I am often asked about my photo equipment. For me, the equipment is a means to an end, a more expensive camera does not make me a better photographer. What counts for me is that I know my photo equipment inside out and how it behaves in which situation. This allows me to get maximum image quality out of even a supposedly entry-level SLR camera.
I use the following products myself and can recommend them with a clear conscience. I did not get any money from any manufacturer to promote them here. I am simply convinced of them myself. I bought all of the products below myself.
The links below are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I get a small commission – but it doesn’t cost you anything extra.
If there is a successor to one of the products from the manufacturer, I have linked it. So you can always find the latest product for your photo equipment. You can also find an overview of cameras, lenses and accessories that I currently recommend here.
A good camera does not have to be expensive
In January 2021, I made a complete system change to a full-frame camera. Between 2005 and 2020, I shot almost exclusively with various Canon EOS APS-C cameras (300D, 450D, 700D, 77D). Such a camera costs about 600 €. About 98% of the images on my website were taken with these cameras. You don’t need expensive equipment to take good pictures. If you are just about to buy a camera, take a look at my articles about SLR cameras for beginners and system cameras for beginners.
My current photo equipment
Sony Alpha 7 III: My current main camera is the Sony Alpha 7 III, which I have been using since January 2021. Since I mainly shoot landscapes and architecture, dynamic range was one of the main criteria for me when choosing a new camera. I also don’t need a camera with a lot of megapixels (30+), because this again results in other disadvantages like diffraction blur. I borrowed the Alpha 7 III a few months ago and was very enthusiastic about the image quality. You can find more information about this camera in my Sony Alpha 7 III review.
Fujifilm X100V: The X100 series from Fujifilm is a special camera, which is not everyone’s cup of tea due to its 23 mm (35 mm calculated on 35 mm) focal length. I think there are few digital cameras that feel so analog. What makes it special is that it has both an electronic and an optical viewfinder. You can switch between the two as the mood takes you. Having had the X100S, T and F before, it’s now currently the X100V. If the Sony Alpha 7 III is my workhorse, then the Fujifilm X100V is the camera that inspires me. It’s just fun to shoot with. It’s lighthearted.
Sony RX100 VA (M5A): after using a Canon Powershot S95 as my compact camera for 10 years, I’ve had the Sony RX 100 VA (M5A) since 2020. I was concerned with having a smaller camera in addition to the main camera that still gives me good image quality. It is also pleasing that the RX100 VA has a bit more wide angle with 24 mm. I deliberately did not choose the Sony RX 100 VII because sharpness is more important to me than a zoom range up to 200 mm. The image quality of this compact camera is incredibly good. Sometimes the images were sharper than those from my previous SLR camera. You can find more info about this camera in my Sony RX100 VA review.
Sony FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS: About 90% of my pictures are taken with a wide angle lens. I find it easier to convey depth to the viewer of the photo with such a lens than with a telephoto lens, for example. The FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS is sharp right into the corners at all focal lengths. Many of my shots are taken from a tripod, so speed is not as important in most cases. However, for architectural photo tours without a tripod, the OSS image stabilizer is a great thing. In conjunction with the camera’s internal image stabilizer, I can shoot handheld exposure times of up to a full second here in the wide-angle range without a tripod.
Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA: A few years ago, I started shooting different series of images. For this, a fast fixed focal length is almost always used. A normal lens around 50mm gives a quite natural angle of view. I would have liked to have a 50 mm lens with a speed of 1.4, but the Sony (Zeiss) Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA is just too heavy and too expensive for me. The FE 55mm F1.8 ZA isn’t cheap either, but it’s razor sharp even at open aperture and delivers great bokeh.
Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS: After using the Sony Alpha 7 III for a few months now, I realized that I was missing a standard zoom. The choice here is not that easy. I basically don’t need longer focal lengths. Luminosity is also not important to me with a standard zoom, but rather an image stabilizer. This allows me to shoot handheld for longer exposure times without a tripod and without blurring the image. In the end, I decided on the Sony FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS, which not only offers very good sharpness, but is also relatively light.
