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Here’s a little behind the scenes look at my gear, why I chose it and what it produces.
I’m slightly obsessed with SHUTTER|bags. They are seriously amazingly beautiful camera bags. The quality is top notch. I used my first bag, the Safari, for almost a year day in and day out and it barely shows any wear. It’s awesome! My camera bag doubles as my diaper and everyday bag so I need it to be a work horse.
Please don’t ask me to pick my favorite because I can’t. I’m working on a post where I break down each bag and how you can use it.
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When I first got my DSLR I had an entry level Canon. I had issues with my Canon and after getting it repaired twice, I decided to sell it and get a Nikon D90. That is a great mid-level camera if you are in the market. I loved that camera and was really sad the day I had to sell it.
After almost two years, I out grew my Nikon D90. How do you know when you are ready to upgrade? I believe it is when you know what the new camera can do that your current camera can’t. If you are unable to answer that question or are only upgrading because so-and-so has that camera. Don’t waste your money upgrading until you need to.
The Nikon D700 is a fantastic camera. It is heavy, which I really like. It feels great in my hands. I love that the settings for white balance and ISO are on top and can easily be changed without having to go into the menu or even move my eye from the view finder if I don’t want to. In fact, I love the placement of all the buttons. They really thought this one out as the most common used buttons are easily accessible.
This is a full-frame camera. The ISO capabilities are awesome! Unfortunately, Nikon has stopped making the D700 so they are hard to find.
I’m one of those people who collects lenses like people collect shoes. I went through a few years where I was buying lenses left and right. I love a new toy. My lenses in no particular order.
If you love lifestyle photography and like to take photos indoor the 35mm 1.4 was made for you. It is tack sharp and a fantastic prime lens. I love the focal length at 35mm which allows me to include a lot of the environment in my photo while shooting indoors.
ISO 400 | f/2.2 | ss 1/200
ISO 3200 | f/2.5 | ss 1/125
ISO 100 | f/3.2 | ss 1/3200
If you are looking for your first lens I highly recommend the 50mm 1.8. You can read why I think that is a great first lens to buy here. However, after two years with this nifty-fifty I upgraded to the 50mm 1.4. I love lenses that can go to f/1.4. Even though I rarely shoot at f/1.4 I have found them to be such sharp lenses.
If you love your 50m 1.8 then you will probably LOVE the 50mm 1.4. If you aren’t sure if you want to upgrade and would like to see a comparison of the 50mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.4 you can read more about that here.
I like to use my 50mm 1.4 when I plan on shooting portrait type images. It doesn’t distort the image like the 35mm 1.4 can.
ISO 200 | f/2.5 | ss 1/200
ISO 400 | f/3.2 | ss 1/80
ISO 100 | f/3.2 | ss 1/125
I remember reading that a lot of photographers used their 105mm 2.8 macro lens as therapy when they were stuck in a rut or wanted to shoot for themselves. I quickly found that this was true for me as well. Plus it was a great excuse to buy myself flowers.
I struggle with objects that don’t move so it is fun to photograph flowers, dew, or any variety of things.
Macro lenses don’t have to be restricted to just close ups of flowers. I will sometimes and I mean only a hand full of times use it on my kids. It too is a sharp lens but something to keep in mind is the aperture. You need to stop down (larger number) a lot to get more of your photo in detail. I also found that it was easier to manually focus with this lens.
ISO 6400 | f/6.3 | ss 1/60
ISO 6400 | f/7.1 | ss 1/60
ISO 6400 | f/6.3 | ss 1/160
Tamron 24-70mm 2.8
I have always been a fan of Tamron lenses and the 24-70mm 2.8 blew my socks off. This bad boy is tack sharp! I love to use this lens for indoor photos since the aperture can go as wide as f/2.8 and the zoom gives me a lot of flexibility.
This is also my go-to lens if I am going out and need something that is versatile and I can only take one lens. It is a great walking around lens. If you are going on vacation and can only take one lens this is one to look into.
ISO 3200 | f/3.2 | ss 1/200
ISO 800 | f/4 | ss 1/160
ISO 1600 | f/2.8 | ss 1/200
Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic
The Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic is a fun one to add to your bag. I know some photographers who rock this lens and have used it to create some seriously stunning images. I like to use it to add something different to my images.
I took it to NYC one weekend and had fun with street photography. This is also a fun one for the beach. Don’t forget to use it for everyday as well.
Something to keep in mind is that you have to manually focus this lens. However, that is a fun challenge in itself.
ISO 1600 | ss 1/125
ISO 100 | ss 1/250
ISO 1600 | ss 1/160
Tamron 18-270mm 3.5-6.3
Another great lens by Tamron. The Tamron 18-270mm 3.5-6.3 works well if you are looking for a lens with a long focal length. I like to use this one for outdoor sports where I don’t need to have a wide aperture. You can read a whole review about this lens I wrote here.
ISO 200 | f/5.0 | ss 1/50
ISO 100 | f/7.1 | 1/320
Here are a few extra goodies that I have and love!
Everyday tripod – I use the Manfrotto 190XPROB Tripod with the Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head. I had no idea how much I would love a tripod with a joystick head but wow! It makes it so much easier to adjust the camera. This is the tripod I use for all the shots I want to be in. It is sturdy and I don’t worry about my heavy camera with a heavy lens falling over.
Travel tripod – Yes, I know I’m a dork because I have a travel tripod. There are smaller ones on the market that I have my eye on but for now this one is light weight and small enough. It comes with a little bag and shoulder strap to help carry it around. I don’t think it was made to be a travel tripod and if the above tripod isn’t in your budget you may want to look into the Slik Sprint Pro II Tripod .
Lenspen – My lens is always being touched by little fingers. I don’t freak out but instead just clean up the smudges and dust with this Lenspen. I love how it is super inexpensive and small enough to fit in my camera bag. I have a couple since I tend to misplace them and like to keep one in my bag.
ExpoDisc – I love using my ExpoDisc for setting my white balance. When deciding which ExpoDisc to purchase get one that will fit your largest lens. This why you aren’t having to buy multiple ones. Read more about how to use the ExpoDisc for white balance here.
Fotostrap – I love the Fotostrap. It is classic and something I plan to pass down to my children if they show an interest in photography. I love that there is a leather part where you can get your initial or business name put on it. Plus a portion of the proceeds go to charity.
Abie Strap – I love the Abie Strap as well. I can’t pick a favorite. I love the fun and vibrant designs of this strap which let you show off your personality. I also love that 100% of the proceeds go to Mercy Ships and Helen Keller International. Love being able to purchase with a purpose.
We know how overwhelming deciding which lens to purchase next can be so be sure to check out our Camera Lens Series which will hopefully answer all your questions.