I’m often asked gear questions and more specifically, I’m asked what kind of gear is it that I use. The purpose of this article is to tell you about the camera stuff I use and why I use it, but I encourage you to make your own decision and not copy me or any one else.
Before we get much further, let’s discuss the stupid Canon versus Nikon debate. I say it’s stupid because it is. Simple as that.
In my opinion all of the major DSLR manufacturers make quality product. I’ve seen great images created with Pentax cameras, Olympus cameras, Fuji cameras, Sony Cameras and not to mention, Canon and Nikon.
I’ll say the same about their lenses and the aftermarket lens manufacturers such as Tokina, Tamron, Sigma etc.
What gear we use is a personal decision each of us must make and rest assured, there is very little junk out there.
With that said, if you’re just starting out, I suggest that you choose either Canon or Nikon gear. The reason I recommend that you use Canon or Nikon stuff is because you’ll find, as you buy lenses, accessories and software, that all third party manufacturers will always make sure that their product is compatible with Canon and Nikon before they make it for anything else. Most often they’ll only make their stuff compatible with Canon and Nikon ignoring all other brands. So, it could be an aftermarket lens or flash or maybe an aftermarket flash trigger – shoot with Nikon or Canon and you’ll have a plethora of options to choose from and they’ll often be cheaper than original manufacturer equipment.
I shoot Nikon. I can’t give you a precise answer why I do. When I was a wedding photographer in the days of film, I used Canon equipment. When I moved to digital, I went with Nikon and I’m very happy with my choice but can’t really tell you why I chose Nikon over Canon.
So, I’m going to tell you about my camera equipment. The links below are for the Amazon.com U.S. Store and are my affiliate links so if you purchase anything by clicking on those links, this website makes a small commission that will help me maintain it. I’m also an affiliate for Amazon in Canada and the United Kingdom. If you live in those countries, click through from the links in the previous sentence and this website will be credited with anything you purchase.
If you don’t want to use my links simply search for the product that you’re interested in from your favorite camera store.
I’m breaking this article into two parts because… um, I have a lot of gear. This first part will cover my camera bodies and lenses. In part 2 I’ll talk about everything else including flashes, strobes, filters, tripods etc.
I’m a degenerate pixel peeker. I blow images up to see how crisp and clean the pixels are — not for any concrete defendable reason. I just have a problem and need a 12-step program. So, how could I use any other camera except the 36.3MP D800e?
Seriously, the camera is awesome. It has the features that work with the way I shoot and that’s what we should look for when we shop for a camera body — look for something that has features that you’ll take advantage of. Beside the low noise that the D800e affords, I love the ease of bracketing and how easy it is to manipulate the controls.
The new D810 has everything my D800e has and more!
I enjoy this camera immensely! I use it when I want to take advantage of the 1.5x crop factor that this DX body provides. Because of the crop factor, I often shoot wildlife with it and because it has a fairly high frame rate of 7fps, I often use it for action photography. Nikon has since come out with the D7100 which eclipses the D7000 in just about every feature. They’ve kept the D7000 in their lineup though, reducing its price so it slots in below the D7100. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either camera.
I use this little gem primarily for my street and travel photography and more recently for some concert photography. It’s unobtrusive, light and easy to carry around. Often when traveling with my family and photography isn’t my main reason for traveling, the larger Nikon cameras can become a burden. I researched mirrorless cameras because they’re so small and light and I was pleasantly surprised at how great the images are with this little guy. It has excellent image quality at all ISO’s all the way up to 6400 and the color reproduction is awesome — I believe Fuji’s history of making and selling film contributes to the beautiful colors this camera produces. Also, it’s weather sealed so if it begins to rain or snow when I’m out and about, I don’t have to worry about my camera being damaged.
Lenses For My Nikon Cameras
This is my D800e walk-around lens. This lens is on my D800e 80% of the time and, because of it’s wide focal length, comes in very handy. If I want to shoot a wide landscape or a closeup of a bird on a branch, this lens has me covered. As can be expected, there is some pincushion and barrel distortion at the extreme ends of the zoom range but those distortions are easily corrected in Lightroom.
This is the walk-around lens for my DX bodied, D7000. Everything I mentioned above about the 28-300mm lens can be said about this lens. Similarly it’s on my D7000 80% of the time.
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest lenses every made. It is superb optically and built to last. I do strongly dislike that the front lens element protrudes past the front making it difficult to add filters — ND filters specifically — but I am able to use the LEE filter system on this lens and will talk about my filters more in Part 2 of this article.
This is another newer lens of mine. I haven’t used it too much but I definitely will be using it more. Professional build and incredible optics make this one the best lenses on the market.
I just added this lens to my arsenal. It’s fairly big and heavy but it is super sharp and focuses so very fast. Since I bought it I’ve been thinking of all kinds of creative things I can do with it and can’t wait to get out and shoot with it. Even though I just purchased it, I’ve already taken one of my favorite images that I’ve ever taken. It’s of my dog Archie and you can see the image here.
I love this lens. Optically, it’s one of the best lenses that I’ve ever used and it takes tremendous macro images which is what I use it for. I highly recommend this lens if you’re into macro photography. Don’t believe me? Read a review on this lens here. Tokina also makes it with a Canon mount.
I recently acquired this lens and haven’t used it too much so the jury is still out on whether I like it or not. It’s very big and very heavy but so far in my limited use, it seems to take nice sharp images.
Click here to see a couple images I shot with it — you be the judge.
**** I’ve had the opportunity to use this Sigma 150-500mm lens in depth and have decided that it isn’t in fact, sharp enough. I’ve traded it in. You can read my about it here: http://www.anthonymorganti.com/2014/04/18/ditched-sigma-150-500mm-lens/
What Nikon calls Micro, everyone else calls Macro. I purchased this lens before I obtained the Tokina Macro lens. I don’t use it very much any longer but not because it’s not sharp — it’s just as sharp as the Tokina lens and does a fantastic job BUT, it’s only 40mm so I need to get very close to my macro subject — with the 100mm Tokina lens I can be a bit further away. Also, this is a DX lens so I was forced to use it on my D7000 body or on my D800e in crop mode. The Tokina lens is an FX lens. With that said, this is a great little lens and it’s very inexpensive.
I recommend that everyone own a 50mm prime lens no matter the manufacturer. Optically they’re superb and if you’re ever in a photographic rut, screw one of these babies on your camera and go for a walk. Because it’s a 50mm prime, it will force you to really work the scene to CREATE an image. It’s a fantastic lens.
I purchased this lens for use on my D7000. Because the D7000 is a DX body, the effective focal length on this lens is 105mm-450mm. I bought it long ago before I owned the Sigma 150-500 and it worked out well. I’ve taken a lot of wildlife images with this lens on my D7000. It’s a cheap lens but optically it’s very good. It does suffer from some chromatic aberation but again, I’m able to remove that with Lightroom.
If you don’t have a ton of cash to spend but need that extra reach, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this lens.
Lenses For My Fujifilm Camera
This lens came in my kit with the Fujifilm X-T1. It’s a great lens — Quiet and focuses very quickly and, like the camera, it’s weather sealed so when I’m out shooting in the streets I can relax if it begins to rain or snow a little.
This lens is fast and super sharp! I use this lens for concert photography and for my street photography. The 1.5x crop factor of the X-T1 means that I’m shooting at around 53mm which is perfect for a wide range of photography.
End of Part 1
That’s all of the camera bodies and lenses that I own. My next camera body will likely be a used D90 or something similar that I’ll get converted for infrared photography. I’m not sure what my next lens will be but I’m sure I’ll see something that will force me to part with some of the Benjamin’s in my wallet.