Thursday, 2013-04-11

In my bag, April 2013

Now I have a Nikon D700 my lenses are “correct” again. I never really had anything wider than a 28mm equivalent on crop, and considering I prefer primes to zooms there wasn’t much I could use on my D200.

I sold a bunch of gear to finance the D700 and I basically arrived at three sets of gear more or less by accident. In the interests of self-promotion I will present them here.

The bag is a Domke F-3. I’ve had it since before Christmas and it got its baptism of fire in Malaysia. I like it for its no-nonsense construction without a lot of useless padding. All pics are taken with my D200 and the Shitma 18-50mm. Strobist: radio-triggered SB-24 pointed at the ceiling, camera right.

(The images are clickable and will lead to the Flickr photo where notes are attached.)

The manual focus prime set

In my bag #1: manual focus prime kit

This is the basic walkaround kit. The reason it’s manual focus is basically cost. The most expensive lens it the 45mm.

So far I’ve found it easier to focus MF lenses with the D700, as it has a 3-part focus confirmation display (arrows + dot), while the D200 only has the dot.

The SB-24 is a pretty capable flash. There’s no TTL metering using it, but the A-mode it has does a decent job. I wouldn’t trust it for fill though, or rather, it takes a bit more fiddling with it to get good fill flash. Luckily the D700 has a popup flash for that.

The Moleskine notebook is for planning future gear purchases, of which more below.

When using the 45mm the whole package is compact enough (“slim” is too strong a word, it’s still a chunky package) to fit into the side compartment of the computer bag I use for work. So I can do Always Bring Camera even when I don’t want to carry both my laptop and a camera bag.

The AF / zoom set

In my bag #2: AF zoom kit

This covers 24mm, 35-70mm, and 70-210mm. It’s basically a coincidence that I have these three AF lenses. I got the 24mm as a 35mm equivalent on crop, and two others after reading way too much about Nikkors on the internet. I haven’t really used them seriously on FX yet.

As an aside, I need more experience with using the 24mm effectively.

The speciality set

In my bag #3: the specialized set

I got the 18mm ƒ/3.5 as a 28mm equivalent prime on crop and it has worked great there. I’m not used to ultrawides on FX though, and I don’t know if it will be useful for the stuff I shoot now. Time will tell. I got it for a good price and will make sure I test it thoroughly before selling it.

The 55mm micro is the only lens that’s made me money, as I’ve used it to take product pictures to post on the internet.

What’s missing?

I’d like some faster glass, even though the D700 has better high-ISO capabilities than the D200. The dream lens at the moment is a 35mm ƒ/1.4 AIs.

Another stray thought it getting a faster long zoom (like the ubiquitous 70-200/2.8) for portraits, but I’m not sure it would even fit in the bag!

Future stuff

I don’t know if I’m going to do a follow-up to this post after a while. The canonical list of my gear is here. Each lens there is linked to pics taken with it on Flickr.