Nikon Df Announcement and Overview

During the last few years, the interchangeable lens camera industry has seen massive changes. If only a few years ago, a DSLR was considered to be the only serious photographic tool (not counting film cameras), we now have mirrorless cameras that are no less impressive. They’ve already stolen quite a few APS-C sensor DSLR sales. The full-frame market, on the other hand, has seen a huge increase in offerings. It would seem only yesterday when Nikon had three distinctly different full-frame cameras in its lineup – the D700, D3 and D3x. Now, if you count D800 and D800E as separate models, it has five. The newest sibling has been announced, one surrounded with so much hype and hope, you can only ask – what took Nikon so long? But let’s not dwell on the past, because the digital FM2 – or something as close to it as you might have hoped – is finally here. And just look at it. It has dials, and lots of them!

Nikon DF Black and Silver

1) Nikon Df Key Specifications

Before we get all excited, let’s take a quick look at Nikon Df key specifications:

  • Solid, magnesium-alloy construction with weather-sealing
  • 16.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (same as the one in Nikon D4)
  • ISO sensitivity range of 100-12,800 (boost down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 204,800)
  • Shutter speed range of 30-1/4000s, flash sync-speed 1/200s
  • 39-point AF system (same as the one in Nikon D610), 9 cross-type sensors, focuses down to f/8
  • 2016-pixel RGB image sensor, full non-AI-S lens metering
  • EXPEED 3 processor
  • Large 3.2″ LCD screen with 921,000 dot resolution
  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and approximately 0.7x magnification
  • SD card slot
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed up to 5.5 frames per second
  • Measures in at 143.5 x 110 x 66.5mm
  • Weighs 760g with battery and memory card
  • $2749 body-only, $2999 with the new Special Edition AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens

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Is Camera Design Important?

The soon to be introduced Nikon Df has raised a heated debate among our readers. That is understandable, of course. Because Nikon is bold enough to charge $2750 for a camera that is basically a retro D610 with a D4 sensor, with some of the functionality removed on purpose. But let’s put the price question aside for a moment and focus on the design part of any camera, modern or otherwise. Remember the old Nikon FM2, a true classic. Remember the success of the Olympus PEN and the Fujifilm X series. And at this point, let me raise a provocative question. Does a camera have a soul?

Nikon Df with Leather Case

A silly question, isn’t it? How can a camera have a soul? It’s just a piece of plastic, glass and metal, copied again and again. It is a tool. But that, that is the real pickle. As I wrote in my Mamiya RZ67 Pro review, the best part of film photography – and something digital has severely lacked in comparison – was the involvement in the process of it all. Film – at least with manual film cameras – makes you slow down, makes you think about every single step you take. Makes you take every single step on your own, consciously, carefully. Want a setting changed? Rotate a dial. Turn a knob. Feel the physical feedback you camera gives you, hear it click in a sort of satisfying manner. Forget to do so and there is no LCD screen at the back to check the result prematurely, no way to know beforehand if you screwed something up. And at first, running away from such complexity is a relief. After-all, digital cameras offer so much room for mistakes and complexity of film photography is certainly not for everyone! It is like eating out at a restaurant after a long home-made sandwich diet. But as the time passes, some (not all) start to miss the sandwiches and the perfectly served, neat restaurant food becomes tedious. You want the involvement back. “Make an ordinary, daily, routine activity that bit more special, personal, intimate and meaningful, simply by making it slower”. Slower and less rational.

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Nikon Inspirations Photo Contest

An important note: the contest is open for US residents only.

Entering photography contests is one of the best ways to test yourself as a photographer. It is one thing when your family and friends admire your work, but gaining appreciation in a contest is a whole different experience. Photography is meant to be looked at and admired, and what better ways are there to start showcasing your work if not by entering a photography competition? Luckily, there are always ongoing contests that you can enter. The one I am going to introduce to you now is free, sponsored by Nikon (users of any camera system may enter) and called Inspirations Photo Contest (thanks for the tip, Rick!).

Nikon Inspirations Photo Contest

The contest has started a while ago, in September. This means that one of the categories – Sports & Action – has already been closed, which is unfortunate. But three other categories are still open for entries and, something you might certainly want to know, promise great prizes for the winning entrant.

1) Don’t Focus on the Prize!

