Inside Benfield Photography: What’s in the Bag?

Dale's Mug

Hey everybody!
There are a handful of the same questions I get from photographers all the time. For the next couple blog posts, I’m going to explore these questions and answer them so that if you’re dealing with the same questions, you’ll have a little insight into what we do at Benfield Photography.

First, I get gear questions pretty much every day. I’m just going to share what I have and what I like about it.
Camera body: Canon 5D mkII – Sure, it’s not the best focusing camera Canon makes, but the high ISO is killer, the HD video is great, and it’s FULL FRAME! The last one was key when I was deciding which camera to get last time I upgraded.
Favorite lens: Canon 35mm 1.4L – This is the perfect lens for my full frame camera body. It sees about like I see. It’s FAST and sharp and light. I’ll keep this on for all my storytelling shots at a wedding and about 1/3 of the portraits.
Other lenses in the bag: Canon 50mm 1.2L – What’s not to love about this lens? Meredith keeps one on her camera all day long at a wedding. 1.2 and a camera that has high ISO capabilities means you can shoot in some pretty dark churches and receptions without the need for a flash.
Canon 85mm 1.2L – My previous favorite lens, though I still use it for 70 percent of my portrait shots and slow dance shots (at receptions). If it weren’t such a slow focuser I’d keep it on my camera a lot more.
Canon 70-200mm 2.8L – Not the only zoom I have, but it is the only zoom I’ve been using lately. This lens is perfect for a low light ceremony where you have to stay near the back or in the balcony. I also use this lens for children and families, but I rarely shoot those anymore. Too heavy? The f4 version is great as well.
Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro – Have a yearning to get a rockin’ close-up of the rings? This lens is perfect for that. The new “L” version was recently released and I’ll own it soon. I’ve used it and love it!
Flash: Canon 580 EXII – I’d love to take a masterclass workshop on my flash so that I could rock out some super dramatic lighting techniques like my friend JVS, but this flash does all I need it to. I actually have multiple flashes and set up some master/slave stuff at weddings when I have extra setup time.
Bag: Shootsac – Everyone who works for me has a shootsac now. It’s not a camera bag, but I don’t really need a CAMERA bag. It’s a lens bag. That’s what I need! It holds my 50mm, 85mm, and zoom lens in the front, and my flash, batteries, iPhone, and CF cards in the back. Plus, I have a couple really sweet covers.

I will say that though gear is important, it’s not what makes an image. You can’t buy the eye. You can’t buy the creativity. You can’t buy the vision. Gear just helps you turn that vision into a reality.

Come back next week for my answer to: “Do you advertise?”

Talk to you soon,

2 Responses to “Inside Benfield Photography: What’s in the Bag?”

  1. Lesa says:

    Hi Dale,
    I love “whats in your bag”… I need advice in regards to camera’s. I have a Rebel Xti that I have had since it came out. Actually my first digital. I need to step up my game and be able to take sharper images. I have won several local awards and have a great eye. I’m in the process of looking at the 5D mark ll. It may be to much for me technology wise. I have also looked at the 7D. Which may be more my capabilities. I would like to keep my next camera for sometime and grow into it as well. I was told the 5D does not have a built in flash. It’s all a bit confusing to me. I would appreciate any and all advice from professionals.



  2. Dale says:

    Hey Lesa,
    The 7D might be your best bet, if you don’t mind the non-full-frame. I believe your Rebel is a crop sensor too, so it likely won’t matter. Once you get a decent body, it’ll be time to save up and get some fast glass.
    Good luck!