Why Your Photo Equipment Matters

Not your typical gear review

Equipment is not what makes a photographer good at what he does.

His ability to use the equipment is.

You’ve already heard something along those lines:

“No matter what camera you use, it is not the camera but the eye behind which makes the photograph.”

And there is truth to that, but a good eye without proper gear can only go so far.

Equipment matters.

Especially for certain photography types like astro.

In this letter, I will be sharing the equipment I use and explain what you can achieve with it technically and artistically.

1. The Equipment

I won’t cover the specs of all as you can find a gazillion articles and reviews for each on the internet.

Instead, I’ll just mention what I use them for when it comes to the type of work I do.

2. Using the right equipment for the right outcome

In this section, I will be sharing some of my images and explain the equipment used for each.

You will notice what role some pieces of equipment play in the final image and how they work with each other.

This will also introduce focal blending, exposure blending, and aperture blending.

Lueur Lunaire

This image mixes focal length, exposure, and aperture.

Equipment used: Nikon Z7ii, 14-24mm, 24-70mm

Image settings:


Middle ground (mountain)


Moon and clouds





ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 160





3 sec

1/50 sec

6 sec

30 sec

The main reason for me to change the focal length here is because oftentimes, the mountains become flatter with a wide-angle lens. This makes the scene not only less impressive but less realistic to the experience there where I usually am amazed by the peaks around and their height.

And instead of digitally scaling it up, I would rather capture it directly on the field with another lens and put the elements back together in post-production.


This image is the perfect example of two very different photography styles that require different equipment and techniques, both in the capture and in the edit.

It mixes 3 different lenses and various exposures.

Equipment used: Nikon Z7ii, 14-24mm, 20mm, 24-70mm, Benro (star tracker)

Image settings:


Landscape (pond + mountain)

Milky Way Panorama (with star tracker)




ISO 3200

ISO 500

ISO 1600




3 sec

1/250 sec

60 sec

To get that much detail and colors in the Milky Way, the use of the star tracker is really what makes the difference (and this is without an astro-modified camera as I didn’t have one at the time). Once home and with the images on the computer, I realized how much of a difference a tracker makes. Not only in the RAW files but also in your ability to work with the colors and stars much more precisely because there is so much more information in the file than with non-tracked shots.

A morning in the Andes

This image uses mostly focal blending and some focus stacking for the foreground. This shot is one of the composites I made that has all elements in the right place and almost shot at the same time.

Equipment used: Nikon Z7ii, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm

Image settings:


Landscape (mountain)

Sky & moon




ISO 800

ISO 1000

ISO 2000




1/250 sec

1/60 sec

1/200 sec

For each layer of the image changing the lens made a lot of sense to me. The wider angle lens (14-24mm) allowed me to capture the flower bush more fully, whereas with a 24-70mm I would have had to either stitch several images (on top of doing a focus stack) or get further away but if you do, you lose the roundness of the foreground.

The mountain size was more true to reality with a 24-70mm. With the wide angle, the peaks were much flatter, which clearly was not the case (I believe the two mountains were about 6000m high).

And when it comes to the moon, the telezoom lens allows you to capture it with greater details without making it much bigger than it is. I would rather capture it bigger than it is and scale it down than the opposite.

Astro-modified image example

As I currently haven’t created a composite with my astro-modified camera yet (it’s in the making), I still wanted to share with you what an astro-modified image looks like:

This image was captured earlier this year with the intent of testing the equipment and seeing what comes out.

Equipment used: Nikon Z6a, 100-400mm, Benro (star tracker)

This is the RAW file with just basic white balance adjustments, as astro-modified images are naturally magenta.

On that night, I decided to mount the camera with a 100-400mm lens that belonged the a photographer friend who was with me. We were both blown away by the result.

The combination of the astro-modified camera and the tracker brings colors and details that are not comparable with your typical camera and tripod.

Hence, you can expect me to work from now on almost completely with the Z6a for the sky part of my images. And this includes the capture of northern lights.

If you are interested in learning more about night images with astro-modified cameras there is a great interview on YouTube you can watch here from my friend Dan.

3. Closing word

The further you evolve in your photo journey, the more you’ll realize what are your needs and where you’d like to go.

This letter is not meant to be a shopping list of everything you need to start doing photography or composite work.

I started with a Z6 and a 24-70mm f/4 four years ago (after using my father’s equipment for 10 years), and as time and practice started to sink in, I started to acquire more equipment little by little, as I saw my needs and ambition evolve towards where I am now.

So don’t feel like you must have all of this to start. Because that’s the mindset that will most likely lead you to never start at all.

Practice makes perfect, and the more you practice the better your toolkit will become, as you’ll notice what’s missing but could help you get better results.

This letter was a bit more technical and really photo-centric but I hope you enjoyed it.

Your feedback on what I share is always very welcome too so don’t hesitate to reach out!

That’s it for today.

See you in the next one,