What Camera Do Professional Photographers Use?

Nikon or Cannon. I think most professional photographers also prefer full-frame cameras.  It’s my opinion that the lens defines a photographer’s style. Additionally, how your camera is used and how well you know your camera is what sets each photographer apart. So what’s in my bag? Continue reading…

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.

—Ansel Adams

Primary Camera

Nikon D700



It’s hard not to like the Nikon D700. It offers a full frame sensor, stunning photo quality, and blazing fast performance — just like the much more expensive D3 — all in a body not much larger than the D300. There’s very little to complain about here — the camera has a slight tendency to overexpose, it’s not terribly easy to use, and the software bundle isn’t the greatest. And that’s about it. If you’ll allow just this one baseball metaphor: Nikon has hit one out of the park with the D700.

Pros: Excellent photo quality with a quality lens; Out of this world high ISO performance; Full frame sensor means no crop factor to deal with (unless you’re using a DX-format lens); Dust reduction system; Built like a brick; Large, super high resolution 3-inch LCD display; Full manual controls, and then some; Very good continuous shooting speed, especially if you have the battery grip; 51-point autofocus system, with subject tracking; Highly customizable; Six different RAW formats; Live view, with two focus modes to choose from; Active D-Lighting improves contrast in images as they are taken; Helpful virtual horizon feature; Three ways to use an external flash; Best-in-class battery life; HDMI output

Cons: Tendency to slightly overexpose; Corner blurriness a big problem with kit lens; Considerable drop in resolution with DX-format lenses; Poor RAW image editing software included — better RAW editor and remote capture software cost extra; Slow contrast detect AF, no live histogram in live view mode; Rubber cover over side I/O ports doesn’t like to stay closed; Complex product is not for the faint of heart.

—Jeff Keller – Full review provided by DCResource.com | Editorial review

Backup Camera

Nikon D300


When you build the follow-up to a hot camera, how do you turn up the heat? When Nikon shipped the D200 a couple of years ago, its combination of speed and photo quality blew away the limited competition, and provided a powerful, relatively inexpensive alternative to Nikon’s then top-of-the-line D2X. The D300 faces a far more crowded field. Not only does it take on its venerable and now lower-priced predecessor, but also a cluster of far-from-shabby dSLRs just at or below its price: the Canon EOS 40D, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A700, the Olympus E-3, and the Pentax K20D.

Nikon’s offering a body-only box of the D300 as well as two kits: one with a DX 18mm-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF lens (27mm-202.5mm equivalent with the camera’s 1.5x crop factor) and one with a DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens (27mm-300mm equivalent). I tested the latter kit, and also used the camera with two non-DX lenses: a preproduction version of the 14-24mm 2.8G ED and the 24-70mm f/2.8G ED IF.

Pros: Excellent performance and photo quality; solidly built; extremely flexible custom settings architecture; onboard wireless flash controller.

Cons: A bit too expensive, given the competition.

—Lori Grunin – Full review provided by CNET | Editorial review

Prime Lens

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G


This is an admittedly unforgiving lens. It can make you look good, but it can also expose your weaknesses. It just takes a bit of time to understand its capabilities. After a bit of a learning curve, and snapping lots of photos, I love this lens. Not like. Love.I have used this lens in a variety of settings, from portraits to focus-stacking landscapes. The bokeh is natural and very pleasant. The ability to override the auto-focus is superb. And the weight is balanced and easy to adjust to. All in all, a mighty enjoyable lens.The downside, if there is one, is the limited field of view that comes with a fixed focal length. But that’s also a positive. It demands greater creativity and footwork, which usually results in a better shot than simply zooming. The lens is a bit pricey, but shop around. B&H had a good price on it when I bought it. And, this is not a fast-focus lens. It may not be great for high speed action unless you’re used to focusing ahead of the action and catching it as it enters your frame.To be a good photographer, you need an arsenal of quality parts and pieces. A 50mm lens is a must have for portraits. But it has a wider application once you get to know it. This lens has, thus far, been worth the investment.

Pros: Easily Interchangeable; Good Color Balance; Lightweight; Nice Bokeh; Strong Construction; Accurate auto-focus

Cons: Slow Focus

—Jim Mc. – Full review provided by B&H Photo Video

Wide-Angle Lens

Nikon 20-35mm f/2.8D


The 20-35mm f2.8 D lens is, objectively, by far the best choice in Nikon wide zooms on the market today, it has actually appreciate in value over the past 15 years or so and is still a super price too! The best wide zoom Nikon has ever made since their introduction in 1993 is definitely the 20-35mm f2.8. The only sharper lens is the new 14-24 at 3 times the price and a much restricted focal distance. The other options, the 17-35 (also 3 times the price AND not as sharp as the 20-35) and the plastic 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 are of lesser quality and much lower value. Additionally it’s half the size and weight of the 14-24 and 17-35 so you don’t have to go to the gym to use this lens for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Pros: built like a tank, real glass and metal, less distortion than the newer models, still reasonably priced, accepts 77mm filters, front element does not move so polarizing filters are not a pain to use

Cons: the hood is hard to find

—MetalMariachi – Full review provided by Amazon.com

Zoom Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.4D IF


Not because of any fitting issue, but because it my other lenses seem so inferior now.

I shoot in a variety of settings, and I try to make this lens work in most of those settings. I am involved in photojournalism, shooting stock images, and always taking lots of pictures of my kids. This lens obviously shines brightest for portraits, but I am enjoying using it in whatever situation I can.

I opted for the 1.4D over the 1.4G mostly because of budget constraints. The big savings in cost were worth it for me. It would be nice to have the instant manual focus override, the quick snap-on hood, the internal autofocus motor so it would autofocus on my older D60 body that my wife uses, etc. But for now, I would rather pocket the money and still take incredible images.

On my D7000, I was having some autofocus issues at first. After making fine tune adjustments for the lens in the D7000 menu (very easy to do), this issue has been resolved.

Very very happy with my purchase. Adorama staff were great on the phone placing the order, and they shipped it very quick.

Pros: Nice Bokeh; Durable; Rugged; Strong Construction

Cons: none

—The Dimgus – Full review provided by Adorama

Zoom Lens

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED


I wanted a 70-200 f/2.8, but didn’t want to pay with my kidneys. Then I found this. I read all the reviews and decided this was the one for me. And I have ZERO regrets. This really is a viable option for those wanting a 70-200 f/2.8 lens. SHARP wide open. At 200mm, it gets a bit soft, but if you stop down, it’s again very sharp. AF hunts a bit, but it is accurate. It is, after all, a AF-D lens. Wonderful Nikon colors and contrast. Sure, it doesn’t have a VR, but knowing that, if you use it accordingly, you’re not going to miss it. For me, it was not a deal-breaker. Absolutely love the lens. Perfect for portraits and telephoto landscapes. Haven’t had much chance to play with it yet, but I know it’s a keeper.

Pros: Sharp; Strong Construction; Nice Bokeh; Rugged

Cons: Heavy

—P360 – Full review provided by B&H Photo Video


Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight


Off-Camera / x2

I use the CBP-N1 battery pack connected to my flash for my bird photography. In use with my 500mm F:4 and my 70-200mm for flying bird pictures. This battery pack is small and convenient lite attached to my tripod, gives me the extra boost I need when I am using my flash to get that last shot. This is a excellent product to back up anyone’s flash unit.

Pros: Easy To Pack; Easy to Use; Strong Construction; Reliable; Lightweight

Cons: None

—1outdoorguy – Full review provided by B&H Photo Video

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