Category Archives: Gear

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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Denver Zoo walk around with Nikon 200-500mm VR

Grizzly bear, Denver Zoo. Nikon D810 with 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens. 1/500s @f/5.6, ISO 100, hand-held.
Grizzly bear, Denver Zoo. Nikon D810 with 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens. 1/500s @f/5.6, ISO 100, hand-held.

Yesterday was a beautiful spring-like (unseasonably warm) day in Colorado, so I headed up to the Denver Zoo to visit the animals. I brought the Nikon D810 and Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 AFS G VR zoom Nikkor lens with me. Continue reading Denver Zoo walk around with Nikon 200-500mm VR

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