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Equipment

Equipment


Nikon D750

The Nikon D750 is the successor of the D600/610 and was launched in October 2014. The full-frame camera has a 24 megapixel sensor. This corresponds to the same sensor pixel density as with the D7000, i. e. 16 megapixels on crop format. This resolution is quite sufficient. More megapixels are only necessary if you want to produce large prints with more than three meters diagonal. And for this purpose, lenses of the highest quality are required in order to achieve a resolution with so many details.

I bought this camera because it has many useful features especially for landscape photography.

Firstly, the folding display. Finally! A function that many people have requested. I don't want to give it up. Especially if you are photographed close to the ground and you are forced to put yourself in the mud in order to recognize something on the display, you will love a folding display.

Since I often take photos in the twilight and at night, the noise behaviour at high ISO values plays an important role for me. And that's more than impressive. Even with ISO 6400, the images can still be used without any problems. With my old D7000 I set myself the limit at ISO 1600. In general, full-frame cameras in the high ISO range are generally superior to crop cameras. This is simply because they have a larger sensor and can therefore pick up more light on a larger area per sensor pixel. This results in a more accurate signal, resulting in less image noise.

The camera is exactly the right size, not too big and not too small. The recessed grip is slightly deeper than on the D7000, which means that the camera rests securely in the hand.

The autofocus is fast and precise. The triggering noise is nice and quiet. According to the manufacturer, the Nikon D750 takes 6.5 frames per second. That's quite enough for me. There is also a WLAN module on board.

The operation is intuitive and easy to use. In contrast to the D7000, the INFO button has moved up on the left side and there is an additional INFO button at the bottom right side. Good. It takes some getting used to. Every camera is a little bit different.

I have only just staggered between the D810 and the D750. Which is now more suitable for my purposes. In the end I decided on the D750, mainly because of the folding display.

Nikon D750

Nikon D7000

I don't want to list all the technical details of the camera here, but I just want to give you a short overview of why I chose this model at that time. In my opinion, whether you are satisfied with a camera is only apparent in practice. Because it's not how many great megapixels a camera has, but how to deal with them.

For five years now I have been using the Nikon D7000 with 16 megapixels, which is sufficient in my opinion. It doesn't have to be 36 MP.

It is located in the upper league of crop cameras and offers many features that the 5000 series does not have: e. g. a shoulder display, manual adjustment of the white balance to a self-defined Kelvin value, a spirit level in the Live View, of course two freely configurable adjustment wheels for e. g. exposure time and aperture, two compartments for SD memory cards, longer battery life etc....

For me, the usability of a camera is important and that all buttons are where you need them. You have to be able to operate a camera almost intuitively and without cumbersome "shift function keys".

Of course, there are some things I miss about the D7000, like a tiltable display, a cap for the viewfinder or a histogram preview in Live View.

But by and large the Nikon D7000 (just like the D7100 and D7200) is a great camera that has never let me down.

Nikon D7000


Nikon AF-S 14-24mm, f 2.8

The Nikon 14-24mm is the ultra wide angle for full format Nikon cameras. It was launched in 2012. At that time it was the best zoom ultra wide angle for full-frame cameras and I think it is still the best. Even Canon photographers have bought the lens to use with an adapter.

We are talking about a very high level of image quality. The lens is sharp, even with an open aperture. However, the sharpness slightly decreases at the edges. This is the case with every lens. Compared to the "Nikon DX 10-24mm f3.5 - f4.5" it clearly has the advantage.
The workmanship is of high quality.

Of course, this glass also has disadvantages. On the one hand, it is very heavy with a kilogram of weight. On the other hand, it has a curved front lens, which means that no filters can be attached. And especially in landscape photography, filters are essential. However, some manufacturers such as Haida reacted and developed an extra filter system for this lens. With a filter holder for 150mm wide filters all common grey filters, gray graduated filters and even square polarizing filters can be attached.
However, if you leave the filter holder mounted, the lens cap doesn't fit on it anymore. This situation is very unfavourable. That's why I have to grab another lens cap.

Nikon AF-S 14-24mm, f 2,8

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm, f 2.8E

The Nikon 24-70mm f 2.8E is my new zoom lens for the normal focal length range.

