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Thread: What "Kit" do you use and why?

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    What "Kit" do you use and why?

    This is something I wanted to ask, but really didn't want to get the confusion of different systems to cloud the issue. First general question would be what you have in terms of lenses. But in particular I am interested how you use these kits and what you use for particular purposes (IE if you shoot portrait or wedding what would you use of the kit you have).

    My current set of lenses is run on a D300.
    Sigma 10-20 4-5.6
    Nikon 24-70 2.8
    Nikon 50 1.8
    Nikon 70-300 4-5.6 VR

    I have been thinking...what is the optimal kit in terms of performance and weight for DX and Full Fram for say shooting weddings or portraits?

    My feel (and experimentation) sort of suggests a Wide Zoom, A Mid Zoom, and at the top end either a fast prime or a fixed apeture zoom telephoto (IE the 70-200 models).

    So as opposed to going to the full frame AF zoom kit (IE the 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 F2.8, 70-200 F2.8VR) I was thinking of maybe instead going for the 135 F2D at the long end and just keeping the 70-300 VR as opposed to going to the F2.8. I guess this comes back to uses, and what others think about the alternate approach.

    The other thing I will be doing in the future is moving forward to a D700 or equiv. And another question there on the kit...does anyone run a D700 with a D300 or similar as their backup camera?

    I guess longwindedly I am trying to work out the sort of people other stuff shoot weddings and portraits with, so I can go out there and experiment and build on their experiences (so basically canvas what others use and hire to try things out and go from there), and therefore determine whats right for me.

    The other question of interest would be what else do you keep in your kit: Flashes etc.
    John
    Nikon D800, D700, Nikkor 14-24 F2.8, 24-70mm F2.8, 50mm F1.8D, 70-200mm F2.8 VRII, Manfrotto 190XB with Q5 PM Head,
    SB-900,600, portable strobist setup & Editing on an Alienware M14x with LR4 and CS5 and a Samsung XL2370 Monitor.

    Stormchasing isn't a hobby...its an obsession.
    For my gallery and photography: www.emanatephotography.com

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    you won't find too many working photogs who just have one kit. it's kind of like saying to a mechanic "what tool do you use to fix things?". you need the right tool for the right job.

    wedding kit: 2x leica m's, 1.4/35mm, 1.4/75, super wide heliar 15mm
    canon g10
    holga 120n


    portrait kit: mamiya rb67 pro s, 3x backs, standard 90mm lens
    rolleicord with 3.5/75mm schneider xenar
    holga 120n

    other important stuff for weddings:

    gaffers tape white and black
    umbrellas
    leatherman
    reflectors
    hand meter with a few spare aa's
    tabletop tripod for macro's
    fullsize tripod for family formals
    couple flash's
    rocket blower
    lens cloth
    foot stool/pelican case to stand on

    there's other stuff but it's not coming to mind right now. it is important to use the same quality backup camera as your main camera. also, stick with primes for weddings, zooms are too slow. you're in dark churches, reception etc., so why just give up two or three stops of light?

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    I realise that, and thought I had communicated that in my post, but evidentally not. I realise people don't usually use just one kit...its kind of obvious that one would need a different set of tools depending on the situation.

    I think you comment on primes and available light is rather pertinent, but i wonder if its a more relevant point at the telephoto end rather than the wide given the acceptance of available light?

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    surely you use all your gear, and know what to pick out for each shoot
    and what uncle bob uses shouldn't influence what you want, because you should know the difference f2.8 vs f3.5, DX vs FX, etc

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    My "wedding" kit camera wise

    D3 & D3
    24-70
    70-200
    50 1.4 af-s
    105 micro
    20 2.8

    Pretty much has it covered from micro, through to wide angle, short and long portraits, low light

    I cant imagine any other lens Id need or want
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
    Website : http://www.peakactionimages.com
    Please support Precious Hearts
    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    This is something I wanted to ask, but really didn't want to get the confusion of different systems to cloud the issue. First general question would be what you have in terms of lenses. But in particular I am interested how you use these kits and what you use for particular purposes (IE if you shoot portrait or wedding what would you use of the kit you have).
    Here's a trimmed down and slightly edited version of an article I published on my blog not long ago. This is specifically about my camera and lenses, but I have another article about my lighting gear, and will produce a third article to cover everything else (filters, bags, supports, etc.)


    Camera

    I use only one camera: a Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR. I purchased this in May of 2010 to replace my Canon EOS 5D, a camera I had been using since 2006, and which was destroyed by a dramatic encounter with the ocean at Kiama.

    The full-frame sensor and low noise are the biggest features of the Canon EOS 5D line of cameras.

