Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mountain-top photography (part 3 of 5 - camera gear)

Not much change here, I'll still take a Nikon D300 body, but lenses will be pared down to save weight. The Nikkor 24mm PC-E and zoom lenses will stay at home for most of these trips.

Instead I'll take a couple of 30 year old Nikon AI/AI-S manual focus lenses with me. Manual focus is no disadvantage for landscape, they are optically good, tough, and have good clear depth-of-field scales, unlike modern zoom lenses :-(

My 20mm f/2.8 & 28mm f/3.5 together weigh in at well under 500 grams (about 250 grams less than the 24mm PC-E). I'm keeping an eye out for a good 20mm f/4, a favourite of the late Galen Rowell, as this would save a little more weight and is more compact, or even a Voigtlander.

I have been using Lowepro pouches to protect lens and camera, but I'm switching to an Optech neoprene cover for the camera body and Snoot Boot (also by Optech) for the lenses. These take up much less volume in the pack, while still providing excellent protection.

Clockwise from top left: ND grads and polariser; Nikon D300; 28 & 20mm lense;
accesories (spare battery, cleaning cloth, shower cap, etc)

Tripod - essential in my opinion - is an old Manfrotto Carbon Fibre 441, with a short column and an FLM ball head with Kirk quick release, weighing in at about 1.4 kilo. The legs go neatly one side of the pack in a pocket design for walking/ski poles and the column and head go in the opposite side pocket, with the head protected by another Snoot Boot :-)

Snoot Boots: they're great! They come with belt loop and a clip for attaching to straps, D-rings, etc.

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