Announcing "Gear Tuesday": Ask Fstoppers Your Questions About Camera Gear and Recommendations!

Are you shopping for a new lens? Wondering what the difference between a CMOS and CCD sensor is? You've come to the right place.

Fstoppers is pleased to announce a new video series, "Gear Tuesday," in which we'll answer any questions you might have about cameras, lenses or accessories. The camera world is filled to the brim with equipment, science, and technology and we know that navigating all the options and mastering all the technicalities can be quite an undertaking. To help you on your journey, each week, you can submit any question you have, from which we will select 10 questions to be answered in the following week's video. 

This is a great opportunity to receive gear recommendations and gain technical knowledge that can better your photography! Please leave a comment with your question by Sunday at 12 p.m. EST.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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yuri Grinshteyn's picture

I am looking to purchase a "walkaround" lens for my Nikon D3200 - I want a single lens to use throughout an international vacation, mostly urban exploring. Which one of these 3 would you recommend?

Sigma 17-50 2.8
Sigma 17-70 2.8-4
Nikon 16-80 2.8-4

Scott Mosley's picture

[EDIT: I replied without reading the whole post, I guess they will answer your Q on Tuesday yuri, but I will still leave what I wrote]

It's a close call between the Sigma 17-70mm and the Sigma 17-50mm, Each lens has some advantages:

Sigma 17-70 is a newer design lens that is capable of macro shots, so if you like taking super close shots of stuff this is the lens for you, it also comes in as the cheapest of the 3 @ $399 (BH)

Sigma 17-50 is an incredible lens, it gives you a little less reach, but a constant faster aperture and this older lens @ $469 would probably be my choice of the 3 (I used this at weddings when I first started), as it will perform better throughout it's range in low light

I'm sure the nikon is a great lens (brand new design too) and is also over 2x the price. I have not been able to try this one, but not sure if the extra 10mm will justify the price over sigmas new "C" lens

I know you didn't ask, but if you have room in your bag for one more tiny lens I always recommend nikon's 35mm 1.8 DX lens. For under $200 you get a great low-light prime that weighs nothing and takes up less than half the space of the lenses above, really good for shooting more discreetly and in darker situations.

Kenny Van's picture

What monolight that you would recommend to work with Sony camera which supports HSS? Thanks.

Alice Avenne's picture

Marketing and Feel aside: Magnesium vs plastic vs hybrids.

Some say plastic protects cameras better against big impacts and falls because it is flexible and absorbs the shock. On the other hand when it comes to smaller knocks and impacts which happen regularly magnesium can't be beaten from what I have heard. So which is really best? Is a hybrid solution with both magnesium parts and plastic parts the best solution to this problem? Or is it still better to go all magnesium/all plastic?

Most pro DSLRs are magnesium or mostly magnesium. However most pro lenses are largely plastic or plastic and metal. Lenses have a longer life expectancy one would think and yet they are full of plastic. This is quite contradictory and confusing.

Prefers Film's picture

In most cases, you don't have a choice. If you want a specific body or lens, you take what they offer. I would hope that when someone debates between a 5D MkIII and Fuji, their main concern is not body construction.

Alice Avenne's picture

Unlike the 1d, the 5d Mark 3 has a plastic mirror box, only the outer shell is magnesium.

Heri Rakotomalala's picture

I am using currently Sony A7 II and Sony 55mm f1.8

My interest is in natural light portraits, music event photography. Sometimes also landscape.

Is there a killer combo (camera + lens (adapted or not) + lights) that you think would be killer for this kind of photography and give an edge over common photographers?

Thank you

T Dillon's picture

Two of the best lenses made at 135mm are made for Sony a-mount. The Carl Zeiss 135/1.8 and the Sony 135/2.8 STF. If you love blister sharpness with lovely bokeh (a hard combo to get) with great color and character, the 135/1.8 is the best autofocusing 135mm ever made. On the STF, it is a unique lens. It was developed to produce perfect bokeh. It is a manual focus lens with an aperture ring and apodization filter that creates the smoothest, creamiest bokeh known. It has redefined my standard for good bokeh. You will never have busy bokeh with this lens. However, because of the extra filter, it is a very dim lens. Transmission level is T/4.5 (think in terms of the brightness at f/4.5), so it is not great for low light. Either way, both are unique and would set you apart. You would need the Sony LA-EA4 (for any Minolta/Sony A-mount lens) for the CZ135/1.8 to autofocus. The STF can use either the LA-EA3 (ONLY Sony or Minolta SAM/SSM lenses) or 4 since it is manual focus only.

If these are daunting, the new Zeiss Batis 85/1.8 is a truly excellent lens, but is not as unique as the other two, fabulous options.

Heri Rakotomalala's picture

Thanks Tyler. I was actually looking at the Batis and get the combo wide and telephoto 85mm. The prices makes sense.

I've set an alert for the Zeiss 135mm f1.8 on eBay. It doesn't come cheap! :D

Chris Adval's picture

I highly recommend Dani Diamond for natural light portrait techniques, beyond the best in my opinion in the industry for that type of shooting style. I think he uses more 85 1.4 as his primary lens.

Heri Rakotomalala's picture

I'm looking at his 500px. Really beautiful models. Thanks Chris, good inspiration !

