Photographers, almost by nature, are gearheads. Some more than others, to be sure. Because photography is an obvious visual pursuit, photographers over time will begin to see a difference in lens quality and in the quality of the digital capture of the sensor. Equipment in a way used to be less of an issue with film as photographers were mainly worried about lens quality and film quality. Purchasing a professional film was easy, and finding a sharp, contrasty lens was the next step in the pursuit of image quality. Now in the digital world, photographers concern themselves with more aspects of the equipment side of things. The cameras themselves (mainly the sensors) are a major contributing factor to image quality, coupled of course, with the quality of the lens. Sometimes, it's nice to see what others are using, as an insight in what the professionals feel like are the necessary tools to make the best images.
We welcome your comments, as many will agree and disagree to the need of using very expensive equipment versus less expensive tools, and leaving the image content to speak for itself (the "Best Camera is the One That's With You" concept). Admittedly, the following photographers fall into the genres of outdoor, wildlife, and travel, and do not represent whole industries such as commercial/editorial, fashion, wedding, portrait, and reportage.
TOM MANGELSEN (Wildlife, Landscape)
Tom Mangelsen seems to have held on to film for quite awhile and still has the Fuji BX617 with 90mm, 180mm, and 300mm lenses. His digital setup includes Nikon bodies and lenses, however. The Nikon D4 (three bodies) and a single D800 make up his digital lineup with a D3 as backup. His lenses include the 14-24mm, 28-300 mm, 200-400mm, and 600mm lenses round out a hefty set of lenses. It should be noted that he also carries a few teleconverters, the 1.4x and the 1.7x. All of this is carried in Lowepro bags and cases. He uses a new Manfrotto tripod along with his Sachtler tripod and heads for stabilization and SanDisk Extreme Pro CF cards, 16GB, 32 GB, and 64GB. In the D4, Tom uses the SanDisk Extreme Pro and the new Sony XQD card. Website
ART WOLFE (Wildlife, Landscape, Travel)
Art Wolfe who shoots a variety of travel, landscape, and wildlife images shoots on Canon equipment, namely the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 1Dx. Through his website, he notes that he only carries limited equipment. His most used lenses are the Canon 16-35 mm Mark II and the 70-200 mm f/4 lens. He states that the f/4 version is "just as sharp as the much heavier and more expensive 2.8 version." He mentions that he also shoots with the much longer 400 mm and 500 mm f/4 lens for wildlife. The Canon 24-105 mm has been a walkaround lens as he moves around markets to photograph people and architecture. The LaCie rugged hard drives and a MacBook Pro laptop handle the storage. Flashes and reflectors are also in the bag. His uses a Gitzo GT3540 and a Kirk BH-1 head. He uses the Lowepro Flipside 400 AW backpack. Website
ANDY KATZ (Outdoor, Travel)
Andy Katz specializes in landscape photography and has produced many books and images for publication with Sony's Alpha 900 and one of his favorite lenses, the Carl Zeiss 24-70 mm f/2.8. His lenses include a 16-35 mm lens, a 24-70 mm f/2.8, and a 70-400 mm lens from Zeiss. A Sony NX-5 is also in his bag, as he says that it is a lightweight addition and is always around for the action. Website
MOOSE PETERSON (Wildlife, Landscape)
Moose is clearly a Nikon shooter with a selection that is comparable to Nikon's own shipping room (main bodies are the D4 and the D800). He has three different webpages to accommodate his different combinations of gear that he will take out depending on whether he is shooting landscape or wildlife, and he has an additional page to show what he packs on a plane. For the plane, he packs some gear into either an MP-1 or MP-3 or uses a ThinkTank bag. Instead of checking gear, he will FedEx it in a Pelican Case 1660 to the location he will be shooting. Moose had said, "How do I select my camera gear? That’s a damn good question since at times, there is no logic to it. First, it’s normally in the Nikon line because that’s what I shoot. (And why Nikon? They stood behind me in the beginning, and I am loyal person). I don’t care if you shoot Canon, I just care you shoot and use your images to change the world! After that, it’s the tools (bodies, lenses, accessories) that permit me to visually interpret the world in my viewfinder so I can communicate the wonders I am so fortunate and photograph." If a tripod is needed, his cameras are firmly planted on a Gitzo 3540XLS or a Gitzo 5561SGT with Wimberley Head. Website