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Thread: What gear, and why?

  1. #1
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    What gear, and why?

    Any photography forum contains a lot of threads with new photographers asking what they should buy. But I think it'd be equally helpful for some more established shooters to post what gear they've selected, and why. Obviously, an exhaustive list would force some people to write for hours, so overviews and highlights are probably best.

    I'll start, organizing as well as I can, and explaining why I got each bit of gear. Bear in mind that I am by no means a career pro, I haven't done this perfectly, and that this list is evolving.

    Canon EOS
    • 60D: Main camera. My Digital Rebel (below) didn't have the ISO performance and burst speed I needed for shooting roller derby. This fit my budget, and the next camera up, the 7D, didn't seem different enough to justify costing twice as much. Good buy.
    • BG-E9 battery grip: Added lots of battery life, redundancy, and improved ergonomics to my 60D. Highly recommended if you shoot for several hours straight. Also lets you run the camera on AAs in a pinch.
    • Digital Rebel: My first digital camera, inherited from my dad. Got me started, but I only stuck with it for 10 months or so. Still have it because the resale value is basically nil.
    • EF 100mm f2.0 USM: For portraits and roller derby. I got this after learning that the 55-250mm f3.5-5.6 wasn't anywhere near a wide enough aperture for low-light action. Still my favorite lens.
    • EF 20mm f2.8 USM: My first wide-angle. Wanted a rectilinear without crazy distortion for interior stuff and street shooting. Very nice field of view on my 60D. Probably my most-used lens.
    • EF 50mm f1.4 USM: Mainly a roller derby/indoor action lens. Good focal length, nice wide aperture. Not my favorite focal length, but a good buy.
    • EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM: Purchased as a general walkabout lens. It's a little too long at the wide end. 17-55 f2.8 would have been a better choice. About to sell this lens, since it hasn't left my bag in a couple months.
    • EF-S 55-250mm f3.5-5.6 IS: Mistake. Perfect focal length range for derby, good IS, but the aperture's too narrow, and the focus motor's way too slow. Fortunately, this lens taught me how important USM focus motors and wide-aperture primes are for my work. But it's up for sale.
    • Tokina 11-16mm f2.8: My ultra-wide. Got this for interiors and crowd photography where my 20mm is too long. I don't love it, but it works well with enough light. Good buy.


    Lighting
    • 1x Vivitar 383 flash: My first flash. Blew it up shooting a street party after about 6 weeks of use. Convinced me that OEM build quality and TTL accuracy are worth the additional coin. Worth it for the lesson, but a pretty crap flash, otherwise.
    • 2x Canon 580EX II flash: Purchased one at a time. First, to replace the Vivitar and start messing with off-camera flash, second to add power and creative options. Burned one down using lithium batteries, got it repaired.
    • 2x Pocket Wizard soft RF sleeves: The 580EX II produces radio noise that interferes with the Pocket Wizard signal. These sleeves help reduce the noise. Very irritating to use, but better than unreliable triggering.
    • 1x Canon 600EX-RT flash: Latest flash purchase. Planning to replace my 580 EX IIs with these to remove RF issues, and start using the Canon radio system. More control, but less range, than Pocket Wizards. One more triggering option in case of gear failures or adverse conditions. More conservative thermal safeguards.
    • 3x Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 TTL radios: When shooting action, I run two TTL main lights. Mainly to keep the exposure consistent as the skaters move toward and away from the flashes. $140 apiece of eBay, and I use the crap out of them.
    • Pocket Wizard camera trigger cable: Lets me set up radio-triggered remote cameras. Lots of possibilities!
    • 1x Pocket Wizard MultiMax radio: Got a great used deal on this. I plan to use it for stroboscopic work with the local fire performance troupe. For now, it's a receiver for my manual-power rim light.
    • 2x Bolt CBP-E1 flash battery packs: Improve flash recycle times and save a lot of battery-changing time. Two flashes with 12x AAs apiece last for about two hours of derby before needing a refresh.
    • 2x ExpoImaging Rogue Flashbenders (large): Multi-purpose light mods. I use these as snoots, bounce panels, and gobos, depending on the application. Great value.
    • Crapload of correction & color gels: For coloring rim lights and tuning main light temperatures. Very, very useful.
    • Rechargeable AAs: I have about 60 of these. Using them has saved me several hundred dollars over disposables. Note that every single thing I own can be powered by AAs, a very conscious move aimed at keeping me shooting even if I wind up in the boonies with no AC power access for weeks.


