I have always been keen on capturing moments through my camera, but this interest turned into a passion when we were gifted a Nikon D80 DSLR camera – this was six years ago and as they say there has been no looking back.Up until a year ago, I practiced the basics on the entry-level Nikon D80 and only then decided to invest in a full-frame DSLR camera – the Nikon D610. No prizes for guessing I’m a Nikon fan :).
Nikon D610 (image credit: Ken Rockwell – www.kenrockwell.com)
Although technically the full-frame D610 offers many benefits over the D80, in layman terms it just produces better image quality, larger images, and most of all, really good low-light performance. I love the fact that the D610 comes with 2 memory card slots so if you click in RAW, it’s easier to have RAW files in one card and JPEGs in the other. The 24 megapixel sensor means that the images are massive in size, so hard disks can fill up rather quickly ;-). The biggest addition for us (especially after we started the blog) has been the capability for recording HD quality videos – we tried it out in Iceland and loved the results. It’s only natural that as technology advances, cameras and image sensors get better and undoubtedly the quality and features offered by the cameras produced in 2013 (D610) will be much better than those developed in 2006 (D80).
All in all, the D610 is an excellent camera for amateurs and semi-professionals (even professionals I’d say), is easy to handle and offers better battery life than my old D80. The only negative for me so far has been the weight – it’s much heavier than my D80 and it took me a while to get used to the added weight.
Price: £1,389 on Amazon as of August 2014. You can purchase it here
A lot of people ask me what camera I use – I usually tell them that they should ask me what lenses I have. In my opinion, lenses play a much bigger role in the image quality (of course the photographer’s eye and skills matter the most but let’s leave that for another article shall we?). There are tons of lenses out there in the market that can break one’s bank. A part of me would love to have a couple of those lenses but I prefer travelling light over lugging an array of heavy professional lenses around. The Nikon 28-300mm F3.5-F5.6 VR is the lens of my choice – it gives me the versatility and zoom range so that I don’t have to keep changing lenses. This really helps me capture images that I might have missed in the time I would have taken to change lenses. Needless to say, this versatility comes at a price – the image quality, although really good, is still not as good as some other high end lenses can produce. The other thing I don’t like about this lens is the weight – almost 1 kg – eek!
If you prefer to carry minimum number of lenses yet want flexibility and versatility when you are out and about on your travels, go for this lens.
Nikon 28-300mm (image source: Ken Rockwell – www.kenrockwell.com)
Price: £680 on Amazon as of August 2014. You can purchase it here
The lens I carry (and swear by!) for portraits is the Nikon 50mm f1.8 G. Why do I love it so? It’s super light, cheap, and produces excellent images, especially portraits in low-light situations. It’s amazing when used indoors say in museums, churches, and parties at night. That said, I love to use it for landscapes too – it brings out the colours and details brilliantly.
This is one lens that should be in every photographer’s camera bag – I can’t fault it in any way whatsoever 🙂
Nikon 50mm (image credit: fleetingcaptures.blogspot.com)
Price: £149 on Amazon as of August 2014. You can purchase it here
When we quit our jobs in 2015 to travel full-time, I bought a wide angle lens. With the 28-300mm that I had, I would often feel limited when it came to small focal lengths, especially for shooting buildings and landscapes. So after a lot of consideration and dilemma, I decided to get the Nikon 18-35mm f3.5:4.5g. The reasons I chose this over other more professional wide angle lenses were its weight and cost.
Price: £549 on Amazon as of May 2016. You can purchase it here.
Finally, my latest favourite lens has to be the Tamron 24-70 f2.8. It’s perfect for portraits, street, and landscape photography. The constant wide aperture is a god-send for a good bokeh (useful in portrait photography) and the Tamron build-quality is amazing. What’s more, it’s almost half the price of the equivalent lens from Nikon even though the Nikon version does not have Vibration Reduction. All in all, a great lens for travel photography, albeit a bit on the heavier side.
Price: £679 on Amazon as of May 2016. You can purchase it here.
I could not have been happier with my camera gear – of course, there is no limit to enhance one’s professional photography gear, but I don’t see myself lugging more weight than I already do at least for the next couple of years :). The features in the new D610 are amazing and really aid a photographer in getting the best out of a situation. The two lenses work perfectly together too.
Leave me a comment if you’d like a more detailed review of my camera and lenses. In the meantime if you’d like to read some expert advice, I’d suggest going through Ken Rockwell’s website – his website has everything you could possibly want to read about Nikon cameras and lenses.