Camera for shooting events

You often ask me about the equipment I photograph events, so I decided to put it all together and describe why I use specific equipment at work.


You often ask me what I photograph and why Nikon and not Canon, so I decided to write what and why I use. It is also important that most of my photos so far have been reportage, interior sessions, virtual walks and sometimes portrait sessions. During the pandemic, the proportions changed a little over time, but this was not a reason for major changes.

Some history

Let’s start with this – why Nikon? I actually started with Lumix DMC-FZ8 which was a super zoom, i.e. a compact with a large barrel, and also had a manual mode, RAW recording and what I was interested in then – he shot movies well. It didn’t cost much either, some PLN 800, as I remember correctly.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8

Filmmaking was relegated to the background and I started to take more and more photos and after a time of searching the choice fell on Nikon D90 which was quite an advanced SLR at that time, but with an APSC sensor. Even before I bought it, I had an opportunity with the lens Nikon Nikkor 50 mm f / 1.4 D AF and I had only the lens without the camera. There was no turning back then, because I bought all the next lenses and accessories for Nikon, so changing the system would be a big loss.

At the moment, I think it doesn’t really matter which system you choose. If we can calibrate color profiles, the photos will come out in the same colors and among the lenses everyone will find something for themselves. I’m not a fan of any brand. Works on Nikon I’m taking it on vacation Olympus and iPhone and I’d love to take photos too Fuji and Sony .

2x Nikon D750 – the optimal body for reportage

Nikon D750 it is probably the best camera when we look at the ratio of quality and parameters to price with the APS-C sensor. Nikon has even cheaper models, i.e. D610 which do not have seals, had factory defects and also slightly weaker image quality. I do not take studio photos, nor do I see any difference for myself in the surcharge for model models D810 whether D850 which is twice as expensive. So for the price of the top model, I could buy two bodies that will work hard for each other and I will not feel sorry for them in difficult conditions.

Nikon Nikkor 50 mm f / 1.4 D AF

The most important for me in this model were:

  • Full frame that gives a shallow depth of field and separation of subjects from the background
  • High ISO speeds with no noise
  • Sealed body
  • Two adjustment knobs for changing the time and the shutter
  • Durability – although its predecessor D700 fared better
  • The resolution of 24 Mpix over 12 Mpix of the D700 is optimal in terms of the amount of detail, cropping possibilities and file size.

Lenses for event photography

When it comes to lenses, it was quite a journey and something else may change, but I think that it is a great set for starters for wide and narrow shots and it will also work well in portraits. If someone wants to save money and start with one Body, I would consider choosing 50mm but you have to be careful with small spaces, or safer and wider 35mm .

Once upon a time I started with Nikkor 50mm 1.4 in the D version which was very small and light. It worked great in reporting and I did a lot of events at the beginning with it and Nikon D700 . Over time, I sold it to buy it Sigma ART 35mm 1.4 which gave a sharper picture no soap on the diaphragm 1.4.

I have also owned it for a long time Nikkora 24-70mm f 2.8 which I have been using for a long time due to its versatility, but I was annoyed by its size and weight. 2.8 light with a good body is good for reportage, but sometimes I missed 1.4-2.2 apertures, or just light, and I had to use a lamp, which made the whole set weigh a lot.

Sigma Art 35mm f 1.4

Apparently one of the best lenses for reportage. Many photographers can make a full report with it and I think I can confidently confirm it, but I also like narrow frames, so I still use 85mm. The Sigma Art is bigger than my old 50mm Nikkor, but it is more certain and, most of all, sharper. Sometimes you have to calibrate it, but you can do it for a few dozen zlotys on the site, or buy your own calibrator.

This is a lens that I would recommend to anyone to start with with event photography. Although you can also make a portrait on it, 35 mm is a bit overdrawn. If someone wants more portrait then I would prefer 50mm as a compromise, but requiring humility.

Sigma Art 85 f 1.4

The second lens I use in my reportage is Sigma Art 85m f 1.4 . I have it with me almost every time I need to take pictures without getting too close as with 35 mm. Sometimes it’s my main lens for shoots if I want to make narrow portraits without exaggeration. It is probably the best purse from Sigma. I also considered 135 mm, but I consider 85 mm to be a more universal focal length if I also do a reportage.

