This page is dedicated to outlining the equipment, past and present, which was used to take the photographs on this website.
Purchased (brand new) from "Gray's of Westminster" (the greatest shop in the UK for all things Nikon), this is my main DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera and is a pretty formidable performer in low light conditions, thanks to the incredible image quality produced at the higher ISO values by its 12.1MP, full-frame (FX) sensor. This large sensor means that the lenses the camera uses are slightly bigger, heavier and more costly than those used by many other digital SLR cameras, but this is the price to be paid for improved shallow depth of field rendition, low noise levels at high ISO settings and ultimately ... more 'film-like' results than with earlier digital cameras.
This particular model is really an 'advanced amateur/lightweight pro' model and is (was at the time of purchase) far more camera than I need for my modest exploits. Still, it's a beautiful piece of design and engineering and just makes me want to go out and take pictures ... purely for the pleasure of operating the camera! That can't be a bad thing, can it!?
I also sometimes use it in conjunction with a Nikon MB-D10 screw-on grip (shown left), which improves not only the rapid fire frames-per-second rate and battery life (as it uses two instead of one), but also the ergonomics and handling (especially in portrait mode) of the camera. The inevitable downside of this, of course, is the weight and bulk penalty.
In July 2011, I installed a 'Katzeye Optics' split prism focus screen to the D700. This modification meant that, as well as having all of the benefits of a 51-point auto-focus system, I could also focus manually with much greater accuracy. The main reason for adding this was to make it easier to shoot with using the manual focus Nikkor lenses, which I had been steadily collecting to use on my film cameras.
This was my 'back up' and 'travel' camera, until 2016, when I sold off all of my 'DX' kit in favour of a high performance compact camera. The D90 model sat toward the upper end of Nikon's 'consumer' (DX) range (before being discontinued in 2011) and has the unique distinction of being the world’s first DSLR to offer HD video recording! I didn't buy it for the video function, but wanted it for its 12.3MP sensor, so that I could get better 'magnification' of wildlife shots (due to the sensor being smaller than a full frame one and only recording the middle 75% of the image projected through the lens).
The camera feels a little like a smaller, lighter (it's all plastic) version of my D700 and has many of the more important features from that model, too. As it also has a built-in motor, I can use all of my auto-focus lenses with it too (AF-D ones, not just AF-S).
The main reason that I felt the need for a second, smaller DSLR is that the camera body and the lenses it takes were light enough to take with me on my travels, compared to the bigger, heavier D700 and its 'FX' (full frame) lenses. Consequently, the D90 was generally the digital camera which accompanied me on my (all too rare) holidays, or got picked up and taken out on bike rides to work or rambling walks at weekends. The larger D700 was generally reserved for any 'serious' photographic endeavours (like shooting portraits of friends and their families, pre-planned landscape shoots, sports events or festivals).
35mm Film Cameras:
This model, as the name rather strongly implies, is the successor to the FE model (which was the model of camera that I was using before I bought this one). The two basic 'upgrades' are a titanium shutter curtain, allowing selectable shutter speeds of 1/4000th sec. and TTL flash exposure, both of which make this camera a better choice for either ultra-high or ultra-low light conditions (assuming that you have a TTL flash gun with you, of course). Like the FE, it too has an analog needle to display metering information, as opposed to the digital (LCD) displays found in the FA and F3. I still can't decide which of those two formats I prefer.
When used with the MD-12 motor drive, it really comes alive in the hand and would be a good choice for fashion photography, or any kind of rapid-fire shooting with flash.
The ladies amongst you will doubtless disagree with this next statement, but in my opinion, this is a very 'pretty' object indeed :-) ! Yes, it's big, black and bulky, but the proportions are just great and it has a lot of refined features under the hood. It kind of reminds me of a classic sports car of the 1970s (Aston Martin V8 Vantage, perhaps) - powerful, yet sleek looking! Not only that, but when coupled with the (specifically designed) MD-15 motor drive, as mine is most of the time, it has an amazing shutter sound! If you've ever heard the intro to Duran Duran's, "Girls on Film" single, then you will have heard a camera very similar to this one. As soon as I first heard this baby rattling off 3 fps, I suddenly became ... David Bailey :-) . Of course, immediately afterwards, I realised that there was no film loaded in the camera and that I was just standing in front of the bathroom mirror and posing again, at which point I floated right back down to earth :-( ....
