Monday, August 27, 2007

Nikon D3 Sample Images

Here are some Nikon D3 Full Quality JPEG Samples.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nikons New D3, D300 and Nikkors

Nikon Today announced a slew of new products. The largest product release I have ever witnessed from this company. In a lot of ways it was a revolutionary release, not just for Nikon, but for the photography community as a whole. Personally I didn't like everything I saw, but that's a personal bias.

Nikon D3

First and foremost, Nikons new Flagship D3 (to Nikon Imaging for specs). This camera is more than I could hope for from Nikon. While Canon has their brand new 1Ds Mk.III and 1D Mk.III, this Nikon is somewhere in between. Instead of trying to compete with either of these cameras, Nikon has created something sort of in between, but different and at a very competitive price.

Nikons apparent strategy for this camera was not quantity but quality. I'm talking about the resolution of the camera. Now this is yet to be seen, but I gather pixel for pixel, this 12MP sensor will produce stunning images. Not only that, but with a base ISO of 200 and selectable ISO to 6400 with boost to 25600 (crazy), it will be incredibly light sensitive.

Some Highlights:
- 3" VGA Resolution Screen: wow
- 51 Point AF with 15 Cross Type: I'd use them in grouped mode anyways
- HDMI Output: neat, now all I need is a High def TV
- Live View with Contrast Based AF: good for macro and over the wall shots
- Plenty of UI enhancements
- The full 35mm frame "FX" format Sensor: Yay wide angle and low noise.
- ISO 25600!!!: If that means usable ISO 6400 I will be super happy
- Auto Adjust to DX Crop
- Custom focusing calibration with 20 lens specific calibration memory: Double Wow.
- 14 bit A/D

Unlike Nikons previous offerings, this one does not have specific variants for sports and "other" like the D2h and D2x did. This camera is both 12MP and capable of 11FPS. Sports shooter may lament the full frame sensor for their applications, with the D3 only having 5MP in DX Cropped mode, but for them, Nikon released the D300.

Nikon D300

Now, I was totally not expecting this, I predicted a revision, not a new camera. Though the D300 looks a lot like the D200, on paper, it outspecs the D2xs and the D2hs in a lot, if not all ways. The D300 shares a lot of the same specs as the D3 above except for it's DX Size sensor and lower FPS. This has just become the best camera (again, on paper) in the mid level market. A camera at this price, with these features is simply amazing. It really is the D2xs in a smaller body. Even the 100% frame coverage is there.

Nikon took every aspect of the D200 and made it better. It doesn't look like they left a feature untouched. Hell, they even fixed the stupid terminal caps! Now, would I go out and replace my D200 with this? No. I'm not getting a new DSLR for myself unless it's full frame. But anyone looking in the market now, Nikon has really differentiated themselves. Lets just hope that at hte DX sensor size at the same resolution as the D3, the camera can maintain the low noise needed to produce good images in it's ISO range.

Now whats a couple of new pro bodies without a wack of new lenses?

AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G

This lens is both just what I wanted, and not a lens I will ever get all at the same time. Nikon is continuing it's trend of breaking backwards compatibility. There is no reason to make this lens a G type lens with no aperture ring other than to break backwards compatibility and lower price. The latter of which is of course a serious consideration in todays marketplace. I understand that not everyone is as crazy as me and still shoots with a fully mechanical film camera. When I first heard about this lens I didn't beleive it. A lens like this would have to be huge. And well, it is. Or more specifically, damn heavy at 1kg. The 14mm f/2.8D which it effectively replaces was already 670g. I own the excellent 17-35mm f/2.8D. This lens, on a FF sensor seems to be much better suited for general photography. That and I can use it on my FM3a :) The only thing is, that the 17-35mm is not the sharpest lens wide open. If they have fixed this in this new lens, which I doubt, then it will be worth it.

AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G

This lens would make a lot more sense if it had VR. Otherwise, other than 4mm at the wide end and about 30g of weight savings, it offers no advantage over the 28-70mm f/2.8D it replaces. Again, on paper. The new N type coating and it's performance wide open may prove me wrong. We'll have to wait and see.

Nikkor 400mm, 500mm and 600mm Super Tele Lenses finally get VR

These lenses were long overdue for a VR Update, and they got it. Not for me, or my style of shooting, but I'm sure they'll make many people very happy.

