So, I'm packing again.
No, it's not travelling. It's just another wedding package.
I'm still sort of struggling to have my perfect setup. It's getting there but slow. There are more things I want to refine but these do the job absolutely, yes.
So here are my gears laid out, ready to go. Took a shot of them before packing with my phone. So the photo sucks but this photo is not for sale.
I will dive into what I have here below for more gear nerds.
USB external battery
Pebble Time Steel watch
Godox Transmitter & V850 x2
So, Sony A7Rii, my absolute main camera. I know some say it has way too high MP count for wedding and it only slows down the process. Well, let me put it this way. The more you have, the easier it gets to correct what's normally incorrectable. I don't know about other photographers but I do make mistakes. Not all 100% of my photos from the event is usable. So I wouldn't mind having extra relief there. Speed? Good enough at 5 FPS and decent enough buffer. I could use more buffer but uncompressed file is about 81mb per shot, so understandable. No I don't mind compressed and a tiny bit of imperfection of images. Wedding is not usually focused into the details of the hair line of the bride on the photos. It's more into the moment. Of course, I am not handing away 42MP file to my clients. That's just ridiculous.
Sony A7. I had it, sold it, had again, sold again and now it's with me again. This is my 3rd A7 and there's a reason. It's overall decent camera and does well at what it does, taking photos. More than enough MP count for weddings and landscapes. AF is usually fast enough unless you are trying to track bride and groom running toward you or something. While high ISO noise can be better like A7Rii (even with all that 42mp, it's still cleaner at high ISO), but it's no way unusable. Some say it's not really ideal for weddings for various reasons, like AF only functional at 0 EV, sluggish software, not enough lenses, etc. Me? I don't mind. It's light. It's got a huge sensor. Sluggish AF? I know some shoot with Leica M series with their manual focusing. I don't care what people say, AF is always faster. And if AF doesn't work, I can switch to manual then. It may not be Nikon D800 or Canon 5D mark III, but it's so light, I could take 2 A7's with primes mounted, for the same weight of D800 with a decent prime. Oh, did I say I got it at a discount of almost half of its original price?
Sony A6000. I have been always sceptical about APS-C sized sensor. I found their output to be very digital like, artificial and mundane. That changed with Fuji's X system. Now I have different view and I could surely use this speed monster of a camera for wedding. I've taken so many photos with A6000 last wedding, A7Rii was crying on my other shoulder. High ISO is dirty and way worse than what A7 can bring, but it's doable at probably about Nikon's old D700 level. Back then? D700 was a miracle of a camera. So if I'm careful enough, I can use this with no problem side by side with A7 series. I found the images to be good enough. Not really mind blowing. Still kinda feeling it too digital like. Maybe just me.
I'd prefer Fuji's output better. But this monster is super fast and accurate. Makes Fuji X-T1 look like rather a turtle at a race with a bunny. Control's a bit gimmicky and the body design really isn't my type, but it works. If anything, probably the first one to go from this list.
Sony RX1. Man... what a weirdo. This one can give me a keeper in one moment and be stupid junk the next. Body is solid and controls are tight. But it also comes with Sony Quirks just like other cameras above. Slow as old point and shoot cameras. Focus unreliable unless you are carefully targeting. You'd think it's face detection will nail the face all the time. Well, you better check the screen before having that sort of faith in the contrast detection focusing of this camera. I've lost so many photos by trusting it too much, coming from A7Rii. But its leaf shutter is a beauty to have especially when you are outdoors working with the sun trying to over power it. Lens is beautiful. A lot to complain, but a lot to love. Love and hate. Probably the second one to leave if anything in this bag is going away. extra grip helps a lot and little extra button to help out that mushy shutter.
The biggest advantage I think of having a Sony system like this, I can worry less about battery life. I only have 1 extra battery for A7Rii, A7 and A6000. I could use more of course and I will be getting more. But having a USB external battery that's usually for smartphones, help immensely on the field. I have a USB powered sony battery charger I got cheap from eBay. I have it connected to the external battery throughout the day. I switch the lowest battery of the 3 cameras with the one that's being charged. Then I do the same probably every moment I see any of the 3 cameras go below 30% of its life.
Having a fast charger helps, too. I found A7Rii to be the fastest camera to be charged. I once had only 15% left on it. I plugged in and switched to A6000. Shot away and maybe 10-15 minutes later? I checked again and it was about 26%. I don't review much as I can see how the shots going to be like through EVF so it also takes away a lot of unnecessary screen on time.
I've seen many photographers moving from DSLR taking like 10 batteries. Unless you are shooting video and video exclusively, you really don't need that many. I'd say a huge external battery with multiple usb connection, and maybe have couple of batteries being charged non-stop throughout the event, will get any photographer going to the end.
It's like having a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge as your smartphone. Sure the battery dies quickly, but you can charge it easily and quickly anywhere as long as you have usb power connection. FYI, I do not own Samsung phone. Not any more. I grew tired of Samsung phones.
Godox V850 flashes are my current go-to flashes. Only because these are the only wirelessly triggered flashes I have. If it was a slow paced portrait sessions, I wouldn't mind setting things up, but usually when I go out on a wedding day, all they give me is an hour, hour and half maximum. I don't have time to fiddle around with optical triggers and manually setting things up running back and forth the flashes. With Godox V850, I can adjust the power settings from the transmitter and trigger all in one place. Being a manual flash, I have to adjust it every time the scene changes, and that means it'll be harder for me to use them in action.
I am considering other options, but at this stage, these work and work well. Not to mention their battery last long, long, long, long, long time. I never ran out of juice even with all day wedding.
Holdfastgear Moneymaker. What can I say. It looks good and comfy enough to carry my cameras. It is a conversation starter in weddings and it's been really good on my waist and back. Shoulder, maybe not so much. I'm still carrying them with my shoulders. But hey, did I mention it looks good?
And lastly, Pebble Time Steel. It's my smallest watch. Plus they are smart too. I can get notifications on my wrist, meaning I don't have to be staring at my phone on a wedding and make some people think I'm not doing my job. A quick glance and I can get back to what I was doing, instead of reaching to my pocket, taking out my phone, unlock, view and put it back in my pocket. Also, it makes you look like you are extra punctual. For some, you are looking at your watch so many times during the day. Hey, must be a busy guy right?