January 3, 2012 at 12:27 am #2533
Wandering around London for the recent holiday, I kept coming across shots I wanted to take at odd angles that didn’t work well with my standard tripod – whether I was doing long exposures, multiple exposures, or just wanted to be in them, I couldn’t hold the camera, but there was no alternative. I started thinking more and more about getting a gorillapod. Santa left me a couple gift cards for Amazon, so I was wondering if anyone has experience with the gorillapods. I’m looking at the zoom version (http://tinyurl.com/7vv3d3x) since it can hold an advertised 3kg, so my D7000 should be fine for the most part. I can use it to get near ground-level angles I’m looking for, as well as hooking up to branches and whatnot. I’d also throw the ball head on there for more control (http://tinyurl.com/7pxp4de). Any thoughts or alternate suggestions?
So that was for street photography…now to the other side. I’m hoping to get a little extra spending cash by going into portraiture. I’m looking into a simple setup to begin. In my cache right now, I have:
– D7000 with 18-105mm kit lens
– Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens (1968, love the antique effect this glass gives when the subject is backlit)
– Vivatar speedlight that was recently dropped (I won’t name names, because it was me and that’s just embarrassing) and now works only in slave mode
– Tripod (not fancy, not cheap, a good average that suits my needs so far)
– UV lens filters (more so I don’t scratch my glass than anything)
– Camera backpack
– Extras (spare battery, lots of SD cards, lens caps, etc.)
From U-man’s suggestion after I asked about lighting in some of his photos, I was thinking of getting an off-camera flash sync (http://tinyurl.com/86kes75) which would be good for assorted photos as well as portraiture. To get more portfolio-style photos though, I’ll have to replace my flash (http://tinyurl.com/7wmghz8), as well as stock up on an umbrella setup: tripod (http://tinyurl.com/8yu3k9h), hotshoe adapter (http://tinyurl.com/8a43nua), and umbrella (http://tinyurl.com/7gg7vpz).
Now, so far what I’ve found seems to be the best for budget, but it begs the question: what might I be doing wrong? I worry about putting too much money into quality equipment before I know what I’m really doing, but am I making a mistake by going into the budget stuff? Is there something else I should be looking into instead? I wonder if, instead of concentrating on these items, I should instead look to get another lens, but I am trying to do as much as I can with the two lenses I have before allowing myself too much freedom with new glass (I think if I get too many lenses early on in my shooting, it’ll be a crutch – I’ve only been in the game for about a year now). Is there a particular flash I should be looking for instead of the one I linked? Is there anything necessary for photographers that I might be missing? Any and all feedback is much appreciated.January 3, 2012 at 2:21 am #43917zincprincessParticipant
I bought this which got a lot of good review including some from farktographers.
Before I bought, I did a lot of research but found most of it over my head. I found an article with various lighting set ups depending on your budget which is how I decided what to buy.January 3, 2012 at 4:06 am #43918linguineParticipant
I’ve got a gorillapod and I’ve been happy with it. It’s not going to come close to completely replacing a good tripod but its easy to just wrap around the strap of a camera bad so you’ll always have something with you whenever you’re someplace where you can’t/forgot/don’t want to carry around a tripod.January 3, 2012 at 8:58 am #43919ravnosticParticipant
Matt Suess used a Gorilla on our photowalk in Tucson. It was pretty cool watching him wrap it up to utility poles and such to capture a shot he’d otherwise not get. That’s all I got, though. The 50mm f1/4 should be good for portraits, if your sensor is ‘cropped’; it would work out to near 85mm. I’ve got the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and it’s great for portraiture.January 3, 2012 at 10:36 am #43920
zinc – Thanks for the link, lots of good tips there. Now I’m leaning toward getting a soft box as well as an umbrella for versatility, and the YN-560 looks like a really good choice from all the reviews I’m reading. I’ll probably end up getting that as well. Looks like a lot of people suggest the cowboy wireless receiver as well, and it’s not too pricey, so that’ll end up in my shopping cart.
‘guine – That’s pretty much what I was hoping to hear for the gorillapod. Thanks.
rav – Yep, cropped sensor. Sounds like the gorillapod will be good for my street photos, and the 50mm will hold me over for portraits for a while, once I get the lighting set up.
Thanks for the help, all. Sounds like I’m not missing anything too important.January 3, 2012 at 11:40 am #43921
Eh, scratch the softbox for now. While I can get a good one in the US for cheap and free shipping, if I want it in the UK I end up paying 2x the price, plus another 2x that price for shipping, for a total of 4x the US price. I’ll wait til a friend is coming to visit and have them bring one with them. Been looking for a while but can’t find a good, cheap softbox anywhere in the UK for some reason.January 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm #43922fluffybunnyParticipant
You didn’t list wireless triggers per se, but if you’re going off axis with the flash they make life easier and open up significant creativity.
