Do you follow me on Instagram? I would say the majority of my IG followers are fellow photographers, with a few friends and clients thrown in. Yesterday I posted a few of my favorite images I shot with my new Nikkor 20mm 1.8 s lens and this morphed into an overall conversation about gear. I posted a poll with the question: When it comes to gear are you a minimalist or a hoarder? As of now, the results are 70% minimalist and 30% hoarder. *I will update with the final results.
Let’s talk about gear in general. While I have been #teamnikon since 2014, the longest I have been with a camera company, I did take a slight detour to Fuji in early 2018. After Nikon finally stepped in the mirrorless pond later that year, I pre-ordered a z6 and don’t see myself straying again. Although Canon did just make that announcement about the R5 & R6… but I digress.
Photographers tend to have a lot of brand loyalty because once you fully invest in a system it is expensive as hell to switch. I should know, I’ve done it multiple times. I was Sony with my first camera back in 2009 and upgraded my bodies twice before I switched to Canon in 2013. That was extremely short-lived because in 2014 Nikon announced the D750 and I was sold. That flip screen y’all, it is a godsend for photographing newborns overhead in their crib. With the release of the Fuji XH-1 in March 2018, I bought a body + 3 lenses because it was the first camera marketed for hybrid shooters (photo + video) like myself. While I loved the video capabilities and all that mirrorless brings to the table, I missed the image quality of my D750. I found myself reaching for the D750 over the XH-1 for all the stills and realized my Fuji days were numbered.
This brings us to my current gear. While I do think Nikon 100% missed the boat by releasing two full-frame z bodies with a single card slot, the image quality and ease of switching between video and photo were enough to bring me back to the fold. I am 100% committed to #teamNikon and look forward to upgrading my camera to a new z body with dual slots and 4k 60p video in the future. That is NOT the z5 they just announced, if you are a photographer and need dual slots with minimal video, it might be a good option for you.
So Colie, what’s in your camera bag at the moment?
Nikon z6 body (x 2)
Nikkor 20mm 1.8 s
Nikkor 24mm 1.8 s
Nikkor 35mm 1.8 s
Nikkor 50mm 1.8 s
Nikkor 24-70 mm f/4 s
Rode VideoMic Pro + (x2)
Nikon EN-EL15b battery (x6)
Sony XQD 120GB memory cards (x8)
B+W XS Pro Digital filters
B+W F-Pro Digital #103 neutral density filters
Nikon SB-700 speedlight
GoDox x-pro receiver + transmitter
I carry it all in a variety of PeakDesign bags. I have one for every day of the week (I am just kidding, kind of LOL).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you use any f-mount lenses with an adaptor?
A: No. I do own an adaptor and still have a Nikkor 24mm .14 + Sigma 50mm 1.4 collecting dust on a shelf, but I am a native lens snob. The new z-mount lenses are sharp corner to corner with almost silent auto-focus. You can absolutely use your f-mount lenses + adapter on the z-bodies, but for me, it defeats the purpose of buying into the new mirrorless system. Plus, all the focal lengths I shoot are now available in a z-mount (happy dance).
Q: Is there anything you miss about a DSLR?
A: Specific to my D750/D850, I really miss the flip screen. The z-mount flip screens do NOT come up to a full 90-degree angle as the DSLR ones did. I work around it, but I really want the next iteration of the z6/7 to have an upgraded flip screen. (Nikon, are you listening?)
Q: Why did you buy two z6 bodies instead of a z7?
A: I believe 24MP is enough for most photographers. For commercial shoots, I have rented z7 bodies for additional cropping, but otherwise, I am quite satisfied with 24MP images. I will also say that nowadays I am more of a family filmmaker than a photographer and the z6 is a better body for video. That isn’t a concern for everyone though. If the next iteration of z bodies includes a z7 with the same video specs as the z6 I might entertain an “upgrade”.
Q: Should I buy XQD or CFExpress cards for the z6/7?
A: While I have upgraded the firmware on my bodies to accept CFExpress cards, I don’t actually own any at the time of this post. I have eight 120GB Sony G XQD cards and one 64GB card. If I find that I need a new card I might start investing in CFExpress cards, but then I would also need a new card reader. If you are just jumping into this pond, go ahead and buy the CFExpress as they are faster and newer technology.
Q: What are your favorite features of the z6?
A: Well I have written a few blog posts (first impressions and video) but I just want to add the autofocus in video and tracking subjects is invaluable to me for my family films.
Q: What do you use to edit your images?
A: I am a Lightroom girl and I exclusively use Mastin presets, 99% Ektar.
It’s not quite an #ad for Nikon, but as close as I get. All images in this blog post were taken with a Nikkor 20mm 1.8. I ended up renting one from LensRentals for a few sessions because they were back-ordered everywhere. I did finally buy one of my very own and I LOVE IT. Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. While they didn’t pay me to include them I may receive compensation if you use them. But I don’t include anything I don’t love and use myself. Questions on gear? Hit me up 🙂