Yesterday, Nikon announced a long-awaited (overdue?) replacement to its 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. The the original 80–400mm VR has been around since 2000, and for as long as I can remember, enthusiasts have cried out for and AFS replacement. Why? Despite very good optics and excellent zoom range, the AF-D model of the 80-400mm was slow to focus and as such sub-par for many action and wildlife photographers. Despite its limitations it remained popular lens because it was the least expensive Nikkor with a focal length of 400mm. On a DX-format DSLR body, that translates to an effective field of view of 600mm, making the 80-400 the enthusiast’s choice for wildlife photography. The relatively compact size of this lens made it an ideal option for travel photographers or people wanting to have extra reach on a reasonable budget. Continue reading
Along with the Nikon 1 V2 announcement in October 2012, Nikon also released a new 1-Nikkor prime lens, the 18.5mm f/1.8 1-Nikkor. This lens, designed for the Nikon CX-format sensor has an angle of view roughly equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera body.
With the Nikon CX format, fast lenses are important for two reasons. First, the small format makes depth of field control hard, so anything with a fast aperture will help to deliver subject isolation and soften backgrounds. Second, while the ISO performance of the Nikon 1 cameras is excellent overall, these cameras are still noisier than large-sensor DX or FX DSLRs. That means anytime you can shoot with a faster aperture, your camera will be able to use a lower ISO for any given shutter speed. Read on for my review… Continue reading
Some of you may have noticed that I’ve recently been posting a lot of HDR photographs here and on my G+ page lately. Part of the reason is because I enjoy being creative, and HDR is one of my creative outlets. The other reason is that I’ve had the opportunity to test the latest version of Nik Software’s HDR tone-mapping software, HDR Efex Pro 2.0, which was formally announced today and is available now.
At first glance, version 2.0 might seem like a minor revision, with subtle improvements to the interface and control sliders. However, I can honestly say that after testing HDR Efex Pro 2.0 for the last few months, I will not be going back to version 1. My HDR images are consistently better across the board with version 2.0; they have better color, better sharpness, and superior tone-mapping effects.