My Current Camera Gear

I get the occassional email or Facebook message about my camera gear and lighting modifiers. I’ve decided to keep a current list of my stuff to point people to when they ask as well as links to where they can get some of the things.

Feel free to contact me if you feel anything should be added.

-Marvin

Camera Body

Nikon D810 FX 36.3MP Digital SLR Camera

The bulk of my wedding work has been taken with the Nikon D800 & Nikon D810 bodies. The files that come out of this camera are huge but when it comes to DSLR’s, the quality is unparalleled. The ISO range on this camera is pretty ridiculous too and it has some of the most beautiful digial noise I’ve seen. It offers a very film-like grain. While it took me several years to finally obtain my first full-frame camera I was finally able to make that leap when I got my Nikon D800.

Camera Body

Nikon D300

Nikon D300 DX 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera

The Nikon D300 is still a powerhouse of a body, even though it was released in 2007. It holds a lot of similarities with it’s full-frame cousin, the Nikon D700, including the 12MP resolution, high speed burst rate and many body/button stylings. It does lack the full frame sensor however which makes it difficult to get usable pictures in dark lit scenarios. It’s because of this that my personal work relies heavily on external flash lighting.

As of this writing(March 2016) I would say that 90% of the images on my site were taken with this camera.


Before I ever got my D300, I shot with my Nikon D100. The D100 was my first Digital SLR camera and I spent a great deal of time learning photography with this camera. It’s a great little camera to start on even now – a decade after its release. The D100 goes for about $100 or so used and it’s a great way to get into photography at a cheap price. Check out my Street Photography Gallery for shots all taken with this camera.

Battery Grip

Nikon Battery grip

Nikon MB-D10 Battery Grip Pack for Nikon D300

I’m a big fan of battery grips for their added stability and their increased battery life. I also love how professional this grip makes my camera look. 😉

It makes shooting vertical images a lot easier and lets me shoot a continuous burst of 8 images and I do take advantage of that for about half of all the shoots I do. My camera is never without this grip and my camera battery tends to last for like 2 weeks in between charges.

Memory Cards

SanDisk Extreme 8GB CompactFlash Memory Cards

Call me overly cautious but I prefer to shoot on CF cards no bigger than 8GB. Even then, most of my cards are 4GB’s. Why? Because I don’t want to put all my eggs into one basket. My camera doesn’t have a second card slot so if I’m shooting an event, like a wedding, and a card fails on me I don’t want to lose all my images. I like changing cards out when they’re filled up, reminds me of changing film in my old Nikon FG. These SanDisk cards are fast and a great brand. I trust them with my livelihood.

Low Light Lens

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens

I am absolutely in love with this lens. It was the first and only lens I ever had for my Nikon D100. I spent the entire first year of my photography career with this lens and nothing else in my bag. I used it for everything! I love the shallow depth of field on this thing.

The best part about it? The price. You can pick up a used one for about $100 on eBay or Amazon. Just be aware that if you have a camera like the D5000, D3000, D40 or D60 series cameras that you’ll need the G version of this lens for the autofocus to work.

If you’re curious about the quality of the images this lens, check out my Street Photography Gallery, which features images taken exclusively with this lens and a Nikon D100 body.

Headshot Lens

Nikon 105mm f/2.8D

Nikon 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor Lens

It may be old but this lens has got it going on. I use it for headshots and product photography thanks to the macro capabilities. It is a sharp lens and produces some gorgeous bokeh at f/2.8. It’s also built like a tank.

It is a slightly older lens though, which means the AF is a little slow and noisy. Still one of my absolute favorite lenses and has served me well. I’ve since moved on to my Nikon 80-200mm lens for my headshots.

If you’re curious about the kinds of images this lens produces, I used the 105mm f/2.8D lens almost exclusively on this shoot.

Workhorse Zoom

Tamron 28-7mm f/2.8 Nikon

Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Lens

This is my undisputed workhorse lens at the moment. It used to be my 50mm but I love the range of this lens and it’s surprisingly sharp for a zoom lens. I use it for portraits, product photography, and it takes the bulk of my non-headshot images. Super quiet AF motor and pretty solid built quality from Tamron.

There are so many images on my site taken with this lens, but some taken exclusively with this lens can be found here.

