We have just returned from 13 days in the Botswana bush with our good friend Moses Ntema, owner of Unlimited Tours and Safaris operating out of Maun, Botswana. This mobile tented safari was designed to take advantage of the late dry season predator/prey action in three diverse areas of Botswana: The Savuti Marsh in the Mabebe Depression (Chobe NP), the Khwai riverine ecosystem and the rich flood plains from The Blackpools to Third Bridge in the Moremi Game Reserve (including the Bodumatau area). This was our third trip with Moses and Unlimited Safaris having previously visited The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and Duba Plains in addition to other locations in Tanzania and the Okavango Delta.
Just when my wallet was getting over the hangover from buying a D810, along comes the Nikon D750, a 24mp full frame DSLR with an improved AF-system and 30 percent faster burst rate than the D810. Both are great attributes for the wildlife shooter. Moreover, the D750 sports a new 24mp sensor that’s touted as even better than that in the D600 and D610. I always liked the files my D600 cranked out – could the D750 files look just as yummy and have even less noise? I told myself not to touch the D750, that nothing good could from having a fling while still on my D810 honeymoon, but the D750 was so light and sleek and I was oh so weak…
Since Nasim has been photographing the beautiful golden aspens in Ouray County, Colorado with members of the Photography Life community for the last few days, I thought I would provide some early thoughts and samples of photos taken with the new Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED. Once Nasim is back in town, he will post a much more detailed review of this lens. I would call this a “Nasim Light Lens Review,” but that would be giving myself too much credit!
With most Photokina announcements behind us, it is a good time to look back and overview some of the new products we have not yet covered, namely Leica. As I expected, the new Leica M Edition 60 spawned quite a lot of differing opinions. But it’s not the only camera the legendary German manufacturer has brought to our attention and, whilst none are cheap, the other products are considerably more affordable. There’s the film Leica M-A, a new Summicron-S 100mm f/2 lens for the medium format S system and a few smaller format digital Leica models. Let’s glance through them in more detail.
The Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G VR is a very versatile and sharp lens and those that own it or previously used it know that is a great choice for close action photography, such as photographing bears in Alaska. I recently saw a comment by a photographer, who claimed that the lens gets even sharper if its front protective filter is removed. Both the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G VR and its newer VR II version have a removable front protective element, as well as a 52mm drop-in filter that most other super telephoto lenses have. While I was testing my 200-400mm f/4G VR in my Imatest lab, I decided to compare the performance of the lens with and without the front protective and the 52mm drop-in filter to see if the above claims were true or not. It turned out to be an interesting study. I apologize for the geeky nature of this article!
Instead of creating separate articles that show buffer capacity of every newly announced Nikon DSLR, we decided to gather and compile all the available information into a single location. The below table outlines many of the current and discontinued Nikon DSLR models, along with such information as sensor resolution, continuous shooting speed (fps) and RAW / JPEG buffer capacities. While we have included most of the RAW buffer information, we decided not to bother with smaller JPEG sizes, since most cameras presented below can accommodate 100 or more of smaller JPEG images in their buffers.
Most modern camera makers have already embraced the fact that, at this day and age, providing a tool just for photography is not enough. A camera needs to do video, and really rather well at that. Connectivity is also a big deal these days with WiFi being the very least that is asked for. Bluetooth is slowly making its way in, too, and many raised eyebrows appear due to the lack of built-in GPS, something that’s been available on the cheapest of smartphones for years now. No manufacturer is brave (or stupid, or both) enough to go back to their purely photographic roots. The boldest move I’ve seen in recent years was the Nikon Df with all the “pure photography” campaign, and all they did was add some more analogue controls and remove video capability which, I am fairly certain, could be added via a simple firmware update. Not that I want to undermine that camera, far from it. Merely say that it is very much a 21st century product packed with features you may or may not use. No manufacturer is brave enough to go back to the very simplest things that are needed to capture an image and nothing else. Not even Fujifilm – under the gorgeous retro skin of X-mount cameras lies the very latest technology.
Wait. I think I may be wrong when I say there is not one such manufacturer. Leica M Edition 60, anyone?
In addition to the 7D Mark II, Canon also announced three new lenses this week at Photokina: EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM, EF 24–105mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM and EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM. The first two are designed to work on both full-frame and APS-C cameras, while the 24mm f/2.8 is designed to be only used on cropped sensor cameras. The EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM is an update to the first model of the lens that was produced back in 2000, and this time Canon put a lot of new technology into the lens and has updated the lens design. The letters “DO” stand for “Diffractive Optics“, which not only reduce chromatic aberrations thanks to their different light dispersion path, but also allows for much smaller lens design. As a result, the EF 400mm f/4 is significantly smaller and lighter than the regular 400mm f/2.8L lens. In addition to the above benefits, the 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM now has better coatings to reduce ghosting and to improve color balance. Just like the professional “L” lenses, the lens has both dust and water-resistant construction and a 3 mode Image Stabilization system that offers up to four stops of vibration compensation. At $6,899 it is not a cheap lens by any means, but at the size a little bigger than a 70-200mm lens, it is surely an attractive choice for those that want to be able to hand-hold a 400mm lens.
It has not been 3 months since Nikon released the long-awaited update to the D800 / D800E cameras with the D810 announcement and we now have another camera in Nikon’s full-frame line-up. Without a doubt, the Nikon D750 is a very capable camera and most likely will be quite popular for a while. Thanks to its updated high-end autofocus system, which is supposed to deliver even better results than the high-end Nikon DSLRs (including the Nikon D810 and D4S), and excellent detection range of -3 EV, the D750 will be a tool of choice for many Nikon shooters. With its attractive price of $2300 MSRP, one might wonder what feature differences there are between the new D750 and the Nikon D810, which we highly praised in our 9 page review. While our upcoming tests and review will show image quality and other differences, meanwhile, let’s take a look at how the two compare in terms of specifications and ergonomics / handling.
When Samsung announced their first Android-powered mirrorless camera, I was really rather skeptical. The problem lies within the OS itself – its versatility also brings a whole lot of issues. Yet I feared the Korean manufacturer would keep at it, for better or worse. In a surprise move for me personally, they seem to have decided against it with the newly announced flagship of the NX system, the NX1. This is by far the most impressive camera in the NX line-up. It does away without Android, but Samsung still calls it a “smart” camera thanks to all the connectivity options. On paper, it is every bit as capable as the best in the class and then some.