers for my big lenses. And a wide assortment of clothing mostly camo clothing, that covers me in both winter and summer. Got my bean bag with me that sits on my windowsill allows me to sit my lens on there and photograph straight out of my vehicle. Got my tripods. I start off with my Jobu Algonquin with gimble, Jobu gimble head on it, that’s my big main tripod for my big lens. I’ve got a little backpacking tripod, which is a little light carbon-fiber one that I take off into the backcountry, Lake O’hara, Mount Assiniboine, that kind of thing. And my monopod which I use when I’m on boats. Then if you look straight in behind me you’ll see all the essentials pair of rubber boots, pair of hiking boots, most important thing of all TP, and then a couple of things that could save my life; water, radio, toque and gloves, my bear spray and knife belt, and my satellite device if I get out of cell range and need to be able to reach someone like my wife. So that’s it for the gear, now remember it’s not really the gear that matters, it’s the photographer behind the gear. And if you want to become a better wildlife photographer, subscribe to our channel and stay tuned for more great wildlife photography 101 how-to videos.

45 thoughts on “Wildlife Photography 101 | Gear Recommendations”

  1. Hey! Have you ever used the Canon 200-400 with 1.4x for wildlife? Im saving up for it but wondering if it is worth the price tag.. I currently use a tamron 150-600 but hate the AF system on it.. I'm hoping the 200-400 would be much better, but trying to find someone that's had on location experience with it.

  2. Love the video. Not sure if you’ve already done it but a look into what you have out in the field may help a lot of people. From what I saw there’s a lot of bags in there and I highly doubt you’re bringing all of them. Maybe a video idea for down the road 🤔

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Great video! Curious to find out which specific lens do you use your extenders with? Some people claim that using an extender with a zoom lens makes for softer images, while others say it's just fine. Thanks. Love the channel!

  4. This was one of the best videos. Good camera work, he know what he's talking about in both his presentation and his gear.

  5. Great job as always!! Really helped me decide what to bring, and what to leave behind. Also, looking forward to the new book!

  6. Your videos are so good! you really deserve more subscribers, people need to see what you do, You inspire me to do better with mine 🙂

  7. Thanks John!.. curious about your F-Stop bag… is that the Tilopa?
    PS, really enjoyed your presentation in Edmonton.

  8. Newbie here. What exactly do you mean by the 5D MIV providing "the best files"? Do you mean pixel count, file size, or something I'm missing?

  9. I am just getting started. Bought a Nikon d5500 to get started. I don't know if I should stay with Nikon or invest in a Canon or Sony to upgrade. I cannot afford many different body/lenses. What "one" body and lens do you recommend?

  10. Hi, John 👊🏻👊🏻👍🏻 I am really enjoying your channel, amazing cinematic cinematography photographing and filming wildlife ⭐️ I just purchased a Canon 80D with the EF-S 18 – 135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens creator kit. I am still learning about all the features of the camera. I love the outdoors and I have mostly have been taking pictures with my IPHONE 6S. Thanks for sharing your gear and awesome wildlife videos !!!! Danny

  11. John I thought this woulda been deleted since your a sigma pro staff .im shopping for a pro staff if your spots available lol

  12. I’m not an expert in camera stuff but man the stuff you use are cool plus what really amazed me is how ready you are the stuff like TP boots bear spray etc… i like to be very prepared like that

  13. Thank you John, great video thanks mate. Just getting a feel for wildlife photography and will have watching more of your videos for advice and inspiration. Thanks, Trent.

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