Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What's In My Camera Bag (2016 Edition)

Well, I actually need a new camera bag but we can save that for another day.  It's been awhile since I've discussed what I use for camera equipment so I thought an update was due.  This past year was fairly static with respect to photography equipment.  I think I'll make this an annual end of the year post.


Nikon D750

Two years ago, I upgraded to a full frame camera and I've been quite happy with that decision.  The 750 is my third DSLR camera.  I started out with a D50, which was a good camera to begin my journey with.  Unlike some of the other entry level Nikons, the D50 had a built-in auto focus motor.  While I liked the tone of the photos from that camera, the ISO capabilities were subpar and led to my upgrade to a D7000.  Again, another really good camera but I was itching for more, especially when it came to ISO capabilities and performance.  Thus far, the 750 is meeting my needs and I have no complaints or plans to purchase a different camera.

(listed in the order of most to least used)

Sigma ART 50mm, f/1.4

This is my walk-around lens and spends the most time on my camera.  I'm in love with this lens because it's so incredibly sharp.  I never thought a lens could be this sharp - it is sometimes scary.  I frequently crop images and you'll never ever know it's been cropped because the area in focus is super sharp.  I think it's safe to say that this is the best lens I've ever owned.  The only downside (there's always something) is its size and weight.  For a prime lens, it's big and heavy, but I've gotten used to it.  Its performance, in my opinion, far outweighs the size/weight issue.




Nikon 14-24mm, f/2.8

This is my only wide angle lens so when my 50mm is too tight, I turn to my 14-24mm.  It's sharp and fast to focus and produces awesome images.  Unfortunately, it's better for landscapes and not close photos of people because the wide angle causes distortion.  I do still use it with people, allowing the distortion to add interest to the photo, but it's not always ideal.  (I don't really have a choice at this point as this is the widest lens I have under the 50mm.)  This lens is also big and heavy, but as with the Sigma 50mm, its performance is worth the heavy lifting.




Nikon 105mm, f2.8

I originally purchased this lens for close up, detailed shots.  It also works really well for portraits.  Again, another super sharp lens that produces fantastic images.  The one big downfall though is that this lens has trouble focusing in low light.  So much so, that I've taken to manually focusing when it decides there isn't enough light.



Nikon 85mm, f1.8

My dad had this in his camera collection and gave it to me for a long-term borrow because he wasn't using it.  There is an updated version of this lens now but this is still a fantastic portrait lens.  I've found myself turning to the 105mm for portraits so the 85mm doesn't get much use these days.  I am able to easily free lens with it (because it's an older lens) and that's seems to be its main use for me right now.



Nikon SB-600 Speedlight

It seems like everyone wants to say that they're "a natural light" photographer.  There's nothing wrong with flash when used properly.  Even with the ISO capabilities of my camera, I still pull out the Speedlight when I want uniform light and to avoid shadows on faces.  In my opinion, using natural light indoors quite often produces documentary style photos.  Sometimes I just want photos of my kids without shadows, so out comes the Speedlight.


Lens Pen

Unless you are shooting a wedding or a very long photo session, there is no need to weigh your camera bag down with extra batteries and every accessory under the sun.  The one item you should have is a lens pen.  Use the brush to wipe away lint and dust and the pen to clean your lens.  We spend a lot of time at the beach and this comes in very handy!

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adrian faulkner said...

Love your photos, for the one of your 3 girls together and the Christmas photos, did you use "on camera" flash(maybe with a flash modifier/bounce off ceiling) or do you use off camera flash/soft boxes ??? Its something im trying to get better at because of the bad light for half of the year in the UK

Sarah said...

Hi Adrian - I used my Speedlight. I bounced it up and behind me, off of the windows behind me.

adrian faulkner said...

Thank you sarah - i bought a rogue flashbender, its like gaint flash card but my girls said it was too bright and it hurt there eyes so i will go back to bouncing the flash off the walls/ceiling behind me, you certainly got some great soft light using this method, beautiful photos!!!

BreezieGirl said...

I should be so much better at using my lens pen. I thought you had a 35? Did the mount not match for your full frame? I'm currently renting a full frame and running the numbers to figure out purchasing. It's amazing to see the specs on your camera with the pricing compared to my Canon equivalent options. But my lens investment would be hard to give up to make the switch.

Sarah said...

Unfortunately, the 35 is a crop lens. Definitely agree - hard to switch b/c of the lenses! Once you buy in to a brand, you are in.