My current Camera gear.

Nikon Camera gear review on

My basic fly fishing photography set-up. A Nikon D810 with 60 macro, 28 1.8G, 85 1.8G and carbon Gitzo 6x Tripod with RRS head.

Fly-fishing has always factored into camera and lens decisions in my commercial photo gear and I’ve used virtually every camera I’ve owned shooting for Flylife Magazine over the last twenty years. Some stuff has worked out better than others, but I feel my current set-up is by far the best yet so I thought it was worth sharing.

My main camera is the mighty Nikon D810.

I say ‘mighty’ with no hesitation or fear of exaggeration because it’s a beast and, without doubt, the best picture-making thing yet made in my humble opinion. It’s proven as tough as nails, having so far survived everything fly-fishing and rock-and-roll photography has thrown it’s way.
The crisp detail of its low-noise 36-megapixel sensor, wide dynamic range and epically high ISO talents set it completely apart from any camera that came before it.

Nikon D810 dynamic range

Previous cameras I’ve owned couldn’t pull this kind of details in this hard light.
The D810 and 60 macro nail it.

Yes, it’s overkill for the stuff on my blog, but in magazine or music work you never know where, or how big or how cropped an image is going to end up and having 36-megapixel resolution is the best insurance for getting the work in the first place.

Flylife Magazine cover shot on Nikon D810

The cover shot used on Flylife #83 was cropped at around 50% and still had plenty of resolution.


Flylife #83 cover by David Anderson Photography

My 6th Flylife cover. Having so much resolution gives the designers plenty of wiggle room for cropping.

Sure, Canon and Sony both have very good offerings, but the Nikon beats the Canon’s in dynamic range and the Sony’s, though apparently pretty good for image quality, only hold one SD memory card and that makes them a dangerous option for serious, one-shot-only work like a cover shoot or the fish of a lifetime at the end of a very long walk in New Zealand.

Card problems are rare, but I have had them and having the instant back-up of a second card has proved a life-saver.Seriously Sony, Canon and Nikon have had this for years—get with the program.

As far as lenses go, any camera is only as good as the lens you slap in front of it, and Nikon have me well covered for both regular work and fly-fishing.

Sage fly rod and fly box on

Here I’ve used the Nikon 28mm 1.8 G in tight quarters to shoot a rod and fly box for a recent story. This lens and D810’s 36 megapixels deliver serious detail with low distortion.

When I shoot for Flylife Magazine, I bring the D810, a flash and three prime lenses, the 28-mm 1.8 G, 60-mm macro and 85-mm 1.8G. I chose these lenses for the balance of weight and image quality.

Some might argue that a good mid-range zoom, like a 24-70 could do a lot of the same work, and I have used them in the past on a couple jobs where I didn’t want to change lenses, but the primes have the edge in image quality even if that means changing lenses several times a day and abstaining from zooms makes me think harder about where I need to be to get the best shots.

Although this is not a big kit, I’ve found it does everything I need and is all I want to carry up and down the river all day.

My lenses in detail:

Nikon 28-mm 1.8 G: This is the best wide-angle lens I’ve ever owned, end of story. Not the most expensive or the fastest or the blackest, just the best for corner to corner sharpness and consistently high image quality I’ve seen yet in a normal wide angle.

One of the great things about the 28-mm focal length is that it’s easy to get even polarisation. It’s also low on distortion and lightweight. Anything wider can steal the thunder from the subject while something like a 35-mm can lack drama.

Barrington tops shot on Nikon D810

My favourite shot yet from the Nikon 28mm 1.8G. Everything is tack sharp from front to back and into the corners. It’s an incredible lens.