Recently I’ve been experiencing one of those existential photo crises. Low motivation, cliché results, slumping Instagram likes. When I get bummed about my photography I do what any self-respecting unprofessional photographer would do – put on some soft jazz, pour myself a fine single malt, then pull out my favorite Zeiss lens chart results and pleasure myself. But even that didn’t make me feel better. What’s a listless soul-wrenched photographer to do? Ha, I know what will do the trick – no better way to demonstrate my photographic élan and self-assurance than to dis on a kit lens.
Having been primarily shooting with the Nikon D810 ever since the camera was announced (which as of today is my primary camera for most types of photography I am engaged in), I have been compiling a list of features that I would like to see on the upcoming Nikon D820, so I decided to share this list with our readers. My goal with this article is not only to share my list of most wanted features, but also to potentially expand it based on the feedback I get from other D800/D800E/D810 shooters out there. Once we put together a list of highly desirable and realistic / implementable features, I am planning to send a letter to Nikon to request the features to be incorporated into the future design of the camera. I think as a large community of Nikon shooters, we should do our best to reach out to Nikon directly and put in our requests, so that the company knows what its dedicated user base expects from the future generations of their cameras.
Nikon has been on the roll in the past few years, releasing one amazing lens after another. We have seen a refresh of the f/1.8 prime lens line with some amazing optics, but those craving for more have been patiently waiting for a modern replacement of such lenses as the Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and Nikon 135mm f/2 DC, absolutely amazing and beautiful lenses in every way, capable of rendering stunning bokeh for portraiture. Well, the waiting for the first lens replacement is finally over, because today Nikon gave us something truly groundbreaking – the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. While the de-focus control feature on the previous 105mm f/2 lens allowed one to modify the bokeh rendering of the lens, it would end up changing the field of view and it was a bit hard to get used to utilizing that feature effectively for many photographers. Plus, the maximum aperture of f/2 put it in competition with the superb Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (review soon to be updated), as the latter is a faster lens and has superb rendering capabilities wide open. For these and other reasons, many photographers having been choosing the 85mm f/1.4G over the 105mm f/2 DC for portraiture, while the 135mm f/2 DC remained untouched. Now that the 105mm f/1.4E is out, let’s talk about what is so amazing about this gem and why we can mark today as an important milestone in the history of lens making.
Update: Our in-depth Nikon 105mm f/1.4E Review has now been posted.
I never did completely lose faith. I think in the end it was probably just myself, Thom Hogan and one or two others – the true believers. Nikon would give us a legitimate successor to the D300S. I think that the many who told us to give up and move on to FX because DX is dead, or that the D7200 was the real D300S replacement, perhaps missed the point. The D7200 is an absolutely excellent camera, but I have always thought it pretty obvious that Nikon was holding back on the D7x00 series. And as far as moving on to FX, well we were already there shooting D4s, D800s, etc., but looking back to DX for the potential advantages that a smaller format, high-performance body could bring to shooting wildlife and other action. There was room at the top of the DX model lineup for a specialist camera and now we have it – the
D400 D500. Nevertheless, I was caught off-guard, along with most people I think, when the D500 was announced alongside the D5 in early 2016. We all knew the D5 was coming, but just how did Nikon manage to keep the D500 a secret?
I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone National Park to test out the Nikon D500, Nikon D5 and Pentax K-1 DSLRs (reviews to be posted soon) and I wanted to share my experience, specifically my frustrations with visiting and photographing this amazing location, which has been my top spot for many years for photographing both wildlife and landscapes. I spent a week in Yellowstone and my original plan was to stay there for longer if needed, depending on how much wildlife I would encounter. But I had to cut my trip short, because I was just getting tired of seeing the same behavioral patterns of park visitors over and over again – to the point where it was just getting absurd, abusive and downright stupid.
It has been 15 years since Nikon produced the last iteration of its budget 300mm lens, so the new Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR was something many enthusiasts and professionals have been patiently waiting for. Although the previous generation Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S is an excellent lens optically, it lacks image stabilization, new generation coating and other new technologies that Nikon has been integrating into modern lenses. I have personally been a huge fan of the 300mm f/4D AF-S lens and have owned it for many years, loving the lens for its superb optical performance, fast autofocus, light weight and compact size, making it my ultimate travel lens for wildlife photography – a perfect companion for hand-held shooting. Because it was so good with the 1.4x teleconverter, I practically always kept the teleconverter attached to the lens, making it a very nice 420mm f/5.6 combination. When Nikon finally announced the new 300mm f/4E VR lens, I got very excited, because Nikon completely redesigned the lens. In fact, with close to a 50% reduction in weight and a 30% reduction in physical size, we are not dealing with another redesign or update – this is a completely different lens.
B&H Photo Video is hosting a huge sale on the Nikon D610, D750 and D810 full-frame DSLRs. In addition to the current instant savings ($500 off D610 / D810 and $300 off D750), you will get a free battery grip with each camera (retail Nikon version, not a third party grip!), along with a third party battery (Watson EN-EL15), a SanDisk memory card and a Ruggard Commando 36 DSLR Shoulder bag (all worth up to $460 in savings). And lastly, you will also receive a 4% reward from B&H in a form of a gift card, which you will be able to apply towards future purchases.
Recently, my wife and I headed to the Texas hill country near San Antonio for a brief getaway at the Block Creek Bed and Breakfast. This trip offered me a chance to spend some time using the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR zoom and it has changed my opinion of it. I’m now pleasantly surprised at how good this lens is for the money. On the trip we used both the 200-500mm f/5.6E VR and the 500mm f/4G VR lenses interchangeably with Nikon D750 and D4 bodies. In this brief post, I will share a few photos to show why I am impressed with this new lens.
I got my Nikon D5 a week and a half ago and have been itching to try it out on some real world wildlife photography, but this time of year is tough for wildlife where I live and also the weather here has been insanely difficult the last week or so. This has really hampered my chances to try and get some photos with this new camera.
I recently spent some time looking at CIPA data and wrote a few articles on my blog pertaining to these camera industry statistics. I thought Photography Life readers may find some of the data of interest. What follows are a few thoughts about the camera market, based on my interpretation of CIPA data. It should be noted that data is simply data and two people can look at the same information and arrive at differing interpretations. For folks who find the data of interest you can pop over to my blog to read a bit more. If you want to see the actual data reports I would encourage you to visit the CIPA website and access the data directly…then put on a pot of coffee, grab a calculator or open up Excel on your computer…and have some fun!