    Zenza Bronica
    • ETR-Si body: Shared with my Dad. He got this camera & all the lenses for about $700 when the local camera store went out of business. It's a fun, highly analog, medium-format system. Fun to shoot because it forces you to slow down and think about every move and every shot. I keep and use this camera mainly to break the routine of digital.
    • Landscape grip & power winder: Makes the Bronica a lot more user-friendly for walkabout shooting. Don't do that much, since it doesn't have a built-in meter, but it's a handy, ergonomic time-saver.
    • Lenses: 40mm, 80mm, and 200mm. Basically wide, standard, and medium telephoto/portrait. Came with the camera. Don't find myself needing anything else.


    Asahi Pentax M42
    • Spotmatic II body: My first camera. Inherited from my mother. Keeping it for sentimental reasons.
    • Lenses: 28mm, 50mm, 135mm, and 200mm, plus several extension tubes. Just for fun. I have an adapter to put these on my Canon 60D when I want the vintage feel.


    Camera Supports
    • Ginormous Manfrotto video tripod: Borrowed from my dad when I need a rock-solid tripod.
    • Three-Legged Thing Jack X4a aluminum tripod: My personal tripod. Got it because Three-Legged thing has a great sense of humor. Not a Gitzo, but great value, and highly configurable.
    • GorillaPod SLR-Zoom: Kinda flimsy, but handy for remote camera setups with short lenses, and to give off-camera flashes a little more stability.
    • Random denim bean bag from the '70s: For when I need to smuggle in a camera support.


    Hope I didn't make this too long to be helpful. Keen to hear other people's reasoning/madness, and any comments on mine.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 28th September 2013 at 07:22 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: What gear, and why?

    It's often said that ya learn more from your failures than from your successes...I outta be the smartest guy around. Got and don't use most of Canon's L lenses. The two that I most often mount on a rather dated 1Ds3 are a 180mm macro or a 300mm 2.8 as they always give me "in your face" sharp images. Never got involved with any flash units. The wisest purchase was my mobile tripod...modeled by one of my daughters.

    What gear, and why?


  3. #3

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    Re: What gear, and why?

    When my 40D died I looked at the options. I didn't like the 60D controls so I was going to get a secondhand 50D when I found a very good price on a 7D. The 40D eventually got repaired as a second camera, which is particularly handy for those riskier situations.

    Have gradually improved lens quality. Gave away or ditched some earlier lenses although I still have my Canon 70-300 (cheaper non L model) also for those questionable shoots.

    Updated the Canon 28-135 when it started getting a little 'wobbly' although still working OK. Replaced this with Canon 24-105 L but I think I must have bought a 'Friday Lens' which is currently at the repairers for a second time. Takes reasonable photos although sometimes I am disappointed with it, particularly when used at the extreme ends of length/ aperture settings.

    Sometimes I missed the extra length compared with the 28-135 so I was rather nervous about replacing the 24-105 with a Tamron 24-70. In fact, to be honest, I was concerned about getting a Tamron which I tended to associate more with budget lenses. But it had excellent reviews when compared directly with similar Canon L lenses.

    So far this Tamron lens has performed well. Yes I do frequently miss the extra length. It is an F2.8 lens but I haven't been happy with sharpness at that setting. But very good from F4 to F11. For me, 24 mm is quite wide enough. In fact most of my landscape work seems to be in the 50 to 100 mm bracket.

    In theory I also have the Canon 70-200 L lens which works fine alongside the Tamron although I often go out with the Tamron as a general lens plus a macro lens or a large zoom; so I do occasionally suffer from 'missing gap' syndrome.

    That 70-200 is an excellent lens, although I have the F4 version (with IS), but I tend to shoot mostly around F8 to F11 where it gives really good results.

    For macro work I use a Sigma 180 mm (the older model) which has had a lot of hard use and still produces good results on those nervous insects. Often, I add a Sigma 1.4x converter so I can shoot from a couple of feet away when I have a timid model.

    And for a long zoom, a Sigma 150-500 which works well and is a relatively economical way to reach 500 mm. I find it is actually sharper at 500 mm than 200 mm. But the downside with it is a rather slow autofocus and although it is rated as being F6.3 it really needs that magical F8 to F11 range. Which means you need reasonable light.

    For flash, I have a Speedlite 580. Actually two because one smashed after falling over numerous times when macro shooting under difficult conditions. But I glued it together and it still works but lacks angle adjustment

    A Manfrotto 055 tripod has given a sterling performance but it was starting to get heavier; as I was getting older. So I replaced it with the carbon fibre version which is better when walking for several miles across difficult terrain plus a heavy backpack of other equipment. Still have the older tripod which comes in handy for 'studio work' on lighting etc.

    I use it with a 'fluid ballhead' 468MGRC4 head which is absolutely solid but easy to adjust for those quick wildlife shots. But if you aren't careful, it 'bites fingers' when used with heavy equipment if it isn't fully tightened when being carried.

