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on Jul 9, 2014 in Gear Head Wed

GearHead Wednesday 14 – 26


Got a gear question you want/need answered? I want to help and answer it. Send your gear questions to me at Gear Questions and I’ll do my best every Wednesday to answer as many questions as I can. Keep in mind the answers are just my $.02 worth and you have to take what works for you and your photography and embrace it and ignore the rest. So here’s this weeks questions ….

I am faced with a difficult problem and mostly it is money related (of course), but I have a Canon 1D Mark II which shoots at 8fps, but I am looking to upgrade to an 18mp 1.6 crop sensor for my bird photography. The reasoning behind this is to have more ability to crop for different size birds on the perches and to give me a stop or two more in ISO.
The problem is that the cameras I now can afford are only around 5 or 6 fps vs 8fps. How much of a difference is this going to be to birds in flight and backyard studio work? Will it be negligible or a major issue? I credit 8fps with some of my best birds in flight but am I overstating this to myself? Back when I was shooting film I seemed to be happy at 3fps for sports.
Thanks for your help Moose,


Black Skimmer 2186

Matt, great question! And I’m afraid you’re going to really not like the answer. While you’re looking at gear as a cure for your photography woes, have you considered technique? I’m being totally serious here and not flippant because you shoot Canon. There is no gear answer that fits all your needs, that’s one reason why I’m going with technique. And as you point out perfectly, those amazing images were captured on film before the days of 11fps or raising ISO on a whim. Yes, I shoot with the D4s as my primary body, that is not even required for wildlife photography. Knowing just two things, basic biology and peak of action can make up for a whole lot of camera (and leave more money in your pocket). So I’m going to encourage you to look at improving you before improving your camera body. That will make that perfect camera body when you find it even better!

Hello Moose,
I am considering moving from Nik to OnONe Suite. Do you have any though on this?


Hal, that’s a great question! Ya, and it’s not going to help you at all. That’s because I personally constantly go back and forth between the two. They are constantly updating the plugins and when they do, they are improved. Right now I much prefer the Nik Suite and last year, it was OnOne. If money is an issue, I would go with just Nik, but I always encourage photographers to have as many tools as they can afford and that goes for software as well. I highly recommend you head to my YouTube Channel where there are a bunch of videos where I demo both plugins which might help you find the right one for you.

Good Day Mr. Moose!!!
Needs your thoughts and an accessory, the Lens Coat. Do you use them? I think I read or heard you say you do. Are they for protection?? For Camouflage?? Both??


PJ, I most certainly do use LensCoat! All big lenses like 200-400 & 800mm wear LensCoats. I use these and many other LensCoat products for one specific reason, to protect my gear. For example, shooting long glass out the window of the truck, they protect the gear from getting brassed. I use just black but have asked Scott for a long time to make a line in pink. No luck yet but when it comes to an essential accessory I get as soon as I get a lens, it has to be the LensCoat.

Hi Moose,
Tripod spikes…little pointy attachments that screw onto the end of your tripod legs so that you can push them into the ground. Supposedly, they help steady the tripod. Marketing gimmick or useful piece of gear?


AP, they are very much a useful piece of gear when they’re called for. For the vast majority of the time, they are not needed, but in conditions like working on ice, they are essential. I use the Really Right Stuff Versa Rock Claw and love them. My shooting partner Kevin has the ones from Gitzo that are rubber feet over the spike so you just pull the rubber off and you have the spikes. I never leave home without them!

Dear Moose,
I am finally starting to print some of my photos but I am having difficulty finding information about which papers to try. I know that the advice is to go ahead and print some samples on different types of papers but I was hoping you could help narrow the selection for one particular subject, night skies. I need to purchase some sample papers and it would help if you could narrow down the selection.

Anne … Epson Exhibition hands down. And just so you know, the Moose’s Print Lab has over 40pgs of information on printing the might help you.

HI Moose,
I hope your summer is going well!
I have two questions with regards to equipment for aviation photography:
· First, I have been reading your “Taking Flight” eBook and am learning a ton from it. I see that you are using the Nikon D4s as your primary camera for your aviation photography for a couple of reasons – focus capabilities, buffer size, etc. For those of us who aren’t currently in a position to afford a D4s, is there a “next best” Nikon camera with a bit lower price tag that you would recommend for aviation photography that meets as many of the key requirements as possible?
· Do you use a circular polarizer for any of your aviation photography, and if so in what situations?
Thanks for sharing your photography and gear expertise with us!


Mike, So pleased you have and you are enjoying Taking Flight! When it comes to shooting aviation, you can use any body you have or want, from D7100, D810, Df to D4s. It’s the person behind the camera that counts! There is no doubt the D4s with the Lexar 256Gb card makes the job a whole lot easier and therefore more fun and for me, more productive. But that is not required for success, rather solid technique as I describe in Taking Flight.
When it comes to the polarizer, yeah I use one whenever it’s needed. The polarizer is a tool to remove reflections so any time there is a reflection I want removed, I use the polarizer. One example in aviation is the reflection of highlights on the fuselage. The polarizer is a great tool for that. The one issue with the polarizer is it does suck up two stops of light. There are times when shooting action that sacrificing two stops of light is just too much. Hope that helps.