Chris Prescott

Filmmaker. Photographer. Sound Designer.

Going 'Lightweight'

The term lightweight can often be a bit of misnomer when it comes to photography and filmmaking gear. Unfortunately it's not often at the front of the manufacturers mind when designing a new camera or lens (aside from the GoPro and other 'action' specific gear). In fact it seems the better the gear the heavier it is, especially where lenses are concerned.

Natalie Berry skinning up the slopes above Montchavin with Mont Blanc buried in cloud behind. Shot on a Canon 6D with a 24-70 and Lee .6 Soft Grad.

I've spent January out in the French Alps to ski and shoot stills but unfortunately it's turned out to be one of the worst seasons for snow in years, which has led to a lot of touring and searching around for better conditions. This has given me the opportunity to try out some different camera setups when out in the mountains. Although I spend a lot of time trimming down technical climbing gear and clothing, going lightweight in terms of camera kit has always been a challenge for me, mostly due to the fear of missing out on a shot due to not having the right gear. It was definitely a shock when I first got into the filmmaking side of things as the amount of gear required seemed to triple when compared to shooting stills. Although every piece of gear I carry on an average shoot is important to the end results it can also be pretty appealing to just throw a DSLR with a single lens into your bag and feel the benefits of a lighter pack on the uphills. Although I chop and change my gear a lot i've found for me I can get by using the following kit for a standard climbing or skiing day for photos only - 

  • Canon 6D (almost the same as the 5D Mark III but more compact and lighter).
  • Canon 24-70 f/2.8
  • Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS
  • Lee Filters Soft Grad Set

Although the 70-200 is a heavy monster weighing in the same as my carbon fibre touring skis I still can't bare to part with it due to the amazing images it produces.  Although it's an ever changing thing, and hopefully with the advent of compact mirrorless cameras the gear will continue to get lighter, for now it's a case of knuckling down and slogging out the uphills with a big pack on feeling reassured i'll be able to get the results I want.

If only all filming days were as easy as this one. This is the camera and tripod setup we usually carry into the mountains on a standard shoot.

© Chris Prescott 2016. All rights reserved.