What’s in My Camera Bag 2020: Wildlife Photography Gear | Colby Brown | Sony Alpha


Hi my name is Colby Brown and I’m a
wildlife photographer and Sony Artisan and this is ‘What’s in my gear bag’ when I’m out there shooting wildlife photography around the globe. Now the first camera that I typically have in my bag anytime I leave the house to go to a wildlife assignment is the Sony a9. Now this is a 24-megapixel camera that is capable of shooting 20 frames-per-second in true silent mode. So it won’t make any sound when you’re out there
photographing different types of animals, what you really don’t get in any other
camera out there in the market. I remember the first time that I took this camera to East Africa when I was out there photographing some wildlife
safaris and I was working with a new game driver. We went out, we’re seeing these beautiful
animals or some cheetahs and lions and the game driver kept looking back at me and looking like I was crazy kind of giving me a little bit of checks here and there and the reality was is that I was shooting the entire time but he didn’t think I was taking a single photograph because it was truly silent. I think that you don’t really realize how important
silent shooting is for wildlife photography until you’re in a vehicle, safari vehicle or not with other wildlife photographers when their shutters are going off and it makes a lot of noise. So silent shooting with the a9 being able to maintain 20 frames-per-second is truly a game-changer. And this also has some of the best Eye Autofocus and Autofocus Tracking itself in the industry, so there’s pretty much no time that I leave the house from out there photographing wildlife where I don’t bring my Sony a9. Now the next camera I take with me is
the new Sony a7R Mark 4. Now this is the 62-megapixel camera that is pretty amazing when it comes to both dynamic range as well as your autofocus capabilities. Now the a9 still has a little bit faster autofocus tracking capabilities, but because this is such a high-resolution sensor, I can actually crop into my images quite significantly, being able to use the same lenses but give me the illusion of getting closer to my subjects. So when I use APS-C crop mode with this camera, I get a 26-megapixel image which is pretty much unheard of when you compare it to any other
wildlife camera out there. So this camera is really good for photographing not only moving subjects, but also stationary larger subjects such as mammals, big cats, bears, things like that. Anytime I want to maximize resolution,
I always reach for my Sony a7R IV. Now what some people might not think of the a7R Mark 4 as wildlife camera, it truly is impressive to what it’s capable of doing. Not only do you have a great autofocus system
and high dynamic range as I mentioned the ability to crop into
your images is pretty amazing. If you think of most wildlife cameras out there, they’re topping out at 18 to 24 megapixels. So having 62 megapixels that your ability
to crop in as you need is awesome. Especially when you’re photographing a lot of predators out there we don’t really want to get too close. I was actually photographing
Alaska coastal brown bears up in Alaska and I had a couple different bears were fighting towards each other and of course I don’t want to get close to that because it’s just not safe. So being able to use the same lenses that I have on my camera crop into that 26-megapixel APS-C crop sensor mode and be able to get a full-frame proper version of that shot is awesome to be able to do that on the fly. I simply customized one of the buttons on the back of my camera so I can jump into that setting anytime I want. Now the next camera that I like to bring with me when I go out & photograph wildlife is actually the Sony RX0 II. Now you might ask yourself why am I talking about this camera for a wildlife and gear situation? But the reality is that you can’t control how close animals get to you. I’ve been in many situations around the world photographing silverback gorillas or even you know birds all sorts of things where they happen to land right next to you and you have this long telephoto lens, you can’t actually photograph that image because your lens can’t focus close enough. So oftentimes, I like having the small RX0 Mark 2 in my pocket for those situations where I can’t control what’s happening, but I still want to come away with a beautiful image, high image quality and a raw file that I can do something with once I get back home. Now the first lens I want to talk about is the new Sony 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G
variable aperture lens. Now this new lens is pretty amazing both in image quality as well as general portability and part of that is because of all the zoom focusing happens internally inside the lens itself. Unlike most telephoto lenses that will extend out way past the end of the lens when you start zooming in, this actually doesn’t have any of that so as you can see here. It is completely confined within the lens itself. In addition, what’s really nice about this lens is that the zoom ring is actually quite small in the distance, you actually have to move it
in order to go from 200 to 600. So if you’re photographing an animal that’s quite close, & then all of a sudden you see something that’s far away, all you have to do is slightly turn this a little bit over an inch and a half maybe even two inches and all of a sudden you’re all the way at 600 millimeters. That’s gonna save you time when you’re out there photographing wildlife, every second counts. Now my next favorite lens for wildlife photography is the Sony 400 F/2.8 G Master lens. Now this lens is a work of art if you ask me to be quite honest and it’s actually a technological fee when it comes to how this lens was actually designed. If you think of most super telephoto fast prime lenses, all of the guts of the lens, all the mechanics that make it work in a heavy glass is usually distributed throughout the lens. What happens is that as you’re holding the lens
out there, it begins to drop forward because a lot of the weight is forward heavy. So this lens was designed when the first lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras where all the weight is in the back part of the lens itself. This allows you to handhold or have the ability to potentially handhold these super-telephoto prime lenses because the lens itself is a couple pounds lighter than all the competition out there. This lens is super sharp and being able to shoot at 400mm at F/2.8 is truly an amazing experience when you’re photographing you know Lions at 2.8 or leopards that background bokeh is just so buttery smooth, it’s truly an amazing wildlife lens to use if you have the
