Nikon SB-500 Announcement

Nikon SB-500

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.

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Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED Lens Announcement

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED

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.

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Nikon D750 Announcement

Nikon D750

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.

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The Matter of Obsolescence

Leaves

Let me show you what an old man can do. I’m not talking about myself, of course; rather that’s what my 8-year-old DSLR said to me before I went walking in Epping Forest yesterday. Given the rate of change of digital technology, 8 years may as well be 28 years. And most consumers are conditioned into thinking that only the newest and latest gear can deliver the best shots, and anything old is obsolete. But just because something is old doesn’t meant it’s not useful.

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Recommended Nikon D810 Settings

Nikon D810

Since I published my Nikon D810 review, a number of our readers requested me to provide an article with the recommended settings for the camera. The Nikon D810 is an advanced camera and comes with many different menus and settings. In this article, I want to provide some information on what I personally use and shortly explain what some of the important settings do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone else should be shooting with exactly the same settings. The below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle with the camera and just want to get started with a basic understanding of the camera and its many features.

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Nikon D4s vs D810 vs D600 for Wildlife Photography

Verm-untitled-Williams-6773

After buying the Nikon D4s and Nikkor 800mm earlier this year I thought I was cured. I made it for months without a single sip of Nikon Rumors. Then I had a relapse. Thank goodness the only news was Nikon was releasing the D810, a camera I clearly had no need for as I like shooting wildlife, not lens charts. But one sip led to another and before I knew it I was on The Photo Website That Dare Not Speak Its Name. The pundit there gushed about the D810’s specs, then declared that nobody really needs a DSLR with such ridiculously high resolution unless they shoot for Arizona Highways. Whew, I just saved 3300 bucks. But hang on a second, I do shoot for Arizona Highways. Oh crap. I needed to check out the D810 to see how it performs in practical situations in the field. While I was at it I’d try my best to compare the 36 MP Nikon D810 side-by-side to the 16 MP Nikon D4s and 24 MP Nikon D600, other Nikon full frame offerings.

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Nikon Group-Area AF Mode

Nikon Dynamic-Area AF

The latest Nikon DSLRs like D810 (see our detailed review) and D4S came with the a new “Group-area Autofocus” mode. When compared to the regular Single-Point AF Mode, Group-area AF activates five focus points to track subjects. This focus mode is great for initial focus acquisition and tracking of subjects when compared to a Single-Point or Dynamic AF, especially when dealing with smaller birds that fly erratically and can be really hard to focus on and track. In such situations, the Group-area AF mode might give better results than Dynamic AF, showing better accuracy and consistency from shot to shot.

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How I Stepped in Front of the Line to Get my Tamron 150-600mm

Lovebird Hill Garden

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.

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Nikon D810 Review

Nikon D810

After more than two years since the successful launch of the Nikon D800 and D800E cameras, which shook up the photography industry with the high resolution 36.3 MP full-frame sensor, Nikon finally introduced an update to the cameras and combined the two into a single camera body. Although the new Nikon D810 has the same 36.3 MP resolution as its predecessors, it features a new sensor with an expanded native ISO range and comes with significant improvements to camera features, performance and ergonomics. In this review, we will take a closer look at these improvements and compare the performance of the D810 to other Nikon cameras.

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Newly Received D810 Stock Does Not Have the Thermal Issue

Nikon D810

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.

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