Jonathan R Photography | What I Use And Why

What I Use And Why

April 16, 2013  •  14 Comments



‎"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." - Napoleon Hill


A lot of photographers wish they had top of the line gear. We all want to say we have the best. I personally am a cash and carry photographer. I decided to give everyone a glimpse into what I use and why I use it. This blog may get a little lengthy so try and bear with me has I take you through the equipment I have used over the years and the whys. 

The first camera I shot with that was an actual pro grade camera was a Minolta XG-M  35mm Film camera. I had a pretty nice set of lenses for it that covered what I needed. I had a 28-50 F3.5-5.6 for a wide to normal angle of view. I had two 50mm's, one was an F2 and the other was an F1.4 and that one was my favorite. I also had a 90-230mm F4.5-5.6. Most of the lenses where slow kit lenses but the 50 F1.4 was my go to lens and stayed on all the time. I still break out this camera and shoot with it from time to time just for kicks.

Jumping ahead a few years I was a late adapter to digital. I picked up a D200 when it came out.  This camera is solid as a brick and it's CCD sensor produces great colors. This was my main work horse for awhile and I still shoot with it from time to time.  I was happy with the D200 for quite a while. I decided after awhile I had to have two cameras. So I looked at the cameras out at the time. The D700 was on my radar and I almost squeezed the trigger and got a full frame. I decided after having problems with a memory card failing on me that having two memory cards in the camera was more important than full frame at the time so I pulled the trigger on the Nikon D300S which I still use and love. The auto focus is nothing short of amazing and having a second card to run backups on or over flow is a blessing. At the time I wanted to spend my money on top of the line glass and have some great lenses. The glass you shoot with makes all the difference. After shooting with the D300S for awhile I decided to squeeze the trigger on the Nikon D4 which is now my main work horse with the D300s has the back up. I'm sure I will be adding a D3s has back up soon or a D600. 

For lenses I started out with all 3rd party. They do the job but I don't recommend them for anyone.. The first lenses I had were has follows. I got the 17-50 F2.8 Tamron early on in my career. This lens is sharp and light weight however auto focus can be hit or miss has with any 3rd party lens.  It was also the first lens I replaced with a Nikon 24-70 F2.8 which is sharp and fast. This lens is heavy but built like a tank. I can drag it through hell and it will still work and perform like a champ. Auto focus is very fast and nails every single time. I also got the Nikon 16-35mm F4 VR II when it came out over the 14-24 F2.8. I wanted the option to use filters and I felt in side by side test the contrast was much better. The 14-24 is an amazing lens. I just felt that for my use the 16-35 fit me better at the time since I shot a lot of receptions with flash and never went to a bigger aperture then F4. The first telephoto lens I had was a Tokina and it was sharp with good color however auto focus was horrible and I quickly ditched it. I replaced this lense with a 70-200 Tamron has a cheap test just to see how often I would use it and if it was worth spending the money on the 70-200 Nikon. I ended up using it quite often and replaced it with the 70-200 Nikon F2.8 VRII. I had a 300mm Nikon briefly also that just stayed in the case and eventually got rid of it. My favorite lens of all time is my 50mm F1.8G for portraits and head shots which is a bulk of what I do. This lens is simply amazing. It's sharper than any other lens I own. I plan on adding an 85 soon and maybe a 105 then I'm done with glass. The 50mm converted me to a prime lover. Zooms are great lenses and really easy to compose with but primes are sharper and I like having to zoom with my feet. It slows me down and makes me think about how I compose the shot. I also have two SB-900's but I will discuss those in another blog about lighting.

I use Lowepro camera bags for when I want to travel light and I have a couple. I have the Flipside 400 which is a great back pack. Recently I was given another bag, the Fastpack 200. This bag has surprised me and become my favorite when I run out the door light. I can throw a camera body in there along with my 24-70, 50mm, speed light, small soft box, flash cord and protein bar. I can walk around on the streets without being obvious and pull my camera out the side for a quick snap shot. Big shout out to Lowepro for making some awesome bags. Pictures of the gear are below. 



                                    Lowepro Fast Pack 200

                                    In This Bag: Nikon D4, SB900 Speed light, 50mm F1.8, Hoodman Hood Loupe

                                   Lowepro Flipside 400


                                    In This Bag: Nikon D4, 70-200 F2.8 VRII, Hoodman Hood Loupe, SB-900, 24-70 F2.8, Lowepro

                                    memory card  wallet, Expo disc white Balance filter, Blackrapid R Strap classic. 


                                    A detailed list of the gear I use is located here:                             


I will be giving a way a brand new still in the package Lowepro Urban Photo Sling. To be eligible  to win you must comment below and follow me on twitter @JonathanRphoto. The contest will run for 3 weeks and I will pick a winner on Friday June 7th and announce it on twitter. You will have one week to claim your prize or I will pick another winner. 



love it ,great blog
Allana Wesley White(non-registered)
Love the blog Jonathan! Well done!
Haley Arterburn(non-registered)
Great Blog!
Joel Cocker(non-registered)
Hey buddy, what a great idea. Thanks for sharing and your posts.
Thanks for showing us what you use.. Its always helpful to read about where we should be focussing our time and money when it comes to gear. I look forward to future posts and reviews on products..
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