Thanksgiving how now passed.
What a great time!!
Got to spend some quality time with the family (primarily my dad) and got to eat some great food. Of course I saw my little cousins are more and more funny as they get older. Real characters now, as they will sing and dance and play and are at an age where they want you to be part of the fun as well.
We ate a lot, laughed a lot and had an amazing meal.
My cousin always put in a lot of work to make a fantastic meal for all of us and once again did a wonderful job.
I'm actually eating leftovers tonight!
Its busy out there at the mall where I work (day job). Hoping to go full time with photography in the upcoming years, but that's another story.
All the big stores were super busy, lots of sales, and some interesting people as well.
But, I got to see some friends there and kept busy for most of the day.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I am so pleased that I got to meet baby I.
She has come into this world to a very loving family. She is super cute and was very cooperative with us on the day of the session.
It truly is an exciting time when you decide that you are ready to buy your first DSLR. You realized that you love taking photos and have hundreds taken with your camera phone and your P&S. But, you know you're ready to step it up and get "better" photos more consistently.
But, there are so many options out there. And if that doesn't scare you enough there is a huge price range as well depending on what you need. Don't worry though, answering a few of these questions might help you decide on what's right for you.
1. What are you planning on photographing?
Whether you decide to take this on as a hobby or a business its good to know what you're planning on photographing. With all the cameras out there you'll find some are better in low light, some are better for photo/video and some less expensive or more accessible accessories. And, if you don't know what you plan on photographing follow on to the next few questions.
2. Are you looking for a quick learning curve or the more options the better?
Manufacturers understand that not everyone who picks up a camera is looking to make a career out of it. Some cameras such as the Nikon D3100 and D5100 come with a built in guide mode to help you to transition out of AUTO mode to take advantage of the DSLR at its best. For taking family photos and travel photos this might be the best way to go. As these cameras are usually on the lower end in price its easy to get setup and start learning without having to learn the ins and outs of photography from day 1.
3. How long do you think you'll want to take photos? See where it goes or for the long term?
Cameras as well as lenses have a life span. Most camera bodies will last you for a few years with minimal use while others could last you almost a decade. Many entry level cameras have a life span of 100,000 shutter counts. (That means how many times the shutter will trigger before it wears out.) Pro level cameras generally have a life span around 200,000 shutter counts.
Big difference right?
Lenses on the other hand will easily last you over 10 yrs with proper maintenance. So if you're thinking long term pick a manufacturer that offers you a lot of options in both cameras and lenses.
4. Test before you buy. Is size important to you?
Aside from taking amazing photos DSLRs are also high end pieces of equipment. There are a wide range of models from very lightweight to the pro grade cameras that are weather sealed and made mostly of metal. If you are planning on using a camera for extended periods of time you'll start to feel how heavy they really are. Generally the entry level cameras are lighter than the pro level camera. This goes for lenses as well so keep that in mind. Also, no point to get a big fancy camera if your hands are too small or they cause you pain to use. So always test out different models before you buy.
5. Lastly but not the least important. What is your budget?
Most photographers will probably tell you to buy as much as you can afford. You do get what you pay for. But, that doesn't mean go out and buy a $4,000 camera just because you can afford it. You have to consider memory cards, batteries, bags, and those fancy lenses you'll learn to love. The amazing thing is how much cameras are improving year over year. Even the entry level cameras can compete with last decades top of the line. My opinion is to skip the absolute base model if you can as it will be the first to be out dated. Entry level cameras are replaced every year. Mid range cameras are replaced every yr and a half and the high end models are replaced almost three years after they are released. So if you know that you will want to upgrade sooner than later perhaps purchase a higher end model from the start. But if you're not sure what you want to do start entry level and see where it takes you. The best place to spend your money is on quality lenses as they will continue to work with you even after you trade up your camera.
I hope this was helpful and if you have anything else to add please feel free to comment.
As of February 1st I am now shooting exclusively with Fuji equipment. There are many reasons for this including lighter gear, similar or better image quality, cost and flexibility. But, I still consider Nikon gear in high regard and do shoot with Nikon from time to time.