Nikon Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8

Nikon Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8 this is perhaps the sharpest system wide angle that the Canonians are envious of. It is an ultra-wide angle lens that does not have a barrel effect. I use it mainly for architecture and interior photography, but sometimes I use it as an interesting addition to photos of interiors at parties, or just for photography on the dance floor, where it can be quite tight. Its disadvantage, however, is its weight, dimensions and a convex lens, which makes it impossible to use ordinary screw-on filters. It is also a popular lens with landscape photographers.

Sigma 8mm f / 3.5 Fisheye + Nodal Ninja R10

I only use fisheye for photos under virtual walks google street view . It is placed in the panoramic head all the time Nodal Ninja R10 . This is a Google-recommended set for Street View. 4 photos are enough to take one panorama, one in each of the four directions. However, it usually uses HDR technique and I take 3 to 7 photos with different exposures in each of the 4 directions to cover the entire 360 sphere.

Flash lamps in event photography

Nikon SB-700 and SB-5000

My main flashes are two Nikons due to the TTL mode and their reliability. At events, I use them directly on the body. SB-700 I put on a body with a lens 35 mm and it is sufficient.

lampa blyskowa Nikon sb700 - Urbanflavour.pl

SB-5000 I use it with the Sigma Art 85mm because of its higher power, because at this focal length I am further from the photographed objects and I need a stronger flash.

Nikon SB5000 - Urbanflavour.pl

Sometimes I also use it on a 35mm body, or Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8 at events where it is tight, several people are photographed at 2.8-5.6 apertures. Then it has a lot of work and can warm up a bit, but the active cooling system built into it with an internal fan comes in handy.

Quadralite Stroboss 36 – small but crazy

I use triggers and receivers when shooting events and putting lamps on the dance floor Quadralite Navigator X .

If Nikon lamps stand on tripods, I have to give them Navigator X receivers, to liberate them by radio. I can then trigger them with the Navigator X transmitter, which also has a sled in it. In the future, I will probably exchange everything for a lamp system Quadralite or the like, since these lamps already have the capacity to work as a transmitter / receiver and the whole thing takes up less space.

Now, if I want a body lamp, I choose it Q uadralite Stroboss 36 which is simultaneously a lamp, a transmitter and a receiver. By the way, it is very small because it runs on two AA batteries. I don’t have to have a body kit + transmitter + lamp anymore, which is heavy and large and does not damage the foot mounting in the body. At SB-5000 in the transmitter on the body I have the impression that the whole thing will break soon.

Quadralite reporter 36 60 and 360 TTL

Reporter 360

Reporter 360 I bought it for half the price on Black Friday with a view to developing business and portrait photography. Reporter 360 is a mobile studio flash due to its 4-8 more power than ordinary speedlites and a round burner. 360 also has a PowerPack, which is enough for 1-2 sessions. Thanks to this, it is perfect for a mobile studio and even photography on a sunny day, where usually reporters’ lamps start to fry while flashing at full power.

Photo backpack

All equipment is packed in a backpack Lowepro ProTactic BP450AW II , which will fit all the necessary equipment and accessories and even 15 “MBP . In addition, it is rigid, has additional external mounts, e.g. for a tripod or a water bottle, and if necessary, it can be covered with additional covers, which can be hidden in the base.

Braces for the photographer

When I know that I have to move efficiently and I do not want to restrict my movements, I give up carrying the bag and put on the braces Rebel East . Thanks to this, I can spend practically the whole day with two sets of body + lens.

I hang two Nikon D750 lenses with 35mm f 1.4 and 85mm f 1.4 lenses on the harness, sometimes I replace one of them with the Nikkor 14-24mm f 2.8. Sometimes I use two or one lamps for this and I switch them if necessary.

Usually, this is how I start the order if I know that we will move around, and I take the bag out in a place where I already know that I can set aside for a longer time. Until then, it does not need additional memory cards or rechargeable batteries, and in some cases it may be enough for a whole day of work, because the batteries in the D750 last a long time and the 32GB cards are also hard to fill.

Sometimes there is also a place in the pocket for Color Checker Passport which I photograph in difficult conditions to better choose the white balance or create a color profile under low light.

That would be it for now. Next time I will focus on accessories.

Hardware list

Below is the entire list of equipment that I currently use. If you want to check the prices of new equipment and support me at the same time, you must know that the links are affiliate and I receive a part of the commission with every purchase Ceneo they charge from sellers. You don’t pay anything extra for it, so everyone wins. I hope this list will help you a little bit in choosing your equipment, because everyone has their own preferences and shooting style, so even with the same equipment, we will work a little differently.

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Fotograf eventowy - Marcin Krokowski