Photo Gear

Glenn & Malinda Hartong's gear

Camera Bodies

Chosen for These Pro Features: weather-resistance & high speed flash sync, & high ISO.

  • Nikon Z6 – brand new mirrorless body from Nikon with 24-70 f4 Z lens and FTZ adapter to use our current lenses – silent shooting, weather sealed, amazing video & photo stabilization, scary bright viewfinder! WOW!
  • D500 (2) Nikon crop frame High ISO – Malinda
  • D7000 Nikon crop frame – Malinda takes this one to campus for teaching – works great! Easy to use, easy to learn!
  • Soon to bless another person’s gear bag: D610 & D600 Nikon full frame – they’re awesome, and the D610 is still available, but we prefer some of the features of the D500 & Z6.
  • iPhones, sometimes with Olloclip lenses


Weather: we use our gear in all kinds of situations from fires to news to events. We can’t control the weather and need our gear to perform regardless. So we purchase Pro gear with weather sealing.

Flash: We also use flash in bright sun ALL the time to fill in shadows. We need this to work in combination with blurred backgrounds so we need High Speed Flash sync. Typical cameras don’t allow you to shoot flash at high speeds and use wide open lenses. Check the camera specs to see what the top speed for flash is before purchasing a camera you’ll want pro results from.

ISO: While many cameras offer great low-light ISO, some really are WAY better than others. When in doubt, ask a pro! Ours perform well in VERY low light capturing action with fast shutter speeds.

“Starter” models: Nikon D7000 series & up, Canon 70D and up.

Nikon AF-S Lenses

  • 70-200mm f2.8 – Glenn’s “everyday” lens
  • 24-70 f2.8 – another of Glenn’s favorites! These top 2 are the “standard” for pros everywhere for good reason!
  • 200-500mm – mostly for birds
  • 70-300mm ED – Malinda’s favorite on the D500 – full frame lens on a crop body gets Malinda extra reach great for wildlife!
  • 85 mm f1.8 – another great portrait lens, especially on full frame – perfect for studio!
  • 50mm f1.8 (yeah I know folks like the 1.4 but this is so much lighter, fits in my pocket, i rarely take it to less than 2.8 anyway, save $$!, and PERFECT on the D500!
  • Nikon 17-55mm DX f2.8 – awesome in low light on an SLR! Great for events!
  • Nikon 12-24mm f4 DX – great for scenery & landscapes, interiors, tight spaces,…
  • 35mm prime DX- perfect for video
  • Nikon 40mm DX macro – a really affordable macro choice!

So what’s the difference? Full frame AF-S from Nikon will be AWESOME on any DX camera (crop frame bodies from the D3000 series to the D500!). But using a DX lens on a full frame body can get wonky in the viewfinder. Full frame lenses are typically more $ but better glass (ED – extra low dispersion, better coatings for sharper images).

TIP! The GLASS is the most important part of any camera – which means investing in a great lens is the BEST way to get great photos! Also you typically have glass longer than bodies – so it really is an investment.


  • Nikon SB910 Nikon Pro Flash with battery pack
  • Nikon SB700 – great multipurpose flash!
  • Nikon SB800’s (2)
  • Nikon SB500 – pocket size, with video light (works with iPhone too!)
  • White Lightning Ultras in Octobank, Strip box, grid spots, and more for studio
  • Alien Bees from Paul Buff are great for setting up on location for corporate headshots.
  • Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 Radio Transceivers – work with Nikon flashes ttl AND WL & Alien Bees
  • Manfrotto stacker stands – air cushioned so you don’t pinch your hand – like Malinda did recently on other stands – seriously hurts for weeks (while these were being used at a shoot on location)
  • EZY box & Fotodiox Pro softboxes for Bees and/or Nikon Flash
  • Lastolite trigrip reflectors

We set up on location as often as we set up in studio. Having several kits gives Malinda and Glenn options based on needs, recycle time, space available, flash power required, power sources available… plus we do different jobs at the same time – so we need double gear many times.


