“What camera do you use?”

“All of them.”

This conversation happens a lot in my gallery. Folks come in, get awestruck by the work on the walls and in the bins, and start inquiring about how I produce such images. Inevitably, the question in the title of this post will come up.

This question is not a favorite among photographers. Serious practitioners of the art know that a camera is just a tool; a means to an end, the same as a paintbrush would be to a painter. Photographers are not enamored of this question because it seems to suggest that the questioner is equating the quality of the work to the quality of the camera rather than the skill of the photographer.

I’m never offended by the question, however, and the answer provided above is what I say more often than not. I have honestly gone through a LOT of cameras in the last 30 years. The images¬†currently on display in my gallery were shot using one of the following cameras: Canon 5D, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D800, Nikon D810, and the Fuji X100s. Other cameras I have owned or still own are: Nikon F2, Nikon FM2, Nikon F3, Nikon F4, Nikon D1x, Nikon D200, Nikon D2x, Nikon D70, Canon 40D, Canon 60D, Mamiya RB67, Mamiya 7ii, Bronica 6×6, Bronica 6×7, Takahashi 4×5, and the Shen Hao 4×5, not to mention a small army of point-and-shoot digital cameras as “carry everywhere” gear.

My current Nikon cameras (the D800 and D810) I use primarily for my landscape work. The D810 simply has the resolution I need to print my work large (16×20’s are the smallest images I offer in my gallery), but I also really like the sensor response of both the Nikons to the type of landscapes I like to shoot. The D800 serves as a second camera when I’m just not happy shooting one scene at a time.

The Canon gear I currently own (the 5D Mark II) I primarily use for portraits (though I do sometimes use them for landscapes even now). I like the sensor response to skin tones and I have created a killer B&W conversion process for the files that I really enjoy.

My Fuji X100s is just the nicest little camera I think has ever been made. I’d love for an interchangeable lens version to come out. I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

This year (2015) could be an interesting one for digital cameras: Canon is rumored to be releasing the 5Ds as a 50+ megapixel monster. Nikon is about to introduce a version of the D810 intended for astrophotography (which I used to do a lot of), with great response to the Hydrogen Alpha area of the spectrum (primarily responsible for the color you see in pictures of nebula). I’m really interested in seeing what both of these sensors are capable of doing.

I also expect some major advancements in mirrorless cameras to hit the stores this year. A mirrorless camera is smaller and lighter than a traditional DSLR, and the lenses can be of much higher optical quality than their DSLR counterparts due to the simpler, and shorter, light path needed to reach the sensor. They do have an issue with really wide-angle lenses, of which I am quite fond, but there are techniques around this limitation, either through advancements in sensor technology or with techniques such as multi-shot panoramas to produce a wide angle view. The “right” mirrorless camera, for me, hasn’t come out, yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the year (lookin’ at you Fuji!).

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