People can be quite shy about asking other photo-lovers about their equipment or post-processing tricks.
I remember when I first started feeling frustrated by the limitations of my point-and-shoot digital camera, and wanted my photos to change. I didn’t know the first thing about an SLR, and it was too overwhelming to read online reviews full of technical jargon.
I’ve certainly learned a thing or two in the past six years, and people ask me about cameras from time to time. So I’ve decided to openly share my camera gear, and I hope that this list will be helpful to somebody.
“Changing cameras means that your photographs will change. A really good camera has something I suppose you might describe as its own distinctive aura.” — A quote by Nobuyoshi Araki
I’ve been a satisfied Nikon user since 2006, when a nice Japanese lady handed me her Nikon DSLR and took me on photo adventures all around Kyoto.
My everyday companion for the past two years has been a D90. It’s comparably lighter and easy to use. It’s a DX camera, which means I can use any Nikon lens with the camera body. It also has a handy HD video function.
They’ve discontinued making these models, but my first Nikon was a D50, a solid entry-level DSLR and the older sibling of the better-known D40.
I like most Nikon kit lens because they tend to be versatile. Mine broke on a trip, so I replaced it with a heavy duty Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G. These days, I am totally hooked on my fixed prime lens, especially because it allows me to capture my meals in detail.
I used to have a 50mm f/1.8D, and I loved it, but everything felt way too close-up. My current favorite is my 35mm f/1.8 DX. It’s small, sturdy, and great for low-light photos. Since there is no zoom, I still have to shuffle my feet a bit, but I can capture just about anything I want. It’s also excellent for low-light photos, so I hardly ever use my flash.
Digital Meets Analog
Another great thing about owning a Nikon DSLR is that you can use just about any of their older SLR lens. If you ever see one in a decent condition at a flea market, you can take it home and experiment with it.
If you have a non-Nikon DSLR body, you can still use an inexpensive adapter ring, and find a compatible lens for your camera.
I was definitely inspired to more actively use my film cameras after seeing my friend Cas bring his vintage cameras everywhere. My go-to film camera is my Nikon EM, designed for women with small hands in the 80s. I have a smaller range-finder Seagull camera. I found it at an old camera repair shop in Shanghai.
Otherwise, I have an assortment of lomography cameras that I’ve received on my birthday over the past few years. Another secret is that I have a huge vintage camera collection back home in Virginia. My brother found them all in a big box at an estate sale. You’ll meet them when I’m (finally) home later this year.
–Packing for Travel: When I’m traveling, I usually only take one DSLR + lens and one film camera. Bringing less is better than feeling burdened when you should be enjoying yourself.
-Self-portraits: Use a tripod and timer. If you don’t own a tripod, try putting the camera on a bookcase or something else sturdy.
-Post-processing: I’ve read about photoshop actions, but I’ve never tried those myself. Occasionally I’ll search online if I’m curious about a camera trick (i.e. I’ve been meaning to take one of those magical levitating body photos).
& Anything else?
Let me know if you have any other questions! I’d be happy to try my best to answer them.
Pssst, most of you take beautiful photos and know plenty more about cameras! If you have any tips or advice that I should add to this list, please don’t hesitate to share them with me.