I am constantly trying to evaluate what camera gear I need and what camera gear I don’t. I am in the process of selling off a considerable amount of equipment and cutting back to just the gear I like and use. I don’t consider myself a collector of camera gear so selling on unused equipment is just a matter of course for me. If I find myself leaving certain pieces of gear at home or just not taking it out of my bag when I’m out shooting, it goes. I don’t want to carry gear I don’t use and I don’t want my money tied up in gear collecting dust.
That being said, I try to have enough equipment to handle more than one situation. I am targeting three separate styles of shooting but there is a lot of overlap.
My primary kit is the one I carry with my in my backpack every day. I like to carry one camera body, a wide lens, a long lens, and a fast lens. Right now, for me, that is a Nikon F100 film body with a 24-50mm lens mounted on it. I also carry a 28-300mm VR lens and a 50mm F/1.8 lens. This kit makes sure I have all my bases covered regardless of what situation I find myself in. I keep this equipment in my camera bag within my backpack. I always bring my backpack with me and it also has my laptop, chargers, ect in it so a light weight kit isn’t a high priority here.
If I’m out with friends or family and I want to take some pictures without being the way I will grab a more manual camera and a prime lens. Right now that is a Nikon FE and a 28mm F/2.8 lens. It’s a manual focus camera but it does have a light meter and it will work, if pressed, without a battery. If I don’t want to be in the way I try to reduce down to something that can work in any situation. I’m looking to swap my Nikon FE for a Nikon FM. The E means electronic and the M means mechanical. The Nikon FM series of cameras are more expensive though then the FE models so it’s not a very high priority. Moving to an FM model does offer me a bit more battery indepenance though, so it will be a worthwhile swap when the time comes.
I primarily shoot film but I do maintain a high-end digital SLR. Currently, that camera is Nikon’s D7000. I have this camera on hand for when I shoot weddings or other events. I shoot 2nd with a professional photographer friend of mine when needed and she prefers I deliver images to her in a digital format. A typical event shoot would be the D7000 with the 28-300mm VR lens mounted and a 50mm F/1.8 prime lens in my pocket. I will also bring with me my older 18-55mm lens in case I need to get wider. So far, most events have required the long zoom more than the wide lens, but I like to be prepared.
The final type of shooting I do, the kind I enjoy most, is when I’m out just to shoot. Typically, this involves two camera bodies and three lenses. This part of my kit is changing at the moment and a few more changes need to happen before it’s complete. Right now the Nikon F100 will be the primary body and it will likely have the 28-300mm lens mounted on it. I will also keep a 50mm F/1.8 prime lens in my bag. The second camera, a Nikon F5, will be brought along as well for a few interesting features it has that the F100 lacks. In time I hope to add a wide angle lens from Nikon on this body that will allow me to get wider then the 24-50mm lens allows.
I’ve only just purchased a used F100 and a used F5 and they are wonderful cameras. I was using the Nikon N80 for this kind of film shooting, and I do miss the lightweight of that model, but these new bodies offer to store shooting data and, for me, that is worth the extra bulk. We’ll see how I feel after a summers worth of hiking an shooting! I’m going to do more complete reviews of the F100 and F5, as time and my experience level allows. Lots of interesting features that I’m interested in writing about!
Update: I’ve already sold the F100 and gone back to the N80. The shooting data was more hassle then it was worth and I never used it. Labeling the film canisters has proven to be enough for me. The F5, however, will never leave my side. Best camera I’ve ever owned.