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.
An in-depth Nikon D750 review with image samples, ISO tests, detailed real-life analysis and comparisons to other DSLRs
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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.
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.
Being a professional photographer, I constantly deal with a large flow of photographs that need to be imported, processed and backed up as part of the workflow process. Although I do everything I can to keep several copies of my photo library on different computers and storage devices, it is still a lot of data to keep track of continuously. Every time I revisit my backup strategy and make changes to it, whether by altering the process or introducing new software or hardware, the thought of potentially losing all of my images scares me to death. Years of hard work, client files and resulting terabytes of data make me nervous whenever I think about potential failures and disasters. Taking backups off-site is not something one can easily do continuously and transferring gigabytes of freshly photographed RAW material to the cloud is not only impractical, but can also get quite costly. And despite our attempts in keeping multiple copies of data at home or in our business offices, what if a real disaster takes place? Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and fire could strike any time and can be very costly to recover from. What if you had a storage solution that offered fire and water protection, with the capability to withstand temperatures up to 1550°F and protect data from floods up to 10 feet deep, submerged fully in water for 3 days straight? What if this storage solution offered scalability, incredibly fast performance and RAID-level protection utilizing the best of the breed platform? That’s where ioSafe products come in, which are specifically built for protection against such disasters. These unique solutions are powered by the award winning Synology DSM, the platform that I have been a fan of for the past few years.
Just as Fujifilm promised in their latest roadmap, the last quarter of 2014 sees the announcement of their first professional-grade telephoto zoom lens, the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. The surprise release, however, is the revised version of the already-very-popular XF 56mm f/1.2 lens that features an apodization filter. Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of both lenses.
Along with the new X100T and a couple of lenses, Fujifilm has also announced a “Graphite Silver” version of their well-received X-T1 mirrorless camera. Unlike other silver/black versions of mirrorless cameras that Fujifilm offers – X-E2 immediately springs to mind – X-T1 has a darker shade body. It is definitely more conspicuous than the black body of the original X-T1, but not as much as a regular silver camera would be. It is also more expensive. And don’t worry, there are indeed some better news that owners of black X-T1’s will find very welcome.
Back in 2010 – has it really been that long? – Fujifilm started their Renaissance with the release of X100, a compact camera with a fixed, 35mm equivalent lens and a large APS-C sized image sensor at its heart. It was a camera towards which few remained indifferent. Plagued by Fujifilms quirks, most of which have been attended with most thorough and impressive firmware upgrades since, the camera also had a beautiful design and brilliant, unheard of feature – hybrid EVF/OVF. Whether you liked the original X100 or not, most will agree it was a breath of fresh air in the camera industry where most products were, for the lack of a better word, soulless and slightly boring. Four years later, the mark III version is out – called X100T.
When providing high resolution images to our clients, or uploading images to this website, I often extract JPEG images between 70%-85% quality. Although some photographers often do extract their images at 100% quality, I rarely felt the need to do it, since file sizes get outrageously big, while the differences in quality are too small (and often impossible) to notice. I recently came across an interesting product by JPEGmini called “JPEGmini Pro“, which is specifically targeted at photographers like me that are looking for a good way to save space without losing image quality. By design, JPEG is a pretty compressed image format that was designed for the web in mind. It applies compression algorithms to reduce massive images in other formats like TIFF and offers the ability to use different compression levels. So when I first looked at JPEGmini Pro, I wondered how different it was compared to the JPEG engine used in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, the two programs I use the most to extract images. In this review, I will be exploring the Lightroom version of the JPEGmini Pro, which seamlessly integrates into my workflow without adding any complexity or unnecessary overhead.
Do you remember the bonkers Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens? If you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick reminder. With Otus lenses, Zeiss is basically trying to show the legendary brand’s worth. You might find that somewhat bewildering since most current Zeiss lenses for DSLRs are very, very good and worthy of the name. But with Otus, the German manufacturer wants to release simply the best lenses available for DSLRs from an optical standpoint. And so the first lens of the series was extremely big, heavy, complex and expensive, but also rather beautiful and astonishing optically. As anyone could guess, a 55mm lens with a price tag of $4000 is bound to spawn differing opinions, not least because Otus line-up is manual focus only. Suffice to say the new 85mm family member with the same impressive size, performance and a price tag of, as near as makes no difference, $4500 is going to be no different.
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.