I am excited about presenting yet another addition to our Photography Life family – please welcome Charles Hildreth! Charles is an amazing portrait photographer, who is coming back to Denver after spending the last several years working in Hollywood, California. I found out about Charles through my wife Lola, who showed me some stunning work by Charles on his 500px account (which happens to be one of the top). We will be closely working with Charles on some projects in the future right here at PL, so please give him a warm welcome!
With the proliferation of all kinds of gadgetry not only for everyday needs, but also for needs we thought we would never have, the camera market sadly seems to be moving in the same direction. Actually, it is already half way there. New cameras, lenses and accessories keep popping up every few months and come in all shapes, forms and colors. The camera market seems to be experiencing the same over-saturation that other electronics companies are seeing today. People do not want to buy new TVs anymore, so manufacturers are trying to find new ways to sell more TVs by adding more features. The approach is built on typical consumerism – make something look shiny and more interesting than it was before and it might lure people into buying it every year. Camera companies are sadly following exactly the same practice. Announcements are becoming more important than the products themselves, so manufacturers are pushing more redundant choices year after year just to make headlines.
Along with the D3300 DSLR, Nikon has also introduced the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II kit lens, another iteration of the lens with a completely new design. Compared to its predecessor, the new 18-55mm kit lens is now much more compact and lighter, because of its retracting design similar to some of the Nikon 1 lenses.
Today Nikon announced the new Nikon D3300 DSLR camera – an update to the existing Nikon D3200 that was released in the spring of 2012. The D3300 is not a huge upgrade over its predecessor. Judging from its specifications, it is mostly a cosmetic release without major innovations, meant to keep Nikon’s entry-level line fresh. The image sensor is supposedly new that increases the native max ISO from 6400 to 12800, although its resolution stayed the same at 24.2 megapixels. The main difference in sensors is the removal of the optical low-pass / anti-aliasing filter, which has now become a trend even on entry-level DSLRs (the Nikon D5300 was also released without a low-pass filter). The D3300 comes with the new EXPEED 4 processor that we have seen earlier on the D5300, which allows the camera to record/process images and video at higher rates. For example, video recording at full 1080p is now possible at 60 frames per second. Continuous shooting frame rate has been increased from 4 to 5 fps and the viewfinder got a slight magnification boost from 0.78x to 0.85x.
The Consumer Electronics Show is taking place in Las Vegas this week, which means lots of announcements of all kinds of gadgets, including cameras and lenses. As usual, we will be picking and covering the most important announcements that are related to the photography industry. One of the biggest news today is the announcement of the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G full-frame lens. Ever since the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens came out back in 2009 (which got wildly popular for Nikon DX cameras thanks to its excellent performance and low price), many Nikon shooters have been asking for a budget version of the lens for full-frame cameras. Although the professional Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is an excellent chunk of glass (see our in-depth review), it is too expensive for many photo enthusiasts and hobbyists. And that’s exactly the gap that the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G is designed to fill. At an MSRP price of $599, the lens is over 2.5x less expensive than its big brother. It is also twice lighter!
This is an in-depth review of the new, much anticipated Nikon 58mm f/1.4G professional prime lens that was announced on October 17, 2013 along with the Nikon D5300 DSLR. Similar to the legendary classic, the NOCT Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, the AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G is a specialized lens for such needs as portraiture, street, event / wedding photography and astrophotography. Thanks to its fast aperture of f/1.4 and a complex optical formula using aspherical elements, nano crystal coat and super integrated coating, along with a fast silent wave autofocus motor, the lens is also ideal for low-light photography needs. Unlike many of the Nikkor lenses that are optimized for maximum sharpness, the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G is the first modern lens of its kind that focuses on producing aesthetically pleasing images, rather than purely focusing on sharpness. I had a pleasure of shooting with this lens for the last 3 months and I wanted to get a full understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, especially when compared to the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and f/1.8G lenses that I have been relying on for my photography needs. In this review, I will not only provide an in-depth analysis of the lens, but will also compare it head to head against Nikon’s 50mm prime lenses and the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 lens that I have been testing in parallel.
When Bob Vishneski wrote his “In the Nikon Df Crossfire – Heart vs Head” humorous article a couple of days ago, I had a hard time with hitting the publish button, because I knew it would create some controversy (especially from those that like their Nikon Df cameras). In addition, I did not necessarily agree with all of Bob’s points, since I look at the Df differently. But that’s the beautiful thing about our team here at PL – we can differ in opinion, share our thoughts / feelings and we do not have to agree! In this case, the below article is sort of a rebuttal to Bob’s article.
I have been shooting with the Nikon Df for over a month now and I do not see the Df as a huge mistake. In fact, I actually like a lot of things about it and see its place for some photographers. I am not trying to say that I love the Df, since there are some things I strongly dislike about it, like the single SD card slot on the bottom of the camera, some ergonomic issues and other limitations. I think the Df is a very controversial camera and Nikon knew very well that it would be before the release. In fact, I heard something very interesting – Nikon apparently told re-sellers that they expected the sales for the Df to be very low. At the moment, re-sellers are barely catching up with the demand and the number of units sold far exceeded their expectations! I was rather surprised by this, considering how vocal some people got on our site and others regarding the Df.
This is not meant to be an in-depth review of the Fuji XQ1, because I normally do not like spending time evaluating point and shoot cameras. First, there are too many of them and they recycle every year, sometimes even several times a year. Second, with the rise of the cell phone market with pretty impressive cameras, I just do not see the future of the point and shoot market. And lastly, the XQ1 simply ended up in my hands in error and I did not want to send it back without writing a few words about it.
Last week I received an email from one of our readers, Tim Smith, with a link to a video called “Gratitude” from Louie Schwartzberg. It was so beautiful, that it brought tears to my eyes. We often get so busy with our daily routines that we tend to forget how great life is and how unique each day is for us to enjoy. This unique beauty is one of the main reasons why I got so hooked on photography – and I am sure your story is similar…
I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I did!
Lola and I have been crazy busy this week, fulfilling all pre-orders for the sensor gel stick. Over 400 orders have been processed and we’ve finally caught up, which is a huge relief! I know that some of our readers have been frustrated with the delays – we really apologize for all this. Having a short supply and a boatload of pre-orders has not been easy. In addition, we are still learning our ways around the new order system and trying to find better ways to ship more efficiently. The good news is, we are now much more efficient with the handling and shipping process, so we will hopefully handle the load much better going forward.
We still have about 100 units left, but those are all called for through the pre-orders. If you have placed a pre-order before Christmas, you should have received an email notification from our system, asking to make the payment (please check your spam/junk folder if you have not received anything yet). Please make sure to complete this step ASAP, so that we can send the rest of the units. Meanwhile, all new pre-orders are on hold, awaiting for the new shipment – we want to make sure that all of our customers that pre-ordered get their sensor gel sticks, instead of having to wait for the next batch.
We also have great news – International shipping options are now open! We are shipping to most European countries, Australia and New Zealand. If you live in a different country and would like us to consider the option of sending there, please use the Contact Us form and let us know which country you want the sensor gel stick to be shipped to, including information on customs and potential taxes (best that you research in advance and provide us with this information). While we will do our best to ship to most countries, please understand that we might refuse to ship to certain countries due to US regulations, high probability of theft, etc. In some cases, we just don’t want the potential headaches with shipping and tracking orders.