Shoot to Thrill

This Is All the Gear World-Class Photographer Jimmy Chin Keeps in His Pack


March 11, 2018 Tech : Cameras By Photo by Jimmy Chin

The backcountry hates technology. It wants to dent it, crush it, freeze it, burn it and drown it. But damn does it look good on camera. Visual storytelling in the wilds isn’t easy — ambitious photographers have to add extra weight to already-heavy bags, put thousand-dollar gear investments at the mercy of unforgiving environments and spend long hours waiting in harsh conditions to get the perfect shot. Jimmy Chin can’t afford not to have a trustworthy kit that’s both versatile and highly specialized, and as it is with all outdoor equipment, there is no one solution for every situation.

“I carry a variety of gear depending on what type of shoot I am doing. It’s always about trying to find a balance between weight, versatility, the difficulty of shooting location, the difficulty of activity, and whether I am shooting video, stills or both. Most recently, I was working on my current feature documentary project where I was directing and filming but had also been asked to shoot the feature print story simultaneously. I generally try to avoid this type of scenario because I feel like I have to make a lot of compromises and end up not doing any of it particularly well. But in this case, I didn’t have a choice. The shoot required a wide range of coverage including vérité film scenes, photojournalistic coverage of day-to-day life, and filming and shooting stills of high-angle big wall climbing. I think it is a good example to look at since I needed a quiver I could shoot video and shoot stills within multiple environments. Here is the basic kit I traveled to location with. This equipment would get paired down depending on what I was shooting for the day.” — Jimmy Chin

The Gear

EOS-1DX Mark II by Canon $5,699
EOS 5D Mark IV (back up camera) by Canon $3,299

24-105mm f/4 by Canon $1,099
16-35mm f/4 by Canon $999
70-200mm f/4 by Canon $1,099
35mm f/1.4 by Canon $1,649
50mm f/1.2 by Canon $1,299
24-70mm f/2.8 by Canon $1,699