On March 5 of 2013, Nikon released the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR, the long awaited update to the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR that was released over 13 years ago as Nikon’s first lens to sport image stabilization (Vibration Reduction) technology. I have been impatiently waiting for this lens update for quite some time now for a number of reasons. First, it is the only Nikon budget lens that can reach 400mm focal length without teleconverters. Second, it is a very versatile lens with a huge zoom range, which can be quite useful for sports and wildlife photography. Third, it is a relatively lightweight lens one could hand-hold for extended periods of time, especially when compared to any of the Nikon super telephoto lenses. And lastly, the old Nikon 80-400mm VR had a very slow autofocus motor and it was almost unusable for anything that moves, making the Nikon 300mm f/4D pretty much the only “budget” telephoto choice. So this much-needed, long overdue update was certainly welcomed by many of us Nikon shooters.
Let’s pick up where we left after the first installment of food photography, shall we? This blog post will cover Nikon lenses that you can successfully use for the purpose of photographing food. Please keep in mind that the information I present below is a personal opinion based on my experience so far, which I do not think is subject to change anytime soon, as I like my set-up very much.
One of our readers, Simon Speich sent me an interesting article that compares Canon and Nikon Telephoto lenses. He created a couple of fun charts that take into account lens weight, maximum aperture and focal length and he came up with a graph that shows which manufacturer offers the best focal length to weight ratio. Give it a read, I thought this was great to share with our readers!
When transporting your photo equipment, the weight of your lenses can play an important role, especially when travelling on foot or by airplane. To find out which telephoto lens gives you the best compromise between weight and reach, I created a few charts to compare all professional lenses of Nikon and Canon with focal lengths equal to or greater than 300mm (see the table further below). The following comparison should not be taken too seriously, but nonetheless might give you some valuable insight when deciding on a lens.
1) Lens Weight
The first three charts show lens weight, diameter and length against focal length. The first thing you will notice is that both lines of lenses have more or less the same dimensions, but the Canon• lenses are between 0.5 and 1 kg lighter than the Nikon■ counterparts, except for the new Nikon 800mm (see below).
As you may already know, B&H currently has some amazing incentives to buy cameras and lenses (see below on additional 4% discount). First, there is a heavy discounted program from Nikon called “the more you buy the more you save” (see the link for details of the program), where you can potentially save thousands of dollars on lenses if you buy a camera body. Canon has had discounts on its camera bodies for a while now.
Fuji also recently joined the rebate program and this one is perhaps the most aggressive with them all. It is hard to say what is making Fuji push these incentives, perhaps they want to capture more of the mirrorless market share and expand their reach beyond professionals and enthusiasts. Or perhaps the company is threatened by the new Zeiss Touit lenses, so they want to sell those Fuji lenses as fast as they can now. Either way, if you purchase the already discounted Fuji X-Pro1 (dropped to $1199 from $1699) or X-E1 (dropped to $799 from $999), you can buy any of the Fuji lenses with discounts from $200 and $300 on each lens. So if you buy the four lenses currently made by Fuji, you can save a total of $1000 on lenses alone:
Along with the mirrorless Q7, Pentax has just announced the entry-level K-500 and a slightly more advanced K-50 DSLRs. The new DSLR cameras packs a very competitive APS-C sensor and a lot of tempting features into compact bodies. Both K-50 and K-500 offer a lot of the same specifications, but K-500 further knocks around $200 off K-50′s price and costs around $600 to purchase. Pentax has also revised two kit zoom lenses. Both 18-55mm and 50-200mm class lenses are weather sealed. Let’s see what the two cameras can offer in terms of specifications.
Main Pentax K-50/K-500 Specifications
Traditionally, Pentax DSLRs have always been about good value with competitive prices that become even more tempting thanks to generous specification. The story is no different with K-50/K-500. I can’t help but admire the effort Pentax is making, because, coupled to the excellent Limited series lenses, these cameras can be great for casual shooting. As with Pentax q, 120 color combinations are available. Both DSLRs offer 16.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensors with ISO sensitivity of up to 51200 and 3″ LCD screens with approx. 921k dots. Couple that to a 100% optical pentaprism viewfinder (glass, not mirror) and built-in, sensor-based image stabilization and you end up with a very attractive package indeed. What’s more, K-50 comes with weather sealing.
