The majority of my cameras have been Nikon, and while I'm not a rabid fanboy, I've got no complaints about any of my 'gear'. One thing of note is that I end to drop my cameras in water at least once a year, so I might end up updating this page quite regularly...
I should also confess to a bad case of GAS (look it up if you don't know) and I am pleased to announce that I am an Ambassador for 'insert buy now pay later company here'
In loving memory of;
1 x Nikon D850 (Drowned at Sea)
1 x Nikon Z6 (Drowned in Frozen Pond)
1 x Tamron 70-200mm (Dropped on rocky beach and Drowned at Sea)
2 x Kase Magnetic CPL (Drowned in the woods)
Main Camera - Nikon Z7ii
I can not deny that the picture quality of this camera is second to none. I love it. I also love how it feels and performs. Fantastic! Do I like how it focuses? I'll whisper as I don't want to sound like a youtube clickbait arsehat....no. Given that I photograph mainly landscapes, that's not such a big deal, but its auto focus performance is not a patch on the D850 (or D500 or D750 for that matter) and I don't trust it. Either that or I could learn how to use it...!
Update - Nikon D850 - SOLD IT!
Quite simply the best Landscape camera there is. I love everything about it, EXCEPT for my range of F-mount lenses, which pale into insignificance when compared to the performance of the Z mount lenses. For that reason alone it's now my backup. I'm far too sentimental to ever sell it (LIES!!) so now it's more of an expensive paperweight. That said, I know it'll be ready to go, should I ever need it, eg when my Z7ii takes an inevitable swim.
Nikkor 70-200mm S
Is this the best lens ever? No one will ever know, and the debates in the comments section would be depressing (if anyone ever viewed my website, that is). What I can say is that this is one heck of a lens - good enough to encourage me to move away from my beloved D850 and invest in a Z7ii. Given that I love to roam around and shoot handheld, the awesome IQ and vibration control on this lens play to my strength. It's as sleek and sexy as an Otter in negligee too. Mwah.
Nikkor 24-70mm f4
This is a gem of a lens, that for its cost is no brainer for any Nikon Z camera owner. Small, light, and sharper than an unripe plum. My only complaint is that you have to 'twist' it to start using it, costing me precious seconds....seconds!! If I didn't love my 70-200 so much, this lens would live on my camera and I'd be perfectly happy.
Latest - I haven't used it in years!
Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8
Because of COVID and travel restrictions, I've not used this lens as much as I'd planned, so at the moment my own assessment would be that it was an unnecessary purchase. The few times I have used it I've been very impressed with how it handles, and it might encourage me to try out a few Astro shots at some point, which is nice. I'm still not convinced I wasn't an absolute mug in getting the accompanying Nikon polariser with it though....!
Latest - I barely ever use it!
Nikkor 24-120 f4
I'll let you know when it rocks up, but this is a focal length I'm quite excited about, given how much time I'm spending in the woods at the moment...
Update it turned up! Early verdict is this is everything I expected it to be - in that I point it at things and it lets in light. The focal range is as useful as I hoped it would be and it now lives on my camera, much to the disappointment of my 24/70!
Latest - it's pretty much the only lens I use - sorry 70-200!
Nikkor 50mm 1.8
I owned the 50mm 1.4 before this, which seemed to get a bashing online because it's quite soft. For portraits, however, I quite liked that. Unlike the 1.4, this new lens is bonkers sharp, so quite the opposite. Although I don't use it as much as I'd like (thank you 70-200), when I have, I've found it's behaved itself quite nicely, thank you very much. It's quick to focus, easy to use, and nice and light, even if it's not as small as it could be. For the money, I think that most people would be chuffed to nuts with this lens.
I once bought the Fuji X100s so that I could take pictures of my family without lugging all of my camera equipment about. I loved it and it created some nice images, but the focus wasn't as good as my D850 and so I often left it at home. Now I have the X100V and its updated focus system. I love it and it creates some nice images, however, its focus isn't as fast as my D850 or Z7ii and it goes largely unused and stays at home. Fool me once, shame on you....
Canon Prograf - Pro 300
I've taken the plunge into printing, and have now had a good run at working out what to do. My verdict? It's a great printer, but very expensive to run. Like anything that I've had for a couple of months, it has developed a fault and I'm awaiting a service call to Canon to get it repaired/replaced. I'll update how I get on...
Up to that point I had been very impressed with the quality of the prints it had pushed out, and great fun to use. It is a money pit though...!