The processing leaves nothing to be desired. The image quality is excellent even with an open aperture. Even better results can only be achieved with fixed focal lengths. We are talking about very high standards here. The image stabilizer does a good job. The open aperture of f2.8 allows objects to be easily detached and combined with the image stabilizer, it is possible to take pictures even in low light conditions.

The lens is quite large and weighs just under a kilo! Size, weight and price are the only points of criticism for me. But a lens with this performance, quality and aperture is not available in small and cheap sizes.

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm, f 2,8

Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm, f 3.5 - 4.5

(sold due to conversion to full frame)

The Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm is one of my favourite lenses for landscape and interior photography. It doesn't want to get off the camera.

Due to the ultra wide angle, extreme perspectives are possible without warping everything like a fisheye. Small objects in the foreground can therefore look very large. At such ultra-wide angles, however, lines fall easily. It is therefore only suitable to a limited extent for architectural photography.

It has a very good sharpness down to the edge areas, which only slightly decreases with open apertures. In my opinion, the processing is also absolutely satisfactory. All around a very successful lens. For DX cameras, it is THE ultra wide angle lens.

Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm, f 3,5 - 4,5

Sigma Art 18-35mm, f 1.8 DC HSM

(sold due to conversion to full frame)

The Sigma Art 18-35mm was the first zoom lens with a continuous luminous intensity of f1.8 and was developed especially for crop cameras. The lenses of the Sigma Art series are designed for photographers who need excellent imaging performance.

The glass is quite large and therefore heavy. The quality and workmanship is beyond measure and the lens feels very valuable. The zoom and focus rings run precisely and are easy to use even with gloves. The sun visor sits firmly as if it were cast from a single mould. The optical performance is outstanding and the sharpness fits into the edge areas.

The lens shows a few small weaknesses when taking pictures in the back light. I have the impression that there are more blinding spots than with other lenses.

But of course it shows its strengths in night shots, e. g. in photographs of the Milky Way or northern lights, i. e. everywhere where light intensity is needed. Because the difference from f3.5 to f1.8 is only two f-stops! In other words, for shots where a lens with f3.5;3200 ISO is needed, the Sigma Art 18-35mm with f1.8 only requires 800 ISO.

On the whole, Sigma has done an excellent job and even a price of about 800 Euros is quite reasonable for such a lens.

Sigma Art 18-35mm, f 1,8 DC HSM

Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm, f 3.5 - 5.6

(sold due to conversion to full frame)

The Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm is my small always on top lens. It has good sharpness and covers a wide range of focal lengths. For small money (approx. 250 €) you get a solid and neat glass, with which you can give your creativity free rein.

The lens is available as a kit lens for different Nikon DX cameras. In my opinion the best kit lens, because it is not as limited in the focal length range as the Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm and has a slightly better image quality than the Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm. A very successful travel zoom lens.

Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm, f 3,5 - 5,6

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm, f 4

The Nikon AF-S 70-200mm is my standard telephoto lens.

It can be used flexibly and is also good for wildlife photography and for capturing details of nature, e. g. flowers and plants. With the lower focal lengths, it is also great for landscapes and with an open aperture, many subjects can be released perfectly. The Bokeh looks very good.

The autofocus is fast and precise and the focus is right where it should be. The lens weighs 850 grams, so you can easily carry a camera team around the whole day and take pictures from your hand.

The processing is very good and the lens feels high quality. The focus ring and zoom ring run evenly with a slight resistance. Just as you would expect from a lens of this price range.

For about 1000 Euro you get a very good tele-zoom lens that doesn't need to hide behind the highly acclaimed Nikon AF-S 70-200, f 2.8 in terms of image quality. Of course, the Nikon AF-S 70-200, f 2.8mm is a whole aperture stronger and an absolute top lens in all respects. But it is almost twice as difficult and you pay about 1800 Euro for such a device with an aperture step.

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm, f 4

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm, f 1.8

(sold due to conversion to full frame)

The Nikon AF-S 35mm, f 1.8 is a very good lens for beginners to learn photography. Because it is a fixed focal length, you can't comfortably zoom in and out and have to move. This way you learn to use different perspectives that you probably wouldn't have tried with a zoom lens. Sometimes take strong pictures upwards, or lying on the stomach... Different perspectives make the same motif more interesting.

