Photography Gear (updated 3/31/2016)

You might be interested to know what do I shoot with. Here is a list of my photography gear.

Camera: 

Nikon D200 (well serving aging camera, yes, I know, time for an upgrade)

Here is my dilemma. Upgrade to full frame or not? The good news is that I have all the lenses I ever would need for an FX camera. The bad news is that there are certain widely circulating concerns on the internet about the possible FX cameras to choose from. In addition, if I decide on to upgrade to full frame, which one to go with, the Nikon D600 or D800?

The Nikon D600  has issues with left upper corner dust particles and/or lubricant spots on the sensor. Also,  it has a smaller consumer body, however the ergonomics greatly improve with the addition of the battery grip.

The Nikon D800  has issues with left focus problems. In addition, do I really need 36 MP?

Sort of surprising having difficulties like these with expensive cameras manufactured by well established, reputable corporations. It looks like quality control is not as good as it used to be.

Bottom line, there is NO successor of the excellent, very popular, professional level Nikon D700. You can buy the entry level FX Nikon D600, which is essentially a Nikon D7000 with a full frame sensor or the Nikon D800 with that unnecessarily huge megapixel capacity.

Despite all of us have a different style of photography what would be your suggestion, what to do?

Autofocus Lenses:  

Tokina 12-24mm f/4 (DX) (really wild angle)

Nikon 16-35mm f/4 (My all time walk-around lens)

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G  (see below #71 The Nifty Fifty for my informal review)

https://robertkusztos.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/71-the-nifty-fifty-nikon-50-mm-f1-8-g-no-aphorism/

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G (The Cream Machine)

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 D (My Old Workhorse)

Manual focus lenses: 

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S

Nikon 35mm f/2.8 Ai

Nikon 50mm f/2 Ai

Nikon 85mm f/2 Ai

Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Ai-S micro

Tripod and head: 

Gitzo G-1345 MK2 (aluminum)

Kirk BH-3

Filters: 

Nikon  Circ. Polar. II 77 mm (Don’t go anywhere without it!)

B+W ND110 77 mm–10 stop (see below Long exposure photography #99 )

https://robertkusztos.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/long-exposure-photography-99/

Macro equipment:

Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Ai-S micro manual focus lens

Nikon No. 3T close-up lens

Nikon No. 4T close-up lens

Nikon PN-11 auto extension tube

Software: 

Post processing gives much more options to the photographer for self expression than any settings on the best digital camera ever could on the field. So I spend some time in front of my computer manipulating pictures using the following software:

Bridge CS5   Camera Raw CS5   Photoshop CS5  Perfect Effects 8

External hard drive: 

Western Digital Passport 1 TB

Updated, May 10, 2013:

(Mirrorless) interchangeable lens camera= (M)ILC

The dSLR is a dying breed, and more and more prominent photographers dump their dSLR.  A mirrorless interchangeable lens camera used to be just a backup camera at best, but now pros started to use it as their primary system.  Some predict that the mirrorless camera systems will take over in the next couple of years. Although it is a controversial and hotly debated topic, the mirrorless camera is getting more and more popular. You don’t suppose to have any moving part (eg. mirror) in a computer. However, the ILC cameras are still too expensive and the lens line up is nowhere close to the lens selection of the DSLR’s.

How about eg. the SONY NEX-7 ?

24 MP, 1.5 x crop sensor, 10 fps, new M-Mount lens system, 350 g, Leica lens adapter

Very tempting. However, being heavily invested in excellent Nikon Nikkor lenses to switch let’s say to a Sony NEX-7 would be a very painful and costly move. In addition, it would be not so easy to part with my beloved Nikkor lenses.

Now here is the big question, upgrade to a full frame (FX) dSLR or jump bandwagon and buy a mirrorless camera? Anybody out there has the same dilemma? Any thoughts, advice or comments?

Updated, August 2, 2013:

Rumors widely circulating on the net about a coming Nikon D400 announcement this month or perhaps first quarter of 2014. Nikon D400 is definitely coming !? 🙂 Price would be around $1799 MSRP or so. I think sport and wildlife shooters are desperately waiting for this camera. Actually, we are waiting for this missing camera way too long. However, it looks like Nikon is not listening to his customers and merged the aging Nikon D300s and the very popular Nikon D7000 into the Nikon D7100 as the new DX flagship camera. Now this overpriced camera has a low buffer capacity and weaker consumer body. It is definitely not as durable as a professional level camera.

What a disappointment! So, Nikon, did you give up on the DX line of professional cameras?

http://photographylife.com/nikon-d400-is-definitely-coming

Updated, November 6, 2013:

At last Nikon launched the Nikon D610, which is pretty much the same camera as the Nikon D600 with a reportedly new shutter mechanism. Only time will tell that the accumulation of dust/lubricant particles on the sensor is finally fixed. Sadly, no other important upgrade was done.

The Nikon Df is an interesting concept, a digital camera in a classic traditional body from the 1970’s. The mechanical buttons and the 16.2 MP D4 sensor is a nice touch. However, the technology of this camera is not the latest and best and it is way too expensive. In my opinion the Nikon D800 is a much better camera for the same price.

The D4 sensor placed into the Nikon D800 would have been a much more appealing version.

Updated, February 17, 2014:

The line up of the Nikon DX bodies are far more logical right now than the FX bodies — Good (D3x00), Better (D5x00), Best (D7x00).

In contrast, the Nikon FX bodies are a rather confusing mess. If you buy one body and you’re not in the market for the D4 or D4s, do you buy the D610, the D800, the D800E, or the Df?

