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
Thanks for visiting!!
I'm a prime lens user now but long ago I had a kit lens and a long zoom lens.
Those were my first two lenses and I used them constantly.
It wasn't until I was ready for my next lens that I realized I had no clue what I wanted. Did I want to get another zoom or what about those prime lenses? I heard some great things about prime lenses and their sharpness and low light capabilities, but until you use one its hard to make sense of it.
Over time I decided to just get a great lens for each focal length that was important to me.
I went back and and forth with zoom lenses to prime lenses finding many pro's for each.
Eventually I got into just prime lenses as they worked best for me. Having two cameras made the transition much easier as well. I would keep my primary lens on one and my secondary lens on the other.
For some of you starting out who may or may not have a camera yet its great to see the different perspective of different lenses. Different focal lengths have different strengths, feel to them and also can affect composition.
Lets take a look at three lenses that I use: The Nikon 24mm 2.8, The Nikon 50mm 1.8 and the Nikon 105mm 2.8
All of the photos below are at the same distance (6 ft) and at f 3.2.
My own personal style keeps me at 50mm and above as I like to get in close to the subject and try to fill the frame. Also, when you do use a longer lens it compresses the background and creates more separation which I also like.
All I can say is wow!
I've only had it for a day, but am pretty impressed so far.
Right out of the box you can tell that this is a pro lens. It has the gold ring on the top and is built solid. It is primarily plastic, but has a nice weight to it. If you had the 105mm 2.8D as I did you will see that this lens is clearly heavier.
Some things I like about this lens already:
- The lens itself does not extend when focusing closer to the subject. All the elements are within.
- The autofocus is super silent and seems to be faster than on my other lens.
- The focusing wheel is large and is smooth to operate.
- I haven't tried shooting towards a light source yet to check the Nano crystal coating, but I'm hoping there will be a big improvement.
- It just feels solid and really well built.
- The connectors are all metal and it is weather sealed (haven't tested and hope I don't have to)
- It has VR! I'll need that at the wedding next weekend.
I plan on taking a lot of photos with this lens in the near future.
Overall I am very satisfied and if you are serious about macro photography
I didn't always shoot with just prime lenses...
When I picked up my first DSLR it came with an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm lens. I learned a lot from these lenses and made tons of mistakes with them, but they were fun. I was able to zoom in to get close-ups and also get those wider environmental shots as well.
I learned most of the basics with these lenses. The best thing was that whenever I wanted to I could zoom in.
Over time I found myself using the 55-200mm lens more because I could take photos of things I couldn't quite get close enough to.
I would take photos of birds, flowers, and other plants at my nearby garden.
As I got into portrait photography and eventually into wedding photography I found that I needed an upgrade. There were better lenses out there for low light situations, sharpness, contrast and with improved depth of field. Who knew all that would become important to me.
So I went and bought a nice 28-75mm lens and a 70-200mm lens. These were both much more expensive, but were clear steps up. I was so pleased with them and found myself getting more joy out of taking photos.
Right around that same time I picked up a 35mm and a 50mm lens. These were prime lenses and everywhere I read they were supposed to be sharper and possibly get me better images.
I did see an improvement with these lenses (which cost about a third of both of my zoom lenses at the time). It was amazing. For such a small price tag these were amazing! But, I wasn't sold on them at that point.
Sure they were sharp, but indoors I had to constantly change them as they were either not wide enough or not long enough for me.
This frustrated me so I continued with my zoom lenses. I found they were more flexible and it was easy to get a couple different shots quickly.
Then, I started to use my prime lenses more as they were small and light weight. I found that they were easier to use if I made an effort to anticipate the setting I would be working in.
Lucky for me I was able to round up some money and purchased a macro lens for myself. It was more expensive than the other two I had, but I knew how much I loved taking closeups of things so I bought it.
It instantly became my favorite lens. It was super sharp and I was able to capture images I couldn't with my other lenses.
The 105mm 2.8 Nikon Macro lens is still one of my favorite lenses.
Whenever I go out to take fun photos just for me it is easily my go to lens.
I slowly started to get used to using my prime lenses more. I would think about the shooting environment way in advance and be able to anticipate the focal length I would need. I even gave myself little homework where I would head out with just one prime lens and take photos with it.
This was great. I found that I missed being able to zoom, but at the same time I found myself finding different subjects and angles to shoot.
It was challenging and fun at the same time. My prime lenses also had larger apertures which meant I could get away with taking photos in much lower light than with my zooms.
I slowly started to see their advantages more clearly and feeling more comfortable with the way they presented the world to me.
Slowly I started to sell my zoom lenses and use my prime lenses more.
I'm not sure either is better or "the way to go", but for me I started to truly appreciate my lenses the more I used my primes.
In the end it just took practice and a lot of getting to know my lenses to realize that my prime lenses were not irritating because they couldn't zoom, but instead lightweight, super sharp and consistent.
I always know what to expect when I put one on my camera. As they don't zoom, the view never changes. Because of this I can frame my photo and take photos with very little preparation.
During weddings and other events being able to observe, see the shot and take it is very important.
I now use two cameras and enjoy putting a wider lens on one and a longer prime lens on the other.
I still prefer the longer lens for most of my photos as they do a better job of isolating the subject, but having a variety is always good.
What do you like to shoot with?
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