I’ve been meaning to do some more gear posts for a while, and as many of you know I’ve been a Fuji fanboy since the days of the original X100.
My gear has grown quite a bit over the past year or so, especially as I’m getting into shooting more video, so this post is a focus on what’s in my kit bag, a break down of everything and how I use it, plus a few tips and tricks along the way.
If this is at all useful for you then please give it a share or comment below!
These are my main cameras, I have 2.
Fantastic, fast cameras, duel SD card slots is a must for me now, I'll shoot any event on two 64gb Lexar UHS-ii cards on backup mode and compressed RAW [which gets about 2400 frames]. Flip out screen is incredibly useful, focus is fast.
IBIS is just incredible, for both video and low light stills, the grip makes holding the cameras all day much more comfortable and the leaf spring shutter is just a delight.
I've moved to only using genuine Fuji batteries [NP-W126S] of which I have 9, this can get me through a full wedding but I also have a bunch of third party batteries as backup. For longer recordings when filming I put on the battery grip (more on this below) which also doubles as a mains powered charger which is very useful when on the road.
Fuji 16mm F1.4
My widest lens.
Just a stunning lens, great out of focus backgrounds, wide enough for my needs. Weather sealing is great with the XH-1's and that clutch focus is fantastic. Good for busy receptions, also useful for busy dance floor shots.
It is an incredible lens that renders photos in a fantastic way, it is a low light beast and gives you a depth of field similar to the 'look' of a full frame lens.
I don’t use this one all that offer ten but am more than happy when I do, however now that Fuji have a 16mm f2.8 on the market (which looks incredibly small) I am tempted to change it over for a light weight option.
It's weather resistant, has the nice clutch focus for manual focus and balances well on the Fuji X-H1.
Fuji 23mm F1.4
My most used lens.
A solid all round lens, my go to focal length for most things. I'd be happy to shoot a full day on just this lens.
Image quality on this lens is stunning, it's incredibly sharp and nicely contrasty, wide open at f1.4 you have incredible images which offer a nice amount of background separation for such a wide lens on a crop sensor.
Overall I'm now a big fan of this lens, it's a solid, nicely weighted, sharp lens which gives incredible image quality in a small package, try one out for yourself and I'm sure you'll be impressed.
Fuji 56mm F1.2
My portrait lens.
When I do need a bit of reach this lens is just great, fantastic in low light, great subject separation, again an all round fantastic lens, sometimes a little slow to focus in low light, but then it's a massive bit of glass.
This thing eats light for breakfast, it’s awesome. Portraits look awesome, it’s great for long reach in churches and if you can get some interesting light behind your subject and it’s bokeh heaven.
I’ll always do portraits with this lens as well as keeping in the bad for low light filming, it does focus a little slow but that’s a worth while trade off for the f1.2 aperture.
Fuji 50-140mm F2.8
My most infrequently used lens.
This is a great lens but I don’t shoot at this kind of focal length that often, but it is good to have in the bag for when I do need it.
It lacks soul compared to the Fuji 56mm, but for video projects and where’s you just need some extra reach I’m very happy I can put this on my camera.
Peak design sling strap
Strap for my main camera [usually the 23mm] it's super comfy, doesn't cut into my neck and adjusts very quickly.
You can also put multiple attachments onto other cameras so you can swap and change and use the same strap.
It is however bright and super obvious.
Gopro hero 5
I got this mainly for my trip to Iceland, but I kept it as it’s good to have in the bag for recoding little bits of video or photos, especially underwater.
Good little bit of kit, probably won’t ever upgrade from this one as I don’t use it all that often.
A simple monopod, I don’t use it a whole lot but it does have it’s uses for video if up are moving about a-lot and need a stable solution, it also has feet so it can stand on it’s own.
spider holster light
Best. Camera. Holder. Ever.
The holder goes on your belt and the bottom plate on the camera.
It has a lock function so I can get the camera without having to hold the lever down. Great accessory for having two cameras.
manfrotto mini tripod
Really small tripod that is in the bad as a backup or if I’m out hiking or shooting and might want a tripod.
It’s super rare that I do use a tripod so this is good for popping in the bag just incase.
manfrotto travel tripod
A small tripod that is good for when on the go.
It can slip into the side of my Manfrotto bag so I can have it on me at weddings if I know I’ll need it.
