My Gear

Here is a list of the gear I use for my photography:

Camera Bodies

 

Nikon D700

The D700 utilizes Nikon’s original 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS
sensor, which assures professional image quality with low-noise and
high-ISO performance. The camera features broad ISO sensitivity up to
6400 and incredibly low noise. All the while, performing at speeds up
to 8 fps.

Must-have additions include the following:

Nikon MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the D700

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control

 

 

Nikon D7000

Nikon’s D7000 features a 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor,
6 fps continuous shooting and breathtaking Full 1080p HD Movies
with full time autofocus.

Must-have additions include the following:

Nikon MB-D11 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the D7000

 


Wide-Angle Zoom Lenses

 

Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8- My most versatile lens. I rarely take it off the camera. Sharp, fast and good focal range. This is one part of the Nikon “Dream Team” of Lenses. The others being the 14-24 mm f/2.8 and 70-200 mm f/2.8.  The beauty of this trio is there are no overlapping ranges and all are excellent “pro” lenses.

 

 

 

 


Nikon 70-200 mm f/2.8- My newest lens, purchased specifically for sports action. Also part of the Nikon “Dream Team” of Lenses. This is my workhorse lense, and I often times shoot an entire game with this one lens.

 

 

 

 

Prime Lenses

Nikon 35 mm f/1.8G DX - A lightweight, wide-angle lens that performs well in low-light conditions. I use this lens mainly for landscapes and architecture, and occasionally for group photos.

Nikon 50 mm f/1.4G – I’m really becoming a big fan of this lens! The shallow depth of field creates nice bokeh for portraits, although sharpness suffers a bit when the lens is wide open. It also excels in low-light situations, which is when I mainly use this lens.

Nikon 85 mm f/1.8D – My favorite prime lens! Produces absolutely beautiful bokeh for head shots, and does not suffer when the lighting conditions are not ideal.

Lighting

Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 Flash Unit  I purchased three of these flash units specifically to complement my indoor basketball photography (one flash unit is for backup).  I needed a set of powerful strobes that can light one end of a court, as well as, operate at speeds greater than 1/250 sec (max. flash sync speed). Mainly, I wanted to eliminate the ambient ghosting that is common when applying flash to shooting indoor basketball. The E640s does an excellent job in helping me achieve this goal, and more. The only drawback is having to supply AC power to the strobes. Outlets are coveted by high school students for charging cell phone batteries, which offers the opportunity for accidents to happen. Since I spend most of my time down on the floor, I can’t monitor the outlets. In situations where I can’t access an outlet, I rely on my pair of Paul C. Buff Vagabond Mini™ Lithium AC power sources.  I carry this wherever I shoot, just in case the outlets I find are non-operational.

AlienBees B800 Flash Unit (2)I originally purchased these strobes for indoor basketball, but have since replaced them with Paul C. Buff E640s. The Alien Bees are good for starting out, but have several limitations. For one, the units must be operated at full power to achieve the high speed necessary to freeze motion. This also results in slow recycle times.  Secondly, the Alien Bees require an external RF trigger. I trigger mine using PocketWizard FlexTT5s and PocketWizard AC9s. The AC9s are necessary if you want to shoot above the camera’s max-sync speed (1/250 sec for Nikon).

Nikon SB-910 Speedlight- Nikon’s Flagship speedlight. I longed for a better speedlight than the Nikon SB-600, which severed me well over the past year. The shear power and ability to rotate the head a full 180 degress were the key reasons I upgraded to the SB-910.

Paul C. Buff White High Output 22-inch Beauty Dish. This is mainly used for studio and fashion work. Unlike a softbox, the beauty dish is highly portable and produces  a nice even lighting pattern. I use the Paul C. Buff 22-inch Reflector Bag to carry my beauty dish.

Lastolite EZYBOX Hotshoe 24″x24″ Softbox. The must-have accessory for your off-cameras speedlight. I coupled the softbox with my monopod and attached it using the Smith-Victor brass adapter.

Nikon SB-600 Speedlight – Very good general purpose speedlight. The key attributes include the ability to bounce the flash and swivel the head. This speedlight has since been replaced with the Nikon SB-700.

Lumiquest LQ-119 The Softbox III – used for softening off-camera flash. For attaching to your speedlight without using velcro, purchase the LumiQuest Cinch Strap.

CowboyStudio NPT-04 4 Channel Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Receiver – cheap triggers, but they do the job. For $27 you get out-of-the-box ready flash triggers. At this price point, you won’t have the ability to remotely adjust the power output of your flashes. But if you don’t mind manual adjustments (like me), these make sense.

Joby GP3 Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Tripod – mainly used as a flexible light stand for my speedlight.

Westcott 301 Photo Basics 40-Inch 5-in-1 Reflector – Versatile reflector for studio and outdoor shooting situations. Can be used as a light reflector, blocker, or diffuser. It’s too big to handle and work the camera, so you either need an assistant or holder.

Westcott 302 Photo Basics Reflector Holder – used with above reflector.

Westcott 750 Photo Basics 7.0-Foot Light Stand – used as mount for reflector holder, as well as, a speedlight stand.

Paul C. Buff LS900 13-foot Heavy Duty Light Stand - I wanted a set of sturdy light stands that could support my B800s, along with any light modifier I decide to use (i.e. umbrella, softbox, etc.)

Photoflex 60″ Convertible Umbrella (2)- big, quality umbrella that can be used as a bounce or shoot-thru.

Misc. Equipment

Manfrotto 244N Variable Friction Magic Arm - used when a light stand is impractical or space is limited. The magic arm, coupled with the Manfrotto Super Clamp, can be used to attached a strobe or speedlight to almost any surface. I mainly used this combination to attach a strobe to a rail near the basketball court. It can also be used to attach a camera to a  backboard (for those cool behind the glass basketball pictures).

Manfrotto 679B Monopod - used in situations where a tripod is too cumbersome, or space is limited.

SLIK 700DX Pro Tripod – can’t beat the quality for less than $100! Solid tripod that adjusts very easily.

Kirk Enterprises BH-1 Ball Head – professional ball head that interchanges between my monopod and tripod.

Kata KT D-3N1-20 Sling/Backpack (Black)

 

 

 

Michelle A. - December 29, 2012 - 11:49 pm

Hi, Mr. Freeman!

I’m starting to get into sports photography, and I just can’t decide on a lens. Of all of your lenses, which do you use the most for high school basketball? I’m stuck between a prime 85mm or the Nikon 70-200mm.

Thanks for your time,

Elizabeth Zimmerman - March 29, 2014 - 8:16 pm

Hello!
I have a very similar gear list — D700, D300, SB-600 & SB-910.

I’m considering buying the Cowboy Studio trigger set but want to know if it’s compatible with both of my speed lights (the 600 AND the 910).

Thank you so much! :)
Elizabeth

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