What’s in My Bag – The Artist Gear
I utilize a specific set of professional photography gear. I have major Gear Acquisition Syndrome aka, “GAS”. I own and have owned many different systems going all the way back to my Kodak pocket film camera to my Canon AE-1, which I still own today. I am not a collector but, I love cameras, the way they look and feel in the hand and the true nature of what they are. They capture a moment in time which will never be repeated.
Although, I own several different systems, I am constantly rotating Camera Bodies and some lenses to keep my equipment up to date. Thank goodness that lenses are updated less than camera bodies/digital backs as all this rotation gets expensive. I rarely sell a lens unless it is either not getting used at all and I see no use for it in the future or a new version comes out with better VR (Vibration Reduction), IBIS or some other significant reason to upgrade. Lenses of the same make and model are all different so, I like to try a new lens before buying. It helps to build report with your dealer so you can do such things. I buy most of my gear from the following vendors: (I always support my local vendor when I can) (See List Below)
EACH SYSTEM I OWN HAS A PURPOSE AND REASON FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC SUBJECTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES
Primary System – Phase One XF, Phase One IQ4150, Alpa STC, (Medium Format System)
This is the newest addition to my gear and perhaps the sharpest, highest dynamic range system that I have ever used. The Phase One XF camera and the Phase One IQ4150 back are the most incredible camera system I have EVER owned. This system is unmatched by any other camera system, enough said. If you need super fine detail, high resolution and large images then this is the system for you. I was nervous upgrading from the IQ3100 and IQ180 since it is so incredible but the IQ4150 exceeded my expectations and nullified my concerns. This system matched up with the Schneider 40-80 LS “Blue Line” lens is totally awesome with edge to edge sharpness and fast focusing. See my review on these systems. I also have the Schneider Blue Ring 35mm Lens and the Schneider 75-100mm Blue Ring Lens, both of which are excellent and very sharp. I recently added the Schneider Blue Ring 240mm Lens and teleconverter as well.
The Alpa STC is a joy to work with. The shift feature is easy to work with when it comes to shooting panos. Although, the difficulty in using shift is that one must consider taking an LCC profile shot before every shot as lens cast is definite when utilizing shift. The Phase One IQ4150 Digital Back has extreme dynamic range and the colors are very accurate. Coupled with the Alpa Rodenstock 32mm SB17 Lens or the Alpa Rodenstock 90mm Gold Ring lens, with an Alpa Tilt adapter, the combination creates ultra sharp images.
I keep the entire system in a Pelican Case with foam. Included is the Alpa STC, Phase One IQ4150 Back, Phase One XF, Phase One Schneider blue Ring 35mm, 40-80mm and 75-150 lenses, Alpa Viewfinder, Really Right Stuff Quick Release Bracket, Alpa Rodenstock 32MM SB17 Lens and Alpa Rodenstock 90mm Gold Ring lens with Alpa 17mm Tilt Adapter, Quick Realse Cable, Capture Integration LCC Opaque Cards, 3 Batteries, Phase One Battery Charger, Leica Disto Meter and Pelican Water Proof Compact Flash Card Holder. I also carry ND Filters from 1 stop to 10 stop.I utilize 105mm filters for everything and just add a “Step Down” ring when needed for a smaller profile lens thread.
Fuji GFX100 (“Medium Format” DSLR)
As they say “Each System has a purpose”. I purchase the FUJI GFX100 to capture 100MP “Action” shots as the FUJI Continuous Auto-Focus system is acceptable in tracking subjects when a 100MP file is needed.
One Word….Amazing! I love this small single lens camera with super high 48mp resolution and just takes amazing photos with that “Leica Look”. This is my “Go To” Travel camera or “Walk Around Camera”. It is built extremely well and the images are just incredible.
Leica Q (Sold Early 2019)
I was so excited about this camera when announced by Leica. I pre-ordered it immediately. This is no doubt one amazing camera. I absolutely love it and the image quality is simply incredible. Do not hesitate on this one. Sold this camera to upgrade to the Leica Q2.
Hasselblad H4D-40 (Medium Format System) (Sold this system in 2016, but, loved it)
In 2011 I purchased the Hasselblad H4D-40 System and have absolutely loved it. This is an amazing camera system as it is extremely easy to use, very ergonomic and has great color and dynamic range. Couple with Hassellblad Zeiss Glass and its a great offering. Flexcolor software is very easy to use and processes the RAW files exceptionally.
I keep my Hassellblad System in a Pelican 1510 Case with Dividers. Included is the Hassellbald H4D-40 Body and back, 2 Batteries, Release Cable, Hassellblad 28mm Lens, Hassellblad 50-110mm Lens, Hassellblad 35-90mm Lens and fliters included …….
All this gear has been sold as I am committed to the Phase One line of cameras and lenses.
