The following is the list of equipment I have used, or is using to produce all the photos in this blog.
- Canon Power Shot A430
This is a beast of a point and shoot camera. I inherited this little camera from my brother when he upgraded to a Nikon D40. I used it for the good majority of my Japan trip. It served as a real good starter camera so I could learn what I wanted, and did not want in a camera. What primarily made me happy was that it used standard AA batteries. Although this made the camera larger, I hardly ever had to worry about carrying around a proprietary spare battery in urban traveling; I could just walk into any convenience store and pick up a new pack of batteries. After extensive use, it eventually died; all the photos would come have scanning lines.
- Panasonic DMC-TZ5
I bought this right after my A430 camera died at a second hand store for a relatively cheap price. I saw that the release date was <1 year so I figured it was worth it, considering nothing was wrong with it. This was only used by me for a really short time, only for Okinawa and China. There was really bad timing in where I got a DSLR just a few months after purchasing the DMC-TZ5. But for the time I used it, it was an excellent camera. The 10x optical zoom was awesome, and there were a bunch of other small features that made it great for just snapping shots; two scene modes for quick changes, wide aspect ratio photos and videos, F3.3-F4.9 aperture, 5cm macro focus range and the 'intelligent mode' made great pictures as well. The only problem was since I bought it in Japan, the entire menu was in Japanese as well. I guess this aided in my forceful learning of Japanese
- Nikon D80
This is where I am now. I got this camera used, from my dad. I worked with it for the past 2 years while I was in Germany and I have been learning how to use it ever since. I am quite happy with the photo quality I have been able to produced with it, and am quite surprised at how robust it is, considering I’ve dropped it more than once (I was drunk <- a stupid tale for another time). But sadly, according to reviews, it is supposed to be near the end of it's shutter life. Hopefully I can get a job before it goes, and buy a Nikon D7000 or something better.
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF
This is by far my favorite lens – well it is the only lens I actually bought. It is a prime lens meaning the focal length is static. In order to get the frame I want, I need to move around. At times, this is a major limitation (e.g. at parties where space is limited to move around). Otherwise, this was my standard lens once I bought it. It is incredibly sharp and focuses fast. The only additional problem is that it can be loud when focusing in quiet areas.
- Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX
I got this lens from my brother after a few years using the 50mm. I feel that this lens is not as sharp as the 50mm (maybe I just haven’t learned how to use it yet), but the extra viewing angle is nice – particularly in enclosed areas. I only use it when I’m in the aforementioned situation.
- Tamron SP 70-3000mm f/4-5.6
I also got this lens from my brother after he sold the rest of his equipment. This is a nice outdoors lens with a lot of magnification. It gives about a 6x optical zoom for those with a P&S cameras. I am slowly using this more as my regular lens now since I like the flexibility of the zoom, and it really lets me focus on my subjects. The only problem I have with it is that the autofocus is slow and it hunts for the subject for some time if there is any remote texture.
- Kenko Pro1 Digital Circular Polarizer 77mm:
I would say it’s a standard tool for any photographer to have. It is a filter can remove all the reflection off surfaces (polarized light) if the filter is turned to the right orientation. I also found a neat little step up adapter so I can put this filter on any of my other lenses. It beats dropping another 100$ down to get a specific filter for each lens.
- Hoya Pro1 Digital Filter NDx8
A natural density filter that reduces the amount of light by 3 stops. Haven’t used this filter much, so I can’t say much about it. So I won’t.
- UV & C.Polarizer (52mm):
A cheap set of filters I got it from amazon. They are really cheap, and serve no real purpose other than a protector for the lens. However, the CPolarzier does do its job except that it is loose, and shifts quite rapidly
- Step Up Filter (67-77mm):
A cheap adapter I got from amazon. It is made of aluminum, and does its job.
- Cullmann Magic 2 Tripod
The first tripod I bought, and it was a pretty decent purchase. It is relatively cheap at ~70$. What makes this tripod unique is that the tripod packs flat (really nice when you’re backpacking), and it can be separated into a monopod (also nice in regions where tripod are not allowed). It is also very light, and is small enough to be stuffed in my backpack. However, this tripod is not the best. There are a few things that I don’t like, such as the use of twist locks (it takes some time to setup as opposed to flip locks), and maximum height is 145cm (and it’s not anywhere stable at that height). It would be nice to have a maximum height +50cm.
- Billora Perfect Pro 2205 Tripod Head
Bought it with the tripod. I had no idea what I needed to look for when purchasing a tripod, so I got whatever was cheap and had a quick release plate. But now, after using it for a while, I learned that the friction screw could have been made much better; there seems to have little difference between high enough friction that I can’t move the ball to too loose and can’t make fine adjustments. Also, the fluidity of the ball could be better, and the maximum weight could support more weight