Video gear for hubby like matte boxes, 10′ crane, cineslider…

For me – Joe McNally EZBox, various reflectors, soft boxes, light stands, foldup backgrounds…. Favorite bag? Domke F2 Journalists bag – lasts for decades of hard use& (sadly discontinued) Lily Deanne bags from Think Tank!

Favorite camera strap? Domke swivel 1.5″ gripper strap (Roberts). Swivels are critical to avoiding tangles and gripper coating helps keep camera on shoulder. Plus they’re comfortable canvas and last for decades.

Where do we “shop”?

Roberts Camera in Indy – Call Nick or Jody! (800) 726-5544.

Favorite media: Lexar pro sd cards class 10 600x. Super fast, professional grade, comes with rescue software. Sony XQD cards are the only option for the Nikon Z6, but also will work in the D500.

And you know what my all-time favorite lighting set up is? 1 big window! Done! Nothing beats Mother Nature! Maybe a large piece of foam core for fill light.

Nikon Vs Canon

Nikon VS Canon

A word about brands & gear! I’ve used BOTH Canon & Nikon professionally. I personally prefer Nikon, as does my photojournalist husband Glenn Hartong. Given the option, we prefer Nikon’s flash system as well as their predictable & consistent exposure response, as well as thoughtfully-organized ergonomic buttons. We also love the Nikon for video (when we’re looking for that cine look – especially with prime lenses). We’ve both used a Canon 5DMkII for news. Not only does it take a bit of getting used to having things “upside down” but we’ve found Nikon menus and buttons to be easier to access – both in “the heat of the moment” and just in general.

Bottom Line!

It’s all about the camera you have (even iPhone) and what you do with it. Make the most of it! Whether it’s a Ford or Chevy, you can reach your destination…

NOTE! If you’re using Nikon D3000 or 5000 series cameras – BE SURE you get AF-S lenses only! The older lenses will NOT autofocus! Don’t buy something online if you’re not sure. I can’t tell you how many times folks have come to me with “less than optimal” gear.

If you’re just starting to shop – check out this blog post first!

Choosing a Camera


Both Canon & Nikon offer top quality products. We do suggest that you stick to their lenses and more importantly their flashes to obtain the best results regardless of which system you use. “Off brand” just doesn’t give us the best results, in our opinion. I’ve personally used Tamron & Tokina lenses and been happy. Personally I do still prefer “name brand”. There’s a reason professional photographers spend $2000 on a telephoto f2.8 lens. Trust me! When choosing a SYSTEM – be sure to add everything up together and see what best fits your budget.


If you’re going to spend the money on the body – invest in a great quality flash! The Nikon SB700 is amazing! It comes with wonderful accessories for a ton of flexibility, and it tilts and swivels, plus it does REMOTE with 1 click! I’ve had my SB800’s for years and put them through a ton of daily work in all sorts of environments. They really perform – TTL (through the lens – matching exposure without a 2nd thought!). I’ve assisted a bunch of 1:1 clients who have tried to use off-brand products and just are not happy with the results – they’re not consistent!

Bottom line – stick with your brand. Invest in TTL with flexibility! For Canon check out the 430EX & 600EX


  • UV or Skylight filter for lenses (unless you’re shooting video) – mostly for protection.
  • Circular Polarizer filter for largest filter size & rings to adapt to other lenses*
  • Closeup filter set – great if you don’t have a macro lens. Comes in various strengths.
  • SB800 flash feet and Bogen Justin clamps for flashes
  • a light stand and translucent reflector

Circular Polarizer filters are great for removing reflections from leaves, especially fall color, water, glass, and more. ALWAYS get the best glass you can afford. We personally like B+W and Tiffen filters.

We only use 3 kinds of  filters – the circular polarizer is awesome!

A quick word of caution – just because you’re buying gear in the US does NOT mean it’s for the US market. “Gray Market” products are even available at B&H. They don’t have a US warranty! Get gear from a real person you trust! Always! Even if there’s a problem, Roberts Camera is there to help. And they won’t “sell” you something that’s not right for you! (800) 726-5544 Call Nick or Jody. Really!