I did one of these posts a while back and figured I should do an update. I no longer only do wedding and events and have really started to focus a lot on portraits. And, by doing so I've worked hard on having the proper equipment to cover everything from portraits to weddings, to macro work.
I've been asked to share what's in my bag so here goes.
The Nikon D610 is my first Full Frame camera and will now be my primary body replacing my D7000. So far I've been amazed by the high ISO capability, quickness in auto focusing, the large view finder and the fact that it brings out the best of my lenses. Its more durable and slightly better looking than my D7000. But, all kidding aside it is a fantastic camera and was a very easy transition coming from the D7000.
2nd Body (might be replacing it soon, not sure)
As I only shoot with prime lenses it is very important to have two bodies to work with. I enjoy being able to put a wider lens on one and a longer lens on the other. This makes for faster transitions and also reduced the shutter count on my cameras. Previously I owned 2 D7000 cameras and both have been fantastic for me. I learned so much with my D7000. It really helped me step up from amateur to pro and taught me more about my lenses and my style. For anyone looking to upgrade from a D3000 or D5000 series, this is a big upgrade in both functions, button placement and the ability to use other AIS lenses as it has a built in motor. Same goes for the D7100 as it has recently replaced the D7000.
Nikon 28mm 2.8D
I'm going to have to start with my widest lens. I hardly use this lens, but when I have large groups to photograph I make sure I have it with me. It also works well in low light so it makes for a good indoor lens. There is nothing fancy about this lens, but it gets the job done. I owned the 24mm version, but this one seemed to be a tad sharper. I'll probably never upgrade this lens as it doesn't really get much use. I prefer my longer lenses.
The Nifty Fifty
Nikon 50mm 1.4G ( I also own the 50mm 1.8G)
For portraits there is probably nothing better that will allow you full body, half body and head shots. The 50mm lens has been one of my favorites for quite some time now. It does well with close focusing and also with wider shots as well. I always enjoy its sharpness and great bokeh. A 50mm lens is a must have in anyone's bag.
The Nikon 85mm 1.8G King of Bokeh!
I will have to say that the 85mm 1.8G is my favorite portrait lens. If I had all the space in the world I would use this as my only lens. It is vibrant, sharp, amazing bokeh and not too heavy. If you are serious about portraits make sure to get this in tandem with your 50mm lens.
Nikon 105mm 2.8G VR
This is a stunning macro lens that also doubles as a great portrait lens. I used to have the D version which was amazing as well. I decided on this one for the VR and the nano coating. It is now my longest lens and will get tons of use on my D610. If you like macro photography I'd recommend either the D version or this G version. Can't go wrong either way.
Tamrac messenger series
I like using my messenger bag when I am off taking photos for fun. It is smaller and will allow me to bring two lenses and a flash. I could probably fit one more small lens in there as well, but I enjoy packing light. It is very comfortable and well built. I was never one for backpacks.
Tamrac Pro 8 and Pro 12
Both of these bags are shoulder bags and work great for events and weddings. I favor the Pro8 for smaller events where I need both my cameras and some lenses. For weddings and larger events I use the Pro 12 as it handles all my lenses and flashes, batteries etc. I really like the Tamrac build quality and design. The Pro 12 allows me put two cameras in there with lenses on them so it makes it a really fast setup when photographing a wedding.
SB-600 and SB-700
These are very important when photographing events as sometimes the lighting is not ideal. The SB-700 replaced the SB-600, but they are both outstanding as mid tier full swivel flashes. They are great for bouncing light and adding some fill flash on my subjects. I don't use them too much outside of events so they are still in great shape and will most likely last me for years to come.
I use a Mac computer with several external Hard Drives.
Adobe Lightroom 5.3
Eneloop batteries (fantastic!)
But generally I like to pack light. I can shoot a whole event with two lenses if need be and a portrait session with one.
I love gear and have bought and sold $$$$ in the past. But as a prime lens photographer I'm very happy with what I own.
What I would like?
Another full frame camera.
A 180mm 2.8 lens or similar...
Just dreaming ....... the 85mm 1.4G lens
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