Equipment

There’s an old saying with photographers that goes something like this:

Amateur Photographers worry about equipment.

Semi-Pro’s worry about light.

Professional Photographers worry about invoices being paid.

Hardware. I suppose as a professional photographer, I make sure I use the best equipment I can so I don’t have to worry about gear. I get the occasional “train spotter” come up to me while I work and try to strike up a conversation about their camera they use at home. I’m actually the last person to talk to about consumer and pro-sumer cameras because I haven’t had much experience with them before. The top level Nikons I’m familiar with are the D2X (my first freelance digital camera – before that we had D1’s at work.), the D3 and my current D4S. I had a look at the D5 but the minor improvements don’t seem to match the extra expense.
I did buy a D5300 as a second video DSLR, and to be quite honest, I hate it. I hate the feel of it, the sound of the shutter, the convoluted controls… It’s a real pain to use. Sure the pro cameras don’t have WiFi or GPS (unless you pay through the nose for add-on hardware) but my fingers know where all the buttons are on a D4S and it’s super strong and reliable.

I take literally millions of photos and I’ve only had to replace one shutter mechanism on the D3 a few years ago. It turned out, after the cost of a D4 camera hire and the cost of replacing the shutter, it would have been cheaper to fly to Sydney and have it replaced straight away. That’s one of the few downsides to living in South Australia.

After years of digital work, I stick with some reliable brands. SanDisk for CF memory (that’s right, pro-cameras still use CF cards, much to the disbelief of electronics store employees. Apple, the SD card reader on a MacBook Pro is almost useless.) I also use Sony QXD cards and Western Digital hard drives. It’s not unusual to shoot a large project that requires around 70gb of card storage, plus hard drive backups.

Lenses. The great thing about a pro-camera vs the D5300 is I can use any Nikon lens. I love old manual 50mm “pancake” lenses, obscure macro lenses, you name it. I haven’t used many other brands because years ago the auto-focus was really slow and vignetting was sometimes extreme. I’d be happy to try some new other lens brands in the near future.

Computers. Apple all the way. They work in a simple and easy way. Using a PC is a nightmare for me. Everything works in the most convoluted way possible. I can’t stand them! I currently run a MacBook and a MacBook Pro, both with 1 external monitor each to maximise palette space and make workflow easier.

As for software, I’ve been a Photoshop fan since version 5 in the late 90’s. Before that I was using Aldus Photostyler which was acquired by Adobe in 1994. Most of my training that wasn’t in the workplace was done at Regency Park TAFE. It was a great place to learn.
I suppose I’m quite set in my ways in regard to workflow, so other than some new plug-ins occasionally, I’m very happy to stay with Adobe Creative Cloud and the regular updates to Photoshop and Bridge.

I’ve still got a fantastic Nikon negative scanner which I used before moving over from SLR to DSLR and I’m really disappointed that OSX upgrades have meant I can’t use it any more. I’ve still got piles of transparencies that I’d love to digitise and put up online.