Nikon Z7 II
Nikon, later than other manufacturers, expanded its product range with mirrorless cameras.
To take full advantage of these new cameras, Nikon introduced a new lens mount, the Z-mount. This brings several advantages over the old Nikon F-mount. The Z-mount is larger than the F-mount. Thus, more light falls on the sensor. Accordingly, smaller, more compact and, above all, much lighter lenses can be constructed.
However, the new lenses of the Z-mount cameras are in no way inferior to the old lenses. On the contrary: the image quality is even better and meets the highest demands! Not only are the lenses getting smaller, but the new Z cameras themselves are much smaller and lighter than the big SLRs.
I have chosen the Nikon Z7 II. This camera is great for nature and landscape photographers.
With 45 megapixels, it has excellent resolution. Nikon gave the camera two Expeed 6 processors at once, which speeds up the processing of data volumes. This results in a larger buffer memory and 12 frames per second.
Nikon has also integrated new features on both the hardware and software sides. For example, there is an image stabilizer (VR) integrated into the camera. This means that image stabilization can be used with all lenses. When using lenses that already have an integrated VR, the two VR systems complement each other, resulting in an even smoother viewfinder image/live view. Furthermore, there is a newly developed autofocus system with intelligent subject tracking, a new function for in-camera focus stacking and, for example on the Nikon Z7 II, support for the new fast CFexpress memory cards.
With mirrorless cameras, the image in the viewfinder is digital and therefore identical to the live view image. And as the image is displayed, so is the photo. Quasi: "What you see is what you get." Thus, it is also possible to take photos through the viewfinder directly into the backlight or directly towards the sun. In addition - in general - the image composition can be judged better.
The disadvantages are a somewhat higher battery consumption, since the camera must also calculate an image in the viewfinder. But the advantages outweigh the normal SLR cameras. Especially the smaller and lighter design is a big plus. It makes a big difference whether I have to carry 3 to 5 kilograms less in my backpack.
The Nikon Z7 II is a top camera that is really fun to use!
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.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Drones have become affordable for most photographers. A few years ago, you had to spend thousands of Euros on a drone. Now you can buy drones for the price of a good lens.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has been on the market for a year now. It was the first drone with a 20 megapixel sensor, an adjustable aperture and a mechanical shutter, which was also available at an affordable price. The photos can be saved as RAW files, which is, of course, an immense advantage over the JPEG format. The drone can capture video at resolutions up to 4K and 60 FPS. With the 1 inch sensor, you can produce high quality images. However, the quality of the images does not come close to the quality of a full frame camera. This is not possible with such a small sensor.
In addition, the Flight safety features improved over the previous model. The drone now has sensors for collision warning on all sides. The flight time is given by the manufacturer with 30 minutes. But in practice, 20 to max. 25 minutes are possible. This is sufficient to take a few pictures. Important, in my opinion, are in any case one or two spare batteries.
With drones completely new perspectives can be realized. They are an enrichment for the ambitious landscape photographer.
(sold because of change to full frame cameras)
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 Z 14-24mm 1:2.8 S
The Nikon Z 14-24 mm f/2.8 S is my new professional ultra wide angle lens for the new Nikon Z7 II camera. It weighs only 650 grams, making it much lighter than the old F-mount lens.
With the large open aperture of F 2.8, it is also very suitable for night photography for stars and Milky Way for example.
Nikon has managed to design the lens without a curved front lens. Thus, the lens has a filter thread to mount normal screw filters or adapter rings. This is a huge plus over the old F-mount version. I use the magnetic filters from Kase. They are very light, small, extremely high quality, and mount quickly and conveniently.
As an additional new feature, the Nikon Z 14-24mm has an OLED display that can show the aperture, focal length and focus distance including depth of field. The lens has 9 rounded aperture blades for a nice soft bokeh. The image quality and sharpness are sensational. The workmanship is also outstanding.
A well thought out and fantastic lens all around!
Nikon Z 24-70mm 1:4 S
The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S is my new normal focal length lens.
It offers me, compared to the old Nikon AF-S 24-70mm F2.8 a big advantage, namely the weight. It weighs only 500 grams and is therefore a lightweight.
