Next to the camera and lens, the tripod, in my opinion, is the most important piece of equipment for a photographer. This is because photography is too easy and too quick. A tripod slows you down, makes you think, makes you frame precisely. You examine the scene through the viewfinder in such detail, that when you press the button, you know exactly what you will get. Photography is not just a matter of taking lots of pictures, in the hope of getting a good one sometime. A tripod ensures that every picture is well-thought out and properly composed. The photography I do is well-suited for tripod use e.g. flower portraits, people portraits, landscapes etc.
I have two main tripods. The primary one is a Benbo, which with the Manfrotto head weighs 5 kg. It is a very flexible tripod and the legs can be manipulated independently. This is a popular tripod for nature photographers. Much too heavy for travelling. My second tripod, is a Velbon, which weighs 2-3kg. This is sturdy tripod, which I often use for my overseas trips. I also have a video tripod, made by Manfrotto, a really heavy one, with a Manfrotto video head. (When I took the Hyde Park sunrise, I was carrying the Manfrotto and Velbon tripods and most of my 35 mm and 6x6 gear. Not light.)
My primary camera equipment comprises: a Canon EOS10 body, a Canon EOS600 body, with the following Eos lenses: 25-105mm zoom, 24 mm, 50 mm macro, 100-300 mm zoom. My favourite for flower photography is a Sigma180 mm macro lens. The quality from this equipment is superb. With the Fuji Reala film that I use, I have made excellent blow-ups from a 35 mm negative. You have to see my 30 x 20 inch enlargements of the flower portraits to believe the quality (on show in the Central Library at Imperial College London).
I have a few 35 mm compact cameras: Olympus Mu (Infinity in the US), Konica A4, Olympus .. The quality from these cameras, especially the Olympus Mu is great and I have made one or two large enlargements.
Kowa 66. This is an old Japanese Hasselblad look-alike. The camera uses medium-format 6x6 film. The quality is incredible. Especially great is the 40 mm lens and I will post one or two pictures from it on this site. This type of lens from ‘Blad costs about £4000.
Digital Camera: At work, I use a Ricoh RDC-7 camera. This is a cute camera, which captures 3.2 megapixels (2000x1500 pixels). For my work, this is an excellent camera, especially its superb close-up facility.
But can this camera substitute for my 35 mm SLR gear? No chance. Right now, the 35 mm film quality is many time superior. I cannot demonstrate the difference on this website, because web-images have to be so small.
If you want a camera as a recording tool, and maybe to use for the web, then a digital camera is ideal.