The Internet’s Influence On Photography – Part I

BigBuy

The digital camera revolution, in conjunction with the explosive growth of the internet has had profound changes on photography. Some changes have been dramatic, while others have been more subtle. In times of revolutionary technological changes, it is important to adjust your perspective to the new realities and contemplate just how far we have come. I will put the second part of this article online shortly.

1) Printing & Pioneers – A Little Perspective

If you asked to see someone’s family photos years ago, they would often reach for their wallet or purse, and proudly show you 2X3 photos stored in plastic coverings. Today when you ask the same question, people will almost always reach for their smartphones, and either pull up pictures stored on their mini SD cards or quickly navigate to a website such as flickr. Low cost digital picture frames have also become quite popular, enabling people with little in the way of technical know-how to store hundreds or thousands of photos on an LCD in an attractive picture frame, which cycle through every few seconds.

Kodak

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How to Quickly Test Your DSLR for Autofocus Issues

Nikon D800 Focus Test

Below is the easiest and quickest way to test if your DSLR has an autofocus issue, along with a recommendation on what to do if there is a problem. This test can be used to detect front focus or back focus issues with a particular lens or a camera body. I will be using the Nikon D800E as a reference camera for this article, but any modern DSLR with Live View capability can be used for the same test (even entry-level DSLRs such as the Nikon D3200 have a Live View mode). Why would you want to test your camera for autofocus issues? Because if your camera or your lenses are defective or have a calibration problem, then you will not be able to obtain critically sharp images.

1) What You Will Need

For this test, you will need the following:

  1. Any DSLR with Live View mode capability such as the Nikon D7000.
  2. At least one lens, but preferably 2-3 lenses if you want to isolate the problem to the camera or your lenses.
  3. A good stable tripod.
  4. A flat vertical surface in a very brightly lit area. For example, your garage door or a wall inside your home that is adjacent to a very large window will do fine.
  5. Print out either this Siemens Star Focus Chart or this Focus Test Chart on regular letter size paper. You can print it on a laser printer or inkjet (doesn’t really matter). Make sure to print on regular paper, not anything glossy like photo paper.
  6. Scotch tape or some other adhesive material to keep the focus chart on the wall.

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Nikon DSLR Autofocus Problems

Nikon D4 vs D800

The last two weeks have been very busy for me. I am working on multiple reviews of Canon, Nikon and Fuji lenses and you will be seeing many lens reviews coming up this summer. At the same time, I have been shooting with the Nikon D3200, D4 and D800E DSLR cameras, so I will be sharing my thoughts on these fairly soon as well. One question that keeps popping up over and over again from our readers, revolves around the autofocus problems on Nikon DSLRs. Specifically, these questions are on front focus/back focus problems with lenses, the left AF focus point issue found on some Nikon D800 bodies, use of 2x teleconverters with the new Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX (on D4 and D800/D800E), etc. Since there is a lot to cover, I will be publishing articles on each topic with my findings and thoughts I have thus far.

Nikon D4 vs D800

As with any product that is manufactured, there is always a chance that it is defective. I am finding Nikon’s QA (quality assurance) controls to be rather weak lately, especially given the fact that it is manufacturing such fine tools as the Nikon D800 with lots of resolution. Yes, Nikon has had a wonderful year so far with so many great announcements and phenomenal products, but it almost seems like it is rushing its products from the manufacturing plants too quickly, without properly testing all equipment before it is sent out. As a result, we are seeing many defective DSLR cameras with lenses. I have been shooting with Nikon gear for the last 6 years and this is the first time I am seeing really badly calibrated DSLRs (D800E and D4), along with some pro lenses. I can understand when there is a problem with an entry-level camera and a kit lens, but it is unacceptable for Nikon to ship faulty professional equipment that is worth thousands of dollars.

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Nikon D600 Release Imminent

Nikon D600 - Image 2

I have just received a link to a Chinese forum, where pictures of the upcoming Nikon D600 have been posted. These pictures look very real to me, so looks like the Nikon D600 will be released soon for sure. In addition, Nikon has just released two lenses, one of which (the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR) is specifically designed to be a cheap full-frame lens. I don’t think it would really suit the Nikon D800’s demanding sensor in terms of performance. Here are the pics of the D600 from the forum:

Nikon D600 - Image 1

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Nikon D400 Announcement This Fall?

Nikon D400

I am getting some information from our readers about a potential Nikon D400 announcement this fall (during Photokina in September, shipping in October). I was not going to post anything when I first got some speculative information about the D400, but when the same person that sent me some details earlier this year on the D800 (which turned out to be 100% true) confirmed the D400 specs, I decided to post what I have regarding the upcoming DSLR. I am still a little skeptical about some of this, since it could contradict the potential announcement of the Nikon D600 that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. If Nikon does indeed release the D600 at a ~$1,500 price point, it would have to severely handicap many of its features, if the below specifications turn out to be true. Otherwise, Nikon will have a hard time selling the D400 in my opinion. Nikon is apparently already working on D400 production in its Sendai plant in Japan.

