Category Archives: Reviews

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

Hands-on with Aurora HDR Pro

Aurora HDR is a new HDR tone-mapping program for Mac users.
Aurora HDR is a new HDR tone-mapping program for Mac users from Macphun Software.

Today, Macphun Software released their latest photo editing tool, Aurora HDR. I’ve had the opportunity to test-drive a pre-release version of the software for a little while, and I really like what I can do with it. Here are my first impressions of this powerful HDR software for Mac. Continue reading Hands-on with Aurora HDR Pro

Gear Review: Mindshift FirstLight Photo Backpack

Photo Backpacks Designed for the Outdoors

The MindShift Gear FirstLight photo backpacks are designed for hiking and outdoor use.
The MindShift Gear FirstLight photo backpacks are designed for hiking and outdoor use.

I recently received an evaluation copy of a new series of photo backpack from MindShift Gear. MindShift Gear is a sister company to ThinkTank Photo, whose bags I have been using for years.

The FirstLight series of backpacks come in three sizes: 20L, 30L, and 40L. The number indicates the bag capacity in liters. I was able to get a production copy of the FirstLight 40L to evaluate. Continue reading Gear Review: Mindshift FirstLight Photo Backpack

Review: Metabones Speed Booster Nikon F to Fuji X-Mount Adapter

If you are transitioning to a Fuji X-mount camera system, there may be times when you want to use your existing glass. For this, you need to get a lens mount adapter.

While a lens mount adapter lets you use your Nikon (or Canon) lenses with the Fuji X-mount bodies, there are some major limitations. You will have to use manual focus and set the aperture using a ring on the adapter barrel. Vibration reduction (VR) will not function, either. In my opinion, the reason you get one of these adapters is because you have a particular use for one of your existing lenses. In my case, I like to be able to combine my infrared-converted Fujifilm X-E1 body with my Nikon glass when traveling so that I don’t need to pack two sets of lenses. I have two adapters that I have tested with my Nikon lenses. Continue reading Review: Metabones Speed Booster Nikon F to Fuji X-Mount Adapter

Nikon 500mm f/4 VR: Hands-on first impressions and images

Male house finch, Fountain Colorado. Nikon 500mm f/4 AFS G VR lens and Nikon D810. 1/1600s @ f/4.5, ISO 360.
Male house finch, Fountain Colorado. Nikon 500mm f/4 AFS G VR lens and Nikon D810. 1/1600s @ f/4.5, ISO 360.

Spring is still a ways off here in the Rockies, but I did take advantage of some recent nice weather to field test my new Nikon 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor telephoto lens. In case you missed it, I switched to this lens recently after selling my 600mm f/4 VR. You can check out my podcast to hear about my rationale for switching.

I hit up the local nature center, where numerous bird feeders are set up. We don’t get much in the way of colorful birds here at this time of year, but the small ones are out in force, including chickadees, house finches, juncos, and the occasional woodpecker. Continue reading Nikon 500mm f/4 VR: Hands-on first impressions and images