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Author Topic: What equipment lasts??  (Read 4447 times)

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« on: January 25, 2014, 13:11 »
0
I have been a digital photographer since 2005 and contributing to microstock since 2007.
Lately I have been in a couple of equipment debates and it made me think about how quickly things change in our business.
During my time as a microstocker with focus on wildlife, and nische photography I have waded through a lot of equipment such as:
4 cameras, 10-20 lenses, flashes, strobes, neat image, topaz, portrait pro, combine ZM, HDR programs, photoshop elements and photoshop.
now, since I was challenged with minuses in a debate, i took a look and looked at what equipment I have kept going all the time.
And that is interesting.

The most constant factor is the tripod, a manfrotto 190PROB! after that comes the cheap strobes, which I use on a daily basis. The expensive strobes up in the attic are not used much, neither are the 2 sb 600 flashes. Their programming is too japaneese.

Cameras? They always change. My most productive for many years was 2 nikon d 200.
Lenses? Constant is the Sigma 150 mm , 2,8 macro, that I had from the beginning.
Software? most constant is xnview that I still use, and photoshop elements.

What equipment was with you all the time, what was your constant factor?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 13:14 by JPSDK »


« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 17:36 »
+3
My 1dsMk3 and 5d2 are the only bodies I've used for ... 5 years?  Same for the 70-200 and 24-70.  Oh and the 100mm macro.  Same ABs I bought in 2005 (and a few more ) woot!  And I could probably shoot fighters with all that.

OM

« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 19:18 »
+1
Still got and using all my Hensel studio flash generators (3200B and 1600B) from 1985-90! As the importer said to me around 2000, " If I had been dependent on Hensel repair income, I would have gone bust years ago!"
(These are not the action stopping flash units of today but were apparently made with quality components in the old 'West Germany'.)

Oldest cam is a Nikon D80 from 2006...50K actuations and still going strong.


shudderstok

« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 19:40 »
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i have to replace my canon bodies every few years, they all die a natural death. superb equipment, just used till the last drop. lenses i can always repair and tune up, so i do that once a year, and it seems to keep them alive barely, lots of duct tape on those puppies.

as OM says however, hensel flashes are bullet proof. so is the norman 200B, but i don't think they make those any more, glad i have a few hanging around for location work. the normans are pure tanks.

« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2014, 19:43 »
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Still using a D50 and I have lenses from the 80s...all still good.

gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2014, 20:24 »
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I haven't used other brands at the same level as my Nikon, so can't compare. I am interested in the comments regarding flash units. My Nikon speedlights are crazy expensive, and pretty easy to drop, so I'd be curious to try out some cheaper versions. Not sure if they integrate seamlessly into the v intuitive Nikon system though. I haven't used a flash in 6 months to be honest.

fritz

  • I love Tom and Jerry music

« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2014, 20:39 »
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I haven't used other brands at the same level as my Nikon, so can't compare. I am interested in the comments regarding flash units. My Nikon speedlights are crazy expensive, and pretty easy to drop, so I'd be curious to try out some cheaper versions. Not sure if they integrate seamlessly into the v intuitive Nikon system though. I haven't used a flash in 6 months to be honest.

Try Metz or Nissin flashes. They do the job pretty well especially Nissin for 1/2 of the Nikon price. I own NISSIN Di700 and Nikon SpeedLight SB-900 and Nikon isn't much better than Nissin. Actually is not better at all!

jbarber873

« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2014, 22:35 »
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   I have 5 comet strobes that i bought in the early 80's. It turned out that i was the first one to buy them, and the president of the company came by my studio with a huge bottle of sake as a gift when they were delivered. I've shot with those lights at least 3 days a week for the last 30 years, and aside from replacing flash tubes once, and one switch going bad, they have worked perfectly for that entire time. What a remarkable product.
   Some other equipment such as c-stands from matthews are built to last forever and do.
   Before the advent of digital equipment, I was using some lenses from post war germany well into the 80's, as these hand made lenses were the best in the world. But with the digital revolution, it's not that equipment goes bad as much as new breakthroughs make the older stuff not measure up. It's the same with computers. I wish I could have back all the money I've spent on computers over the years. I could retire!
    A lot of people from the analog age like to think that the work from that era, and the equipment, was somehow superior to today, but in my opinion, the quality of the equipment today and the images produced, have never been better. It's really a golden age to be a photographer. ( although it doesn't pay as well)

« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 07:00 »
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My niece is currently putting my old Olympus Trip 35 through it's paces with Kodak Tri-x and loving it

No batteries required and the lens is crisper than a newly printed five pound note.

« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2014, 07:14 »
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My Nikon speedlights are crazy expensive, and pretty easy to drop, so I'd be curious to try out some cheaper versions

I have an Nikon SB-900.

I also had two Yongnuo units from eBay which I was using off camera with wireless triggers. IIRC they were recommended at Strobist. Both died within a year. Rubbish IMO.

I do not mind using cheap flashes off camera - but I would be very nervous of attaching them directly to my camera. Unreliable flash voltages or some other electrical issue was (I think) responsible for killing (pop) my Sekonic meter which was attached directly to a studio strobe with a sync lead. That makes me nervous.

From now on I would rather stick to Nikon if there is any chance of attaching it to a camera. Used from eBay is a good option.

Still using my Nikon manual primes. Especially the 24mm.

mlwinphoto

« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 10:18 »
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Constants: Gitzo CF 1325 tripod with A-S B1 ball head, Nikon 60, 105, and 200 macro lenses, reflectors and diffusers, macro focusing rail.

Camera bodies, software, computers evolve with time and I upgrade as $ permits which isn't often in this business.


« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 10:34 »
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Interesting answers.
People have been in the business for a long time.

« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 10:47 »
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I've still got the Velbon tripod I bought at university in about 1975 for my Pentacon Six. It's still perfectly usable. I keep it at my house in Greece so I don't have to lug a tripod to and fro. I'm also using the 17-40 f4 and the 70-200 f2.8 I got ten years ago, when I was just starting at stock. The 24-70 had a nasty accident, or I would still be using that, too.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 10:49 by BaldricksTrousers »

« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 10:58 »
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Tripod and head should last a lifetime if you buy quality up front.

Lenses, again quality lasts though coatings and optics improve.  I have some manual glass from `60s and `70s that still gets use.  Modern zooms are better but old primes still hold their own.

Camera bodies change as sensors improve lately but that seems to have slowed down now.  Maybe a camera body cycle will stretch out to something similar to film bodies now.

« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2014, 11:59 »
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Camera bodies change as sensors improve lately but that seems to have slowed down now.  Maybe a camera body cycle will stretch out to something similar to film bodies now.

That's not going to happen, the manufacturers need everybody to rush out and buy a new model every three years. It's a fair bet that if we stop doing that their businesses will implode.

I've got a lot of 50s, 60s and 70s glass and the good primes are still good primes. Some of them produce a distinctive look that you don't get with today's optics (yes, it's because of design limitations, but it still adds some character).

Goofy

« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2014, 12:52 »
-1
Most likely the new camera or lens you purchase will out last the microstock business  :(



« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2014, 13:28 »
+1
Good question... haven't thought about it much but the most value I have received has to be from the Nikon SB 800's that have been severely abused but I'm thinking they must be 8 years old.  Along with those go the portable lights stands and pocketwizards, I use this setup with team/individual hockey/ringettte/soccer type photos.  When indoors at dance schools or school class photos the trusty Alien Bees with pocket wizards circa 2007 never let me down.   Nikon 70-200 and DX 15-55 have been with me for a long time.... although I guess I'll have to say goodbye to the 15-55 when I get that full frame body.

Equipment that fails the most:  backdrop stands.  There is a little spring inside that pops loose - I've gone through many of these  kits - and I only uses them a few times a year so that's pretty pathetic.  Next time I invest I think I will just purchase the heavy light stands from Paul Buff and keep the crossbars from the old sets.  (Their light stands have never let me down btw.)

Oh, and a Fancier backpack from 2005 is just starting to show it's age with a few seams starting to split. 

I know some people find amazing knockoffs on ebay but I have wasted a lot of money on cheap stuff in the early days.  I've learned that a cheap tripod costs more than the body of a camera when it knocks over in the wind, if I'd bought a real tripod the first time I would never know this and a good quality Slick should last the rest of your life - and you will never know it but it has saved your a$s.   Cheap lighting setups.... don't get me started! 

Uncle Pete

« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 13:18 »
+1
Oh cool, I had one of those, pocket and glovebox camera, went everywhere for years. Manual wind, compact, and worked fine. The flood in my storage area finished it off. Great rock solid little camera.

My niece is currently putting my old Olympus Trip 35 through it's paces with Kodak Tri-x and loving it

No batteries required and the lens is crisper than a newly printed five pound note.