In addition, you can experiment with the large aperture of f 1.8 very nicely with the sharpness plane. The glass provides very good image quality and sharpness. In general, fixed focal lengths are superior to zoom lenses in terms of image quality.

The lens is very light, small and looks cheap. But what can you expect for about 150 Euro? First and foremost, a lens should deliver good images, and that's what the Nikon AF-S 35mm does.

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm, f 1.8


Sirui T-2204X

Do you need a tripod for landscape photography? The answer is YES! Absolutely yes! And those who save here save one hundred percent at the wrong end. Question is, what kind of tripod? And one thing is clear: there is no perfect tripod.

I have chosen the Sirui T-2204X. It must be stable, a camera with large lenses must be able to hold it firmly in all positions and must not shake even in the wind. Exactly these points are fulfilled.

The Sirui T-2204X has twist locks on the legs, which can be opened with one hand movement, so that all leg segments extend at the same time. In addition, the tripod legs can be turned over so that the camera can be "hung underneath" the tripod, so that you can also take photos close to the ground. According to the manufacturer, the maximum working height is 1.42 metres. It has unscrewable spikes on the legs of the tripod and can therefore also be set up reliably on slippery ground, e. g. in a stream.

In addition, a tripod should not be too heavy so that you can wear it on your photo backpack. If a tripod is too heavy, leave it at home more often because you don't always want to carry this weight? The Sirui T-2204X is made of carbon fibre and weighs 1260 grams. It is a good middle way between the ultra-light models and the huge apparatus.

Other features include foam padding around the tripod legs (it's more comfortable in the cold if you don't have gloves on), a short and a long center column to change, and a hook under the center column (to attach the backpack, which increases stability tremendously).

The workmanship and quality of the materials is first-class. For about 350 Euro you get a decent tripod with a good price-performance ratio.

Tripod head Sirui K20X

I chose a ball head. So I only have to loosen one screw and can adjust the camera in all directions. This helps immensely in the image composition. Nothing is more annoying than loosening and tightening three screws each time. But there's a difference of opinion.

A ball head must be easy to loosen with one turn, and it must be able to be tightened again with just as easy a turn. And that works great with this model. The resistance can be easily adjusted with an additional screw, so that even heavy camera-objective combinations cannot fold down on their own. Of course, the camera can also be rotated 90° to work in portrait mode.

In addition, the Sirui K-20X is equipped with two spirit levels and offers a "panorama function". The ball head can be swivelled 360° with an additional screw. This is a nice feature, but not comparable to a real panorama head. If the tripod is not positioned exactly in the scale, aligning it with the bubble level of the ball head is useless. Nevertheless, the panorama becomes crooked. This is due to the fact that the panoramic axis of rotation is located underneath the spherical head and therefore cannot be aligned by spirit level. To do this, the axis of rotation would have to be above the ball head. I can see over this little shortcoming. It's just not a panorama head.

The tripod head weighs 400 grams and is excellently manufactured. So taking pictures with the Sirui K-20X is a pleasure.

Sirui K20X


Haida ND filters x64 and x1000

With ND filters, long-time exposures during the day can be realized. This makes it possible to conjure up a marketplace devoid of people, to smooth the waves on a lake or to make the water of a river run look like fog.

Most of the time I use the ND64 filter, which corresponds to 6 f-stops. This is sufficient for most situations.
In extreme long exposures or when it is very bright, the ND1000 filter is used, which is 10 f-stops. Depending on the time of day, the exposure can take 15 minutes.

It is important that the filter is attached as close as possible to the lens to prevent stray light from the sides. For this reason, the filters should always be fitted with the supplied foam gasket, provided that the filter holder does not have a gasket.

I have only had good experiences with the Haida filters..

Graduated filters in different thicknesses

I use gray graduated filters with either a soft or a hard gradient in the thicknesses 0.6 and 0.9 of Lee-Filters. I also have a reverse filter from Haida in 0.9 strength.

In my opinion, gray graduated filters are indispensable for landscape photography. There are usually two "symtoms" when capturing landscapes. Either the landscape is properly exposed and the sky is just white, or the sky is really exposed and the landscape is much too dark. This is because a camera has only a limited dynamic range.
In order to counteract this, landscape photographers use gray graduated filters in different thicknesses.
This darkens the sky and enables the camera to handle the new contrast conditions better.

