Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Uwe & Bettina's Main Cameras
updated 11/26/2005

field report by Uwe Steinmueller



This page will show our main cameras and camera bags used in the field. You can find our tripods, heads, plates and clamps here.

Note: Note all the cameras and lenses we talk about are owned and also payed in full by us. This means we only show equipment we really use and like at this point in time.

Over the time out bags get smaller and right now we use both the Lowepro Mini Trekker AW as our main backpack although we also own the larger versions.

It sounds strange but we really like right now to use a combined Canon/Nikon system. When we describe the different sets we will tell you what we like about both systems. In the end we are not Nikon or Canon shooters but instead just photographers :-). This also means that test cameras may replace one of the systems at times. Actually we consider the systems we have as the best we could buy if we would start from scratch.

Even if one backback is dedicated to Bettina and one to Uwe we switch cameras all the time (freehand or with two tripods) or work together on one tripod. We use all cameras most of the time in manual mode and have hardly any issues when switching. Bettina is more dynamic in terms of good framing and Uwe watches the histograms and settings most of the time.

Note: We often work freehand. Then people say "Uwe does not like tripods". Nothing could be further from the truth. We love tripods but also the flexibility of working freehand. This is always an equation of these factors:

  • ISO (we always limit the max ISO depending on the camera)
  • f-stop (we try to get good DOF, f/11-F16 is not rare for us)
  • shutter speed (we always use shutter speeds that avoid blur, here IS or VR help a bit, but even then we try to be conservative)
  • Composition
  • Flexibility

If the ISO/f-stop/shutter speed combination does not work for freehand we use our tripods. Also tripods allow more careful framing to the expense of less flexibility. When you consider that we publish about 80-90% of all our images not cropped and from those at least 50% are shot freehand you may get an idea that we don't have real issues working freehand even for landscape.

Right now we feel that we own all the lenses we need for both the Canon and Nikon systems (actually more than we need). We are now using this setup for at least two months and are very happy with it.

Bettina's Bag

Betina's bag

We try to keep Bettina's bag slighly lighter although it is not really light. Sometimes we may remove some lenses if we feel no need for it and also the partner will have probably the focal range available.

This bag holds the Canon 1Ds Mk. II and lenses that cover a range from 24-200mm (with 1.4x adapter to 280mm).

Here in detail:

  • Canon 1Ds Mk. II: Amazing camera, top resolution and great noise behaviour. A bit heavy and we are not that happy with the histogram readings anmd the awkward "mirror lockup". To get us right: we love this camera!
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS: Our most used lens. Top class for a zoom of this range. IS really works and helps to work freehand. Most of the time the shutter speed is above 1/160 sec if we use IS. We have IS even on using a tripod.
  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8: Also a great zoom for this range. Easily prime lenses can outperform it but we need and love the flexibilty.
  • Canon Macro 50mm: Great and cheap macro lens.
  • Canon 1.4x tele extender: Very good in combination with the Canon 70-200mm zoom.
  • Nikon 1.4x tele extender: Very good in combination with the Nikon 70-200mm zoom.
  • Also in the bag: CF-Cards, cable remote release, WhiBal, tiny backup disk and more.


Uwe's Bag

Uwe's bag

This bag holds the Nikon D2x and lenses that cover a range from 24-300mm (with 1.4x adapter to 420mm). Because the D2x features a multiplier of 1.5x the effective range is 36-630mm. Why the D2x and not a second Canon 1Ds2, 5D or 1D Mk. II (we own one too). Actually we like the 1.5x multiplier of the D2x and made this decision after taking 5000 frames with a Nikon D2x loaner camera. Full frame cameras need longer and more heavy lenses to get the same reach at the same resolution. Also the we like sometimes to use the D2x 8 fps "Fast Crop" mode. We think that we are quite well equipped with this camera to also handle some wildlife (which is not our main subject but still a lot of fun).

Here in detail:

  • Nikon D2x: Great camera, very good resolution and noise fine up to about ISO 300 (get us right we are picky here). Lighter than the 1Ds2, feels like a glove in our hands and we are much more happy with the histogram readings.
  • Nikkor AFS 70-200mm f/2.8 VR: Our most used lens on the D2x. Top class for a zoom of this range. VR works and helps to work freehand. Most of the time the shutter speed is above 1/200 sec if we use VR. We have VR off using a tripod for the Nikon system.
  • Nikkor AFS 300mm f/4: Great lens for more reach. We would love to have this lens featuring VR though.
  • Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f/2.8: Also a great zoom for this range. Easily prime lenses can outperform it but we need and love the flexibilty.
  • Nikkor AFS 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR: This lens is new and our lens of choice if we just plan to use one lens.
  • Nikon 1.4x tele extender: is in Bettina's bag.
  • Also in the bag: CF-Cards, cable remote release, WhiBal, tiny backup disk and more.

The extra Bag

Extra Bag

We have this extra Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW bag for traveling light and with special IR equipment.

  • Canon 350D: This is a nice and light camera
  • Canon 350D IR modified:We use this IR camera for alternative B&W photography
  • Canon 70-200mm f/4: Excellent zoom (with IS it would be a dream)
  • Canon 17-40mm f/4: Just in case we need it wider.

The SlingShot design allows you to grab your camera and still keep the bag on your body:

SlingShot opens on the side while carrying the bag

Whats left in the Car?

For each trip we decide what additional equipment to carry.

  • Tripods, head, plates, clamps and rails
  • Stepping Stool
  • More lenses: Actually this is rare these days as we think the set we presented is good for at least 95% of all the shots. But we also have some specialty lenses:
    • Macro lenses (for both systems)
    • T/S lenses
  • Diffusers: Very useful tool. But sometimes we even forget to use it :-)

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