“The camera is just the deposit son”… I remember hearing this from my local Nikon dealer several years ago, I didn’t realize back then how true this statement was. In the last couple of decades I have been through numerous cameras and lenses, not because they were broken or didn’t work anymore, my gear had to grow with my skills and needs. As a photographer one of the most common questions I am asked is why do I shoot with Nikon? The answer… that’s what my dad used! I have no other logical reason, in fact, my first camera was a second hand Nikon F50 film camera, if it were a Canon, that’s probably what I would shoot today. Although the Nikon D800 is my main body, I do own a Fuji X-E1 and a Canon body too! I have never been brand loyal, but once you have a few pro lenses it is very hard and expensive to switch.
The next question I get is what gear do I use? I too have wondered what other people use and I guess this is why I am sitting here writing this right now! For nothing else but to share with you what you will usually find in my camera bag. I have slowly collected my gear, so as you look through and think you will have to sell off your first born to set yourself up, remember, I have collected this gear over time, some new, some second hand. Having said that, where would you start?
My theory was always simple. I wanted to be able to cover all focal lengths, so if I could only have 3 lenses, they would be the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. Soon I realized there was good reason to add other ‘specialty’ lenses to my kit. Things like the Nikon 24mm f/1.4, the Sigma 105mm Macro and the Nikon Teleconverter.
In addition to a camera body and lenses, it’s important to also consider other equipment. I have been through numerous tripods before it was obvious I was going to have to invest in a decent set of legs, just like I would invest in a better lens to get a sharp shot. 90% of my photography is done on a tripod and I use the Really Right Stuff TVC-33. A good flash is essential and I use the Nikon SB-900 and I also have the older Nikon SB-600.
As far as other accessories go, I have a few screw on filters, a LEE ND Graduated Filter set (That’s why you see a big adapter ring on my 14-24mm), spare memory cards, a wireless remote and a bunch of other bits, bobs and gadgets.
On a typical day out, my camera bag will contain my Nikon 14-24mm UWA (Ultra Wide Angle) lens. This is by far my most used lens. I also carry a Nikon 16-35mm f/4, as it will take a 77mm screw on filter (Unlike the 14-24mm). This enables me to use a Circular Polarizing filter or a Big Stopper with a UWA lens. I will also have my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and my Nikon 70-200mm f/ 2.8 VR ii with a compatible 1.7 x Teleconverter. With these lenses, I can pretty much cover just about anything. In addition, I will usually have my LEE ND Graduated Filter kit and wireless remote. The rest of my bag is sort of interchangeable depending on where I am heading and what I expect to shoot, however, I usually pack my Fuji X-E1 as a back up just in case.
As you can see, there is no ‘hard and fast’ rule to what will be in my camera bag, and I don’t believe that there is a ‘perfect’ lens or camera. My passion for photography and love to try different lenses and accessories is what has kept, and will keep my collection growing.