Friday, 23 October 2015

A bit about gear

I've used both Nikon and Canon as my main camera over the years and currently use a Canon 5D Mk111 which, at around £2k body only i.e. no lens, is not for everyone.

There are two important things that effect image quality, the sensor and the lens. The sensor needs to be free of noise and as large as you can afford - not in terms of megapixels, but in terms of area, and the lens needs to be 'good'. Put simply, a cheap compact camera will have a tiny sensor and tiny lens - most probably with a massive number of pixels and ridiculous zoom range. Any lens that zooms more than 3-4x is going to be very compromised, top pros tend to use 'prime' lenses which don't zoom at all! Where pixels are concerned, 12 megapixels are generally considered to be all you need for all but very large prints, so don't be the victim of marketing men if you want quality.

My rules when you purchase:
  • buy a compromise and you'll buy twice
  • buy into a quality brand
  • lenses last decades, cameras last 3-6 years
  • avoid off-brands when you have adopted a brand (use Canon lenses on Canon cameras)
finally, and I need to remember this one
  • limit the amount of gear, small quantity high quality
In early 2013 I swapped from Nikon to Canon full-frame and the difference has been amazing. I was using a Nikon D7000 with a number of lenses, my favourite being the 80-200 f2.8 - a lens I bought direct from Hong Kong because in 2007 when I bought it, I saved a bundle even after paying import duty - it's not the same now as the differential is not so great.
The 80-200mm is a real pro lens, it's replacement the 70-200 f2.8 VR is one of Nikon's best lenses and differs mainly in the fact that it has vibration reduction, the model I have is technically very good, look at the spider's web and bokeh in the shot below:

I found two massive benefits in swapping systems:

The Canon 5d Mk111 nails more shots and has better colour than the Nikon. It may not be fair to take a pro-sumer camera like a D7000 and compare it with a pro's camera, but the fact remains, I get more useable shots now than I did before.

For me the current best camera, because it has improved at each iteration is:

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