It also fits nicely into a suitcase for travel work.
instax mini camera
My Instax Mini 8 is almost never used for paid work, but as a personal camera for days out and quick snaps it is legendary.
The film ain’t cheap but it’s so much fun to use.
zhihun crane 2
A basic and cheap gimbal for small camera setups, it’s really easy to setup and get used to but hard to master, much much better than a steady cam setup [which uses weights] .
It’s cheap but not super cheap, but if you ever want to do tracking shots or lots of movement then this is for you.
It also comes in a sweet hard case.
This is awesome.
Massive thanks to Marianne Chua who I saw using one!
This is a USB charger for Fuji NP-W126S batteries, it can charge two at once, it’s super small and slick and is in my bag all the time.
Get ear plugs, shooting a wedding every weekend in the summer being blasted by bands and DJ'‘s speakers on the dance floor will take its toll.
Protect your ears, it also makes it easier to concentrate.
lexar memory cards
I’ve always used Lexar and I don’t know why, just find a brand you like and stick with it, the key with cards is money, spend a little and you get really crap cards.
I use two types:
XCii cards [silver]- Faster read and write speed at 150MB/s
XCi cards [bronze]- Slower read and write speed at 95MB/s
I tend not to notice much difference when I’m actually shooting, they are all 64GB capacity which for me is plenty of photos and lots of video. I always shoot photos with an instant backup. [A real shame you can’t do the same for video]
rode video micro
My decent back up shotgun mic, it’s really small and records very nice audio.
It also draws power from the camera so in the event that I find myself with an un-charged mic I can pop this on instead and crack on.
rechargable aa batteries
Basic rechargeable batteries and lots of them, good for flashes, remote microphones and the Instax camera.
Nissin i40 Flash
Small flash unit, great for me as I don't use flash much at all, only for dancing. It's nice and quick to cycle and the size/weight fits well with the fuji form factor.
It would be nice if it didn't bend in half so it could slide into a pocket a bit easier, but thats not a deal breaker.
I havent upgraded to the new version as I don’t really need to.
Only downside is the markings on the dials wear off, would be great if they were etched in instead.
Various filters for a number of tasks, most useful in video for shooing in bright light without having to go to a high shutter speed.
I avoid the variable ND filters, they can look bad for video and photos creating a cross in the middle of your image. [Some people swear by them]
10 Stop filter
3 Stop ND Filter
I’m slowly moving all of my filters to the GOBE ones, I like how they look as well as their cases, they also plant trees when you buy them and the packaging uses as little plastic as possible.
Some cheap Sony MDR-ZX310 foldable headphones for checking audio while recording, they are compact and also serve as actual headphones for music and podcasts while on the road.
Fuji battery grip
A battery grip for the X-H1. This adds some very nice features, but for me it does a few simple but very useful things for me:
You can use 3 batteries at once
You can monitor audio for video
You can record for 30 minutes instead of 20
Pretty simple but this is a great extra bit of kit for filmmaking seeing as most wedding ceremonies in the UK last about 20 minutes this stops you from having to stop-start your recording.
rode video mic pro+
My go-to shotgun mic, this is a great all purpose microphone, rechargeable, and it sounds just great. If I am doing a more run and gun style of working this is great and also for picking up audio to go along with B-roll.
It works quite well for getting interview scratch tracks that are fully useable if the mian audio fails or at weddings I’ll attach one of these and use it to pick up the whole ceremony and speeches and only put mics on the subjects if it’s really needed.
Fuji X-H1 specific, this rig screws into the bottom of the camera and allows for attachments, I mainly use it to add a left hand grip which will significantly improve your ability to get steady shots when combined with the X-H1’s IBIS.
Not something I use all the time but good if you are adding lots to your rig such as shotgun mics, recorders and lights.
Aperture video light
These tiny things throw out loads of light for the size, they are rechargeable and dimmable.
For me the fact that they are so small makes them a good flash backup for weddings and an ideal video light.
A cheap, but well made manual camera slider for when you need one, I also got two super cheap tripods to use with this so I keep my others free if I have this set up.
I don’t use it much at all but it can do really nice shots when the need arises.
I always keep some reserve power when on the move, having this allows me to charge my camera batteries [see Nitecore Charger] my iPhone, iPad and anything else that can take USB power.