    My first DSLR was a Canon EOS 20D, which I purchased in 2005; and prior to that, my first digital camera was a Canon PowerShot S45, which I purchased in 2002. This was a high-end compact camera, which at 4mp, had the highest pixel count available at the time. This camera also offered raw mode, video, and had manual exposure controls — all for the handsome sum of around $1,300. A current-model, entry-level DSLR can now be bought for under $1,000. How times have changed!

    More important than the choice of camera is the glass in front of it. At the time of writing I have seven lenses, all being from Canon’s “L” range, and all having the widest apertures in their respective focal lengths.

    Here's some information about what I have and how/where I use it.


    1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

    This is my seascaping lens. I use it exclusively for seascape and landscape work, and while it is a zoom, I tend to shoot it like a prime, rarely deviating from the 16mm setting. I like the ultra-wide, 108-degree diagonal field of view this lens offers at 16mm, and for ‘scapes it produces wide vistas and allows a foreground subject to be given striking prominence in the frame.

    I have also used this lens for an indoor band shoot, but I tend to prefer faster primes for their increased light-gathering ability.

    The 16-35 is very sharp, and with the brightest aperture currently available in 135-format lenses, it offers a brighter viewfinder which assists with autofocus. The f/2.8 aperture of this lens also allows creativity in non-landscape/seascape scenarios.

    I mostly shoot it at f/8 or f/11, but as above, it can be used to somewhat diffuse the background in a photograph whose foreground subject is within close proximity. Granted, producing much background blur with an ultra-wide lens isn’t going to be easy nor practical for most of the purposes for which such a lens is used.


    2. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

    This is a great general-purpose lens when a wide aperture is needed. On a full-frame camera the 35mm focal length is quite useful, in that it is wide, but not too wide; and it is not too long such that the framing is tight.

    I use it for bands and portraiture (when I want a wider view than my usual telephoto view), and any other general indoor photography. It works well for over-the-table people images at dinner parties and the like. I also used it for a wedding shoot.

    It is extremely sharp, works very well in low light and produces nice background blur at f/1.4.


    3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

    This highly desirable and excellent performer of a lens is desirable to many photographers, and it has a place in my rig. I consider it to be a general-purpose, fast telephoto zoom. I don’t use it a great deal, but it’s hard to beat when I do need a lens of its range.

    My main uses of this lens include portraiture, bands, aviation, sports, wildlife and general photography. I’ve also used it for a wedding.

    It’s hard to comment negatively about this lens, as it is tack-sharp even wide open and is quick to focus. It is also compatible with Canon’s tele-extenders, but I would not recommend using the 2x tele-extender, as image quality will invariably suffer, along with the light loss of two stops.


    4. Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

    This extremely fast tele is my staple for portraiture. The moderate telephoto length is perfect for portraits and the very wide aperture not only allows subject isolation, but produces a creamy background blur distinctive to this lens.

    My other main use for this lens is band work or any other low-light indoor setting in which moderate telephoto reach is needed. When shooting bands, even with an aperture of f/1.2 it’s still necessary to push the ISO into four-digit territory.

    I have used this lens for the odd still-life image, but I have found that the combination of the 85mm focal length and the minimum focus distance (MFD) of around 90cm does not produce ideal framing, and instead I use longer lens with an almost identical MFD.

    The very narrow depth of field and slow focus-by-wire autofocus of this lens makes it more challenging to use than other telephoto lenses, but when you get it right, it delivers magical results.

    Unusually for a Canon L-series prime, the objective element extends from the barrel as the focus is adjusted. The large, heavy objective element may explain the slower autofocus, as the motor has to push a very heavy piece of glass backward and forward.


    5. Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

    The 135/2L is a mind-blowing lens on several counts:

    1. at f/2, it is very fast for the focal length;
    2. it produces very creamy bokeh;
    3. it’s light and small (for its specifications);
    4. it’s one of the least expensive L-series lenses;
    5. it has a very short (for the focal length) MFD of around 90cm; and
    6. its autofocus is stunningly fast.

    I’ve never experienced a lens which focuses as quickly as this one does. It’s ready before I am, and I daresay its AF is faster than that of my 300/2.8 super-tele. That’s saying something!

    My main uses for this lens include portraiture, bands, weddings and general-purpose telephoto photography, but I have found it to be a very good lens for still-life photography due to its frame-filling focal length and short MFD. Quite a few of my still-life images were captured with this lens.

    It would also do well for indoor sports, although a sports shooter I am not.

    The 135/2L is a ridiculously sharp lens and will deliver very pleasing results.


    6. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

    This is a specialised lens, and one I use for only one thing: macro photography. I don’t shoot a lot of macro images, so it sits on a shelf most of the time, but when I need it, it’s hard to beat. Its longer focal length provides greater working distance, but the down-side is the reduced depth of field, and macro lenses have inherently shallow depth of field in the first instance.

