Nikon D800 – Caviar, Sardines, or…Spam?

Caviar_Sardines_Spam

After reading slews of posts by others that received their D800s, I finally received my camera from B&H last week. I have to admit that my initial enthusiasm was a bit tempered by the many reports of the D800 having autofocus issues. I began to wonder, “Just what am I getting – a good D800 or a bad D800?” (think Wizard Of Oz…). Or perhaps more appropriately, did my camera fall into the Caviar, Sardines, or Spam category?

Caviar_Sardines_Spam

Here’s how I defined each, based on reports from those around the internet that have received this much lauded DSLR:
Caviar – Working perfectly, no autofocus issues
Sardines – Sharp center and right focus points, but the left bank of focus points noticeable out of focus and showing high chromatic aberrations
Spam – All autofocus points out of focus, even the center, with no amount of lens adjustments able to resolve the issue

Unfortunately, I happened to get the Sardine version of the D800. Sigh…

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Nikon 85mm f/1.8G Review

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G

This is an in-depth Nikon 85mm f/1.8G review of the new, much anticipated prime portrait lens that was announced in January of 2012. The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is a consumer-grade portrait lens for enthusiasts and seasonal pros that need quality optics of a fixed portrait lens at an affordable price point. Its large aperture of f/1.8 is great for low-light photography and the shallow depth of field helps isolate subjects from the background, beautifully rendering the background highlights, also known as bokeh.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G replaces the older Nikon 85mm f/1.8D lens that had been in production since 1994. Compared to the AF-D version that has 6 optical elements in 6 groups, the new 85mm f/1.8G has a very different optical design with 9 optical elements in 9 groups. You would think with so much glass inside the new 85mm f/1.8G would weigh more than its predecessor, but in reality it actually weighs 30 grams less. The lens is designed to work on both DX (cropped-sensor) and FX (full-frame) cameras from Nikon. On DX sensors, the lens is equivalent to a 128mm lens, which is a good range for portraiture, but may be a little too long for most other types of photography.

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Nikon D800 Review

Nikon D800

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon D800 camera, one of the most anticipated DSLRs from Nikon that the photography community has been impatiently waiting for more than a year now. The camera was supposed to be released in the summer of 2011, but due to several natural disasters that heavily impacted Nikon’s capability to produce cameras both in Japan and in its Thailand factories, its launch was delayed until February of 2012. There has been a lot of hype about the D800 and while our team has been posting quite a few articles about this camera, there are still many questions pouring in on a daily basis from our readers about its features, capabilities, limitations and performance, especially when compared to the older cameras like Nikon D700, D3, D3s and the new Nikon D4. In this review, I will not only provide detailed information about the Nikon D800, but will also try to answer the many questions that we have gotten so far on the camera, along with comparisons to other DSLRs. Specifically, the comparison includes sensor ISO performance with the following DSLRs: Nikon D700/D3, D3s, Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III and Fuji X-Pro 1 mirrorless camera.

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Nikon D3s Review

Nikon D3s

Just a few days before Nikon D4 is announced at CES, I decided to write a review of the Nikon D3s DSLR that I have been shooting with for the past two plus years. I have been putting off writing the review for a while now, because I wanted to first review all the gear that I have been testing lately, while the gear I use every day for my photography has been just sitting at the end of my long “to-do” list. The Nikon D3s has received numerous awards, including “best product / camera” from various reputable organizations and websites. And it did for a reason – its image quality, high ISO performance, superb autofocus, fast speed and rich features make it a phenomenal camera – truly one of the best cameras in the world.

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Nikon 1 30-110mm VR Review

1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 1 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR lens, also known as “1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6″ that was announced on September 21, 2011 specifically for the new Nikon 1 system, together with three other lenses and the new Nikon V1 and J1 cameras. The Nikon 1 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR is a consumer-grade telephoto lens designed for the new Nikon 1 camera system to complement the Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR kit lens. With its focal length of 30-110mm on the Nikon 1 CX sensor (2.7x crop factor), its coverage is equivalent to a 81-297mm lens in 35mm format. The variable aperture of f/3.8-5.6 means that its maximum (largest) aperture changes between f/3.8 to f/5.6, depending on the focal length. It is a very lightweight lens, and similar to interchangeable lenses from other compact mirrorless camera manufacturers, the lens is collapsible, which also makes it quite compact for travel and transportation.

