The Gear Thread

Eric

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Okay folks, what sort of gear are we using?

Here's my main setup:
Canon 6D MKII
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4l IS
Canon EF 50 1.4

I also have a few flashes, various polarizing and ND filters and all the standard cleaning equipment. 99% of my shots are also done on a tripod these days.
 

Clix Pix

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I love to talk about gear!!! :)

I'm using:
Sony A7R IV (Mirrorless Full-Frame)
Sony RX10 IV (Mirrorless "Bridge" "Superzoom")
Sony RX100 VII (Mirrorless Compact)
(and occasionally Apple iPhone 11 Pro)

Previously I had been a "Nikon Girl" for many, many years, and over that time various bodies and lenses came and went. I found that a lot of times I'd buy a lens and only use it a few times, reaching instead for the same favorites over and over again. So this time, starting from scratch, after having traded in all the Nikon gear in November 2019, I started out with three lenses on the first day and then as the need and desire arose for another focal length, another type of lens for specific purposes, etc., I would add it when funds permitted.

As of today I have and am using:

(All Sony)
35mm f/1.8
50mm f/2.8 macro
85mm f/1.8
90mm f/2.8 G macro
100mm f/2.8 STF GM (specialty lens for fantastic bokeh)
135mm f/1.8 GM
100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM
200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G

I don't yet have any flashes and probably won't bother with them as I found with Nikon that I rarely used them, either on-camera or off-camera. Fortunately I don't do the kind of photography where flash is really necessary. That said, I do have various types of continuous lighting that I use when I'm doing tabletop photography at home in the house, and recently just bought the intriguing Ice Light 2 (thanks for the suggestion and recommendation, AFB!). It will be fun to use and definitely offers flexibility for use wherever I have set up something and need to add light! I have very limited space in here so don't have room for a lot of studio lighting: softlights, beauty dishes, hair lights, various stands and booms and all that....

I've got two Gitzo tripods, one with an RRS BH 55 ballhead and the other with a Wimberley 100 II Gimbal head. In the old days I had the original Wimberley gimbal, but then during the time when I wasn't doing much shooting and never thought I'd be back using long lenses and a gimbal, I sold it to a friend. Shortly after I bought the 200-600mm I realized that, yeah, I was going to need another Wimberley gimbal! It makes all the difference shooting wildlife from my deck..... Also have a Gitzo monopod but I'm not really a monopod person, as I hate having to hang on to the thing all the time. With a tripod you can get the camera set up on it and then step away if you need to do so to grab something else or to take a look at a scene or subject from another angle before moving the camera-laden tripod to a different position.

As one can see by looking at my list of lenses, it's kind of lopsided in terms of focal lengths! Nothing in the wide-angle arena yet. I love fast, I love long, and I love macro.....so have been focusing on lenses which do that first. I primarily shoot macro and closeups on one end and birds and wildlife on the other end of the spectrum..... I rarely do landscapes, portraits and heaven forfend that I would do weddings! (Years ago I assisted a friend at shooting a wedding and that was enough to convince me, never again!) So trying to keep that firmly in mind as I began developing my gear setup, I started out with the two macro lenses and the 135mm f/1.8 (I don't do portraits but this lens has gorgeous bokeh and is great for other types of situations, too). About two months later I introduced the 200-600mm into the household, and promptly nicknamed it the "Bazooka." It's terrific for shooting the birdies out in the water (haven't had much luck yet getting decent BIF with this lens), but I realized that for a long walk-around lens that I'd prefer its shorter, lighter-weight sister, the 100-400mm, and that lens rapidly became a favorite as I have been using it most of the summer and early autumn for not just birds but for getting close up pseudo-macros, too.

The next lens to join the party will definitely be a wide-angle but I just haven't made up my mind yet about which would best serve my purposes, and I haven't been in any hurry. Sony offers some tempting wide-angle primes, but I'm thinking that one of their wide-angle zooms will be the most flexible option. One can create interesting images with wide angle lenses.....

For travel (gee, what's that? I've almost forgotten!) I have used the RX10 and RX100 in the past, as both are great for that purpose, and I expect to continue doing that in the future, although another lens that I've been considering since the very beginning and just haven't added yet is the excellent all-around 24-105mm, which would be just dandy to stick on the A7R IV and off we go..... It's been on the "want" list for a while but keeps getting nudged down to the bottom as another lens jumps in to take priority.