Updated, August 3, 2014:

More than two years after Nikon introduced  the 36MP Nikon D800 and Nikon D800E, it has consolidated the 800-series with the release of a new camera, the Nikon D810. It is an evolutionary upgrade of the D800 line.  The most significant change is the removal of the optical low-pass filter (OLPF) which means no anti-aliasing and, therefore, sharper images should be a given as a result. Also it has a native sensitivity of ISO 64 and a 9 MP sRaw format.

Updated, October 4, 2014:

Enter Nikon D750 to the picture. Maybe this is your next camera? The replacement of the Nikon D700??? Probably not. This is an excellent early review of Nikon D750.

http://www.rossharvey.com/reviews/nikon-d750-review

Here are the advantages of this camera:

  • Tiny, compared to the D3s
  • Featherlight, compared to the D3s
  • Perfect ergonomic fit and grip for my hands
  • Incredible AF in all light
  • Incredible dynamic range
  • D3s level high ISO ability!
  • Wide exposure compensation range: +/- 5
  • Balances well with 24, 35 and 85 1.4G primes
  • Fast shooting, great buffer with the right card
  • Tilting screen will come in handy
  • Fast Live View
  • SD cards are cheap as chips
  • Excellent User Mode profiles
  • Highly customisable
  • Built-in WiFi (so handy)
  • 2.5K shots on a 64GB card
  • Good battery life (similar to D3s)

There is a problem with today’s digital cameras. Decades ago a well made mechanical metal manual SLR camera served you for decades or for a lifetime. In contrast, digital cameras always drop in value, from the moment you buy them, you lose value. The manufacturers will always release new models every few years, sometimes with minor improvements, sometimes with major upgrades. The electronics will slowly degrade over time due to the physics of the materials they are made from, and eventually the camera will be either irreparable or not worth fixing due to better models available at a similar or lower price. Well made mechanical manual focus lenses might appreciate in value, but digital cameras have not in the past. You invest in the images you can make with a digital camera, not the camera itself. Ultimately any digital camera is disposable. That is the sad reality.

Now the big question is about upgrading my trusted, old and outdated D200. Any idea?

Updated, March 31, 2016:

Finally I entered the wonderful world of the FX. Well, after so much hesitation in March of 2016 I took the plunge and I bought the Nikon D610 ($1300) after another price drop of $200 at B&H with some extra goodies thrown in. My Nikon D200 ($1500) served me  well for 8 years, R.I.P. Compared to the D200 it is amazing to see how much the technology advanced using my new toy, the D610! Shortly I considered to get the Nikon D750 ($2000), however, the only major advantage of the D750 over the D610 is the better focusing mechanism in low light. I decided on to put my hands on the D610 and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. In addition, I saved $700 for another quality lens! Now I have all the time to get familiar with my new toy and get to the proverbial next level with my photography!

Nikon D610 reviews:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-d610/13

http://www.dslrbodies.com/cameras/current-nikon-dslr-reviews/nikon-d600-review.html

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d610.htm

 

You can see below some of my newer G series Nikkors, including the 5o mm f/1.8 and the 85mm f/1.4.

2011Jun13_Nikon50G_0046

2013Mar22_85-1.4G_0059

The following pictures represent some of my trusty old cameras I don’t use anymore. I still enjoy shooting  occasionally with a manual focus lens. Just hard to forget that silky smooth precise manual focus. The superior quality of those cameras and lenses are unforgettable. Every piece had been a marvel of fine mechanical manufacturing lasting for a life time. Well, it is history. Nostalgia. Sight…

Nikon F2AS

Nikon F2AS

Nikon 85 mm f/2 Ai-S

Nikon 85 mm f/2 Ai

Asahi Pentax KM

Asahi Pentax KM

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22 thoughts on “Photography Gear (updated 3/31/2016)

  1. Hi, This is Edward Mazurek. You are in my circles, and when I visited you site, I was interested in your upgrade “dilemma”. I don’t know if you upgraded or not, but… I went from my D200 to the D7000 and now to the D800E. I recommend it highly… The difference in the photo quality is amazing. On the downside… you really have to be careful with your shooting technique. It is more difficult to avoid camera shake, but I am getting better. You have a great selection of lenses, so… go ahead… make the plunge. Just be prepared to use your tripod a little more often. You can view my latest pix from your circles or this link: http://tinyurl.com/af9o5au. Take care, edward

    • Hi Edward, thanks for dropping in. No, I didn’t upgrade yet. I’m dreaming about a D600 in a D700 body… 🙂 I guess 24 MP would be more than enough for me. Questions. Did you experience any left focus issues or dust/lubricant spots on the sensor of your D800E? Why did you go with the D800E instead of D800? Did you need to upgrade your computer and storage space? Good for you, you made the plunge…

      • I am quite new to the world of photography :). I started using a mirrorless Sony camera (NEX-3) last year and enjoyed using it immensely. I recently upgraded to NEX-6, which has an electronic viewfinder. I mainly use Sony lenses (E-mount) which are native on NEX. I sometimes attach manual focusing lenses too. There are some more on the “Equipment” section of my blog, but that section I haven’t updated for a long long time 🙂
        Have a nice weekend!

  2. I see bwbear, you’re into the mirrorless (ILS) system. It supposes to be the future. Having moving part (mirror) in a digital camera is outdated. Well, I grew up using an SLR, digital or not, and have a whole bunch of favorite F mount Nikkor lenses, so it would be a pain to switch to the ILS. Actually, I’m planning to upgrade to a full frame (FX) dSLR.

    • I’m sure a full frame camera is worth the upgrade, given the improvement in image quality and dynamic range. I’m not familiar with Nikon cameras but I believe their offerings e.g. D600 and D800 are really capable machines. But you can always buy a small mirrorless cam as your backup camera 😉
      Cheers and thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog!

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