1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

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Nikon 1 10-100mm VR Review

1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 1 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens, also known as “1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM” that was announced on September 21, 2011 specifically for the new Nikon 1 system, together with three other lenses and the new Nikon V1 and J1 cameras. The Nikon 1 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 VR is versatile 10x superzoom lens specifically designed for shooting movies on the new Nikon 1 camera system. It is the first Nikkor powered zoom lens with a voice coil AF motor that makes no audible noise when zooming in and out while recording videos. Unlike other Nikon 1 system zoom lenses, the Nikon 1 10-100mm VR lens has no zoom ring; zoom action is controlled by a switch on the side of the lens with three adjustable zoom speeds. This is done to prevent any additional lens shake that is caused by rotating a zoom ring on regular lenses. With the Nikon 1 10-100mm VR lens, you can get closer or further away from your subject very smoothly and naturally – the new AF motor is designed in such a way, that it prevents abrupt stops. Plus, the latest generation of Vibration Reduction technology further helps to keep the camera and lens steady, preventing jittery movements and reducing blurry images. With its focal length of 10-100mm on the Nikon 1 CX sensor (2.7x crop factor), its coverage is equivalent to a 27-270mm lens. The variable aperture of f/4.5-5.6 means that its maximum (largest) aperture changes between f/4.5 to f/5.6, depending on the focal length.

1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM

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Nikon 1 J1 Review

Nikon 1 J1

This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 J1 mirrorless camera that came out on September 21, 2011 along with the Nikon 1 V1 camera and three 1 Nikkor lenses. The Nikon 1 J1 and V1 cameras are Nikon’s first attempt to produce a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, which took 5 years of careful design and development by Nikon’s engineers. Why did Nikon decide to enter the mirrorless market and where is the mirrorless technology positioned relative to the DSLR and point and shoot market? How does the Nikon 1 mirrorless system compare against the competition? In this review, I will provide answers to these questions, along with comparisons of the Nikon 1 J1 against the Sony NEX-5n and the Olympus E-PL3 mirrorless cameras.

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Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 Review

1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 CX pancake lens, also known as “1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8″ that was announced on September 21, 2011 specifically for the new Nikon 1 system, together with three other lenses and the new Nikon V1 and J1 cameras. The Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 is a consumer-grade pancake lens designed for the new Nikon 1 camera system. Designed to be an ideal companion for the compact Nikon J1 and V1 camera bodies, it is currently the smallest and the lightest lens from Nikon. With a fixed focal length of 10mm on the Nikon 1 CX sensor (2.7x crop factor), its coverage is equivalent to a 27mm lens in full-frame format.

1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8

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Nikon 1 10-30mm VR Review

1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, also known as “1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6″ that was announced on September 21, 2011 specifically for the new Nikon 1 system, together with three other lenses and the new Nikon V1 and J1 cameras. The Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR is a general-purpose consumer-grade lens designed for the new Nikon 1 camera system. It is bundled with the Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 J1 cameras as a standard kit lens and cannot be purchased separately. With its focal length of 10-30mm on the Nikon 1 CX sensor (2.7x crop factor), its coverage is equivalent to a 27-81mm lens. The variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6 means that its maximum (largest) aperture changes between f/3.5 to f/5.6, depending on the focal length. It is a very lightweight lens, and similar to interchangeable lenses from other compact mirrorless camera manufacturers such as Olympus, the lens is collapsible, which also makes it quite compact for travel and transportation.

1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6

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Nikon 1 V1 Review

Nikon 1 V1

This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera that came out on September 21, 2011 along with the Nikon 1 J1 camera and three 1 Nikkor lenses. The Nikon 1 V1 and J1 cameras are Nikon’s first attempt to produce a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, which took 5 years of careful design and development by Nikon’s engineers. Why did Nikon decide to enter the mirrorless market and where is the mirrorless technology positioned relative to the DSLR and point and shoot market? How does the Nikon 1 mirrorless system compare against the competition? In this review, I will provide answers to these questions, along with comparisons of the Nikon 1 V1 against the Sony NEX-5n and the Olympus E-PL3 mirrorless cameras.

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