All posts by Jason Odell

Why Fast Cards Matter: Nikon D810 Performance

The Hoodman Raw Steel USB 3.0 card reader delivers fast download speeds from CF and SD cards.
The Hoodman Raw Steel USB 3.0 card reader delivers fast download speeds from CF and SD cards.

I won’t be the first one to tell you that fast cameras need fast memory cards. However, even the fastest cards differ in their read/write speeds between the theoretical and the actual achieved speeds. Read/write times not only depend on the tech specs of your card, but also your camera and transfer devices.

In the field, card read/write speed affects not only how fast the camera’s buffer can clear, but also how fast you can copy images to your computer. When transferring your images to a computer, the following factors are important to consider:

  • Card Speed
  • Reader Speed
  • Reader Interface (eg. USB/Firewire)

D810 Performance with CF Cards

I compared download speeds for 27 images (14-bit, lossless compressed) from the Nikon D810 using two different cards:

I tested each card using the Hoodman Raw Steel reader via USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces.  I downloaded my images to my computer using Photo Mechanic 5 and my typical settings. These settings included file renaming and adding IPTC data to each image as it was copied.

I tested the buffer performance by setting the D810 to capture 14-bit lossless compressed full-size raw images (NEF format) in continuous high-speed release mode (5fps). I determined the number of images I could capture before the buffer was full, and I timed how long it took for the buffer to clear. With these settings, the buffer count shows 19 frames. Continue reading Why Fast Cards Matter: Nikon D810 Performance

Sensor Plane #16: Nikon 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Lens Unboxing

I just took delivery of a brand-new Nikon 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor telephoto lens. I thought I’d unbox it on-air and discuss why I purchased it, and how it fits into my lineup. I also compare telephoto lens options, including 400mm and 600mm and zooms.

I purchased this lens from Berger Bros.; I highly recommend them as they are a pleasure to work with.

For an audio version of this episode (MP3 format) click here.

Just announced: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens

The Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens incorporates a phase-fresnel element and weighs half as much as its predecessor.
The Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens incorporates a phase-fresnel element and weighs half as much as its predecessor.

Talk about alphabet soup! Nikon has announced a completely redesigned 300mm f/4 lens to replace its aging 300mm f/4 AFS model. The new lens is called the 300mm f/4E PF ED VR, and is available for pre-order here. The lens should start shipping by early February. It is an FX lens, meaning it will work on both FX and DX Nikon DSLR bodies. On DX bodies, the angle of view would be equivalent to 450mm.

I had the previous version, Nikon’s 300mm f/4 AFS IF-ED lens, and I can honestly say it was an under-appreciated component of the Nikkor lineup. It was sharp, handled teleconverters well, and was very easy to hand-hold. My only complaint with it was its lack of vibration reduction (VR), which would have made it perfect for many situations where I didn’t want to use a tripod. Continue reading Just announced: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens