Photo gear. What’s never missing?

Photography December 17 2021
photo gear
Isabella Tabacchi Landscape Photographer

By Isabella Tabacchi

As photo gear, the camera is the essential tool to start a new adventure, taking pictures of my favorite landscapes. But there are many other things I bring with me during my shooting sessions.

In this post I will tell you what is never missing in my photo kit to face a shooting in the best possible way and for what reason. In the next articles, however, I will focus more on each type of equipment and how to choose the one that is best for you.

photo gear Kamchatka Isabella Tabacchi

Photo Gear I: the camera

Of course, my camera is absolutely necessary to capture the magic of every place I visit. From the moment I started my way as a landscape photographer I have had three types of cameras of increasing quality.
This is because I started with an aps-c when I wasn’t sure photography would become more of a hobby, a full frame SLR when I realized I was interested to live  with photography, and the medium format mirrorless when I decided to make a further qualitative leap.

Get Spare Cards and ReadersSteady up your Shots Get a TripodProtect your Gear Get Bags and CasesDont forget that LensSelect a Spare CameraCheck out all of the Photo Gear youll need.

Which things are important for me in a camera?

The features we look for in a camera can vary according to the priorities that each of us has: the kind of photography, style or use of the photos.
The qualities I look for in a camera are the high dynamic range, the excellent management of colors and contrasts, which must be quite realistic. The quality of the RAW must be very high, so that I can make very precise adjustments in the editing phase without losing information.

Hasselblad X1D camera Kamchatka photo gear

My purpose is to recover all the information in a scene when the sensor is not always able to capture it. A high dynamic range can recover highlights and shadows with strong differences between them, even if not always completely.
My ideal camera has a sensor which can create good RAW without too much noise when I set high ISO. This is essential for night photography and many other conditions.

How did I choose my cameras and why?

I spent 7 years with Nikon cameras, first an aps-c and after a D810, a full frame.

Since the end of 2018 I have been using a Hasselblad X1D first and then I upgraded it to a X1D II.

Many people ask me why I chose Hasselblad. It’s the same reason why I chose Nikon before Hasselblad and why many of you have chosen to buy your camera of a certain brand.

I had always heard about the quality of Hasselblad and since a long time was interested about taking pictures with medium format. I liked Hasselblad world since a long time because it’s a historic brand that has also seen the moon landing. So I tried my first X1D and I was happy even though the X1D II has many improvements, especially regarding its speed and practicality of many functions. 

Also, if X1D passed the test of my journey in Kamchatka, it means that I really enjoyed it.

Photo Gear II: Lenses

Wide Angle

My favorite lens is definitely the wide angle one. It allows me to best express my creativity from any point of view.
Currently, my wide-angle is a prime lens, XCD 21, a 21mm in medium format which corresponds to 17mm of a full frame focal length.
Before my medium format period I was using a Nikkor 14-24mm f / 2.8. So I was able to compare a zoom lens with a prime one.
It wasn’t very difficult to get used to a prime lens. It certainly makes you to train your gaze and try to adapt much more to what the lens is “seeing”. The sharpness is certainly greater and I do not feel the lack of a zoom lens. But these preferences depend on each person.

Other lenses I use

I also own two medium focal length lenses, XCD 30 and 45P, and an XCD 135 telephoto lens that I often combine with a 1.7x teleconverter. They are all prime lenses.
In my backpack none of them are missing because they are all quite light. The heaviest optics are the tele lens and the wide angle but I was used to some much heavier and bulky optics that I used with the full frame. 
The 45P takes up a tiny space and the XCD 30 weighs a little less than the 21.

Photo Gear III: Tripods

In my career as a photographer I have tried countless tripods, of different sizes and materials.

My favorite are the carbon fiber tripods: certainly the lightest compared to the magnesium and aluminum ones.

According to my experience, a very important thing to pay attention to, when you purchase a tripod, is the material is combined with the carbon fiber: some components in the upper part of the tripod could be made of another material, much heavier.

The quality of the carbon fiber and other parts of the tripod, including the screws, must be very high.
If the components are easily unscrewed or damaged quickly, the tripod is no longer stable.
In complicated shooting phases this could be annoying or ruin our shots with the motion blur. For this reason, my shopping philosophy is that I prefer to spend a lot, but only once.

My last choice


After many years, I chose Gitzo, one of the best tripod brands on the market. I bought the Mountaineer S1 which weighs 1.78 kg and has a maximum height of 171 cm. Strong stability.

