There is one camera manufacturer that we’ve not paid much attention to here at Photography Life. For some reason, Samsung, despite its efforts to gain traction for its NX interchangeable lens camera system, failed to make enough impact to be mentioned as a worthy contender next to Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm and other mirrorless cameras. Whatever the reason for lack of popularity is, Samsung has only one option to make an impact – differentiate itself from the rest. And, judging by recent product launches, it would seem their differentiating strategy might be… Android OS.
Let me start off this hands-on review of the Nikon 1 V2 with a reminder that no one camera can do everything that an owner may require. Regardless of the price paid, every piece of equipment comes with compromises. And, so it is with the Nikon 1 V2. I should also state upfront that I shoot more client videos with my Nikon gear than I do still photographs, so this review does contain a reasonable amount of evaluation from a video perspective.
Nasim has already provided a list of Nikon 1 V2 specifications and compared them to the previous model, the Nikon 1 V1. For those of you who would like to see a detailed comparison between the two, it can be found here.
2) The challenges and advantages of a CX sensor
The Nikon 1 V2 has a small 1” CX sensor. This gives the camera some inherent challenges when using it in real-life situations such as more noise at higher ISOs, somewhat limited dynamic range, and difficulty in achieving shallow depth-of-field. Some people are quite negative about the V2 because of its sensor size and immediately dismiss it as a ‘toy’. This is very unfortunate because the Nikon 1 V2 does have some wonderful capabilities and I believe it should have a place in the bags of many professional photographers.
Many of our readers expressed interest in buying the Sensor Gel Stick and I am happy to say that our first batch of these wonder-sticks have arrived earlier this week. For now, it is a pretty small batch, but we are planning to order more as soon as possible. Please note that we are only taking orders for the first 70 units right now – once we run out, you will have to wait for a few weeks before you will be able to order again. I set up the system so that it does not allow taking more than the first 70 orders, so it is basically done on a first come first serve basis.
UPDATE: All Sold Out! Please wait for the next shipment – we will let you know as soon as we receive more.
To access the product page where you can order the sensor gel stick from, click here. You can also access the page through the “Shop” link on the top of the page. Once you place your order, you will be able to view its status and receive notifications when the product ships.
A while ago, I posted a detailed article about a very defined pattern of red dots / artifacts that I saw on the Fuji X-series cameras when shooting against the sun. This was the first time I encountered such a problem, so without fully researching the issue and understanding the real cause, I wrongfully blamed the Fuji X-trans system for creating those patterns (my sincere apologies to all the Fuji fans!). A couple of our readers pointed me to some other links on the Internet that show a similar issue on different camera systems from Sony, Panasonic, Olympus and a number of others. The pattern indeed seemed to be quite similar between those and what I saw on Fuji cameras. I then decided to take my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera for a side-by-side comparison and see if I could reproduce the issue on it as well. Now that I have done enough research to understand the root cause of this problem, I will not only explain the red dot phenomenon in detail, but also show image samples from two different mirrorless systems to illustrate the point.
The red dot patterns can be quite frustrating to see in images. Although this particular phenomenon only happens when the light source is very intense and the lens aperture is small, one would still probably wonder what causes it to happen and how one could minimize or even eliminate it. Before I talk about those things, let me first demonstrate that the red dot flare issue is not related to a particular camera or a lens. When shot in the same conditions, pretty much every modern mirrorless camera will show this and even our DSLRs are potentially prone to the same problems, as discussed below. Take a look at the following image taken by the Fuji X-Pro1 camera and the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 lens at f/22:
We are back again at reviewing some of the lens classics and this time we have the Nikon NIKKOR-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (Ai modified), which was first manufactured way back in 1962. One of our readers, Joe Ridley, was kind enough to send a number of Nikkor classics, and this lens is the second one that we are reviewing. Nikon has made so many different 50mm lenses its in 80 years of optical history, that the list of just 50mm lenses can get quite overwhelming. Many of us look at the modern 50mm primes without realizing that among all manufacturers, Nikon has the longest history of making these lenses. In fact, the very first Nikkor 5cm lens was made in 1937 specifically for Canon rangefinder cameras! And it is also worth pointing out that Nikon invented the very first 50mm f/1.4 lens after the World War II. This particular NIKKOR-S classic was designed for Nikon’s rangefinder cameras. Today, it is hard to find a converted version that works on modern DSLRs (mostly non-Ai versions), but you can snatch one for about $50 and get it converted for another $20-30. Or if you bought the new Nikon Df, you will be able to use this lens without having to convert it!
1) Overview and Specifications
The NIKKOR-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 is one of the early, Pre-Ai Nikkor manual focus wide angle lenses for the F mount. With its standard focal length of 50mm, the lens was designed as a general-purpose lens on early manual focus rangefinder cameras like Nikon S2 and S3, although its fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 also made it very suitable for low-light situations (especially on B/W film). With 7 optical elements in 5 groups, the NIKKOR-H 50mm f/1.4 has a simpler optical design than the new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. However, similar to some of the old Nikkor classics, this lens is not about top notch sharpness and rich features. Its corner vignetting, beautiful bokeh and a boatload of optical imperfections is what gives the lens a certain “character” that is so hard to find on modern lenses. As one of our readers pointed out, it is interesting that some people try to imitate such imperfections in post-processing today, because their lenses are so sharp and corrected. Still, despite all its flaws, the lens can produce excellent sharpness results even on some of the best DSLRs like Nikon D800E, once stopped down to f/2.8 and smaller, as demonstrated further down in the review.
