Camera and lenses I use

(Because you asked... not because I think I'm some sought after hot shot photographer)

A couple people have asked me recently what kind of camera I use. I'm a little embarrassed to answer that because from what I understand my camera is an entry level professional camera. And I am not a professional photographer. But... someday I may actually get paid for my photography skills so when we had the chance to invest in hardware we choose the best we could get within our price range.


My camera is a Nikon D300  (more info at Nikon).

We based this purchase on a lot of research. Here's one such review we Damien read at Digital Photography Review. I don't have a head for technical details, which is why Damien does the research. Here's the summary from the DPR review. 

Nikon's biggest problem now will be bettering the D300; it raises the bar to a new high, and represents the state of the art despite strong competition from the likes of Canon, Sony and Olympus. There's simply no better semi-professional digital SLR on the market.

And another summary from Imaging Source.

the Nikon D300 will exceed your needs. Those requiring a faster frame rate and greater autofocus speed should consider a D3, provided they can handle the extra size and weight. I won't call it a compelling upgrade for happy D200 owners, but it sure wouldn't hurt if you're in the market for something even better than the D200. Nikon's D300 is an amazing machine, well worth the $1,799 price tag, and a rare five-star

Here's the story (there's always a story, and that's the best part anyway) of how I was able to purchase this baby, after an initial disappointment.


These are the lenses I currently own. I don't understand all the letters but I do know what f/something means.

  • AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D I use this for low light conditions, like in my house or late afternoons/evenings outdoors. I have also been trying out portraits with it and like f/2.8 (focusing on the bridge of the nose) for those up close face shots. Can anyone recommend a setting they like for those kind of shots?
  • AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED I'm using this for everything else. Especially when I want a really small aperture to shoot some interesting flare. But man I do wish I knew what some of those letters meant (I do know VR is Vibration Reduction - a very good thing).

I want to get macro extension tubes because I love close up, detail photography. Especially of critters and blossoms. But I haven't done the research yet to know what to buy. Can anyone recommend something for my camera?

I seriously would love input. I just don't have patience for technical mumbo-jumbo and would love it if someone would say "get this one".

That's it folks. Happy clicking and thanks for encouraging me with your kind comments and photo feedback.

post-post update

My cousin has helped straighten me out. Here's the low-down on what all those letters mean.

As to what those letters mean. AF-S is Nikons manual/autofocus system (M/A mode). DX refers to a lens that is optimized for a DX camera, which your D300 is. DX is a slightly smaller sensor than a full frame sensor. IF stands for internal focusing which means the lens doesn't get longer or shorter when focusing (which allows a closer focusing distance). And finally ED which stands for extra-low dispersion which is Nikons good glass and increases sharpness and contrast and such. Hope that didn't bore you into a coma.

Not bored at all. I think I get it. Kind of, sorta.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

  • shelli

    shelli on Nov. 10, 2008, 9:41 p.m.

    That's awesome that you have such good equipment! I know that AF is "auto-focus," and for example, the AF-S is the kind of lens I need for my D60. A regular AF does not work because my camera does not have an internal motor for autofocus. It has to all be in the lens.

    I don't know what the other letters mean.

    As far as a setting for close-ups, I think you're doing an excellent job yourself!


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