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Friday, May 27, 2011
What's In My Camera Bag (Usually)
As a wildlife and nature photographer, I should have a number of lenses in my camera bag, but unfortunately, each one of those lenses costs more money than I have access to at the moment so they're being saved up for. In the meantime, I have access to two of the best lenses on the market for the money. I should say "I believe in minimalism" however that would ring completely false. So I just suffer not having the supertelephoto primes in my kit bag and make do. That's why I don't shoot rattlesnakes, grizzly bears or any other thing with BIG TEETH OR FANGS. I'd have to get too uncomfortably (for the animal...and for me) close to get the shot. I'll wait until I can save up enough to get the 600mm f/4 with a nice comfy 1.4X teleconverter. Although preferably for rattlesnakes, I'd prefer to have a 3200mm f/22 and haul off shots from 30 miles away. "Get up close to nature"...with a rattlesnake...NOT ON MY LIFE!!!
This is what's in my camera bag:
I use a Tamrac Velocity 7 camera bag with the Nikon CL-M2 bag attached to transport my 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII when it's not on my camera. A little awkward at times, but it works and that's the main thing.
I use a Nikon D300s with a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II which is my go-to versatility lens. When I want to get close I don't have to stomp all over the vegetation to get to where I want to go. I can either get in close with 70mm or zoom in even closer with 200mm. It all depends on what I want to do. And with VRII, I can either stick it on my tripod or handhold it. Either way it's a sharp lens. My D300s is my primary camera and I don't currently have a backup semi-pro body. I'm hoping to either match it with another D300s or just go completely pro body and get myself a D3s but to me, the D3s just doesn't make enough financial sense to me. Maybe one of the pros, I'm friends with, can talk me into it.
This lens has to be one of the best out there in terms of cost, speed and sharpness. For $149.99, you can't go wrong with this lens. The 50mm f/1.8 is a workhorse. I didn't currently have enough for the 50mm f/1.4 and this was a gift. And it has proven to be one of my go-to lenses for close in work. At f/8 (it's sweet-spot, it's tack sharp and worth every penny of it's low cost and more.
As I've said in my last post, it's always good to take a point & shoot, this is not necessarily in my kit bag, but on my hip when I go out even when I do take my D300s. It's for when I'm doing location shots for my blogposts or just general situational reference shots when I take it along with it's bigger camera siblings (the D50 or the D300s) and acts as my primary camera when I take it by itself.
I take my tripod along with me on most of my shoots, because it's the quickest way to get stability for my shots. There's nothing that is more annoying than getting home after thinking you can handhold a shot that's at 1/15th of a second on a 200mm lens and then realizing stupidly that you had a brain fart and you should have used a tripod.
What is this? Well, this is a SecureDigital case for multiple memory cards. There's nothing more annoying than fumbling around in your camera bag for memory cards...losing or misplacing them or just plain seeing them get damaged. Since memory cards can run in the range of almost a third the cost of a new consumer grade lens, they are an integral part of your camera kit. That's why I protect mine with this. You can run over this thing with a car tire (car attached) and it'll be safe. However I wouldn't recommend doing that with a one ton truck (dump truck is definitely out). You can store six SD cards at a time...all in easy reach. You can also lose them all at the same time too with great convenience (yes, sarcasm).
Ask me how I know this.
These are the memory cards that I use. I use Sandisk brand memory cards. Currently I have one so that it's easy to take care of. This one has been abused quite brutally and it still works reliably. I've had read-errors with a lot of cheaper memory cards so I don't trust them to do the job for me. That's why I chose Extreme IIIs. Those ones are pro-grade memory cards designed to work reliably in all conditions. I generally use a 2 GB memory card which gave me 270 shots with the Nikon D50, and 97 shots with the Nikon D300s. Ideally for work, I'd prefer to upgrade to a Sandisk Extreme III 8GB. If people ask me why I prefer to work with something lower than 16GB, I'd have to say, if there's a read-error on one of my memory cards, it's a lot more palatable to lose 180 shots over 316. And with disk recovery programs provided with the pro-grade memory cards. I should be able to recover from between 60% up to 85% of my images off the corrupt cards anyways.
This post will be updated regularly as acquisitions come into the household. And while my beloved SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed - even though she says I don't do much of a good job of "obeying") holds my 18-70mm hostage (until she gets her 18-200mm walkaround), I'll keep that off the page (this page is dedicated to what I usually walk around with).