Choosing my Sierra Leone gear list was a difficult task. I wanted a balance between mobility and high quality.
What do I mean by that? I needed gear that was easy to transport but could still shoot great photos and video.
Sierra Leone Gear List
Before we travelled to Sierra Leone, I knew it would have to be light on gear. There was no way I would be casually getting a portable slider/ dolly in my flight bag. That was out of the question.
On previous trips, I have overcome this challenge by taking a steadicam with me.
This time on the Sierra Leone gear list, I wanted it to be functional and lightweight. This was going to be difficult.
FULL LIST OF GEAR AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE
In my bag is my favourite toy, the DJI Phantom 4 (Get it here).
This drone massively ticks those functional and lightweight boxes. Some drones are huge, this one is decent. It will still raise questions at airports. You’ll get the usual prompt to open the case and explain it’s contents. I found it much easier to describe it as a camera, until one airport security guard knew it was a drone… Fortunately, he was excited to see it. WIN 👍
Whilst the Phantom 4 does come with it’s own case, I would highly recommend getting an actual carry case as it much easier to sling a purpose built protective rucksack on your back. Best one I have seen so far is the Anbee Hard Shell (Link), but there is a cheaper alternative (here). That hard shell just gives you a bit more peace of mind knowing your drone is safe.
— Additional Note: I bought my DJI Phantom 4 with extra batteries. Trust me you’ll need them because once you fall in love with aerial photography/ filming you’ll want to keep going. Here’s an alternative bundle of the DJI Phantom 4 with extra batteries just in case (Link)
Photography and Filming
Now this is where it gets tricky…
I knew if I was going to stick to the functional and lightweight rule, it was going to be impossible to bring two cameras. One for photography, one for filming.
My first thought was “my Sony a7sii was going to be overkill” – and it’s not as robust as I would like it to be. Any dust on that mirrorless sensor and it’s game over. On this occasion I opted for the Canon 80D. A great mid-range DSLR. I knew from experience I could still get decent stills but also great video. But that’s not all.
I paired the Canon 80D body (link) with two lenses… and I spent a great deal of time justifying to myself, why these two:
- Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS II USM Lens – Black (link)
- Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 EX DC HSM Lens for Canon* (link)
* That ‘Canon’ bit is important to make sure you have the correct mount for your camera.
With these two lenses I covered myself all the way from big wide shots at 10mm all the way up to capturing distant shots at 105mm. Anything beyond that I was just going to have to walk nearer.
Different tasks need different tools. For backup I always like to have a small compact camera on me for those occasions.
This time I took with me the ever reliable Canon G7x (link). I even shoot a good portion of my vlog series on the Canon G7x because it’s so functional and lightweight!!
A great alternative is the Sony RX100 iv (link) – only because it shoots 4k video and at 1000fps – YES, one-thousand frames per second!
Check out the vlog series here if you haven’t seen it yet.
It is not always possible to transport a stabiliser or steadicam. They are completely worth it, but not always practical.
Clearly I can’t leave it there. There is always a solution, and about one week before this trip, I found it.
DJI have their second entry on my Sierra Leone gear list. It’s the DJI Osmo Mobile (link). I’d known for a while there would be occasions where we would benefit from filming with some stabilisation, but how to achieve it had been playing on my mind.
I had come across the DJI Osmo (similar tech but more expensive – link), but once I heard there was one you could incorporate with your mobile device, I was sold. It meant I could shoot 4k stabilised footage on my iPhone, genius.
Sierra Leone Gear List in Full
All the items mentioned in my Sierra Leone gear list are listed below on Amazon. I would be grateful if you are considering purchasing any of these items you use my affiliate links (below) as they help towards the cost of maintaining this website.
Whilst this has been a very specific look at my Sierra Leone gear list. Basically what I could squeeze in my bag at the time, here is a better look at my favourite gear I take with me on my adventures.
My Gear List: VLOGGING KIT (On the Road)