My Mobile Office and Photography Equipment

by Ed Lau on September 12, 2007

I’ve been getting a lot of questions in regard to what camera I use lately. Although I firmly believe that photography is solely the product of the photographer’s vision rather than his camera, I’ve never been one to deny readers an answer to a fair question.

I recently sold my Canon 20D of about three years and purchased a 1D Mark II, which was pretty much my dream camera from the day I picked it up in Spokane, WA a couple weeks prior to purchasing the 20D. I was poor at the time so there wasn’t a chance I was going to be able to afford a $5000 camera so I had to settle for the next best thing. However, with the release of the Mark III, prices dropped a bit and I was finally able to buy 8.5 frames per second of awesome.

Canon camera, 1D Mark II, 1DMkII, 1D Mk2

The party piece really is the incredibly fast burst shutter speed which is amazing for capturing high speed action. It doesn’t sound like it but it’s a considerable upgrade over my 20D which only did a maximum of 5fps (up to six frames compared to 20 on the 1D). It also had a faster, more accurate focusing system and…well, more features than I’d have time to list out here, really. I wouldn’t mind buying a Mark III but since it’s still sort of new, I’ll wait until all the major kinks are worked out.

Canon camera, 1D Mark II, 1DMkII, 1D Mk2

These are the lenses and flashes I lug around on a daily basis. The one actually attached the camera is a 50mm f1.4 which is really useful for low lighting and also for selective focusing. I broke my old, cheap f1.8 model so I decided to get something more substantial. The black one on the right is a 17-40 f4.0L, which is more of a outdoor walk-around lens. The “L” designation is reserved for higher quality Canon lenses, meaning better glass and quality parts are being used. Of course, that also means it’s quite a bit more expensive than regular EF-mount lenses.

The big white one of the right is a 70-200mm f4.0L which I use mostly for sports shooting. The range is perfect for smaller fields and hockey rinks but I’ve begun to see the massive limitation of the f4.0 minimum aperature, especially indoors so I’ll probably upgrade to a f2.8 sometime soon. The f2.8 means I’ll be able to shoot in lower lighting at a higher shutter speed, effectively freeze framing action without sacrificing lighting.

The black lens on the left is a recent purchase, a Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro. Macro basically allows you to shoot at closer distances, taking big pictures of small objects. I haven’t had much time to play with it yet but I don’t see much use for it outside of macro and perhaps portraits. It’s sharp and the f2.8 is bright but the focus is so horrendously slow that it would be ineffective for anything else.

The flashes are Canon 430EX and 580EX II models. Flashes are pretty self-explanitory, I guess.

Dell XPS m1210

I’m not much of a studio photographer and as such, most of the time, I’m shooting away from my home office, meaning I need to be able to work on the go. I usually carry my laptop, a Dell XPS m1210, with me everywhere. RAW files are big, ranging from 8-10MB per picture and on any given day, I’ll rattle off about 1000. Over longer periods of time, that number rises exponentially (I came back from Eurotrip with close to 70GB of photos) so I need to carry around a lot of compact flash. Better to have too much than too little when it comes to memory. Just in case, I’ve got a few 80GB and 250GB portable hard drives.

That’s about it, really. I have to lug around some chargers and card readers and such but hey, none of that stuff is very interesting. All in all, this stuff weighs a ton. Just lifting my camera is like doing reps with a very awkwardly shaped dumbbell.

in Photography,Tech and the Net

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Gdog September 12, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Jeez, do you think you have enough CF memory? ;) I have the same WD external HD in 160GB…thank you Costco!

Any advantages to carrying both the 430EX and 580EX? What store did you pick up your gear in WA?


Michael Kwan September 12, 2007 at 11:40 pm

It’s times like these that I’m glad I don’t take my photography seriously. That not only looks like an expensive endeavor, but also a very heavy one.


Ben September 13, 2007 at 6:01 am

Nice setup. I drool over your 1D! Your lens setup is very identical to what I have. I love the 70-200L 2.8 the most — great for portraits. Just wanted to find an excuse to buy an extender. You know of a place in Bellingham or across the border for a good camera shop. With the CAD on the upswing again, guess it’s time to pick up the 1.4x extender.


Ben Cook September 13, 2007 at 7:57 am

You might want to consider popping Amazon links to some of those products. It’s a great post and you never know what might pay off.

Also, I’m going to have to keep my wife away from this site as one look at your gear will make her want to go buy her own ;) She really is due for an upgrade on her camera and lenses but this would probably have her drooling.


Shawn Knight September 13, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Geez, yeah that is a ton of memory cards! I have a single 8 GB card, and I usually take my laptop with me if I know I will be away from home for more than a day.

I use a Nikon D80 with a single lens, 18-200mm VR lens. I don’t link swapping and carrying extra lens; the added weight (and the extra price lol) isn’t for me. I wouldn’t mind picking up a nice macro lens, but other than that, I’m pretty comfortable with my camera setup for now.


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