Some of our readers are probably wondering what our team has been up to lately, so I wanted to give a quick update on our activities. I apologize for not being able to post articles lately – I have been extremely busy with a number of projects, so I asked Lola to fill in for me. I have been working hard on expanding the lens database (which has been enhanced with even more useful information) for the past few months and this past week I was able to migrate our previous comments system to “Disqus” – a robust commenting system used by some of the most popular websites on the Internet. If you have tried commenting on some of the reviews with over a few hundred comments lately, you probably noticed how slow those pages respond, sometimes taking up to several minutes to load. All those subscription options and other comment features we implemented in the past took their toll on load speeds, so I pretty much was forced to migrate to a better commenting system. I am sure most of you will appreciate this change, but I do want to let you know that there are some drawbacks to the new system. There was no way for me to migrate previous post subscriptions, so if you used to receive updates whenever someone posted a comment in a particular article, you will have to re-subscribe to those posts via Disqus (please note that your general subscription to receive email notifications when we post articles is unaffected, this is only for comment subscriptions). Aside from this, you will love the new commenting system. And for those that hate Facebook and other social media, there is no need to register for an account at any of those sites, so you can still post as a “guest”. In addition, many of our readers reported site performance issues, so I was also able to migrate most of our content to better and faster hosting. The pages and images should now load extremely quickly in comparison. On top of that, I have been evaluating options for more social interaction between our readers via forum and other means (no, we will not be integrating our site with Facebook or Twitter, this will be completely separate). But this is not something I want to roll out immediately – integration and testing will take some time to complete. I am hoping to do this sometime before the end of the year.
Looks like Nikon is already pushing some killer rebates on its cameras and lenses. The new rebate program that B&H calls “The More You Buy The More You Save” is a camera + lens rebate program, which allows you to buy one camera and as many lenses as you want, stacking up savings with more lenses. While this means that you have to purchase at least one camera to qualify for additional lens rebates, some lens rebates are significant and were not part of any rebates in the past (like the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR lens that I reviewed earlier this year). So this will be a great program for those that want to buy a new DSLR or want a backup camera. Most Nikon DSLRs take part in this program, including the D7100, D800 and D4. Existing savings on the D7100 and D800 cameras are retained, so these discounts apply on top of those.
Many of our readers are wondering if the Nikon D400 will ever see the light of the day, given that the Nikon D300s is now 4 years old. Nikon confused us with the D7100 announcement (see my review here) when it used the word “flagship” in its product page and announcement, something that once belonged to the D300s, the once DX flagship of Nikon. Because of this, and the fact that the 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 AF system that was only used on high-end Nikon DSLR cameras before, I interpreted the D7100 announcement as the merger of the camera with the D300s line, eliminating high-end / flagship DX line forever. However, after using the D7100 for a couple of months and shooting wildlife with it, I realized that the D7100 seriously lacks the large buffer required for fast action photography (even shooting in cropped mode and smaller RAW files) and its non-pro body build, with the absence of 10-pin connector and important buttons like AF-ON got me thinking about the potential release of the D400. So after a short while, I published an article titled “is there room for a Nikon D400?“, where I posted a poll asking our readers what they thought about the D400. It turned out that a lot of people want the D400, despite the release of the D7100.
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.
I remember not that long ago there were two types of lenses. Brand lenses, those designed by known manufacturers for their own cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus, and the cheapskate third party lenses you’d buy if you couldn’t afford the first type. Brand lenses were more expensive, but well worth the extra price. Better build quality, better optical capability, better dependability, better compatibility, better autofocus and fewer quality control and manufacturing issues were what you got for your hard-earned cash. Not to mention respectful nods from anyone spotting letters Nikkor or a red ring around the front of that lens barrel. A few years have gone by now and situation seems to be changing, however. Third party manufacturers have moved the game up and started producing some serious alternatives. Sigma is very keen to prove the point with the launch of its latest lens, the new 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM for APS-C DSLR cameras. In this article, I will introduce you to this new lens and give insight as to why it is such an important step forward in current smaller-format lens market.
Happy Friday! Just wanted to give a quick reminder to our readers about the Nikon “buy together and save” instant rebates that are expiring tomorrow (04/27/2013). While these deals are not as good as the previous instant rebates on Nikon lenses, you can still save up to $550 when buying a DSLR with a lens and/or a speedlight. The newly released Nikon D7100 (see our Nikon D7100 coverage), which has already been discounted by $100 for the 18-105mm kit, is also included in this program. From what I am getting told, these rebates will not be extended further, probably not till the end of the year.
When my article on field curvature was published a while ago, where I talked about how one could do a quick analysis of lens MTF data and determine if it exhibits any field curvature, some of our readers expressed interest in understanding how to read MTF charts. Since we talk quite a bit about lens performance and MTF data here at Photography Life, I decided to write a detailed article on the subject and do my best to thoroughly explain everything related to MTF curves, charts and all the verbiage that comes with them.
As promised in my Nikon D800 for Wedding Photography article that I wrote a couple of days ago, I am continuing the series and this time with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens. As I noted in my Nikon 50mm f/1.8G review, Lola and I really love this lens for everyday and commercial photography. Because I was so impressed with the lens, I ended up replacing the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G with the f/1.8G version last year. While we still own the 50mm f/1.4G, we made it a backup lens, which is now pretty much permanently attached to the Nikon D700 (also used as a backup camera).
While I had talked about my plan to use the Nikon D800 / D800E for wedding photography on our site a few times before, I never had a chance to post sample images and talk about my experience. Part of the reason, was that I wanted to give it some time and get a good feel for the cameras, rather than making hasty conclusions. It has been over a year since the D800 was announced and about 10 months since my D800E was finally shipped to me. As you may already know, I decided to go for the D800E instead of the D800, because I wanted to use it primarily for landscape photography and occasionally for weddings, when helping Lola out as a second shooter. Due to a busy 2012 wedding season, I ended up using the D800E for weddings a lot more than I expected. So I gathered some thoughts from my experience with the camera and decided to share them with our readers today.
It seems like the debate of DX vs FX for wildlife and sports photography is a never ending one. DX shooters argue that they get more reach, stating that DX is like a “built-in 1.5x teleconverter”, or that DX setups are lighter due to smaller lenses and less expensive, or that DX chops off the corners of lenses, thus reducing vignetting and other optical issues. On the opposite side of the fence, FX shooters argue that they get better image quality at pixel level, better viewfinder, less diffraction issues, better AF performance in low-light, etc. Seems like we have two camps, each defending their own side for various reasons. Having spent a number of years shooting both DX and FX starting from the first generation Nikon FX cameras and every single DX camera manufactured by Nikon to date, and having talked to a number of other photographers that shoot for a living, I came to a conclusion that there are some myths surrounding the DX format that need to be debunked. In this article, I will provide my personal insight to this topic and explain why I believe that FX is always better for photographing sports and wildlife. This article evolved as a result of recent discussions of the subject with some of our readers.