2013 Gear in Review

On a whim I decided to look back on my collective work in 2013 and see what gear I used most. Historically I’ve avoided doing this as my gear bag is never very deep. This past year though I took advantage of some perks at BorrowLenses.com where I could experiment with a variety of gear, gear that under normal circumstances would be too costly to buy. So what gear did I fall back on using more and more?

Here are the camera bodies I used through out 2013:

Here are the lenses I used through out 2013:

Here are the hard numbers for both lenses and cameras use in 2013:


What It All Means
I shot a lot of timelapse sequences this year hence the high image count, but I still took the time to take some meaningful still photos. Not to mention I also took the time to enjoy family photography with a waterproof Canon D20 point and shoot.  Clearly I’m a Canon shooter, but I’m not necessarily in love with only Canon lenses. Over the course of the year I’ve come increasingly fond of the Zeiss Distagon f/2.8 15mm lens due to its overall sharpness, minimal distortion in the corners and it’s predictable hard stop for infinite. If I didn’t have access to the lens I’d buy it, but if buying it is not in your budget either then it’s well worth renting the Zeiss 15mm at BorrowLenses.com. The Canon 5D III (which I rent multiple units of per shoot) has become my workhorse camera, but I still own the 5D Mark II. You’ll likely see a trend where I used fast lenses the most (f/1.0 and f/1.4) and this is because I’ve been working on an astrolandscape project where I need to capture a lot of light while minimizing exposure times.  The Canon 24mm f/1.4 has been a great lens to use as it is both fast and well suited to a classical landscape look. My Canon 50mm f/1.0 continues to be my go to fun lens both for family, travel and even an occasional astrolandscape photograph. I tried my hand at some more exotic equipment including the Leica M9 rangefinder and Hasselblad medium format cameras. I was not a fan of the M9 mostly because the sensor is not well suited to low light photography creating super noisy images. The Hasselblad 4HX + IQ280 back was an exotic combination I’d love to revisit using, but will have to wait for a specific project. The combination of broad dynamic range and high resolution opened my eyes to a completely different realm of photographic possibilities.  The brief glimpse into the world of exotic photography equipment was fun, but I’m still most productive and financially solvent in the 35mm DSLR world. We’ll have to see what comes of my gear use in 2014.



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Jim Goldstein is a professional photographer and author, based out of San Francisco, California who specializes in outdoor and nature photography. Passionate about nature and the environment Jim infuses elements of the natural world into his commercial, editorial and fine art work. For more follow Jim on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Subscribe
  • Jonathan David Rojas

    The fact that you get to use a 50mm f/1.0 really makes me jealous xP

  • latoga

    Jim, surprised that “iPhone 5” isn’t listed under your cameras…I know with the kids that most of my family snapshots are taken on the iPhone (not always happy about that, but convenience usually wins)

  • jimgoldstein

    Actually I never imported my iPhone photos into Lightroom or it would have taken up 60% of all the photos taken for the year. iPhoto has given me tons of problems so I’ll be switching that up next year and importing exclusively to Lightroom.

  • jimgoldstein

    Not to rub it in, but it’s a fun lens. If you get the chance to rent it or buy one I recommend it. That said you can get sharper images with the slightly slower 50mm f/1.2 and it’s much cheaper.

  • Jonathan David Rojas

    Ah great! Well I’m real close to buying the 85mm f/1.2 so at least I’ll get the same aperture 😀

  • http://www.diyphotography.net/ udi tirosh

    you really pounded on the Leica, didnt you :)