Anyway, the key benefits of this camera (over the good, but basic FE model) are the TTL flash compatibility and the faster (selectable) shutter speed of 1/4000th sec (as opposed to the 1/1000th sec of the old FE) and the amazingly accurate 'Matrix' metering system. I get 90% of the exposures spot on, without adjusting a thing, when using this camera - it's almost too easy to be considered 'proper' photography!
Stupid as it may sound (for a relatively cheap, outmoded piece of equipment), I like the feeling of using this camera (on its motor-driven grip) more than any other that I currently own. Maybe I'm just getting old!?
This is the only truly 'professional' camera that I have ever owned. For most of its (21 year) production history, the F3 was the camera of choice for professional/wealthy Nikon users everywhere. Why? Well, partly because it was more solidly built than the other cameras in the Nikon range (with a case of thick, extruded brass and a metal chassis), but also because it was a 'system' camera, which came with many interchangeable parts, so that professionals specialising in different fields of photography could really customise the F3 to match their exact requirements.
It was possible, for instance, to buy 23 different types of focus screen (all made by Nikon) and some five or six (different) interchangeable prisms for this model of camera, as well as the (quite superb) MD-4 motor drive, which allowed shooting at up to 6 frames per second)! NASA even took these (slightly modified) F3s on many of the space shuttle missions, to record events.
Full Frame ('FX') Auto-Focus Lenses:
Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S ED
My widest angle lens, by far. Although 14mm doesn't sound very different, in terms of focal length, to the 17mm on the wide end of the 17-35mm zoom (below), there's a huge difference in the final image. This is only helped by the fact that this amazing Nikon zoom is sharp all the way into the corners of the frame (with very little light fall-off) and so the images don't even need to be cropped; whereas, with my 17-35mm zoom, I often find myself cutting down the image to hide any ugly corner softness (thereby reducing the effectiveness of the wide-angle end of the lens and making it look more like the output from a 20mm lens.
Please don't misunderstand, the 17-35mm is a fine lens, but if I'm trying to get sharp corners with very little colour fringing, I would choose the 14-24mm every time. Most of the wide-angle shots you'll see here from late 2011 onwards will have been shot with this lens.
On the downside though, there are no (affordable) filter kits available for this lens, due to the bulging front element being encased in a 'petal hood' casing (i.e. the hood is part of the lens body and does not come off). This means that I can't use ND grad filters to tame sunsets etc. No biggie - I still have the 17-35mm for that!
Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S ED
This is, historically, one of Nikon's more widely used "professional" lenses, hailing from the 1980s and once having been standard issue for (Nikon owning) press photographers everywhere.
It is capable of offering very wide angle pictures, with less of the very complicated distortion which plagues the cheaper, 18-35mm model (which I had before this, but no longer own). It also boasts pretty good sharpness across the frame (apart from the extreme corners, which tend to look soft and stretched).
Being an older lens, it still has a moveable aperture ring, which (rather handily) allows me to use it on my manual SLR cameras, as well as my D700. Like all Nikon 'pro' lenses, it is metal-bodied and built like a tank.
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D
Despite being Nikon's cheapest replacement lens, this plastic-bodied prime lens is actually able to produce some stunningly sharp images. What's more, distortion of straight lines is almost invisible. Every Nikon owner should have one of these, in my opinion.
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR II
This is the single most expensive piece of camera equipment that I own and was bought only weeks after being released in 2009.
It's Nikon's latest professional telephoto zoom lens and will be found in the kit bag of many paparazzi photographers in the coming months (and years). Nikon have made a real gem here - the lens focuses very quickly, has great overall sharpness, multi-coated lens elements and an all-new, improved Vibration Reduction (VR) system that works even better than the old VR system did.
Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF-S
This 300mm prime (non-zooming) lens is the 'longest' lens in my collection. With a maximum aperture of f/4, it is fairly 'fast' too and is my default wildlife lens - especially for birds and small animals. It also happens to be one of the very sharpest lenses in my possession. To get even more 'reach' from it, I sometimes use it in conjunction with the Kenko 1.4x tele-convertor, which takes it to the equivalent of a 630mm focal length when used on my D90 camera body.