    For light occasional use, I also have a Velbon Luxi L tripod which is lightweight and folds up to 14 ins which will fit inside my backpack. Much easier in my situations than strapping the cumbersome Manfrotto outside the backpack. But I don't rate it quite so highly as the Manfrotto. However it works OK even with the 7D plus 150-500 lens fully extended.

    I've never had a problem with battery life, although I always start the day with a fully charged battery and carry a spare, which I've never needed. Recently I was chatting with the local paper photographer about his use of a battery grip and he said it gives him a better grip on the camera when turned for portrait format shots.

    I don't have a problem with this but he reckoned I turn my camera the wrong way. However using it with my trigger finger at the top tends to cause me problems with backache. And I find manual focusing easier. He is considerably taller with very long fingers.

    My backpack (Lowenpro Mini Trekker) is starting to get a bit tatty now so that will need replacing soon. Particularly as the main zip is starting to give problems!

    For 'studio shooting' of flowers or some insects, I have a couple of daylight quality lights.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 28th September 2013 at 08:22 PM.

  4. #4
    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Camera: Nikon D700. I wanted a low light capable, well built camera to shoot early morning landscapes and old abandoned farm buildings and still retain the option to use narrow apertures and handhold if possible. Having used Nikon for 30 years I saw no reason to switch systems.

    Lenses: I have other lenses, but these are the ones strapped to my body in a ThinkTank modular belt system

    200mm 1.4 macro lens. not VR Heavy and impossible to handhold for macro but I mainly shoot moss, lichen, weathered wood or metal and rocks so I have a lot of time to set up a tripod. In conjunction I use an Adorama focusing rail.

    70-200 mm f2.8 VR The lens I use the most. On and off tripod. Probably 75 percent of my shots, With the VR engaged I can handhold with ease. With VR off and on tripod it is amazingly sharp. Prairie landscapes, old buildings, sunsets and wildlife; including relatives and friends. I love that I can stand 100 feet away in a crowd and shoot candid shots of people.

    TC-20E 3 On the 70-200 often. Makes the 70-200 f5.6 rather than f 2.8 but I don't find this a problem. Still fast enough to handhold even at the effective 400mm.

    16-35 mm f1.4 VR Number two lens. 15 percent of my images Buildings and rarely landscapes.

    50 mm f1.4 The last lens and used for people and landscapes. Mainly used indoors for family events but nice to fill in the gap between 35 and 70 mm.

    Circular polarizer filters. Hoya I can share the same one for the 70-200 and the 16-35. Another for the 50 mm.

    Tripod: Manfrotto, I think it's a ProB but it's been rebuilt at least three times due to being run over by a truck, crushed and bent by a loose tire in the same truck and just plain wear on the clamp (2X)for the centre extension. Has a Manfrotto 488 ballhead. I don't mind the weight but I suspect at some point it will be retired because I hate the centre post being wobbly and failing to remain extended.

    Flash: Nikon SB400

    Macro flash extension arm: Wimberly used with a cord from the hot shoe to the attachment on the arm.

  5. #5
    GrahamS's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Now that I am considered to be an "OAP" (Old Aged Pensioner) and have a bus pass, I have distilled my kit down to bare essentials. In our golden years (seem more like brass to me) my Best Beloved and I intended to travel and are planning a trip to SE Asia and Australia. I also still do some food photography and portraiture. So, as a travel kit I use this:


    Nikon D7100
    AF-S Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX
    AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR
    AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VRII DX
    AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX
    AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
    Metz 44 AF-1 flash
    Nikon ML-L3 remote
    Right Angle viewfinder DR-6
    Various ND grad filters, polarisers, adaptors.


    All of this sleeps in a Loewepro Micro-Trekker 2000 backpack which is the same as the mini-trekker 200, just branded for OZ.
    Weight is a big factor for me and even this kit is too heavy to carry around comfortably all day, in a back-pack. (I'm an OAP, remember..) If I have a safekeeping facility, I will often fit the 35mm f1.8 and leave the rest of the kit behind. If I was a wise man, I would ditch the lot and use a Fuji X-Pro 1 with a couple of lenses in my pockets. The D7100 is the successor to my D7k. I was never happy with the D7k. Even after having the AF system re-hashed by Nikon, I never felt comfortable using it. Somehow, I had to think too hard. Even though the D7100 is based on the same body design and control layout, from the first time I used it, it just did what I wanted, without any effort. It never gets between me and the image and does exactly what it says on the tin. I shoot RAW + medium normal Jpg.


