What’s in my bag (and what is my bag)?
OK, so perhaps it is time I updated this page. I was crazy enough to put my camera bag in the aeroplane hold without a padlock (I know!) and there is a baggage handler somewhere between Nairobi and Geneva who helped themselves to a lot of my gear. I hope the money they got from flogging it down the pub has come in handy – I could rant and rave about how much of a nuisance it is for me but complaining is like a rocking chair – it might feel nice but it doesn’t get you anywhere! Do have a look at the bottom section to see what they got away with though – it might seem a lot, but when you compare it to being able to sleep at night, I know I would rather be me than him (or her)!
On the bright side, it has given me the push I probably needed to save up and go full frame at last!
More blurb to follow once I get to know it properly. It seemed like the obvious choice as it offers me the beauty of full frame with an incredible sensor without the overly bulky file size or slow frames per second rate of the D800.
What it lacks in hardware, it makes up for in its always-in-your-pocket-ness! I have taken some nice photos on this thing purely thanks to being in the right place at the right time.
Panasonic Lumix TZ20
I used to look down on point and shoot cameras, thinking “I have an SLR, why would I ever use something far worse”. I bought this little guy a few years ago though and I was amazed at how far they have come since we parted company many years ago. Granted, the quality is not nearly as good and not being able to shoot in raw means I am much more limited in post production. But the portability and the zoom are so good I am willing to start a sentence with the word ‘but’! Having this guy around means I can still have a camera with me when my SLR would be sitting at home. I have used it to capture some great shots, a lot of which you will see on this site in fact.
Nikon 28-300mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR
I know some see these lenses (by ‘these’ I mean this one and its DX equivalent the 18-200mm) as a compromise, but I wouldn’t be without one as my every day lens. They have helped me get shots I wouldn’t have gotten had I needed to change lenses in a hurry or not had the lens I needed with me due to space and weight limitations. Of course, I will try to build a collection of more specific lenses as I can afford it but for a first lens to get with my new FX body, I couldn’t see past this guy!
Nikon 50mm f/1.8
This was my first prime lens. I bought it for our trip to the Galapagos and was amazed at how sharp the images were that I could get with it. It was great for that trip as the animals are so unafraid of humans it gave me a great chance to get up close and in the right position.
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6
I like this lens. It was very affordable and serves 2 purposes. Providing there is a lot of light and it is well supported it makes a decent telephoto lens. On top of that it is an excellent macro lens. I have at times put extension tubes on to it and got quite pleasing results
SB 600 Speedlight
This is just a great bit of kit. The Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System?) is just incredible. I can have full control of this flash when it is off the camera. This lets me get really creative with lighting (hence the name i guess) and avoid red eye. People who can take great portrait photos without flash are few and far between. Part of me really admires their undeniable talent, the other part wonders why they bother with kit like this available!
I probably don’t use filters as often as I should. I generally have uv filters on lenses just for scratch protection (I don’t really use lens caps because I end up fumbling with them and missing a shot). As I said earlier, I have ND and circular polarising filters for my 18-70mm. I can’t really get in to the polarising to be honest, I use it from time to time but can’t help feeling that it isn’t doing anything I can’t do in photoshop (I am rarely bothered about seeing through water or not). The ND is great fun though. It gives me 10 stops so I can take a 30 second exposure in broad daylight, great for waterfalls and blurring people out.
It’s a bit of a beat up old thing with bits i’ve bolted together myself to stop them wobbling but it seems to do the job for now.
This is one of the best tenners I have ever spent. It might look and feel cheap, but that’s because it is. That said, it does exactly what it’s told. I can keep the camera nice and steady by using this alongside my average tripod, I can take self portraits, I can set it to take exposures on bulb mode and walk away leaving the camera open for hours at a time, I can set the camera to take continuous shots to stack in to star trails, I can set the camera up nice and close to where I think some animals might come, walk away so i don’t scare them off and take a shot whenever something comes near. As you can see, value for money indeed!
Peli case 1510
This is a great bit of kit. I can get everything I need in to it and I reckon it would survive a nuclear war, maybe even a night out in Kelty!
What can I say? It’s a bag, I put my camera stuff in it then carry it around – seems to do what I ask of it!
The stolen stuff:
I love this body. It was reasonably affordable and gives me full control by using real buttons placed sensibly around the camera. I guess this is why Nikon refer to it as a ‘pro’ body. There are no special modes for ‘sport’ or ‘flowers’ which I wouldn’t use anyway and I dont have to scroll through screen menus to adjust the metering, focus point, iso and so on.
I’m sad to see that Nikon won’t produce a new DX camera like this. On the bright side, it might save me some money as getting an FX body would also mean splashing on some new lenses and I can’t see me doing that for now. I wonder if Nikon’s plan is to force guys like me in to spending more, surely there are more people in my position who love the control but don’t want to mothball their DX lenses.
This was my first DSLR body and I still use it from time to time as a second body. It has served me well. It was the purchase of this that made me a ‘Nikon guy’ and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed Although I have never really used any others for long enough to get to know them, so I am only really in a position to say “I like Nikon”, not “Nikon are better than …”
Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR II
This lens is a fantastic all-rounder. It might not have the quality of a prime lens but then the range is terrific and can come in really handy. Let’s be honest, there are times when you have an 18-70mm lens when you think “I’d love to get closer but I can’t be bothered changing lenses so this will just have to do” or by the time you have changed lenses the moment has passed. This guy solves that.
Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED AF-S DX
One of my first lenses. It is in semi-retirement now but I do use it from time to time. Especially as it is my only lens that fits my ND and circular polarising filters. More on those filters later.
Sigma 8mm fisheye
Wow! My amazing girlfriend (now wife) noticed that I had taken quite a fancy to this lens in a camera shop. I would never have had the courage to buy it myself but you’ll never guess what my next birthday present was! It has been an excellent addition to my bag. Each photo it takes has such a different feel to it than all my other lenses. Of course you can take those weird classic fisheye shots which can look pretty snazzy; but you can also focus on a subject when it is almost touching the glass; with some cropping, these make for excellent shots with very interesting backgrounds
Nikon 35mm f/1.8
There is no denying that prime lenses give you amazing ‘bang for your buck’! I was relatively late to discover this but I now find myself using them quite regularly. I even find the restriction of not being able to zoom in and out can get me thinking more about composition and force my hand in a way I end up being pleased with.