Nikon D810 Thermal Noise Issue

Nikon D810 Thermal Noise Issue

While working hard on reviewing the Nikon D810 DSLR, we are doing our best to continue providing detailed coverage about the camera and its capabilities to our readers. Although we have been very happy with the improvements we see on the D810 (which does deserve high praises for its overall performance), we have identified one issue that probably needs Nikon’s attention sooner than later – the D810 seems to have a thermal noise issue when shooting very long exposures. In certain conditions, the camera seems to be produce very fine grain at low ISOs (even base ISO) that should not be there. Although most photographers probably will not notice it, those that photograph the night sky, architecture, waterfalls and seashores at exposures longer than 20 seconds surely will. The grain appears to be of different color and spread, which means that what we see in images are essentially hot pixels. Please note that these hot pixels are not of the same permanent kind discussed in this article – these hot pixels appear as a result of heat and they appear in different locations of the frame. Although such “thermal” pixels are very common in digital camera sensors and are supposed to show up when shooting long exposures, camera manufacturers usually clean them up, whether you shoot in RAW or JPEG format. This clean up happens in the image processing pipeline, before RAW and JPEG files are generated.

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Sensor Gel Stick for Sony is available in limited stock

Sensor Gel Stick for Sony

Just wanted to let our readers know that the Sensor Gel Stick for Sony cameras is now available in limited stock. We have already shipped our first batch of pre-orders and now we are ready to accept more orders. We apologize for being a bit late on delivering the product – the manufacturer had some unexpected delays and could not ship the goods our way on time. We are almost out of the regular version of the Sensor Gel Stick as well, hoping to get a new batch within the next 2 weeks. So if you need to clean your sensor, we would recommend to do it sooner than later before the stock completely runs out again.

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Sharpness and Bokeh Comparison

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art

While initially testing the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens for our in-depth review, we only had access to the Canon version of the lens (since it came out first), so we could not provide comparison results to other similar focal length Nikon prime lenses. Thanks to our friends at B&H Photo Video, we recently received two copies of the lens for the Nikon F mount to finally complete the review. We also obtained the older version of the lens, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM, along with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and Nikon 58mm f/1.4G lenses for comparisons. Unfortunately, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 we tested was not available at the time and we could not include it in the below bokeh comparisons, although our usual sharpness tests were carried out and those are included in this article.

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Nikon D810 for Bird Photography

Nikon D810 Bird Photography (2)

We are continuing our coverage of the Nikon D810 and today we want to talk about the capability of the D810 to photograph wildlife, particularly birds. Bird photography is complex and very demanding in terms of gear when it comes to autofocus speed, accuracy and response time. While mirrorless cameras have become a superb choice for everyday photography, they are hard and sometimes impossible to use for photographing fast-moving subjects, like birds in flight. Most mirrorless systems today don’t even have fast telephoto lenses longer than 300mm. Hence, DSLR cameras are the default choice for wildlife photography today.

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Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7 / A7R Deals

Fuji X-T1

Today we have some great deals to share with our readers. The Fuji X-T1, which we highly praised in our X-T1 review, is currently on sale at B&H Photo Video. For $1,299, which is the price of the X-T1 body, you get the camera, along with the VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip, a spare NP W-126 battery and a SanDisk 32GB Ultra microSDHC card thrown in for free, a savings of $320.

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Recommended Sony A6000 Settings

Sony A6000

We are continuing our series of recommended settings for cameras and this time we have the Sony A6000, an advanced interchangeable lens camera designed for enthusiasts and professionals. In this article, I want to provide some information on what settings I 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 Sony A6000 has a myriad of settings that can be confusing to understand, so the below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle and just want to get started with a basic understanding of these settings.

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sRAW Noise vs Down-Sampling

Nikon D810 ISO 800 RAW

We are continuing our in-depth evaluation of the sRAW format and this time we want to compare noise performance of sRAW when compared to down-sampling / resizing of images in post-processing software. Since Adobe’s Camera RAW processes high ISO RAW images and especially the sRAW format quite poorly, I used Nikon’s Capture NX-D software instead. The results are quite interesting, showing pretty decent implementation of in-camera resizing and noise reduction. For this study, I only exported high ISO images above ISO 800.

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sRAW Study: WB and Recovery

Nikon D810 Normal Exposure

With the introduction of the Nikon D4S and the D810, Nikon introduced the new sRAW format for saving images. While we have already explained the format in detail in our sRAW format explained article, there were many follow-up questions from our readers, some of whom asked us to provide some image samples from RAW, sRAW and JPEG formats to compare things like white balance recovery and highlight / shadow recovery. In this article, we will explore the sRAW format in detail and show sample images from both controlled lab and outdoor environments, demonstrating what sRAW is capable of delivering when compared to the regular RAW format.

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Nikon D810 vs D800 / D800E Dynamic Range Comparison

Nikon D810 vs D800 / D800E

One of the tests that we will be including in our upcoming Nikon D810 review is a dynamic range comparison between the D810 and the D800E. Instead of making our readers wait for this comparison, we decided to publish it in a separate article. Whether one shoots landscapes or portraits, dynamic range is important, because it allows recovering of both shadow and highlight details in RAW images. With the release of the Nikon D810, one might wonder if it is any better than the D800 / D800E cameras in dynamic range performance. Since the D810 has a base ISO of 64, we decided to provide ISO 64 and ISO 100 samples to see if there is any discernible difference between the two. We also provided ISO 3200 samples to show differences in dynamic range at high ISOs between these cameras.

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Lightroom 5.6 and Camera RAW 8.6 Updates Available

Lightroom 5

Adobe rolled out a bunch of updates today to its Creative Cloud platform, including updates to Adobe Photoshop CC, CC 2014, Bridge, Lightroom and Camera RAW. Lightroom has been updated to stable 5.6 version, along with Adobe Camera RAW 5.6. These updates include a number of bugfixes, along with RAW support for the new Nikon D810, Panasonic Lumix AG-GH4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 cameras. A number of lenses have also been added to this release, including the new Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS and EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lenses and a number of Sony Alpha lenses.

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