I’ve got Cactus v5’s ( http://mpex.com/cactus-v5-radio-slave-set.html ) and am quite more happy with them.
I tried the cheap ebay triggers but found them to be too unreliable, these are a little more expensive ($32 ea vs 10-20$ ea) but much better than the one’s I started with.January 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm #43923
Thanks for that, fluffy. I’m looking at getting a set of Kaavie receivers and a trigger – seems like a frequently-used brand over here with good reviews, and it’s 40 GBP for the trigger and 3 receivers, so that’ll be good for multiple flashes. I think I’ll get those instead of the corded version I had listed above.January 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm #43924
Okay, update – I went ahead and got the gorillapod with the ball head for my low-ground shots that need longer exposures. For the lighting, I decided to cut back a lot to save up, so I got:
– Manfrotto umbrella adapter (http://tinyurl.com/6ruyh7c) that can be used on light stands and tripods, this way I don’t have to buy a dedicated light stand yet. None of my lighting ideas need really tall lighting at the moment anyways.
– YN-560 flash (thanks for the recommendation, zinc.
– Flash trigger with 2 receivers for my (now) 2 flashes
– 43″ diffusing umbrella
– 5-in-1 reflector
– Roscoe Strobist collection; figured I could have some fun with gels
Overall, the lighting setup was dirt cheap compared to what else I was looking for, and seems like everything will work fine. I probably won’t even be using the umbrella except for special occasions, but I already have other things in mind for the Manfrotto adapter to come in handy for. I also got a couple of cheap extension tubes for macro work. With the money I had left (that I had been planning to buy more pro-style gear), I decided my big splurge for 2012 was to buy a Sigma 10-20mm F4. It’s used, but good condition, and a lot cheaper than retail price. Should be getting a lot of use from that with architecture and landscape shots. Looks like it was a good Christmas 😉January 12, 2012 at 12:06 am #43925Plamadude30kParticipant
Admittedly, I don’t know much about portraiture, but what I have heard is that quite a few people prefer mild telephoto glass to 50mm primes for portraits because of the differences in distortion. In my own experience, I can only say that I prefer the portraits taken on my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 to those taken on my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D. I can’t say, however, that I particularly *dislike* the shots with my 50mm. I just like the 90 more. Take this advice with as large a grain salt as you so desire.January 12, 2012 at 12:28 am #43926
Admittedly, I don’t know much about portraiture, but what I have heard is that quite a few people prefer mild telephoto glass to 50mm primes for portraits because of the differences in distortion. In my own experience, I can only say that I prefer the portraits taken on my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 to those taken on my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D. I can’t say, however, that I particularly *dislike* the shots with my 50mm. I just like the 90 more. Take this advice with as large a grain salt as you so desire.
I was considering the Tamron 90mm, but I already get pretty good portrait shots when I want that style using the longer side of my kit 18-105mm. Do you see a big difference between the two (you also have the D7000, so I know I can take your advice)? Using the 50mm, I’ve only taken portraits of my girlfriend and some other close friends, but really love what I get with it. If I start getting paid for my photos, then I’m sure a the 90mm will come into play, too.
I never noticed it before, but I seem to like taking photos where the subject has a lot of room to play. Learned something new about myself, haha. The thing I’ll learn with portraits is that the buyers will all want different things, so I’m sure a 90mm fixed and 35mm fixed will come into play later to give me high quality photos and more room to play.
/edit to say: Damn, now that I look at that second photo, I really sucked at taking portraits 6 months ago. Should have had a fill-flash, adjusted white balance, focused closer on the subject…. Then again, at that time I had only had my camera for 6 months, so…learning curve? 🙄January 12, 2012 at 12:34 am #43927January 12, 2012 at 1:19 am #43928sleepingParticipant
what I have heard is that quite a few people prefer mild telephoto glass to 50mm primes for portraits because of the differences in distortion.
In DX-land a 50mm *is* a mild tele, more or less.
I seem to like taking photos where the subject has a lot of room to play.
That’s why you prefer the 50mm I think (a longer focal length gets more important when you’re getting towards filling the frame with the subject’s face). In fact you might find you prefer something even wider, say 28 or 35mm…January 12, 2012 at 1:29 am #43929Plamadude30kParticipant
If you’re getting good results with what you’ve got (and the examples I see seem to corroborate that conclusion), then keep on keepin’ on. To be completely, perfectly honest, my absolute favorite portrait lens is my cheapo 28mm f/2.5, which a lot of people have said is kinda wacky. Whatever works, right?January 12, 2012 at 1:57 am #43930
It’d still be nice to have a 35mm and 90mm prime laying around for fun. When I get the money coming in, that could be more of an option 😛
Plama – do you see a big quality difference between your 90mm and the kit lens at a similar focal length? I’m just curious how much of a difference it might make. Maybe sharpness or chromatic aberration?
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