Jack Nichols Photography
Night sky and landscape photographer in Seattle, Washington
Snow Globe-20160221.jpg

Gear List

Gear List

I get a lot of questions about the gear I use to make the photos you see on my site. On this page, you'll find some categorized lists of what I'm currently using. I only recommend some of it. Gear is a very personal choice, and the gear I choose to own and use reflects the work I do.

A quick note: some of the links below are affiliate links. That means at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission when you click one of the links and make a purchase. It's an easy way to support me and my family, and costs you nothing extra!

Budget Milky Way Kit:

If you are looking to put together a Milky Way kit on a budget, here's a basic setup that will produce some great images:

  • Canon 6d - excellent and affordable full frame camera. Can often be purchased in a bundle with the 24-105/f4L which is a great value, although the 24-105 isn't a great Milky Way lens.
  • Vello Shutterboss - easy to use intervalometer that works with the Canon 6d
  • Oben carbon fiber tripod - this tripod and ballhead combination is an affordable choice that offers reasonably good stability. I'll be honest - the ballhead is not my favorite, but it does the job.
  • Rokinon 14/2.8 - this is the lens I most frequently recommend to people just getting started. It's easy to use and focus, and produces great images, especially considering the price!

When you are ready to move beyond that kit, take a look at my gear lists below.

Always:

This is the gear I tend to take on every trip, regardless of purpose. If I'm going a little faster or lighter, I might drop a lens or two, but generally this stuff always comes with me.

I sometimes get questions about my choice of f/4 lenses, especially for night sky. There are a couple of answers to this. First, the 24-105 is only available in f/4 and it's a pretty versatile lens. Second, the 70-200 f/4 is about half the weight of the f/2.8 version, which matters to me on long trips. It's also quite a bit cheaper! Finally, at night, f/4 is often plenty fine at telephoto lengths as I'm not trying to achieve pinpoint stars at 200mm.

Occasional:

This is the equipment I take as needs dictate. This list reflects the gear I take often, but not always. Lenses I seldom use don't appear here.

Outdoor Gear:

A lot of folks also ask me about some of the outdoor gear I use. Seattle has a very wet climate, and I often travel to very cold or very hot places. Some of the gear I've found helpful:

  • F-Stop backpacks and ICUs. The ICUs are awesome as they fit in many packs beyond just the F-Stop.
  • Grivel mountaineering backpacks. This is my go-to pack for overnight expeditions.
  • Jackets from Mont Bell and Feathered Friends
  • Black Diamond climbing equipment
  • Hilleberg and Big Agnes tents
  • MSR water filtration systems
  • Outdoor Research gloves, hats, rain gear, and accessories. I particularly like the Stormtracker gloves for photography.
  • La Sportiva footwear
  • Eddie Bauer pants and shirts
  • Helly Hansen base layers. I've worn their LIFA stuff for over 15 years and it is the best base layer I've ever used.
  • Garmin InReach two-way satellite messaging device. Great for getting help or just staying in touch.

If you work for one of these companies, or know someone who does, I'd love to chat. :)