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Author Topic: lightweight pro gear?  (Read 3054 times)
Roskav
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« on: October 30, 2012, 07:42:50 AM »
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I know this has been discussed in relation to M9s and suchlike but after a long weekend of lugging a D3 with 3 lenses (70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 14-24 2.Cool and a tripod around an outdoor event I find myself wondering if there are systems out there now that cut the mustard for pro work but are any way lighter?  I will hopefully soon upgrade the system to a new body or two and maybe a newer 70-200 but if I am going to spend the money it would be great to consider a lighter system.  Nikons have such a great versatility that enable you to remote control for example, that it would be a backward step to use something that can't be triggered by radio ... or anything that results in lower image quality at higher isos.  .. not to mention all the customisable options for focus tracking, shutter/flash sync, and ethernet connectivity.  I notice that image quality is improving with micro 4/3ds with the fuji and olympus ... but then you are dealing with lenses that don't seem to be up to the same standard and that use in camera  distortion correction etc.  Any thoughts ... even as we progress over the next 2 years?  .. My back is killing me!
R
PS I also use an aptus with gottschalt camera an 3 lenses... This can fit into a much smaller bag and is far lighter... it makes a huge difference... but I can't use it for some jobs that need high iso or fast frame rates.. or autofocus .. or remote triggering.
Would be interested in what people think .. I have no allegiance to any particular system
R
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HSakols
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 09:35:52 AM »
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I'd love to have a new micro 4/3 setup, but the idea of a new lens system makes my pocket book sad. Why not buy something like a nikon 5100 or 3200 and just use some compact nikon primes?  The consumer nikon bodies are quite compact.  The whole "Pro Gear" I think is just marketing.  It either works or it doesn't.

Hugh
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Roskav
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 09:47:40 AM »
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Hmm there are advantages in the "pro gear" that I couldn't do without like the AF,  and there are differences in the lenses for a start.  I would be interested in having a look at the 70-200 f4 however to see how it fares.  I'm not too concerned with wide apertures any more for most of my work but the image has to be the best I can get with limited CA and distortion, flare etc.  I just think that we have a system now with micro4/3ds that does without a mirror mechanism.. it's a more logical design than something which is still tied to the use of film and quite conservative as a result.  The problem (or maybe less so now) is that the pro functionality is reserved and developed for the older designs.  I really am only wondering about the entire weight of a system when there are potential alternatives now... no gripes with the DSLR setup other than that ... or should I just take an assistant on all jobs now that I'm past the 40 mark?   Smiley
R
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Roskav
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 09:54:43 AM »
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... or maybe just get some helium filled pockets for the camera bag
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Martin Ranger
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 11:46:44 AM »
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Ros,

if you can't find a lighter alternative that has the same features as your heavy system, you might want to see if a belt system works for what you are doing. For most of my work, I do not need to carry a lot of equipment on me, but when I do (say for shooting rodeos), I would not want to be without it. The weight sits nicely on your hips, it is easily accessible, and I dont' get any of the sholder pain I used to with a bag. I use the Think Tank system, but I believe there are others out there, too.

Martin
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Martin Ranger
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Roskav
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 08:10:06 AM »
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Hello Martin .. yes maybe that might be a good start.  I did use a Lowepro belt with shoulder straps for a while but the bag was always hard to rotate around my front when I needed it.  For this type of thing I use a toploader with 2 lens cases on either side.  Actually holding the camera up for a long time can be a difficulty.  Once a year I cover a citywide event from about 5pm to 11pm .. visiting galleries, museums etc.  At the end of the last one I had to hold the camera in my other hand and couldn't turn my head easily.. also I couldn't put the strap of my bag over my right shoulder as I was immobalised if I did.  Maybe a good physio?
I'll have a look at the think tank ones... less popular here but my local shop deals them.  Thanks v much for suggestion.
R
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jonathanlung
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 09:49:25 AM »
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Just some thoughts from a manual-focusing non-pro that carries two to three primes and sometimes a 14-24 on a D300. Pretty much the opposite kind of shooter Smiley

You said you can deal with f/4 and you currently are lugging one body; with a 2x teleconverter, you could turn your 24-70 into a 48-140 f/5.6. You'd still be missing some reach, though, and possibly image quality degradation.