Naturally, before I begin listing the categories, deadlines and rules, I would not be a proper motivator if I did not say that prizes don’t matter. And at this point you could say – of course they do! I mean, who would not want to win a Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 or Nikkor AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR lens? Anyone would! But I promise you, if you win this contest, the first thing that you will be happy about is that you won a big photography contest organized by Nikon. The first thing you will think is – “Alright, I might be better at this than I thought. Great!” The prize is just icing on the cake. If you think it is the other way around for you, you may be spending a little bit too much time focusing on the gear, friend.

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Fuji X-Pro1 vs X-E2

We have already compared the recently introduced Fujifilm X-E2 camera to its predecessor, the X-E1 (click here to read our comparison). Based on specifications, the newer camera proved to be better than the old one, but with price taken into account X-E1 can easily hold its ground and is still a very viable option. But how does it compare to the still-current Fujifilm flagship camera, the X-Pro1?

Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs X-E2

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Fujifilm Lens Abbreviations

Fujifilm has been producing lenses for decades now. The are m42 screw-mount lenses to be found, medium-format lenses on their fixed-lens 120/220 film rangefinder cameras, not to mention broadcast and cinema lenses. In this article, we will focus on Fujifilm’s current digital compact camera system with APS-C sized sensors and discuss the most common Fujifilm lens abbreviations you can come across while looking for a new lens to put on a Fujifilm X-E1 or other camera. I will also mention some of the common abbreviations found on other Fujinon lenses, too.

Fujifilm Lens Abbreviations

1) Fujifilm Lens Mount Abbreviations

The first thing that we need to talk about are the two best-known Fujifilm lens mounts:

  • Fujifilm X-mount – this is the current, modern, fully-electronic lens mount used in Fujifilm’s mirrorless camera system with APS-C sized sensors. As of October 2013, there are five cameras that use this lens mount: X-Pro1, X-E2, X-E1, X-M1 and X-A1. Fujifilm X-mount has a flange focal distance (distance between lens mount and film/sensor plane) of 17.7mm. It is relatively new, but has gained some good traction with over 10 lenses currently available since its launch in 2012 and more to come soon. Lenses that use this bayonet are simply called Fujinon.
  • Fujica X-mount – an old, mechanical lens mount used in the film era. It replaced the previous m42 screw-mount and was used by STX-1 and other analogue 35mm format Fujifilm SLR cameras. Fujica X-mount lenses are called X-Fujinon and X-Fujinar. The mount – and lenses designed for it – are now obsolete, but there are still plenty of old X-Fujinon lenses to be found in places like ebay at bargain prices. The Fujica X-mount has a flange focal distance of 43.5mm.

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Sigma 24-105mm F/4 DG OS HSM Lens Available for Pre-Order

A few days ago, Sigma introduced a new lens to its Art line-up, the 24-105mm f/4 OS. The lens is set to compete directly with Nikon’s Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR and Canon’s 24-105mm f/4L IS lenses spec-wise, but the price was yet unannounced. Previously, Sigma lenses always offered a very good price/performance ratio, but after the success of its recent offerings some might have started to suspect that price increase is soon to follow. Luckily, the new 24-105mm f/4 OS lens is no different from previous Sigma products in terms of price when compared to direct “first-party” competition from camera manufacturers and will retail for around $899. Shipping starts in November.

Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM Lens

1) Pre-Order Links

Click one of the following links to pre-order the new Sigma lens for Canon, Nikon, Sigma or Sony mount:

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PDN PhotoPlus Deals at B&H

PDN PhotoPlus show is currently taking place in Javits Center, NYC, which Nasim will be covering during the next few days. On that occasion, B&H is offering some special deals on a variety of photographic equipment, including popular DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Most of the deals are valid through October 27th, while Panasonic GX7 and Fujifilm X-M1, X-E1 and X-Pro1 deals are valid through October 26th. In addition to considerable mail-in rebates and instant savings, B&H is also offering free shipping for the items in the contiguous United States.

PDN PhotoPlus Deals at B&H

PhotoPlus Deals

Here is a list of the more interesting deals at B&H:

You can also follow this link to browse the rest of the deals. Some of the special offers may require you to enter the following promotion code during checkout: BHPPE2013

Canon Lens Abbreviations

Different manufacturers use very different abbreviations to describe the technology used in their lenses even if the technology itself is quite similar. Some abbreviations can be difficult to understand and easily mixed up. We’ve already covered Nikon lens abbreviations. This article will help you understand Canon lens naming terminology.

