So, my poor little 35mm lens was looking a little despondent after I had finished extolling the virtues of my 50mm. The 35mm just sat on the shelf looking at me, forlorn and with a glint of sorrow in its glass. Had I forgotten how much I liked using it? Did I not have dozens of favourite images from around the world taken with it? Indeed I did, and thus I took it upon myself to ensure due credit was given to this gem. Well, that plus another request from a reader to talk about using it.
My post about my one night stand with the Tamron 150-600mm generated a lot of comments. A lot of people bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t get one because it was backordered at B&H, Adorama and the like. In 10 days, I’m departing on an exciting 18-day raft trip down the Grand Canyon and didn’t want to lug my expensive 500mm down the river in the raft. Nevertheless, I really wanted to shoot the wildlife down there and felt the more compact Tamron would be ideal. So yesterday, while out shooting ospreys, I ordered one and will have it in a couple days.
Apparently the new stock of Nikon D810 cameras arriving from Japan to large retailers like B&H Photo Video and Adorama already has the reported thermal issue addressed. We received confirmation from B&H Photo Video that the new stock they received today already has the the black label in the tripod socket, which is the indication of the fix, as shown in the service advisory.
Maybe my self-esteem was dipping that day or maybe I was just feeling like seeing how the little people lived. Whatever the reason I decided I needed to humiliate myself a bit so I decided to slap a third party lens on my Ferrari, er, I mean Nikon D4s. The choice – the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC USD. For the last 30 years I’d never shot anything but Nikon glass – no cheap third party lens would dirty up my cameras.
As you may already know, we recently reported the thermal issue with the Nikon D810 when using long shutter speeds and we immediately reported the issue to Nikon, as soon as we confirmed that all camera samples we’ve handled so far had the same problem. Since opening a trouble ticket with Nikon, we have received communication from Nikon USA that Nikon engineers were investigating our image samples and that a follow-up with details would be provided, once available. Looks like Nikon USA has officially confirmed this issue today (here is the original advisory published earlier at Nikon Japan). There are good news – Nikon has issued a service advisory, so every Nikon D810 owner will be able to get it repaired. Nikon will implement a firmware update and adjust the camera sensor to take care of the problem.
I know, I know, the 50mm again. There isn’t much more for me to add really. The attributes of this focal length have been lauded many times in many articles, including on this site. A (usually) cheap and light prime, very sharp with a fast aperture and beautiful bokeh. A useful portrait length on APS-C sensors (75mm – 80mm equivalent field of view), and on full frame it’s supposedly close to how the human eye sees (don’t know about you, but my human eyes see the almost 180 degrees stereoscopic vision they were designed for). Still, the 50mm is often claimed as a classic and an essential addition to our kit.
As you may already know, the difference between the Nikon D800E and D800 is their filter stacks – the D800E has the same size stack as the D800, but its third filter reverses the effect of the first one, essentially cancelling out the effect of the optical low pass filter. This is clearly illustrated in the below image, which compares the two filter stacks side by side:
Some of our readers have been asking about the performance of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens on the Nikon D810, particularly about its autofocus speed and accuracy, especially in low light situations. Lola and I recently shot a wedding with this combo and I had a chance to test out the lens in various conditions – from broad daylight to very dim indoor environments. In this article, I want to talk about my experience with the lens and talk about its pros and cons when using it with the Nikon D810.
While working hard on reviewing the Nikon D810 DSLR, we are doing our best to continue providing detailed coverage about the camera and its capabilities to our readers. Although we have been very happy with the improvements we see on the D810 (which does deserve high praises for its overall performance), we have identified one issue that probably needs Nikon’s attention sooner than later – the D810 seems to have a thermal noise issue when shooting very long exposures. In certain conditions, the camera seems to be produce very fine grain at low ISOs (even base ISO) that should not be there. Although most photographers probably will not notice it, those that photograph the night sky, architecture, waterfalls and seashores at exposures longer than 20 seconds surely will. The grain appears to be of different color and spread, which means that what we see in images are essentially hot pixels. Please note that these hot pixels are not of the same permanent kind discussed in this article – these hot pixels appear as a result of heat and they appear in different locations of the frame. Although such “thermal” pixels are very common in digital camera sensors and are supposed to show up when shooting long exposures, camera manufacturers usually clean them up, whether you shoot in RAW or JPEG format. This clean up happens in the image processing pipeline, before RAW and JPEG files are generated.
While initially testing the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens for our in-depth review, we only had access to the Canon version of the lens (since it came out first), so we could not provide comparison results to other similar focal length Nikon prime lenses. Thanks to our friends at B&H Photo Video, we recently received two copies of the lens for the Nikon F mount to finally complete the review. We also obtained the older version of the lens, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, along with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and Nikon 58mm f/1.4G lenses for comparisons. Unfortunately, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 we tested was not available at the time and we could not include it in the below bokeh comparisons, although our usual sharpness tests were carried out and those are included in this article.