Obsessive obsessing!

6 years, 10 months ago 2

It happens every time I do a photo meeting and set a the table filled with gear!  I start to think about system building.  It is a natural issue probably faced by al tech reps, or at least those that truly love photography.  You are surrounded by all the latest toys and you wonder what do you  “need” to own or “want” to own.  There, I’ve said it, the two key words, NEED and WANT.  They are two entirely different terms when it comes to camera gear.


A NEED is something that you can’t adequately function without. A want is a deep desire based on what you would like rather than what is necessary!  Now, of course, this varies greatly with the individual. My friend and great sports shooter Bill Frakes, needs a dozen pro camera bodies!  He works for Sports Illustrated and probably an compete few assignments with even that few.  He sets up remotes, he has others manning cameras for him, it takes a ton of gear to do his actual job!  By contrast my friend and teaching partner Jim Begley may at most need two camera bodies and  half dozen of less lenses.  Is Jim less of a photographer?  Absolutely not, his work is just as outstanding what he does as Frakes is, they just do very different things!  So how can you figure this out?  Let me try to make it simple.  If you area  photo generalist, meaning you shoots all kinds of things, but don’t specialize in any extreme activity; Sports, wildlife, poisonous reptiles etc, etc.  The list gets easier.


For an average photo generalist: (travel, nature, people, close-ups, fine art work)




Need List:



2 camera bodies (it’s best if they are the same or at least operate much the same.)  (Currently Nikon D4 & Nikon D7000) FX & DX



A wide angle zoom lens  (I own a 12-24 AF-S f4 and 16-35 AF-S VR f4)  DX & FX  All Nikkors

A midrange zoom lens  (I own a 35-70 AF F2.8 and 24-120 AF-S VR f4)  Both FX  All Nikkors

A telephoto zoom lens (I own a bunch my most used is a 70-300 AF-S VR f 4.5-5.6)  All Nikkors

A Micro lens (I use four 60mm f 2.8 / 105mm f 2.8 / 200mm  f4 / and an 85mm f 3.5 )  All Micro Nikkors, last one a DX lens.  You only need one, I would suggest a 105 or Automatic Extension tubes and a diopter for your telephoto zoom.

Serious tripod and head  (mine is a discontinued Gitzo 1348 and Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head)

I always carry a small point and shoot, usually the Coolpix P7100 or it’s equivalent, my walk around camera.

That’s it!!!!!


I do own a long lens I use when I need extra reach (400 mm f 3.5 Nikkor IF-ED & a TX14B converter)  manual focus.


The rest is collecting!  (and yes I collect too!)


the pilgrim


Got an email, and have to add this: ” If my funds just won’t support that much gear, give me your suggestion for the the lowest cost system that will give me a shot at great images!!??”

Here goes:

Nikon D7000     $1,200.

16-85 Nikkor zoom    Under $600.

55-300 Nikkor Zoom DX lens   Under $400.

Wireless Camera release   $15.



2 Responses

  1. Doug W says:

    So, let’s say I have basic glass with DX camera that I am happy with along with a computer that does decent job for post-work. Do I spend my tax refund on getting a better lens or better computer? Both could use improvement! 🙂

  2. Lynn Rogers says:

    Hey, Bill! I’m a little late reading this post, but I sure love your gear related posts. It’s something I give quite a bit of thought to. I’m just a photo hobbiest, so no gear is necessary for me. But inspite of the fact that I love my one DX camera body and three lenses (10-24, 28-300, and Micro 105) which cover almost everything I want to do, I still find myself dreaming about a newer body and maybe a 70-200 2.8 lens. Those are definitely wants! Your posts on gear are a fun way to window shop, and your reminders of wants vs need and the good equipment that can be had for less help keep me grounded. Bless you!


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