Manfrotto Befree GT Carbon Tripod: After using the good Manfrotto Befree for a very long time, I bought the Befree GT Carbon in 2019. The reason for this was that with a height of almost two meters, I would like to have a larger tripod, which corresponds more to my working height. At the same time, the tripod should not be much heavier. The GT Carbon meets exactly these requirements. The legs also have a larger diameter and are more torsion-resistant due to the carbon. This ensures that the stability compared to the Befree is once again quite a bit better. You can find more information in my Manfrotto Befree GT Carbon review.
Hoya HD Gold Polarizing Filter: I use the polarizing filter especially for shots in cloudy weather in the forest and at rivers. There it enhances the contrast and the colors. Nice side effect: The exposure time increases by about two f-stops. So I get exposure times around one second with less light. That’s enough to blur the water of rivers and give it that milky fog effect. With blue skies, I don’t use a polarizing filter at all on the wide angle between 16 and 30 mm, because the sky is polarized unevenly, which I find unnatural. For me personally, a polarizing filter is an absolute staple in my photographic equipment.
ND filters from B+W and Hoya: I use four different ND filters to be able to achieve the desired exposure time in every light situation. My set consists of Hoya NDX8 (3 stops), Hoya NDX400 (9 stops), B+W ND64 (6 stops) and B+W ND1000 (10 stops). These filters can be combined in any way. The Hoya filters are relatively color neutral, the B+W have a strong red cast. Therefore I use the B+W only for black and white pictures.
Hoya R72 infrared filter: For infrared photography I use an old bridge camera, the Sony F828. This camera does not need to be converted for infrared thanks to the Nightshot mode. To capture infrared light, the visible light must be blocked so that only light in the infrared spectrum falls on the sensor. Depending on which filter with which wavelength you choose, the result is quite different. Some filters still let a color part of the light through, others only deliver black and white images. To be able to vary here, I have three different filters: Hoya R72, Heliopan RG645 and Heliopan RG695.
Sony RM-VPR1 cable release: The search for a suitable cable release for the Sony Alpha 7 III was not so easy. I don’t want to have the smartphone in my hand when I’m taking pictures, but I want to be able to concentrate completely on the photography. In this respect, only a remote shutter release comes into question. I don’t need a wireless shutter release because otherwise I would always have to worry about the batteries. So that leaves only a cable remote release. My first purchase, the Sony RM-SPR1, had no lock function, making it useless for long exposures over 30 seconds. The Rollei cable release for Sony cameras was not good quality. Currently I am using the Sony RM-VPR1.
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDCX 64 GB memory card: I’ve been using SanDisk memory cards practically since I started photography. Currently I have two 64 GB cards. Since I don’t take that many pictures during a photo tour, one card would probably be enough for 2-3 weeks of photo tours. I strongly recommend using branded memory. It is very annoying when the files are unusable because of a faulty card or the card fails to operate while taking pictures. I have only had one SanDisk card in 15 years that produced errors after 2 years. Fortunately, I was able to reconstruct the images with the RescuePro included. The card itself was immediately replaced free of charge by the manufacturer. In my article about memory cards for cameras, I listed which memory card fits which camera.
Backpack & Bags
Lowepro Flipside 500 AW II: Most of the time I transport my photo equipment in this photo backpack. It is very roomy and comfortable to carry even for me with two meters height. After all, my equipment includes only a camera body, two lenses and some accessories. The tripod can be easily attached to the backpack. Then there are still plenty of free compartments where I can stow water, food, valuables and a thin jacket. The Flipside 500 AW II has a rain cover, so bad weather is not a problem. The camera compartment of the backpack can only be opened on the back side. This is good in that I can put the backpack on unclean ground and still put it back on afterwards without having dirt on my back afterwards. On city trips, it also ensures that thieves can’t get to the photo equipment as easily.