Sadly though, there is one major design fault with this lens (which is a little out of character for Nikon and took an American firm to rectify). The 'collar/foot' assembly is a part metal/part plastic assembly, which is ... quite frankly, 'bendy' and not really up to the job of supporting such a (relatively) heavy chunk of glass :-( . The solution to the resultant 'springiness', which you get when mounting this lens on a tripod, comes in the form of a more solid and supportive lens mounting bracket from those clever people at Kirk. The full retail price of this bracket is frightening and only true devotees of this lens would pay it. I was fortunate enough to acquire a used one for a fraction of that price, otherwise I would still only be using my 300mm f/4 for hand-held, high ISO wildlife shots. Here's what the new Kirk bracket looks like ...
Full Frame ('FX') Manual-Focus Lenses:
Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-s
Regarded as one of the finest manual focus lenses ever made under the 'Nikkor' name, this design dates back to the early 1980s and is still around today.
It is prized by photographers for its sharp optics, lack of obtrusive distortion (quite rare on wide angle lenses) and its ability to focus down to just a few inches away! Not only is it a great performer when used to photograph relatively close objects, but the superb build quality (it has the smoothest focus ring I've ever used) and small dimensions make it a very appealing lens to carry around and to use. If only modern lenses were built so well!
It does have a weakness though - distant objects are not rendered as sharply as with certain other lenses (like the 28mm f/3.5 AI below). As such, this isn't a terribly good choice for photographing distant panoramas. It's much more at home with a main subject that is just a few feet from the lens.
Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 AI
This lens was very kindly donated (free of charge) to my collection by a fellow 'Nikon Cafe' forum member, who lives in Canada. He even paid for the postage himself too, proving that Nikon owners are indeed the most wonderful human beings :-) ! Thanks Frits, I owe you one!
The lens performs quite similarly to the one above it (the 28mm f/2.8), although differs slightly with regard to distortion (of which it has a fraction more) and sharpness of near and far objects - near objects are not quite as sharp, but distant objects do tend to come out a little better defined. This one is more of a 'landscape' lens, when there isn't anything to be seen in the foreground.
Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI-s
My particular version of this (well known by journalists) lens is a little unusual in that it has been fitted with a 'Dandelion clip'. What's that? Well, essentially it negates the need for turning the aperture ring by hand (as one must do with normal AI lenses) by reading instead the electronic information from the camera about which aperture has been selected on the camera dial and stopping down the lens to that aperture value when when making the actual exposure. It still has to be focused manually though.
35mm is a pretty useful general purpose focal length for 'photo-journalistic' subjects and consequently, quite a useful lens for 'street' photography. The bokeh, which can be quite dramatic when shot at f/2, is a little on the 'nervous' side, but then it generally is on (affordable) wider angle lenses. Like all other AI(S) lenses, this thing is built to the highest mechanical standards and is a joy to focus with.
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI-s
Probably the most optically perfect lens that I have ever owned and one of the best made, too. It also happens to be the cheapest lens in my collection! I like it so much that I have actually bought three of them now, as I never want to be without one of these again and they have not been made for many years, so supplies will eventually dry up. This is the 'two band' focus ring, metal-bodied version, which is possibly the most sturdy version ever made!
So what's so great about it, I hear you ask!? Well, the truth is that 50mm is a pretty optically straight forward focal length for lens designers to work with and so all of the main camera manufacturers have good 50mm primes in their product ranges. These particular, Nikkor ones just happen to be exceptionally sharp and (almost totally) free from distortion, making them great for achieving high quality images of nearly any kind. I tend to use mine mostly for 'scene' and 'street' photography, as the focal length tends to give pictures with a perspective that looks very close to that of human vision and doesn't overly magnify or broaden the image.
Nikkor 80-200mm f/4 AI-s
Here's a lens and a half for you! This is, possibly, one of the greatest bargains in modern (Nikon) landscape photography. The history of the lens is relatively unimportant in this context - it's what it can do on a DSLR today that makes me so enthusiastic about it.