Canon Lens Abbreviations

1) Canon Lens Format Abbreviations

  • EF – this is the new fully electronic Canon lens mount introduced back in 1987. Lenses marked with EF are compatible with all Canon EOS cameras, digital and film, and are designed to cover 35mm full-frame image circle.
  • EF-S – the only difference between Canon EF and EF-S lenses is that the latter has been designed for Canon digital cameras with APS-C sensors, such as the Canon EOS 700D. Canon EF-S lenses should not (and in most cases can not) be mounted on Canon EOS film and digital full-frame cameras with 36x24mm sized sensors because of the larger mirror used in these cameras. If mounted, damaged to the mirror may be caused upon shutter actuation – it would hit the lens’ rear element. EF-S lenses feature a protective pin that stops these lenses from being mounted on a full-frame EOS camera.
  • EF-M – a new lens format specifically designed for the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera system with EF-M mount. Just like the EF-S lenses, EF-M are designed for APS-C sensor cameras. They will only fit Canon EOS M cameras, though, thanks to shorter flange focal distance (distance between lens mount and film/sensor plane). EF-S and EF lenses can be mounted on EF-M lens mount through the use of appropriate lens mount adapters, but EF-M lenses can not be mounted on the EF mount.
  • FD – this is the old manual focus Canon lens mount used before 1987. Because it was not suitable for autofocus, Canon decided to switch from FD and designed the EOS system with EF mount. Canon FD is now discontinued, but still used by film photography enthusiasts. There are some cracking lenses with the FD mount and, through the use of appropriate adapters, FD lenses can be mounted on modern EOS EF cameras. Adapters with an optical glass element allow infinity focus, while simpler adapters without an additional optical element will not focus at infinity.
  • FDn – the same as FD, only with no coating designation on the lens front (used SSC lens coating).
  • FL – same mount as FD, but without the ability to meter at full aperture.

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Four-Thirds Format is Finally Where it Should Be

It has been a very busy week for us here at Photography Life with so many new products announced and launched by several major camera and lens manufacturers. The marathon of announcement articles is coming to an end and the last (hopefully) camera that we need to mention is the new m4/3 sensor mirrorless Panasonic Lumix GM1. But, by all means, it is not the least interesting product to come out this week. In fact, the GM1 is rather special. Let me start by saying this – it is tiny.


1) A Few Thoughts on (Micro) Four-Thirds System

Before Olympus mirrorless took entry-level DSLR market by storm, the 4/3 format didn’t really make all that much sense. With a sensor smaller than APS-C, it was distinctly amateurish. Image quality just wasn’t there, either, and the 4:3 aspect ratio, while a classic, was only shared by compact cameras. However, Olympus insisted on putting such a small sensor into rather large DSLR camera bodies, such as the Olympus E-5. A sensor four times smaller than full-frame in a comparable body? Four-thirds was always supposed to be minuscule – win in size where it lost in performance. That was the only real advantage it could exploit and for a long time Olympus made the mistake of trying to keep its DSLR system alive (which, incidentally, had a very loyal group of users). I still remember how they promised four-thirds would continue to exist when they introduced the E-5 in 2010. Make no mistake. Olympus DSLRs are done for. The only way they are going to “live on” is “spiritually” through micro four-thirds system and cameras like O-MD E-M1 that can use original four-thirds Zuiko lenses effectively.

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Samyang Lenses for Full-Frame Sony Compact Camera System

Of all third-party lens manufacturers, Korean Samyang was the first to launch a new lens lineup for the recently announced Sony A7 and A7R full-frame cameras. There are five of them – as many as Sony announced themselves, but unlike the Zeiss lenses these were not specifically designed for mirrorless cameras. Rather, they are tweaked Samyang prime lenses designed for the most popular DSLR systems and are also known as Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar and Pro-Optic.

Samyang 35mm f1.4 Lens

The plus is these lenses will be available very soon. On the downside, they are no different in size or weight to their DSLR counterparts, and possibly even bigger because, essentially, they have lens mount adapters attached permanently.

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