    For food, portraits, and product shots (and I would love to say for wildlife, but I don't see much of that where I live) I have:


    Canon Eos 7D
    Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM
    Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
    Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM (Heritage)
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
    Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro
    Canon BG E-7 Battery grip
    Metz 48 AF-1 flash
    Sekonic L-358 exposure meter
    Various heritage AF film lenses
    A couple of RC-1 and RS-60 E3 remotes
    Various ND grad filters, polarisers, ND, adaptors etc.
    Most of this sleeps in a Loewepro Mini-Trekker AW backpack, which is bigger than the Micro-Trekker 200.
    Manfrotto 055 tripod
    Manfrotto 190 X-Pro tripod and 804-RC2 head
    Elemental studio tripod, ball head, horizontal beam and laptop platform.
    Elinchrom D-Lite 2 kit, various wireless triggers, stands, softboxes, gobos, umbrellas, scrims, reflectors etc.


    I have disposed of the 5D Mk1, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 70-200 f4 L USM, Zeiss 85mm f1.4 T* Planar ZE. There was no 6D at the time, or I may have chosen that instead of the 7D.
    I have most of the classic heritage 35mm film cameras and lenses as well as various Canon Eos film bodies and lenses. The LF and MF gear is long gone.

  6. #6
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Another oldie and another traveller.

    My main kit:

    Nikon D2Xs - saved like mad for one of these after handling one at a Nikon training session. Frustrated that it was superseded by D3 full frame a year after I purchased it, but although only 12Mpx capable of producing stunning images in good light. Not good at anything over 400 ISO.
    Nikkor 35mm f2 D - my walk around 'street' lens
    Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D - why wouldn't one have this lens!! OK as a portrait lens on DX
    Nikkor 85mm F1.8 D - short telephoto and razor sharp.
    Nikkor 180mm f2.8 D - another razor sharp fixed focal length tele. I use it a lot at functions.
    Nikkor 24-85mm f2.8 - f4 - a good 'holiday' lens with useful macro facility. Not the sharpest at extreme focal lengths and edges but not at all bad.
    Nikkor 70-300mm VR - mostly used for airshows and sport
    Tokina 12-24mm f4 - the poor man's Nikon equivalent and very sharp but CAs a bit high. Very useful in tight spaces.
    Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro - very sharp and with a very useful subject to front element distance to aid lighting or to avoid frightening anything living!
    Nikon MC 36 remote release.
    Manfrotto 055PROB tripod and h/d ball head
    Various Hitec grad and polarising filter.
    SB800 flash

    Travel Kit: I decided recently to invest in a much lighter and less bulky kit for travel.

    Nikon D3200
    Nikkor 35mm f1.8G
    Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 *
    supplemented where necessary by ..
    Nikkor 50mm f1.8 *
    Nikkor 85mm f1.8 *
    ML3 remote release
    Small Bean Bag (which doubles as useful protection in the bag.)
    Calumet Monopod (if deemed necessary)
    * These lenses are all manual focus on the D3200 but this is no hardship using the rangefinder facility or DOF tables.

    Always in the pocket:
    Olympus XZ1
    Spare on the shelf:
    My old faithful D70 and first DSLR armed with 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 VR that I was given. Still in regular use and handy in dubious surroundings.

  7. #7

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    Re: What gear, and why?

    I finally put my Minolta SLR (mostly) to rest in winter 2003 when I picked up my first digital camera: Sony F828. This camera remained my go to camera until 2010. And while almost ten years old, it still remains my third option and the first, if I want to go infra-red.

    In 2010, I finally decided to get back into DSLR world, and brought home Sony SLT-A55. It was an easy transition from a (now) primitive EVF in F828 to one of the better ones out there, along with articulating LCD screen which I had come to appreciate with the swiveling body of the F828. And of course, I could use the three Minolta A-mount lenses from my film SLR.

    And then I tried couple of M42 lenses on my A55, which was a capable body to use manual focus lenses with. And my love affair with manual focus lenses began. Then I came across Sony NEX system, which was even better suited with lenses from practically any era and mount, complete with focus peaking. I picked up a slightly used Sony NEX-3 with its kit lens for chump change and built a full system, covering 8mm fisheye (the only native, E-mount lens, I would purchase for next two years) to 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 90mm (macro), 135mm primes, and 70-210/2.8-4 zoom, for a net cost of $800. I had also added quite a few more A-mount lenses, for use on A55.

