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What’s In My Camera Bag? A Review of All My Photographic Camera Equipment

This video post will go over all of my photographic equipment, including DSLR cameras, lenses, flashes, light stands, tripods, audio and how to record high quality sound with a DSLR, and various camera accessories.


Nikon D300s: This was the best camera on the market for me, but I ultimately dislikeΒ  all cameras available on the market because of this reason.

Nikon D50: My first DSLR. Still use it for panoramas and infrared work with the infrared filter.

Canon HF M300 Camcorder (not discussed): I use this to record video now πŸ™‚ Main thing I really don't like about it is that it doesn't have a standard hotshoe mount on the top, and there isn't a full-on manual mode where you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture at the same time, and the shutterspeed is sorta limited in terms of length. Other than that it seems to be pretty good! 30fps/1080p beats the 24fps/720p on the Nikon D300s hehe


AF-S DX Nikkor ED 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G
: I use this about 90% of the time. I should probably get the one with Vibration Reduction, but whatever, this is fine for now.

Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D: Really good for low light photography, shallow depth of field, and macro photography when combined with the lens reverser adapter ring.

Nikon Lens Series E 50mm 1:1.8

Tokina SD 70-210mm 1:4-5.6: Never use it really, but might start using it again.

Tamron 18-200mm: Mainly use this for video.

Tokina 80-200: Not even mine, rarely used, but I bet it would look really cool when doing video work.

Lens Reverser Adapter Ring: This thing lets me turn any 52mm threaded lens into a macro lens by mounting the lens on backwards on the camera. The exact one I have that is on Amazon is like $50 but I got this used for about $10-$20.


Hoya R72 Infrared Filter: My favorite filter hehe

Hoya ND400: Super dark filter to get around 30 seconds in pure daylight at F22, ISO100, etc. I can get even longer if I combine this filter with the R72 and the ND8 and Polarizer.

Canon Polarizer: Very good filter for removing glare and saturating colors with CORRECT color. Awesome filter.

Nikon ND 8x: Another darkening filter, just not as extreme.

Quantaray 6X-Cross: This is a star cross filter that slices the light up into a cross shape.

Quantaray Foggilizer Adds a really foggy look to your photos.


Sunpak auto 433 D Thyristor: Full-blast flash, doesn't seem to be adjustable to 1/2 power, 1/4th, 1/8th, power etc. Only full power apparently.

Sunpak auto 344 D Thyristor: I use this outside or quickly when on the go. Can be adjusted from full power to 1/16th power.

RF602 Wireless Flash Trigger: This is used to wirelessly trigger my 344 flash (or my Photogenic studio light). Works only at 1/160th of a second or slower.

Photogenic StudioMax III 160: Big studio light that plugs into the wall. I won this in a photo competition on a website called Photographer's Warehouse.

Photo Basics 402 uLite Video Lighting Kit: Got this from Amazon, the lights are bright and hot. Haven't used the green screen too much.

Large Umbrella

Reflector: Reflects lights and diffuses light~!


Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod: Awesome tripod. Legs and extender pole can go all over the place.

Manfrotto 496RC2 BallHead: Ballhead seems to be really good, I am liking it more compared to the tilt-and-pan.

Monopod: Not mine, came from a cheap tripod, but pretty useful

Sunset PR-5500 Tripod: This was my main tripod but I brought it into the ocean with me one time and the sand got into the grooves and ruined it.

Velbon VS-3 Tripod: Same thing... got messed up from the sand and the legs can't slide in and out easily...

2 Broken small tripods: These were really crappy to begin with because they were originally made for telescopes lol

Fancier WT803 Light Stand+Umbrella+Clamp KIT: Kits comes with a light stand, a small umbrealla, and a clamp so you can attach the flash and umbella at the top of the stand. Great deal.


Zoom H4n: Awesome high quality sound field recorder.

Adjustable Swivel Shoe Mount: I use this to attach to my Zoom H4n to my Nikon D300s .

LN2MIC-ZOOMH4N 3.5mm Audio Cord: I use this to sync the sound into the D300s so the sound and video are combined together

Azden SMX-10 Microphone: I may sometimes use this along with my Zoom H4n now.

ATR-3350 Lavalier microphone: I am using this for video work. Seems to work OKAY, only records sound in the left channel and is omnidirectional. Seems to make a slight buzzing noise but it was the cheapest one I could find that looked reasonably good.


Gray card: Use the big gray patch on the back for white balance color correction

BP1500 Calumet Backpack: Love this bag, just got it.

UN Blow Brush: Old blower brush thing

Sima Lenspen: Love the non-brush side. Use air instead of the brush to brush little speckles off your lens.

ML-L3 Nikon Remote: Wireless remote for the Nikon D50, it can also be used to lock the shutter so you can record an exposure beyond 30 seconds in duration. This works with lower end Nikon DSLRs.

