Times up: 2012 year in review

This is one of my most recent captures... a fitting capture to say goodbye to 2012

What a year. 2012 seems to be an equal mix of the good and bad for many. There has been tragedies this year that have really knocked us around but I believe we will be stronger from it.

It's been a year of further learning in my craft. I've shot a few amazing weddings and had a blast with portraiture, as well as my own personal projects.

Below is a small gallery of some favorites from 2012:

And the award for 'best headlock from a bride' goes to... :)

2012 Gear Review

2012 saw less new gear come through here but there was also less of a need. Not to say that new gear isn't great, but I have a nice harmony going with my current lineup. Having said that, I did get some time with some new things this year!

My favorite new camera of 2012: The Olympus E-M5

I haven't purchased this (yet) but spent a good amount of time with this beauty. I'll either pick it up sometime in the spring or see what gets announced next (if only to have the price come down first). I am a prime shooter for the most part. I also love smaller 'take anywhere' gear, but big image quality is a must. I played around with Micro 4/3 with the GF1 and the excellent 20mm f/1.7. Awesome combo that got my feet wet with the standard. The E-M5 is the real deal though. Awesome autofocus, great build (if a bit too small), and SUPERB array of lens choices... I must admit that if not for weddings (and believe me it has a place there), I might go 'all in' with Olympus here.  I'm sure I'll have more to say regarding this or its successor this coming year but for now it's my favorite of 2012.

What I shoot with: 2012

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have a nice harmony going with my gear. I feel that is important for a working photographer. Not worrying about gear is exactly where you want to be. So without further ado...


Nikon D700: Still one of Nikon's best. They broke the mold with this one and it's still relevant today. Fast and sure autofocus and rock solid build. Image quality is still great... if just a bit dated for some applications. If you can find one used in good shape I'd recommend this for many over many of the new options.

Nikon 35mm f/2D, 50mm f/1.8G and the 85mm f/1.8G: Yup, no zooms... AND nothing wider than 35. I just don't need it on a daily basis at this point. When the situation arises, I rent for now. The one glaring omission here is the 70-200 f/2.8. I rent this one as well (weddings) but I have been waiting on Nikon for the f/4 version. I'm just not a huge fan of the heavy glass but I can make an exception for the 70-200 f/2.8. I will test the f/4 first and make that call later. f/4 is probably too slow for my use but I will still give it a look first.

Lighting: SB-910's and Lumopro 160's. I LOVE my SB-910. This thing just keeps up. Reception bounce, quick studio... good consistent lighting with all the advantages of a speedlight. My Lumopro 160's deliver the power I need, are dead simple to operate and are very reliable. Doesn't take as much of a beating but it's tough enough. Better yet they are much less than half the price of the 910.

My Bag: The Domke F-2. Got it in green. Wasn't completely happy with my Retrospective 20. Love it. One of these days I'll do it justice with a full review.

Lens of the year: Nikon 50mm f/1.8G


Easy. First, 50mm is my favorite focal length. Second, this lens rocks :)  Fast AF and great sharp image quality. The 50mm f/1.4G is a very nice lens but the AF leaves me wanting a bit. I considered the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G (which I own) as well. Ultimately, I am just smitten with the 50 :)

What's Next?

Other than the Olympus E-M5 (or it's successor), I'd say my next acquisition will be an Elinchrom Quadra setup. I see this as having some of the advantages of speedlights, but with the added power and speed of studio gear. I've played with them and I am pretty much hooked. More important than gear though is shooting! I plan to do as much of it as possible this year. I can't wait to see where it goes.

Gear, Reviews, LifeFrank ScalloComment