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on Jun 18, 2014 in Gear Head Wed

GearHead Wednesday 14 – 23


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 ….

GearFamilyMr. Moose
How do you insure you ultra-valuable equipment collection?
Thanks for all the wisdom and knowledge


PJ, this is a very common question! It’s very important you do this no matter how much gear you have. Early in my career all my gear except what was on my back (800f5.6 / F3T) was stollen. I don’t wish that on anyone! When it comes to insurance, I am no expert so you need to talk to your agent for the best coverage for you. Being in the business, our insurance is through a broker and has to cover more than just gear so what we do isn’t going to help you. I can tell you that the key policy rider you need to have is the Inland Marine. Sounds silly, but this is the rider that covers loss of gear including it being dropped in water. We don’t insure little things, little being those items less than the deductible which keeps the premium down a tad. I wish I could provide you specifics, hope this helps you.

New to the D4S having previously used the D3S, D300 and D80. For your amazing aircraft photos what focusing setting do you use/prefer? Having come from the previous Nikon camera I pretty much stuck with single point focusing. Now that I have the D4S I have been using Group Area Focusing 99% of the time and shooting in manual mode.
Comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You for your time.


Terry, thanks for the kind words! When it comes to the D4s, D4, Df, D800 or D610, photographing prop aircraft in flight would all be the same. Pretty simple formula, Matrix Metering, Shutter Priority with the Auto Area AF mode. While Group Area AF is killer, planes or birds in flight, AAA still is the best. You might want to get a copy of my Taking Flight which goes through all of this in great detail which might help you get more out of that amazing camera!

600w-teleflashGood day Moose
I know that you use a Speedlight for a lot of your shots. I believe you hand hold it as well. My question is what do you do with it when changing locations? Put it in a jacket pocket, hang it from the camera, or is there the secret Moose Speedlight carry?
Thanks so much for considering this question.


Hal, I use the SB-910 a lot, that’s true! Often, the SD9 is attached to it. Rarely do I hold it in my hand when shooting critters though. The majority of the time its right above the lens axis being held with the F-9 Flash Bracket (attached by a SC-28 I shortened). When doing other work, I use stands and just lug those around. And there are times when working real fast and I am hand holding the flash, I just drape it attached to the SC-28 around my neck.

Hello Moose,
First a huge thank you for all those Nikon books (Silver Pixel) especially the 1994 Nikon lens book. My Nikon lens bible. I have learnt to use and bought many amazing manual focus lenses because of that gem you wrote. (My partner has been told to read and take notes as well). Presently on the second or third reading of ‘Captured’ it is so full of useful information especially as we are now digital. I’m making the notes this time!
Okay here’s the biggy. The new 800mm 5.6E looks FAB and those who have shot with it seem to love it. How do you rate it compared to the old manual version you used. ie: Sharpness, handling and imagine quality. I have the old version and love it but…. the eyes are losing their sharpness, too much reading I guess and the D700 hasn’t a split focusing screen. So, is the new one worth the extra big bucks over the AF-s 600mm with a TC 1.4 on my other tripod? I photograph small birds to landscapes with both.
Loving the angle of view on your site,
Keep clicking,


Eric, you’re talkin some ancient history there. Thanks for being with me so long! When it comes to comparing the original 800f5.6 ED lens to the new 800AFS, there really is no comparison with the only similarity being the focal length. The original 800mm which came our in the 80’s was great for it’s technology, but there is simply no way it can compare with today’s. Sharpness, speed of focusing, balance, MFD and with its matched .25x, the new 800mm as all have reported could possibly be one of Nikon’s finest lenses, ever!

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