Chase Jarvis’s Essential Photo Gear

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Seattle-based photographer Chase Jarvis recently dug through his extensive amount of equipment and chose his “must-haves” for any photo or video shoot. Jarvis and his crew created a similar video a few years back, but with the advances in technology and new photo gear on the market, they decided it was time to release an updated version. In this behind-the-scenes video, Jarvis shows us how to pack light and still carry the essential gear for capturing images on the road:

Essential Photography Gear

It’s easy to bog yourself down by packing too many pieces of photo equipment when going out to shoot. Jarvis cut out all the extras and created this kit of the most valuable gear that he takes to every shoot:

Jarvis highly recommends carrying a backup camera body, battery charger, Speedlight, and plenty of extra batteries on any shoot.

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Essential Video Gear

Jarvis describes this video kit as his team’s “run and gun” set. This is the equipment they grab on a daily basis to shoot their behind-the-scenes videos. Most of the time this kit will be perfect for any video shoot, however, if you plan on doing some fancy video work, Jarvis recommends taking along a few specialty lenses:

Jarvis’s team primarily uses the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens for their video work because its zoom range keeps them from having to constantly change lenses. The team opts for the f/4 over the f/2.8 because it offers a longer depth of field and features image stabilization, making it easier to shoot quality video in non-ideal conditions. They only carry a single prime lens–the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L–and use it to get the best quality video images in extreme low-light conditions.

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Essential Data Management Gear

With the constant advancements of technology, Jarvis is constantly upgrading the computer he uses for picture and video editing. Fortunately the Pelican 1490, his original case, fits a wide variety of computers and external hard drives making it the one piece of equipment he doesn’t have to upgrade.

The crew uses the 512GB Thunderbolts out in the field to backup their data, then dump the files onto the 2TB Thunderbolts when they get home. Jarvis says it’s important to not only keep a backup of your data on a separate hard drive, but to store that backup in a different location from the original for added protection.

data storage

Although he didn’t mention them as essential pieces of equipment, Jarvis usually attaches a tripod to his pack just in case it’s needed. He says they only use carbon fiber tripods because, while more expensive, they are much lighter and easier to transport to a wide variety of shooting locations. Jarvis recommends the Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 with the MH055M8-Q5 Photo-Movie Tripod Head as his “go-to” tripod. While this isn’t the ideal head for either photos or video, it does work for both very well, saving you room in your pack from having to carry a second tripod head.

While you may choose to pack specialty lenses, filters, and microphones that are specific to your project, these essential items are in Jarvis’s camera bag at all times so he’s ready to shoot anywhere, anytime.

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3 Comments

  1. mike winslow says:

    precisely why I have an rx10.. then, must have changes to refinements like tripod , zoom h6, and which microphones/lavs

  2. Bruce H. says:

    Chase forgot to mention the 5 sherpas he needs to carry all the gear. Great video. Very informative.

  3. Ryan Hart says:

    No love for the Rhino Slider????

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