It’s not hard to see Pentax (now owned by Ricoh) as one of the “quirky”, bold camera companies, and mirrorless Pentax Q system is a great testimony to such a claim. While Sony, Olympus and other manufacturers busied themselves launching extremely competitive and, in a way, predictable compact system cameras, Pentax decided to take a risk and released the original Q back in 2011. A camera that was essentially an unconventional-looking compact point-and-shoot with interchangeable lenses never really caught on. Even so, Pentax today announced the latest member of the compact system – the Q7.
Pentax Q7 Specifications
I’ll go ahead and say it – I was never a big fan of Pentax Q and thought it to be too expensive for what it was. But I also don’t think it’s a bad system as long as you realize that intended competition is advanced point-and-shoot cameras, such as Nikon P7700. With that in mind, Pentax has a few fun things on offer with the system. For example, the Q7 can be ordered in any of the 120 color combinations. That’s right. One hundred and twenty. With a bit of effort, one can turn this into a very handsome camera, or a very ridiculous one.
I have a very unique Nikon D7100 – it is likely the first unit converted for infrared use – in the world. My D7100 is also likely the first to undergo two infrared conversions (more on this in a bit). I was fortunate to receive my D7100 from B&H as part of the first wave of product shipments. Apart from a night of putting the DSLR through its paces to ensure that there were no focusing problems or other issues, I didn’t have the D7100 for very long. For the many reasons Nasim outlined in his detailed D7100 review, and being very familiar with its predecessor, the D7000, I liked what I saw of this DSLR’s capabilities.
One of our readers, Christian Sasse, sent me a user review of the new Nikon 800mm f/5.6E VR lens that has recently been announced by Nikon. I have not yet been able to obtain one myself (still waiting for NPS to drop ship it), so I requested Christian to provide some information, along with image samples from the lens for our future section called “User Reviews”, where we will be publishing shorter reviews of camera gear sent by our readers. Below is a summary of his findings.
Big thanks to Nasim and his team at Photography Life for letting me post my short review of the Nikon 800mm f/5.6E that I recently acquired for my wildlife photography needs. Since I have been using the Nikon 600mm f/4 before getting my hands on the 800mm f/5.6 lens, I decided to compare the two lenses, with the 1.4x teleconverter attached to the 600mm f/4. But before I go there, I would first like to talk about size differences between the two lenses. Here is an image showing the two lenses side by side (Top: Nikon 800mm f/5.6E, Bottom: Nikon 600mm f/4):
Looks like Nikon is already pushing some killer rebates on its cameras and lenses. The new rebate program that B&H calls “The More You Buy The More You Save” is a camera + lens rebate program, which allows you to buy one camera and as many lenses as you want, stacking up savings with more lenses. While this means that you have to purchase at least one camera to qualify for additional lens rebates, some lens rebates are significant and were not part of any rebates in the past (like the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR lens that I reviewed earlier this year). So this will be a great program for those that want to buy a new DSLR or want a backup camera. Most Nikon DSLRs take part in this program, including the D7100, D800 and D4. Existing savings on the D7100 and D800 cameras are retained, so these discounts apply on top of those.
Here is a list of all cameras and lenses offered in the rebate, along with the savings:
- Nikon D3100 ($100 off)
- Nikon D3200 ($100 off)
- Nikon D5100 ($100 off)
- Nikon D5200
- Nikon D7000 ($100 off)
- Nikon D7100 ($100 off kit)
- Nikon D600 ($100 off)
- Nikon D800 ($200 off)
- Nikon D4
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon D7100 DSLR that was announced on February 20, 2013, along with the Nikon WR-1 wireless remote controller. Although I have been shooting with the Nikon D7100 for about two months now, I specifically postponed the review, because I wanted to thoroughly test it and also make sure that I test at least two samples of the camera. I have been very concerned about Nikon’s latest rushed product launches with dust, oil and autofocus issues, so my intent was to examine the camera in detail and test all of its capabilities in various environments for this review.
After taking a long nap with 12-16 MP DX and FX cameras and letting Canon take the resolution throne with practically every newly announced camera, Nikon finally struck hard last year, when it announced the 36 MP full-frame Nikon D800 camera. Ever since, Nikon has been on a megapixel roll bringing one high resolution camera after another and not letting its competition come close. As of today, the whole DX line-up from entry-level to high-end cameras features 24 MP APS-C sensors, and the undisputed resolution king, the Nikon D800, still has no equivalent on the market. Looking back, Canon always had the edge over Nikon in resolution; it seemed like Nikon preferred pixel quality over quantity.