Equipment I Use

  1. Camera
    1. Nikon D3300: If you really do your camera shopping you will find there are really few changes model to model. Yes the newer one may be a little faster, or have a flip out screen, or longer battery life. This camera suited my needs just fine and didn’t break the bank.
  2. Lenses
    1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 : What I use mostly for portrait and landscape.
    2. Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR : My go to lens for wildlife. The VR (vibration reduction) is critical for sharper pictures with this zoom length even when using a tripod or monopod.
    3. Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom: This was the initial lens that came with the kit I bought. While it has the same focal length as the Nikon it doesn’t have the vibration reduction. But I still use this lens because of its macro function. It makes for good close ups of things and interesting abstract pictures
  3. Tripod
    1. Mactrem Camera Tripod Alluminum Alloy Travel Tripod: I love this guy because of its sturdiness and its ability to convert from a tripod, for the planned shots, to a monopod for those walks in the woods when you never know what you will see.
  4. Filters
    1. On both Nikon lenses I have a Circular Polorizer filter. These are dual pourpose they provide excellent color saturation for those nature, landscape, and especially the sunrise / sunset shots. They also protect the lens. Its better to replace a cheap filter than an expensive lens. One came from Amazon the other from the initial kit I bought.
      1. AmazonBasics Circular Polarizer Lens – 67 mm: For the 70-300 lens
      2. Vivitar Series 1 55mm Multi-Coated Circular Polarizer: For the 18-55mm lens. As I stated this came with the inital camera kit that I started with. I will get into the kit next.
  5. Nikon D3300 Digital Camera + 18-55mm VR + 70-300mm + 30 Piece Accessory Bundle:  This is the initial bundle that I purchased. I will go over what I liked / didn’t like, used / and haven’t used yet. Excluding the camera and lenses as mentioned above.
    1. 52mm 2X Professional Telephoto Lens, 52mm High Definition 0.45x Wide Angle Lens, 55-52mm Step-Down Adapter Ring
      1. These, at least in my attempts, I found basically useless. The Telephoto was unnecessary because it only fits the 18-55 lens and you already have the 70-300 lens for zooming out there in the kit.The .45X Wide Angle didn’t work because when you would try to go down the 18mm you would see the ends of the lens requiring cropping thus making it pointless. Of course the step down ring is just to get the 52mm threaded lenses to fit to the 55mm threads on the Nikon lens.
    2.  Large Deluxe Digital SLR Backpack: This i do love. Is it a top notch backpack no but does it do the job and have plenty of compartments and pockets yes. Are there better ones out there yes like this one. Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera and 15.4-Inch Laptop Backpack. But when you are just starting out stick with the basics.
    3. Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card & Transcend 8GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card: I have yet to need to use the 8GB card. These cards are class 10 and do the job. I would suggest if you plan long weekends or big full day shoots that you make sure to have plenty of memeory onhand and go for the fastest card your camera will handle. For speed go class 10 and minimum U1 but U3 will cover all your needs.
    4. Digital Slave Flash with bracket: It doesnt really fit the bill as an off camera flash as the bracket only gets ou about 2 inches from the hot shoe. I cant really give it a fair review as I have never used it.  Seems to me that the built in flash will accomplish the same thing.
    5. 55mm 4 piece high definition Close-Up filter set & 55mm Multi-Coated 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD): I have never used the up close filter set so lets just pass on reviewing them. I used to use the UV filter all the time mostly as a lens protector. I got frustrated with changing back and forth with the CPL then the lightbulb went off hey why not leave the CPL on all the time. That’s what I do now. And you will see noticeable color saturation changes which can really make an image pop.
    6. 55mm Hard Tulip Shaped Lens Hood (Black): I did use this for a long time but as it is a screw on and i leave a filter on all the time it just sits in the bag. Lens hoods do make good lens protectors and can help in some extreme lighting conditions to reduce light flares.
    7. MINI-INFRARED REMOTE CONTROL FOR NIKON: I do use this occasionally It is really great to have a remote available to fire the camera in low light situations. IT will stop you from touching the camera therefore reducing shake. Absolutely mandatory if you are taking nightscape pictures and helpful for light painting.
    8. 60-Inch Pro Series Full Size Camera/Video Tripod & Flexible Tripod: Never used the flexible tripod as it is tiny and flimsy and seems like it would have trouble even holding the camera up. The full size tripod was just to light. Something I have learned, in general, is if it has brackets that connect the legs to the center it is because it is too flimsy and needs extra support. I was setting up for some football portraits and the wind was blowing. The wind caught my tripos and knocked it down breaking it. Will it work for a beginner yes, will it suffice yes, if you get serious should you get a better one definitely yes.
    9. Battery Charger for Nikon EN-EL14 (Black): This is a travel charger that is separate from the standard charger that comes with the camera body. I have never used it but it is nice to know that if i am out shooting and realized that I bone headed and forgot to charge my battery, that I have a cigarette lighter compatible charger with me in the bag.
    10. 2-In-1 Lens Cleaning Pen (Black), Deluxe Dust Blower, 3 Piece Deluxe Cleaning kit, Ultra Clear screen protectors: I grouped all the cleaning / protection stuff together.
      1. I have used and they do come in handy the cleaning pen and the dust blower. I thought I had screwed something up and noticed something when i looked through the viewfinder. It didn’t show up in pictures but as there with all lenses. Oh crap there is something in my camera. I took the lens off held the camera opening down and gently used the blower. debris removes whew. The pen is nice for giving the lens a light dusting as well.
      2. The 3 piece deluxe cleaning kit: Come on there is nothing deluxe about some q-tips, an empty spray bottle, and a lens cleaning cloth. That being said I use the cleaning cloth all the time.
      3.  The ultra clear screen protectors: I haven’t used. These are for the digital display on the back of the camera. I haven’t regretted not using them yet but i really should put one on. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    11.  Pro Hand Wrist Grip Strap: Haven’t used it I prefer the neck strap and this also used up the attachment on the bottom of the camera which i have my tripod quick mounting bracket attached to.
    12. Lens Cap Keeper: Never used it. I just stick lens caps in my pocket or in the case.
    13. 6 Piece SD/SDHC Memory Card Hard Plastic Case: This is a good simple holder for additional memory cards. Who knows one day I may graduate to where I need to take multiple cards with me.
    14. USB 2.0 Memory Card Reader: I don’t need it as my laptop had a built in card reader. Although if you don’t have one on your computer this will be a necessity.

This is all the equipment I use and own to date. My thoughts on the bundle? Did it come with some useless crap most definitely. Did it come with some useful items, again most definitely. When you price the camera body with 18-55 mm lens, about $450 and the Tamron 70-300 mm lens, about $150 it comes up to almost $600 depending on where you look. So for about the same price you get a few extras and some of which are useful. I would say if you are in the market and just getting started shop around and these bundles seem to be a pretty good deal. Just don’t be completely upset when you find out some of the stuff in the bundle turns out to be less than expected. If you have done your shopping and price comparison you should have  still done pretty good on the deal.