Nikon D400

Here is a summary of the Nikon D400 specifications that I have received from multiple sources:

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The Future of Digital Cameras

Mirrorless vs DSLR

Ever since I got a taste of some of the latest compact cameras from Fuji, Sony and Nikon, I have been thinking more and more about where we are headed in terms of cameras and lenses. What is the future of digital cameras and where will we be in 5 or even 10 years? This question came up in my conversation with a fellow photographer, so after discussing this topic for a little while, I decided to put some of my thoughts together and come up with what I think the future of digital cameras will be like.

Mirrorless vs DSLR

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Is Nikon D600 on the Horizon?

Nikon D600

So far this year has been pretty hectic for Nikon. With three excellent DSLR camera bodies (Nikon D4, Nikon D800 and Nikon D3200), two superb lenses (Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Nikon 28mm f/1.8G) and some accessories announced, it is hard to imagine that Nikon might introduce more DSLR cameras in 2012. While Nikon D5100, D7000 and D300s are all due for an update, our friends at Nikon Rumors are already receiving some early rumors about the possibility of a new budget full-frame (FX) DSLR from Nikon that will be supposedly announced later this year with the new “Nikon D600″ name.

Nikon D600

The key word here is budget – the Nikon D600 will apparently be marketed as a low-end FX camera at a very low price point. Currently, the cheapest DSLR from Nikon is the Nikon D700, which has a price tag of $2,199 USD (MSRP) and the new D800 sells for $2,999 USD (MSRP). The rumored Nikon D600 will have a very low price point, maybe as low as $1,500. Interestingly, this all goes back to some early rumors about the Nikon D400 (D300s replacement) being a full-frame camera. Could it be that Nikon will discontinue the professional DX line completely and replace it with FX? It is hard to tell at this time, but judging on Nikon’s history of replacing the D90 with a more advanced D7000, I would not exclude that possibility. So far I have been projecting that Nikon would continue the development of its pro DX line with a D400 DX, but if a budget FX camera comes out at the same or lower price point as the D300s, then forget about the D400 DX.

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A Little Comfort as You Anxiously Await Your D800 or D4 or 5D MK III arrival

Passage of time

Passage of timeAs I, like many of you, have been waiting for a new Nikon camera body to arrive, a recurring thought has come to my mind. It comes from the words of my father and it might hold a cure for what ails you if you, like me, suffer from common Diseases that Plague Photographers. Whenever I wanted something badly, but couldn’t seem to get it fast enough, he would say, “Anticipation is greater than realization”. To a young, impatient boy then and to an older, impatient man now, those words never seemed to comfort me as my father might have liked. Although never very comforting, they were very true.

We have all been there. Maybe it was that new bike that seemed to take forever to save for. Perhaps it was your dream car that required you spend all of your free time working that extra job. Whatever you were hoping for, the anticipation and build up prior to acquiring it was likely much more exciting than actually getting the item. Who can’t identify with the new car owner that seems less excited about his/her new car after the first car payment comes due? And golfers are notorious for claiming to experience longer drives, straighter iron shots, and more holed putts after changing clubs. Interestingly, their new clubs lose their “magic” after a month and start behaving very similar to their old clubs.

I am sure my father was trying to get me to enjoy the wait and learn a bit of patience. Perhaps he was always hoping that if enough time would pass, my insatiable need to spend my money on some new flashy item would dissipate. Although very wise, dad’s tactics in this area often had less than the desired effects on his not so bright son. You may experience better luck with your kids or yourself. So I pass the lesson on to you. As for me [doorbell chime], I gotta go see what is in the B&H box that just arrived. Maybe if I am lucky, it was me that got Bob’s D800 this time. Enjoy the anticipation as you wait!

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

The Nikon D3200 and the D3100 are entry-level DSLRs targeted at those who are just starting out in photography. The Nikon D3200 is a third iteration of the original D3000 that came out in 2009. While it has not gone through drastic changes, having a very similar layout as the D3100, the same 11 point autofocus system, the same metering sensor and a similar build, it has slightly improved over its predecessor. The camera now sports a very high resolution 24 MP sensor developed by Nikon, faster continuous speed of 4 fps, a much better LCD screen, superior video recording capabilities and other improvements such as WiFi capability through an optional accessory. In this Nikon D3200 vs D3100 comparison, I will go over the features of each camera and compare specifications differences between the two cameras.

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

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Greta Got My Nikon D800…

D800 Delivery Notice

A little more than a week ago, I realized why I had not received my Nikon D800. Through sources that cannot be named, I was informed that Greta Van Susteren, the well-known commentator at the Fox News Network, received the camera originally assigned to my order. I was further surprised to find this unique note (below) from the delivery service. Today’s GretaWire confirmed that my D800 was already being used!

D800 Delivery Notice

Am I upset? Absolutely not. I have no issue with Greta “jumping line” at B&H to get my camera. “Why not?”, you ask? The injustice of it all! Someone must pay for having my D800 rerouted to Greta! Surely someone must be “guilty” of… well… uh… something! Or so the popular thinking goes…

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