Well folks, there you have it. A very big day. 2 new amazing bodies, and 5 new pro lenses. Now if only Nikon would realize that there are still people on this world who like general purpose prime lenses. (hey, gotta find something to complain about :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nikon D3H Coming soon? (Sony Announces new sensor)

With Sony announcing the new 12MP 10+ FPS APS-C sensor, you can bet Nikon will soon be announcing the much awaited D3H.

Sadly this means the end of Nikons LBCAST technology if true.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Amazon leeks Canon 40D and 1Ds Mk. III

Amazon jumped the gun on posting product pages for two new Canon bodies.
40D (Engadget) and 1Ds Mk.III (Engadget).

I'm hoping Nikon steps up as they are rumoured to otherwise this will be the end of the pro market for Nikon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR & Summer

This may not be your standard 70-200mm shot, but it illustrates Summer very well :)
The way in which I got this lens could be a blog post all on it's own. It's not the lens I really wanted, but it's the lens that made the most sense really. It's big, heavy but amazing in all other aspects.

Form Factor

This lens is really well designed for it's size. The focus ring has a ridge so you know exactly where to hold it. The zoom ring is is located in the most convenient place to hold the lens so it's balanced. it has three focus lock buttons at the end of the barrel so it's convenient no matter which orientation you're holding the camera/lens. It's weight is very manageable all things considering. It's not a walk about lens that fits into your carryall, but what do you expect from an f/2.8 Zoom.


The Serve redo

This lens is fast, in all senses of the word. It's focusing is very quick, and it's f/2.8. Sure there are faster lenses (200mm f/2 faster focusing, lots of primes with larger aperture), but the combo is great for the price. Combined with the D200 this lens has fast and accurate focus and tracking. I've only had it hunt a few times, but that's probably just me still getting used with the many focus combinations and options in the D200 than with the lens. It's sharp, and the VR helps in low light situations, especially when you don't want to increase the ISO too much. I have particularly shaking hands so VR is not as effective as for some, keep that in mind. The contrast and colours are as good as I have experienced them. I have not had the ghosting or flare issues that some have described, but I have also not put the lens into the conditions which would induce those artifacts.


This lens is usable for a variety of subjects. Close action sports and motor sports are a very good candidate for this lens. For wildlife it's no where near powerful enough. The 200-400mm or any of the primes in the higher end are better for that purpose, unless you're talking about common backyard birds, squirrels and the occasional raccoon. For portraits there are better lenses, like the dedicated DC Lenses or either of the 85mm. However, in a pinch this lens produces good results, even though it scares your subjects :) One gripe I have about this lens is the use of a polarizing filter. I always use a lens hood with any lens I use as a form of protection. Much better than using a "protective filter" which does nothing but make the camera store that sold you that filter more money. The problem is that if you want to adjust the CP, you have to take off the lens hood.

Other Nikkors

The 80-200mm f/2.8(D) is a nice lens. In fact, for the price it's a great lens. The older push pull non-D lens is rather annoying to use. Either lens is slow to focus, especially with bodies lower than the D200. But there is one problem. That problem is used 80-200mm f/2.8D AF-S lenses. This lens has been discontinued since the introduction of the 70-200mm, however it makes it the best deal. You can get good quality second hand copies for almost the price of a new non AF-S model. If you don't want to spend the cash for one of these new (or used) and your not enamoured with the performance of VR, seriously consider the 80-200mm f/2.8D AF-S as a much better deal with almost the same performance.


Sunset Wreck

This is of course a great summer lens. The majority of the subject matter is the type of things you'd want to take in the summer. It's also the type of lens that you only take out for that purpose. it's not a lens that you can just throw in your bag and take anywhere. You don't want to lug this thing around and you will stick out wherever you take it out. Summer to me is more about chillin and walking places. Less planning and more doing. This is not a lens I use a lot, but when I need it it's a lens I couldn't imagine being left without. However, as yet another Summer approaches it's end, so does the time of this lens. Now I'm not saying that I won't use this lens after summer, but you get the idea. I'm always sad at the end of summer. Maybe because I take part time courses in the fall/winter and have no life during those times. Here are more shots taken with this lens.