My Gear List

工欲善其事 必先利其器
One must have the proper tools to do a proper job.

Imagine cutting a steak with a dull butter knife. Hey, while you’re at it, grab a mirror too. So you can watch yourself die inside.

The joy of creating the work, to me, is just as important as the work itself. Most of the times, this requires the right gear. And some of the times, good wifi.

I’m a brand consultant, photographer, and a woodworking hobbyist, which means my line of projects revolve around a series of tools. I’ve been asked a couple of times often about my hardware, so here’s a snapshot of my gear list.


Like many of you, my gear is an ever-changing list of things breeding from necessities, adjustments and learning about my personal preferences. But I don’t usually buy things unless something’s broken, so don’t expect updates and changes too often.


Branding/Design/Web development

This is what I do (mostly) for a living. I spend 6-10 hours with these things almost daily. But frankly, they’re no shining objects. I also work mostly from cafes (home’s been too chaotic with the little one), so I intend to keep my gears lean.

Here’s what makes up my mobile office.


+MacBook Pro 2012 13″ (customized) 

The 2009 15” MacBook Pro was my original workhorse and it was stolen in 2015 along with my external hard drive that had all my photos. Still pains me when I think about it. Life was not great. Fortunately, my younger brother decided to switch to a PC at the time and gave me his 3 year old macbook pro. It was not in a very good shape, so I gutted it and added a few upgrades:

  • New Battery
  • Replaced the old 250GB conventional SATA drive with new 500GB Solid Sate Drive
  • Removed the CD drive to reduce wait
  • Added 16GB of RAM
  • Slapped on a new matte black WHA decal

This thing’s been running smoothly for a good 4 years now since I took over. And it still has the flexibilty to make your own upgrades, the newer machines have most parts soldered in.


+Logitech MX Master 2SSee Price
I own the Logitech G602 ,which I use along side with this guy. This was a gift from my brother-in-law, who’s into gadgets, so it’s no surprise that this guy’s very well received among the computer crowd. It’s wireless; has stable bluetooth connection, long battery life and no lag. No complaints. It’s got several buttons that can br customized for quickkeys, which is incredibly handy. I set mine too:

  • Back / Forward pages
  • Show Desktop
  • Mission Control (show all apps that’s in use)

+iPad Pro 9.7″ + iPhone XRI chose the 9.7″ vs the 12.9″ for the portability. It’s got everything an iPad Pro can do in a smaller form factor. Every gram I shred is a gram I don’t have to carry on my back daily. It’s got a white home button because this is the 128GB gold/white model with a black matte protective cover. I use matte finish to add texture when writing/sketching with the Apple Pencil. The iPhone XR has incredible battery life. Sometimes I just charge once every two days.


+Multilayer OrganizerSee Price
By Side-by-side, a kickstarter company produced these out in Hong Kong. Super compact but has an amazing amount of capacity. Both sides of the pack are lined with spandex material so it’d stretch along with your things. This is where all my miscellaneous items live:


+Audiophile PlatinumSee Price
This is one of those things where I don’t know enough, so I just judge the book by its cover. And its reviews. I need music to complement my workflow, but I never dug deep enough to learn about the different attributes that make a great set of headphones. It does the following well and it hasn’t dissappointed yet:

  • Looks cool. Blows all the white and black headphones out of the water.
  • In-ear. I wear glasses and have large ears, so I can’t wear over-the-ear ones for long
  • Light weight.
  • Wired. The steps it requires to recharge bluetooth headphones and sync it via bluetooth are leaving me with this option.

+Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20LSee Price

I’ve been going on a backpack hunt for years until I see this guy. Peak Design is based in San Francisco with so so so many innovative products for photographers and creatives. The features and review for this bag alone can be its own post but I’m not doing that here as there are plenty of reviewers that are 10x more into the nooks and crannies of bags than I do. I will, however, list out my favorite aspects of the bag:

  • Small form factor. It’s got a hard shell like case, so stuffing it wouldn’t alter its shape too much.
  • So many dam room and pockets. I love it.
  • Water repellant coating all around.
  • Easy Access from every angle. Both flaps from the side can be opened.
  • Minimal branding. Plenty room for customization like my paper plane pin and WHA key chain.

Photography

They say the best camera is the camera you have with you. Yea, the exact reason I make sure I have more than just my phone’s camera.

I’ve own and used around a dozen DSLR, compact point and shoot, and mirrorless cameras. The process eventually narrows the list down to the two following cameras. And I almost always bring them both (one on my left and one on my right) for any shoots.

p.s. If you’re into crisp and clean gear, my apologies. I really put in the miles on these guys.


And these would be the exact set up.


+Olympus EM5 Mk2See Price 

My number 1 camera. If there’s no room for extra gear, here’s the one I’d bring. I’ve used a number of prime, wide angle, telephoto lenses. While I love the images some produce, when it comes to the sweet spot between versatility, size, and image quality, it’s gotta be 24-70 f2.8 (Full frame equivalent) for the lens—hence, the Panasonic Leica 12-35 f2.8—see price. Here’s why this is my go to set up:

  • Small and light. Mirrorless is incredible. I do like to stress that when I bought this camera, the mirrorless full frame didn’t exist just yet. I MIGHT’ve gotten the Sony Alpha.
  • Versatile. Plenty room to play with using the 24-70 range. Plus the f2.8 allow shallower depth of field and low light flexibility.
  • Affordablility. I can get the entire set up less than how much it’d cost for a full frame camera body.
  • Image sharpness and in body image stabilization. The tech quality is simply amazing.
  • I added an all metal grip for better ergnomics (love the patina) and WHA key chain for +2 image sharpness.

Photo examples

jordanSBLakers 


+Canon 5D mk3See Price

The first camera is good for all-around, the second is meant to complement what the first one’s lacking—the ultra-wide shots. This is the case for my specific needs. Between portraits, interior, product, and landscape photography, I tend to shoot landscapes most often. And the best way to capture the grand presence of most location is through the ultra-wide. Hence, the sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6see price.

  • The set up is bulky, but there’s no shortage of quality that this thing can produce.

Photo Examples


Those are the core items. For future updates, I plan to add the following:

-Camera Straps
-Dual Camera Sling Setup
-Home Office Battle Station
-Woodworking Equipments
-Softwares

’til then,
Benson

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