    Even when shooting at f/11 at its MFD, this lens can be challenging to use. However, it is extremely sharp, and I’ve found that images captured with it require no sharpening during post-processing.

    A macro lens (focal lengths of 100mm and greater are typical for macro lenses) can also double as a portrait lens, although given I have four other telephoto lenses which get used for portraits, I don’t find that capability particularly useful in this lens.

    Unlike all of the other macro lenses in Canon’s lineup, the 180/3.5L Macro is compatible with Canon’s tele-extenders, which allows even greater magnification than that 1:1 (life-size) magnification this lens natively offers.



    7. Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

    This is my longest, largest, heaviest and most expensive lens. It could also be considered my sharpest, but in my experience, all of my lenses are sharp!

    It is one telephoto lens a lot of people want, and it sure delivers fantastic results. I use it mostly for aviation, wildlife and astrophotography, but I have used it for portraits and band photography.

    I often combine it with my Canon Extender EF 1.4x II and Canon Extender EF 2x II to provide 420mm at f/4 and 600mm at f/5.6 respectively.

    Despite the size and weight, I almost always shoot hand-held with it. I can quite comfortably shoot with a lens of its weight all day without issues. However, for shooting subjects like the moon, a tripod is essential. For sports, a monopod can help, but during the very little sports photography I have done, I still found hand-holding was more to my liking.


    Tele-Extenders

    As mentioned above, I have the Canon Extender EF 1.4x II and Canon Extender EF 2x II. I generally only use these on my 300/2.8 for the very useful and approachable reach they provide, but three of my other lenses are also compatible with these: 70-200/2.8L IS, 135/2L and 180/3.5L Macro.

    I tend not to use the tele-extenders on these three lenses, as I don’t need the focal length increases the combination provides, and in some cases I can achieve the equivalent or a marginally longer focal length with a brighter aperture.

    The 1.4x tele-extender is universally considered to be the better of these two units, with greater image degradation (and two stops of light reduction) occurring with the 2x tele-extender.

    What convinced me to buy the 2x tele-extender was a set of images posted by someone who paired it with the 300/2.8L IS. The images were very sharp, and image degradation was very minor to the point of being unnoticeable (if it even existed). My own results with this combination have shown it to be a good match. However, I’d only recommend the use of the 2x tele-extender with the absolute fastest of super-teles (eg, 200/1.8L, 200/2L IS, 300/2.8L IS and 400/2.8L IS).
    Last edited by Xenedis; 12-08-2010 at 5:28pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reaction View Post
    surely you use all your gear, and know what to pick out for each shoot
    and what uncle bob uses shouldn't influence what you want, because you should know the difference f2.8 vs f3.5, DX vs FX, etc
    Obviously I use all my gear, and pick and choose according to the shoot, doesnt necessarily mean that its the only way to go about it. I would argue that this shows ignorance...and a lack of understanding of the question, despite the explanation (IE clearly I understand the importance of fast glass/the usefulness of large apertures if you look at what I am talking about, the second point about FX vs DX is also obviously a question about whether people find the interface of the D300 and D700 compatible for using the D300 as a backup camera rather than being should I go FX). Different people use different kits for the same purpose....why, because it can give a different feel and style. What interests me is to see people I know who use certain gear and what results they are getting...I might look at that image and go, wow thats a neat trick, I should go and try out that lens (or hire it to have a play with). As I can see from the responses, instead of taking the usual zoom route Kiwi for instance uses a prime wide, while TOM runs a prime set, and Xenedis applies particular lenses. Its one thing to read reviews, its another to see lenses in action, and how they fit into a photographers kit. For Nikon apparently 90% of lenses used are apparently 9 lenses made....but clearly this isnt the only way to do things, and thats what I was looking to learn a bit more about.

    Thanks to those who took the time to reply with their thoughts.

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    I'm coming from the film side of things, but I guess the lenses are appropriate to full frame as well...

    I currently use a Nikon F5 for my general photography, however as I've only just bought it I don't have much in the way of compatible lenses for it. I do have an 80-200mm tele which I use for long shots when necessary but in general just my new 50mm 1.8 is amazing for scenery, portraits etc. For macro I use the 80-200 on camera and the 50 reversed in front of it, it's a little difficult to hold everything steady and in focus but I'm getting some half decent results.

    I also have a Nikormat FTn with a 28 and a 50 which will also take the tele from the F5. Generally I'll use this as a random walking around camera as the lightmeter is a little... erratic, but with the two lenses and a 2x teleconverter I find myself never searching for a wider or longer lens (took this to Taronga Zoo a few weeks back and wasn't wanting anything else).