It is an all-metal bodied, constant aperture zoom lens, which has 9 straight(ish) aperture blades and a colour-coded engraved focus/depth of field scale on the main body, which is revealed as the 'push/pull' zoom function is activated (by sliding the wonderfully wide focus ring in and out). The genius, for me, of this lens is three-fold - firstly, it is much smaller and lighter than the f/2.8 versions (such as my auto-focus 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S beast, which weighs twice as much) and so fits more easily into the camera bag. Secondly, it is a breeze to focus this lens for deep depth of field (as I usually want to with landscape shots), as the DOF scale shows you exactly where to twist the focus collar (for your chosen aperture) to get sharpness from your nearest important picture element right back to infinity. Lastly, the straighter aperture blades on this lens (compared to the rounded blades of 'portrait' lenses, such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S) turn bright points of light into beautiful 'sun stars', as opposed to rendering them as round 'blobs' of light, as the other kind of aperture blades tend to.
The resolution of this lens, at apertures below the maximum, is actually pretty staggering! It reminds me of my 300mm f/4 AF-S, in fact. I'm not yet sure just how well it can handle lens flare and 'ghosting', or just how much spherochromatism (purple/green fringing) it produces in strong daylight, but none of that really matters to me. I bought it (for £100, which is cheap by today's standards) to make exposures of large areas of land with in overcast/dawn/dusk/night lighting and given the immense sharpness of the combined elements (when supported properly on a tripod), I think that I am going to get even better results than my (much more expensive, auto-focus) fast zoom could muster.
Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI-s
The exact model of lens responsible for one of the most widely recognised photographs of all time - Steve McCurry's, "Afghan Girl" portrait, which graced the cover a National Geographic magazine and captivated people the world over. Of course, Afghan girls are all over the place now and so the novelty of snapping them has worn off somewhat ;-) , but this is still a good lens for photographing people of any race and/or gender :-) .
Build quality and compactness are remarkable and the bokeh is very smooth and controlled (as is often the way with telephoto primes). There's some colour fringing to contend with, but nothing that modern software can't overcome. I was mostly using this lens with my Nikon 35mm film cameras, as it was small enough to carry easily, but it also works well on my (digital) D700 and tends to travel around with me a fair bit, when the bulkier 70-200m zoom isn't an option.
Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 AI-s
Like the 105mm lens (above), the construction of this 135mm Nikkor is a joy to behold! This lens harks back to the 'good old days' of manual focus Nikon-fit lenses, when they were considered to be amongst the best glass that money could buy. The body is all metal and is super-smooth to focus and the whole thing feels like it would last the lifetime of any professional photographer (not actually working in a war zone).
The focal length of 135mm is ideal for tightly framed facial portraits, or capturing objects at distance without too much background showing. The max aperture of f/2.8 also keeps the backgrounds nice and blurry. Sweet!
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 AI-s
This was the fifth manual focus prime lens to join my collection and is one of the best to date!
In its heyday, this lens was carried around by many professional journalists and portrait photographers. Its inherent sharpness and smooth 'bokeh' make it ideal for picking out somewhat distant subjects and isolating them against a blurry background. The all-metal construction and precision-made focus ring make it a very satisfying tool to use, indeed. As with the 105mm & 135mm lenses above, it also has a slide-out metal hood, which extends to prevent perpendicular sunlight from passing through the sides of the front element and making 'flare' marks on the final image.
Like the smaller lenses of this era, there is often a small amount of green/purple colour fringing visible around the edges of high contrast areas (particularly on blocks of white), but this lens has an "Extra Dispersion' (ED) element to help combat this and as always, modern software can almost completely eliminate any undesirable fringing effects.
As with nearly all purely manual-focus Nikon lenses, these can be had for a fraction of the cost of their auto-focus counterparts, hence my attraction trying to assemble a collection of the best of them :-) .
Crop Sensor ('DX') Auto-Focus Lenses:
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 AF XR Di II
This lens is, effectively, the 'little brother' to the Tamron 28-75mm (which I used to own and used a lot on my D700, until I dropped it onto a wooden floor and it smashed to pieces :-( ). The 17-50mm version (seen here) is designed to work with the 1.5x smaller "DX" sensor of the cheaper Nikon DSLRs, which means that the focal length is effectively 1.5x higher than the numbers suggest. It's the ideal companion to my D90 and is my 'walk about' lens, when using this particular camera.
