The Gear I use

January 04, 2021
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Gear.

While I am not particularly a gear person, I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the gear I use and why I use it

Photo Bag

F.stop Shuka. This is a cavernous bag which I use for day hikes. It swallows up the medium ICU with my gear plus all the other stuff like food first aid kit waterproofs etc. It opens from the back meaning no one can sneak up and remove gear without me knowing the only downside is getting the camera out. It’s well made and, as far as I can tell waterproof. (Just as a note since writing this has changed to an F Stop Lotus.)

Tripod

Carbon Manfrotto with Arca swiss head. The idea was to save weight while having a sturdy “pod” Good quality the arca swiss head accepts my L brackets making easy switching from landscape to portrait.

Cameras

Nikon D610. Nikon D800. I have used Nikon gear for over 40 years now. It seemed like a good choice all those years ago but in recent times there have been strange rumours about the company. I like the weight in my hands and in particular the build quality. My preference is towards the D610. It seems slower and more relaxed. The D800 has fantastic resolution and at the time of launch was ground-breaking, but it feels frantic when I use it. They both take the same battery which is good. The D610 was new the D800 second hand.

Lens

18-35 Zoom. I like a wide-angle lens. This is not the 16 – 35 but you don’t really notice the difference that the extra 2 mm gives. You can really blow up foregrounds with this Lens. If you want to of course, but it is great for catching large vistas. I don’t use it much on the fens I prefer

24-70 f2.8. This is a beautiful pro lens bought 2nd hand no VR but pin-sharp when used correctly and with a nice wide range that suits the Fenland and enough reach when I need it. If not I have

70-200 f4. This is a weight saver. I don’t need the extra few stops afforded by the f2.8 which weighs a tonne and hiking with that all day is a real pain. This is a VR lens which helps as the light gets dim and, or I get lazy. Again bought 2nd hand

These three are Nikkor lens and I love them all really sharp and precise in focus. They give me a focal range from 18 – 200mm which serves me most of the time however for those landscapes with a different look or wildlife work I have

150-500. This is a sigma lens with a noisy VR system. Really good reach and reasonably sharp in the middle of the aperture range. Can be a bit contrasty in harsh light but good. A bit on the heavy side though. Purchased 2nd hand

105 mm macro. This is a very old lens that happens to work with full-frame cameras. I started doing some macro work but got annoyed with things moving before I could take the shot. Good for portraits though and it has an excellent depth of field in the upper reaches.

Sekonic Light meter.

Handheld spot and reflected light. Useful for difficult exposures.

Filters.

A selection of lee filters

So why this kit.

This is all to do with capturing my vision or story of the world around me. Just sitting with the wind blowing around me is one thing but I do want to capture something. Sometimes it may be inclusive wide-angle shot other times it may be a tight shot isolating a subject to the exclusion of everything else. Whichever it is I have some kit to work with.

It could seem that this goes against what I said a couple of weeks ago about gear not being important and I stand by that. Very often on short trips I will only take one lens and compensate for that lens. This helps me with learning about how that lens works and what sort of results I will get in any given circumstances.

The 2 bodies give me different resolutions due to mp count. Having said this, I would be happy with 2 x D610. This second body also gives me a reserve if anything happens. Normally this means getting extremely wet.

The thing that needs to be born in mind is that I use my phone to get test shots and sometimes this works better than all the kit I carry.

Do not restrict yourself to buying tons of kit. Ensure it does what you want it to do. If you can try lenses out for focal length. Are they going to give you the range and flexibility for your particular type of shot? Try to hold and use cameras. Make sure they fit in your hand and are the right weight for you to hold for a long period of time.

Used

New versus 2nd hand. I have noted that I buy second hand. The reason for this is twofold. Obviously, the price is better but more important is the manufacturing costs have already been met and buying new means building another one with the resources this uses and the subsequent drain on our limited natural assets. Check out the kit thoroughly before buying and make sure you inspect images of the item carefully. Try to go for low image count cameras if possible, and always check for obvious signs of wear and tear. Mould on the lens, tears on grips dents, bumps and scrapes. It will not be perfect so don’t expect it.

Without wishing to repeat myself buy the kit you think will help you get your chosen image not because Joe down the road has one. Think before you buy and enjoy it.

Thank you for reading this post

If you want to see some of my images, they can be found HERE on my Instagram account

 

Richard

 

 

 

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