Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PHOTOGRAPHY - My Camera History 3


While the Nikon D2H has served me well, I was not that happy with regards to its low light performance (gearhead is never satisfied).  Nikon then released a new model and created a lot of fuss as well with the release of it's first DX long zoom lens.  So here we go again...
Photo from

Third Digital Gear List 
Nikon D200
- a superiorly upgraded Nikon D100...this was the only selling point I need
- if there was a disappointment for me, it's the high ISO performance
- it was an improvement compared to the Nikon D2H but I was expecting more on the range of 800-1250

Nikon AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5-5.6
- the ultimate all around and travel lens
- I almost never took it off my D200 as it covered 95% of my needs...unfortunately, its IQ and distortion issues on the wide/ tele end was a huge let down for me.

Taken with Nikon 20-35 f2.8 coupled with Hoya CPL
Nikon AF 20-35 f2.8
- not being that happy with the IQ of my Nikon AF-S VR 18-200 f3.5-5.6, I bought this as my lens for "professional" work
- I was surprised with the IQ of this lens...very sharp and contrasty
- only issue was it's limited reach specially on the wide end on a DX body

Nikon AF-D 50 f1.8
- another lens I got for "pro" work (my excuse to buy it)...never got to use it much though as I was too lazy to switch lenses not to mention I got a 2.8 zoom a few months later
- this lens is indeed a true bargain...very sharp and bokeh was much better compared to its Canon counterpart

Nikon AF 85 f1.8
- another lens I got for "pro" work (my excuse to buy it) with the Nikon "nifty fifty" I never got to use it much
- another reason I bought this lens is to replace the Nikon AF-D 80-200 f2.8 that I sold
- overall it's a keeper except for the fact that I upgraded to a Nikon AF-S 70-200 f2.8 thus making this lens redundant (yup...I know the meaning of the word).

Bird photography at our backyard using the Nikon 80-400
Nikon AF VR 80-400 f4-5.6
- it was a back and forth decision but I finally decided to sell my Nikon AF-D 80-200 f2.8 for this
- I had the chance to go birding (for the first time) in was a good thing I enjoyed bird photography!
- IQ wise it is very good...not 2.8 good but very close to it
- my main issue with this lens is the super slow focusing and flimsy tripod collar
- unfortunately, upon seeing photos taken with 500 - 1000mm lenses, my appreciation of the bird photos I get have diminished
- this is a popular lens for wildlife but it also delivers the good in portraiture providing a pleasing bokeh specially at the 300-400 length

Nikon 80-400 at 400 cupled with Hoya ND400
- having developed interest with landscapes done with long exposures, I got myself a Hoya ND400 and upgraded my cheapo CPL to a Hoya HMC Circular Polarizer

Thinktank Airport Antidote V1
- got this to replace my shoulder bag
- this bag will not win any design awards nor will make you look sexy but it does the job
- when we talk about quality and beats the hell out of Lowepro and Tamrac

More of a Photographer than a Gear Head
It took me almost 6 years to really consider myself more of a photographer than a gear head.  Having used all those lenses, I now have a firm grasp of what to shoot, how to go about it, and most importantly the gears I need...NOT WANT.  Thus again...

Taken with 17-55 and Graduated ND plus Hoya CPL
Fourth Digital Gear List
Nikon D200
- yup this one remains

Tokina 12-24 f4
- built as tough as its Nikon counterpart with comparable sharpness/ color
- I always made it a point to stay away from 3rd party brands but this is an exception...and I was not disappointed

Nikon AF-S DX 17-55 f2.8
- got this for a bargain and even if I didn't, I wouldn't be sorry
- perfect lens for me...good range, sharp, good bokeh, metal body...only took it off my camera when I need to shoot telephoto/ tight portraits

Ambient light with a Nikon 70-200
Nikon AF-S 70-200 f2.8
- every Nikon user's dream lens...until the 2nd version came along
- it was close to complaints except for the weight

- as I travelled more, it came to the point that I'm leaving behind my tripod due to its weight thus I upgraded to a Benro Carbon Fiber tripod...and what a difference it made!
- I got myself as well a  Nikon SB28 for some strobist lighting
- my purchase of the Nikon AF-S 70-200 f2.8 came with a Kata 3N1 22 which proved to be just perfect to house all my camera gears...only issue is the lack of a laptop compartment.

Preview to Final
Just as I'm settling in with my photography and gears, full frame was building its momentum.  During a couple of shoots I took part of, I saw the results of a Canon EOS 5D and man what a difference!  There is just something about it that makes it standout.

When Nikon released its FX line-up, it was a big disappointment for me.  The body and lenses were just way too expensive and not to mention my favorite lens, the Nikon AF-S 70-200 f2.8, have some serious compatibility issues with FX cameras.  Then the "white" troopers came calling...

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