What dream gear would you take on a dream assignment?

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I have received confirmation of my dream assignment. Covering important people doing big things in exciting countries, involving several people I know and several people that we ALL know.

I'm extremely familiar with the Nikon kit that I have now, but there's a few tweaks I'd like to make. Here's what I currently create with - note; I'm a contracted photographer for the military, so my stuff gets used daily and bumps and nicks are common:

Bodies - D3 (x2) | D700 | D200
The D3's are workhorses, getting old, seeing limitations, have had a rough life but could still plug away another year ~ 50k clicks each or so at least.
The D700 doesn't perform like the D3, just slight things that are missing, I like this camera and it's in great shape, could use this on the trip.
D200 doesn't even count, it's old, ~130+k clicks on it, my father uses this mostly.

What I really want to do is buy a D7000 and D3s to really go over there with the best of the best.

Then lenses.....
Primes - 14mm f/2.8 | 24mm f1.4 | 28mm f1.8 | 50mm f1.4G | 85mm f1.4 | 400mm f/2.8II
I'll probably only take the 24 1.4, the 50 1.4, and the 85 1.4, and i also want to add a 35mm 1.4 and 200mm f2 - too much?

Zooms - 14-24 f/2.8 | 24-120VR | 28-200 AF-D and ED(G) | 28-70 f/2.8 | 70-200mm f2.8VR | 80-400VR | 100-300mm f/4 | 200-400mm f/4 VRII
The lenses in bold are what I'm plannin on taking - so the ultra wide, the mid range and teh 70-200 should cover me there. I love the 200-400- VRII but just can't haul it all over tarnation.

Similar to the 200 f2 VR, is that a deal breaker lens if it needs to stay in the backpack on my back at almost all times?

I'll dip into my bag of nikon speedlights and probably take a couple of 900's, maybe 2 800's.
 
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Joined
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Ok...lemme say this first: there's not a single photography gig for the military that I'd consider my "dream assignment." When you start talking about the Playboy Mansion - you know, "important people doing big things" - then you're breaking into the realm of my dream assignment.

But anyway...From looking at your gear list, I'd suggest selling the D3's for a D3s. If you have any $$$ left over, sell the D200 and pick up the D7000. Throw some extra $$$ into the mix if you need to do so. Then you'll have a D3S, D700, and D7000. I can't imagine that you'd need more bodies.

It seems as if you've got the lenses covered.
 
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I love the 200-400- VRII but just can't haul it all over tarnation.

Similar to the 200 f2 VR, is that a deal breaker lens if it needs to stay in the backpack on my back at almost all times?

if you can't/won't haul a 200-400 around, you can't/won't lug a 200/2 around.

the 200/2 is awesome, wonderful and lives up to every other superlative that's been used to describe it, but it is heavy, heavy and heavy. it's certainly not my idea of 'travel glass'.

besides, you use a 200/2 when you want or NEED that f2.0. shooting a 200/2 @ f2.8 or slower is a waste of money and effort to lug it. you'd be just as well off using the 70-200 f2.8.

i don't see myself lugging mine around too much unless it's from the car to the sidelines of <insert sports even of choice here> and back. or whie doing portrait jobs and the like or sitting on a milk-crate at the end of a fashion runway.

i will confess, however, that once you actually shell out for one of these Speed Queens, you tend to look for extra opportunities to use it.

in any event, how about teh following loadout as a suggestion:

14-24, 50/f1.4, 70-200/2.8VR and a 1.4 or 1.7x teleconverter? that's a solid, workable loadout.

i'd also be tempted to throw the 85/f1.4 and 24/f1.4 in the bag.

35mm f1.4? your call. if you really like the 35mm focal length, go for it. i try and limit the basic lens choices in my bag at any given time simply because i've found that the fewer decisions i have to make, the fewer decisions i can screw up.

as for bodies, your D3's and D700 will do the job with no worries. if you can spring for a D3s, it's certainly a fine camera, but only really of major benefit if you shoot a lot of low-light sport.
 
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If this is your job, don't know what gear to take and ask amateurs for help I think there's somethwat an issue. In any case how can anyone help you not knowing what you'll be shooting exactly? :wink:
 
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I'd bring two identical bodies. Nothing as annoying as grabbing "the other" body and not being able to change settings on the fly because the buttons are at slightly different spots, work differently, or are not available. And the menus are different too...
 
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Columbus, GA
Sambo - awesome suggestions! Exactly the kind of stuff that will help me think through this. I should clarify that I have carried and handheld the 200-400 for a day long assignment.

Julien - I think my post was worded a little differently than "oh crap I'm shooting my first wedding tomorrow what do I need to buy so I can do a great job" ;-) The events that I'll be shooting will cover an extremely wide range of exposure requirements.

Lurker - gotcha, but I really like the way the Nikon bodies are pretty similar; at least with the 200/700/3 they've been pretty fluid working with them back and forth.
 
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Well then my easy answer would be :

D3 and D700
24
maybe a 50
28-70
70-200
one SB-800

And you're done. Gear you can carry all day and that can pretty much help you cover anything that comes your way. See, easy. :smile:
 
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I'd carry two D3s bodies, the three zooms (14-24, 24-70 and 70-200) and the 24/1.4, 50/1.4 and 85/1.4, plus the TC1.4 and TC2.0 and a 2 or 3 of SB-900s. If I left anything behind, it would be the 2nd or 3rd SB-900 and the primes.

I've worked with multiple bodies on many occasions and preferred them being the same (I agree with Lurker). "Pretty fluid" may not be quite enough when things are moving quickly - why I'd tend to minimize the kit I'd be carrying (the three zooms only).

Stay safe.
 
