OEM vs. 3rd Party Equipment

OEM vs. 3rd Party Equipment

When it comes to cameras and lenses this subject was pretty much decided for me back in the 1970s and 80s.  I was shooting with a Nikon & bought a lens made by a well known 3rd party manufacturer.  The lens didn’t fit well on the camera, it was loose and rattled about.  I returned it, but that wasn’t quite the end of the issue for me.  In the 80s I bought a Minolta paired with a 3rdparty lens for my wife.  The lens fit the camera well enough, but the mounting ring was loose to the lens so the lens rattled slightly on the mount ring.  That was the end of the issue for me.

This is not to say 3rd party manufacturers should be avoided.  Many 3rd party manufacturers have excellent reputations and by now I hope bad engineering is a thing of the past.  What I am saying is I do not buy 3rd party equipment and I can offer no hands on experience other than the ones described above.

I will mix brands on tripods and tripod heads.  I have had good luck with many of the major manufacturers of this equipment.  I tend to prefer the type of tripod head that takes a large plate, about 3.125 x 2.375 inches.  This is the type that requires a wrench or nut driver to apply the plate to the camera or lens.  They fit on Fobas, Arca Swiss & others.  These seemed very expensive when I bought them, but they make for a very stable platform.  I cannot state strongly enough the importance of using a solid and stable platform.  If you are using a heavy camera these types of mount will more than pay you back with a solid and stable camera.

I have also found that the small tripod plates that you finger tighten to the camera or lens will slip.  I have them, but I try to avoid using them.

Many filters are made by the camera manufacturer, but here 3rd party manufacturers are as good as the OEM, or actually are the OEM.  I use Singh-Ray for split neutral density filters with the Lee system from Great Britain to mount them.  For screw on filters I use B+H, Tiffen, and Hoya.

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