Denver Photographer Jeff Pistana

Photographer serving Denver, Boulder, Colorado and beyond

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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. And the placement of the wireless transmitter on the camera body is awkward and uncomfortable when shooting vertically in portrait position.

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

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

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, which I prefer.

My biggest complaint about this lens is that it creeps terribly when pointed down for photos.  I wish they built it so that it can be locked at any focal length.

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.
I directly 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.

This lens also works as a macro, with a surprisingly close focusing distance, which is a big bonus over those other lenses.

This is a great lens 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 10-20mm Super Wide Angle 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.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens:
Wow, this lens is sharp! And the bokeh is amazingly smooth. Before this lens was created by Sigma, there was nothing else like it, and to this day Nikon has no equivilent lens.

Nikon SB5000 flash units:

The SB5000 flash is huge improvement over the SB900. It is smaller, more compact, yet more powerful in every way.  It's brighter, it recycles faster, and it has the radio wireless transmitter, which is much better than the optical flash transmitter, especially outside on sunny days. I have 2 of them.

Fluorescent 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 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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Please call:  303-665-7504Email:  wayjeff@aol.com
 
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