Most of the time I use the soft filters for landscapes with irregular horizon lines and the hard filters for landscapes with straight horizons, for example at the sea.
Lee-Filters gray graduated filters are among the best on the market, have a very high quality and are correspondingly expensive. Other companies offer such filters much cheaper. Unfortunately, I can't judge the differences in quality, because I haven't been able to test other filters yet.

The reverse filter is specially designed for sunsets. It has an inverted soft gradient so that it darkens the sun on the horizon. Since this is a special filter, it is used far less often.

Haida Circular polarizing filter

I chose the Haida C polarizing filter. This polarizing filter is square, has the same dimensions as the other grey filters and can therefore be placed anywhere in the filter holder. Since the filter holder is rotatable, the degree of polarization can also be adjusted. In the basic position the polarization is at its highest, turning the filter does not polarize the light.

A polarizing filter is a special tool and by no means useful for all recordings. In some cases, he may even be able to make the recording non-recordable. The results can be adjusted depending on the angle to the sun and how the polarizing filter is rotated. The strongest effect is when you stand with your back to the sun. Reflections and reflexions on surfaces (e. g. on water, glass panes, leaves) are reduced or completely removed. This makes the colours appear more intense.

Of course, you can also make the colors more intense later on with the image editing, make the sky bluer, or else help, but the reflections can only be removed with a polarizing filter. It should be noted that a polarizing filter takes about 1/3 of the aperture light away.


Xtreme Plus Active Cube XL

If I really need a lot of storage space, I use the Active Cube XL from XTREM Plus on my photo excursions. The backpack is a real space wonder and measures 56 x 36 x 30 centimetres. I can easily fit all my equipment, consisting of a camera with attached lens, four additional lenses, filters, a laptop up to 17 ", cleaning materials and all accessories. And there's still room for at least two lenses.

The tripod can be mounted in the centre front or on the right side. The backpack also has holders for beverage bottles on both sides. In the upper area there is a large compartment for all kinds of accessories, e. g. rain jacket, gloves, hat, provisions, etc. In addition, there are two straps on the top to fasten even more accessories. So there's no end of space and if the backpack is really full, it's heavy!

The interior is of course divided into several very well padded compartments, which can be adjusted and replaced as desired. There are also several small compartments for storing memory cards, batteries, cables, adapters, remote releases, etc. It can be accessed from three sides. It couldn't be more comfortable.

The backpack is thickly padded at the back, has padded shoulder straps, an additional hip belt, a chest strap and is therefore very comfortable to carry. The photo backpack also has a rain cover. It can also be used as a slingbag. But I never do that personally, because it makes wearing it unpleasant for me.

The photo backpack also has a big disadvantage: It is too large for almost all airlines to carry hand luggage (according to regulations). On my last trip to Lofoten, however, there were no problems with the Arilines Scandinavian Airlines and Swiss. But I don't give any guarantee here, so everything at my own risk.

But otherwise the Active Cube XL is a great companion on every photo tour!

Active Cube XL

Tamrac Evolution 8

I mainly bought this photo backpack because it fits into my hand luggage with its dimensions of 48 x 32 x 22 cm. I've never had any problems with the airlines before.

But it is still so spacious that my complete equipment fits in it. But then it is also full and there is no room for other things like provisions, a jacket, gloves or other such things.

The backpack is divided into two sections: in the larger lower compartment there is a camera with attached lens, three additional lenses and the filter pocket. Of course, the compartment is thickly padded and the individual segments can be designed as desired. I use the smaller compartment at the top for other accessories: cable release, adapter rings, batteries, cleaning tools, etc....

In addition, there are compartments on the inside of the front flap and in the upper flap which are also equipped with zippers. The equipment can be accessed conveniently from three sides.

In the side flaps there are still very small compartments for memory cards, but they only have a Velcro fastener and do not keep them closed as reliably as zippers. I once lost a memory card from those same compartments! Since then, I don't use these subjects anymore. Such a thing must not happen and has to be better thought through with such quality backpacks!

In the back is a compartment for notebooks up to 15 inches in size. The tripod can be attached to the front panel. The backpack also has a rain cover.
This photo backpack can also be used as a slingbag and the remaining shoulder strap can be stowed in the back.