    Generally I'll use the 50mm lens but for an extreme close up portrait or something interesting I find I'll go the 28. I don't generally use the 80-200 too much cause I find that it's not quite as sharp as I'd like, but I'll use it for sports or taking photos of cars, boats etc. If I'm using the FTn I'll cary the teleconverter as well to jump the 50 to 100mm which just gives me another option, and is quite good for scenery shots and portraits (I've used it for everything from shots of Brisbane from Southbank and Sydney CBD from Taronga to pics of my girlfriend on bushwalks and the like...)

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    For street photography (day):
    Contax T2 and T3
    Ricoh GR1v and 1s
    Ricoh GRDIII
    Lumix GF1 + Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar
    Voigtlander R3a + Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 Super Wide Heliar
    Nikon FM3a + Nikkor 20mm 2.8 AF-D

    For street photography (night):
    Nikon FM3a + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 + Voigtlander 40mm f2 SLII
    Voigtlander R3a + Voigtlander 40mm Nokton Classic SC
    Ricoh GR1v + with a fast film (Neopan & Superia 1600)

    For general shooting and work:
    Rolleiflex MX-MVS
    Pentacon 6TL + CZJ 80mm 2.8 + CJZ 50mm 4 + CZJ 120mm 2.8
    Fujifilm S5Pro + Various Nikkor and Voigtlander lenses which gets the work done.
    Ricoh GRDIII as a back-up camera

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    for me weight and cost are two important considerations so i decided to stay with DX for the foreseeable future.

    my go to set up is D300 with 17-55/2.8, SB600 and 85/1.4 which i carry in my pocket. this covers me for most situations and i have a bag that is packed like this ready to grab. if there is some outdoor work, i will also bring the 70-200 along.

    if i know i will shoot sports, i go for just the D300 with 70-200/2.8. i have a bag that takes just this combination that i will pack the night before i may opt for a tripod and a folding chair if it's going to be a long day and i am mostly camped in one spot.

    for travel, i prefer to minimise weight but also like to cover focal lengths. i ditch the heavy 17-55 and 70-200 and i fall back onto 18-135, 70-300, 35/2, SB600 and a small tripod. i am considering an SB400 and off camera cable in place of the SB600 on future trips.

    i don't have the necessary vision for shooting ultrawide. in the past i've experimented with the 11-16 but found i was happy with 17mm or 18mm being my widest. however, i personally hated the 24-70 on the D300. losing 17-24mm range on DX is crippling, imho. in a professional indoor environment, you cannot back up into a wall, and you cannot keep swapping lenses.

    i have owned an SB900 in the past but found it overkill and also hurt my wrist. i've also used a D700 with 24-70 but also found the increase in quality and high ISO ability wasn't justified considering the cost and weight.

    that's my current kit and how i use it but obviously your own experience and needs will vary. i hope i have explained my thought processes behind my choices. i am hanging out for the D90 replacement as i would like to have two DX bodies, one with the 17-55 and the other with the 85.
    Thanks,
    Nam

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    My Entire kit is made up of

    • 2 x 5D Mk1
    • 2 x 1D Mk2N
    • 1 x 7D (Newly acquired to replace 1D2Ns)
    • 1 x 70-200mm IS f/2.8
    • 2 x 17-40mm f4
    • 1 x 85mm f1.2 Mk2 x1
    • 1 x 85mm f1.2 Mk1 x1
    • 1 x 28-70mm f2.8 x1
    • 1 x 100mm Macro f2.8 (used before I got the 85mm's)
    • 2 x 580exII

    Have a few setups i'd like to use during the day

    Outdoor Portraits

    • 5D Mk1 x 2
    • 580exII x 2
    • 85mm 1.2
    • 70-200mm IS 2.8
    • Reflectors

    Indoor Portraits

    • 5D Mk1
    • 580exII x2
    • 28-70mm f/2.8
    • 70-200mm IS 2.8

    Weddings

    I usually take the entire kit and leave it in the car.
    Then i break up the kit during the various events of the day
    Bride/Groom shots

    • 5D Mk1 x 1
    • 1D Mk2 N x 1
    • 85mm f1.2
    • 17-40mm f4

    Ceremony

    • 5D Mk1 x 1
    • 1D Mk2 N x 1
    • 70-200mm IS f2.8
    • 17-40mm f4
    • 580exII x2

    Location

    • 5D Mk1 x 1
    • 1D Mk2 N x 1
    • 70-200mm IS f2.8
    • 85mm f1.2

    Reception / Banquet

    • 5D Mk1 x 1
    • 1D Mk2 N x 1
    • 70-200mm IS f2.8
    • 28-70mm f2.8
    General use

    Cant be beat with this simple kit
    • 5D Mk1 x 1
    • 28-70mm f/2.8

    Experimental days

    • EOS 3 film camera
    • AE-1 FD film camera
    • Various MF film lenses
    Last edited by trigger; 19-08-2010 at 6:23pm.

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