The image quality a also very good and is in no way inferior to that compared to the old Nikon AF-S 24-70mm.
I don't need the large aperture of F 2.8 for my purposes, since I shoot almost exclusively landscapes and nature in this focal length range and mostly stop down anyway. The open aperture of F 2.8 is of course worthwhile for other areas of application, e.g. portrait photography. For this, Nikon also offers the new Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, which is also a lot heavier and more than twice as expensive.
For my purposes, the Nikon Z 24-70 mm 1:4 S is perfectly adequate.
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.
AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8
The AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f2.8 is an excellent macro lens.
I mainly use it to take pictures of small mushrooms and plants. It has a focusing distance of 31 cm (from camera sensor). Due to the focal length of 105mm this is quite sufficient to capture the subject in a large size. Of course, the subject can be beautifully cropped by the open aperture of f2.8. When photographing in the macro range, I mostly use focus stacking. The lens has an excellent sharpness, even with an open aperture.
The glass weighs 750 grams. With a price around 800 Euro it is not cheap, but worth the money in any case.
Nikon AF-S 14-24mm, f 2.8
(sold because of change to the new Nikon Z-mount)
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 24-70mm, f 2.8E
(sold because of change to the new Nikon Z-mount)
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 DX 10-24mm, f 3.5 - 4.5
(sold because of change to full frame cameras)
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.
Sigma Art 18-35mm, f 1.8 DC HSM
(sold because of change to full frame cameras)
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.
Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm, f 3.5 - 5.6
(sold because of change to full frame cameras)
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 35mm, f 1.8
(sold because of change to full frame cameras)
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.
After about 6 years of intensive use my old Sirui tripod is now retired. It was time for something new, big and above all stable.
Since three months I am now owner of the Gitzo GT3543LS. And what can I say, a dream of a tripod. It's very stable, has a high load capacity, but at the same time is flexible and modular and easy to handle even under difficult conditions. A well thought-out product.
When I'm on the road, I never actually attach my tripod to my photo backpack, but always carry it in my hand. Therefore my new tripod was allowed to be a little bigger.
The Gitzo GT3543LS belongs to the Sytematic series and is, as mentioned above, modular. It comes without a center column as standard and can be placed directly close to the ground. Even without the center column, the tripod offers a more than adequate working height of 146 cm (without tripod head). This means that the camera is located at a height of approximately 160 cm. The center column can be purchased as an accessory. With the center column extended, a working height of approx. 180 cm can be reached without problems! This can also be turned over with a few hand movements and without tools to hang the camera under the tripod, if you really have to work close to the ground.
Instead of the centre column, a levelling bowl can be inserted just as quickly. Thus, for example, panorama heads can be quickly aligned with the built-in spirit level without having to straighten the tripod. In uneven terrain this is a huge advantage!
This February, I put the tripod through an endurance test for two weeks on the Lofoten Islands. Sand, stones, sea water and icy temperatures were very hard on the tripod. Partly the tripod legs were frozen. The fine sand is known to be the perfect tripod killer. If sand gets between the threads of the ring locks, the leg segments cannot be screwed down properly. Therefore I had to clean it from time to time in my accommodation. The tripod is designed to be disassembled without tools. The cleaning goes very well and after that everything worked again.
For Gitzo tripods there are also all kinds of spare parts available in case something gets damaged.
The GT3543LS is a tripod for eternity, without compromise. It's big and with 2 kg not very light, but it has a lot of load capacity and is extremely stable. It is expensive, yes. But you only buy something like this once and then you have peace of mind.
Gitzo ball head GH1382QD
The Gitzo GH1382QD is one of the highest quality and ball heads I have ever used.
The thumbscrew for adjusting the camera works flawlessly. The camera adjusts with precision after a slight twist and locks perfectly just as easily. The friction, i.e. how hard or smoothly the camera can be adjusted, can be set buttery smooth with an additional screw. All screws are very handy and worked in such a way that they can be operated comfortably even with gloves.
In addition, the Gitzo GH1382QD has a bubble level on the top and offers a panorama function that allows you to rotate the camera 360 degrees. The tripod head weighs 500 grams and has an excellent build quality.
Without a doubt, the Gitzo GH1382QD is one of the best ball heads on the market.