The Tamrac Evolution 8 is a fine little companion, but it has the weakness mentioned above.

Tamrac Evolution 8


Memory cards

Memory has become cheaper in the meantime. No matter whether hard disks, USB sticks or memory cards.

The Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D750 have two compartments for SD memory cards and offer the ability to store photos twice: the original on the first card and the backup on the second card. That's exactly how I do it. Nothing is worse than coming from a photo trip and the memory card is defective. That way I always have security.

I use SD memory cards from "Sandisk" which have a high read and write rate of up to 80 MB/sec. They are of very high quality. I've never had a problem with cards like this before.

Battery and power supply

You should always take spare batteries with you, especially on longer journeys. And of course, make sure you can recharge your batteries. Preferably every day. Besides cleaning your equipment, this is part of the daily ritual.

I only use the original Nikon batteries. I can't get anything else in the camera. This ensures that they also function perfectly and do not lose performance after many charging processes. Again and again you hear about batteries from other manufacturers which are cheaper but do not offer the performance and/or compatibility.

On my travels I always take three batteries with me when I have the opportunity to charge them every day. Otherwise there should be more. Take a little more and be on the safe side.

Care and cleaning

Cleaning utensils always belong in the backpack and are just as important as everything else.

I always have several microfibre cloths with me, cleaning fluid, a cleaning brush and a bellows for dust removal. In the cleaning liquid I had good experiences with a 1:4 mixture, 4 parts distilled water and 1 part isopropyl alcohol in a small spray bottle.

The cloths are the most needed. Especially in rainy weather, when it is snowing or when taking pictures on the water. This allows the water droplets from lenses and filters to be removed easily.

In the case of "stubborn" dirt or salt water on the filters, the cleaning fluid is also used. The filters can be sprayed with the liquid and then cleaned with a microfibre cloth.

When cleaning the lenses, it is important that you only put a few drops on the microfibre cloth and never tilt directly onto the lens!

The brush can be used to remove small dirt particles or grains of sand. If there is sand on the front lens of the lens, first remove the grains of sand carefully with a brush, never wipe them with a cloth, otherwise the lens may scratch. A bellows is also not recommended, as the sand grains can get into the bellows when sucking in the air, and thus into the camera during the next sensor cleaning!

I use the bellows primarily for coarse sensor cleaning. It should be clear to everyone that you can only do this in a clean, dust-free environment. Furthermore, you should not change the lenses if it is very dusty or sandy, as for example in the desert, or if a very high humidity prevails e. g. in foggy conditions. Try to enter a "protected" room in such circumstances.


Adobe Lightroom

Who doesn't know it? Adobe Lightroom is the perfect tool to manage and edit your photos.

The photos are stored in a library and can be comprehensively managed and organized. Images can be graded with stars, sorted by color markings, tagged with keywords, collections can be added, meta-data can be edited, photos can be tagged with GPS data and much more. And all this across folders.

The photos can be edited extensively. Whether white balance, contrast, black and white values, lights, shadows, colours, almost everything is possible. The photos can of course be cropped, straightened, lens corrections can be made and much more. All steps are stored in a log and can be undone without any losses.

Lightroom also offers maps where you can view your photos using GPS data.

Lightroom can also be used to design photo books.

This program is indispensable for every photographer and tool number one!

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the photo editor for photographers with which absolutely everything is possible.

The program works with different layers and masks. It can handle all image formats. Recurring actions can be "recorded" and called up again if necessary. Thus, work steps can be automated. It can create panoramas and much more.
The program is so versatile and powerful that you could fill several books with all the functions.

I use it to add the finishing touches to my photos. The possibilities are far more versatile than in Lightroom.

NIK Filter Collection

The NIK Filter Collection is an additional addon for Lightroom and Photoshop.

It is a collection of plugins with over 70 additional filters designed specifically for photo editing.

Among other things, the filters are used to reduce image noise, to sharpen images, to simulate analog cameras, or to create excellent black and white conversions. There are also plenty of filters for color correction and creative effects. In addition, it is possible to create HDR recordings from several images or by sound mapping.

The filters are very user-friendly. The results speak for themselves. This makes it possible to make image corrections that can otherwise be achieved in Photoshop by complicated or cumbersome means.