    And, while being primarily a manual lens body, NEX-3 also emerged as a back up body. Instead of carrying a lens+ camera and an extra lens or two, I was now carrying a pair of lens+camera combinations and couple of extra lenses in my sling bag. My current collection:
    Camera/bodies...
    Sony F828 (28-200mm equivalent, f/2-2.8, fixed lens)
    Sony SLT-A55 (Sony A-mount)
    Sony NEX-3 (Sony E-mount), plus LA-EA2 adapter (converts Sony E-mount to A-mount, with full mirror-based PDAF)

    Primes...
    Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 (Fisheye, E-mount)
    Sigma 24mm f/2.8 (A-mount)
    Sony 35mm f/1.8 SAM (A-mount)
    Minolta 50mm f/1.7 (A-mount)
    Contax-Zeiss 50mm f/1.7 (CY mount)
    Sigma 70mm f/2.8 (Macro, A-mount)
    Sony 135mm f/2.8 STF (A-mount)
    Minolta 200mm f/2.8 G APO HS (A-mount)

    Zooms...
    Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM (A-mount)
    Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 HSM OS (A-mount)
    Minolta 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 (A-mount)
    Minolta 35-70mm f/4 (A-mount)
    Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (A-mount)
    Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS (E-mount)
    Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS (E-mount)

    1.7x Teleconversion lens (Sony DH1758)

    Tripod (Manfrotto) and Monopod (Giotto)

    External Flash (Sony HVL-20, Sony HVL-36), Wireless Remote, Wired Remote

    Hoya IR Cut-off filter, several ND filters and CPLs.

  8. #8
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Your query about "what gear and why" stimulated me to describe my two camera system

    I want a wide focal length range at my disposal but, the present crop of wide-range zoom lenses fall, IMO, short of the excellence that I demand in my lenses.

    Generally, the IQ of wide-range zoom lenses (lenses with focal lengths from wide angle to extreme telephoto on crop cameras) falls short of the IQ produced by top-line zooms with shorter ranges or by by most prime lenses...

    The aperture of wide-range zoom lenses is almost always variable and usually stops down to f/5.6 or even f/6.3 at the longer side; which is where you need a wide aperture for faster shutter speeds...

    The auto focus of wide range zoom lenses is often slower and less accurate than that of top-line lenses that have a shorter focal range...

    I solve that problem by carrying two 1.6x cameras and having two lenses mounted. Presently, the two cameras that I carry are a pair of Canon 7D 1.6x crop DSLR's. However, I once carried a 10D and a 30D; and then a 30D and 40D; finally before I splurged on my second 7D, I carried a 40D and a 7D. My lenses are generally the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and a 70-200mm f/4L IS. I have a focal range of 17-200mm at my finger tips (I don't miss the 55-70mm gap between these lenses) with excellent IQ and quick and accurate auto-focus plus a constant f/2.8 aperture in my mid-range and a constant f/4 aperture in my telephoto zoom.

    I will carry the two cameras/lenses either using an OPTECH Dual Harness or with the camera with the 17-55mm lens hanging from my neck and the camera with 70-200mm f/4L IS, equipped wth a hand grip, in a holster case at my hip...

    I don't need to carry a low light lens because the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, by virtue of its constant f/2.8 aperture, excellent low light focusing and great IS, has become my go-to low light lens.

    The downside of this combination is that it is heavier than the single camera with wide range zoom but, at 73 years old, I can still hump this gear without too many problems. BTW: This two camera/lens outfit is not much heavier than carrying a single camera with battery grip and mid-range zoom plus a 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens

    It is also more expensive to use two cameras but, I would rather use a pair of 40D or 50D cameras than a single 7D, 60D or 70D.

    The advantages of course are that I don't have to switch lenses to change focal ranges, just pick up the other camera. Additionally, since I am shooting with two cameras, I don't need battery grips to extend the lives of my batteries and a pair of 16 GB memory cards serve me for a lot of shooting.

    My sensors seldom need cleaning because I switch lenses far less often and then usually switch the lenses in a clean indoor environment.

    Additionally, a major advantage to a dual-camera system is that I will never miss out on photography because of my camera going down. I fell climbing a slippery Alaskan slope and broke my 40D. My 30D (which was my second camera at the time) saved the trip for me...

    I have a lot more lenses and other gear. However, my kit for general and travel photography is composed of the cameras/lenses mentioned above, a flash or two, UV and CPL filters for each lens, lens caps and hoods for each lens, two extra batteries + chargers and a whole mess of CF cards and AA rechargeable flash batteries and charger. I also carry a UDMA capable card reader which enables quick downloads of full 16 GB CF UDMA cards. I wear a Domke photo vest when traveling and when shooting. Either I or my wife will carry a notebook computer for downloading...

    I carry a lightweight SLICK PRO 350D tripod modified with a shorter center column and a Flashpoint F-1 Arca-Compatible ball head (total weight less that 1 kilogram) and a Calumet Graphite Monopod modified with Kirk a MPA-2 Arca Compatible Tilt Head...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 5th October 2013 at 02:43 PM.

  9. #9
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Interesting. I thought I was unusual for having some vintage lenses hanging around for my DSLR, but I guess not. Cool.

    Three things surprise me. First, primes are more popular than I thought. Second, no one seems to be a just-primes or just-zooms user (except Richard, though he only described one zoom-based setup). Finally, am I really the only medium-format film user so far? Someone else here must be stuck in the past, too.

