Category Archives: Reviews

Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Portrait Lens

I got a box from B&H Photo today. Funny… I didn’t order anything (recently). Much to my surprise and delight, they sent me a reivew copy of the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor, Nikon’s stunning portrait lens.

I’m going to find some subjects to test this lens on, but my first impressions are very positive. Focus is fast and precise. Bokeh is to die for, and it’s very sharp wide-open. Continue reading Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Portrait Lens

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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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Backyard Shootout: Nikon 500 f/4 VR vs. 200-500 f/5.6 VR

Can a $1400 zoom compete with a $8000 prime telephoto lens?

That’s the $64k question, isn’t it? When I saw that the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR was announced at under $1400 (check price here), I figured that either: a) I read that wrong, or b) it must be a compromise. Seeing as how I own the 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor, I figured I’d do the obligatory comparison, so here’s my backyard shootout:

Continue reading Backyard Shootout: Nikon 500 f/4 VR vs. 200-500 f/5.6 VR

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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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