The Sirui T-005KX is a small travel tripod for small cameras or accessories. I use it as a holder for accessories like a flashlight or my tablet. If I want to photograph ground level macros or illuminate areas of the subject it is a big help. The tripod is very well processed. The leg segments are made of aluminium and are equipped with twist locks. In addition, the tripod legs can be folded over to attach a fashlight close to the ground. The tripod is very suitable for light cameras and accessories.
(retired in the meantime)
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.
ND filters x64 and x1000 from Kase
ND filters can be used to create long exposures during the day. This makes it possible to make a marketplace look deserted, to smooth the waves on a lake or to make the water of a river look like fog.
The new ND filters from Kase are magnetic, which makes it much easier to attach and change them.
Most of the time I use the ND64 filter, which is equivalent to 6 stops. This is sufficient for most situations.
For extreme long exposures or when it's very bright, I then use the ND1000 filter, which is 10 f-stops. Depending on the time of day, the exposure can take up to 15 minutes.
It is important that the filter is attached as close as possible to the lens so that no stray light comes in from the sides.
I have only had good experiences with Kase filters.
Circular polarizing filter from Kase
I have chosen the polarizing filter from the company Kase. This polarizing filter is magnetic, which makes it very easy to attach and change. Since the filter holder is rotatable, the degree of polarization can also be adjusted.
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.
Lowepro Vertex 300 AW
After 5 years a shoulder strap of my old backpack had been loosened, so I decided to buy a new photo backpack.
The Lowepro Vertex 300 AW is already a great variety of years on the market and has consistently received very positive ratings. The backpack is 33 cm wide, 26 cm deep and 55 cm high. With these dimensions it still fits into the hand luggage of many airlines. It offers a lot of space for a lot of photo equipment. It goes without saying that the padded compartments can be designed completely freely.
Normally I have the following equipment with me: two full frame cameras with fixed lens, two additional lenses, many filters, adapter rings, several batteries, memory cards, tablet PC, various detergents, flashlight and headlamp.
The backpack can be opened completely with the two circumferential zippers so that you have convenient access to the equipment. In addition, the backpack has many useful functions. For example, it has sealed zippers, a large laptop compartment (for laptops up to 15 inches), three adjustable tripod holders and small mesh pockets on the sides for accessories and a strap on the top.
On the underside the backpack has an integrated rain cover that is ready for use in a few simple steps. The carrying straps are very well padded and comfortable. For different small materials several compartments separated by zippers are available on the front side. The quality and workmanship is excellent.
The Loewpro Vertex 300 AW is the perfect choice for those who need a lot of space.
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.
Xtreme Plus Active Cube XL
(retired in the meantime)
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!
Laptop Dell XPS 15
When I am on the road for several days, I use the Dell XPS 15 to organize and edit my photos.
The laptop has an Intel Core I7-10750H with 2.6 GHZ (6 cores, 12 threads) processor and 32 GB of RAM. A GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with 4 GB graphics memory (GDDR6) is used as the graphics card. From the factory, the Dell XPS 15 comes with a fast SSD hard drive with 1000 gigabytes of storage space.
However, the best thing about the laptop is its screen, which is specifically designed for image editing. The 15-inch OLED touch display offers a 3.5K resolution (3456 x 2160 pixels), has 100% AdobeRGB (100% sRGB) color coverage, and a perfectly evenly lit screen. Thus, the colors can be displayed accurately.
Furthermore, the laptop offers a fingerprint scanner, an integrated webcam, an illuminated keyboard and a slot for SD memory cards.
The battery life varies between 5 and 9 hours, depending on the application and computing load, and thus achieves very good rates. The weight is 2 kg.
The Dell XPS 15 is a fine little travel companion that I would not want to do without.
For photography I use the tablet PC mainly to connect my camera via W-Lan and remote control it with the app "Helicon Remote". Especially if you photograph macros close to the ground, it is very comfortable to work with the tablet.
Moreover, the picture composition can be viewed on the large screen in an excellent way. A wonderful improvement.
Memory has become inexpensive in the meantime. No matter if hard disks, USB sticks or memory cards.