Remote Shutter Release Cord: For taking exposures longer than 30 seconds. This works with higher end Nikon DSLR cameras.

Roscolux: You can place these on your flash to change the color of the light.


Photoshop CS5: This is pretty much the ultimate photography editing software. Don't need anything else.

Photomatix (Get 15% off with coupon code "photoex"): I use this when I do HDR stuff.

All the links above are my Amazon affiliate links, so if you click on one of them and make a purchase, I will get a small commission. This helps me continue create more high quality videos for you πŸ™‚ I literally spent 2 full entire days filming this video, editing it, and creating this massive list.

photographic camera equipment inside a Calument BP 1500 camera backpack


Color Infrared (IR) Tutorial Walkthrough

The following content is an excerpt from the Trick Photography and Special Effects eBook. For additional content on IR Photography that has been reorganized, updated and revised, please consider getting the eBook.

These are infrared images; pictures with recorded light beyond the visible spectrum. You can take infrared photos by using an infrared filter that screws on the front of the lens, or you can convert your camera to take IR photos permanently.

Why Take Infrared (IR) Photos?
Infrared photography darkens clear blue skies a lot, but leaves the individual clouds very bright. Infrared photography leaves foliage (grass, plants, leaves) looking bright white. It allows you to take photos with longer shutter speeds, and gives your photos an awesome look in general.

ir remote

Nikon D50. ISO 200, 1/2 second, f4.8. This camera is very sensitive to IR light πŸ™‚

Can my camera take IR photos?
Older Nikon cameras, like the Nikon D50 andD70 work very well with the Hoya R-72 Infrared Filter
. However, a lot of newer camera sensors now have a filter that blocks out IR light in front of the cameras sensor (to a degree). In order to find out if your D-SLR can take infrared photos, find a remote control that goes to your TV, or something similar. Take a 1 second exposure. During that exposure, click the power button on your remote, pointing it towards the camera lens. When you look at the picture on the LCD preview screen, you should see a light coming from the front of the remote. If the TV remote light looks very dim, the exposure time will have to be longer when using an IR filter. BUT, if the TV remote light looks pretty bright, your camera is well suited for infrared photography. Try doing this test with different lenses as well; some are better for IR photography than others. If you don't see anything coming from your remote, you won't be able to take infrared photos with your camera using an IR filter. You can however, get your camera's sensor modified by LifePixel. Conversion costs about $300-$500, and shutter speed times are normal, as is focusing. Your camera will be permanently modified for infrared photography!

But, if your camera passed the TV Remote Test, then you can go the easy/cheap route and start taking infrared pictures with the Hoya R-72 Infrared Filter. Mine was $54 for a 52mm sized filter.

Some lenses just don't work that great with IR filters and create hotspots. I myself however haven't had any problems with "hotspots" in any of my photogs before.

Here is a list of cameras and lenses that are good for IR:
Good/Bad Infrared Lenses List
Good/Bad Infrared Camera List

Taking Infrared Photos Using the Hoya R72 Filter:

Hoya R72 Filter

Hoya R72 Filter

When you get your filter, you will notice it looks almost black. Because the filter is so dark, you will need to focus your scene before putting the filter on. Once you have your scene in focus, screw your filter on, and then switch to manual focus. You CAN use autofocus with the filter on, but you have to be in broad sunlight for this to work, and it isn't always accurate....

Lenses focus differently when using an infrared filter. If you want technically sharper results, you can rotate your focus ring about 1 millimeter away infinite symbol (depending on your lens). Some lenses will have an infrared symbol on the lens itself, which is useful. Use that mark if it does. If it doesn't though, you'll have to play a little guess-and-check game to find the infrared focusing spot. You CAN use the cameras autofocus, it will just be slightly out of focus (I've taken many photos like this anyway.) Try a few test shots using the autofocus, you may find it acceptable. Also try using higher F numbers to increase the depth of field, that might help a little bit.

IR filters allows the use of longer shutter speeds.

Infrared Photography allows the use of longer shutter speeds.

You also CAN take infrared pictures without using a tripod, but it is not recommended. You will need to use high ISO numbers, and low F numbers, and those usually are not good for landscapes. Just avoid all of that mess by using a tripod. Your photographs will look a lot more professional.

Now, if you haven't noticed by now, the Hoya R72 filter is DARK. This will substantially increase shutter-speeds. If you need shorter shutter speeds, you can raise the ISO number and lower the F number. I usually don't do much of that myself, though.

If your photos are coming out too dark, just bump up the EV until you are satisfied. The shutter speeds will be quite long when using the IR filter (depending on how sensitive your camera is to IR).

Setting The White Balance for Infrared Photography:

Regular IR image, with no channel swapping

After taking some photographs with your filter, you may have realized that your pictures are completely RED. In order to fix this, just meter and set the White Balance with your filter on. Google "How to set white balance with [YOUR CAMERA MODEL]" for instructions, if you don't know how to do this already.

