Essential Camera Gear for Two Weeks in Asia

This was a big trip to Korea and Japan. We knew it would involve a lot of shooting and a ton of walking, so the goal was to stay as portable and light weight as possible, but still be prepared to shoot street style, stock and cityscape photos. This is the kit I was hauling around most days:

1. Langly card wallet & a lot of cards

Always better to pack more cards than you'll need. For the most part we used the same 64GB cards and would download, back up, and clear them each day. Not pictured here are two external hard drives, plus online backups of the best pics to Google Drive.

2. Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens

We knew we would be shooting a lot of street style on this trip so we almost brought our go to lens, the 70-200mm. With the amount of walking around we did I'm really glad we brought the much smaller and lighter 85mm. Having the 1.8 f-stop also came on very handy when shooting in the streets at night. 

3. Canon 5DmkIII (x2)

One for Ania and one for me. 

4. Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens

The range of this lens makes it very verisitile for travel photography. Ultra-wide for cityscapes and a traditional stree photography focal length of 35mm. Very adaptable.

5. Mophie powerstation battery

A dead phone in a foreign city is no fun. I prefer this style of battery that is device agnostic, over that can only charge my iPhone. This way we can charge other things too, like our Egg (see below). 

6. Belkin 3 outlet charger

This is a great bit of travel gear, especially in country with different power outlets than you have at home. Charge all your devices at once!

7. Film

Moslty Kodak Portra, a roll of Ektar, a few Fuji Superia. In two weeks we ended up shooting 6 rolls.

8. Canon Elan 7E

I got this camera in college and still love it. Even next to a new DSLR it feels modern and well designed. Not pictured here is the 50mm 1.8, which was attached to it for most of the trip.

9. Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens

For a lens this small and affordable, it has no busiess being as high quality as it is. Very sharp, fast auto focus and great build quality. 

10. Olleh Egg mobile wifi thingy

In a country where you don't speak the language, the internet is your most powerful resource. This device kept us connected in Korea, without paying outrageous roaming fees.

11. iPhone running GeoTagr

GeoTagr is an app that tracks everywhere you go in a day and saves it as a map. You can then import this map into Lightroom and have it automatically geotag all your photos from the day.

12. Disposable cameras

Because they're fun! 

13. Canon G16

I often prefer a high quality point and shoot to using my cell phone. It has a wider zoom range, shoots raw and has a real flash.  AND it can transmit to my phone over wifi, making for easy Instagraming.

14. Langly Alpha Pro backpack

 I have bought and sold a lot of camera bags over the years. It's hard to find soemthing that is just the right balance for you. This new one from Langly feels like the bag I've been looking for. Comfortable, has all the right compartments, rain proof and very handsome, I love this bag. I should mention though that buttoning up the snaps drives Ania crazy, and I agree they can be a little tough. Maybe not recommended for delicate hands, but everything else about it has been great.

To see what we shot on the trip you can see Tokyo Street Style at Fashion Magazinerainy Korea postmy disposable cameras post, or follow us Instagram @AniaB and @Stalman.

Preview of the Sigma f/1.4 Art Series Lens

The Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens

Selecting a 50mm lens can be a tricky business. It is my favourite fixed focal length but up until now all of the Canon options have left me disappointed.

The Canon 50mm f/1.8 takes great images for it's low price, but the build quality is only a step above a disposable camera.

The mid-range 50mm f/1.4 somewhat improves on the build but still has a very cheap plastic feel. You gain some speed in the f-stop, but the sharpness at f/1.4 is pretty iffy. It will miss focus quite often and when it is accurate, it's still pretty soft.

The top of the line f/1.2 improves sharpness at f/1.4 but will miss focus about as often. Shooting at f/1.2, very little of . It's bokeh is creamy and beautiful but so few of your images are in focus I would usually stay above 1.4. And don't forget the chromatic aberration, which can be so bad it might leave you wondering "Canon, is this the best you can do?".

After owning and selling all three of these lenses, I have been waiting for a magic bullet to come along, and (hopefully) that will be the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Series lens.

While exploring Tokyo we wandered in to the massive Yodobashi Camera and found the new Sigma on display. We only had time to snap a few quick sample photos in store but so far I am impressed. Focus was very fast and responsive, The weight was less than I had worried about, and image quality was superb.

It was very tempting to buy it at that moment but I know it will be cheaper waiting to get back to Calgary, where we are already on the waiting list at The Camera Store.

I'm going to withhold judgment until I have really put it through it's paces, but so far my impression is that this lens may live up to its hype. The real test will be having confidence that I can shoot with the aperture wide open.

Canon 5DmkIII, Sigma f/1.4 Art Series Lens: 1/3200 sec at f/1.4, ISO 1250