My Photography Gear - Cameras and Lenses

May 25, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

MY PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR - CAMERAS AND LENSES

Ellie J Photography 

Newborn & Family Photographer

 

Untitled-1Untitled-1 This shelf brings me joy. 

I don't think I've talked about my own photography gear, although it is a subject that (as my husband will tell you) I could easily wax lyrical about for several hours at a time.

For my fellow photography enthusiasts and anyone else who is interested, I thought I would start with a blog about my cameras and lenses.  Later on I will blog about my studio equipment.  

First up - lets get one thing out of the way. 

As a Star Wars fan I hugely enjoy being able to say this but yes, long ago I joined the Dark Side. In other words, I shoot Nikon.

I'm not interested in starting a 'Nikon v Canon v any other camera brand' debate. There are people on all sides with a compelling argument as to why their chosen brand of camera is better for them and I respect their choices.  Ultimately as photographers, we must all choose a system that suits our needs, meets our work requirements and produces the standard of images we are being paid for.  I've never understood the need for heated debate.

Why do I shoot Nikon?

I could start talking here about Nikon's reputation for being a world leader in the photographic industry since the release of its first camera in 1948.  I could also mention their amazing lineup of cameras, from entry level DSLRs to the latest Nikon Z mirrorless cameras.  However, my reasons for shooting Nikon are far more simplistic.

These are:

a) All of my lenses are Nikon, so having already invested pretty heavily in good glass I'd have to be really unhappy, not to mention considerably wealthier, to justify the expense of a change in system this late in the game.

b) I can operate a Nikon DSLR camera with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back (just don't hand me a Nikon compact at a party and expect the same) 

What Nikon cameras have I used?

D80 
 
With an 18-135 kit lens. My first Nikon love and the first one to make me any money.  Hubby paid for her with his bonus one year.  I still own her for sentimental reasons.
D300 Nikon's flagship DX, replacing the D200. I owned two of these back when I was photographing weddings and they never let me down.
D3 Nikon's first full frame offering and a wonderful surprise gift from my late dad.  I'd been wanting to move into full frame and one day he just presented her to me.  She was (and is still) a cracking camera, although a little hefty (bless her). Although very much retired now I still own her, how could I not?
D700 Considered to be a D3 in a D300's more compact body.  Full frame, but easier to handle and lighter than my beloved D3.  I owned a couple and again, they didn't disappoint me once.
D800 Wow.  Just - wow. For more information, read below!
D810 Again - just wow.  I honestly didn't think it could get any better. Now my second camera and still an absolute cracker.
D850 My current workhorse.  Further information below.

The D800 series is very much like marmite.  I am a huge fan (of the cameras, not the Marmite). 

When the Nikon D800 was first announced my research into the model uncovered a fairly equal ratio of positive and negative reviews.

From the time it was announced, I knew I wanted one.

What excited me about the D800 was its crazy 36 megapixels.  My excitement grew when a photographer colleague told me he had tested the D800 and, after having shot previously with a 40mp Hasselblad H4D-40, had found the D800 to be equal in terms of resolution.

Ironically, the majority of negative reviews I read were related to the very same thing. That amazing pixel count may have offered incredibly detailed image quality, but they certainly came at a price.  As I discovered, that price was to the wallet! 

I had to invest in some serious storage, my 16gb cards were just not going to cut it.  I also had to upgrade my computer system - I needed a whole load more storage and back up space and a super fast system to handle the giant files I was now dealing with.  Fair to say, my first foray into the D800 series cost  me a lot more than the camera body itself!

So was moving to the D800 series worth it?

For me - absolutely, yes.  My current workhorse, the D850 rocks 45.7 megapixels, a tilting touch screen, iso range of 64-25600, 7fps continuous shooting and a blindingly good AF.  The detail I get is just incredible.  As a portrait photographer it could be argued that occasionally the detail is a little too incredible (clients tend to not want every imperfection captured so well) however, such issues are easily dealt with in post, and I'd much rather have the detail than not.

LL

DSC_9810DSC_9810

If there is a downside to the D850 at the moment it would be the price of the XQD memory cards. Whether or not things will change, for example, if more manufacturers begin making the cards (at the moment only Sony and Lexar do) remains to be seen. Having to justify expenditure in the region of £150 for one 64 gb card is a pretty tough pill to swallow but despite this, I can't currently see myself wanting to shoot with anything other than the Nikon D800 series. 

Please remember though that I am a woman first, so it is my prerogative to change my mind.

Lenses

Have you noticed how photography lovers are very keen to talk about their camera bodies but not often their lenses?  As a professional photographer I tend to move through camera bodies fairly quickly.  What rarely changes however are the lenses, or the 'glass' that I own.

 What Lenses do I own?

I'm only talking about the lenses I use for my photography business here, not kit lenses.

Nikkor 50mm 1.8
 
A prime lens, very reasonably priced and sharp as a tack.  I own two of these, the older Nikkor version and the more recent model.  Both are excellent.  I've been asked why I opted for the 1.8 over the more expensive 1.4 and being honest, I just couldn't justify the extra expense.  The 1.4 may be a little brighter, but I found it to have more issues with focus.  I never shoot lower than f2.8 anyway.
Nikkor 60mm micro 2.8 Prime lens. Initially purchased for detail shots at weddings, this later found a place in my newborn studio to photograph tiny finger, toes and eyelash details. Although one of Nikon's sharpest lenses, I do find it a little annoying to use, because you have to get so close to your subject that you will often block your own light.  A good lens, but one of my least used.
Nikkor 85mm 1.8 Fabulous prime lens, perfect for portraits.  I use this a lot for head shots and upper body portraits.  Again, I couldn't justify buying the more expensive 1.4.   
Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 My workhorse lens.  I use this one 80% of the time.  A zoom lens, it enables me to safely stand over a newborn posed on my bean bag without having to resort to balancing above baby on a step stool. Great for portraits and family groups.  
Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 A wonderful zoom and my 'stealth' lens.  Back when I was photographing weddings I would have the 24-70 on one body, the 70-200 on another and the 60mm micro on the backup.  This combination of three lenses covered everything I needed.  I've captured many a wonderful candid shot with this lens! I don't use it an awful lot in the studio simply due to the space needed and the weight involved.

I hope you've found this blog on the cameras and lenses I have owned and used during the lifetime of Ellie J Photography to be interesting.

If you have any questions and think I can be of help, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Thanks for reading.

 

Lorraine Jardim LBIPP QGPP

Ellie J Photography


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