Aside from the gear, I do have the usual accessories, with various filters in various sizes although I tend not to use ND and polarizer filters much. I do put UV-Haze filters on all of my lenses for protection, although I am aware of the argument that it is not really necessary as long as one is mindful of always using a lens hood (which I am). Too many camera bags, some of which I've had for years, since my early film days! I did do a massive purging a few weeks ago but still have too many bags. Various reflectors and doodads, a beanbag, of course a remote shutter release, etc. I do have a cleaning kit which came as a "bonus" when I ordered something from B&H one time. I have yet to use it, as so far I've managed just fine with the Giottos Rocket Blower to keep the sensor dust bunny population under control. Probably if I find the sensor needs a proper cleaning I will take it to the local camera shop and let them do it, as I am a bit nervous about trying that myself.

So that's my current setup.....
 

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Bodies
Nikon D750
Nikon D7100

Nikon Lenses
200-500 mm f5.6
70-300 mm f5.6-6.3
70-200 mm f2.8
24-70 mm f2.8
14-24 mm f2.8
10.5 mm f2.8 Fisheye
105 mm f2.8 Macro
50 mm f1.8
2 x TC

Lighting
2 x Nikon SB900 flash
2 x Westcott Ice Light 2
1 x Rotolight Neo
1 x Nikon R1C1 macro flash kit

Tripods
Gitzo traveller series 2 with ball head
Manfrotto Aluminium with geared head and 3 way.
Monopods x 2
 

Clix Pix

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Smiling at your list of Nikon lenses, AFB: I see some old friends there and I miss a few of them.....! That 24-70mm and the very versatile 70-300mm were two of my favorite lenses. I had the 105mm macro, too, and used it quite a bit, but also dearly loved the 60mm macro and often chose the latter when doing tabletops....

That R1C1 macro flash kit I had, too, and used it a few times but became frustrated with it and eventually sold it to a friend. Great concept and it worked well in execution, but I just found it a bit too cumbersome for the way I like to shoot. It does do the job, though, at evenly lighting a macro situation!

Gear.....it gives us great pleasure in using it as we utilize it to achieve our photographic goals, doesn't it?!
 

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Smiling at your list of Nikon lenses, AFB: I see some old friends there and I miss a few of them.....! That 24-70mm and the very versatile 70-300mm were two of my favorite lenses. I had the 105mm macro, too, and used it quite a bit, but also dearly loved the 60mm macro and often chose the latter when doing tabletops....

That R1C1 macro flash kit I had, too, and used it a few times but became frustrated with it and eventually sold it to a friend. Great concept and it worked well in execution, but I just found it a bit too cumbersome for the way I like to shoot. It does do the job, though, at evenly lighting a macro situation!

Gear.....it gives us great pleasure in using it as we utilize it to achieve our photographic goals, doesn't it?!
I had the 60 mm Macro and traded it in with some older gear when I bought the D750 and 105mm Macro. But it was a lovely lens for indoors. Just a bit too short for insects etc.
 

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Definitely the 60mm macro is too short for insects and for some flowers (where an insect might invade the scene as one was trying to shoot!). I found it great for a lot of my tabletop shots indoors where I sometimes had limited physical space in which to work, too. Outdoors, though, and where there is a lot of space in which to work, the longer-length macro lenses offer more opportunities than the short ones.
 
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I'm adding a Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary to my kit. Yesterday I went out in hopes of seeing some bald eagles and I did, in fact a pair of them flew around within a few hundred feet of me with a perfectly blue sky behind them and I took several shots, in a few of them they were passing something to each other beak to beak. Not a single one of them turned out and it was heart breaking.

I know it's partially due to my settings but the bottom line is 200mm just isn't enough reach for this sort of photography so I'm going to work with a longer lens and hope I'm able to see a moment like this again, which is rare.
 

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Longer lenses are absolutely essential with wildlife! Even at that, sometimes it is necessary to add more length -- on my 200-600mm I have added a 1.4x TC to give me more extended range and sometimes even that is not enough. Not sure whether or not the Sigma takes a TC or not. I've seen mixed reviews of it but I think overall, most people are pleased with it. Enjoy!!!
 
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Longer lenses are absolutely essential with wildlife! Even at that, sometimes it is necessary to add more length -- on my 200-600mm I have added a 1.4x TC to give me more extended range and sometimes even that is not enough. Not sure whether or not the Sigma takes a TC or not. I've seen mixed reviews of it but I think overall, most people are pleased with it. Enjoy!!!
I'll have to test with it but it's already f/5 to 6.3 and adding a 1.4x TC would make it lose at least another stop and I would question whether or not I would get auto focus but it's worth researching. I've been working with 200mm up until now so even the lens natively will be a huge jump for me.
 

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Exactly! That is one reason I have just the Sony 1.4x TC for my 200-600 and 100-400 lenses, as a 2x would be way too much loss of light. As it is I do pay some penalty by using the TC on either lens but as long as I'm shooting in good light anyway it works out OK.