Long Range Zoom

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8

This is a newcomer to my lineup of lenses but is already earning the coveted MVP spot in my roster. I use this lens primarily for headshots and portrais but it’ll also see plenty of use as one of the primary lenses at weddings and other events. If there was one lens that I would give up my first born child for it would be this one. The creamy bokeh and compression of this lens are hard to beat.

The first shoot I used this lens on was my lookbook photo shoot here.

Speedlights

Yongnuo Professional Flash Speedlight Flashlight Yongnuo YN 560 III

These flashes pretty much changed my life as far as photography is concerned. Lighting allows you to change the perceived mood of your surroundings and your subjects in a still image. The possibilities are pretty much endless.

I’ll be honest, growing up I didn’t think much of photography. I thought it was simply pushing a button and taking a picture of something that already existed with no input of your own. I didn’t see the creativity there. Well, I now know that it’s more than pushing a button and once you start adding in your own lights and modifying it for different effects there’s no end to what you can create.

As for this flash, it’s an inexpensive manual flash that’ll get you in the strobist game for under $100. It’s plenty powerful for a host of different situations but eventually you’ll have to move past your first light. Until then though, I’d recommend the One Light 2.0 Workshop by Zack Arias. I learned a lot from his original One Light DVD and even though I’ve yet to see it, I’m sure the 2nd iteration of his first workshop is even better. I recommend it sight unseen.

Flash Triggers

Yongnuo RF-603 N1 2.4GHz Wireless Flash Triggers

You’ll definitely want to get at least one pair of these triggers to trigger your off camera flashes. Though the Yongnuo’s 560 III have a built in transceiver you’ll need something to trigger the first unit with and also you never know when you’ll just need a backup. Make sure any triggers you order are specified to work with your camera specifically.

Octo Softbox

CowboyStudio Pro 30-Inch Octagon Umbrella Softbox

I’ve heard as Octoboxes referred to as portable window light. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Personally, I love the shape of the catch-lights with this modifier, but I also love that it folds down like an umbrella and is super easy to set up.

Want to see some example images? I used this modifier on my key light on this shoot.

Umbrellas

CowboyStudio 43-Inch Convertible Umbrella

Umbrellas are probably the absolute first modifier you should play around with. There are several different variations on umbrellas and they all produce a certain quality of light that’s hard to explain without visual aids. I urge you to simply pick up one or two and try it out for yourself. I love the convertible umbrellas because you can use them in shoot through and reflected variations.

Flash Bracket

Fotodiox Elite Flash Umbrella Bracket

You’ll need an umbrella bracket to mount your flashes onto your light stands but they also allow you to use, as the name implies, an umbrella light modifier. Pick up as many as you can of these. I really like these Fotodiox ones. They’re quite solid and almost all metal construction.

Grids

Rogue ROGUEGRID 3-In-1 Stacking Honeycomb Grid System

I really love using grids on my flashes. I basically think of them as being able to convert a harsh flash into a spotlight. It’s still a harsh light but it does a great job of concentrating your light to one point. Different degree grids will give you a different effect.

Gels

Rogue Gels Universal Lighting Filter Kit

Gels can be used for color correcting the white balance of your external lighting, but they can also be used for cool effects.

I used these grids on some images on this shoot. Try and guess which ones. 😉

Reflector

Neewer 43-Inch 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector

Trust me, you need a reflector. They allow you to bounce more light onto your subjects when it might not be practical or possible to use an external light source. I use mine as often as I can. The only downside is you might need an assistant to hold it. There have been many times where I wish I had a reflector and haven’t had it. It’s a good idea to buy a smaller one too and keep it in your camera bag(s).

I use the silver side of my reflector a lot for headshots and the translucent side as a light diffuser when there’s patchy light. Great price for an item you’ll use for years to come.

Air Blower

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

There are plenty of crappy sensor blower thingies like this but they all pale in comparison to this one. It’s strong and gets dust and grime out of my sensor without any hassle. I totally use it to get crumbs out of my laptop keyboard too.

Careful though, don’t get caught by TSA with it. 🙂

Card Reader

Lexar Dual Slot USB 3.0 Reader

I’ve tried many card readers throughout the years but this one is my current favorite because it’s USB 3.0 compatible and reads both CF and SD cards.

No need to get fancy though, I’d recommend just buying a Card Reader that fits your budget.

Lens Wipes

Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths Wipes

Not too much to say about these wipes other than I really love them. I use them to clean the front lens elements on all my lenses and occassionally my computer screen and glasses. 🙂 They’re worth their weight in gold.