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Am I Equipped Right?

30th September 2014

Like many other dedicated photographers, I’ve somehow accumulated a sizable stash of photo equipment over the years. I’ve also gained a lot of experience knowing what equipment I’ll need for a particular type of shooting.

My last two assignments were a combination of travel and outdoor shoots. My aging back and wobbly knees beg me to travel as lightly as possible for two reasons: a) to minimize the size and weight of the load that I carry and b) to reduce the amount of time I need to get ready for any given shot.

Since I don’t like carrying camera bags or backpacks, I rarely carry extra lenses. On hikes, it’s a chore for me to search for the right lens and change it on the fly, especially if wildlife is the subject matter. It’s far faster for me to slide the desired camera/lens setup on its shoulder strap up to my eye and be ready to shoot in a few seconds.

After these two recent assignments, I’ve zeroed in on a reasonable set of cameras and lenses to use when traveling long and far. I based my choice on the range of the lenses that I typically use: a very wide angle, a medium range telephoto zoom and a long range telephoto zoom.

For several years, I’ve come to rely on Sony’s NEX series of mirrorless cameras. Not only are they compact and lightweight, but they have several features that I appreciate such as the electronic viewfinder which instantly previews your exposure adjustments and a mode that captures in-camera panoramas. One drawback of these mirrorless cameras is that there isn’t a long telephoto lens available. For this I have to stick with a full-frame Nikon DSLR.



Here’s the short list that I’ve found works well for me:

For very wideangle, I use a Sony NEX7 with a manual focus Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

For the medium telephoto, I use a Sony A6000 with a Sony 18-200mm lens.

For the long telelphoto, I use a Nikon D600 with a Nikon 80-400mm lens.

As you can see, the Nikon DLSR setup is monstrous next to other two cameras. But lugging this heavyweight around is the price I have to pay for the lens’ long reach.



The NEX7 is a very a very capable camera. I like its large 24mp APC-C sensor, excellent electronic viewfinder and brightly lit tilting LCD.

The 8mm Rokinon lens is about 1/4th as large as my expensive fisheye lens for Canon DLSRs. Using the Rokinon lens I have to manually focus and set the exposure so it’s less convenient than the Canon setup. But the savings in bulk is a major plus for me.

Below are a few photos using this setup. The extra wide angle lets me record everything in front of me. I especially like how the fisheye exaggeratingly bends the horizon.



The A6000, Sony’s successor to the NEX7 is also mirrorless. Feature wise it is very similar to the NEX7 except that it has a superior autofocusing mechanism. This enables high speed captures at frames rates up to 11fps.

When not traveling, the A6000/18-200mm setup is my everyday camera. With a large zoom range I have a wide angle to medium telephoto in a single lens.

When traveling, it becomes my primary camera with the other two cameras reserved for special points of view. Below are a few examples that illustrate the versatility of the 18-200mm lenss.



The Nikon D600 is a full-frame DLSR with a 24mp sensor. It weighs in at two pounds which is twice as much as the A6000.

The Nikon 80-400mm zoom lens weighs just under three pounds making this setup a combined five pounds. Although this is hefty to carry, the lens lock (prevents the zoom from unintentionally sliding) keeps it secure while carrying it with a shoulder strap.

This long telephoto comes off of my shoulder mostly for the long distance shots such as these below.



So there you have it, my equipment of choice for outdoor photography. Of course, not everyone has the same preferences or requirements in the field as myself so this set up may not work universally. But for me being properly equipped has proved to be an ideal way for me to work comfortably, quickly and efficiently.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 
 
 


Stop Lens Cap Loss

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of lens caps. In the field, I don’t want to remove the cap, put it in a pocket for safe keeping and then be get prepared to shoot. Nor do I want to dig it out of my pocket and put it back onto the lens.

Instead I’ve made it a habit of buying a good quality UV filter for each of my lenses. The filter is to protects the lens front surface from dirt, grime and scratches. I feel a lot more comfortable cleaning the surface of the filter repeatedly rather than the surface of the lens itself. To be fair, this is my preferred way of shooting and I know that not everyone subscribes to this way of working.

So how did we get into this round-about discussion about lens caps?

At the PhotoPlus Expo last month as part of my reporting I received a Press Kit from show management. Inside were a few sample accessories courtesy of the exhibitors.

One was these gifts was the Hufa S, a lens cap holder. Last week I took a few minutes to look at this product.

This small and clever accessory is made of hard plastic that’s fully covered with a soft rubberized material. The Hufa easily attaches to your camera strap without having to disassemble the entire setup. Instead the strap slips through the slots and is ready to use in seconds.

WHen you remove your cap from the lens, you simply slip it beneath the large clip. The clip places enough pressure to hold the cap regardless of its size.

Here you can see how the Hufa S attaches to the camera strap.

You can adjust the position of the Hufa S further up or down along the strap so that it won’t interfere with your handling of the camera.

 


There are actually two models: the Hufa and the Hufa S. The Hufa attaches to wide camera straps that are often found on camera bags. The “S” model shown here is for the narrower camera straps. Each model is available in three different colors: black, red and white. They are affordably priced at $10 each.

If you’re interested in buying one, please visit Hufa Holder.

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

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