What’s In My Bag: Thomas Stirr

What's in my bag?

Over the past few months I’ve had a number of readers contact me at my office or via email and inquire about the Nikon 1 gear that I use and why I selected various components. I thought that providing a list of my gear may be of interest and benefit to some readers so here is a “What’s in my bag” article as it pertains to my Nikon 1 gear.

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Crocodilia and more at Alligator Adventure

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There is something about crocodiles and their relatives that fascinates many people. Perhaps it’s the 85 million year history of this family of creatures. Or maybe when we look into their eyes, it is the realization that they may be looking back at us as a potential meal that gets our attention. If you are in the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) area a trip to Alligator Adventure may be a great way to spend part of a day. The facility has a wide range of crocodilia from all over the globe, including rare albino alligators (Note: I pushed my Nikon 1 V2 to f/7.1, 1/20, ISO-6400 to capture the image below)

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Brookgreen Gardens: A Photo Essay

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My wife and I have been to the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) area many times over the past 20 years but it wasn’t until 2015 that we finally visited Brookgreen Gardens. To say that we were shocked with what we discovered there would be an understatement. We simply had no idea how extensive the grounds are and how much there is to see. From a photography standpoint Brookgreen Gardens is a treasure chest of creative possibilities. From the extensive sculpture garden with hundreds of pieces on display, to the Lowcountry Trail, the zoo and plantation sites, the pontoon boat cruise, and many natural areas, the facility is brimming with image opportunities. Rather than try to explain the photography potential of visiting Brookgreen Gardens I thought I would share some images that I captured during a single morning that we spent at the facility. My wife and I have already decided that the next time we visit the Myrtle Beach area we’ll be spending at least 2 or 3 full days at Brookgreen Gardens.

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Nikon 1 V3 Review

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Ever since Nikon announced the introduction of the Nikon 1 V3 back in March of 2014 the camera has been met with mixed reactions. Some of the design choices made with this camera left many photographers scratching their heads wondering what the engineers at Nikon were thinking when they put the concept for the Nikon 1 V3 together. Specifically many people questioned the use of a microSD memory card, making the EVF and grip detachable, introducing yet another new battery, and coupling the Nikon 1 V3 with a new 10-30 PD zoom that does not accept filters. As a result many people simply dismissed the Nikon 1 V3 out-of-hand and did not give it a serious look. That is unfortunate since the Nikon 1 V3 actually is a very good camera that brings a lot of new features and capabilities to the Nikon 1 system. It’s too bad that the camera did it in a three-steps-forward two-steps-back kind of way. Had Nikon not made those rather quirky design choices I think the camera would have been met with a much stronger and more positive reaction from the marketplace.

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Birds in Flight with Nikon 1 V3

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I’ve been continuing my field work for my hands-on review of the Nikon 1 V3 and spent some time capturing images of birds-in-flight at Grimsby Harbour. This has been a particularly severe winter and some of the Great Lakes have frozen over completely. This is only the fourth time in the past 40 years that this has happened. As you can see from the image below, Grimsby Harbour is frozen solid out past the lighthouse. This made for some interesting captures of birds-in-flight.

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Nikon 1 V3 Initial Impressions and Sample Images

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This short article has a selection of sample images taken hand-held with the Nikon 1 V3 and Nikon 1 CX 70-300 lens at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls Canada. While I was intending on doing a full review of the Nikon 1 V3 a number of time sensitive client video projects have recently emerged. Unfortunately that means I will not be able to proceed with my planned full review any time soon. Instead I’ll provide a few initial impressions of this camera along with some sample images.

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Nikon 1 V3 Announcement

Nikon 1 V3

Nikon has just announced the Nikon 1 V3, an update to the existing Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera that was released two years ago. Unlike many of the recent camera introductions which have been relatively small improvements over previous versions, the Nikon 1 V3 is a substantial rework and renewal of the Nikon 1 V2 and frankly, the changes appear to be exciting.  First, is a new sensor with  more resolution (18.4 MP), better ISO sensitivity (12,800) and a new EXPEED 4A processor to accompany it.  Second, there is an improved hybrid autofocus system which incorporates 171 autofocus points (171 points for contrast detection and 105 points for phase detection) for fast and accurate focus acquisition and tracking. For comparison, the V2 uses 135 focus points (135 for contrast and 73 for phase-detect).  These alone would be nice improvements, but Nikon went further and improved the frame rate to a WHOPPING 20 fps at full resolution AND full autofocus. To put that into perspective, the new D4s which costs $6500 “only” shoots at the rate of 11 fps. Why stop there? How about a new tilting touch screen monitor with higher resolution than the previous V2? Finally, throw in built-in WiFi and you’ve made not just an incremental upgrade, but a totally new camera.

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Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2 Announcement

Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2

Nikon has just announced a brand new lens for the CX mount – the Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2. While this news might not be interesting for Nikon DSLR, it surely will be to anyone that owns a Nikon 1 camera system. It is the first Nikon 1 lens with an insanely fast aperture of f/1.2, Nano Crystal Coat, Silent Wave Motor and a real manual focus ring. With a focal length of 32mm, this lens is equivalent to an 86mm lens on full-frame, which makes it a really nice portrait lens. In terms of depth of field, because the sensor of the Nikon 1 system is only 1 inch in size, the full frame equivalent would be around f/3.2 – a downside of a small sensor. Still, considering how much technology Nikon put into this lens, it will surely be the sharpest lens in the Nikon 1 line.

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Nikon 1 J2 Review

Nikon 1 J2

This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 J2 mirrorless camera that came out on August 9, 2012, less than a year after Nikon debuted its mirrorless system with the introduction of the Nikon 1 J1 and V1. Along with the J2, Nikon also released the 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5-6 zoom lens, a very compact lens to complement the J1/J2 cameras. In this review, I will go over the features of the camera, talk about its pros and cons and compare it to other mirrorless cameras such as Sony NEX-series, Canon EOS M and Olympus OM-D E-M5. This is the first camera from the “Battle of the Mirrorless” series. The recently evaluated Nikon 1 V2 will be featured in the second part.

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