Having a constant f/2.8 max aperture is really the main selling point of this lens and I'm pleased to say that the sharpness is easily as good as my other Tamron lens was. The image distortion at the wide end appears to be quite high, but it's not overly complex distortion and is simple enough to correct with software. It still annoys me though ;-).
Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro
I really can't figure out why a DX (crop sensor) lens with an equivalent focal range of 70-200mm and a constant aperture of f/2.8, should be in so little demand amongst DX users, when their FX (full frame sensor) counterparts are all clamouring to buy the latest Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, which costs over four times as much as this Tokina!? But, that's how it is - this lens is little-known and was quite hard to find! What's more, Nikon themselves have never made such a lens for DX and Tokina even discontinued this model recently, after just 3 years on the market! Anyway, I have my copy now, so I'm alright.
The build and image quality are almost on par with the Nikon (FX) versions, in many respects. For evidence of this, take a look at my photographs from the Venice Carnival in 2011 - 80% of these were made with this very lens! As the results show, it gives absolutely top notch image quality, with very impressive sharpness and quite acceptable bokeh. I honestly worry that it may actually be better (image quality wise) than its (much more expensive) Nikon counterpart - it's that good!
My reason for buying this lens was that I wanted to have a fast, sharp and lightweight long zoom lens to take on holiday with me (whereas at home, I would normally opt for the D700 and rather heavy Nikon 70-200mm lens). For the (very cheap) price that I paid, I'm really happy with this lens.
Nikon SB900 Speedlight
Unlike the (baby) SB400, below, this Nikon flash gun resides at the opposite end of the price spectrum in Nikon's accessory range.
Professionals use these things in groups of between four and twelve (flash guns, not photographers) to create amazing looking portraits, but I don't have £1,500 - £4,500 to spend on flashguns, so I'm going to try and get the most out of the two that I now own.
Improvements over the SB400 (below) are; 180 degree vertical and horizontal head adjustment, twice the flash range, diffuser and colour filter kits included, built-in 'bounce card', remote "off-camera" operation triggered by the camera's built-in flash etc. etc.
It really does some amazing things, but it's also utterly enormous (by on-camera flash standards) and makes the D700 look small when mounted atop said model! If I was doing a lot of indoor work (nightclub photography, for instance), this thing would prove itself to be invaluable)! Shame that I'm not ;-) . Still, my 'Venice Carnival' photos would have been nothing, were it not for the fact that I used a single SB900 on all of the 'best' ones.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight
Although all of my cameras come with built-in flash units, there really is no substitute for a dedicated flash gun when it comes to indoor work and portraiture in poor light. This unit is the smallest and cheapest in the Nikon range, but does a surprisingly good job, especially if you turn the swivelling flash head upwards and 'bounce' the flash light off the ceiling. It's very portable as well, unlike most 'proper' flash guns.
Ball Heads & Tripods:
Red Snapper RBH-12 Ball Head
Despite loving the Giottos ball head below this one, I still needed to upgrade it in the end, as the friction adjuster couldn't quite handle the weight of my largest lenses without becoming very loose when the locking screw was released.
This latest Red Snapper one is slightly larger and has a much higher load capacity, but the main advantage is in the type of quick release plate attached to it. This one uses the "Arca-Swiss" clamp system, which involves a very tight clamp with "V" profile edges going into a "V" shaped groove. The result is a very secure joint, which is easy to release quickly.
At under £50, this Red Snapper head is a firm favourite with amateur photographers everywhere. I can see why now.
Giottos MH1301 Ball Head
This was once one of my favourite pieces of camera equipment. It's just so solidly made, easy to use and the ball joint is so totally free of slop, that it's a real pleasure to use.
That said, there was some 'slop' in the original, square quick release plate that came with it (pictured), so I ended up buying a different clamp system for it (an Arca-style one, as seen on the Red Snapper ball head above) and modifying it. It now has a very secure joint and being as it's smaller, lighter and slightly less able to handle heavy weights than the Red Snapper (above), it tends to get used only when I have my smaller lenses mounted on the camera and need to travel light.
