Peter Fritz | Photography on Purpose

GEAR

This is the gear I’m currently using for my landscape photography and video-making. I’ve only listed items that I’ve purchased, used repeatedly, and would recommend if you came up to me and asked my for opinion. I bought all this gear with my own money, and all of it is employed on a regular basis.

Stills Camera and Lenses

Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera 

This is the kind of camera I’ve always wanted – full-frame, mirrorless, high-res and built to withstand the great outdoors. Peter McKinnon calls it the ‘grail camera’, and for good reason. 

Forget about the video stats (impressive as they are) – this is an epic stills camera first and foremost. It’s fast, extremely customisable, the eye-AF is incredible, and that viewfinder is so beautiful.

Everything falls nicely to hand, the menus make sense, and features like the inbuilt focus stacking and bulb timer make it a powerful tool for anyone keen to make beautiful landscape images.

Pay the price once, and enjoy perfection for years.

Canon R5 Price

Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapter

If you want to use any of the fabulous Canon EF L glass (like the 100-400mm listed below), you’ll need an EF to EOS-R adapter. 

Don’t buy one of the 3rd-party brands – they often don’t work as expected. With the Canon ones, you’ll find everything works perfectly, including AF eye detect and image stabilisation.

There are three versions: a plain old adapter, an adapter with the control ring (pictured) and an adapter with a drop-in filter slot for a circular polarizer or variable ND filter. That’s the one I should have bought!

Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapter Prices

Canon EF 100-400 4.5-5.6L is II

I remember lusting after the Nikon 80-400 back when I had a D750, so when a mate recommended the Canon 100-400 (and promised I’d never regret it), I took his advice.

I shoot around 80% of my landscapes with this lens because it allows me to pick out multiple compositions from one viewpoint, plus I can reach subjects I otherwise couldn’t (private farmland, difficult terrain, etc.). Autofocus is super-fast, image stabilisation is epic, and sharpness is delightful. It also focuses super-close, allowing me to pick out smaller elements of a scene like flowers, insects and textures. 

I’ll echo my mate’s advice. Get it. You’ll never regret it.

Canon 100-400 IS USM II Price

Canon RF 24-105mm 4.0 L

Don’t knock the all-rounder. Sometimes, you just want to grab a quick shot, and the good old 24-105 is the perfect (almost) do-it-all focal range.

This lens stays on my camera when it’s in the bag. It’s also the lens I often look through when having my first look at a scene. The wide end is usually wide enough for most of the more ‘intimate’ compositions, while the long end offers respectable reach for many shots, too. It’s also very nice for portraits.

Plus, the constant f4 aperture is nice to have, but not essential for landscapes.

Best of all, though, it’s an L lens, so it’s weather-sealed and biting sharp.

If I was going to buy my first lens, or only one lens, this would be it.

Canon RF 24-105mm 4.0 L Price

Canon RF 50mm 1.8 STM

Some of the sharpest, fastest and cheapest lenses in the Canon range are the RF and EF 50mm 1.8 twins. Both offer beautiful bokeh, (the shape of the blurred elements in an image), making them wonderful for subject isolation against a busy background.

They’re light, focus fast, and look lovely and bright through the viewfinder.

Yes, the RF 50mm f1.2 is epic – and if you can afford it, you should indulge – but the 1.8 variants offer similar results for significantly less money.

Every camera bag should contain a nifty-50.

Canon RF & EF 50mm Prices

Samyang AF 14mm 2.8 RF

Where possible, I prefer brand-matched glass. But sometimes the alternatives are so good, you’re justified buying a third-party offering, and this fabulous lens is one of them.

Known for their quality manual-focus ultra-wide lenses, Samyang was the first company to make a native RF-mount lens outside of Canon.

After noticing I hardly touched my Canon EF 16-35 mm f4 lens, I sold it and bought this. It’s a full stop faster, weather-sealed and very sharp, so it’s perfect for astrophotography and immersive close-up images. As a bonus, it also looks and feels gorgeous, which makes holding and using it a delight. Or just staring at it.

Samyang AF 14mm 2.8 RF Prices

Canon EF Extender 2x III

Canon series-III extenders are so good it’s hard to justify a super-fast telephoto unless you’re a mad aviation, bird or sports photographer. 

I’ve used both the 1.4x and 2x extenders with my 100-400 on the R5 and the M6 MK II, and they work brilliantly, delivering highly detailed, beautifully-coloured images.

Just remember that the 1.4x extender, soaks up one stop, and the 2x extender, two stops of light. That means that at the 400mm focal length, my zoom lens goes from being an f5.6 lens to an F8 with the 1.4, and an f11 with the 2x extender. I don’t care, though. The R5 works so well at high ISO, it’s fine, and the EVF means the viewfinder stays nice and bright. 

Like the EF-EOS R Adapters, this is one item you should buy from Canon – not from a third-party brand.

Canon EF Extender III Prices

Formatt Hitech Firecrest Filters

There are two things every serious landscape photographer needs – a really solid tripod and a proper, high-quality filter system.

The three most important filters are:

  1. The circular polarizer – for controlling reflections and colour saturation.
  2. Neutral density filters – for smooth clouds and water.
  3. Graduated filters – to prevent blown out skies.

In the 80’s, I used a Cokin graduated tobacco filter on EVERYTHING. Now that I’m all grown up, I prefer a more subtle approach. There’s beauty in subtlety.

I’ve chosen the Formatt Hitech system because they’re bloody good, but seriously, anything from LEE, NISI or PolarPro will serve you just as well. Make sure you get a system that doesn’t cause vignetting on your widest lenses, and you’re good to go.

