Somerset Wildlife Photography

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Below is a look at my kit and some alternative options to new and expensive equipment....

When I started out I bought  a second hand body and two lenses from work for £280. I now know that I actually did very well with the lenses being worth much more than the purchase price on their own! Due to my initial good fortune I have continued buying good quality second hand gear that allows me much better quality glass for my money. If you are on a budget then the second hand market is an option well worth considering. I have included most of my kit on this page, however due to the type of work that I do, I generally travel as light as possible. Hopefully this list will demonstrate the choices that I have and what is necessary to consider on every trip...

Apologies this page is waiting for an update, I now shoot with Nikon D7100 bodies.

 
NIKON D7000 + BATTERY PACK
This is my main body, which is proving a very capable wildlife camera. The extra mega pixels (16mp) over the Nikon D90 (12mp) give a slightly better crop value. The DX sensor gives greater focal range when using my old AF lenses, meaning small distant objects such as birds become more reachable.

NIKON D90 + BATTERY PACK

This has now become my second body and is great value for money over more expensive Nikon models. I use this body for a large percentage of my macro work and find it fast and reliable! Like the D7000 it also has a DX format sensor and an extremely impressive ISO range!! A really great body for anyone wanting an affordable but quality wildlife camera.


FUJI S1 PRO

My first digital body but unfortunately rarely used now that more modern cameras with a much higher pixel count have now superseeded it. Still worth a mention as it is still a very capable body and great for landscape work.

NIKON NIKKOR AF 300mm f4ED

My main everyday lens reasonably fast and top quality glass at an affordable price. A bit heavy but still very good for handheld work Also compatible with my teleconverters so a good wildlife all-rounder!

NIKON ED AF MICRO NIKKOR 200mm F4 D
Claimed to be one of the sharpest lenses ever made by Nikon! A versitile macro lens that will close focus down to 12inches! I picked this one up with a £200 discount as it's box was slightly damaged!...

NIKON NIKKOR AF 80-200mm f2.8ED

Like the 300 an older model but quality glass and very fast, works with the teleconverters to extend focal range when required. Again a bit heavy but well made and very usable hand held.

SIGMA APO TELEMACRO 400mm f5.6D

A cheaper option in the 400mm range, best suited to bright conditions and use on a tripod/monopod. A very good hide lens. 

NIKON NIKKOR AF 35-70mm f2.8D

A really cracking general purpose lens, well made metal construction, fast and sharp with a macro setting to boot although macro is manual focus only on this lens.

TAMRON SP 90mm f2.8 AF MACRO

An old favourite with many macro photographers and a steal if you can find a decent one second hand. competes with the very competitive 105mm macro market offering a good alternative if cost is a factor for you.

SIGMA 50mm f2.8 DG MACRO D 

This is probably my main macro lens and gets a lot of use. Again a good second hand buy if you can find one.

NIKON NIKKOR AF 50mm f1.8D 

Super fast 50mm lens for low light conditions

SIGMA AF 24mm f2.8 SUPERWIDE

Fast wide angle lens for landscape work. A little bit old and noisy but good optically and I find its small size makes it easy to stick in my pocket if traveling light and needing a wide angle option.

TAMRON AF 19-35mm f3.5-4.5 WIDE ANGLE

Not one you would expect to find here but I love this lens for landscape work and have used it a lot. Extremely good value for a cheaper option.

SIGMA APO 1.4x & 2x TELECONVERTERS

KENKO PRO 1.4x & 2x  TELECONVERTERS 

These teleconverters work on both my 80-200mm & 300mm lenses offering pocket size extra focal length when required.

FILTERS

A good range of filters can make a big difference for the right shot.

SPARE BATTERIES

Although Nikon batteries seem to last forever I always carry two extra rechargables and some normal batteries with adaptor just in case!

MISC ITEMS

All those things that need to be in your bag, shutter remote controls, cleaning kit, spirit level etc...

SPARE MEMORY CARDS

I favour using a few smaller cards over one large card and generally shoot on 4GB. I carry a range of spare cards in a plastic box to keep them dry and dust free.

HAWKE FRONTIER 8x42 BINOCULARS 

A cracking pair of binoculars with great close focus so ideal for spotting dragonflies and bugs as well as birds and bigger stuff!

CAMOUFLAGED HIDE NETTING

Folded up in the bottom of my bag this 3mx3m camo netting makes a quick temporary hide or a good cover whilst lying on the ground.

LENS HOODS & LENS CAPS

Dust is our worst enemy so I always keep a selection of lens caps in case I lose one. 

GERBER MULTI TOOL 

Ever been in that situation when a screw comes lose or something breaks....

TORCH

Going after a SEO last summer I was out later than expected and found myself with a long, dark walk back. On rougher terraine I could have found myself in trouble and therefore I always carry a torch now!

CAMOUFLAGED CLOTHING & COVERINGS

Some situations call for a stealthy approach so I always carry at least a camouflaged hat and face veil. My general jacket is camouflaged so I can quickly blend into my surroundings if required.

HOT DRINKS FLASK

It is important to keep hydrated and warm so I never leave without my flask of builders strength tea! An energy snack is also carried in case I'm out longer than expected or the weather turns nasty.

 

BAGS

I have a variety of different size bags all in drab colours or camouflage. The different sizes give options depending on where I'm going and what I need to carry. I find the bum bag, which fits around my waist really good as it will carry 2 smaller lenses, my flask a hat and veil plus a few other sundries comfortably. Wearing it round the waist also takes pressure off my back which is good and makes for a comfortable day.