HOWEVER, a lot of cameras cannot set extreme infrared white balances in camera. If you can't get your camera to work, just shoot in RAW and set the WB later in post processing with a program called UFRAW. This method should work with any camera. UFRAW is way better than Adobe Camera RAW because it can set the white balance for infrared photography which A.C.R. can't properly do.

Editing IR Photos in Photoshop:
The popular look for infrared photography: have a blue sky instead of brown.

Image on the left is before the red/blue channel swap, image on the right is after it

Image on the left is before the red/blue channel swap, image on the right is after it

It's quiet easy to obtain this look. In Photoshop, go to Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer.... Make sure the "Output channel" is selected on Red inside of the dropdown box. Type in 0 for red, and 100 for blue. Next, select the Blue output channel but selecting it in the drop down box. Type in 100 for Red, and 0 for Blue. You've just swapped all the red colors for all the blue ones. Feel free to experiment with other channel swapping variations, I've seen pink and yellow foliage before πŸ™‚

red/blue channel swap

If your foliage in your pictures look too red-ish, and you want them pure white like snow, you can easily desaturate them using Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Select Red (Alt+3) and then slide the saturation slider all the way down to -100.

I would also recommend darkening the levels a little bit. The 2 examples above was not adjusted for that, and it looks a bit faded.

IR Examples Chart:


Keep in mind that this was a cloudy day. If it was a pure blue sky, the sky in the IR photos would look much darker.

Editing Infrared RAW Photos in Adobe Camera RAW:
If you want to set the white balance using Adobe products, you can download the DNG Profile Editor and then watch this video tutorial describing how it is done. But, like I said before, I recommend using UFRaw instead of Adobe products.

Using Two Infrared Filters May Get Better Results:
I have access to two Hoya R72 filters. I stacked them on top of each other and used both of them on my lens simultaneously. The results seem to have more color and depth. People seem to debate about this. What do you think?

The image on the left was taken with two IR filters, and the image on the right was only taken with one.  Red/blue channel swapped as well.  Nikon D50

The images on the left was taken with two IR filters stacked on top of each other, and the image on the right was only taken with one. Red/blue channel swapped as well. Nikon D50

Here is the video tutorial that goes along with this article. It isn't as detailed as the written article, but it has more infrared photo examples that this article doesn't have:


How to Take Long Exposures for Night and Day

That is the moon, not the sun! Make: NIKON CORPORATION Model: NIKON D50 Shutter Speed: 300/10 second Aperture: F/3.5 Focal Length: 18 mm Date Taken: Sep 7, 2009, 12:32:58 AM

That is the moon, not the sun! Make: NIKON CORPORATION Model: NIKON D50 Shutter Speed: 300/10 second Aperture: F/3.5 Focal Length: 18 mm Date Taken: Sep 7, 2009, 12:32:58 AM

Taking Long Exposures At Night:

Taking photographs at night doesn't mean they have to look like they WERE taken at night. The moon is exactly like the sun in terms of lighting, only a lot dimmer. Which means you can take a picture at night when the moon is out, and if you use the right settings, the moon will look just like the sun. I had my camera over exposed 2 stops for this picture. The shadows (and their angles) seem to be more intense at night than day.

Why you would want to take a long exposure when using the moon:

  • To get lighting at a different angle than the sun regularly provides
  • The decrease your depth of field, so you can use smaller apertures, like f/1.4
  • to take longer exposures, so you can see cloud motion blur

If you want to take a long exposure at night time, have your ISO set to the lowest setting (like ISO 200), and then put your camera on Shutter Speed mode. On my camera, the camera can go up to a maximum of 30 seconds, so I used that. If you need even longer exposures, keep taking 30 second exposures one after the other, and then blend them together in photoshop using the Lighten blend mode. Or, if you wanted to go more extreme, put an ND filter on your lens, and take a 1 hour exposure πŸ˜‰

If you simply want to take short exposures at night time, use a higher ISO, like 1600, and the time will be much shorter to take the picture. You will still need a tripod, and the exposure time will still be longer than if you were to take the picture during the day.

Taking Long Exposures During Day:

In order to take long exposures during the daytime, you need to have very dark filters for your lens. The two filters that I recommend using are the ND400 and the Hoya R72. The ND400 is a filter that basically blocks A LOT of light, enabling the photographer to take long exposures (30 seconds+) in daylight. The Hoya R72 is an infrared filter that also blocks a lot of light. The r72 will not give your picture original colors though, since it is in infrared. Here are some examples of what infrared pictures look like:

As you can see, they are quiet different than normal colored photographs. Not all cameras sensors are compatible with infrared filters though, so google your camera name and model along with the term "with IR" beside it. The older Nikon cameras, like D50 and D70 are compatible with the IR filters.

If you want to take regular SHORT exposures with infrared, you can get your camera modified by LifePixel. Your camera will permanently take infrared pictures at regular shutter speeds.

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