As both a full time Information Technology Engineer and a part time amateur photographer, you can imagine that I do enjoy my fair share of technology related toys. For the purpose of this article I will be focusing specifically on the photography gear that I most cherish. These are the items that I use again and again and I find to be indispensable to my growing passion and hobby. So let’s get right to it, in no particular order (although number 1 is pretty important)…
- Nikon D7000 DSLR
The single most expensive item on this list is also the single most important item, my camera body, a Nikon D7000 DSLR. This camera was announced in September 2010 and released in October 2010. In it’s early weeks of release it proved very hard to find although I do believe that inventory has caught up now. The D7000 could be argued to be the king of Nikon’s crop sensor (DX) semi-pro (or pro-sumer if you prefer) camera bodies. Yes, the D300S is still in production, but the D7000 beats it in nearly all technical specifications. The D7000 is a 16.2 megapixel camera with a standard ISO range of 100 through 6400 and extended ISO range up to 25,600. In my experience so far ISO is quite usable at least to 6400. Other notable features are: 39 auto-focus points, two SD card slots, full HD 1080p video, 6 FPS and weather-proofed magnesium-alloy body. At the time of its release, the D7000 boasts the second highest megapixel count (behind the 24 megapixel D3X) in Nikon’s DSLR lineup.
- Circular Polarizer Filter
I find that I use my circular polarizer filters often when out in the field. I love the effect they have on colors in nature, particularly greens and blues. I’m a big fan of the gradient effect it creates in the sky, although this is certainly a matter of personal taste. And of course circular polarizers really do help to cut down on glare and haze in certain situations. I have a B+W 77mm circular polarizer that I use with my Nikkor wide angle zoom lens and a Hoya 52mm circular polarizer that I use with my other three Nikkor lenses.
- Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G Prime Lens
I think every aspiring photographer could use a good fast prime lens. I bought the Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm Prime lens while still using my old Nikon D40 body and it literally transformed the D40 with regard to low light performance. It really behaved like a different camera with the 35mm prime. Such is the benefit of having such a wide aperture as this prime lens boasts. Sure, it’s not sexy like a zoom lens, but the low light performance and optical clarity of a good prime lens is a nice tool to have in the toolbox. Plus this lens can focus at only 0.9 feet which gives it excellent macro capabilities (even though it’s not a true 1:1 macro lens).
- Vanguard UP-Rise 28 Messenger Style Camera Bag
This could be viewed as a mundane item in this list but a good camera bag is really important and should not be overlooked. The Vanguard UP-Rise 28 fits my needs really well. If you are out in the field for hours taking photos while carrying a camera bag you want it to be comfortable and ideally not get in the way. I’m a fan of the messenger style bags because they can be swung around and worn on your back like a backpack bag but when you need access to your gear you can just swing the bag back around without removing the bag from your person. This particular bag also is just big enough for what I like to carry when I’m out in the field. It would be nice to have a little room to grow but I like the bag to be as small as possible. Luckily Vanguard makes two larger sizes of this particular bag if you need more room for all your gear.
- Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED Wide Angle Zoom Lens
This is the most recent lens added to my arsenal and also happens to be the most expensive lens. The Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm Wide Angle Zoom has really become my go to lens when out in the field. I’m not sure how I went so long before purchasing this lens! Landscape pictures are now immense and the creative possibilities are endless. Coupled with my B+W 77mm circular polarizer filter I’m able to capture some really spectacular photos. Plus it’s not just good for landscapes, it also is good for situations where you just can’t get far enough away to capture an entire subject. That’s when a wide angle lens is really useful. It allows you to capture your entire subject in the frame while still staying close to grab all the details.
So that’s it! My Top 5 Most Prized Photography Gear Purchases. What is your most prized photography gear? What are your thoughts on the items listed in this article? What’s on your wish list? Please share your thoughts!