35mm Format: Nikon
D600 (digital 35mm), F6 (Nikon's last 35mm film camera)
Nikon 28-300mm 5.6 lens
Nikon 70-200mm 2.8VR lens
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens
Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 lens
Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens
For my church photography, the 14-24mm has been a game changer. In towns, I can shoot inside power lines and often capture the entire structure, as I did with St. Michael's Episcopal or the French Huguenot church in downtown Charleston. In rural settings, I can move inside those otherwise annoying overgrown trees. It is one beautiful lens.
When I know I am going to be schlepping my gear all day, I usually take just two lenses-the extremely versatile 28-300mm and my 14-24mm-and leave the far heavier lenses at home.
In 2017, I will trade-in the well-traveled and now-aging D600 for Nikon's latest model. To date, I have stayed away from Nikon's highest end 35mm cameras, not able to justify the extra bucks for features (i.e. extreme ISOs and high frames/second) that do not apply to my interests.
Medium Format: Rolleiflex 2.8f
So my wife thinks I'm exaggerating when I tell her that this old camera is really a classic, preferring to believe that it is just an old camera. I show here all of the gadgets and clever engineering, but she sniffs, "Well, I'm glad you're happy, but it's time to go downtown for dinner."
"May I take my Rollei?"
"Yes, you may take your Rollei."
I park the car. We walk less than a city block. My wife and I hear footsteps. A young man stops in front of us, catches his breath, and then gasps, "I am so glad I caught up with you. Oh my God. Is that a Rollei?"
"Yes, it is."
"May I take a photo of you holding the camera?"
My wife blinks. I smirk. We eat.
And it's happened again, and again, and...
I will be incorporating Rollei photographs into my 2017-2019 project work.
Large Format: Linholf 4 X 5 Master Technika
I have a friend who likes to fish. He says fishermen collect and endless amount of gear. He believes photographers do the same. He is right.
The Linholf is to large format what the Rolleiflex is to medium. But whereas the Rollei, with its rolls of film and simple sets of knobs is fairly straightforward to use, the Linholf and cameras of its ilk are not. At the time of this post (early 2017), I have yet to put my head under that black cover to take a shot.
Why large format photography?
For starters, consider that a 35mm film strip or sensor essentially captures images or data in 1" by 1.5" areas. Medium format cameras improve those numbers to the 2.5" by 2.5" range. So if you wished to enlarge a negative to a 10" print, in the 35mm world you may have to magnify by, say 10X, as compared to 4X with medium format. With the Linholf and other large format cameras, many of which use 4" by 5" negatives, the magnification factor is barely 2X. In short, large format photographs, such as the ones taken by the legendary Ansel Adams, retain much of the natural feel, even when greatly enlarged.
But I'm not Ansel Adams!
This year, I simply hope to become baseline capable with the technology.