Then, after the second lockdown, I started testing the Gitzo Traveler S1 weighing 1.43 kg and maximum height of 165 cm. For travels by airplane with hand luggage or high mountain hikes, the Gitzo Traveler is my favorite choice. One of the best tripods I’ve ever had for stability, maximum height and lightness.

Gitzo Mountaineer S1 photo gear

If you are interested in these products, you can take a look on B&H website clicking on the banner. If you read my blog from Europe you can just click on the images below to buy them directly on the Gitzo website.

Joby gorillapod 5k

The gorillapod is a mini tripod with flexible legs. You can shape them in order, for instance, to attach your camera even to a tree branch. Of course never tried it, but the Joby is really helpful to take shots almost on the ground for my crazy focus stacking techniques or in very tricky positions. 

PHOTO GEAR IV: Camera bags

The characteristics that a good photo bag must have are: capacity to contain your photo gear, good material to protect it, comfort.
Then there are backpacks suitable for different needs and situations.
For example, my f-stop Ajna photo bag is 40 L in size and great for travels by airplane if you want to travel with hand luggage without any problems.
I also found it very convenient for hiking in the mountains. I have the problem that my upper back hurts depending on the shape of the backpack, so I have changed several over the years. Ajna performed pretty well, I just needed to adjust the straps well.

f-stop Camera Bags photo gear

For short photo sessions I also use the Dyota 11L f-stop. I often use it when I just have to fly the drone or go out for a short shooting session where I know exactly which optics I will use.
During my last travels I have brought both Ajna and Dyota, also to distribute the weights between optics, camera, drone and accessories.
My next purchase will be a larger backpack for long hikes in the mountains, especially when I make stops in shelters and in addition to the photo gear I also have to include a sleeping bag and spare clothes. For these situations I have always used an Osprey Aura 65 L and a Tenba insert, but I would like to try something else f-stop, such as a Shinn 80 L or Sukha 70 L.

Other gear: photo Filters

I use filters, even if they are not my must for every shot.

Now that I have lenses that support circular filters, I always use those. Haida’s magnetic round filters are very easy to mount and, since I have them, I use the filters even more often. They attach to the holder ring, already screwed onto the lens, in a very simple way and the kit that was provided to me also includes a lens cap matching with the ring.

In a future post I will review them together with Haida’s M10 holder (which is a more traditional holder) and tell you what I think, even if you can already understand how would opt for round magnetic filters for life.

Haida magnetic circular filter photo gear

MY DRONE

I have focused so much on landscape photos taken from the ground that I am only now beginning to explore the altitude! Although, to tell you the truth, I’ve always had the Mavic Pro I since 2017. I’ve always used it little, perhaps because I’m very obsessed with the quality of the camera and wasn’t very happy with its backlight management. With the Mavic Pro 2, I started to change my mind. I like the backlight handling much more, although I would like to see if the colors are even better managed in the new Mavic 3. Other Mavic users told me yes, but I hope to test it firsthand in the future.

Other Photo gear

Lens cloth

There are other small accessories that are never missing in my backpack during photo journeys and travels!
There is never a shortage of lens cloths and these are absolutely necessary. It always happens that the lens gets dirty, especially when it rains, snows or we photograph waterfalls. They don’t take up much space, so it’s not a problem to bring some. I do not use a particular brand, as I have collected several during the various photo events or received as a gift. Someday I would like to create some custom ones with my landscapes, that would be nice!

Air blower and sensor cleaning kit

Obviously I don’t use the kit to clean the sensor during the shooting session, even if it is always in the bag. On the other hand, I think it’s very important to use the air blower.

It often happens that the dust ends up on the sensor when I change the lens. Using the air blower I prevent dust from remaining on the sensor during shooting.

L-plate fot the tripod

When we take vertical format pictures, happens that the screw of the normal plate unscrews for the weight of the photo gear (camera, lens) on the tripod. The consequence is that the shots are blur and it’s really annoying when we try to force the camera to stay still.

The solution to this problem is the L-plate. When I wish to make vertical format pictures I just turn the camera and attach it to the arca swiss tripod head. Not all the tripods have the arca swiss system, so you need to check which l-plate is compatible with your tripod.

I personally use an universal arca-swiss l-plate but I’m going to buy the Really Right Stuff l-plate for Hasselblad X1D.

Isabella Tabacchi Landscape Photographer Landscape Photography
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

ISABELLA TABACCHI 

Isabella Tabacchi is an award-winning landscape photographer based in the north of Italy.

Despite her young age, she is is one of the most influential landscape photographers.

She is Hasselblad Heroine, MIFA Photographer of the Year 2020 and won the third prize as International Landscape Photographer of The Year.

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