JPSDK The one item that I've used the longest is my Monopod from the 60s. I still have a ND filter same age. Everything else is kind of analog, so not much use. Can't even get batteries for my light meters. Can't get new flash tubes for the strobes.

Flashes go weak, contacts corrode, batteries wilt, cameras become technologically obsolete (but my Canon FT still works and so does the AE-1), lenses last longer than anything else if you buy a good one. Things drop or break on their own, legs/gears/mounts go bad on tripods, cranks, feet, doesn't matter if it's a few hundred dollar whatever brand. Things wear out.

The monopod, I did have to clean an oil the threads a few years ago. Glued the rubber foot back on twice now. Re-glued the pad under the camera threads. I use it almost everywhere, take it on trips. It rides in the car, all the time... almost 50 years, I'd say I got my money out of that one.

« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 13:35 »
+1
My steel Manfrotto tripod will never die ;-)

« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 15:54 »
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The thing that will kill most modern cameras long term will be unavailability of batteries at a guess. Can't see  them being available as demand drops off. Dead battery = dead camera.
They're throw away items though. Even the most expensive and up to date. There was a guy at a big car boot I went to a couple of Summers ago. He was a well off amateur at a guess. He'd got several older Canon DSLR bodies, mostly mid range type just chucked on the table with a pile of other crap. No lenses or body caps on them. He'd finished with them. End of!

Uncle Pete

« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 16:29 »
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True, if I invested in a good heavy duty Manfrotto at this point in life, it would outlast me. I'm pretty careful with equipment and things last a long time. On the other hand I'm 66.  ;)

Here's the story on batteries, just so I'm more clear. Any of the small Mercury cells, like used in most of the film equipment, has not just become obsolete, manufacture is banned. There are very few replacements being made and some of those actually work, many are different voltages or don't preform exactly like the original batteries.

Side note, Instamatic with a K battery is a paper weight. Most light meters are obsolete collectibles. Many more standard camera batteries, like for a Canon or Nikon, aren't made anymore. No battery, no meter, no shutter. Nice for the bookshelf. Should I bother mentioning all the film sizes and types that are no longer made?

Yes pretty sad when a film Rebel is on sale with an EF 18-55 lens, for $10 at a church sale, and I decided I didn't even want the lens.  ??? I suppose I could have used it for "camera in a box" on the 10-D. Oh, but I'll buy a 2 1/2 foot lava lamp for $10?

« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 16:59 »
0

« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2014, 05:09 »
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I know some people find amazing knockoffs on ebay but I have wasted a lot of money on cheap stuff in the early days.  I've learned that a cheap tripod costs more than the body of a camera when it knocks over in the wind, if I'd bought a real tripod the first time I would never know this and a good quality Slick should last the rest of your life - and you will never know it but it has saved your a$s.   Cheap lighting setups.... don't get me started!

This is very true! In my experience you get what you pay for. My "cheap" lights from eBay were probably one of the most expensive mistakes I made in terms of the lost opportunities whilst I struggled with them for a couple of years. It was only when I attended a 'Lypse back in 2006, sponsored by the loan of Bowens equipment, that I realised the difference that quality lights made.

« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2014, 08:31 »
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An old aluminum Tiltall tripod hacksawed off and tigged in several spots for stability and a ballhead !!

« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2014, 10:14 »
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I know some people find amazing knockoffs on ebay but I have wasted a lot of money on cheap stuff in the early days.  I've learned that a cheap tripod costs more than the body of a camera when it knocks over in the wind, if I'd bought a real tripod the first time I would never know this and a good quality Slick should last the rest of your life - and you will never know it but it has saved your a$s.   Cheap lighting setups.... don't get me started!

This is very true! In my experience you get what you pay for. My "cheap" lights from eBay were probably one of the most expensive mistakes I made in terms of the lost opportunities whilst I struggled with them for a couple of years. It was only when I attended a 'Lypse back in 2006, sponsored by the loan of Bowens equipment, that I realised the difference that quality lights made.

I have bought a couple of lenses off ebay.
Some were disappointing, others filled a hole in the equipment collection, but ONE was worth it all (sigma 14 mm 2,8).
Also I bought some cheap (and they do feel cheap) strobes (interfit). But they work well and I use them every day, I even bought an extra set.
But ebay is good for secondary items, such as batteries, remotes, filters, lenshoods, slave eyes, macro racks, bellows, sensor cleaners and memory cards.
Last time I bought lens hoods, I bought 5, because they were so cheap. It is soon time again, they fit many of my lenses and I loose them all the time.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 10:16 by JPSDK »


 

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