Equipment

People always ask what kit I use. Really I find it odd. I use the camera that I have to hand and that can change from moment to monent, and different situations have different kit available.

I started out with Zenit when I started doing things seriously. Which is to say when I evolved from a point n shoot style of geeky kid with a camera to a deliberative photographer. That phase lasted a year or so but I grew tired of the limits of a Zenit – the camera was clunky, it jammed, and then it ripped film. Shutter sync was no faster than 1/30s for flash, all the annoyances that a late Soviet camera had. It was cheap, but that was all..

Pentax K1000
Licenced from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pentax_K1000_SE.JPG

After that I moved to Pentax and the venerable K1000. I still have three of those bodies, set up with a push and pull one for use with the Zone system and the excellent Pentax prime lenses. My last film camera was a Pentax MX-6 which was also my first auto-anything camera… Autofocus was great until the batteries ran out then the entire camera stopped…..

I moved on. The digital world was coming and to be fair, film was pretty expensive for impecunious me, even if I was scanning slide flim into the PC and taking my first steps into digital imaging and proper printing. A new job opportunity that would keep me for fifteen years eventually gave me the money to buy my first digital SLR – a Canon 20D. Currently it’s on loan to a young lad learning how to take his own pictures, good hardware never really dies and it still takes excellent images with a little care.

Time passed and the Great MegaPixel Race came along. My 20D and it’s “small” 8MP sensor was, shall we say OK, but I couldnt really do everything I wanted with it. So I dropped some cash and upgraded to a Canon 70D – which is now also out on loan to another aspiring photographer. I loved this camera for it’s much improved autofocus and cleaner, less noisy images. The 20D struggled with noise at 800ISO plus, the 70D was much better, so much so that I shoot by default on it at 400ISO.

A move in emloyment and a desire to get… better… at portraiture and model work prompted a new camera.. or two. My current stable of cameras are a Canon 6D full frame, with four workhorse lenses, and a Sony mirrorless which uses the same glass.

My primary glass is really the Canon 24-105mm. f4 makes it smaller and lighter than the f2.8 and I dont really need to the extra stop. If I want to go that wide, I reach for the 50mm prime which goes down to f1.8 although I generally shoot at f2 at most, to keep the corners from drifting too soft. For wide angle work, I use Canons excellent new 16-35mm with IS. This lens is so amazing for the price and gives beautiful images.

Macro, and portraiture I will use a 100mm macro. This lens is pin sharp and gives excellent results but it’s rather too long to be used for full body images.

My fourth Canon lens is the venerable 50mm prime. This usually lives on my other body – a Sony alpha7RIII which means it can make use of the in body stabilisation which the Canon 6D doesnt have.

The Sony is an amazing camera, but I find that the lag on the electronic viewfinder is simply too much. I suspect that I may have been spoilt by the excellent viewfinders that Canon and Pentax have always had, but to me the Sony still seems cramped, and laggy and just not quite as good as it should be. But the image quality that you get from it as well as the total lack of noise even up at 3200ISO more than makes up for these isses….