Gear I use now

My Gear

It may be of interest to some what gear I choose to use for the pictures I take and display here on my blog. The gear I use is what I have found, over the years, to be right for me, it may be totally wrong for someone else as we all have different needs and requirements.

Different photographers, who take different types of pictures may choose to use different equipment to get the results they want or need. Some landscape toggers may use large format or medium format film cameras (or digital if available). My type of shooting being more general is suited to the DSLR’s that I use which can give good general results across a whole range of style, but some would consider are not the best choice for some styles of photography.

It may seem strange but I have never been able to decide between the two main protagonists, Canon and Nikon, so I actually run 2 systems, in tandem and I will get to my reasons for that a little later.

My Canon system is based around the Canon 1D series cameras supported by essentially their L lenses although I still use some of my old favourites (non L) USM and EF varieties also. The 1D Mk IV I bought to replace my broken 1D Mk2 (shutter requires replacement) and I have been extremely pleased with the IQ and Focusing (I avoided the Mk3 because of all the reported focusing issues). I also have a 1Ds Mk1 (FF) that I use mainly for Landscapes and commercial work (11.9 MP and I don’t see me going any higher) and I still have and use my 1D Mk1 (great for fast street work alongside the Nikon), my 10D I have kept because I just love the smooth IQ, I keep my Sigma 10-20 mounted on that almost permanently.

My lenses of choice for use with the 1D series are the 24-105 IS USM L, (great general purpose lens),  the 28-70 f2.8L (a left over from my film days but still a superb lens great on the 1Ds FF), the 50 f1.8 (Mk 1) not the plasticky newer version, plus the 85mm f.18, neither of which are L lenses but both give superb results if used within their limitations and finally the 70-200 f2.8 L (bog standard no IS) which can only be describes as superlative.

The 24-105 IS is pretty much my standard lens on the 1D MkIV and gives excellent IQ (it does have some distortion and the 24mm end but nothing that is not fixable. Flair is well controlled and it has a reasonable bokeh (not perfect), focusing is fast and precise and the color although a little warm is not unpleasant and easily adjusted either in camera or in post.

The 70-200 f2.8L  is probably my second most frequently used lens and use correctly gives super IQ even at f2.8, by f4 it really difficult to tell the results from a prime lens of the same focal length in my honest opinion. Yes its heavy, as all L lenses are but it mates and balances well with the 1D series bodies they just seem to complement one another, but if you are short on upper body strength then maybe go for the lighter f4 version as this is a heavy lens to carry around all day.

The other to lenses I use a lot and are always in my bag are the 50mm f1.8 (Mk1) and the 85mm f1.8 USM. I find both these lenses are capable of excellent quality images and are worth their weight for certain shots. I do lots of people shots and although my 24-105 is great for most things if I want truly first class images then these are the lenses I would use.

Yes I have considered the more pricey L lenses but after lots of soul-searching and arguments with the bank manager I have decided that the quality I get from these lenses for the price and the amount of use they get a major investment of several thousand dollars is completely unessasary for me. The 85 f1.8 is one of Canon’s hidden gems.

Last but by no means least is my old Canon 28-70 f2.8L, this remains a superb lens on my 1Ds (FF), less useful on the 1D MkIV due to crop factor but it produces superb IQ on the 1Ds in the right circumstances (can flair a little in certain light but what zoom doesn’t)  a lens that I would recommend to anyone and can be had for great prices now on the used market ( watch you don’t get a very battered old pro)

Ok that just about does it for my Canon (regular use) gear, I have other lenses that get somewhat irregular use but are by no means indispensable.

As said I also run some Nikon kit, not the new stuff, many would now consider it obsolete and dated but for me it still does what I want from it so I keep on using it.

The Nikon D1H is an old camera by todays standards and has a very low MP count in comparison to some of the todays cameras but it can still give excellent pictures.

I use it mainly for street pictures and love the gritty film like ”feel” to the images it can produce. I actually prefer it for this kind of work over the 1D series which give very smooth (CMOS) images which are great but not what I want.

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