This one has 2 USB slots and a massive capacity of 20,000mAh; about 5 full iPhone charges.
A A1573F Video Tripod Kit with S2 Head to be exact, this very light and sturdy tripod is great for when you can carry more, it’s quick to use, smooth and steady.
The Arca Swiss compatible head also works with the Fuji Battery grip and the Small Rig cage for ease of use.
rodelink filmmaker kit
A great choice when you need to transmit audio from a distance and have your subject mic’d up, simply plug and play with these, they sound fantastic and you have the audio recorded right to your camera.
You can’t send two signals to one receiver sadly, so if I am filming an interview I’ll set both people up with these, set two cameras to record and get the audio that way, or you can also have the receiver going directly into a separate recored and do it that way.
x 2 Sony ICD-TX650 audio recorders, the very small and slim recorders have an in built memory and battery and can pick up audio with great quality using the in built microphones, no need for lav mics with these. Simply set to record, put the lock button on and clip to a subject to record their audio, this is a much quicker solution that microphones and transmitters [which still have their place].
The only downside is you will need to sync up the audio in post. A tip here is to start your recording [and also pick up audio on the camera for a scratch track] and get the subject to loudly clap once, then in post get your two audio tracks, and look for the spike where the clap is, then match that up and you’re good to go.
The MB NX-BP-VGY to be exact, is my main bag when I’m on a job, it usually carries all the gear I’ll need for a wedding shoot as well as my iPad and a book, it’s a very slick bag, comfortable to wear and can hold a decent amount of gear.
I’ve played about with many bags and having a backpack works best, I simply put this down where I’m shooting and wear it when I’m moving about which gives me quick access to all my gear should I need it.
Nikon camera bag
An old bag I’ve had for years [I used to have a Nikon D300 back in the day when I first started, read more about that here] It works very well to carry video gear, I keep all of my things in this bag so I can pick it up and I know I’m good to go.
27” 2017 imac
This is the mid-range 27” iMac, which is great as you can upgrade the RAM yourself [It’s super easy] I’m currently rocking 40gb which allows me to run multi applications at once, the in built fusion drive keeps things quick while allowing me a decent amount of desktop storage space [all backed up via time machine]
All in all this is a stunning machine, the 5K display is beautiful, having a massive screen gives so much monitor real estate, making work easier.
The speed of this machine saves me countless hours over the year, something that is always worth thinking about as time is money/happiness/whatever you want it to be.
ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUD SUITE
I love adobe’s programs, they work for me and work with each other, I opted for the full suite for the video production side of things, it’s not cheap for sure but it works.
You can get the photography package with lightroom and photoshop for about £10 a month which is a stellar deal.
Terra master 5 hard drive bay
This beast of an external hard drive is my main backup solution. Featuring slots for 5 drives [I’ve gone for 4TB Western Digital Red drives], slots 1 and 2 function as a RAID 1 set up [creating a mirrored backup of each other] Slot 3 is a time machine and always keeps backup of my iMac drive and the 4th and 5th slots are general archive slots, long term storage and miscellaneous.
I would strongly recommend a backup setup such as this, and having one power cable and one USB to so many things keeps my work space nice and clutter free.
A simple little USB 3 card reader is really useful as I don’t like having to turn my iMac around to get to the built in reader.
It can read a variety of cards as well as being a USB hub and it functions as a little stand for my phone when I’m working at my desk.
My most frequently used camera.
This phone has a great camera and I shoot with it a fair bit, it’s always with me which is good and editing in VSCOcam is wicked. I can transfer images form my cameras to this, edit and post to social all very quickly.
It also has a really decent battery life.
I would love to shoot and edit a whole wedding on just this one day, just got to find someone who want’s me there shooting iPhone photos all day.
(If you know anyone who wants an iPhone wedding photographer then put me in touch)
That’s my gear.
All of this comprises my working tools for what I do, some of it is more needed this others but all of it is designed to give me the slickest working system ever.
I'm a massive believer in optimising your workflow, and if I can cut down on wasted time, bring in better tools and have what I need at my fingertips I will overall be able to work quicker and enjoy a more flexible life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, if you have any questions then do leave a comment, or pop me a message on Instagram (I’ll respond quicker) @colinnichollsphotography