Pro tips

HOME: Pro tips

As a full time Nikon professional I have gathered a lot of experience and knowledge here and there about all kinds of photography related issues. In this section I am sharing this knowledge. Remark: some things aren't hard science or set in stone, but rather drawn from my personal experience.

What you do with the information on this page is totally up to you. I always like to talk Photography with other enthousiasts, so if you come across something that raises questions or you think needs fine-tuning or correcting: please reach out to me via my socials and send me a message. I always reply.

Starting out

"Can I become a photographer?" • Yes, anyone who ever held a smartphone before and has taken at least one photo in their life is essentially already a photographer.

"Cameras, lenses, isn't that all really expensive?" • It can be if you want it to. You simply can make photography as expensive as you are willing and able to spend money on it, but in photography it's just like everything else in life: you don't need a fancy equipment to get fancy results, although it sure can help.

"What do I need to start out with?" • Simple, any camera with a lens will help you on your way. That can be a DSLR with interchangeable lenses but it can also be a phone, a compact camera, a mirrorless camera or even a film camera like back in the old days. In short: any camera with a lens will do.

"Can anybody become a professional like you?" • I think so, yes. But it depends greatly on what kind of person you are. Are you creative, do you have a keen eye, are you artistically inclined? All these things help to go from becoming a photographer to becoming a great photographer. There's another aspect to this question: I am a full time professional, meaning that photography isn't just my life, it's also my livelihood. It pays the bills. I'm a small business owner and that's not for everybody. It comes with its own challenges opposite a job with a steady income. If you can handle that: you can do it too.

"How do I determine what camera and lens(es) should I get?" • You want something that suits your needs. Become a wildlife photographer requires a different camera and lens than an interior design photographer. What camera you should get will be determined by what you like or what you think you like. Pro tip here is: go to your local camera store and start a conversation with a sales person. It's like with buying a car or another piece of equipment that might stick with you for a long time: you want to give it sufficient thought and the sales person can help you with it. Together you will determine what you like, following by what you need. You also are going to want to share your budget. You do not need the most fancy camera if you don't know what to do with it: start with a basic model, something not to expensive. The golden rule in photography is: once you know a certain piece of equipment inside out and start running into limitations, only then it's useful to upgrade. How steep your learning curve is going to be depends on the time and will you are prepared to invest in your hobby.

"What brand should I go with?" • That's a tricky one because there's simply no one right answer here. Just as with cars, it can be any brand. Most likely the brand you choose will determine your choice for the rest of your photography life, since a Canon lens can't be put on a Nikon system just like that. Personally I went with Nikon because the sales person in the store suggested it to me at that time because Nikon has a very large ecosystem of lenses. There are many older and recent lenses available for all kinds of Nikon cameras. Which is a big advantages, because second hand or older lenses are cheaper and great to start out with. Most important here is: no brand is better than the other, but there are more high-end, more exclusive or specialised barnds, such as Zeiss or Leica. (Especially that last one is refered to as the 'Rolls Roys of photography' because of its price tags). However nowadays almost all big brands produce all kinds of different quality gear from basic to professional, from cheap to expensive. Everything is out there. What you will go for is up to you. There can't be a wrong choice.

Nikon gear tips

"What camera should I get?" • You want something that suits your needs. A wildlife photographer requires a different camera and/or lens(es) than an interior design photographer. What camera you should get will be determined by what you (think you) like. 

"What lens(es) should I get?" • Same as above. But when it comes to lenses there's a golden rule here as well: camera bodies will eventually die on you. If you buy a lens it can literally stick with you for decades, especially when it comes to higher-end glass. In general more expensive lenses are better than cheap versions. The professional lenses are the most expensive lenses but if properly taken care of, they will last a lifetime because of their superb build quality

"What cameras are out there?" • Nikon's portfolio spans over a century worth of camera and lens making. The company was founded in 1917 in Japan and only recently celebrated its 100th birthday. In that time the accumulated knowledge about cameras resulted in a lot of camera bodies and lenses. Of course as time progressed technology progressed with it. The most recent camera bodies don't have a mirror any more, making them smaller and lighter than their mirror equipped counter parts. These mirrorless camera's are the future. Every big grand is going mirrorless these days.

As of August 2021 Nikon is shifting its focus more and more towards mirrorless cameras and their accompannying lenses. Lenses for older DSLRs will not fit on a mirrorless camera unless you use an adapter. There's no adapter available the other way around, meaning that lenses designed for mirrorless cameras won't fit on DSLRs.

Both in cameras with and without a mirror there are cheaper and more expensive models. There are beginner and professional models. The DSLR range is wider, because mirrorless cameras from Nikon are around only for a few years at this point.

There is also the matter of sensor size. Cameras with a smaller sensor are called APS-C or DX cameras. Camera's with a larger sensor are called Full Frame or FX. A larger sensor is literally larger and therefore more expensive. In generala  camera that's newer is also more expensive than an older model and to close off: a professional model of course has a bigger price tag than a beginners model.

When it comes to DSLRs Nikon has designated a letter "D" and a number to each of its camera's. The smaller the number, the more professional the camera is. The beginner models are divided into three groups: entry level (D3xxx), Upper-entry level (D5xxx) and Midrange and pro usage (D7xxx). Cameras in these three categories are all smaller sized (DX, APS-C) cameras.

Above these three categories there's a prosumer line with for people who want pro specifications but don't need the heavy duty. In this line there are camera's like the D100, D200, D300 and the most recnet top of the line DX camera: the D500.

There's also a complete line up of FX cameras with prosumer level camera's such as the Df, D600, D610, D700, D750, D780, D800, D800E, D810 and the D850.

And finally there's the high-end professional line, which holds all Nikon's (former) flagship models. They are all FX and top of the line. In this category you'll find cameras like the D1 (1999), D2 (2003), D3 (2007), D4 (2012), D5 (2016) and the D6 (2020).

Which one you should go with is up to you. Some photographers swear by FX. But then again, the most recent DX/APS-C DSLR (D500), is better than quite a few older FX models.

All in all: a lot of information. The full wikipedia article can be found here.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In