- Written by Jeff Summers Jeff Summers
I've always been facinated by electronics and toys in general. Little did I know that my interest in photography would lead me to accumulate several pieces of equipment. Each piece of camera gear was carefully selected to further my education and to meet a specific need.
With the purchase of my first 35mm camera, I fell in love with photography. It gave me the opportunity to frame reality as I saw fit rather than rely upon the vision of others. The Olympus OM-10 was my camera of choice through college. I bought it right after graduating from Ricks College in 1981. Since I was still going to school, I had little money for lenses or any other accessories. All I had was a 50mm f1.4 lens and a T-20 flash unit. This was all that I needed though since I was just learning how to take pictures.
During the spring of 1982, my beloved Olympus OM-10 was stolen leaving me without a camera. With the insurance settlement and some money I had saved, I replaced the OM-10 with an Olympus OM-2n. This was a fantastic camera with a great metering system. It took fantastic pictures and my love affair continued. I soon added other lenses to my photographic stable. First I bought a 135mm f2.8 telephoto lens to allow me to extend my vision and open up a new realm of picture taking. To that I added a 24mm f3.5 super wide angle.
With these three lenses I was extremely happy and content as I attempted to define my photographic personality. Before long I was looking for something more. At that time, Olympus released the OM-4ti Titanium camera. When I bought this camera, it was the state of the art. Its optics were outstanding. I also purchased a 180mm f2.8 telephoto lens and a T-32 flash unit. I still have this camera and use it regularly to take manual focus photographs. It has shot countless rolls of film and traveled with me across the country several times.
Soon I expanded my photographic focus to include macro photography. I purchased a bellows and a couple of macro lenses and attempted to capture the up-close world. In the summer of 2000, I purchased a new Nikon N80. This camera had been highly recommended by several magazines and I eagerly awaited its arrival. I had never owned an auto focus camera and I was interested in seeing how it would change the way I took pictures.
After owning it a few months, I must say I am very impressed. Although I am still struggling to learn all that it has to offer, I must admit it has allowed me to focus more on the artistic side of photography than the technical side that is required with a manual camera. When I bought this camera, I knew it was merely a stepping stone to the camera I really wanted.
I had my eye on the Nikon F100 since it was introduced. While I was waiting to get the F100, I began to dabble with a digital camera and when Nikon introduced the D100, I knew I had to have one. I purchased a D100 along with an 80-200mm f2.8 zoom and a 35-70mm f2.8 zoom. It is a great camera and I really loved the pictures it took.
The digital workflow really fits my personality as it allows me the freedom to adjust and tweak the images electronically rather than spending hours in a darkroom. I have supplemented my lens collection with a Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 DX lens which was designed strictly for digital cameras. This has become my standard lens for shooting. Its range allows me to get close to subjects or extend out to an ultra wide angle to describe the magnitude of the scene.
As Nikon enhanced their digital line I graduated to a Nikon D200 digital camera. This camera has found a special place in my camera bag and I take it with me on nearly every photo shoot. While it has been a great camera, I found myself wanting a camera capable of better low-light resolution and a more advanced focusing mechanism.
For that reason I purchased the Nikon D300 when it came out. Actually it was Trina who purchased the D300. It was an incentive for me to recover from my third shoulder surgery (alas my pitching days are now behind me I am afraid). The D300 has been an amazing camera. It seems to anticipate everything I want to do. I shot with it for three years and it continued to impress me with its capabilities.
I then added a Nikon D300s to replace the now aging D200. The D300s was my primary camera while the D300 moved to become my back-up body. Much of the photography I am now doing is action photos of sports events including track, soccer, football, and baseball.
As such I typically will take two camera bodies one with a long telephoto lens such as the Nikkor AF VR 70-200mm f/2.8 or the older Nikkor AF VR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6. The latter lens is great for sports such as soccer or football but the focusing speed is very slow. I keep hoping Nikon will introduce a new version of this lens but so far I've been disappointed.
As my Nikon D300s took it 10,000th picture I knew it was time to get a new camera. I moved to the Nikon D800 which is the first FX camera that I have owned. Before this all the other digital cameras were DX with a smaller sensor. The D810 is an amazing camera and takes outstanding pictures. For portrait and landscape it is amazing. And the low light features are equally incredible. But for sports photography the continuous shot speed is too low for high action sports.
For Nikon's 100th birthday they introduced the D850 which seems to overcome all of the shortcomings I found with the D810. It looks to be the perfect blend of low light, fast shooting, and great resolution to meet what I need.
This doesn't mean I have completely given up on film. I would still like to find a Nikon F100 for those times when I want to shoot film. I find those times becoming fewer and fewer so I may never realize the dream of having an F100. Besides the D850, I am also looking to add a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro lens, an updated Nikkor AF VRII 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, the new Nikkor AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR zoom, and an SB-5000 flash unit to add to my existing SB-900 flash.
My plan is to get this camera gear next spring so that I can become familiar with it before baseball season starts or our upcoming summer vacation. Besides sports photography, I am also doing freelance work at weddings and other special events. Trina and I have become busier taking photographs. If nothing else, it has allowed me to pursue a passion that I otherwise would not have thought about. If anyone has experience with any of this equipment and would like to talk about it, please contact me.