Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED Review

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED

It has been 30 years since Nikon first introduced the original Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S lens and long 20 years since the autofocus version, the Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D was released to the market. Since then, the 20mm prime sadly did not receive much attention, so it was about time for Nikon to refresh the line with a modern version. Nikon finally revealed a replacement on September 12, 2014 and the new lens came with a nice surprise – the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED is not only completely revamped in terms of optical design, but it is also 1.3 stops faster than its predecessors. Personally, I have been very interested in checking out the new 20mm f/1.8G lens, because I found the 28mm f/1.8G to be a bit too long for my taste. And although I love my 24mm f/1.4G (see my detailed review here), it is pretty expensive and often quite heavy to carry around. Thus, a wider, lighter and much less expensive lens sounded very appealing to me. I have had the joy of shooting with the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G for the past three months and as you will see in this review, the lens deserves high praises for its superb optical performance. Without giving any more spoilers, let’s jump into the review and see where and how it shines.

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Nikon SB-500 Review

Nikon SB-500

The Nikon SB-500 speedlight was announced in September of 2014 together with the Nikon D750 and Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G lens. Sitting above the compact SB-300 and below the larger and more powerful SB-700, the SB-500 is targeted at beginners and enthusiasts, who want something more capable than a built-in flash or a basic speedlight. The SB-500 comes with an interesting list of features, one of which we have never previously seen on Nikon speedlights before – built-in LED lights. Although I personally had very little interest in using the SB-500, as I heavily rely on SB-800 and SB-900 speedlights for my work, ability to run LED lights continuously seemed like an interesting idea. In addition, with the SB-500 abilities of being both a commander and a remote flash unit with full compatibility with Nikon’s CLS system, I thought that perhaps I could use it in combination with my other speedlights. So I decided to check out and do a quick review of the SB-500, to see if it would potentially be a suitable tool for my photography needs.

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Nikon D750 Flare Shading Issue

Nikon D750 Flare Outdoors

By now you have probably heard of the Nikon D750 issue that some describe as “flare” or “internal reflection issue”. Thanks to some websites and forums, the issue is now blown out of proportion, with some people claiming the D750 to be another “fiasco” from Nikon. Since many of our readers have been requesting feedback from me regarding the issue, I decided to write an article that describes the issue in detail, along with my opinion on the matter. The thing is, I have known about this particular problem for a while now, probably after the very first complaints started rolling in a few months ago. I never wrote about it, because I consider it to be a non-issue for 99.9% of situations and not even applicable for most photographers out there, which is why I never wrote about it. At the same time, I understand there might be concerns from current and future owners of the D750, who are probably wondering about the severity of the problem. In this article, I will show you what the issue looks like, when it occurs and provide my personal feedback on the matter.

Since neither “flare”, nor “internal reflection” correctly describe the issue (as shown below), I went ahead with “flare shading issue” title instead.

UPDATE: Nikon will be servicing all affected Nikon D750 cameras free of charge. See this announcement for more details.

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Nikon TC-14E III vs TC-14E II Performance Comparison

Nikon TC-14E III

I am currently in the process of testing the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL lens in my Imatest lab and I am simultaneously also measuring the performance of the new Nikon TC-14E III teleconverter and comparing it to the older TC-14E II. Although I am planning to review the teleconverter separately, I decided to give our readers a glimpse of the teleconverter performance when compared to its predecessor in terms of sharpness. To make it easy to compare differences, I converted all numbers to percentages (detailed numbers will be posted in the reviews).

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Nikon Releases Firmware Updates for D750 and D810

Nikon D750 vs D810 Back

Nikon has just released firmware updates for two of its most recent and highly regarded full-frame cameras, the D750 and D810. Updates for both cameras fix a small number of equally mild issues, but is still worth downloading for best experience during use. Keep reading for details and download links!

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New Price Drops from Nikon and Canon

B&H Nikon D810 Rebates

Looks like both Nikon and Canon are not very happy with their holiday sales, since the two just announced aggressive price drops on their high-end cameras. The Nikon D810 has been dropped by $300 to $2,996.95 (regularly $3,299) and the already discounted Nikon D610 has been dropped by another $100 to $1,496.95 (regularly $1,999). Full-frame has never been cheaper! And here is the bonus part – these price drops are available with Nikon’s Buy Together and Save promotion, so you can get additional discounts on lenses. The icing on the cake is free expedited shipping, along with plenty of goodies worth up to $120 from B&H.

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G ED Review

Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G ED

After Nikon introduced the super lightweight and inexpensive Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G lens for DX cameras, many Nikon shooters started requesting a similar lens for full-frame cameras. Those who did not want to spend over $1500 on the professional Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G did not have a lot of options from Nikon aside from either using the 35mm f/1.8G DX lens on full-frame, or using the older Nikkor 35mm f/2D lens. Sigma’s timing on the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art was spot on for a number of people with its lower price point and superb optical performance, but it also came with both size and bulk considerations. On January 6 2014, Nikon finally announced the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G ED lens to fill that gap. At $599 MSRP, the lens is not only significantly cheaper than the f/1.4 version, but it is also twice lighter and more compact. I had a chance to use this lens for a few months this year and although I could not work on a full review earlier due to time constraints and other commitments, I was very pleased with its optical performance.

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Top Cyber Monday Deals

B&H Cyber Monday Deals

Although Black Friday is supposed to be “the day” for great deals, I’ll admit that I was not all that impressed with what Nikon had to offer, aside from a couple of fine deals on lower-end cameras. Well, it is Cyber Monday today and things are looking much more interesting, with some great deals from Nikon definitely worth looking at. The Nikon Coolpix A did not sell all that well for $579 on Black Friday, but it seems like Nikon is either releasing a replacement, or just wants to clear off the shelves, since the price has been slashed even more – the Nikon Coolpix A is on sale for $499, for today only until the stock is gone (about 10% of the stock has already been claimed). At this price, the little camera with a large APS-C sensor is a great deal, so if you need a small pocketable travel camera, you might want to check it out! In addition to this, there are a few other deals like the Nikon 1 V2 kit for $499 that I found and picked for our readers. If I find anything else worth posting today, I will update this article.

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Nikon FX Drops to $1600, More Lens Rebates Available

Nikon D610 and Lens Rebates

Many have been hoping Nikon would start a rebates program on lenses alone. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet, but don’t run off. If you look past it, you will notice some truly staggering rebates taking place. To start with, Nikon D610 price is down to $1600. Look closer and you will notice that the camera comes with a handful of gifts, too – worth over $140, no less. And there’s the 2% rewards program, too. Oh, and free Expedited shipping. A good time to buy a full-frame Nikon camera, then, but even better if you need a lens to go with it as some of the best Nikkor lenses are now up to $400 off the original price, whilst certain cameras coupled to kit lenses add up to savings of up to $800.

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Insights From a Nikon 1 User

insights Nikon 1 image 5

I would like to preface this article by saying it is not intended as a “do this, don’t do that” sermon from the mount. To me, using a camera is akin to playing a guitar. It is simply an instrument that a person uses to achieve a particular outcome. And, like a guitar, there are many styles and approaches in how to “play it”. What works for me may not work or feel comfortable for you. So, if this article provides a few useful tidbits for some readers, it will have served its purpose.

There’s quite a bit of text in this article so I will be showing a range of images shot with my Nikon 1 V2 to provide some visual breaks, and also to help illustrate the capability of the Nikon 1 system.

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