A 180mm AF-D f/2.8 comes in at half the weight, but loses you the ability to zoom and a little bit of reach.

Apparently the D800's AF performance isn't great -- but with the latest updates, maybe it's suitable for your work. With 3x the pixels, depending on your needs, you could leave your 70-200 at home and treat the extra resolution as a 1.7x teleconverter (to get the same quality/output size as your D3), assuming you're not pushing the ISO to where the D3 outperforms the D800.

I've also shot events sans-flash with an F3 (yes) and D300 combo; while maintaining batteries might be tricker for an all digital combination, an all-prime system with two different image size formats buys a lot of speed and a bit o flexibility while keeping weight down.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 09:54:06 AM by jonathanlung » Logged
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 09:50:33 AM »
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DWhat do you mean by "pro work"?

for non photo-J work:
Body:
The 24mp D600 or the 36mp D800. If you don't need full frame than the D7000.|

Lens: 16-35mm f/4G (yes the arm chair pros and pixel peepers will carp about it but it does get real world pro work done quite nicely) , 70-200mm f/4G (not quite available yet), 60mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor.

Of course if you need f/2.8 on the zooms you are stuck with the 14-24mm f/2.8G and the 70-200mm f/2.8G

I really wish Nikon would go ahead and build a new 35-70mm  or 24-70mm f/2.8G VR III that covers full frame.
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Ellis Vener
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Roskav
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 11:12:28 AM »
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Thanks for replies .. in answer to question re Pro work, as well as the usual definition of being paid for it, I just mean work where I want to use the best equipment I can under the circumstances.  Best resolution, best iso performance, best DR, best image through lens, best frame rate, most versatile, and lastly but not least, quickest.  Changing lens in the middle of a developing situation is sometimes a disaster! Using the best I can enables me to concentrate on other things than the technical side and also is more forgiving when I am back in the studio cropping and fiddling with the shots.
R
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2012, 03:50:50 PM »
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Pro work, as well as the usual definition of being paid for it

Well there is professional sports photography, professional wedding  and life event photography, corporate portraiture, Industrial work, public relations, architecture, editorial portraiture and illustration, etc. So my question was really about the genre of professional work you do.

Using the best I can enables me to concentrate on other things than the technical side and also is more forgiving when I am back in the studio cropping and fiddling with the shots.

Absolutely!

Except for needs of higher than 5.5 fps (sports work primarily)  my advice,  from experience , that either the D600 or D800 from Nikon will be fine. I do wish the D600 had both a larger AF sensor area and more AF sensors. How much you have already invested in CF vs. SD media  (the D600 has dual SD slots) may be a factor as well.

As I  don't pursue  professional or nature work - mostly I take on commercial, industrial and editorial work with a smattering of architectural related work - I don't have a regular need for a higher fps rate I have used both the D800 and D600 for these kinds of assignments and been quite happy.

The D600 has excellent dynamic range and the signal to noise ratio is quite good up to 3200 , and very usable above that all the way up to Hi 2 (25,600 equivalent) as well but dynamic range does starts getting compressed at ISO 3200 - not terrible but you start to lose tone differentiation in the shadows and to a lesser extent in the bright high lights.

If you want a "best suited for all round work camera I recommend the D4 over the D3 or D3s if you want to stick with Nikon - but that is once again a bigger bodied & heavier camera.
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Ellis Vener
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brianrybolt
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2012, 03:54:58 PM »
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From looking fat your website, it appears that a roller case would be appropriate.  No back aches, etc.  That type of case with the inclusion of a belt system might work very well for you.  For all the things you want your gear to be able to you, I don't know how a shift to 4/3's or even Leica will manage it.

