This page will be of interest only to fellow photography and IT “nerds”, except perhaps any Picture Editor who needs reassurance that Duncan uses more than an iPhone to capture his images!
For many genres of photography, within reason the equipment used is not especially critical. However, for Duncan’s specialty of sports/action shots (often featuring fast movement and low light) the quality of equipment used can make a huge difference, especially since Duncan always shoots at settings that will allow printing at >1.2M wide, fine-art quality. Regardless, Duncan simply needs all the help he can get!
Duncan uses the very latest, top-of-the-range professional Nikon camera equipment and is an "early-adopter", consistently updating with every new iteration. His two Nikon D5 bodies represent the ultimate sports pro camera, 20.8 Mp with fast and supremely reliable auto-focus, a staggering frame rate and an incredible ability to capture images in low-light conditions without the resultant “noise” prevalent in images from most other cameras – they can shoot in the dark! Duncan receives an exceptional level of support from Nikon Professional Services (NPS); they delivered the first two production D5s to arrive in the UK to him at the Boat Race Media Centre so he could evaluate them during Practice Outings and the Race itself. They then published an article about his findings.
Duncan has until recently also used the 36Mp Nikon D800E camera. This has now been superseded by the D850, boasting a massive 45.4 Mp. Whilst perhaps not quite so ideal for sport and low-light, it shares many of the D5’s attributes yet at very high resolution and a D850 will be added to Duncan’s camera bag within the next month. The pairing of these three flagship Nikon bodies provides Duncan with the ultimate tools to capture images, whatever the prevailing conditions or photographic objective. Coupled with his in-depth knowledge of what all the various buttons do, he is well placed to capture some stunning images if only he could work out in which order those pesky little buttons need to be pressed!
To complement these bodies, Duncan owns a number of Nikon professional lenses including 14-24mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (latest version, far superior), 300mm f/2.8 VRII, AF-S NIKKOR 200–500mm f/5.6E ED VR, 16mm f/2.8 fisheye, 50mm f/1.4G, 85mm f/1.4G, 105mm f/2.8 VR micro and TC20E III 2x and TC1.4x II teleconverters. He also has three Nikon speedlights – SB910, SB900 and SB800 which he controls and fires remotely using PocketWizard radios. They are often used in conjunction with his Lastolite Ezybox and Octa softboxes. This should be enough for anyone but if Duncan ever anticipates the need for (say) a specialist 200mm f/2.0, an 800mm f/5.6 or any perspective control lens, NPS are incredibly helpful with their level of support.
Cameras are supported by a Gitzo GT2542L tripod with Gitzo GH2780QR ballhead and Gitzo GM5561T and GM2540 monopods, both fitted with Manfrotto 234RC heads and 200USS anti-twist plates.
Finding the perfect camera bag is Duncan’s ultimate photographic ambition! He has so many, ranging from small to massive rolling, aircraft-hold-only and everything in-between that their number exceeds even his wife’s collection of Designer handbags. He keeps them hidden, has never admitted this to his wife and it is a touchy subject, so please keep this a secret!
Post processing is carried out using Photo Mechanic, Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop CC with various plugins, most notably the indispensable suites from Nik software and ON1.
IT equipment consists of an extremely high-spec Dell Precision 7710 laptop with Intel Quad Core 2.90GHz, 3.80GHz Turbo; 64Gb RAM, triple 1TB Solid State hard drives, Nvidia Quadro M5000M 8GB GDDR5 discrete graphics card, running Windows 10. Frankly, until specifying this combination Duncan did not realise it was even possible to spend £7,700 on a laptop! Scandalously, he has experienced two total failures. These were repaired after much time and anguish but he demanded and received two brand new replacements and refused to return the repaired units laptops since he needed spares in case this happened again! In fairness, Dell agreed to this so he now has three identical ultra-high-end laptops in case of future failure - swap the hard drives and all are good to go.
The laptop is docked at studio/office to triple 32” monitors and at home to dual 32” monitors, all colour calibrated. Broadband service is >350 Mbs at both locations, Printing is performed using either an Epson P800 A2 printer (office) or an Epson 3880 A2 (home), which deliver the highest possible print quality allied with archival longevity. Colour calibration of both monitor and printer is managed with Datacolour’s Spyder3Studio SR equipment. Peripherals include a Wacom graphics tablet along with 16Tb of storage in a Drobo networked unit, kept at the office (it is noisy!) and accessible from home via a permanent VPN.
Q:- What’s the difference between artists and photographers?
A:- Two artists can have a conversation without discussing their paintbrushes!