Photo gear

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  1. Hey there,
    I've been using my Sony A6 for a few years now and it has served me very well. The camera itself is really good, its lightweight and great for traveling but powerful enough to still deliver beautiful images. Its only drawback is that it has a cropped sensor and a very limited array of lenses available on a budget. Has anyone used this camera? have you had the opportunity to try out the g-series Sony zoom lens and would you say it is worth the price tag?

    This is becoming a serious set back for me. I have debated upgrading to the Nikon d810 for the wider array of lens choices as well as its special hydrogen-alpha light filter designed for astrophotography. Also if you've had a chance to use the Nikon d810 what is your opinion of that model?

    Thank You,
    -Patrick.
    Replied 3 years ago, modified 3 years ago
  2. @ThreePointSoul: I have no experience with the Sony A6, yet I do have 3 years of experience with the D800, the predecessor of the D810. After three years I still find it an amazing camera, its possibilities far outreach my skill.

    Comparing it with a mirror-less camera though? The D800 isn't light. It is extremely powerful yet only with the best lenses, which are both expensive and weigh a lot. To me that is OK. I have invested in it over the years and the total system simply has nothing left to desire for. Shooting at 36MP on full frame with top lenses is fantastic.

    However, if you value portability and your budget, you may want to reconsider. Also, you should never go for a D800/D810 using budget lenses. You only get value out of such a sensor with the best lenses.

    Before I say more, I think it is important to establish at which focal lengths you shoot. I am in the extremes: macro, ultra wide angle and tele zoom. That is the reason I still have a DSLR. If I would be in the normal focal length range (35-100mm), there would be absolutely no reason to have a DSLR, since there are mirror-less cameras now at full frame with equal optical performance, and a lot less weight.

    So perhaps you can share a bit more about your desired focal length and budget, I think they really are decisive.
    Replied 3 years ago
  3. I'm glad to hear you are so pleased with the d800!
    I would definitely agree with the notion that a powerful sensor demands a powerful lens. My desired focal length for astrophotography would be in the 8-24mm range. I own a 24mm f/1.4 rokinon lens and I have used an 8mm canon fish-eye before (I should upload the images from my Perseid meteor shower adventure, is astrophotography an acceptable subject matter here?). It is my long term goal to fund a "dark skies tour" of the United States after I become more well established as a photographer. My current budget of $500 is irrelevant here, this is something I plan to heavily invest in when the time is right. Do you have a preferred or trusted brand of lenses that you use?
    Replied 3 years ago
  4. Well, if you have a D800/D810 and you want to get the maximum performance out of this sensor, the trusted brands are Nikkor (obviously), Zeiss (for portraits), and recently some Sigma art lenzes. What these lenzes have in common is that they are for full frame, designed for high MP, light sensitive and robust. Although Sigma before was known as a budget brand, their recent Art lenzes have matched or even surpassed the A brand top lenzes, for quite a lot less money, so you may want to check them out.

    Since you are an astro photographer, I assume weight is no big deal, as you're going to carry around a tripod anyway. I really have no experience with mirror-less and wide angle, so I cannot advise you there. As for the D800, I personally own the 14-24mm:

    https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/camera-lenses/af-s-nikkor-14-24mm-f%252f2.8g-ed.html

    Very expensive, but legendary. It is so good that camera users of other brands use adapters just to be able to use this lens. It will absolutely rock for astro photography. Once you have this lens in your hand, you will want to own it, so be careful:)

    Sadly though, this combination alone (D800 + lens) will set you back about $5000. Therefore, your question now becomes largely budget related. The thing is, for half the money you can probably get 90% of such performance. The question is whether you can justify this kind of cash for that extra 10%. That will depend on your use case, what you will do with your photos (print, crop, gallery, facebook, etc), how much you want to spend and how crazy you are.

    I am that crazy. I cannot rationally justify the gear that I own. My skill is below it. But I don't have to. I have build up the set over a number of years, and they will last a long while. At one point you will have your stuff and you can enjoy years of top performance, with a pretty good resell value. You, with your intended professional use have an even stronger reason to invest, for as long as you don't get yourself into trouble :)

    But don't let me get into your head. I'd say you go to a good photography store that allows you to try it on a real night trip. Take along the gear that you're interested in and try it out yourself. You're making a big decision. Not just money-wise, also future-wise. When you go for any system (Nikon, Sony, Canon) you will be stuck with it.

    I hope this helps.
    Replied 3 years ago
  5. By the way, yes, astro photography is definitely welcome here, for as long as they are taken in natural landscapes, so no city views. Here's a nice example:

    Yucca viewing the night skies over the Arizona desert A Yucca in bloom watching the night sky during a 675 image star trail capture in Arizona. Yucca was not superimposed in post. "Real-time captured". Yucca,Yucca schidigera,arizona,sky,star trails,stars


    We have only a handful of those on the site, so they are more than welcome!
    Replied 3 years ago
  6. In that case I'll definitely keep them coming! I started out with some basic sigma lenses, they are not bad for the money. I'll have to see if I can rent one of their art lenses and give it a try. Honestly though, the $5000 price tag doesn't intimidate me, it just gives me a goal to work towards. I do portrait and wedding photos for friends and family and I hope to use contacts made from that as a launch pad to start an art career. In that context I can easily justify spending that much money if its for the best possible equipment for the job. Thank you, you've given me a lot to think about and consider but if I can ask one more question in the hopes that you may know something about it. What is the technique used to produce an image of the stars like the one you provided in your last post? Replied 3 years ago
  7. This is to inform you that Ferdy is gone on holiday for a month so he will not be able to reply to your question now.

    Meanwhile, this is his post about the lens he recently got for portrait photos since you are interested into that.
    http://www.jungledragon.com/forum/21/photo_gear/556/my_first_prime.html

    By the way, there is some explanation of the technique used for the star trails in the comments below that shot.
    Replied 3 years ago
  8. D810 is a fantastic camera... but be aware, the lenses are far more important than the camera body.

    Since you are an astro photogrpaher, i would suggest you get a full-spectrum camera like the 60Da. All digital cameras come with lots of filter layers on the sensors that block out IR light that will destroy image quality of normal pictures. there are some, that have that filter removed, like the 60Da that is specifically designed for astro work. they can also be used for normal photography with he addition of a simple filter at the front of your camera lens. You should check out that as an option maybe! :)


    Replied 3 years ago
  9. Hi JohnR, thanks for the reply!
    I have actually done a little bit of comparison research between the d810 and the 60da. I have it noted as a lower cost option for sure. From what I've read it appears that the d810 was also designed with Astrophotography in mind, with it's highly specialized hydrogen-alpha sensor. Would you disagree that, for the price, it is a better option than the 60da?
    Replied 3 years ago

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