As my photography continues to evolve and expand, so does the gear in the bag.  Camera gear is an important, costly decision and not one we take lightly. Before I dive into my list (products with links take you to Amazon) - a few considerations:

  1. I am still a believer that the best camera and lens for the task is the one in your hand.  The person behind the camera is the one that creates and composes the images. 
  2. Time in the field will make you a better photographer - not the equipment. Sure, there is equipment that is better equipped for various situations.  You probably won't get the desired 'fill the frame" image of a bird when it is 25 feet away with a 50mm.  
  3. Buy the best you can afford.  As a continuation to #2 - the glass won't make you a better photographer.  I've bought and sold lenses (they hold their value well) when I could afford to upgrade my equipment to faster and sharper lenses.  

I use Nikon cameras and lenses.  Their glass is terrific and I find the cameras to be solid. I would add that Canon, Sony and other brands are high quality and get the job done.  I have also added third party lenses as well as sold lenses that I no longer use.

The camera brand is important, but it's the lens selection based on your photography goals that should heavily influence your decision

Camera Bodies

For landscapes, macro, portraits and street photography, I use my well-worn, time in the field tested Nikon 810 and Nikon 850. The bigger sensor renders beautiful details, colors and tones. They are solid and sturdy.  The down side is that the bigger files require a lot of disk space 

For birds and wildlife, Nikon's 500D is my camera body of choice.  The cropped sensor format, image quality and speed  is ideal for photographing birds and wildlife.  

For information on cropped versus full framed sensors, check out my Light Stalking article: Cropped vs. Full Frame Sensor

My Go-to Lenses:

Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 extra wide angle

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 mid range zoom 

Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 telephoto 

Nikon 105mm 2.8

Nikon Telephotos- 500mm FL ED f/4 - telephoto for birds, wildlife

Nikon Telephoto 300mm 

Teleconverters:  Nikon 1.4 III that I use with my telephotos

Specialty Lenses:
Lensbaby Velvet 56mm

Prime lenses - fixed focal length, lightweight, fast and sharp

When do I use primes?  Walk around photography, out on the town with friends, photographing my pets, nature walks where I have limited time, when I want to act like I have a point & shoot.

28mm 1.8

50mm 1.8

85mm 1.8

My favorite little prime?   There's a reason it's a nifty fifty.  A great price performer and just about every time I take this little guy out I have a creative blast.

Protective cover for lens (as seen in the photo above) by Lenscoat.

I don't pull my primes out as much as I should.  The primary reason is that I travel to a lot of my shoots and need to minimize packing and maximize versatility.  When I'm local, I love to bring out my primes.  Light, fast and fun.