Nikon D850, D810, D800E and Nikon D4 Systems: (Sold D4 in 2016, Sold D810 and D800E in 2019, Sold D850 in 2021)
I have used both Canon and Nikon and they both make great camera systems. It just goes as you buy one or the other once you start to accumulate lenses it is difficult and expensive to change. Although, I truly believe that Nikon currently has the best and most exceptional offering with the D810 and D800E , D850 and the D4 Series cameras.
It has taken years but I have accumulated some of the best Nikon Glass. I utilize the Nikon 14-24mm 2.8G ED, Nikon 50mm 1.4D, the Nikon 85mm 1.4 D IF, the Nikon 24-70mm 2.8G ED, the Nikon Micro 60mm 2.8D, the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 ED VR I and VR II (I have Both), the Nikon 200mm 2.0 ED VRI, the Nikon 200-400mm 4.0 ED VRII, the Nikon 600mm 4.0G ED VR, the Nikon AF-S TeleConverter TC-14 II, the Nikon AF-S TeleConverter TC-14 III, the Nikon AF-S TeleConverter TC-20 III. In addition, I have alot of nikon accessories such as release cable, Hot shoe GPS encoder, Battery Grips, extra batteries and filters. I keep most of my Nikon gear in a GURU 30-L Bag.
I have also recently acquired the Sigma ART 85 mm 1.4 Lens and absolutely love it. What a great portrait lens. The sigma is extremely sharp and the Bokeh is very smooth and creamy.
I have now sold and completely exited from Nikon and Canon as I have filly committed to the Phase One Camera System.
Sony A7R4a System: Acquired in 2021:
Due to a need to shoot some underwater photography I purchased the Sony A7R4a and The Ikelite Underwater housing for same in 2021. I acquired with this the Sony 14mm fixed prime lens. This has now become my “Wet Usage” System. I would like to say that I am EXTREMELY impressed with the Sony Auto Focus Tracking System for moving subjects. It is the best I have EVER used. Thanks Sony for making such an excellent product.
Sony A7RII and Sony A7S Systems: (Sold all This Gear in 2016)
In 2015 I acquired both the A7RII and the A7S Camera bodies from Sony. All I can say is that they are magnificent! I have ISO tested both systems and find the ISO tipping points to be very advantageous to other systems. There is little to NO NOISE at much higher ISO settings than traditional DSLR systems on the market. See My Sony ISO Test Here Sony has really done it with these systems. Need more megapixels, just take multiple shots and stitch them together in Photoshop. As of this update in November 2015 DXO Mark has the SonyA7RII as the number one sensor in their database (See DXO Mark Here).
The 90mm is an awesome portrait and macro lens that has incredible bokeh, the closest I have found to that Leica look in a non leica lens. I have pre-ordered the Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0 Lens and I am excited about its arrival. At some point I will had a telephoto and that will complete this kit.
The reason I added these systems is not only that they are extremely excellent leading edge technology cameras but, on long hikes it helps to have a lighter weight more portable system WITHOUT SACRIFICING IMAGE QUALITY. Sony is right on the mark!
I sold all this gear as my primary system is Phase One and the Sony system wasn’t getting much use.
I have way too many camera bags. For travel I like the Pelican 1510 as it is carry on size (If they make you check it or need to check it, it’s TOUGH!) as well as the GURU 30L. I also like the Think Tank Line of Bags too many to list.
Tripods, Ballheads and Brackets:
This is real simple for me. I only buy the Gitzo carbon fiber tripods, Really Right Stuff ball heads and Really Right stuff L-Brackets and Quick Release components. They are tough and work without failure. Excellent Quality. If I didn’t already own Gitzo tripods, I would consider Really Right Stuff Tripods as well. You can’t go wrong with any of these manufacturers gear.
Where I buy my Equipment:
Nikon Gear and Accessories:
Competitive Camera, Dallas Texas www.competitivecameras.com
B & H Photo, New York www.bhphotovideo.com
Samys Camera http://www.samys.com
Hassellblad Gear and Accessories:
House of Victor, Dallas Texas www.houseofvictor.com
Alpa, Phase One and Rodenstock Gear and Accessories:
Digital Transitions, New York, New York https://digitaltransitions.com/
Contact Michelle Matthews 212-529-6825 Ext:2270
Previously Owned Systems:
I have owned many other systems as follows:
Phase One IQ3100
Phase One IQ180
Canon 5D II
Leica M240 with various lenses
Canon S90 (Pocket)
FUJI GX617 Pano Camera with 90mm and 180mm lenses (Film)
Contax Medium Format System and Lenses (Film)
Imacon 343 Film Scanner
Canon AE-1 (Still Have)
Note: If you have any question about these systems just email me.
I am always adding something. If it is significant I will update this page.
Please email me at email@example.com if you have ANY questions regarding my gear!