    No mention of anyone regularly carrying light modifiers, either. Is that more for the studio crowd, or does no one like the light quality from Lightspheres, FlashBenders, bulb diffuers, and other devices?

  10. #10
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    I use a Lightsphere.


    Bruce

  11. #11
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    I use a Lightsphere.
    You forgot the why.

  12. #12

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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Gear? Why?

    Motorcycle touring: use the following because they're lightweight.
    [ but also used whenever I feel like it.]

    Nikon D5100 & Nikon D3100. ( same el14 batts/SD mem cards. )
    Nikon kit lens: 18-105mm & 55-200mm.
    waterproof Pentax WS80.
    HTC celcam.

    For general use:
    Nikon D200 & Nikon D300.
    Nikon lens: 50mm. 18-55mm. 28-100mm, 70-300mm. DX 18-55mm.
    Tamron lens: 18-200mm.

    all around: Canon G11.

    Flash: YN560II & trigger. micro soft-box.

    1 pocket tripod. 2 tripods/1 monopod. various rechargers. memory cards. lens cleaning pen. brushes/tissues. hoods, caps, zip-lok bags. grocery plastic bags. hat. folding umbrella. notebook & pencil. calling cards. paper towels. duct tape/cutter.

    Camera bags: Everest student back-packs with plastic lunch boxes inside.

  13. #13
    New Member AlanWilliamsPhoto's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    At Work (Wedding Photography)

    Bodies
    D4 - Why? High ISO
    D700 - Why? Back up & second camera

    Lenses (all Nikkor & all fast)
    24-70 f2.8, the work horse for 80% ish
    70-200 f2.8 VRii - when the minister tells me I can only work from the balcony or back of the church, great for during speeches.
    35mm f1.4 - bridal preps
    50mm f1.4 - some formal shots
    85mm f1.8 - B&G shots

    Misc
    3x SB900's & shot thro brollys, stands, Flex system- Why? various OCF setups when I can & 1,2nd dance scenario's
    Monopod & Tripod

    Monopod especially by the time of the speeches come round, thats when Im using the 70-200mm and Im knackered

    During the ceremony I will be using both camera's, the D4 attached to my BlackRapid strap & the D700 slung on shoulder or neck. The lens setup on the bodies does vary depending on the location, e.g. 24-70mm & 85mm OR 24-70mm & 70-200mm

    At Play
    whats that?

  14. #14
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by nimitzbenedicto View Post
    Camera bags: Everest student back-packs with plastic lunch boxes inside.
    Fantastic idea!!!

  15. #15

    Join Date
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    Re: What gear, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Fantastic idea!!!
    Hi Andrew76,

    Looks like this. Water/shock-proof.
    It's lined with foam/bubble-wrap.

    What gear, and why?

    HTH

  16. #16
    tao2's Avatar
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    Robert (ah prefer Boab) Smith

    Re: What gear, and why?

    DSLR

    Sony A700 - bought it used, body only, for 500, only 3 months old at the time. Matched my 2 Minolta AF +Sigma lenses. Ah knew the previous owner, a workmate. Said it was "too complicated" A fine, under-rated camera.

    SLRs

    Minolta 8000i - had it since new. Wanted an upgrade tae my manual SLRs. The Minolta was a breakthrough in several areas when it came out. A lovely, small camera which still functions perfectly after 25+ years

    Zenit EM - since new. First SLR. Like carrying a small part of Russia. Unbreakable. It's been dropped, drop-kicked, fallen in a punchbowl/pond/slush and generally mistreated - and still takes fine pictures - selenium meter still accurate!

    Zenit 3 + Zenit 3M... FSU love affair - Ye either get it ...or ye don't. The 3M is my 2nd. favourite camera tae use. Small and simple, leaves 99% concentration for the shot.

    Fujica ST901 - My favourite camera/lens combination. Use A Prio and the world's yer oyster. Fujinon lenses have always been up there with the best (and better than most).

    Olympus OM10 - Always wanted an Olympus since my big cousin put a deposit on one with his first wage. Got the 10, 3 lenses, a T20 flash and some accessories from an old neighbour for 40. He wouldn't take any more, since he'd known me for 40+ years. Said they were going tae a good home. A great, wee camera.

    Rangefinders

    Yashica GSN - A fabulous, f1.7/45mm Yashinon DX lens. Ye don't need flash with this. My (almost) everyday camera. It's too big for a jacket pocket.

    Yashica M5 - Cost me 5. Couldn't resist it. An extremely uncomplicated camera. 3 settings, a point and shoot really - but again, the lens, a Yashinon f2.8/45mm makes up for the limitations. Since found out that it's quite rare, a bonus, but keeping it anyway.

