Category Archives: Gear

Field Test: Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 AFS G VR

Male house finches from approximately 30 feet away
Male house finches from approximately 30 feet away, captured with the Nikon 200-500mm AFS G VR zoom lens.

A few weeks ago, I received the new Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 AFS G VR zoom Nikkor lens. My initial impressions were quite good for a lens of this design and price point. I had a chance today to take it to the local nature center and try my hand at some bird photography; something that I think that the target market for this lens is quite interested in.

I set up the 200-500mm on my Nikon D810 DSLR and I used my Gitzo 3-series tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head and Wimberley Sidekick gimbal adapter. Continue reading Field Test: Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 AFS G VR

Should Photographers Consider an iMac?

The late 2015 27" iMac with 5k Retina Display.
The late 2015 27″ iMac with 5k Retina Display.

I’ve used Mac workstations  since the early 1990s. As a professional photographer, it’s important to have a computer that is not only fast, but also scalable. For me, that meant being able to add internal hard drives, PCI expansion cards, and plenty of RAM. By having a computer that I could incrementally upgrade, I am able to extend the useful life of that machine. As a working professional, I consider upgrading my computer system every 3-5 years, depending on my needs.

In 2013, Apple radically redesigned the Mac Pro line to include internal PCI-based solid-state drives and dual video cards. Despite the performance benefits, the new form-factor no longer supported internal expansion of any kind (other than RAM). Although I was not in the market for a new Mac at that time, the immediate consequence of the new form-factor became clear. From now on, any hard drives that lived inside my existing computer would have to be moved to external enclosures. Continue reading Should Photographers Consider an iMac?

Hands-on: Nikon 200-500mm VR

The Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 AFS G VR (foreground) as compared to the 500mm f/4 VR Nikkor.
The Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 AFS G VR (left) as compared to the 500mm f/4 VR Nikkor.

Ah, the joy of receiving a gold box from Nikon! I just received the new 200-500mm f/5.6 AFS G VR zoom Nikkor from B&H Photo. As someone who enjoys shooting wildlife, especially birds, I figured I should check out this new lens. Since I’ve had the lens for less than 24 hours, these are simply my first impressions. Continue reading Hands-on: Nikon 200-500mm VR

Enjoying Life at 50 (Millimeters)

The 50mm lens used to be the standard "kit" lens with many film SLR cameras.
The 50mm lens used to be the standard “kit” lens with many film SLR cameras.

When I got my first SLR camera, it came with a 50mm f/2 prime lens. For many years, this was the only lens I had, and so I used it for just about everything. I photographed people, sports, and stuff around my backyard with that 50mm lens. Nowadays, the 50mm prime is often an afterthought, as zoom lenses dominate photography. If you could add just one lens to your bag for creative fun, you should consider giving the  “nifty fifty” another look. Continue reading Enjoying Life at 50 (Millimeters)