Denver Boulder Photographer
Photographer serving Denver, Boulder, the Front Range, Colorado and beyondPlease call:  303-665-7504E-mail

My Nikon Camera Equipment

I've been through a long succession of Nikon digital cameras, starting with the CoolPix 995, which was an excellent camera that I had a lot of fun with, and then through the D50, D80, D90, D300, D7000, D7100, and now the D500.

The D500 is currently the top of the Nikon DX format line. After waiting so long for a proper replacement for the D300, I was tremendously excited about the D500 and I pre-ordered one of the first ones, a few months before they even became available. When I finally got it, I was disappointed.  It's a great camera, and it takes wonderful, sharp photos, but there were initial problems with the batteries that Nikon failed to communicate clearly regarding. There were also major problems with editing the photos in Nikon's own editing software, View NX-i.

Another complaint is that the wireless radio transmitter that triggers the SB-5000 flash could have, and should have, been built into the camera body instead of being a seperate accessory.

Those problems have mostly been solved, but it's too bad that Nikon didn't fix them before they sold me the camera.
Nikon D500 DSLR digital camera
I still have 2 D7100 cameras that I use regularly; one of them is my daily walk-around camera. They are every bit as good as the D500, so I will continue to use them for some time. The D7100 is a good camera with excellent picture quality, much better than its predecessor, the D7000.  The auto white balance works remarkably well in most situations. I always shoot in RAW format so the white balance can be adjusted afterwards.

My only real complaint about the D7100 is that the buffer is slow.

Other than that, this is a great camera that produces beautiful photos. 

Some of the best things about the D7100 is that it is more compact and lighter than the D500, which is somewhat heavy.  It's also more ergonomic and it fits my hand better. The D7100 also works much better with Nikon's own image editing software.
Nikon D7100

Nikon and Sigma lenses:

Sigma 18 - 250 mm macro os lens for NikonThe Sigma 18-250 mm macro lens is the best available all-in-one lens. When I was shopping for this type of lens, I compared the Nikon, Tamron, and Sigma versions against each other, head to head.  After extensive testing in the field, I concluded that the Sigma is the best of the bunch, because it is the sharpest, lightest, most compact, and most affordable of the three. This is my daily use, walk around, travel lens. When I travel internationally and only want to bring the least possible equipment, I mount this lens on a D7100 and I'm ready for anything.

If you are a novice photographer and don't know which lens to get, get this one.

This is a wonderful choice for travel, because it's like three lenses in one: a wide angle, a telefoto, and a macro. 

One of the things that I like about Sigma lenses in general is that the zoom rings are relatively wide and placed right in the center of the barrel.  Interestingly, the zoom rotates in the opposite direction from Nikon lenses.

My biggest complaint about this lens is that it creeps terribly when pointed down for photos.

Overall, I'm quite happy with this lens and I recommend it highly.
My bread-and-butter portrait and event lens is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM, which I'm quite happy with. I compared this lens to several others, including the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Lens, the Tokina 16-50MM F2.8  ATX Pro DX Zoom Lens, and the Sigma came out on top, mostly because it is much cheaper than those others, and it's relatively compact and lightweight, too, which I always appreciate.

Since I have had it, this is the lens I use 99% of the time.  Sometimes when I take crappy pictures, I want to blame it on the lens.  But then I see some of the perfect photos that I have taken with this lens and I know that the crappy pictures were my fault, and not the lens.

Another thing I like about this lens is the rotating grip.  It's big and dominates the middle of the lens, as it should.  The rotating grips on competing lenses are much narrower and harder to reach. 

This is a great chunk of glass and an outstanding value compared to other lenses in its performance range.  Highly recommended.

Sigma 18-50 mm 2.8 macro EX DC HSM lens

More of my Nikon and Sigma lenses:

Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF RF:
Nice lens, fastest wide angle I have seen.

Sigma Super Wide Angle 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM:
This is the lens I use for real estate and architecture photography.  I compared it to the Tokina 12-24 and the Nikon wide zooms, and couldn't think of any reason not to get the Sigma, because it's both cheaper and wider. It does distort a little bit around the edges at the widest settings.

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 AF Pro D Macro:
This is the lens I use for extreme close ups.  It's well made and has excellent bokeh. I don't like the weird combo of the focus ring and the Auto-Manual focus selector. In my hands the focus ring pops out of place when I take it out of my camera holster.

Nikon 70-300 mm AF-S VR f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED:
Great lens, nice and sharp. It's light weight too, which is great when hiking and such. The best shots of hawks and eagles that I have on this site I took with that lens.  It's kind of obsolete now that 18-300 mm lenses are available.

Nikon SB900 and SB700 flash units:
These are both good flash units. The 900 is somewhat better but much more expensive. Both of them can be very fussy about picking up a wireless signal from the camera when using them off the camera, especially in bright sunlight. And also when shooting vertically with a grip, if you want to have the external flash on the other side of the camera. This is because you usually have to have a good line of site, sometimes a direct line, especially outdoors in bright sunlight, between the built-in flash or commander on your camera, and the external wireless flash. I sometimes have to hold the
camera backwards, which is awkward, just so I can get the wireless flash to fire from my right side.

Fluorescent and Tungsten light kits: 
I have the Westcott Spiderlite TD5 lamps, which give good results but were insanely over-priced. I'm embarrassed to tell laymen what I paid for those things. The only reason I bought them is because they were the only ones I saw that had a cover system to protect them in transit without having to remove the bulbs, which greatly speeds up set-up and breakdown. I needed them to be portable. The softboxes go up and down pretty quick too. The whole kit folds up relatively well. And I do like that you can run different bulbs in it, if you want.

The other best feature of the Westcott Spiderlite line is that they have the best selection of shallow soft boxes, which is a big plus when working in tight areas.

A couple of other critiques of the Westcott Spiderlite TD5 fixtures is that you can't remove the power cords.  Removable cords speed up set-up time and allow different lengths of cords and easy replacement of damaged cords. Their stands are crappy too. I replaced them with some smaller, lighter, cheaper, sturdier air-cushioned stands from Flashpoint.

If you care less about portability, I strongly recommend Interfit lights, which are better in every way than the Westcotts, except that they are much more tedious and time consuming to set up and take down.
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