    Olympus 35RC - A tiny rangefinder with an incredibly sharp f2.8/42mm lens. An extremely, sophisticated camera - then, and still now. My everyday camera.

    FED2 - The Soviet thing again, fully manual, small and great handling. It's just a pleasure tae use with FSU lenses.

    Kiev 4AM - Another bargain buy, bought really tae see how the Jupiter 8 lens performs. For all its quirks, ah like this camera.

    Bridge

    Finepix S1500

    Travel tae a lot of international football matches - home and away. Bought this, refurbished, as ah wanted a camera which wouldn't break my heart if it was lost/broken/stolen on these trips. Alcohol is known tae be taken at Scotland football matches Since been impressed with the Macro modes on it, very, very good.

    Medium Format

    Aye, ye guessed...A Soviet Lubitel 166U. Had it since new, 30+ years - badly built. Had tae line it with foam+felt seals. View lens is squint on-camera but view is correct in viewfinder! It just keeps taking good pictures. So why spend more?

    OTHERS

    GB Kershaw 110 - Given tae me when ah was 12, by another cousin, when he left the Navy. Needs a bright, sunny day for OK photos. Kept it for sentimental reasons.

    OOps

    Nearly forgot my Leica AF-C1. A p+s collaboration with Minolta (Minolta Freedom is their version). There's arguments whether the Leica has Leica glass or just their own coatings. Ah don't care, it was another bargain at €30 on German ebay. Selling in the US for $100+. Takes very good photos and the AF just never misses a beat.
    Last edited by tao2; 4th October 2013 at 01:07 PM.

  17. #17
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Lex

    Re: What gear, and why?

    I propose an exhibit of Boab's cameras, entitled "The Commie Camera Collection." Haven't used any Russian bodies or glass, because I'm quite happy with my Japanese stuff so far. Any reason for the Russian-camera preference, Boab?

  18. #18
    tao2's Avatar
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    Robert (ah prefer Boab) Smith

    Re: What gear, and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    I propose an exhibit of Boab's cameras, entitled "The Commie Camera Collection." Haven't used any Russian bodies or glass, because I'm quite happy with my Japanese stuff so far. Any reason for the Russian-camera preference, Boab?
    Hi Lex,

    Ah suppose using the Zenit EM for years influenced my lens decisions. M42 mount for starters, + FSU lenses were available, new, for a quarter to a fifth of the price of others. Ah bought 3/4 over the years and a friend brought a couple back from trips tae Russia, for me.

    The key for me was their simplicity - German and Japanese cameras (to a young guy at the time) were. initially,intimidating. Ye were always afraid that ye'd do something wrong and jam it or break it. FSU cameras - and lenses,especially, were easily stripped down, cleaned, and repaired (tae the limits of one's abilities). If further repairs were needed, they were very inexpensive.

    FSU cameras and bodies have had a bad press; the old mantras of falling apart, badly made etc, whereas, in fact the vast majority were built very well. There are very few cameras that ye could walk intae a junk shop now , pay $5, put in a film - and it just works.

    Everyone used to say -"poor copies of Leica" (re. the early rangefinders), in fact, these cameras were built under licence tae Leica, so had tae meet quality standards imposed. FSU manufacturers took these cameras apart and actually improved on them.

    Not too shabby for 50 yo cameras...
    What gear, and why?

    What gear, and why?

    What gear, and why?

    The introduction of APSc cameras rejuvenated the old lenses. Usually regarded as too soft, wide open, the narrower angle of view of the APSc improved the aged resolutions of 40/50/60 yo lenses and when ye could (and still can) buy prime lenses for $15-50 + a $5 adaptor, ye can begin tae understand why they became so popular. Not tae mention their signature bokehs which can vary from lens model tae lens model. The same lens could be produced in 3 different factories with different parameters due tae available resources.

    Another reason ah bought my A700 is because ye can fit almost any M42 lens tae it.

    A few examples...
    #1...Sony A700 + Helios 44-2...#2+#3 with Helios 44 (black,8 aperture blades)...#4 - Zenit 3M + Helios 44 (silver, 13 aperture blades) Biotar copy.

    What gear, and why?

    What gear, and why?

    What gear, and why?

    What gear, and why?

    Everyone should have at least one FSU lens in their collection...
    Last edited by tao2; 5th October 2013 at 12:00 PM.

  19. #19
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Richard

    Re: What gear, and why?

    Lex...

    Although my main lens battery for general and travel photography is the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses that I mentioned above; I do use some prime lenses.

    The prime lenses that I most often use are the 300mm f/4L IS and 90mm f/2.8 Tamron AF SP Macro.

