Jeff Cable's 2021 Games Gear - What I Am Bringing to Tokyo!


This post is all about the gear I am bringing with me to the Games in Tokyo. As always, my goal is to share with you all what it is like to be at the Games. In the past I focused mainly on the photography, but this time around I plan on giving you the photographic view, but also the behind-the-scenes view from these very different Games.

As I stated before, this is the first Games where I need to bring everything with me, since Canon is not allowed to lend products to photographers (due to COVID protocol) unless it is a dire emergency. And yes, this has caused me a little extra stress this time around.

Not only do I need to bring everything with me, but this is the first Games where I will be relying almost solely on Canon's mirrorless cameras, which meant a totally different lens selection than in the past.

A couple of days ago, I took the above gear shot to show you what I am bringing with me on this trip. My longest lens is the Canon 200-400mm lens with the built-in teleconverter, which lets me shoot up to 560mm. I absolutely love the versatility and quality of this lens, and I know that it is perfect for shooting water polo games (which I am contractually shooting for Team USA). When the athletes are in the close end of the pool, I can shoot at 200mm, and then when they are in the far end of the pool, I can quickly flip the switch and be at 560mm. This is great for getting tight shots of the goaltender. Love that!

Canon EF 200-400mm

I am also bringing the new Canon RF 70-200mm 2.8 and Canon RF 100-500mm lenses, which should come in handy for many of the other sports. I decided to bring the new Canon RF 15-35mm lens for my wide shots and the Canon RF 24-105mm lens for anything in between. What I forgot to include in the gear shot above is my Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens, which is making the trip, as well.

I am bringing my Canon 1D X Mark III and the Canon EF 100-400mm lens as my “backup” camera setup. I am not sure how much I will use that, but since I am so familiar with that setup, I thought it best to have it with me for comfort. I do have a couple of the Canon EF-to-RF adapters so I can mount the 200-400 and 100-400 on the mirrorless bodies.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EF 100-400mm

All my retouching will be done on the MacBook Pro 16" laptop, which is super-fast! The two pieces of software that I rely on for everything are Photo Mechanic (by CameraBits) and Adobe Photoshop. They are installed, updated, and ready to go. You can see that I have two of the Pro Grade Digital card readers that are magnetically attached to the Macbook Pro. I prefer this to having the reader dangling from the laptop when I am downloading on a press bus or chair. I am bringing four of the 2TB Crucial X8 solid state drives for backing up my images. I will have one in each bag, one in my locker at the press center, and one in my hotel room. Redundant backup is crucial (pun intended).

Apple 16" MacBook Pro

I have my Wacom Intuos tablet for retouching, since I rely on that so heavily at home. It is so much better than trying to edit with a mouse or trackpad.

I am bringing two of the Gitzo monopods (one as a backup, since I rely on them heavily) and one Gitzo travel tripod. We are not allowed to use tripods in the Games venues, but I do like to get night shots around the Games Park if I have time. Heck, with nobody being in the stadiums this time around, maybe I will be able to use a tripod.

Gitzo GIGT1545T Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod

I have the Tiffen HT UV filters on all my lenses to protect them, and I am bringing some extras in case I have any accidents and demolish one. I did this at the last Games and was happy to break only the filter and not the front element of the lens.

I have lots and lots of Pro Grade Digital memory cards, since I plan on shooting a ton of photos. I am bringing the SD and CFexpress cards, since I plan on shooting with the Canon R5, Canon R3, and Canon 1D X Mark III camera bodies.

You can see five batteries in the photo, but I will probably be bringing more than that.

I have two of the Blackrapid camera straps with the Acratech swift clamps to carry multiple cameras and lenses easily.

I also included my Bose® Noise-Canceling™ Headphones, since those make the long flight a little easier.

Then the big question was: Would all this fit in my Thinktank camera bags? Because I really do not want to check any gear on the flight and I want it in the cabin with me.

Today was the day for me to pack up all the equipment, and I am so happy to say that it all fits perfectly in the ThinkTank Airport Security 3 big roller and the Thinktank StreetWalker Rolling Backpack 2.0. What I am shooting on any particular day will determine which bag I take with me—the larger one when I need more gear, or the smaller one when I want to travel light. I do have the monopods, tripod, chargers, and other accessories in my suitcase, but that is totally fine with me.

I have yet to finish packing my suitcase, but plan to pack light. Assuming it will be really hot there, I will bring five pairs of shorts, five lightweight shirts (with collars so that the lanyard from the credentials does not rub my neck raw), and a week’s worth of underclothing. I always bring a bag of detergent so I can wash my clothes in the room each night. I also have a light rain jacket and a rain cover for the equipment since there have been thunderstorms in Tokyo and I see more in the future. Oh, and suffice it to say that I have tons of face masks to get me through the three weeks!

Do you have any comments or questions about Cable’s gear? Leave them in the Comments section, below.

* This article was adapted from photographer Jeff Cable’s blog.