What Camera Does Jimmy Chin Use?

Adventure photographer Jimmy Chin mainly uses the Canon EOS 1D-X Mark II but also has the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV on hand as a backup camera.

My name is Caleb, and I have over four years of photography experience. During my time as a sports photographer, I’ve gotten a lot of tough shots and learned a lot about gear and which features are worth the cost.

In this article, I’ll look at the gear Jimmy Chin uses for some of his most challenging assignments. I’ll also go over his recommendations on what adventure photographers should carry.

Keep reading below if you’re interested in learning the equipment behind his crazy shots.

What Camera Does Jimmy Chin Use?

The primary camera Jimmy Chin uses is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

This one isn’t the newest camera, as it came out in 2016, but the specs still hold up today as high-end, and the model is still used a lot by a subset of professionals who need a speedy camera body.

One of the main niches where this camera is popular is sports photography. That’s because it’s extremely fast and good at capturing action as it happens, thanks to a 14fps continuous shooting rate or 16fps in live view with locked focus and exposure.

If you’re using this camera body, you more or less don’t have to worry about pressing the shutter button but missing the action in front of you because of the camera being too slow.

The model isn’t just fast; it also brings quality to the table. The sensor has 20.2-megapixels, a marginal upgrade from the 1D X Mark I, which had 18.1. In the video department, it can record in 4K at 60fps or 1080p at 120fps.

Additionally, the 61 autofocus points help with not losing track of the fast-moving scenes that many photographers like to capture using the 1D X Mark II.

Also, as a full-frame camera, the 1D X Mark II has a large and sturdy build quality. This might play a role in Jimmy Chin choosing it, as obviously, having a sturdy camera helps while adventuring in the harsh elements.

What Backup Camera Does Jimmy Chin Use?

Jimmy Chin’s backup choice in camera is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. This one is the latest model in the popular EOS 5D series and is another full-frame camera. However, the focus for the 5D Mark IV is mainly on quality rather than speed.

The 1D X Mark II and the 5D Mark IV came out in the same year, but the latter has the better sensor. Its sensor features 30.1 effective megapixels, which is obviously a step up from the 1D X Mark II’s 20.2.

However, the 5D Mark IV has a slower continuous shooting speed as it only reaches 7fps in that area. It can also record 4K videos, which are limited to 30fps instead of 60fps.

With that being said, they’re aimed at two different audiences, and the 5D Mark IV isn’t a bad camera, just one with a different focus. The 1D X Mark II is more focused on getting action shots, while the 5D Mark IV focuses on very high-quality full-frame images.

What Lens Does Jimmy Chin Use?

Jimmy Chin uses a vast arsenal of lenses to get the job done, and we would be here all day if we went over each one of them. Because of that, we’ll look at the ones in his camera bag that cover some of the most common uses.

First up is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, which covers some of the most common focal lengths and brings an f/2.8 aperture to the table that ensures its ability to freeze the action or perform in low-light settings.

This lens isn’t cheap, but you can consider it essential. If you had to pick just one lens, choosing this one would allow you to perform well in a lot of the most common photography situations. As the lens came out in 2012, it also has some modern features like chromatic aberration reduction and quieter autofocusing.

Another one of the key lenses in Chin’s camera bag is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. This one provides the same aperture as the 24-70mm lens but has a much longer focal length and is great for capturing things further away.

The lens is an older model compared to the first one listed here, but it holds up very well. It’s still widely used in niches where shooting from a distance is important, such as in sports photography.

Finally, Chin also uses the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens, which has a fixed focal length of 14mm and is designed around ultra-wide angle shooting. 

Because of its ultra-wide angle capabilities, photographers typically use this lens in fields like landscape and architectural photography, where wide-angle shots are common.

It’s pretty pricey for a fixed focal length lens, but if you need a lens that fills this one niche, this one is a good option. It’s worth noting that to get the most out of its capability, you’ll have to use it with a full-frame camera.

What Camera Bag Does Jimmy Chin Use?

Having a durable and comfortable camera bag is a big part of adventure photography, and Jimmy Chin uses the f-stop DuraDiamond Tilopa.

The bag is large enough to carry several cameras and lenses at a time, and the f-stop’s modular system allows for changing the size of the inserts to fit your current needs.

Importantly for this type of photography, the bag is also designed with weather resistance and durability in mind.

Jimmy Chin’s Recommended Gear For Adventure Photography

The cameras Jimmy Chin recommends for other photographers are the same ones he uses: the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

For other equipment, Chin recommends bringing batteries and double-checking to make sure you’ll have enough for a planned outing. That includes camera batteries as well as batteries for any other equipment such as lights.

He also recommends bringing a solar charger and media storage if needed. He recommends solid state drives for storage, as their lack of moving parts makes them more durable when you’re on the move.

Finally, Chin believes that a camera holster such as the f-stop Navin is a necessary part of any gear list.


Here are some other frequently asked questions about Jimmy Chin.

Has Jimmy Chin Climbed Mount Everest?

Jimmy Chin climbed Mount Everest in 2004 while working on a film project with Stephan Daldry.

How Did Jimmy Chin Get Famous?

Chin gained attention for his climbing and skiing career in the late 90s. During the mid-2000s, he built his reputation further through many high-profile expeditions and through working with National Geographic.


Adventure photography is a tough niche, but surprisingly, Jimmy Chin’s equipment for it isn’t that special. He uses the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, neither of which are especially rare or unusual compared to other full-frame cameras.

What camera is your favorite for outdoors photography? Let us know in the comments.

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