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What's In My Bag: A Hybrid Sony Alpha Kit For High-Level Photo & Video

Nick Di Giugno (@toldbynick) is a filmmaker, photographer and engineer based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Before going full time with photography and videography, Di Giugno worked as a vehicle design engineer for Tesla. "Through college and my engineering career," he says, "I always took on freelance camera work – refining my artistic and business skillsets along the way." Di Giugno now owns CRES New York, a real estate media company focused on delivering high-end photo and video content to brokers, interior designers and architects. Along with CRES his personal brand (ToldbyNick) focuses on educating other photographers and filmmakers on how to get the most out of their gear, streamline their pre- and post-production workflows, and level-up their content overall. While he's mostly a video-focused hybrid shooter, Di Giugno says he's still an active still photographer and his favorite things to capture are cityscapes, landscapes and interiors. We caught up with Di Giugno to learn more about the gear he uses for photo and video and to get a tour of the cameras, lenses and other gear he has in his bag.

Product Preview – In This Article You'll Find:
Sony Alpha 7 IV
Sony Alpha 7C
Sony 24-105mm f/4 G
Sony 20mm f/1.8 G
Sony ECM-GZ1M Shotgun Mic
Sony NP-FZ100 Battery


Nick Di Giugno's hybrid Sony Alpha kit

Cameras

Sony Alpha 7 IV: My primary shooter is the Sony Alpha 7 IV. I can’t say enough about this beast of a hybrid camera. It is truly a workhorse and does an incredible job at both photography and videography, which is the umbrella reason as to why I use it for nearly everything I do. 33 megapixels is a sweet spot as far as file size and resolution for the type of work I do and the 10-bit 422 4k video that comes out of the Alpha 7 IV is truly stunning when exposed and graded correctly.

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 100

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 100

Maybe one of my favorite features of the Alpha 7 IV - and one that I think is often overlooked - is the ability to punch into APS-C mode. Yes, you sacrifice some resolution, but you still get a high-resolution image and this has saved me so many times when I’m shooting on a prime lens and I need the extra reach. Furthermore, being able to get a 1.5x crop in video and still have the camera output crisp, oversampled 4k video is absolutely game-changing for run & gun scenarios and it’s a huge reason I opt to shoot on my Alpha 7 IV over an Alpha 7S III.

Sony Alpha 7C: The second camera I keep in my kit is the Sony Alpha 7C. It’s got (almost) everything my old Alpha 7 III had in it but in a smaller, lighter package. The Alpha 7C is my go-to camera for street photography due to it’s unobtrusive and low-volume design. For the same reason, it’s in my bag on every client shoot as either a backup or a dedicated B cam. While the Alpha 7C has some limitations as far as video goes (limited to 8-bit and no 4K 60), the image quality and autofocus still manages to impress me to this day. Having a stabilized full frame sensor in a near APS-C-sized body while being able to capture oversampled 4K video and high res RAW stills are all reasons why the Alpha 7C is a staple in my kit.

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 24-105mm f/4 G. 1/80-sec., f/4, ISO 500

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 24-105mm f/4 G. 1/80-sec., f/4, ISO 500

Lenses

Sony 24-105mm f/4 G: Number one on my list of lenses has got to be my tried and true Sony 24-105mm f/4 G. This  lens has been with me since my Alpha 7 III days (back in 2018) and has been responsible for helping create some of my favorite work. The 24-105mm zoom covers a large range in itself, but when combined with APS-C mode and even Clear Image Zoom, this lens is used for  a huge amount of my work. The weather sealing has also held up quite well over my years of abuse and a few too many rain storms.

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 24-105mm f/4 G. 1/640-sec., f/4.5, ISO 50

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7C. Sony 24-105mm f/4 G. 1/640-sec., f/4.5, ISO 50

While the IBIS in my camera bodies works well, having OSS on top of that helps not just at 105mm, but also with getting smooth and stable handheld video. I’ve always found the 24-105mm f/4 G keeps up with my work – whether photo or video.

Sony 20mm f/1.8 G: The second lens I keep in my kit is the Sony 20mm f/1.8 G. Before I owned this lens, I had a cheaper 20mm in my kit, and while that lens' autofocus and severe distortion weren't my favorite, I fell in love with the 20mm look. I sold that 20mm shortly after buying it and I upgraded to the Sony 20mm f/1.8 G version. This Sony 20mm f/1.8 G fixed all of my issues with the previous 20mm lens and allowed me to shoot at 20mm essentially without any limitations.

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G. 1/15-sec., f/4, ISO 100

Photo by Nick Di Giugno. Sony Alpha 7 IV. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G. 1/15-sec., f/4, ISO 100

My two primary uses for the Sony 20mm f/1.8 G are real estate/interiors for CRES and top-down (overhead) videos for the ToldbyNick brand. This lens excels in both of these use cases due to it’s fast, smooth & quiet autofocus and its sharp, low distortion image. I also shoot this lens at about a 30mm equivalent when combined with APS-C mode on my camera bodies - another wonderful, natural looking focal length for interiors.

Accessories

Sony ECM-GZ1M Shotgun Mic: An easy choice to keep in my bag for when I need primary or backup audio, since it doesn’t require a charge or any additional cables.

Sony NP-FZ100 Battery: I keep at least 1 spare in my bag at all times - fully charged and ready to go.

Ulanzi Quick Release Folding Cage: A compact camera cage that also functions as an L-bracket for vertical shooting. Folds flat and doesn’t take up a lot of room in my bag.

Ulanzi TT09 Video Go Tripod: A compact and lightweight travel tripod that I keep strapped to the side of my bag.

Polar Pro PM VND ii: My variable ND filter of choice. Excel- lent clarity and color reproduction in a nicely designed, compact kit.

Dust Blower: To keep the glass and sensors free of lint and debris.

Touch-Sensitive Gloves: For those cold/windy outdoor shoots! A must have in any North-easterner’s kit.

Drone: My drone of choice for all of my photo and video work since 2018.

NOTE: While I have plenty more gear and accessories, the items listed above are at the core of nearly every kit I put together. They are my essentials and can almost always be found in my bag.

See more of Nick Di Giugno's work on Instagram @toldbynick.

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