I get asked a lot what gear do I use, so thought I would create a blog post about it... so here I am giving this blogging malarkey a go!
So... I have four bags, I have one giant wheelie bag that looks like something you could stash a body in. This is full of light stands, tripods, frames, clamps, brackets etc. I also have another large wheelie bag (not as big) this has my strobes in, I have three Elinchrom BRX 500 heads, reflectors, power cables and duct tape (this has nothing to do with the large body bag I previously mentioned - honest).... you never know when duct tape will save your shoot - you mark my words!
I have a small low pro messenger bag for travel. This is when I don't want to be lugging round lots of kit i.e. weekends im not working or holidays.
Ive tried a few different bags to keep my camera in from shoulder ones to home made converted suitcases... buying a designated wheelie camera bag was a smart investment for me as it really works. I use calumet's own brand RC2065 - it cost £160 but very worth while for me. Its also not badly priced when the equivalent bag from low pro or manfrotto are £300.
Cameras - I use a Nikon D810 for studio or commercial work, really anything that requires larger files (and man they are large) and amazing detail, the D810 comes out to play. I still think it is one of Nikons best cameras and for what I do I would still choose it over a D4s (unless anyone would like to give me a D4s to prove me wrong???). Its amazing dynamic range and sheer detail it captures is just astounding. Well played Nikon!
My second body is a Nikon D750 this partners brilliantly with the D810, its lighter, smaller and its low light performance is actually better! This camera can literally see in the dark and more to the point can focus accurately in the dark. Its ISO performance is also amazing. When you pool this with its amazing image quality and jaw dropping DR this is a gem of a camera - and sorry die hard D700 owners (I used to be one and even today it is a great camera)... but the D750, even though it isn't as "professional" feeling in the hand (very much like the D600 / D610 etc) it blows it out of the water in every aspect.
Lenses - Im a prime shooter, I've tried zooms and often have a 24-70 f2.8 in my bag as a back up lens, but I just prefer primes. They in my opinion make you think more and you also learn to see focal lengths. They are faster and lighter than zooms and i think offer more creativity. I think i've probably owned most lenses by Nikon now at some stage - some of them the same lens multiple times. In playing the lens swippy swap game over the years though, I now have a firm idea of what focal lengths I shoot at a lot and what works for me. So the line up is currently the Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART / Nikon 50mm 1.8G / Nikon 85mm 1.4G - I find between these three lenses I can cover most things I ever need to. As mentioned, not in that bag but I also have Nikon 24-70mm 2.8G as well incase i ever need to get a bit wider or any of those should fail on a job - its my man on the bench.
My thoughts on these lenses - the sigma 35mm, so why the sigma and not the nikon? Lets look at them - the 35mm 1.8 DX is a DX lens, both my bodies are full frame (FX) - now what a lot of people don't know is this lens actually works alright on an FX body, there is a lot of vignetting at 1.8 but it is fixable in post.. still not ideal so not for me. The new 35mm 1.8G for FX bodies... this lens is a winner (in fact all the Nikon 1.8G lenses are winners IMO) - it comes in at the same sort of price as the Sigma but feels a bit plasticy and doesn't shoot at f1.4 - still a great lens though, I prefer the Sigma. So this leaves the Nikon 35mm 1.4G - Ive had one, honestly if you get a good sigma its better in every aspect accept weather sealing and bokeh (and thats prety subjective). Its so sharp and contrasty, and feels solid. Its also about half the price of the 1.4 Nikon, granted it still isnt a cheap lens though. I also love the USB dock...Sure, I hear you, surely sigma releasing a dock that fixes issues with its art lenses just cries out there are issues with art lenses - No?. Well yes, some people have had issues with some of the earlier lenses... but I micro adjust all my lenses Nikon or Other... so having a dock that allows you to micro adjust at four different distances is cool. It also allows firmware updates so I say props to you sigma.
The 50mm 1.8G - Its cheap as hell, plastic and basically disposable. But man it delivers, light and sharp. I see no reason why any one with a nikon DSLR shouldn't have this lens. Ive had the 50mm 1.4G and found it very soft at 1.4... the 58mm 1.4 doesn't appeal to me at all its expensive, heavy and from what i hear not all that. The sigma 50mm 1.4 art - yeah thats another great lens from Sigma but its £650 vs £150 - If I used a 50mm a lot, which I dont to be honest but if I did I'd have the sigma - As I say I don't shoot at 50mm that often and honesty though i've found the 50mm 1.8G never lacking EVER when i've needed it - makes a lovely walk around lens as well due to it being really light and sharp.
The 85mm 1.4G - Ahhh what more can you say. This is my most used lens. I love it, I cuddle it, talk to it and sometimes stroke it. Its bitingly sharp even wide open at 1.4. Its just a gorgeous lens with buttery bokeh that is so so sweet. The 85mm 1.4 Sigma and the Nikon 1.8G they are both great lenses had them both (surprise surprise). But there is something about the look of the images form the 1.4G that stand out.
So thats my camera and lenses - we'll cover other stuffs in my next post.