Category Archives: Gear

The Ultimate Nikon Birding Kit

Crested Caracara, South Texas. Photographed with a Nikon D500 and 300mm f/2.8 AFS VRII Nikkor lens. The fast autofocus and frame rate of the D500 really came through!

You probably know I enjoy photographing birds whenever I can get the chance. Over the years, I’ve used lots of different Nikon cameras, and I have to say that we’re living in good times if birding is your thing. After a year with the Nikon D500, I can honestly say that I’ve not run into a better birding camera from Nikon. The autofocus is deadly fast, the camera delivers 10fps RAW, and you can shoot 200 continuous frames when you use a fast QXD memory card. I’ve also had the chance to test a variety of Nikon lenses on my birding safaris, so here’s my current recommendations for anyone looking to maximize their Nikon birding experience.  Continue reading The Ultimate Nikon Birding Kit

Review: SanDisk Extreme Pro Thumb Drive for Travel

Can a thumb drive replace an external hard drive for travel photography?

[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/NTDDr9vKIhw” title=”Tested:%20SanDisk%20Extreme%20Pro%20Thumb%20Drive” autohide=”1″ fs=”1″]

Most laptops just don’t have enough internal storage for lots of images, especially if you want to use a fast solid state drive (SSD). I keep my Lightroom catalog on my internal drive, but all my images are stored externally. That arrangement makes it much easier to transfer my files when I get back from a photo workshop or safari.

Until recently, I’ve always used 1 or 2TB external drives. My current one is the LaCie 2TB Rugged Drive, which I like a lot. They are reliable, and come in a variety of interfaces (USB/Thunderbolt). However, even with a fast interface, most traditional hard drives are still fairly slow. That can limit the transfer rate when you’re downloading your photos or accessing them with Lightroom or Photoshop. Continue reading Review: SanDisk Extreme Pro Thumb Drive for Travel

2016 Holiday Gift Ideas For Photography Enthusiasts

Happy Holidays!

christmas-18106_640It’s shopping time, and if you are looking for gifts for the photographer you know (or for yourself), here are some nice budget-conscious items you can check out for your photographer friends and family.  And of course, don’t forget my printable PDF eBooks and video training courses!

Let’s get started, shall we?
Continue reading 2016 Holiday Gift Ideas For Photography Enthusiasts

Nikon 105mm f/1.4E vs. 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR Macro

As you may know, I’m testing the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor portrait lens. One of the main questions I’ve been asked over on my Facebook page is, “how does it compare to the 105mm micro-Nikkor?”

It’s a fair question, as I’ve long listed the 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR micro-Nikkor as an excellent portrait lens. For this purpose, at least to me, there are really only two discriminators: VR (stabilization) and aperture.  Continue reading Nikon 105mm f/1.4E vs. 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR Macro

More Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Sample Images

I’ve had a few more opportunities to shoot with the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor, so I thought I’d post some sample images here. Most of these were shot wide-open, because that’s what this lens is all about. Simply put, if you’re into shots with shallow depth of field and incredible subject isolation, then this is a tremendous lens.

Check prices and specs of the Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikkor here

Quick thoughts:
  • The lens is quite sharp wide-open, but you have to be SUPER CAREFUL about your focus point because DOF is incredibly shallow (you knew that, of course).
  • Use AF Fine-Tuning to make sure you get the focus point dead-on with this lens. Any slight front or back-focus will be very noticeable!
  • There is light fall-off at f/1.4 but I actually like it because it creates a natural vignette effect in portraits. Adobe Lightroom now includes a lens correction setting for the 105mm f/1.4E, but I almost think that I like it better with vignette correction disabled.
  • This is a big lens (82mm front filter). It’s not something I’d carry around as part of my regular kit unless I were a portrait/wedding photographer (then it would live permanently in my bag).

Continue reading More Nikon 105mm f/1.4 Sample Images