Chris Adval's picture

Alex, do you want questions purely technical or is it ok to ask questions that can relate to the techniques like would X lens or X equipment help with performing X techniques. A good sample is, should I get an 85 1.4 if I want to shoot fashion, and with an emphasis style in environmental portrait fashion shots where I do want the background fairly in focus or mostly in focus in some cases or would a 16-35 f/4 IS would work better for this including using the lens in other areas for my business can take advantage like video work (since it has IS)?

Chris Adval's picture

Here's a good question, how can you play with different focal lengths and lenses without breaking the bank and renting everything (even slowly)? I've rented a few in the past few years but I want to play with so many before deciding to buy them, but I cant afford to rent everything I want to try even for the 3 day rentals from borrowlenses can be pricey (50-$100 with insurance).

Prefers Film's picture

Start or join a local camera club.

Chris Adval's picture

That costs money too, unless I just use word of mouth, and facebook messages with people I already know. There is one locally but they're not gear heads they are "pure artists" and leaning to nature not what I like, portraiture.

Carrie Garcia's picture

I'm about to buy a 6D, but haven't done so yet, making sure I make the right purchase. I have been reading and searching and trying to figure out canon 6D or a 5D MII. I've seen some amazing images with the 5D M2 and with the 6D. I have the sigma 35 art it's my baby and doesn't come off my body!!! I shoot maternity, children and families. I don't have a camera store in my city, so I can't go in and test them both out. When we go on vacation, I could visit a store in Houston, but you all know when you want/need the gear you don't want to wait, or at least I don't want to wait anymore lol!!! I know it's the glass and not so much the body, but when I see an M2 a couple hundred dollars less than the 6D, I'm close to saying give me that! But again, I don't want to make a bad buying decision. Sooooo any thoughts? Suggestions? Is this a no brainier and I'm making it difficult? TIA!

Prefers Film's picture

Get the 6D. It's worth it for the quiet shutter, WiFi, and weight savings alone.

Dylan Diblik's picture

I see a lot of bargain strobe bulbs (example: and I was wondering if you guys have ever tried them. I'm not looking to replace a speedlight I'm just wondering if they will add a little light to a room or bump up the exposure of existing light fixtures. I find that when lighting a set with strobes one of my biggest issues is making the light fixtures look lit and I thought replacing a bulb or two with this might help. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Jay Kan's picture

Hey Dylan, never used it, but looking into it, I think it will be useful for what you're doing. Being at 60ws for such a wide spread, it's actually pretty good power, perhaps similar to a speed light? It will most likely be able to fill in the room a little bit and produce that "ambient" light. However, my concern would be power control. It might end up being too bright?

Ralph Berrett's picture

I am debating getting the Arca-Swiss M-Monolith 4x5 View Camera or the Linhof 4x5 Technikardan 45s Camera for commercial work of corporate buildings and products any recommendations.
Also Can you recommend a digital back for a Fuji GX680III this would mainly be for location work.


Diego Ramos's picture

I want to buy a good wide angle lens, and I love long exposures. Which one would you recommend? I have a d750, and will mostly use it for landscape and astro photo
Tokina 16-28 2.8
Nikon 20mm 1.8
any other suggestion?

Jay Kan's picture

How wide would you like?
-Sigma 24mm 1.4art is worth looking into and so is the up coming 24-35mm f/2 Art
-For wider, absolutely nothing beats the beast 14-24mm F/2.8 in my opinion. Only draw back is the use of filters.
-A good balance would probably be the nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR. It's a pretty darn sharp lens from my experience, and it's cover a very good range. Most people are concern with the F/4. Yes F/4 will suffer a little from low light, but under some situation, VR is a good way to give that light back to you. On the other hand, if the light is that dark, the light quality probably isn't that good anyways, so I would just pop a fill flash up. Then last but not least, we have the whole bokeh concern. It's a wide angle, the depth of field wasn't really going to be anything spectacular in the bokeh department.

Hope that helps :P

Jay Kan's picture

Hey Alex,
So as we know it, with the release of "cheaper" Nikon full frame cameras, namely D600/D610/750, are APS-C sized DSLR getting push out of the market? To build up from there, will medium format become the new full frame, full frame being the new APS-C?

For example, cheaper and older medium format cameras like the Hasselblad H3D-39II is still a phenomenal camera capable of producing extremely sharp results. You can own one of those for less than $8000 USD and have two leaf shutter lens along with it,

Of course, there's a lot of variables on rather medium format is right for everyone. The noise/grain being one of it (which they are transitioning to CMOS as well). The other would be the convenience stand point, but I think most people who will be looking to upgrade to that much quality would already know what they're getting themselves into (and I think the CMOS vs CCD will solve much of that problem).

So there it is, my not so question like question, I guess you can say it's more of a general discussion about gear. I am very interested in your thoughts on this matter. Also would like to know, if you have the option to either get a Medium format camera + 2 lens, or get a high res full frame camera like a D800 + 3-4 sharp lenses (135 f/2, 85 1.4g, maybe soon coming 24-35mm, and a 50 1.4 art?), which one would you choose/how would you scale them?

-Jay Kan