Category Archives: Gear

Tested: Singh-Ray I-Ray 700nm Filter

Steam Shovel Nikon D810 with Singh-Ray I-Ray 590 filter.
Steam Shovel
Nikon D810 with Singh-Ray I-Ray 700 filter.

A while back, my friends at Singh-Ray filters asked me if I’d be willing to test a new infrared filter. Late last week, I got a sample copy of the new Singh-Ray I-Ray 700nm filter to test and review. Here are my findings.

Why should you choose an infrared filter?

First, let me start by asking why one would want to use an infrared filter instead of converting a digital camera to infrared. There are several reasons why you might want an infrared filter:

  • You don’t have an extra camera lying around to convert to IR
  • You don’t want to spend $275-$400 to convert a camera
  • Filters are easy to pack when traveling, and work with all your cameras
  • You have a full-spectrum or dual-spectrum camera which requires filters

Continue reading Tested: Singh-Ray I-Ray 700nm Filter

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Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Portrait Lens Announced

Nikon's newest portrait lens: 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor
Nikon’s newest portrait lens: 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor

Today, Nikon announced a new fast prime portrait lens, the AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor. This is a super-fast lens that should deliver amazing bokeh when used at or near its maximum f/1.4 aperture. It is designed to cover FX (full-frame) Nikon sensors, but will approximate a 161mm telephoto lens if you use it on a DX Nikon DSLR, such as the Nikon D500. Continue reading Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Portrait Lens Announced

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Hands-on Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF AFS VR Nikkor

A Lightweight, Compact Telephoto Lens from Nikon Perfect for Sports and Wildlife

The Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens is perfect for hand-held shooting.
The Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens is perfect for hand-held shooting.

I’ve always considered Nikon’s 300mm f/4 lenses to be underrated for sports and wildlife photography. They are sharp, focus fairly close, and can handle a teleconverter. Because these lenses are fairly compact, they just scream to be hand-held. The only thing missing was image stabilization (VR). Nikon released a completely redesigned 300mm f/4 lens that includes the latest VR stabilization, and I was able to get a demo lens from B&H Photo for evaluation.

The Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor is an interesting lens. It features:

  • E designation: Electromagnetically controlled diaphragm for consistent exposures
  • PF: Phase Fresnel lens design (This lens uses a Fresnel element, which drastically reduces chromatic aberration).
  • AFS: Silent wave internal focusing motor with full-time manual focus override
  • ED: Extra low-dispersion glass element
  • VR: Image stabilization
  • Nano-Crystal coating

Continue reading Hands-on Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF AFS VR Nikkor

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Tripods for under $500

A good tripod is one of the most critical photographic accessories. A solid tripod enables you to shoot long exposures, use lower ISOs, and get sharp images. However, I think the first time any of us went tripod shopping, we had a bit of sticker shock. Good tripods, like my recommended Gitzo Series 3 Systematic, can cost nearly $1000. For most of us, that’s just a ton of money to spend on a tripod, even if it will last for years.

Fortunately, there are some good tripods out there for under $500. Many of these are aluminum models, but you can also find some carbon fiber ones at this price point. I had the opportunity to try out three tripods courtesy of B&H Photo, and all of these would be excellent options for outdoor photographers. Continue reading Tripods for under $500

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Nikon D500: Hands-on first impressions

My Nikon D500 arrived today!
Female red-winged blackbird, Fountain, CO. Nikon D500 with 200-500mm f/5.6E VR Nikkor and TC-14EIII teleconverter. 1/2000s f/10 ISO 7200 Effective FL: 1050mm
Female red-winged blackbird, Fountain, CO.
Nikon D500 with 200-500mm f/5.6E VR Nikkor and TC-14EIII teleconverter.
1/2000s f/10 ISO 7200
Effective FL: 1050mm (click to enlarge)

Finally, I get my hands on a true flagship DX body from Nikon. I’ve always had a place in my kit for a DX body, because I appreciate the extra reach when shooting wildlife; especially birds. However, Nikon’s offerings since the D300s haven’t excited me. This camera, however, makes me glad to be a Nikon shooter! Continue reading Nikon D500: Hands-on first impressions

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