I had a small break in my hectic schedule today and I used it to spend a bit of time at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls capturing some high ISO test images with my Nikon 1 J5. While I wouldn’t normally use ISO-6400 for all of my images purposely, I did so today at Bird Kingdom. As you look at the sample images some of the EXIF data will look quite strange in terms of using a high ISO setting along with a fairly fast shutter speed. These rather bizarre settings are simply products of the test conditions and my goal to purposely shoot at ISO-6400. [Read more…]
It’s been 9 months since I wrote my review of the Nikon 1 J5 and I finally gave in to a bout of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) that has been lingering for some time, purchasing a J5 this week. I had resisted the temptation to buy this particular camera as I was waiting for the new 20.8MP BSI sensor to find its way into an updated Nikon 1 V-series camera. With the recent earthquakes in Japan delaying various Nikon products the timing seemed right to buy a J5. I have some things planned for the second half of the year where the improved sensor performance of the J5 will be appreciated. [Read more…]
No matter how much planning is done, depending on the photography genre weather can often be an issue – and sometimes you need the cooperation of a much higher power – Mother Nature!
During our recent holiday in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing birds at Murrells Inlet. Early February is not the best time for bird photography as the number of birds and range of species is somewhat limited. Never-the-less I persevered and visited the inlet a number of times, usually going out to the end of the pier.
In this article, I will be responding to a detailed email from one of our readers, John D, who had a bad experience moving up from a CX to a DX camera. John started out with the Nikon 1 J1, then with hopes that he would get better results, tried out a Nikon D3300. After facing a number of issues listed below, he ended up returning the D3300. Since this type of a situation often happens to many photographers, whether they move from a cropped sensor camera to full-frame, from a mirrorless camera to a DSLR or the other way around, I thought it would be useful to share my thoughts on the matter with our readers.
One of the most common knocks against the Nikon 1 product line has been its small CX sensor and its somewhat underwhelming dynamic range and colour depth performance. I wasn’t even mildly interested when I first read about the introduction of the Nikon 1 J5 as I initially assumed the camera would be using yet another Aptina sensor. Based on past experience this meant very little, if any, improvement in terms of sensor performance and image quality. After all, that had been the case with each successive S-series, J-series and V-series model that had been introduced. Since I don’t like using cameras without a viewfinder I just shrugged.
One of the biggest knocks against the Nikon 1 series of cameras has been, and continues to be, the small sized CX sensor. While this sensor has some distinct advantages when shooting birds and wildlife with the FT-1 adapter and the resulting 2.7x crop factor, it is challenged with landscape photography where dynamic range and color depth are important factors.
There have been some interesting discussions about the pros and cons of various sensor sizes and how they impact angle of view, lens focal length and the depth-of-field that results. For example, some photographers bemoan the fact that it is difficult to achieve a shallow depth of field at a particular equivalent-field-of-view with a CX sensor using 1 Nikon lenses, while others find it useful to be able to get deeper depth-of-field at more open aperture settings such as f/1.8 and f/2. Some D800 shooters are concerned about diffraction setting in above f/8 when trying to achieve deep depth-of-field with a high pixel density 36mp FX sensor, as are many photographers who use high pixel density sensor DX bodies.
Whether you’re an amateur or professional shooter the choice of which camera brand and format to buy can be daunting. Often after you’ve shot with it for a while another round of soul-searching can happen as you better understand the strengths and limitations of your gear, and consider where your photography and/or videography is going to take you. I suppose we all go on our own ‘gear journey’…this is mine.
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.