Camera Equipment in Use

Although I have included information about the camera equipment I use in several of the blogs, this quickly becomes impossible to find. I though I'd just give a quick overview of the tools I use to bring you the images on this blog and on flickr. At least it is all in one place that is easy to ignore if you don't care.

I have three camera systems:

  • Nikon D800E - I use this for landscapes, birding when possible (more later), and generally anytime when there is low-light, the need for high resolution or any of the wide-angle lenses I have. 
  • Nikon 1 V3 - This is a 1-inch sensor camera with a crop factor of 2.7 compared to the full-frame D800E. While the small sensor makes this a poor choice for low-light situations, it has several features that make it really great for situations where there is plenty of light. First,  it is small and much easier to carry all day than the D800E. It will fit in a pocket. Secondly, it focuses extremely fast and can do so with an image rate of up to 10 frames/second. In fact, you aren't interesting in refocusing for each frame, it can go up to 60 images/second! This makes it really great for getting photos for fluid situations (people, birds, etc.). Thirdly, the 2.7 crop factor means that the field of view is reduced to that of a lens with a focal length 2.7 times longer. This longer focal length is often referred to as the effective focal length. This camera has an adapter that allows me to use any of the lenses I bought for the D800E. These properties have tremendous implications.
  • Fujifilm X 100s - This is fixed focal length (23 mm) camera with a sensor that is ⅔ the size of the full-frame D800E. It is a great camera for street photography, works pretty well in low-light, easy to carry all day, and is a good focal length (effective focal length = 35 mm). It also has a macro mode that is great for shooting flowers and some insects.
The lens assortment I use on the D800E is:
  • Rokinon 14 mm, f 2.8 - Perfect for shooting the insides of churches and other buildings, landscapes, and stars.
  • Nikon 24 mm, f1.4 - Good for landscapes and cityscapes, interior/low-light situations. A very sharp lens for any situation.
  • Nikon 50mm, f1.8 - Generally good for most things. If I can't decide exactly what lens to use, I pick up this one.
  • Nikon 85 mm, f1.8 - Portraits and situations where a shallow depth of field is desirable. I also find this a great lens for cemeteries and picking out that one grave marker.
  • Nikon 105mm, F2.8 macro - This lens will focus close enough to give a 1:1 reproduction ratio and permits good close-ups of flowers, bugs, and small details.
  • Nikon 200-500mm, f5.6 zoom - This is the go-to lens for birding. It replaces the 80-400mm I bought a couple years ago with a longer reach and sharper details. It is heavy!
  • Nikon 1.4E-III teleconverter - This works only with the 200-500 zoom and converts it to an f8 280-700mm lens. Very handy indeed for birding when there is light.
For the Nikon 1 V3, I have:
  • Nikon 18.5 mm, f1.8 - For this camera, this is the equivalent of the 50mm on the larger D800E. This is really the only lens I use since the rest are much slower. I like to use this camera indoors  to capitalize on its speedy focus and frame rate to get pet photos. 
  • Nikon 6.7-13mm f4.5-5.6 zoom - This is relatively slow wide-angle (effective focal length range = 18-35mm). I rarely use it. 
  • Nikon 10-30mm, f4.5-5.6 - A slow power zoom that came with the camera body. I almost never use this.
  • Nikon produces a lens adapter, the FT-1, to permit using all the full-frame D800E lenses on this small camera. This is the magic. With this adapter, I now have a 2.7*14=37.8mm, 2.7*24=64.8mm, 2.7*50=135mm, 2.7*85=230mm, 2.7*105=284mm lenses at my disposal. All much faster than the N1 lenses. Finally, putting this on the 200-500 zoom we get a 540-1350mm f5.6 lens! This is pretty amazing especially for birding. But wait, there's more... Adding the teleconverter to the zoom, I get a slower f8 lens but with a whopping focal length range of 756-1890mm! This is the ticket for birding in good light. You'll see lots of photos made with this combination.
To hold all the heavy cameras/long lenses steady I use a Sirui tripod. The one I have allows one of the legs to the removed to be used as a monopod. This means I can carry the N1 V3 camera on the 200-500 lens with teleconverter sitting on the monopod and really capture birds on the go. I've added a Wemberly Sidekick to give me an easy to swiveled, balanced support. For photographing without the need to move around much, the tripod is great...light, steady, and easy to use and carry.

If you have questions about any particular photo, ask in the comments to the blog entry and I'll let you know.