I get asked a lot about the sort of equipment I use so I thought from time to time I'd use a post to cover different items in my bag. For or the weak of heart, be prepared: I work my equipment hard and some of my clients work it even harder. A few of the pictures below may be upsetting to those who appreciate pristine camera bodies and lenses.
Let me introduce my primary go-to camera, the Canon 5D Mark II which I've been using for the last 3 years. This guy has really been through the wars with me and has been a faithful friend. I use its predecessor–the plain ole 5D–as a second camera and am anxiously waiting for the just-released new model -- the 5D Mark III– to arrive. (its hard to come by right now).
Why do I like it?
1) It has a full-frame sensor which–without getting hugely geeky and technical–means I can take full advantage of my wide angle lenses. Most DSLRs have smaller sensors that essentially reduce the effective “wide angleness” of lenses by 50 or 60%. For close-up work with dogs and cats, having that full focal range is really critical for me.
2) It shoots huge files so I can crop in way close in and still not lose a lot of detail and resolution
3) It's really sturdy and takes a beating. Seriously. Mine's been knocked out of my hands, nosed 0ff my tailgate, rained on, drooled on, dropped in the mud, kicked with sand, smeared with chicken, the list goes on.
4) It's lighter than the really high-end 1D models so I can still hold it with one hand -- uber important if you're holding a treat or a ball in the other to get your subject's attention.
Admittedly, these guys don't come cheap so, if you're just getting started there's no reason to take out a second mortgage (not that any of us can any more) on the higher-end models.
The entry-level DSLRs for both Canon (the Rebel) and Nikon (the d3100) are both excellent and many of us pros began with those or their earlier versions.
Like me, if you end up deciding to make this more than a hobby or find yourself out shooting a lot and in tougher environments it may be worth looking at the next level up where the camera bodies have a bit more metal in them.
If anyone has any real specific questions about DSLRs in general or the 5D specifically, please comment below. I'm happy to continue the discussion.