A quick blog about my gear and my experiences with it over the years.
A question I am always asked is "What camera do you use?"
The common myth is that in order to take great photos you need a great camera. I have seen some amazing work come from some of the most basic equipment and on the other hand some very average work on professional grade gear.
Part of my job is running Photography workshops and not only does the equipment vary considerably with clients but so does their skill level. This is always part of the challenge.
So to be honest with you it doesn't really make a whole pile of difference what gear you have if its just for social media or printing off the odd shot for yourself or your family.
Having the control and knowledge to put your equipment to its best use will always be your best asset.
It might be an oldie but its a goldie "knowledge is power".
Now don't get me wrong a great camera and professional lenses will always help and make the job a little easier but this belief that they are the only difference is just ridiculous.
Unless you really understand the differences with pro grade gear then you don't really need it. Instead invest the time and money on educating yourself. That's something that will stay with you for a lifetime.
A professional camera is designed to be bulletproof and put up with constant use and is generally weather sealed and has two memory cards.
Frames per second, Dynamic range, Low light sensitivity, Resolution and auto focus systems are the main differences for me personally.
Dual memory cards are worth their weight in gold as a backup in case one card goes corrupt is nearly vital.
Will that help your images? Well no. It might help you sleep better at night though.
Camera bodies date and are obsolete in a few years and are as such one of the worst investments in photography.
I am currently shooting on a Nikon D810 which is an amazing camera for Landscapes, portraiture, product photography and Fashion Photography.
The Nikon D850 is on the cards at some stage soon. My experience with Nikon has been nothing but fantastic to date. Never an issue with any camera model I have had including their lenses.
Your lens is one of the more important elements in your photography as they not only capture that ever important light for your images but they become one of your best friends.
Something you can hold onto for 20 years and still reap the benefits from.
If you treat them with respect and a bit of tender loving care the will stay incredibly faithful to you and work as hard as they can.
Buy the best lens you can afford or slowly trade up over the years if you can.
I briefly flirted with Sigma Lenses but came back to the Nikkor range as I found them to be just that bit better. I still use one Sigma lenses from time to time but now plan to replace that for a Nikkor in the next week or two.
The Sigma Art range of lenses are getting some amazing reviews and it was only today that I compared a 50mm F1.4 in both Sigma and Nikon. I found very little difference in the two of them, when you consider this lens is generally going to be used for family shoots or newborn photography that critical little one percent of sharpness eeked out of the sigma will be negated in editing afterwards and I dont think my back could handle the extra weight of the Sigma's.
There was some weight difference in the Sigma Art models and the Nikkor, the 85mm is a lot heavier and I mean a lot. While it may not be that much for the odd trip but if you have a selection of 6 to 8 lenses in your bag and have to walk a bit then that extra few kg's is going to add up.
A good tripod is something you will grow to love as it not only helps your photography but it also helps carry the battle scars of years traversing the country.
Every little tiny dint or scratch is a marker of where ye have been together. An informal count of your many outings together.
Currently I have two Manfrotto 055pro3 tripod's and ball heads (both are a bit broken), it has taken some abuse over the years, the newer one is the one that's broken oddly enough.
It has had a very sheltered life (about 13 months old and generally only used indoors) which is the surprising aspect of it's failure. I was out on a job one day and the centre column just came loose while I was taking a shot, thankfully I grabbed the camera before it could go anywhere.
So I am currently at a point in my tripod relationship where I am looking to upgrade. Any recommendations welcome :-).
I have to say I had completely swapped over to Lexar professional memory cards and was very sad to see they stopped producing them. I have had several other high profile manufacturers Sd and compact flash cards go corrupt on me.
The Lexars had my complete faith and respect. Still used everyday.
So where to on memory? Well that's something I am going to have to seriously research again now :-(
The Nikons have served me well but their output power isn't as good as the Godox unit's. For overpowering the sun I need a bit more bang.
Stay tuned for an update. I am going to pull the trigger on one of these units shortly.
I have a full review on them Here, it also describes how these filters are made and makes them the most unique range of filters on the market.
I have a 10% discount code HAYES10 which you can use on their website at checkout. From time to time they run extra promotions and I post the discount codes Here.
There are about another hundred little gadgets that make this job easier but that's for another days blog.
Any input or thoughts on your own experiences greatly appreciated.