Tag Archives: gear

Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens

It only took 13 years, but we finally have a new 80-400mm AFS G VRII Nikkor. Is it right for you? (Image courtesy Nikon USA)
It only took 13 years, but we finally have a new 80-400mm AFS G VRII Nikkor. Is it right for you? (Image courtesy Nikon USA)

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 Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens

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The Nikon D7100 DSLR: DX-Format Flagship?

The Nikon D7100 is described as the DX-format "Flagship."  Image courtesy Nikon USA.
The Nikon D7100 is described as the DX-format “Flagship.” Image courtesy Nikon USA.

Last night, Nikon announced the long-awaited D7000 replacement, the new D7100 DSLR. You can pre-order a D7100 here so that you have one in your hands the minute they come out.

The D7000, to me, has always been a “close but not quite” camera. By all accounts, its sensor is really good. However, the smaller form factor and diminished performance (AF, frame rate, bracketing limitations) dissuaded me from getting one as a D300s replacement. The biggest surprise to me when I read Nikon’s announcement was the subheadline:

“Nikon’s DX-format Flagship Provides Agility, Amazing Image Quality and Wireless Connectivity

You read that right; the DX-format Flagship. In my opinion, this means what I’ve been hearing (and thinking) for some time. DX is for enthusiasts, FX is for pros. Continue reading The Nikon D7100 DSLR: DX-Format Flagship?

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The Biggest, Baddest AF-Nikkor Lens: 800mm f/5.6 AFS G VRII

The Nikon 800mm f/5.6 FL ED VR lens is big and sharp, with a price tag that requires a bank loan. (Image courtesy of Nikon.com)

Back in July of 2012, Nikon announced they were developing a monster 800mm f/5.6 AFS VR lens. Today, they announced that this lens is being released and is available for pre-order.

The first question that comes to my mind is “why would anyone want this lens, when you can use a 600mm + 1.4x teleconverter and effectively have an 840mm f/5.6 lens?” Well, I suppose there are a couple of things at play here. First of all, Nikon has quietly implied that only FX-format cameras are their top-end. The D300s, the only “pro” Nikon DX camera, was released in 2009, and other than adding video, it’s the same sensor as the D300 which was released in 2007. Nikon is basically saying, “if you want an action camera, you need a D4.” The only cameras in Nikon’s current lineup that can shoot over 6fps are the D300/s (with grip), D700 (with grip) and the D3s/D4 flagships. Which means if you are a wildlife or extreme sports photographer who wants to take advantage of a modern sensor, you need a long lens to pair with your FX format body. Secondly, sometimes a company needs to produce something this impressive just to demonstrate their engineering excellence. This new lens definitely does that. Continue reading The Biggest, Baddest AF-Nikkor Lens: 800mm f/5.6 AFS G VRII

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Nikon 1 V1 Price Drop

Fallen leaf, Central Park, NY. Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm 1 Nikkor kit lens.

I just checked prices over at site sponsor B&H Photo for the Nikon 1 V1, and this little camera can now be had for as little as $299 with a single lens, or $449 with a two-lens kit.

While the V1’s design is geared towards point and shoot users, I’ve really enjoyed this camera’s fast autofocus performance and excellent image quality. I’ve used it for family trips or any time using a DSLR would be impractical, and it’s delivered the goods every time.

The biggest challenge with any new camera is to understand its quirks, like the minimum shutter speed in various program modes. Once you know how the camera will behave, you’ll know how to set it up to capture the moment. Check out my Nikon 1 System Resource Page for more information on this camera and its accessories.

The Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon 1 V1/J1

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The Mind is Blown (Nikon D800e)

A quick test of the Nikon D800e proves it to be an amazing piece of technology!

Well, I finally caved in and ordered a new Nikon D800e. I figure it will be my primary landscape camera, when speed isn’t important. For my wildlife photography, I’ll probably stick with the Nikon D4, as it has superior frame rate and I prefer the integrated grip body style. That being said, the D800e is very comfortable, too, and it feels lighter than my D700 did. I can see it being a very popular travel camera…assuming you have enough memory cards for those 36-megapixel files. Continue reading The Mind is Blown (Nikon D800e)

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