Good luck,
Brian
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scooby70
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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2012, 03:59:56 PM »
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"I notice that image quality is improving with micro 4/3ds with the fuji and olympus ... but then you are dealing with lenses that don't seem to be up to the same standard and that use in camera  distortion correction etc."

Some Compact System Camera lenses are getting very good reviews indeed plus of course you can fit a vast number of lenses to these cameras via an adapter. Perhaps you could take another look?

Personally I see nothing wrong with in camera corrections as you can as far as I know discard them and do it yourself if you should wish to do so. Personally I see the feature as a plus and I can certainly name one of the big mass market pro gear makers who's doing the same thing now. Other people just included the feature before them Smiley
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2012, 04:29:16 PM »
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I just looked at your site as well Ros. My recommendation now changes solidly to the D4. Yes I know - it is neither light nor small but its  high ISO  capabilities and dynamic range will be a real help with your theater and performance work.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 07:44:38 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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Michael N. Meyer
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2012, 08:45:27 PM »
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R,

My shoulders feel your pain. After several shoots in September carrying too much weight, I am making a couple of changes to alleviate the pain:

First I got a rolling case. On the last couple of shoots, carrying less weight on my shoulders on the way to/from the shoot saved me from immense discomfort. My back feels better also. Unless I'm carrying a very minimal amount of gear, this bag will be used on all my location shoots. For most events, I can park the bag in an out of the way spot and carry only what I need for each segment of the event on me. This isn't a perfect solution if you prefer to have all of your gear immediately available or don't have a secure location to leave the rolling bag in.

I also ordered a Fuji X-E1 with the kit zoom to potentially replace my FF Sony a850/Tokina 28-70 for events. The rig will be significantly lighter than the full frame lens alone--particularly over the course of a four to eight hour day. The camera isn't full frame and the lens isn't a constant 2.8, but the quality should easily meet my clients' needs. I'll see if the performance/usability matches my needs once it arrives. For portraits, interiors and studio shoots when I'm not carrying the camera for long periods I will continue to use the FF DSLR as the weight isn't a bother in that situation.

One thing the Fuji lacks and one of the heaviest bits of kit I need only once in a blue moon is a fast 70-200 lens option. On the three shoots when I've needed (and rented) this lens in the past year, its weight has been noticeable over the course of the day both in the bag and on my shoulder. If you can find a way to lighten or eliminate this lens from your kit, it could save you considerable shoulder strain. I'm glad my work doesn't require one frequently.

-m
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John Camp
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2012, 12:50:24 PM »
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I've never been a professional photographer, but I was a professional journalist (writer) for a long time and did a lot of published photography then. I've more or less solved this problem by using three systems -- Nikon, m4/3 and a Sony RX100 pocket camera. I don't need more quality for anything I do than I get from a D3/D800 combination, but I do need a large case. With m4/3, I can put the equivalent of the Nikon system (with three Panasonic bodies) in what amounts to a briefcase, and the quality is easily good enough for all newspaper and most magazine work (the quality is different than, but generally better than film.) The RX100 is easily good enough for all newspaper work, as long as you have the light.

Another part of your solution might simply be to take some risks, and winnow out your gear. I went to Iraq a few years ago and carried a D3/D300, the three Nikon f2.8 zooms and three or four primes. Eventually I pulled most of the guts out of a small Kata backpack which would hold the two zooms I didn't have mounted on the D3, plus some other stuff that I needed. I left everything else at the base, and carried the D3 in my hand with one mounted lens. If the D3 had failed, or if I'd needed a specialty lens for something, I would have been out of luck, but I took the risk and never had a real problem. If I were to do that again, I'd take the m4/3 system, which would allow me to carry two bodies and a half dozen lenses, including some good sharp zooms, that would do more than the three Nikons did, in far less weight. (Panasonic offers an excellent and compact 100-300 which gives you a 600mm equivalent.) But then, the target for those photos would be video screens and newspapers, and I wouldn't need the resolution that you might. I also did some early morning flight-line shots with the D3 that I'm not sure I could duplicate with the Panasonics.