The Nikon D750 as well as the Nikon Z7 II have two compartments for SD memory cards or XQD memory cards and offer the possibility to store the 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 back from a photo trip and the memory card is defective. This way I always have security.
I use memory cards from "Sandisk" which have a high read and write rate. Thus, I can exhaust the continuous shooting function of the Nikon Z7 II and up to 10 pictures per second can be saved (e.g. for wildlife photography). These memory cards are very high quality.
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.
L bracket for the Nikon D750 and the Nikon Z7 II
In the past, I often had the problem that the camera slipped when taking pictures in vertical format.
In vertical format, I had folded the camera on the tripod head (ball head) to the side. The Sirui ball head held securely, only the tripod plate had loosened at the camera and thus the camera, in connection with heavy lenses, sank down.
With the L bracket, the camera can now be mounted normally in vertical format on top of the ball head. The weight is thus on top again and vertical format shots can be realized much better. The L bracket is very well processed and fits like a glove. Of course, the remote trigger can also be connected. This makes shooting in vertical format fun again.
LED Torch Nextorch PA5
The Nextorch PA5 is a small robust LED torch designed for outdoor use.
It is impact resistant (up to a drop height of one meter) and waterproof (IPX4). The light has a warm tone. In addition, the lamp has a zoom function (the size of the light beam can be changed) and two light levels.
The battery lasts approx. 3.5 hours in brightest light (660 lumens) and up to 30 hours at low light levels (30 lumens). In addition, the battery can be replaced and the lamp can easily be recharged via the USB port. The Nextorch PA5 is a fine little companion on every photo tour.
Headlamp Petzl Reactic+
Whether for hiking or photography at night, a good headlamp is essential.
In addition, it is essential that the lamp has a red light function to operate the camera even in complete darkness. The red light means that you not lose the "Night vision" when the eyes get used to the darkness. In addition, other photographers are not dazzled and disturbed while taking pictures.
I use the Petzl Reactic+. The headlamp has different light levels. So the light can be varied in range and brightness.
The battery lasts in the brightest light, up to two hours and in red light up to 30 hours. In addition, the lamp can be conveniently charged via USB port.
Screw clamp for the torch and Tablet holder
When I work close to the ground in macro photography, using the flashlight and the tablet, it is very helpful to have both hands free.
With screw clamp and a tablet holder, that's no problem. The flashlight is placed with the screw clamp on a small tripod to illuminate the subject.
With the tablet holder, the tablet can also be placed anywhere conveniently or even attached to a tripod.
Such screw clamps can of course also be used to place the subject (e.g. a small branch with mushrooms) correctly in front of the camera.
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.
To clean the sensor I use the solution of "Eyelead".
The set consists of a kind of adhesive tape and a stamp to remove the dust from the sensor. The sensor is dabbed with the stamp. The dust sticks to the stamp. The stamp is then pressed onto the adhesive strip and the dust remains there. This method works reliably and the results are very good.
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 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 tone 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.
PureRAW2 from the developer DxO is a noise reduction software. There are now many such programs on the market. Many of these programs now use various AI routines (artificial intelligence) to analyze and process the images. I have tested quite a few of these programs, some with very noisy images. Many of these programs do a decent job, but if you look closer, you will find some flaws. Often the noise is removed, but also the details and sharpness are reduced. Some details even get really blurry.
The PureRAW2 software is the only one that convinced me personally. This software also works with artificial intelligence, which is adjusted depending on the camera and lens. Only the raw data (RAW files) are processed. It takes some time to process the data, but the results are amazing.
The RAW files are denoised excellently and precisely, so that the details are preserved. In addition, the images are sharpened (depending on the option selected) and lens corrections are applied. The result is pure, nearly flawless and noise-free RAW images. At 160 Euros, the software is one of the most expensive programs in this category, but well worth the money!
Since I started using PureRaw2, I no longer worry about high ISO values or noisy images.
Helicon Focus Pro
Helicon Focus is a special software for focus stacking.
The program makes it easy to combine several, even hundreds, photos with different focus levels into one photo.
The processing is much faster than in Photoshop and the results look much better. Of course, the software can handle RAW files and saves the results lossless as DNG files or in TIFF format.
Especially if you photographs a lot in the macro area, you will appreciate the advantages of the program.