Giottos MH1003 Ball Head
This wonderful little ball head is the ideal companion for my tiny Slik Mini Pro tripod. I weighs almost nothing, but can support the weight of the D90 with a long lens fitted to it.
Unlike my other ball heads, this one doesn't have a quick release plate fitted and simply relies on the old fashioned 'screw in' thread in the base plate. This helps to keep weight and bulk to an absolute minimum, which the whole point of owning this thing in the first place. Admittedly, it can't handle anything more than a small SLR/DSLR with a prime lens on, but that's sometimes enough. When fitted to the Slik tripod, the combined elements weigh just over 900g. Now that's light!
Manfrotto 055CXProB 4 Tripod
How can anyone with so many wonderful and (relatively) exotic cameras and lenses get so excited about a few rods designed to keep the camera off the floor and free of wobbly hands!? I
don't know ... but I do! This is possibly my favourite 'toy' :-) .
In many ways, a good tripod is essential, to get the very last drop of sharpness and image quality from the rest of the equipment in the chain (assuming that your shutter speeds are in the 'standard' to 'low' range). Aside from that, they make long exposure shots possible, which opens up a whole world of amazing possibilities (photographically speaking).
The leg sections of this tripod are made from carbon fibre and the other parts almost entirely from magnesium alloy, keeping the weight down (a bit). On top of that, as this is the four leg-section model, it folds down small enough to fit into my medium size suitcase and yet still extends to a height of 170cm (which is about eye level for me, rather handily). In fact, this tripod could have been custom made for me, as it has all of the features that I wanted and none that I didn't.
Performance is truly superb! It's quick and easy to assemble and pack away again and is extremely stiff and stable (as carbon fibre tends to be). Not the cheapest tripod out there, but for the travelling 'hobbyist', it may well be one of the best! In short, money well spent.
Giottos MMTL 3361B Tripod
Every magazine and photography textbook that I read, prior to getting serious about the hobby, said that it was important to have a "sturdy" tripod as part of your kit. What they didn't mention was the fact that 2.5kgs (without the ball head) can actually be a bit if a strain on the shoulder, to carry around all day.
I struggled around with this one for the first year or so of my photographic 'expeditions' (i.e. when going to the local lake, or somewhere within biking distance), but soon found that this tripod (in its case) was just too big to fit on my bike's parcel rack and made moving around on crowded busses a bit of a headache too :-( .
As a result, this (my first ever tripod, made from thick aluminium tubing) doesn't always travel with me and is reserved for use around the house (it's useful for macro photography, thanks to the reversible centre column). Nowadays, I tend to take the Manfrotto (above) if any serious amount of walking is involved. This one is a bit tougher though and so tends to live in the boot of my car these days.
SLIK Mini Pro II GM Tripod
This tripod is, by far, the smallest 'proper' tripod that I've ever come across. It folds down to just 14" (with the supplied ball head on) and extends up to nearly 4'. I must admit, the first thing that I did after coming home from my first outing with it was to remove the standard (small, fiddly and weak) ball head from it and fit my Giottos MH1301 head to it instead
Although unable to take a lot of weight, this mini tripod actually feels fairly sturdy - possibly because of the square section tubing of the legs (as opposed to the round, flexible ones on many small tripods), or possibly because the feet sit flat on the floor and don't have the rounded rubber feet seen on other designs.
For travelling ultra-light, this tripod is unbeatable, as it fits into the laptop pocket of my Tamrac Rally 7 bag and would easily slip inside ones cabin baggage, if flying. It would also be ideal when trekking in the great outdoors, where height is not all that important as there are no bridges or buildings in the way to block your shots.
Giottos MML 3290B Mono-pod
Although not quite as stable as a tripod for really lengthy exposures, a mono-pod is much easier to carry around and set up, in many situations. Mine used to accompany me quite often to the woods, when it was time to try and 'shoot' squirrels. It could be useful at air shows too, I suppose, if I actually went to such events. Quite honestly though, there isn't much call for it for the type of photography that I'm mainly involved with these days (which require either a tripod or no support at all).
Mind you, this thick aluminium mono-pod does makes a formidable weapon and would be ideal for defending myself against would-be camera thieves! One blow over the knuckles with this bad boy would be a very effective (and long term) deterrent for 'sticky fingers' ;-) .