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I work with two cameras and the D700/D3 combo was distracting. Now it's a D3/D3s combo and sometimes I'm not sure which camera I'm holding. 50,000 clicks is average for these cameras and should not be a consideration.
 
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The only advice I could give would be based on 'what would I do?' So...

I would take two bodies, either the two D3's or a D3 plus the D700. I've worked with two different bodies before (F2 and F5) and not had any problems - if you are confident that your shooting is fluid enough, that should not be a problem. For me, they key has been to review camera/lens settings prior to the event or putting the gear in the bag.

If picking bodies is a personal choice, picking a lens is an intimate choice. Since I like primes, I'll start there. Either the 24 or 28 for the wide end, depending on which you like shooting with most. I'd certainly take the 85 and then I would look for a 60 micro. For zooms, I'd pick the 28-70 plus the 70-200.

Toss in two or three speedlights, the TCs and an incident light meter in a good bag you can work out of, and you're good to go.

Again, these choices reflect how I would shoot - only you can decide how you shoot. Or what extra equipment you like to use or would need - tripods, pocket wizards and so on.
 
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Ok...lemme say this first: there's not a single photography gig for the military that I'd consider my "dream assignment." When you start talking about the Playboy Mansion - you know, "important people doing big things" - then you're breaking into the realm of my dream assignment.

Mark,
I've shot inside the Playboy Mansion, and IMO it's not what it's cracked up to be. Hef has a mini zoo that stunk, and a huge fishtank that is dim and dirty. I took photos of the girls (mostly Kendra) but even that wasn't exciting. Our company used to hold a fundraiser inside the Playboy mansion and I gave away tons of tickets to friends and relatives, but that was before I was a member here. :tongue:

As for the OP-- I would go light and take: D700, 14-24, 50 1.4 and 70-200 VRII, maybe a backup D700. Too much equipment confuses me.
 
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I'd love to cover an important event as a photojournalist. Something like the quake in Haiti or the revolutions in Egypt and Libya.

Would probably want to keep the gear simple and lightweight

Bodies: D3, D700
Lenses: 24 f/ 1.4, 28-70, 70-200
 
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The kit would be dependent on the assignment- as it always should. I would not bring full gear to cover an extreme outdoor adventure because a) it's too much to transport, and b) it's a distraction to the people I will be covering. If I need to climb a mountain, I have to keep in mind that I'll be loaded down w/ climbing gear as well as my camera. That being said, here's a minimum complete setup for most situations:

2 bodies (w/ HD video capability)
Prime, wide, 24-120 f4, 70-200, 1.7 or 2xTC
tripod, maybe a light steadicam rig
couple speedlights
A Canon G10
batteries, clamps, cords
tri grip

Everything should fit into a roller/backpack.
 
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Joined
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For travel work assignments, I usually keep it very concise. I bring 1 pro-body, 1 semi-pro body and 4 lenses. Usually a wide zoom, 70-200 and a super telephoto. I also bring a small prime if I need to go small. Try not to burden yourself with too many options, sometimes a simple kit is all you need to get the shot.
 
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I would take a D3s, D700, 17-35, 70-200, and a 70-300 with a Sb-700 on this assignment.

If I knew I would need a little more reach, then a D300 or D7000 instead of the D700.
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
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Columbus, GA
Well then my easy answer would be :

D3 and D700
24
maybe a 50
28-70
70-200
one SB-800

And you're done. Gear you can carry all day and that can pretty much help you cover anything that comes your way. See, easy. :smile:


Excellent advice; very well put (sometimes I do try and think things through too much). I don't want to get somewhere and say "oh man I wish I had xxx lens with me!"
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
755
Location
Columbus, GA
The only advice I could give would be based on 'what would I do?' So...

I would take two bodies, either the two D3's or a D3 plus the D700. I've worked with two different bodies before (F2 and F5) and not had any problems - if you are confident that your shooting is fluid enough, that should not be a problem. For me, they key has been to review camera/lens settings prior to the event or putting the gear in the bag.

If picking bodies is a personal choice, picking a lens is an intimate choice. Since I like primes, I'll start there. Either the 24 or 28 for the wide end, depending on which you like shooting with most. I'd certainly take the 85 and then I would look for a 60 micro. For zooms, I'd pick the 28-70 plus the 70-200.

Toss in two or three speedlights, the TCs and an incident light meter in a good bag you can work out of, and you're good to go.

Again, these choices reflect how I would shoot - only you can decide how you shoot. Or what extra equipment you like to use or would need - tripods, pocket wizards and so on.

I like the way you phrased these suggestions as well; the D700/D3's combo is something I shoot every day, I guess it's become automatic to 'feel' which body is in my hands - and on fast-moving assignments when I don't have a lot of time to change lenses or when I'm in a particularly dusty locations I do like having the 3 lens 2.8 zoom combo split between the 3 bodies.

The 50mm is so small it's like a 'given'. Also - my gear will be fitting into the www.guragear.com Kiboko that I currently use; I love that thing!
 
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Gonna keep it simple. D3s, 14-24, 24-70, 70-200. Don't really need anything fancier than that. Though that's already pretty fancy ;)
 
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I like the way you phrased these suggestions as well; the D700/D3's combo is something I shoot every day, I guess it's become automatic to 'feel' which body is in my hands - and on fast-moving assignments when I don't have a lot of time to change lenses or when I'm in a particularly dusty locations I do like having the 3 lens 2.8 zoom combo split between the 3 bodies.

The 50mm is so small it's like a 'given'. Also - my gear will be fitting into the www.guragear.com Kiboko that I currently use; I love that thing!

John,

It seems like you've already gotten great advice. The only thing that I can think of is get your gear serviced/checked before you leave.

Myself, I would go large (D3 size) and small body.

Finally, I checked that bag, man that is great (and expensive). But... it only takes canon gear it seems :)
 

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