    I also have a Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens that I bought on a whim when it was reduced to a point where I could not resist it. I really don't like it all that well on a 1.6x camera (although it should be quite nice on a full-frame camera) because I find it to be an awkward focal length for the crop format. I never sold my 30D or 40D cameras because the price I would get is just not worth the effort. I keep the 40mm pancake on my old 30D in a ancient small Tamrac shoulder bag. I have a 270EX flash attached. This makes a really tiny handy package and I use it to shoot my rescue dogs and their adoptive parents.

    What gear, and why?

    The 40mm and 30D combination works just fine for the uses to which I put it. I will also take this kit when I am Shanghaied into shooting birthday or other party pictures which I really hate to do. It is lightweight and I always have it set up and ready to go anyplace...

    The kit is small enough and (when used with Programmed exposure) simple enough that I have convinced my wife to use the combination when I am not available to shoot rescue pictures. I also loan this kit out to our Maltese Rescue California volunteers. The kit does a far better job than shooting with a tiny P&S camera or a cell phone and it is really pretty indestructible. The Joe Demb Photojournalist Flip-It inproves quality of flash lighting but, neither my wife or our volunteers will use it. They want a camera that they can just turn on and use...

    I keep the 90mm Tamron on my 40D along with an old 420EX flash on a Siegelite bracket. We don't seem to have very many photogenic insects on my property but, I am ready when one is seen...

    I have three hotshoe flashes that I use and they are all old models: 550EX, 420EX and 430EX. These units don't have the fancy bells and whistles of more recent flash units but, they get the job done.

    I have a pair of ancient White Lightning WL 5,000 mono-lights which I purchased used for $50 USD each twenty years ago as well as a portable kit of German Made Multiblitz Mono-lights, purchased, used, many years ago. As with my hotshoe flashes, these mono-lights do not have all the neat bells and whistles of newer model lights. However, they can provide very decent lighting. I figured out one time that the pro-rated cost of the White Lightning units has been less than one U.S. Penny for each day I have owned them.

    In line with my ancient but, quite useful equipment, I have a Sekonic L718 exposure meter... This unit also doesn't have the multitude of bells and whistles that newer models sport but, guess what, I measure the light (flash or ambient) just fine with this old workhorse meter...

    With my philosophy of "never throw away a piece of photo gear" I have a multitude of umbrellas, soft-boxes and other mono-light modifiers as well as some backdrops and a host of various makes and model light and background stands...

    I would rather shoot with very good gear that is older than use newer entry level equipment. However, that is just my own personal bias...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 5th October 2013 at 04:55 PM.

  20. #20
    woof woof's Avatar
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    Alan.

    Re: What gear, and why?

    I started with a Kodak Instamatic and then other small cameras before getting a Nikon SLR for better quality and because I wanted a new toy.

    When digital began to take over I stuck with film until the quality of processing nosedived I assume because they were cutting costs to compete. So, annoyed at having to complain and return negatives for a third time in a row I decided to go digital and did so with a Fuji S602 but it frustrated me and I moved to Canon DSLR's because everyone said that Canon were better than Nikon.

    I now have a 5D and 20-35mm, 70-300mm and 50mm f1.4. I've just sold a 12-24mm, 20mm f1.8, 85mm f1.4 and 150mm f2.8 because I haven't used my 5D kit for 18 months because instead I've been using...

    Panasonic G1, Minolta Rokkor 24mm f2.8, 28mm f2.8, 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f2, 135mm f3.5, Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro, Vivitar 28mm f1.9, Olympus Zuiko 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 135mm f3.5, Panasonic 20mm f1.7, 14-42mm, Voigtlander 25mm f0.95. Mostly I use the old Rokkors.

    I really like the quality of the 5D images and the fast Sigma lenses are especially lovely, the 85mm f1.4 in particular is a beautiful thing and very probably the best AF lens I've ever used - but the kit is big and heavy and attention grabbing hence the move to MFT.

    I'm not entirely happy with my G1. In good light it's great and my G1 images can easily be lost amongst 5D images but the higher ISO performance is poor and whilst the 5D is usable at ISO 3200 the G1 just can't match it. Another problem I have is that I find the G1 unusable for night time shooting due to the EVF's poor DR and high light output. So, I'm looking to move away from the G1 and I'm sure that when I do I'll get much better high ISO performance but I want to check EVF performance especially in low light before buying.

    I haven't decided which way to jump yet, stay with MFT, or go for an APS-C or FF but it will be a CSC rather than a conventional DSLR. I may take a long hard look at the new Sony FF CSC's when they come out.

    I'd love to move completely to a CSC and ditch my big fat heavy and attention grabbing 5D and I hope that it'll be possible for me to do so soon, once EVF technology improves to the point that I'll be able to use it in low light and actually be able to see what I'm pointing the camera at whilst not being blinded by the light.

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