 
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2012, 03:19:33 PM »
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Hi,

You could start with a D800 or even D7000.

Personally I use a Sony Alpha 900 (or now Alpha 99 SLT) with a 24-7/2.8 and 70-400/4-5.6.

If I need light weight, I would use my Sony SL77 with my 16-80/3.5-4.5 with a 70-300/4.5-5.6 added for extended reach.

The pocket version is a Sony RX100.

All my cameras are 24 MP and would all make decent A2 print.

Best regards
Erik


I know this has been discussed in relation to M9s and suchlike but after a long weekend of lugging a D3 with 3 lenses (70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 14-24 2.Cool and a tripod around an outdoor event I find myself wondering if there are systems out there now that cut the mustard for pro work but are any way lighter?  I will hopefully soon upgrade the system to a new body or two and maybe a newer 70-200 but if I am going to spend the money it would be great to consider a lighter system.  Nikons have such a great versatility that enable you to remote control for example, that it would be a backward step to use something that can't be triggered by radio ... or anything that results in lower image quality at higher isos.  .. not to mention all the customisable options for focus tracking, shutter/flash sync, and ethernet connectivity.  I notice that image quality is improving with micro 4/3ds with the fuji and olympus ... but then you are dealing with lenses that don't seem to be up to the same standard and that use in camera  distortion correction etc.  Any thoughts ... even as we progress over the next 2 years?  .. My back is killing me!
R
PS I also use an aptus with gottschalt camera an 3 lenses... This can fit into a much smaller bag and is far lighter... it makes a huge difference... but I can't use it for some jobs that need high iso or fast frame rates.. or autofocus .. or remote triggering.
Would be interested in what people think .. I have no allegiance to any particular system
R

« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 06:14:41 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

NicoChina
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2012, 06:02:42 AM »
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You can get much lighter gear, while remaining with Nikon.

I do use D700/800 and some F2.8 Nikkor zoom (17-35 / 24-70 and 70-200), but I do also have various primes when i need to get lighter.

For a concert or wedding, i use 2 bodies with big zoom or F1.4 AF-S primes and 1 flash, but for strolling / smaller events / trekking / reportage, I do switch to small AF-D primes and voigtlander pancakes. Also tried to Tamron 70-300 recently but brought it back to the shop and got a 50 1.2 instead (nice lens and very light but i didn't really have a use for it).

When i want to get light, i take one body and a CV 20mm F3.5, one nikon 35mm F2.0 and a 85mm F1.8 (AF-D version), one lens in each pocket, the third on camera, no bag and no weight... can shoot nearly everything and get pictures that can compare with the big pro zooms (at least for me, maybe not for pixelpeeper, but pics are different overall, lower ISO, less DoF, series with more constant focal length, etc.)
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JonathanRimmel
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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2012, 12:50:40 PM »
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Whether to decide to go with a lighter system or not, I strongly recommend getting a Black Rapid strap. They are far more comfortable for long term wear. And they don't get in your way while shooting. I bought mine a few months ago and I will never go back. They definitely take pressure off of your neck.
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AlexanderB
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 02:06:47 AM »
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Swap D3 -> D600 and get rid of tripod. One kilo is out! Are tripods still really relevant in the digital era of insane high ISO? Only if you are shooting from one position a lot, not moving around.
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brianrybolt
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2012, 10:31:11 AM »
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Swap D3 -> D600 and get rid of tripod. One kilo is out! Are tripods still really relevant in the digital era of insane high ISO? Only if you are shooting from one position a lot, not moving around.


Yes, they are if you are interest in High IQ.

Brian
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