Formatt Hitech Filter System Prices

Tripods, Heads, Plate and Bracket

Manfrotto 055 Tripod

Build like a brick sh*t-house, the Manfrotto 055 is used by landscape photographers the world over. 

I only have the aluminium version because I bought it before I became sold on the virtues of carbon fibre. But that said, it’s one of those items where, unless you’re walking a fair distance to your location, it’ll serve you just fine.

I like the way the centre column slides up and over 90 degrees – great for peering over the edge of a bridge, or getting close to macro subjects. Just a word on caution – make sure you align it properly when placing it back in the vertical position or you might crack the sleeve that controls the angle movement.

I have just retired this tripod from fieldwork (I’ll use it in my studio, now), and have moved to the iFootage Gazelle carbon TC6.

Manfrotto 055 Tripod Price

iFootage Gazelle Uprise TC6 Tripod

Tripods are a very personal thing, and over the years, I’ve figured out what matters most to me in securing and positioning my camera.

Some of the things that impact your experience with a tripod are:

  1. Weight
  2. Maximum height
  3. Packed height
  4. Rigidity
  5. Leg operation (twist vs lever)
  6. Spreading operation
  7. Levelling
  8. Build quality
  9. Flexibility
  10. Aesthetics

For me, the iFootage Gazelle Uprise TC6 carbon fibre tripod ticks every box. It’s beautiful, well-made, highly flexible, lightweight, and has an integrated bowl-head for fast levelling. The icing on the cake is that the iFootage tripods are far less expensive than the likes of GITZO and RRS.

iFootage Tripod Prices

Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon)

I feel in love with this thing the moment I saw it. It’s just so damn gorgeous! After that, it was just a matter of convincing myself that I actually ‘needed’ it.

The guys at Peak Design make some beautiful gear. It’s clear that they think deeply about the user experience, and their quality shines through with every single product – especially their bags and straps.

As a hiking tripod, I reckon the carbon version of this is without peer. It folds up super small, yet extends tall enough for a six-footer. The innovation is outstanding, and despite running 5 sections per leg, it’s super rigid, supporting my R5 and 100-400 combo easily. 

It’s not quite as rigid as the iFootage or Manfrotto in windy conditions, but it’s not far off – which is amazing, because compared to the Peak Design, the other two are huge. Everything from the head design, the cam locks and the hidden phone holder are beautifully-made and a delight to use.

My beloved example is permanently attached to my camera bag, so if I need to wander more than a mile, I can leave the bigger tripod in the car. It ain’t cheap, but it’s one of those products you will love every time you hold it in your hands.

Peak Design Travel Tripod Price

Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head

If you equate quality with weight, you’ll love this unit – it feels like it’s carved from a single block of granite.

After tiring of my traditional three-way head, I invested in this geared solution. As you’ll know, landscape photography is often about careful framing, and making small movements with a ball head can be frustrating.

A geared head, however, let’s you adjust your camera’s orientation with millimetric precision. First, you twist the quick-release dial on the relevant axis, then you release it and make your final adjustment with the knobs.

I’ve used Manfrotto gear for over 30 years, and never suffered a single failure, so I suspect this thing will outlive me.

Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head Price

Manfrotto X-pro MHXPRO-3WG Precise Geared Head

In case you haven’t noticed, I have big fat sausage fingers. And because of these fine digits, tacking small spaces can be tricky.

That’s why I’ve just side-graded to this newer design in the Manfrotto range. Rather than jamming my bratwursts between the 410’s components, I can now grab a simple lever instead. Then, it’s just a matter of twirling the relevant knobs for the final adjustments.

It’s the perfect combination of speed and precision – two things that rarely make good bedfellows – and the answer for those of us who are fussy but impatient.

Manfrotto X-pro MHXPRO-3WG Price

SmallRig L-Bracket

I care a lot about aesthetics and build quality, and that’s why I own a bunch of gear from SmallRig. Everything they make is just so nice.

I have SmallRig L-brackets on my R5, M6 MKII, and my son’s M3, plus a bunch of other items to attach, swivel and protect stuff.

An L-bracket is an essential piece of kit these days because it allows you to switch from landscape to portrait orientation in just a few seconds, without screwing up your camera’s relative position on the tripod.

So, instead of tilting your camera sideways – forcing it to flop to one side away from what you’ve framed – you flip its orientation within the same spot. Of course, you’ll need an Arca-Swiss type clamp on your tripod to do it, but once you do this, you’ll never go back to the old way.

SmallRig L-Bracket Price

SunwayFoto Arca-Swiss Clamp

I haven’t used the included Manfrotto clamps for a while because they won’t work with an L-Bracket.

And as I’ve mentioned, once you switch to Arca-Swiss and add an L-bracket to your camera, you’ll never compose images the same way again.

So, to keep your non-Arca-Swiss head but switch to an Arca-Swiss clamp, you either need an adapter kit (pricey), or you could buy one of these and simply attach it to your existing plate.

That’s what I did with both my Manfrotto heads, and the best thing about the SunwayPhoto DLC-60LX is it’s a screw release and captive lever release system in one. Just attach it to your existing head plate in the orientation you prefer, and now you have a clamp for your beautiful SmallRig L-bracket!

Incidentally, SmallRig also makes a selection of clamps, but I found this one worked better with the holes on my Manfrotto plates.

SunwayFoto Arca-Swiss Clamp Price

Affiliate Notice: As a member of various affiliate programs, I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases made using the links on this page.  They don’t cost you any extra, but they might help me restock my coffee supply.

All content © Copyright 2020, 2021 Peter Fritz

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