For my first blog post (of many), I've decided to list my 2019 list of gear that has played an important role in my work, as well as an in-depth look to each piece and what I love about it.
Main Body - Nikon D5
I LOVE this camera, I've loved it since I first touched it and it just does everything I want it to. It's got insane autofocus, super high battery life, excellent low light capability, and it's built like a tank. This is my go-to camera for every situation and I can shoot 2-3 weddings on one battery which is great when you're shooting on the fly. The only drawbacks are the size, weight, and the megapixel count leaves something to be desired compared to other cameras. All-in-all, this is my favorite camera of all time and it'll always hold a special place in my heart. Although three years old now and with a few hundred thousand shutter clicks, It's been pretty solid and I use it every week since I got it. I'm still waiting for the D6 to be announced hopefully in 2020, but the D5 is all you could every want in a do-it-all camera.
Backup Body - Nikon D4S
I have a love-hate relationship with my D4S, especially since the D5 came out in 2016. It was one of my favorite cameras to use and does almost everything the D5 does except a little slower, a little less intuitive, and a lot older user interface. The autofocus system of the D5 ruined me so much that it almost pains me to use the autofocus on the D4S (which was previously the best in the business). It's got good battery life and works almost identical to my D5. I got it serviced in 2018 and they replaced almost everything so it looks a lot nicer than even my D5 which is two years newer! I use this camera once in a while when I get an itch to give the D5 a break. It's also my second camera when I'm shooting by myself and usually has a telephoto lens on it (70-200 or 105).
Main Telephoto lens - Nikon 105 1.4E
This is my current favorite lens. I use it all the time whenever I possibly can. I just LOVE the bokeh that the lens gives me and it focuses fast enough to use as an action lens when coupled with my D5. It has completely replaced my 70-200 since I bought it in 2017 and it's small and light enough to even fit in my suit pocket. This is a GORGEOUS portrait lens and I've done an entire engagement shoot with it alone. I couldn't imagine my life without it. The extra 20mm over the 85mm gives you a little more compression and extra reach during the ceremony, but the 85 is a lot more useful in tight spaces. Regardless, I take the 105 over the 85 any day.
Backup Telephoto lens - Nikon 70-200 F2.8 FL ED VR
This is my go-to lens for sports or if I'm shooting by myself and can't take a chance on having the wrong composition with my 105. It's big and heavy, and they swapped the autofocus ring with the zoom ring versus almost every other zoom lens Nikon has ever built. I actually prefer the new style with the zoom ring farther away, it really helps balance the weight in my hands when shooting handheld. This is an amazingly sharp and quick lens (faster than the 105) and makes gorgeous portraits in any scenario. I prefer the 105 in 95% of scenarios and as such the 70-200 mostly sits on my shelf for weddings except for a few random times that I bring it out for a change of pace and feel like killing myself with its huge size.
Main lens - Nikon 35 1.4G
I just started using this lens full time earlier in 2019, and it's just great. I can use it for bride prep, group shots, wide(ish) shots, and anything I'm shooting in natural light for (like the ceremony). It has replaced my 24-70 and I haven't gone back since taking the plunge and ditching my zoom lenses. It's sharp, focuses fast enough, and is the most versatile prime I own. The vast majority of the time I'm walking into bride prep just with this lens and an on-camera flash on the D5. It's really that good.
Backup Main lens - Nikon 24-70 F2.8E ED VR
This lens is amazing, it does everything you want and more and addition of VR over the outgoing model makes handheld low-light shots that much easier to pull off. I've used this since it came out up until earlier in the year when I switched completely over to primes as my main rig. I still use this lens semi-regularly, especially when I'm shooting by myself and can't rely only on 35mm to achieve my goals. It's usually on my D5 when I'm rocking two bodies, and the 70-200 or 105 go on the D4S. No complaints, this zoom (and its predecessor the NON VR model) are both staples for any wedding photographer's kit. You can't go wrong with this lens.
Main Wide lens - Nikon 14-24 F2.8
This is the oldest lens in my collection and also the most beat-up, but it still works flawlessly like the day I bought it new. This is the lens I use for all my epic wide shots and if I need the extra space for a huge group photo. It's always in my bag just in case, and has saved me more times than I can count. Shooting at 14mm and 2.8 makes it the widest native 2.8 full frame lens in the world, and allows you to get some really awesome images in almost pitch black (when coupled with the D5). I rarely go out on a shoot without this lens sitting in reserve. It's my go-to for the fun super-wide party photos on the dancefloor.
Macro lens - Nikon 200MM F4 Micro
This thing is a beast and by far the sharpest lens in my collection. Given its massive size (almost as big as the 70-200), I don't bring it out all that often and use it for product photography or if I want a really epic ring shot. If it's a detail-oriented shoot, I'll bring this monstrosity out and either have it on a tripod or carefully balanced on a table for the sharpest photos. I always use it in manual focus, as it's got a giant focus ring with a huge range. It's pretty rare and I haven't met another photographer who owns one, making it a specialty lens that gives me unique shots that other people aren't able to get. I bring this with me to museums when I want a really nice photo of an artifact, since the extra working distance of 200mm allows you to get closer to something behind glass than the 105 macro or something not as long.
Workhorse lens - Nikon 24-120 F4
This is the full frame kit lens that comes with some of the full frame cameras you can buy (like the 750). It's always in my backup bag since it has all the focal ranges I use the most and I have shot an entire wedding only with this lens. It isn't as sharp, fast, or good in low light as anything else that I own but it's great when I'm going somewhere that my gear could get banged up or destroyed since it's a quarter the price of most of my other lenses. This lens is what I use to prove to people that gear doesn't matter and have gotten some really amazing results with it regardless of its price point and build quality. It's also my go-to for bar mitzvahs, sweet 16s, event photography, etc.. I've only had it since this year but it's proven to be a worthwhile investment in my bag and I know if one of my main lenses breaks or has a problem then I can always fall back onto this lens to finish the job.