Photographers like to say that equipment doesn't matter – frequently while still reading reviews and checking prices. It's certainly not the most important thing, but having good gear does help.

Part of the appeal of film photography for me is that everything is already obsolete, so the generational churn is gone. That said, my two main cameras are both the latest models from their respective manufacturers, so you never know. But as a set they do give me everything I want and compliment each other very nicely.

So while it doesn't really matter, this is what I use, and why.

Zeiss Ikon m-mount rangefinder. It's balanced perfectly between being small and large, and its viewfinder is better than any M-Leica. This is the camera I prefer for casual or more spontaneous use. It also pairs well with my Fuji digitals, which can use the M lenses on an adapter.

Zeiss 35/2 Biogon. A technically excellent and neutral lens for exacting general use.

Zeiss 50/1.5 C-Sonnar. Charming wide open, it's my favourite for people if they stand still.

Voigtländer 40/1.4 Nokton SC. An uncanny hybrid of the previous two, and smaller-enough to matter.

Zeiss 85/4 Tele-Tessar. Not a natural fit for the rangefinder, it's only occasionally useful.

Rising 28/127 Pinhole. 35mm is too small for decent pinhole photography, but it's fun to try.

Nikon F6. It's big but superb, and excellent at everything the rangefinder has a hard time with. Like accurate framing, auto focus, and zoom lenses. But its size and weight restrict how often I carry it, making more of a Serious Photography machine.

Sigma 24-35 f/2. Way more lens than 35mm film needs, but the fast zoom has my perfect range.

Nikon 85/2.8D PC-E. Requiring a tripod is a small price to pay for controlling the world.      

Nikon 50/1.8G. Makes the big F6 more nimble and manageable, good for travel and casual use when I still want the SLR advantages.

Canon A-1, FD 50/1.8. Definitely the "B" camera these days, it still has its charm and a full set of contrast filters.

Harman Reusable. An easy-to-carry nearly-disposable camera. Purely a point-and-shoot, so it's a fun toy.

Olympus XA. Tiny and fiddly, this one doesn't get out as much as it should.

But here's what does matter: the film itself. Part of this process is learning the different types and what I prefer.

Ilford HP5 is the answer to most questions. I typically use it at EI400-800, but can go to 1600 quite happily. At 800 it can run out of shutter speed in daylight with the rangefinder, but a contrast filter helps. I'll use it with yellow, dark yellow, or orange.

Delta 400 (box speed) and 3200 (EI1000-1600) are what I use for photos of the kid. Both rangefinder and SLR meters are fine for Delta 400, which I can use in the summer, while D3200 is better when there's less light. I want the cleaner grain for people photos.

My tripod films are Delta 100, FP4, and Ortho. These mostly go in the SLR. All are good, and I'll choose between them based on my subject and desired look. But I'm writing this at the end of March, and Fujifilm Acros II has just come out. It's already looking like it will replace all of my lower-speed films.

Specialty films are Pan F 50 and SFX 200. I've only shot one roll of each so far, and have one more of each waiting for the right time. These aren't ones that I'll keep in stock, but might buy them occasionally for fun. I also have three rolls of Cinestill BW / Kodak XX waiting for just the right moment, but I'd need to really fall in love with this for it to become more than an occasional fling.

And of course there's occasionally colour film as well. Right now my favourite is Portra 160, with its muted pastels being good for winter. As the seasons brighten I'll step up the iso to the 400 and 800 variants – the opposite of what would make sense – and use Ektar as well. But film for me is predominantly monochrome, so these are just for the occasional variety.