JOSH KATZ
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CAMERA SETUP

What's My Camera Setup? 

People ask me about everything from the size pants I wear to the cheeses I put on my breakfast sandwiches (havarti is game changing). But there's nothing I get asked more than how I shoot my photos and videos, so this is it. The ultimate camera setup overview! 

DSLR Setup

Canon 70d

This is my camera body, the Canon 70d. I shoot 95% of my photos and videos with this. I love this camera because it's relatively lightweight and takes great HD video. Two major perks of this camera that not all Canons come with: autofocus video and the flip-out LCD screen. This LCD screen swivels out and around, allowing you to frame shots above your head or low to the ground without having to be eye-level with the camera. I find this especially helpful in photography.  

A major downside is that it has a crop sensor, so it's not the best for shooting in low light conditions. Full frame cameras tend to be much pricier though, and I still love this thing. You can get in on Amazon, right here

Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Wide Angle Lens

This wide angle is one of my all time favorite lenses. Everything looks beautiful at 10mm, and it can go as wide as f3.5. I also love how when you're in infinity focus, almost everything is relatively sharp! The lens has autofocus, which works during video, but it can be noisy. This is easily my most used lens for photo and video! Check it out on Amazon! 

Canon 200mm F2.8 Telephoto

This lens is my latest acquisition and I might be in love. I chose to buy a prime lens because the telephoto zooms are incredibly heavy and pricey. With a f2.8 maximum aperture, it's great for handheld shots, getting beautiful bokeh, and action photography (all things I love). To hear more about this lens, why I chose it, and its functionality, you can watch my video here. You can also check it out on Amazon! 

Canon 50mm F1.8

THIS LENS IS A CLASSIC! I recommend this to all new photographers looking for their first upgrade past the stock lens. It's super cheap (only $110 on Amazon), lightweight, and takes a gorgeous photo! Since the aperture can get so large, it's great for shooting action, nighttime, bokeh, and portraits. At f1.8, you can get a beautiful, shallow depth of field for portraits. If you'd like this lens, Amazon has the hookup

Canon 24-105mm F4 Zoom

This is my multipurpose lens. It covers a massive range, has a smooth zoom that works great for video, and shoots a sharp photo. It also has solid image stabilizer for photo and video, though it makes a quiet gear-grinding noise that can sometimes be heard in video depending on what microphone you use. It only shoots at f4, so it's not great for low-light situations, but otherwise, this is a boss of a lens. Peep it on Amazon

Opteka 6.5mm F3.5 Fisheye

This is the first lens I bought for my DSLR. The fisheye is a must for filming and photographing skateboarding. It makes gaps look bigger, rails look taller, etc. Also great for shooting concerts and anything else where you get way too close to the subject. It's incredibly wide with lots of distortion, which is perfect for skateboarding but terrible for taking a portrait. It's also incredibly cheap right now, selling for only $160 on Amazon


Polaroid + Instax Gear

Impossible Polaroid 600 Job Pro

I quickly fell in love with this refurbished 80s camera. Shooting polaroids is helping me become a more decisive photographer, the simple settings let me focus entirely on composition, and the prints look ridiculously neat. 

The major downside is that film is quite expensive – anticipate paying ~$2.50 per photo (8 packs of film are usually $20). To hear me discuss the pros and cons of shooting polaroid photos, watch my "8 Reasons Every Photographer Needs a Polaroid" video. If you're sold on slowing things down and owning the coolest looking camera on the market, you can pick it up on Amazon for around $140. Note that prices are always changing, but you can typically get this camera in black for cheaper than its flamboyant yellow counterpart. 

Shot on Polaroid's B+W 600 film, which is currently $19 on Amazon. 

Shot on Polaroid's B+W 600 film, which is currently $19 on Amazon

Recommended Impossible Polaroid 600 Film

There are tons of super cool types of film for these cameras. Just make sure you buy the right type – it has to be Polaroid 600 film, and the only two brands producing this are Polaroid and Impossible Project (which are basically owned by the same guy, now). These are three types of film I've had a lot of luck with. 

I've had a lot of success with these three, as seen in the examples below. The Polaroid Originals film, which is $19 on Amazon, available in color and B&W, has been really solid. If you're feeling WILD and CRAZY, the Impossible Project Black & Pink Duochrome, available on Amazon, is awesome. Easiest way to make people think you're an artist! 

I've had a lot of success with these three, as seen in the examples below. The Polaroid Originals film, which is $19 on Amazon, available in color and B&W, has been really solid. If you're feeling WILD and CRAZY, the Impossible Project Black & Pink Duochrome, available on Amazon, is awesome. Easiest way to make people think you're an artist! 

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic 

This Instax camera is hailed as one of the best instant film cameras because it's affordable, compact, offers many manual settings, and the shots look great. It also takes Fujifilm's Instax mini film, which is WAY cheaper than the Impossible's 600 film. (You can find film for 80 cents per shot on Amazon!) This is the ultimate camera to always leave in your backpack and take to parties (if you're prepared to be that guy). You can pick up this lovely camera on Amazon for $120, right here. Right now.  

Shot with the classic Fujifilm instax color film. 

Shot with the classic Fujifilm instax color film

My only complaint with this camera is the size of the prints. They're less than half the size of the Impossible's 600 film, which has its serious limitations. If you're taking a simple portrait without much going on, this is your camera. But if you want to show a lot of detail in a complex scene, you should look into cameras that take 600 film (like my yellow Impossible camera). 


