Nikon SB-500 Announcement

Nikon SB-500

The last announcement from Nikon today was for the new SB-500 speedlight, Nikon’s first speedlight with a built-in LED light. With a guide number of 24m at ISO 100, it is not a very powerful flash unit (the SB-600 is at 30m and the high-end SB-910 is at 34m), but it is quite flexible with the head tilting up to 90° and rotating horizontally 180° to the left and right. In addition, it can be used as a commander or a remote flash unit and it is fully compatible with the Nikon CLS system. At $249.95, it is priced $80 cheaper than the higher-end SB-700. What’s exciting about this unit is not its typical features, but the built-in LED light. With approximately 100 lumens of brightness, the LED light can be used as a small video light or potentially even assist in acquiring focus in low-light situations. The LED light can be operated independently from flash, which means that you could actually detach the SB-500 from the camera and use its LED light exclusively, if needed. I personally welcome this innovation in speedlights and I believe it will be quite useful in some situations.

[Read more...]

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED Lens Announcement

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED

Together with the D750, Nikon has also announced a brand new full-frame lens, the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED. This lens announcement is really exciting, because it is Nikon’s first 20mm f/1.8 ultra wide-angle lens with impressive specifications and optical design. Not only does the lens feature aspherical elements and Nano coating for reduced aberrations, ghosting and flare, but it also comes with two ED (Extra Dispersion) glass elements that are typically used in expensive, professional lenses for extra clarity and superior sharpness. With a gold ring and a price tag of $799, this lens seems to be of superb value for low-light wide-angle photography. Looking at its wide-open sharpness (more on that below), it seems like the lens could be a great candidate for astrophotography. Let’s take a look at the lens in more detail.

[Read more...]

Nikon D750 Announcement

Nikon D750

Today Nikon introduced yet another full-frame DSLR, the Nikon D750. Featuring the same 51-point autofocus system as the D810 and the D4S, 24.3 MP sensor, 6.5 FPS of continuous shooting speed, built-in Wi-Fi, advanced movie recording options and a tilting screen, the camera packs quite a bit for its $2,299 MSRP price tag. Placed above the Nikon D610 and below the D810, the D750 has an interesting mix of features from both. On one hand, it has a slightly faster frame rate than the D810, a slightly tweaked focus system and pretty much all the movie recording features of the D810. On the other hand, with the exception of the tilting screen, its ergonomics and body build closely resemble the lower-end D610. So what is this camera and why the D750 name? Is it finally the Nikon D700 successor that many of us have been waiting for? Let’s take a closer look at the camera and talk about what has changed.

[Read more...]

Choice is a Beautiful Thing…

Nikon D610 vs D800E vs Df vs D4 vs D4s

Every once in a while, an article we post here at PL creates huge debates due to disagreements between readers and the poster, or between readers themselves on a photography-related subject. Sometimes such discussions lead to very productive results, with all parties learning something from each other. Other times, all we see is provocative and sometimes even insulting comments. One such article that contained a little bit of both was Tom Stirr’s recent post on post-processing difficult images. Before hitting the “Publish” button (and yes, I do personally publish every single article here at PL for different reasons), I already knew that it would spark up some discussions.

[Read more...]

What is a Decentered Lens?

Decentered Lens

A decentered lens contains one or more optical lens elements that are either moved or tilted from the principal axis of the lens. Such shifting or tilting of lens elements can potentially lead to blurring / softness of parts of the image due to divergence of light rays. While very slight decentering of optical elements can be observed in many lenses, especially on superzooms, severe decentering and tilting can render the whole image blurry, with the lens unable to achieve good sharpness across the frame.

[Read more...]

How to Make Autofocus Work in Extremely Low Light

Autofocus in Low Light

Have you ever been in a situation where light conditions were so poor that your camera would completely refuse to autofocus, with the lens constantly going back and forth “hunting” for focus? I am sure you have, since it is a very common problem. Sometimes you want to photograph your loved one in candle light, or snap a shot of your child blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Or perhaps, you are dealing with a DJ that decides to turn off all lights on the wedding dance floor, killing your chances of getting any shots in focus, even when you are fully prepared with flashes to light up your subjects. That’s exactly what happened to me and Lola last weekend when we were shooting a wedding. Lola came up to me and asked if there was anything she could do to make autofocus work again and I thought of an old trick that really does work when dealing with such situations.

[Read more...]

Welcome to the New and Shiny Photography Life!

Photography Life

We have been working hard during the past couple of weeks on completely redesigning Photography Life and we are happy to announce the new and shiny look that hopefully our readers will appreciate. Over the past few months, we have been gathering feedback from our readers, friends and our team, with the goal to completely revamp the feel of the site, and address some of the design problems of the past. Being a photography site, our number one concern was image size – we just did not want to be limited to showing small images to our readers anymore. So the first thing we did was increase images shown in the site by 50%! In addition, from now on, we will be posting images at much higher 2048 pixel long resolution in our in-depth articles and reviews. For example, most images in our Nikon D810 review and Fuji X-T1 review have very high resolution, which dramatically increases the viewing experience, especially on high-resolution monitors. With the growing popularity of 4K monitors, we will be doubling the resolution of provided images in the future as well.

[Read more...]

Recommended Nikon D810 Settings

Nikon D810

Since I published my Nikon D810 review, a number of our readers requested me to provide an article with the recommended settings for the camera. The Nikon D810 is an advanced camera and comes with many different menus and settings. In this article, I want to provide some information on what I personally 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 below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle with the camera and just want to get started with a basic understanding of the camera and its many features.

[Read more...]

Nero Trigger Giveaway!

Nero Trigger

In celebration of the launch of the new MIOPS camera trigger, which we wrote about earlier, our good friends at Nero Trigger want to give away the current version of the trigger ($199 value, read our in-depth review) to one lucky PL reader! To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address (so that we could contact you) and we will choose a random winner on September 12, 2014. Must be at least 18 years old to enter. Giveaway is open to all countries! Only one entry per person.

[Read more...]