Back in the summer of 2018 I bought the Sony RX10 IV, a "bridge" "super-zoom" camera, for a particular purpose and it didn't take long to realize what an amazing lens they've got on that thing, even with the 1" sensor. Well, that lens, 24-600mm (35mm equiv) on a 1" sensor beat the heck out of anything I had used and owned up to that point when it came to range and reach. It spoiled me, big-time. Prior to that the longest I had gone was with a 300mm prime and a 1.4x TC attached to it.....

Come November of 2019 and I bought my Sony A7R IV and three lenses (two of them being macros).....I told myself that I could continue to use the RX10 IV when I wanted longer reach. Yeah, that lasted all of just over a month and sure enough, I was back at the store buying the 200-600mm because I wanted that reach in a full-frame camera. I love the "Bazooka, but in the spring I realized that the Bazooka is better suited to being on the tripod while the 100-400mm is much more manageable as a hand-holdable camera for walking around, and the two lenses do seem to complement one another quite nicely. Oh, and yes, I still have that RX10 and I still do press it into service fairly often, especially when I am looking out the sliding door and see some interesting action going on around the lake -- quicker to grab that camera and hustle out to my deck and grab what shots I can of the activity than to take the time to put the camera on the Bazooka and the whole works on the tripod....

You are SO going to love being able to reach out there at 600mm!!!! It's a whole new perspective and brings things and creatures in so much closer to us!
 
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Eric

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Longer lenses are absolutely essential with wildlife! Even at that, sometimes it is necessary to add more length -- on my 200-600mm I have added a 1.4x TC to give me more extended range and sometimes even that is not enough. Not sure whether or not the Sigma takes a TC or not. I've seen mixed reviews of it but I think overall, most people are pleased with it. Enjoy!!!
So far all of the reviews I've seen are positive for the lens itself, Amazon, B&H, YouTube, etc, is that what you're referring to as mixed? I knows reviews on TCs are always mixed though because you have to sacrifice f stops for them.
 

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So far all of the reviews I've seen are positive for the lens itself, Amazon, B&H, YouTube, etc, is that what you're referring to as mixed? I knows reviews on TCs are always mixed though because you have to sacrifice f stops for them.
I use my Nikon 200-500 almost exclusively on my D7100. Because it’s a crop sensor it’s 1.5 x 500mm so 750mm. Still not long enough sometimes though. But won’t AF with my 2x TC.
 
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Eric

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I use my Nikon 200-500 almost exclusively on my D7100. Because it’s a crop sensor it’s 1.5 x 500mm so 750mm. Still not long enough sometimes though. But won’t AF with my 2x TC.
I do miss the crop sensor on my last Canon Rebel camera, sure gave you that extra bit of reach. At the same time I'm mostly interested in landscapes so my newest FF camera works for 99.9% of what I want to shoot. I am more interested in wildlife lately though so I'm hoping 600 will be enough and I'll likely crop in post anyway.

Otherwise, my 70-200 lives on my camera at almost all times and even though I have that fantastic 16-35 L I rarely use it.
 

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So far all of the reviews I've seen are positive for the lens itself, Amazon, B&H, YouTube, etc, is that what you're referring to as mixed? I knows reviews on TCs are always mixed though because you have to sacrifice f stops for them.
It's been a while now, so can't recall where I saw reviews of that lens, but definitely there were some mixed (positive/neutral/negative) opinions on it. Since that was a while ago, undoubtedly more reviews have come in from various sources. Also of course there would be different reviews for the lens being added as a third-party one on various mounts for various brands, so that maybe people with one brand were perfectly happy while those using another brand and mount were not so much so...?
 
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Got this with the new lens at 500mm and am quite happy with the results, very sharp. (HQ download may take a minute)

IMG_4765.jpg
 
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Eric

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Well done! Nice feather detail! What's with the red and pink stuff on him?
Thank you. As for the colors it's really bizarre, no modifications have been made other than standard LightRoom PP but if it turns its head even slightly one way or the other you'll get a totally different array of colors. In fact if it looks straight at the lens it's nearly all purple, such a beautiful subject.
 
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Eric

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I'm adding a Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary to my kit. Yesterday I went out in hopes of seeing some bald eagles and I did, in fact a pair of them flew around within a few hundred feet of me with a perfectly blue sky behind them and I took several shots, in a few of them they were passing something to each other beak to beak. Not a single one of them turned out and it was heart breaking.

I know it's partially due to my settings but the bottom line is 200mm just isn't enough reach for this sort of photography so I'm going to work with a longer lens and hope I'm able to see a moment like this again, which is rare.
So I dropped it on my Yosemite trip yesterday, I didn't properly have my bag zipped up and it slipped out onto the road while I was running across to avoid traffic. I signaled the oncoming truck to avoid it as it bounced a couple of times rolling down the street. I was hoping it would still be usable but it broke the mount :( I'm contacting Sigma today to see what (if anything) could be covered from this event.
 
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