ability to pick one up. Now the final lens that I typically find in my bag anytime I’m out there photographing wildlife is the Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 G Master lens. Now the reason I use this lens is similar to why I also have an RX0 Mark 2, but it’s for those opportunities where the wildlife gets much closer than I’m initially anticipating. Most the time I’m out there photographing
beyond the 200-millimeter range, anywhere between 200- to a 1000-millimeter, but every once in a while you have those opportunities where a male silverback gorilla comes in and you know, a bird, a squirrel something lands way too close for you to be able to photograph and in those situations when I have the ability I’ll throw one of these lenses on one of my extra bodies and just have it just in case those opportunities present itself. So that I can still come away with a 62-megapixel image with my Sony a7R IV, but I’m working in a situation where it’s much closer than I can normally photograph. The next pair of accessories I actually want to talk about is actually the Sony teleconverters. Now here I have a Sony 1.4x TC as well as the 2x. Now what these do, they allow you to optically increase the range of what you’re able to photograph. So these teleconverters can work
with certain Sony lenses out there and the 1.4x gives you one-stop less of light, so if you’re shooting at F 2.8, you’re now minimum aperture is now f/4 or the 2x is a doubling, so you take essentially two aperture drops anytime you want to use it, but giving you the ability to double your millimeter range is quite phenomenal when I’m photographing with let’s say the 400mm F/2.8 or the 200-600mm we just talked about. Throwing one of these bad boys on gives me the ability to drastically increase that millimeter range I can cover while still being able to maintain beautiful
image quality in the process. Now I also want to talk to you guys about the SD cards that I use out there in the field. Now as you can see here, these are Sony TOUGH cards and 128-gigabyte space, this is 12 of them in a Pelican case and this is essentially what I use out there in the field. And the reason for that is not only because
it has incredible performance, they have fast transfer rates and read and write speeds, but also because they can take a beating. I don’t have to worry about these cards working in the environments that I typically find myself out there such as being in Antarctica or above the Arctic Circle, up in the north, and the Sahara and the humidity in Hawaii, these cards could take the beating, I don’t have to worry about them. Now next I want to talk to you guys about a gimbal head. Now this is essentially a gimbal that sits on top of your tripod or your monopod giving you the ability to stay stabilized while you move throughout a
scene where you have a wildlife subject that is moving erratically
such as birds in flight. Essentially what happens that sits on top of your tripod or your monopod and you have a couple different points of control. Here on the bottom, you’re controlling, kind of moving around and swiveling around your tripod or at the very top, you also have the ability to control the tension to move up and down. When you mix that with attaching this specific gimbal to the lens collar for the different lenses that you’re using you can essentially move throughout your
scene and stay stabilized the entire time which is pretty phenomenal for those situations where again subjects are moving radically. Now next up I want to talk to you guys about this little device, called a ‘Garment Inreach’. Now this is essentially a satellite connected device that
connects the satellites up there working around our planet on the Radian network
that allows me to send emergency information, SOS, calling for help if something happens, but also just to send messages out to loved ones such as my wife when I’m working in remote climates. Now it’s important to understand that
you need to do your research and know the places you’re going at to make sure
you know what you’re getting yourself into. But for those situations where
things kind of go sideways, things don’t go as plan, as you envision it, it’s always great to have one of these inside your pocket. So the last accessory I want to talk to you guys about is this little bag from Kinesis. Now this is essentially a very important product when you’re going on a safari drive or going and working on projects and places like Africa where you’re working in these Safari type vehicles. Now what it is there’s this empty bag that’s made of
resistant nylon as well as, you know, has rubber on one side so it doesn’t slip and
what you do is once you get to a location, you fill it with sand or dirt or rice or beans, whatever you can get your hands on, and if you fill it full enough, you can use it to essentially stabilize your camera as you’re shooting out a window. So this is really great like I mentioned for different safari type vehicles you can even use it on places like Brazil where you’re photographing jaguar from boats, but anywhere you want to use the vehicle as an additional stabilizing opportunity. Something like this is mandatory to have out there. It only cost a couple bucks and I highly recommend that you take it with you. Be sure to subscribe to the Sony Alpha Universe Channel and check out my Top 5 wildlife photography tips in the next video.

6 comments on “What’s in My Camera Bag 2020: Wildlife Photography Gear | Colby Brown | Sony Alpha”

  1. Silver Paw Studio says:

    I keep checking that my A9ii is taking photos in silent! Love it!

  2. XimerTracks - Sub To Me says:

    Great stuff. when's your next Video? Also, Can we be friends? 😀

  3. Marco Ponce says:

    How does one afford this with shooting wildlife?

  4. Richard Alexander Kroening says:

    Colby was such a lake of knowledge at Kando Trip 3.0! I hope you guys bring him back to teach more classes at 4.0 🥔!

  5. Adrian Alford Photography says:

    Very cool. Silent mode amazing stuff.

  6. philip bøgel says:

    great video:)

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