Photography Gear: Part I

May 22, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Welcome to a mini-series on photography gear. I do not talk about gear much on this blog. In fact, you have probably heard me say that novices talk about cameras. A novice with a bit more experience rather talks about lenses. A more experienced photographer prefers to talk about tripods. A good photographer talks about technique. A better photographer talks about composition. The best landscape photographers talk about light. However, I feel that perhaps once every five or ten years it may be good to just take stock of the gear as technology is always changing.

          In part I we will talk about cameras, lenses, and filters. In part II I will talk about tripods and tripod heads. Part III will talk about other accessories. Part IV will cover photo editing software.

          All the top camera manufacturers have excellent gear. So I will not go into which brand is this or that. One thing that seems quite clear is that mirrorless cameras are the future while DSLRs are dying out, fast. Choose the model that fits what you shoot. Certain models are better for sports/action/wildlife while others are better for landscape/portraits and so forth. If you can afford them, some manufacturers have a model that is great at everything, but be prepared to cash out your pension fund. Before you buy a camera look into which lenses are available. You are not just buying a camera, you are buying into a system and the system as a whole is important.

          For landscape photography I primarily use a 16-35mm, a 24-105mm, and a 70-200mm. Some purists may scoff at me because I use zoom lenses rather than primes. My rebuttal is simple:

  1. The top zoom lenses today are extremely good. Yes, I know that people have been saying this for a long time, but this time it is really true. There are manufacturing techniques that can produce extreme aspherical lenses from high quality glass that was just not possible before. Just look at MFT charts and you will see that the top zooms are so close to primes that one is spitting hairs to determine the difference.

  2. Zooming with your feet (moving closer or further away) is not the answer. Changing positions are simply not always possible, lest you want to fall off a cliff, for example. Secondly, changing positions alters the composition. Moving always seems to introduce an unwanted element into the image. Something always seems to be in the way.

  3. I don't want to be changing lenses all the time. During safaris there is always dust that gets onto your sensor. Near water spray the risk is the same. Landscape photographers shoot when the weather is not playing nice with your gear. Zooms promise me more versatility and and less lens changes.

          For wildlife photography I use two bodies. One is fitted with the 70-200mm while the other has the 200-600mm on. Personally I shoot with Sony and I just love my 200-600mm.

          Please do not use UV or other so called protective filters. Use your lens cap for protection, it works better. There is also no need for graduated neutral density filters. Just bracket and blend in your editing software. So which filters do I use? I only use two kinds of filters, a polarizer and neutral density filters (which I use rarely).

          That is it. That is all I use as far as cameras, lenses, and filters are concerned.


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