Camera Accessories

Manfrotto BeFree Tripod 

I love this tripod. It's super lightweight and folds up into a compact carrying case, which is everything when I'm traveling. This is a photography tripod with a ball head, which means it can swivel in every direction, allowing for easy landscape and portrait shots. If you're a studio photographer who doesn't move around much, I'd recommend something sturdier. But if you need a tripod to take on adventures (possibly for landscape photography, tutorial here), this is the move.  You can snag it right here on Amazon

Lacie 2TB External Hard Drive

I've had many external drives fail in the past, but these Lacies (mine are named Lacey and Racy) just keep chugging! I keep all my photos and videos on here, because it's better safe than sorry. Mac and PC compatible. Added bonus – they're beautifully designed hard drives! Pick one up on Amazon here

JOBY Gorillapod (Portable tripod)

This is the handiest tool in my camera bag. The baby tripod fits right into a backpack, so it's perfect for travel, skateboarding, hiking, or anything where you don't want to lug around a full size tripod. 

If you want to shoot long exposures, self portraits, video, or just need a steady camera, this is your guy. The legs are bendy, so they can be used as a traditional tripod or wrap around objects like handrails and logs – perfect for shooting nature. It also has a mode that lets you shoot portrait photos. Pick one up on Amazon

Note that Joby makes a series of these tripods with a range of sturdiness. This one can handle my 70d with a lighter lens on it (like my wide angle). However, this tripod isn't the best with my heavier 24-105mm zoom lens. If you're shooting full frame and/or using heavier lenses, I suggest this one

 

10 Stop Neutral Density Filter

This lets you take long exposure photos during the day. It's great for shooting waterfalls (or any running water), clouds, cars, or anything that moves. For more details, watch my tutorial on using this filter. Or just ignore me and pick it up on Amazon

Warning: These screw onto the end of your lens, so make sure you get the right thread size for your lenses! If you're looking into your lens, it should say the thread size somewhere around the edge. I have a 77mm filter because it fits on my wide angle and 24-105, but it doesn't fit onto my telephoto (because it's 72mm). If your lenses have different thread sizes, consider which lens you'd prefer to have this for. 

Formatt-Hitech Graduated Neutral Density 1.2 (4 Stops)

Ever get frustrated choosing between an overexposed (too dark) sky or an underexposed (too bright) landscape? This filter solves that problem, guaranteeing perfect sunset shots every time. Half of it functions as a neutral density filter, darkening the photo 4 stops, while the other half is completely transparent. This is a lifesaver if you shoot lots of landscape shots. Check it out on Amazon

This filter helped me darken the sky, while still keeping this Italian town properly exposed. 

This filter helped me darken the sky, while still keeping this Italian town properly exposed. 

Warning : These screw onto the end of your lens, so make sure you get the right thread size for your lenses! If you're looking into your lens, it should say the thread size somewhere around the edge. I have a 77mm filter because it fits on my wide angle and 24-105, but it doesn't fit onto my telephoto (because it's 72mm). If your lenses have different thread sizes, consider which lens you'd prefer to have this for. 

Transcend 32GB Class 10 Memory card

Have some class. If you're shooting HD video on a DSLR, you need the right memory card to process such large files – class 10 cards work best. I've been using Transcend cards for years and they've been incredibly reliable. (Except the one I dropped into a cup of water... and even that worked for a few weeks!) Go grab one on Amazon

Also, if your camera consistently stops recording in the middle of a video and gives you an error, it's for one of two reasons. 

1. You don't have a high enough class

2. You need to format your card. It's important to format your cards from time to time, so try this first. 

RODE VIDEOMIC PRO

I film all my videos with this mic. It's easy to use, runs on battery, and makes you look more professional than you actually are. Scope it on Amazon

To get the perfect audio with this mic, follow this tutorial

Lenspen (Lens Cleaner)

I would be dead without this thing... or my lenses would just be dirty. One side cleans off any type of smudge or fingerprint you could get on your lens, while the other side is a brush for removing dust. If you shoot outside as much as I do, your lens will naturally get dirty and the Lenspen is the perfect inexpensive solution.  Every photographer and videographer should carry this around. Only $8 on Amazon

 


Beginner Gear Tips

New to photography and trying to decide on your first camera or lens? I got you.

Canon T5i

The Canon's Rebel cameras are meant for for beginner photographers looking to buy their first DSLR. Why I recommend this camera:

  • Small and lightweight
  • Shoots HD video
  • 18 megapixel photos
  • FLIP-OUT LCD SCREEN! This is amazing because it flips out and swivels, allowing you to shoot low to the ground and above your head without having to actually look through the viewfinder. This makes shooting at creative angles significantly easier. As someone who shoots tons of videos of himself for YouTube, this is also crucial because I can see the shot I'm composing of myself.
  • Affordable (in relativity to other DSLRs...photography is a rich man's sport, I know)
  • Always on sale! Canon has released two newer versions of this camera (T6i and T7i) without major improvements. The T5i is very similar, but a few hundred dollars cheaper. 

You can snag this camera on Amazon for $500 refurbished or $600 new

 

Canon 50mm F1.8

THIS LENS IS A CLASSIC! I recommend this to all new photographers looking for their first upgrade past the stock lens. It's super cheap (only $110 on Amazon), lightweight, and takes a gorgeous photo! Since the aperture can get so large, it's great for shooting action, nighttime, bokeh, and portraits. At f1.8, you can get a beautiful, shallow depth of field for portraits. If you'd like this lens, Amazon has the hookup

And yes, you may have noticed this lens is on my list twice. I still use it all the time, highly recommend every beginner buys it. 


This is the most recent camera setup video I've made, but my gear has changed quite a bit since then. You're best off reading about my equipment, but in case you're lazy/can't read, here's the video.