My Take on Equipment


On several occasions, I have been asked what equipment I use. Here’s my answer.

I want to be as efficient as possible when shooting, and for me that means less is more. I am not a gadget freak. 90% of the shots I take are done with the same setup. The above two photos show the extent of that equipment.

First, my camera. I shoot with the Nikon D850. Since the essential element of all digital cameras is the sensor, the one in the D850 is noteworthy. It is a full size, 45 megapixel sensor made by Sony and designed specifically for this camera. At 300 DPI, the size of an original raw image is 27 inches, which translates into extremely high quality with lots of cropping flexibility. The quality of color and sharpness, especially on large metal prints is amazing! I'm not going to bore you with the camera's bells and whistles since you can get these from a variety of online resources. I also have found the book Mastering the Nikon D850 by Darrell Young to be a great resource.

Next is my "go to" lens. I have read many, many lens reviews that basically say the ultimate "walk around" lens doesn't exist. I beg to differ. The lens I use is the Nikkor 28-300 MM F3.5 - 5.6. It does the work of two lenses, wide angle through telephoto. I never thought a lens with this range and acceptable quality existed. But this baby gets it done! It is sharp through its entire range, has very good light gathering ability, and smooth "zooming". It is quite simply, the best lens I have ever used in my 40+ years in photography. Unfortunately I had purchased a similar lens from another maker and was not satisfied. My advice to you is this. Test drive any lens you may be considering by renting it first. I finally started using and I was very happy with them.

Camera strap. This is a big deal for me since a day at the airshow means around 5 miles of walking. My camera setup weighs almost 5 lbs. I have found that I can be totally comfortable all day with the right shoulder strap. The one I use is available at B&H. Its three important features are: 1) a secure tripod attachment to my camera, 2) an armpit strap to keep the main strap from creeping into my neck, 3) a cross-body strap that keeps my camera in the perfect position at all times. Who would have thought a strap would be such a big deal? 

Belt pouch. This small pouch carries 5 spare batteries, spare memory cards, and lens cleaning supplies.

Other stuff (for that other 10% of need). Yes, I do have a super-telephoto. On special occasions I use a Tamron 150 x 600. Very nice lens, but again only for those special circumstances. Filters? Nah, just UV protection for the lenses. I have not found a need for neutral density filters. And I caution against using a polarizing filter because I have had clarity issues with a polarizer in certain conditions. Besides, who needs a polarizer when you have Photoshop's dehazing tool? That leaves two other items that I keep available. For slow shutter and super-telephoto, I use a tripod. For macro, I use a set of Kenko extension tubes. 

That’s my simple camera setup. I am always comfortable yet well equipped without lugging around a ton of equipment.


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