Iceland: Equipment


This blog is on the camera equipment that I have decided to bring along for my Iceland photo trip. Every piece of equipment has been thought through carefully and some items have come off the list, reconsidered and even brought back on. Here is the final selection and I will give you my reasons for each items.

Can I really fit all of this in my camera bag?

Can I really fit all of this in my camera bag?


Nikon D810
Nikon D800


The Nikon D810 is my primary body. The full frame 36MP sensor is perfect for landscape photography, with very wide dynamic range and a native low 64 ISO will give me clean no noise shots and the native high ISO of 12800 is fantastic for starry skies and astrophotography. The lack of complete darkness this time of year means faint stars aren’t very visible and I need all the help I can get pulling out the detail in the night sky.

The Nikon D800 is my dedicated time-lapse body this trip. It will be used for the time-lapse sequences which will be recording at most of the locations we will be at, quietly clicking away for hours at a time. Also 36MP sensor, the frames are big enough for 4K time-lapse movies. The D800 also serves as a backup body in case my primary or my travel buddy’s camera fails, gets dropped down a crevasse, or drowns in the sea. (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself now!).


Samyang 14mm f/2.8
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Nikon 24mm PCE f/2.8 tilt-shift
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 28-300mm f/4-5.6
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro – not shown
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Starting with the widest, the Samyang 14mm is my astrophotography go-to lens. Its fast, its very wide. Considered my 24mm f/1.8, which is much better for gathering light from very, very faint stars, but it just isn’t wide enough for massive landscape vistas which I like for my nighttime photography. I had to make a choice here and the wider but slightly slower 14mm wins in this regard.



The Nikon 16-35 f/4.0 is a perfect smaller companion to the beast of a 14-24mm, the latter unable to take the 100mm filters, and I need my filters for my long exposures. The 16-35mm has the same 70mm filter thread as all my other pro lenses I am bringing, so this cuts down on weight having to only bring one set.

The 24mm PCE tilt-shift lens – great for architectural photography, I can control distortion (buildings falling over backwards is not really my thing) but also for dead sharp foreground to background landscape vistas. I could, of course, use focus stacking, but this takes a lot longer and not so great for moving subjects (I’m thinking moving icebergs on glacier lakes).

Nikon 24-70mm – a beautifully sharp lens, not too heavy if I am hiking about and want to leave some behind and a reasonable zoom. This lens is great for multi stitched panoramic images. If I want a 200MP image, this lens is normally my choice.


Nikon 28-300mm – This lens I will only be using at the 300mm range – not a very fast lens, but it’s light and the longest lens I have brought. Probably only use it if I am lucky enough to see birds or other wildlife.

Sigma 105mm Macro lens – in case the weather or light is so poor, I can concentrate on the little things in life!

Finally, the Nikon 70-200mm – Again, great for multi row stitched panoramic images, and brilliant for picking out far away details in the landscapes.


Manfrotto 190CXPRO3
Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Hydrostatic ballhead
Manfrotto CX BeFree travel tripod with attached ball head
The main tripod is the fabulous Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 – this is a 3 section carbon fibre tripod. I have (retractable) spiked feet so it’s solid in sand or other unstable ground. It’s (just) short enough to fit in my luggage if I remove the centre column with the head attached. Carbon fibre doesn’t get so cold like aluminium so easier to handle, and its light and very strong.
I use the Manfrotto 468MGRC2 hydrostatic ball head – this is great as it has one single knob to release the ball for easy manipulation of angles and a friction adjustment control also. What’s great about this head is a separate panoramic plate – you can keep the ball locked, and pan across a scene on a horizontal plane.

Manfrotto Carbon Fibre BeFree – I bought this for hiking mainly, but for this trip, it will be used to support the Nikon D800 for the time-lapse sequences whilst I shoot with the other camera and tripod. It’s so light (only 1.1KG including the head).



Wireless remote control and receiver
Wired shutter release – in case the wireless fails
Black Rapid RS-4 camera strap
Hot Shoe bubble level
Nikon SP900 speed light flash
Hot Shoe soft box 40cm
B&W 70mm circular polariser
Lee filter 100mm holder
1 stop ND filter
2 stop ND filter
3 stop ND filter
3 stop ND graduated filter
10 stop Lee Big Stopper ND filter
16 stop Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND filter
Lowepro filter holder
Multiple CF cards and SD cards, about 300GB in total
Tamrac 5585 Expedition 5x Camera Backpack – not shown


Macbook Air
Kingston multi card reader
Western Digital 1TB portable Hard Drive
Head torch – has a ‘red’ light option so it doesn’t kill your night vision for night photography
About 20 Hot-hands chemical hand warmers – these aren’t for my hands but to keep the camera lenses warm during long exposures and long time lapses – stops condensation forming.
Oh, and a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts and a jacket and some rain trousers and about 20 energy bars. I’m all set!

More tk/ John