A recent post by a superb Sea Kayaking photographer Mark Rainsley on the excellent South West Sea Kayaking website about the kit he uses, along with a couple of email enquiries about my own prompted me to jot down a few details about the camera kit I use to capture the shots used on this blog.
Hopefully this will be of interest!
Camera’sI use a Pentax K200d DSLR as my main camera. This is one of Pentax’s entry level DSLR’s and was bought over and above the more common Cannon & Nikon DSLR’s due to it’s excellent reputation for weather proof seals. To date it has performed extremely well.
Whilst it is harder to purchase accessories for ‘off the shelf’ and lacks the range of other brands it has proved to be incredibly sturdy (surviving a 5 foot drop of a ledge whilst connected to a tripod) and shrugs off the mist, drizzle and freezing temperatures it has been used in.
I also carry a Pentax Optio W60 (now replaced by the W80) point and shoot which I carry in my Buoyancy Aid. This is a waterproof camera with video capabilities and gets used for shots on the water until I take delivery of a waterproof deck back for the DSLR (more of that later).
LensesFor the Pentax K200d I carry the stock Pentax 18-55mm lens that comes with the camera. This is great for closer and wide angle shots.
As a second lens, I recently picked up a Pentax 50-200mm zoom lens. This has become my go to lens unless I know I am shooting close ups. Neither are particularly ‘fast’ lenses as my budget wouldn’t stretch that far but have proved more than capable.
Both lenses came with sun hoods to prevent glare or lens flare.
TripodAs I have been playing with a lot of long exposure/night shots a tripod is vital. I wanted something reasonably sturdy yet light weight and small-ish to pack away.
As it gets used on wet sand/pebbles and generally abused I’ve opted for ultra cheap with a view to replacing as and when it gets trashed.
However, the Hama Star 75 I purchased is still going strong and at £7 (reduced from £22) is a bargain.
Camera bagsI use Lowepro bags. My DSLR, lenses and accessories live in a Apex 140 AW bag. This has a neat weatherproof cover stowed in the base and a nice lens cloth sewn into the bag.
The internal compartment has moveable dividers allowing me to create a space for the extra lens on one side of the DSLR and my accessories & batteries on the other. It’s small enough to pack away in a dry bag but large enough for the kit I carry.
All this kit is generally carried in the rear hatch of my Sea Kayak in a heavy duty dry bag.
The Optio lives in a small Lowepro Rezo 20 pouch which has a front pocket large enough for a set of AA batteries.
I carry 3 main accessories. A Hahnet cable release trigger for remote focusing and taking shots. The button the small unit locks for ‘bulb’ mode shots allowing me to take exposures above the 30 second limit of the DSLR. It comes with a 2 metre extension cable and has been superb for super long exposures.
I always have my iPhone and use the stopwatch for timing long exposures as well as the GPS for getting data for tagging photos at a later date.
Finally I use a cheap headtorch which switches from LED to a red bulb. The red bulb provides enough light to see the LCD display on the camera whilst the LED lights have been used to help focus the camera in pitch black conditions and ‘paint’ subjects during long exposure shots. I also carry this small head torch so I don’t zap the batteries in my main hadtorch which is used whilst on the water.
I have my heart set on one future purchase. Some form of water proof deck bag or camera bag to give me the confidence to shoot from the Pentax K200d whilst on the water. I’m considering an Ortleib Aqua Zoom bag which can be used as a deck bag. Another of my photography heroes Douglas Wilcox swears by his. The alternative is the Aquapac DSLR bag. I’ll update you on the decision I make regarding these.
As ever, I’m very keen to hear your thoughts and ideas – if you have particular camera kit you use out on the water why not add a comment to this post.