We are continuing our coverage of the Nikon D810 and today we want to talk about the capability of the D810 to photograph wildlife, particularly birds. Bird photography is complex and very demanding in terms of gear when it comes to autofocus speed, accuracy and response time. While mirrorless cameras have become a superb choice for everyday photography, they are hard and sometimes impossible to use for photographing fast-moving subjects, like birds in flight. Most mirrorless systems today don’t even have fast telephoto lenses longer than 300mm. Hence, DSLR cameras are the default choice for wildlife photography today.
Today we have some great deals to share with our readers. The Fuji X-T1, which we highly praised in our X-T1 review, is currently on sale at B&H Photo Video. For $1,299, which is the price of the X-T1 body, you get the camera, along with the VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip, a spare NP W-126 battery and a SanDisk 32GB Ultra microSDHC card thrown in for free, a savings of $320.
Along with the Fuji X-T1, B&H is also offering $200 off on both the Sony A7 and A7R cameras, bringing the A7 down to $1,498 and the A7R down to $2,098.
We are continuing our series of recommended settings for cameras and this time we have the Sony A6000, an advanced interchangeable lens camera designed for enthusiasts and professionals. In this article, I want to provide some information on what settings I use and shortly explain what some of the important settings do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone else should be shooting with exactly the same settings. The Sony A6000 has a myriad of settings that can be confusing to understand, so the below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle and just want to get started with a basic understanding of these settings.
We are continuing our in-depth evaluation of the sRAW format and this time we want to compare noise performance of sRAW when compared to down-sampling / resizing of images in post-processing software. Since Adobe’s Camera RAW processes high ISO RAW images and especially the sRAW format quite poorly, I used Nikon’s Capture NX-D software instead. The results are quite interesting, showing pretty decent implementation of in-camera resizing and noise reduction. For this study, I only exported high ISO images above ISO 800.
With the introduction of the Nikon D4S and the D810, Nikon introduced the new sRAW format for saving images. While we have already explained the format in detail in our sRAW format explained article, there were many follow-up questions from our readers, some of whom asked us to provide some image samples from RAW, sRAW and JPEG formats to compare things like white balance recovery and highlight / shadow recovery. In this article, we will explore the sRAW format in detail and show sample images from both controlled lab and outdoor environments, demonstrating what sRAW is capable of delivering when compared to the regular RAW format.
First, let’s take a look at how capable the sRAW format is at recovering white balance. For the first test, we photographed a color chart with the D810 in proper white balance, then changed the WB setting to 2500K (cool) and 10000K (warm). The below comparisons demonstrate the results in both sRAW and JPEG formats to show their differences compared to regular RAW files.
sRAW White Balance Recovery: Controlled Environment
Here is a crop from a color chart shot with correct white balance:
One of the tests that we will be including in our upcoming Nikon D810 review is a dynamic range comparison between the D810 and the D800E. Instead of making our readers wait for this comparison, we decided to publish it in a separate article. Whether one shoots landscapes or portraits, dynamic range is important, because it allows recovering of both shadow and highlight details in RAW images. With the release of the Nikon D810, one might wonder if it is any better than the D800 / D800E cameras in dynamic range performance. Since the D810 has a base ISO of 64, we decided to provide ISO 64 and ISO 100 samples to see if there is any discernible difference between the two. We also provided ISO 3200 samples to show differences in dynamic range at high ISOs between these cameras.
Adobe rolled out a bunch of updates today to its Creative Cloud platform, including updates to Adobe Photoshop CC, CC 2014, Bridge, Lightroom and Camera RAW. Lightroom has been updated to stable 5.6 version, along with Adobe Camera RAW 5.6. These updates include a number of bugfixes, along with RAW support for the new Nikon D810, Panasonic Lumix AG-GH4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 cameras. A number of lenses have also been added to this release, including the new Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS and EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lenses and a number of Sony Alpha lenses.
After I have published my Canon 6D review, a number of our readers asked if there was a way to show a comparison between dynamic range performance of a Canon DSLR and and a Nikon DSLR side by side with image samples. Since the Canon 6D has the largest dynamic range in Canon’s line (higher than 5D Mark III), it was a good candidate for such a comparison. On the Nikon side, I used my Nikon D800E, since it has the same base ISO of 100. Since there was a brightness difference between the two cameras (as noted in the above-mentioned review), I compensated the shutter speed accordingly to make it a fair game. The results are quite interesting to look at, showing visible advantage on behalf of Nikon when compared to Canon. The intent of this article is not to spark another Nikon vs Canon debate, as I personally find such discussions useless. This is done as a case study to analyze recovery options between the two brands when shooting in the field.
Let’s take a look at our base exposure, with no adjustments on both cameras (Left: Nikon D800E, Right: Canon 6D):
The best part about the Sensor Gel Stick, is that it can be re-used over and over again and with normal use can last for a long time. But what happens if the gel tip gets less sticky overtime or potentially even completely lose the stickiness property? Some of our customers apparently use the product heavily (even some gear rentals companies use the Sensor Gel Stick) and one of our customers reached out to us asking what to do in such situations. I forwarded the email to our German manufacturer and the response I received was quite simple – just wash it! Apparently, you can safely wash the Sensor Gel Stick with just tap water, let it air dry and it will be as good as new again. I had a hard time believing this, so I decided to test it out on my stick and then use it on my camera to make sure that it actually works. To my surprise, it worked perfectly fine and better yet, it became even more effective than before!
Our fall workshops are coming up again this year, so after working out some accommodation and schedule details, we have decided to post a portion of the 2014 Photography Life workshop schedule – Colorado Fall Colors, which will take place on September 26-28 in San Juan Mountains of Colorado in Ridgway / Telluride area. We have reworked the workshop program for this year and we are happy to say that this workshop will bring the best experience in terms of not only learning the art of landscape photography, but also vacationing in one of the most picturesque locations in the world.