Lowepro Nova 170 AW II: For small photo tours in the city with only one lens, I use this camera bag. It is very roomy so I can carry some accessories or a small water bottle along with the camera. The padding is good and the weight is still light. It also provides protection against bad weather.
Tycka filter bag: In past years, I have always carried my filters in the manufacturer’s sleeve. These sleeves are very sturdy and thus offer good protection, but take up more space in the photo backpack. Recently, I have this filter bag from Tycka. In it I have stowed all filters. Normally, there is no major pressure on the filters in the photo backpack, so the protection should still be sufficient. The inside of the filter bag is made of a kind of velvet.
Postprocessing & Printing
Monitor & Calibration
Acer Predator XB1 27 inch monitor: For image editing, I need a monitor that provides good viewing angle stability and accurate color reproduction. In addition, good gaming properties are important to me. This monitor really fulfills all aspects. It has an IPS panel, which provides 100% sRGB coverage. With 27 inches, it is pleasantly large. The 144 hz refresh rate and G-Sync ensure that everything runs smoothly even when gaming. I also feel more comfortable having only one monitor on my desk now instead of two before (one for image editing and one for gaming). If you’re looking for a new monitor, I’ve got some recent recommendations for it in my Monitor for Image Editing article.
Datacolor SpyderX Pro Calibration Device: I use a Spyder 4 Pro to calibrate the monitor. The device measures the brightness, colors, temperature and contrast and creates a monitor profile from that. Every 3 months it has to be recalibrated, the process takes about half an hour. With this, however, my prints look the same as the image on the monitor. Here you can find more information about monitor calibration.
Adobe Photoshop: I use Adobe Photoshop to edit my images. Photoshop is part of the Adobe photo subscription and costs about 13 € per month. My image processing of the landscape shots is designed to make the images as I saw them myself on location. The human eye simply sees differently than a camera, so I can’t avoid editing. However, this post-processing is not complicated. In my video course about image processing for landscape photography I show the whole process.
Nik Collection: The Nik Collection is a collection of plugins for Photoshop. Primarily, I use the included Silver Efex Pro for black and white conversion of my images. After my extensive reviews on converting photos from color to black and white, it turns out that I get the best image quality with this. Equally helpful is the included plugin for resharpening photos for printing.
Neat Image: Even when working from a tripod, there are situations at the seaside or in windy conditions where I need to increase the ISO a bit. When shooting interior architecture without a tripod, I sometimes take photos at ISO 800 or 1600, depending on the light. When using higher ISOs, image noise occurs. The goal of my photography is often to get a good print. If I find the noise in the final shot too strong, I use the Neat Image plugin to remove it. Today, this process could also be done already in Adobe Camera RAW or in Photoshop. However, the results of Neat Image are the better ones according to my reviews.
Print service provider
WhiteWall: I have tried many providers when it comes to printing my images. The result of photography for me is still a good print. Having my own printer is out of the question for me because I print too irregularly. After extensive reviews, I primarily use WhiteWall as my print service provider. The prints cost a little more here, but the quality deserves to be called premium. Especially the prints on Hahnemühle paper are simply in a class of their own.
Michael Freeman – The Photographic Gaze: In my opinion, 80% of technical knowledge is in the camera manual. During the last years I have read more than 30 different photo books. Periodically I clean out my bookshelf and sell the less useful books. One book that I will never sell, however, is „The Photographic Gaze“ by Michael Freeman. This is about the subject of image composition. Freeman deconstructs many of his images, showing the elements of image composition that make them work.
Bruce Barnbaum – The Art of Photography: If you’re learning photography, you’ll certainly deal with the technique in the beginning to learn it. Then at some point you get more involved with image composition. And after that comes the point where you want to express yourself, your thoughts and feelings with your photography. This book is for that point. It helps you find your own photographic expression. Bruce Barnbaum’s book nudges your thoughts without imposing his own on you. A very clear recommendation if you want to develop yourself photographically.