The purpose of this page
is to present and discuss camera equipment used by a seasoned professional photographer, me. I base my equipment reviews on scientific evaluation, personal experience, relevance to the type of photography and cost. I want the best gear for the job, but as a professional I want to make a profit, so I won’t base my decisions on just a name brand. So even though everyone might think Nikon and Canon (to name a few) make the best lenses it may not be so for a specific lens or camera.
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I purchased this Sony primarily as a vloging camera. But it is so compact and comes with great features, like 11 frames per second raw shooting. All kinds of exposure and focusing options the camera can be set up Just how you want. So I am now using this camera as my primary Wildlife camera coupled with a Tamron 150-500mm lens. On the cropped sensor of the a6500 the lens is equivalent to a 225-750mm super telephoto lens. More on the lens below. It is so light and compact its great on those long hikes back into the woods. Expect to be able to make quality 30×45″ prints from the digital files. And maybe even larger if you have the software and expertise. This is a cropped sensor camera at 24mpix.
Manufacturer description: The Sony Alpha a6500 is a higher-end version of the company’s a6300 mirrorless camera. The major additions are a new LSI that greatly improves AF and burst shooting performance, 5-axis image stabilization, and a touchscreen LCD with ‘touchpad AF.’ Sony claims autofocus speeds of 0.05 secs and a top burst rate of 11 fps (8 fps with C-AF) for up to 307 shots. The in-body IS system is CIPA-rated to five stops.
This camera is no longer made. But it is still rated as one of the top ten cameras in the world. It does not have some of the newer bells and whistles like image stabilization. so you have to have good technique which is not hard to master. It also has one of the highest dynamic ranges of any camera. This helps hold detail in your highlights and shadows, very important especially for landscape photographers. The beauty of this camera is it retailed for $3000 but you can pick up a very nice used one from eBay for around $850! I will probably never get rid of this camera. I may even have them bury the camera with me.
Ok, since the Nikon D800 is no longer available new and you want a camera that no one has had their mitts all over I can strongly recommend the Nikon D850. This camera took all the great points of the D800 and of course improved upon them. This is not only a camera that you can ”die for” but one you can “die with”. According to DXOmark, which scientifically rates cameras with rigid testing this is still the top rated full frame camera on the planet. This is a full frame DSLR. And will be a bit larger and heavier than a new mirrorless camera. But oh the quality of images!
Read DXOmark review and evaluation here.
I purchased this GoPro for action vloging. I have used it underwater and, in the snow, and rain. Not only does it do great action video it can also do a 12mpix still image. The one version old cameras can be had at a very good price!
Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7
After spending a summer in Yellowstone shooting landscapes I realized I really missed out on shooting wildlife. I knew I needed a super telephoto. But a 600mm f4 Nikon goes for $13,000 yikes! It would be ok if a was a sports photographer for Sports Illustrated, but I’m not. But after using this lens and reading multiple reviews I am convinced that on a big 30×45″ print 95% 0f the people out there could not tell the difference. This lens is SHARP! It is also fairly close focusing which is very nice. I use this lens on my Sony a6500 for an equivalent focal range of 225-750mm.
Manufacturer description: The 150-500mm F5-6.7 is Tamron’s first ultra-telephoto zoom lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras that reaches the 500mm focal length and, when used on APS-C mirrorless format cameras, the zoom range is an approximate 225-750mm full-frame equivalent.
To support handheld shooting in the ultra-telephoto range, the 150-500mm is equipped with VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive), a linear motor focus mechanism that delivers excellent quietness and agile performance, and Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism for high-level image stabilization. At the 150mm end, the lens offers a minimum focus distance of 60cm (23.6”) for close-up shooting.
Sony 16-70mm f4
When I first went shopping for lenses this seemed like an ideal focal length. The equivalent range on the cropped sensor of the Sony is 24mm to 105mm. Probalem was I read a number of bad reports on the lens. Now this lens is made by Zeiss, one of the primer lens manufacturers in the world! So, I took a gamble because most of the other lenses available didn’t do much better in the reviews. Well I got to tell you this lens is sharp! I have no idea what the other reviewers were smoking. It is a little soft in the corners, but most lenses are. So I highly recommend this lens as your all purpose going on long hikes lens.
Rokinon 12mm f2 ultra wide angle
I have always been a wide angle kind of guy. And this lens is quite satisfying to use. Rokinon is a label of Samyang out of South Korea. The lenses they make are SHARP and build quality is excellent. Most of their lenses are manual focus, although they are now making auto focus lenses. This lens is manual focus. But with a lens that is this wide the depth of field is tremendous. All you need to do is shoot at f8 and set the distance on the lens barrel to 8′ and start shooting. Everything will be in focus from 3′ to infinity. Dead simple. For 229 bucks you cant go wrong. Oh did I mention that at f2 is a fast lens for Astro photography?