Chase Jarvis famously wrote a book titled The Best Camera is the One You Have With You, implying that your iPhone will take better photos than your camera if you leave your camera at home.
True as this may be, it opened the floodgates to hell for any iPhone welding, beret-wearing, filter-app-applying arsehole to venture to Nusa Penida, take an oversaturated VSCO phone snap of the Dinosaur Rock and update their Instagram bio to read Photographer. Fortunately, these so-called ‘photographers’ have now invested in a drone, which has warranted the ‘Digital Creator’ name change on their Instagram and LinkedIn profile. However, if the best camera is supposedly the one on you, we wanted to rummage through a few friends’ camera bags to see what they were rolling with… and lo and behold, not a single drone in sight.
Tom Hawkins @tbhphoto
Being born and raised in the Middle East, I didn’t even know what surfing was, let alone that there was an entire industry that revolved around shooting it. In my mind, I always thought I was going to become a conflict/documentary photographer, but after finding out there is pretty much no money to be made there, I decided to try my hand at something else. I moved to Bali when I was 19 and started shooting for Dustin Humphrey. I had always used Nikon prior to this, but after seeing all the Canon gear that was available to me, I made the switch pretty fast.
I have used most 1D bodies from over the last 10 years, from 1D Mark III to the 1DX Mark II. And as far as lenses go, the one that lives on my body the most is the Canon 300mm f2.8. I’ll switch to a 50 or 85 for portrait stuff, but other than that the 300 stays on my camera. It’s the perfect focal length to shoot most action stuff, it’s super fast and can be handheld on a boat or packed in a bag for a motorcycle trip.
Lincoln Jubb @lincoln_james
The most recent addition to the camera collection is the sexy autofocus rangefinder camera, the Contax G1. I copped this camera after feeling totally uninspired to shoot anything—it was a much-needed kick in my creativity anoos. The build quality, titanium finish and Carl Zeiss optics give the Contax that luxurious feel. It was once referred to as the rich man’s camera, however, you can now be an arrow sign spinner and pick one up on eBay in near-mint condition for under $1000 AUD (I always recommend buying from Japan).
I’m currently rolling with the 45mm planar, which I reckon is one of the nicest pieces of glass ever made—the quality and sharpness surpass any other lens I’ve fucked around with on a 35mm camera. The G1 is pretty compact and discreet for a rangefinder, which makes it perfect for sticking it in the face of unaware people. However, the AF can be a little slow to fix at times, which I find frustrating—especially when shooting fast-moving subjects like people on self-balancing segways.
Vivian Kim @viviankimx
My favourite camera lately has been the Mamiya 645. It’s amazing for both portraits and landscapes, and I’m always pleasantly surprised to see the beautiful tones it produces. It’s a bit heavy, but I don’t mind it much, as it was a great transition from the Mamiya RB67 I used to lug around (which I still like to use from time to time). I have the 80mm/2.8 that I usually keep on me, since I’m mainly shooting portraits.
During my travels and on more casual shoots when I’m hanging with friends, I love shooting on the Canon EOS Rebel series cameras. I have a few of these bodies, and they take Canon EF lenses, which really gives you the opportunity to create some incredibly sharp images. Long story short, they’re dependable, affordable, and you can use the same lenses you pack for your DSLR for ‘em (if you shoot Canon, that is), which make them the perfect camera for the adventurer/traveller.
Rafael Gonzalez @rafagonzalezphoto
When I’m asked about the camera I work with daily, I have to make reference to more than one model since I like to work with different formats depending on the type of photos I’m shooting. The ones I use the most are the Hasselblad 503cx and the Xpan. The first one for its characteristic square format, which favours my style of photography and makes it easier to make compositions through the viewfinder. It’s a robust camera but easy to handle, perfect for the different types of photos I usually shoot, whether it’s skateboarding, architecture, portraits, or cityscapes. You’re also able to change film back in case you want to use a different film stock in between sessions, or formats (Polaroid/6×4.5/digital).
I have three lenses for this body: the 80mm, 30mm fisheye and the 40mm. Then there’s the Hasselblad Xpan, which is a 35mm rangefinder solid panoramic camera. I bought it a while ago and I’m glad I did, since the price of it is almost three times more expensive these days. What I like about this camera is the aspect ratio of the images, very similar to the format used in cinema which gives a different vibe to the photos (like a frame from a movie), and also the lenses are super sharp—as sharp as a medium format glass. It also has the option to shoot in 35mm regular format, so it’s like having two cameras in one.
Mikki Gomez @mikki.gomez
When I started taking photos years ago, the first camera I bought was a Canon and I’ve stuck with them ever since. Being a music photographer, I need something that will perform well in low light situations and the Canon 5D MK IV is my current go-to camera which I usually pair up with prime lenses: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm. I don’t think any one brand of camera is better than another when it comes to shooting music… or anything else, for that matter. I’m familiar with the Canon system and am comfortable using their range of equipment.
I also like to have at least one analogue camera with me every time I shoot a show or festival. I love shooting with film as there is always that element of surprise. I usually bring my Canon 1V as I can use my current lenses on this body, but I always have my Contax T2 with me everywhere I go because the lens is sharp and it’s compact.