Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens

For when you’re doing groups and street, but want it fast.

This focal length is pretty common, maybe second only to 50mm. Easily the most useful prime for most people’s street photography and group photos. Honestly, if you already have a reasonably fast zoom, this doesn’t give you much benefit.

If you don’t know why you need f/1.4, don’t buy this. It’s not a small or light lens by any means. Even if you can articulate why you need it, ask yourself if Sony’s E 35mm f/1.8 OSS version, which costs half as much, is less than half the size and weight, and comes with image stabilization will do the job. Unless you’re just reading specs, it likely will.

If you do need the extra quality and speed, well then, enjoy it.

Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera

For when you just can’t get enough resolution.

At 61 megapixel, this is quite impressive, especially if you wish to have really large prints, or aggressively crop. As this is the R(esolution) model, don’t expect top of the line 4k60 10bit video. While it can do 4k30 8bit, this is strictly aimed at high resolution.

There are a million reviews out there, so I won’t go into it, other than to say this is a great camera to get, especially since the a7R V was just announced yesterday.

Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Lens (Sony E)

The 75% Lens

This is by far my most useful lens outside. The focal range covers small landscapes, street shots, group shots, body shots, head shots, and really flattened out head shots. Will you get amazing soft backgrounds? No, but neither does it cost $4k.

IMO, once you have a reason to buy your first lens after the 50mm, get this. Easily the most affordable for the range and quality. You can absolutely own just this lens and impress 99% of people. With the exception of ultra wide-angle, macro, and super far distance objects, most everything else is just style.

If you’re traveling on vacation, for most people, this is the only lens you need. If you can’t articulate why you need something else, and why it’s compelling, this will do the job.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens

Small, Fast, & Light

If I need a fast lens or the camera system to be small and light, I’ll use the 50mm. It’s by far the cheapest, smallest and at f/1.8, close to the fastest. Good all-around lens, master of none, but it will get you the shot when you otherwise wouldn’t have anything. Easily the best bang for the buck.

Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler 70L

For the money, this really can’t be beat. I did a bunch of research and this cooler held food cold for 3.5 days in 80 degree days, whereas the Yeti, at 10x the price, lasted only 4 days. Scientific? No, but close enough. At under $40, you just can’t beat it. Is it large? Yes. It’s useful only for car camping, picnics, having beer cold when everyone is over for a bbq, etc. I sometimes wish I had gotten a 50L because this holds far more food than I care to carry and takes up valuable bed space in the truck. Ah well, I don’t feel like buying another.

Make sure you get the Marine version – the hinges are metal instead of plastic. It should last longer. It’s also white so it doesn’t get bleached by the sun.