A number of our readers have been asking our team about our recommendations on different mirrorless cameras. With so many different options on the market today, choosing a mirrorless camera can get very confusing. In the new series of articles, we will compare all the options on the market today starting from entry-level, mid-level to high-end. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing mirrorless camera systems that are available today from different manufacturers. This below charts will be updated periodically with new / updated information. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Discontinued systems such as Pentax K-01 and Ricoh GXR are not included. The list is sorted alphabetically and had to be split into two parts to fit. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our prior experience using the cameras.
|Mirrorless Systems #1||Canon EOS M||Fujifilm XF||Leica M||Nikon 1||Olympus M43|
|* Denotes PL Subjective Rating|
|Lens Mount||Canon EF-M||Fuji X||Leica M||Nikon 1||Micro 4/3|
|Announcement Date||Oct 2012||Jan 2012||Mar 2004||Oct 2011||Jun 2009|
|Sensor Size (Diagonal)||26.8mm||28.3mm||43.0mm||15.9mm||21.7mm|
|Autofocus Speed *||3||4||N/A||5||5|
|Native Lenses Available||3||10||26||11||16|
|Third Party Lenses||3||7||39||0||33|
|Total Lenses Available||6||17||65||11||49|
|System Compactness *||3||3||3||4||5|
|Image Quality *||4||5||5||3||4|
|Top Model (Manuf. Link)||Canon EOS M||Fuji X-Pro1||Leica M||Nikon 1 V2||OM-D E-M1|
|Top Model Price (B&H)||$339||$1,199||$6,950||$796||$1,399|
TOKYO – Following on the heels of the revolutionary Nikon DF, the Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the fashionable DFB – the Burberry Edition, a Nikon FX digital SLR camera. The stylish DFB literally screams “Do more with less, but look sharp while doing it!” The DFB features the beloved 12.1 MP sensor from the Nikon D3 and D700. The file sizes produced by the DFB will be a welcome relief to those who demand smaller file sizes and less photographic detail, and are genuinely concerned about conserving hard drive space.
No, I don’t have the specs for the D400 (should it ever be more than a vapor-camera) but after reading many “Df compared to” articles, I was thinking about what Nikon’s sales would be if they produced a D400 instead of the Df. I am going to go against Nasim and Roman’s love affair with the new Nikon Df and say that I don’t care much for it. Sure, it is cool looking, but otherwise? I made the comment to Nasim and later to Bob (who might feel as I do) that it doesn’t do much for me. Roman concluded in summary of his Df vs D610 article that you buy the Df with your heart and so it may be that I am heartless. When it comes to the Nikon Df vs the mythical D400, which would Nikon be better off producing?
Like any event photographer, most of my wedding shots are of people, i.e. the bride, the groom and their guests. This, after all, is what a wedding is all about and what people mainly want to see when they open a wedding photo album. Weddings, though, are always packed full of other visual details besides the people. So much time is spent in preparation to make a wedding look beautiful that it would be a shame not to preserve some of this in the album. I find that sometimes the best way to achieve this is to make these details the subjects of some of my photographs, even if this means leaving people out of some shots completely.
Efficient time management is a major factor in a successful wedding shoot, and it can be difficult to capture all the shots you require across the day. That’s why I always endeavour to turn up early. I do this partly because it affords me the opportunity to walk around the venue – both inside and outside – and assess the lighting conditions on the day. However, it also gives me the chance to get some photos of the building itself and perhaps some of the decorations, flower arrangements and so on before any of the guests have arrived.
Of course, often we are asked to take photos of the bride, groom or both getting ready for the wedding. If this is in a hotel or other location far from the venue, it may be difficult to find time to turn up early and capture these detail shots. If so, don’t worry, there will be plenty of other opportunities. Try to spot details and photograph them across the day, and perhaps steal a bit of time at an opportune moment. An ideal opportunity is usually during the meal; most people don’t want to be photographed when they’re eating, so I take the chance to have a walk around the building and its exterior to grab some extra shots.
Here are a few examples of the finer details at some of the more recent weddings I’ve shot. You’ll notice that none of these photos feature people as their subject.
The Venue and Location
What was the weather like on the day? What did the venue look like? Where did the wedding take place? These questions can be answered by taking some photos from outside the venue. Wide angle landscape shots that take in the whole scene can certainly play a role here, particularly if the wedding is in an especially picturesque setting. However, don’t just restrict yourself to landscapes. This is all about capturing the fine details of the day, so try to photograph some of these with a normal or telephoto lens too.
Try to consider: is there anything unusual about the location; any distinguishing features that are worth capturing? Also remember that it’s often possible to have some fun with these photos, especially if the wedding is in a quirky location.
DSLR cameras by design have some inherent flaws and limitations. Part of it has to do with the fact that SLR cameras were initially developed for film. When digital evolved, it was treated just like film and was housed in the same mechanical body. Aside from the circuitry required for a digital sensor and other electronics, new digital film media and the back LCD, the rest of the SLR components did not change. Same mechanical mirror, same pentaprism / optical viewfinder, same phase detection system for autofocus operation. While new technological advances eventually led to extending of features of these cameras (In-camera editing, HDR, GPS, WiFi, etc), DSLRs continued to stay bulky for a couple of reasons. First, the mirror inside DSLR cameras had to be the same in size as the digital sensor, taking up plenty of space. Second, the pentaprism that converts vertical rays to horizontal in the viewfinder also had to match the size of the mirror, making the top portion of DSLRs bulky.