Hi all, my first post! Have read a lot of posts and internet guides and can’t find any to answer my main question. My background: I’m 28, English, I did some photography at school with a lovely all manual film Nikon and spent some happy times taking photos and developing them in the darkroom, but nothing too serious. I have been too busy to enter into the digital era, but am now taking the plunge. My old man has shot Nikon all his life and currently has a D300, which I was impressed with and made me think of doing a bit of research. I’ve been reading NRs a bit (OK, a lot, I got caught up with D7000 rumours, then launch, then reviews etc) and have read lots of articles on ByThom, DPReview etc. Basically I’m rusty, but have read the D7000 manual online and wasn’t fazed by it, just looking forward to getting hold of it. I don’t think it will be too long before I am in a competent amateur comfort zone. I’m interested in landscapes, portraits and wildlife photography.
I am off to central Tanzania for 4 months in the new year, which has prompted my action. I will be living for the majority of the time in a simple house in a village, with occasional trips to a town, so am effectively out “in the field” for 4 months, with no camera shop, resources and only limited access to the internet.
I’ll be busy for most of the time, I’m out there doing a research project, so will be travelling to lots of different villages by 4x4, as well as doing some work at the local health centre (I’m a Paediatrician) but I’ll have my camera with me pretty much the whole time. I’m mostly interested in photos, but I will probably play around a bit with movies. I would quite like to make a mini documentary of the research project, for example, but it would only be for fun. As an added bonus, I will be only about 4 hours drive from three game reserves, so am hoping for plenty of weekend trips. All in all, a good opportunity to learn digital photography.
So, my Question: What do you need for 4 months in the field? I’m after specifics (ie brand and model) if possible. I will be learning to use the stuff as I go along, but without the option of going to a camera store to get things as I realise I need them as I become more proficient. I have a good starting budget, but it’s pretty much killed by the camera, more specifically the glass. I am going with the “buy the best glass you can afford”, school of thought, rather than incremental upgrades.
So, my plans:
Lenses: Nikon AF-S ED 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G IF DX VR ,
Nikon AF-S ED 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II (We all shoot Nikon because of the glass, right?)
Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX
With the same amount of money I could get the D700 with 28-300 f/3.5 – 5.6, but I would prefer to get the 70-200 f/2.8 and eventually sell the D7000 and the DX lenses and move to FX with the D800 in the future. I think the D7000 will be easier for me to learn on.
My thoughts on other stuff:
Teleconvertor- thinking about second hand for safari, not sure on 1.7 or 2.0x magnification.
Memory cards- two 4gb enough?
Tripod- as good as I can afford, weight is going to be an issue
MacBook Pro- I don’t own a laptop, so am planning on this, will need this for research project as well as photo storage.
Software- Can I get away with the new iPhoto and post-process with software when I return back, or is it really worth just getting lightroom +/- CS5? I would prefer to defer buying software if I can.
Flash- SB 600
Filters- don’t know where to start or what I would end up needing.
Lens cleaning stuff- I read Thom Hogan’s article about this, is that what most people do? What specifically do I need? I am a bit paranoid about this, as I will be so isolated. I thought seriously about just getting the D700 with the 18-300 f3.5 – 5.6 for this reason alone, but changed my mind. How much of an issue is this likely to be for 4 months?
Books- Any must have books I should take?
Err that’s about all I can think of. Am I missing anything? What’s the longest you guys have been out in the field? There was a post on the forum where one chap was a war photographer, so the conditions there would be a hell of a lot worse than what I will be dealing with.
Thanks for any answers on any issue. I am sorry for the long post, hopefully any answers will be relevant for all new DSLR photographers.