fotosean

Ever since I became interested in photography as a teenager, I have always used Nikon bodies and lenses, starting with a battered Nikon FE SLR when I won in a poker game during my Army days. Although my interest in photography waned at the worst time (most notably, taking very few pictures when I was stationed in Monterey, CA) around the turn of the century my interest was rekindled, and age has only increased my interest and appreciation in the craft of photography. In the DSLR era, I stuck with what was familiar, investing in F mount glass, and have continued using Nikon gear as we enter the MILC age.

Current Nikon MILC Bodies:

Nikon Z6ii (FX, or full-frame): Probably more of a pro-style camera than I need, this is the body I hope to transition my wildlife and astrophotography work to, as I invest in more Nikkor Z mount glass.

Nikon Z50 (DX, or APS-C): This is my travel photography go-to body, along with the excellent Z mount DX glass...compact, yet full-featured for travel and street photography.

Nikon Z fc (DX, or APS-C): The same 20.1 MP sensor as the Z50, but in an old-school style body reminiscent of my old Nikon film body the FM2N, which I regretfully sold 15 years ago. 

Current Nikon DSLR Bodies:

Nikon D500 (DX): Nicknamed the Baby D5 when it came out on the heels of the Nikon D5 pro body, this is still quite simply one of the best bodies ever made for wildlife and bird photography. Although I am likely going to transition into an equivalent Z body when Nikon gets around to rolling it out (2024?) the D500 is my favorite Nikon camera of all time, one I would recommend to anyone.

Nikon D5600 (DX): This small and compact ASP-C body features an excellent Sony sensor that never made it to the D7xxx lineup, which is why I have hung onto this and use this primarily for astrophotography. I have a 2nd D5600 with the H-Alpha modification on order, which is a very affordable yet capable camera for deep sky astrophotography objects.

Other bodies:

Fujifilm X100V: Another retro vibe body, with the excellent Fuji 23mm f/2 Mark II lens on it (35mm full frame equivalent.) The last two trips abroad I've left the Nikon stuff at home, as this gem and the Sony mentioned below are just such a convenient and capable travel duo.

Olympus Tough TG-6: My main ice fishing camera. I had a TG-5, gave it away to a friend's daughter who was developing an interest in photography, and immediately missed it. The TG-6 is the last of a dying era, the all-weather body that will operate to specs at 14 degrees F., although I've shot stills and videos with it in temps as low as -20 degrees F. Amazing macro mode for a 1 inch sensor, and also the underwater modes for snorkeling are worth the purchase price alone. Sadly, OM Systems look to have discontinued this line (as did Nikon with the AWxxx/W300 line. 

Nikon W300: used mainly for ice fishing and inclement weather events & underwater stills, weatherproofed point and shoot. The last of the Nikon AW series, which I've used on countless World Ice Fishing Championships abroad. Built a little better than te Olympus TG series, but can't shoot RAW like the TGs.

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC RX100 Mark VII: Amazing little piece of tech, this is a really uber-small/Ultralite point-and-shoot for travel and outdoor sports when one doesn't want to fool around with changing lenses. Sony's AF tracking on this one comes from the big brother A9, which was the best in the business when this was released (2019).

Sony ZV-1: Takes the tech from the Sony RX100 Mark Va and puts it into a pocket video camera, which is what I use it for. No EVF but has a faster aperture at FF equivalent 24-70mm than the RX100 Mark VII, so better low light performance for stills. Borrows AF from the Va, so face and eye detect is still great for both video and stills. 

Olympus TG-Tracker: small weatherproofed video camera, used mainly for underwater/snorkeling videos and stills.

Zenit TTL 35mm SLR: My only remaining film body, when I am in the mood to shoot a B&W roll of street photos.

Current lenses:

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm F4 S

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm F1.8 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm F1.8 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm F2

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm F4.5-6.3 VR

Nikon Nikkor AF-P DX 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G VR

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED VR

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G

Samyang 135mm F2

Helios-44 58mm F2

Tripods and heads:

Sirui AM-2 carbon fiber Traveler

Sirui T-005SK T-0S Series Travel Tripod

Benro Tripster FTR28C carbon fiber

Benro Slim carbon fiber Travel

MeFoto RoadTrip aluminum Travel

Ioptron 1.25" Stainless Steel

Sirui PH-10 Gimbal

Sirui B-00 ball head

Ioptron SkyGuider Pro star tracker

MeFoto Q1 Benro ball head

B1G Neewer Professional Metal ball head x2

Camera/lens cases: 

Lowepro Protactic BP 450 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic BP 300 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic MG 160 AW II

Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 30

Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L

A note about photography software....one can easily go broke just on the software for post-processing and file organization, never mind the high cost of bodies, lenses, bags, tripods, tripod heads, etc. The standard has always been Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom, which are still just fine, but I don't like their subscription model. Find a suite of products that fits your needs, learn it, and use it. For my money, Affinity Photo/Photo 2 have always been better editors than Photoshop and unless you are addicted to someone else's silly Lightroom presets, both Capture One and On1 are both (IMHO) better all-in-one RAW editors/organizers. I'm moving away from C1 to On1 because C1 is moving more towards wedding and portrait photographers, of which I am neither. 

AI is the new horizon for post-processing, and Topaz Labs Photo AI is game-changing. Their plug-ins have always been the gold standard, Photo AI is taking it to the next level. Well worth a look.

Software:

CaptureOne Pro 22

Affinity Photo 2

On1 PhotoRaw 2023

On1 NoNoise AI 2023 (plugin used with C1 and Affinity)

On1 Effects 2023 (plugin used with C1 and Affinity)

On1 HDR 2023 (plugin used with C1 and Affinity)

On1 Resize AI 2023 (plugin used with C1 and Affinity)

On1 Portrait AI 2023 (plugin used with C1 and Affinity)

Topaz Labs Rhoto AI

Topaz Labs Sharpen AI

Topaz Labs GigaPixel AI

Topaz DeNoise AI

Adobe Photoshop Elements '22

Adobe Premier Elements '22 (video)

Deep Sky Stacker (astrophotography processing)

SiriL (astrophotography processing)

Backyard NIKON (astrophotography)

Reikan FoCal Pro (lens AF calibration)


Android Photo Apps:

PhotoPils (best $10 I've ever spent)

Pro Cam X (the paid version, for $6 you will be amazed what this app does with your Pixel x Pro/iPhone xx Pro/Samsung Sxx Ultra)

SkySafari 7 Pro ($30)

Stellarium Plus ($20)

Aurora Pro ($6)

StarTrails ($5)

Intervalometer for Time Lapse ($5)

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