16-inch MacBook Pro
Once upon a time, when I had friends, a social life, and a healthy range of hobbies, I said I'd avoid anything Apple - I was happy with my PC and my Blackberry. Much to my chagrin I now have every Apple product possible - including the 16-inch MacBook, and what's worse, I really love them. My MacBook is fast, easy to maintain and has a fantastic screen. I do find the battery performance drains quickly the older they get, but that seems a 1st world problem, given my sofa spot is right next to a plug socket. The other negative - 5-year-old and 1-year-old children seem to be drawn to it, with their grubby fingers...gross!
FEISOL Tournament Tripod CT-3442 Rapid
Although it moves about a bit in the wind, and the twisty legs continue to annoy me, this tripod works well and is light enough to carry around without giving me a hernia.
Unlike other tripods I've owned *cough cough Benro* it doesn't get full of sand and mud the minute you open the car boot, which I like, as it means I spend less time in the shower with a stripped- down tripod and more time stripped down in the shower playing candy crush.
Update: turns out this is as flimsy as a Tory's alibi about a Christmas party. I've had to upgrade again to the Three-legged Thing Nicky. It's sturdier but how durable it is in my hands will be a different matter!
Update - 3 Legged Thing Nicky turned out to be a load of rubbish!
KASE Wolverine Magnetic filters
These filters are fantastic - they are easy to use, light to carry, strong and tough, easy to clean and the quality of glass is second to none. They're also bloody expensive, prone to falling off the front of your camera, and Kase, although polite, take a kind of 'yeah they'll do that' kind of approach if you contact them to say the third of your polarisers has fallen off your camera to meet its watery doom...
What I'm saying is, I would recommend these if you are a normal person who takes care of your things, but avoid them if you are a 38 year old male who can't be arsed with the faff of taking off a filter after every shot..
I've had a bit of a time with tripod's, and spent far too much money to get to this point. My first impressions of this tripod were very high, it was very stable and felt professionally made. However, after a few months I've started to see some of the issues I've experienced with my other tripods - feet coming unscrewed, hinges getting stuck and twist legs not engaging properly....It can't be me can it?!
ADOBE Creative Cloud
Purists look away....I use Lightroom as a first edit option for all of my images, and then use Photoshop to clone out/erase unwanted distractions in images, and to replace all my skies with something more interesting (jokes...!).
Although I know how to use Photoshop for things like luminosity masks/exposure blending etc I find that for most images a combination of Lightroom and Luminar do just as good a job, but without all of the faff.
There's a lot more I'd like to learn to do in Photoshop one day, but for now I'm reasonably happy that for 99% of my images, I have the ability to edit them how I'd like....
Acratech GXP Ballhead & Levelling base
One of my biggest ever extravagances! I never thought there would be a day when I spent so much on getting head (for my tripod) - however, the adage you get what you pay for has never been so true. I am a man of limited practical ability and even less patience, and I usually end up discarding my tripod in a fit of tantrum after failing to level my camera. This set-up has quelled most of my hissy fits as it's strong and so easy to use. Just don't ask about setting up a pano at Corfe..
Update - turns out it's also a load of rubbish and didn't last a year in my hands!
This is my big bag - something I had to purchase as my GAS got worse. It's a bag.....
Other than being good at being a bag (it carries things well, doesn't try to kill me, doesn't need much feeding) my one criticism is that the straps get in the way when you want to open it up. It sounds like a minor gripe, but actually, it's really quite annoying and greatly affects my enjoyment of its general bagginess.
Update - it broke after a year of use - what a load of rubbish!
Sadly I had to give up on my Acratech as it was just too wobbly, so I invested in a RRS ballhead on the premise they were the best in the business. There is definitely a good build quality to this thing, but in all honesty I think there isn't a magic bullet that's going to solve all of my issues.
Despite having an Arca Swiss plate I find this gets caught on the ballhead, and I can't remove the camera without some serious fiddling. This happens 7 times out of 10 and makes me dread using the tripod even more. I've tried replacing the L-Bracket on my camera but the problem remains. I will persevere as I've run out of money to spend on camera gear, but I think I would change it if I could afford to...!
Not to be confused with Luminar Ai which is not for me Clive...
What I like about Luminar 4 is that it simplifies a number of the effects I like to use eg Orton effect, which means I spend less time faffing in Photoshop. Editing is all about personal tastes of course, and some may say I overcook things in my edits, but I find I get the results I want fairly consistently using Luminar 4. It is quite laggy though, so although I probably save time overall, it's not as impressive as it could be if only it was a bit more snappy. I liked that it was a one-off purchase, and not the monthly cartel that those Adobe gangsters run!