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on Jun 11, 2014 in Gear Head Wed

GearHead Wednesday 14 – 22


Got a gear question you want/need answered? I want to help and answer it. Send your gear questions to me at Gear Questions and I’ll do my best every Wednesday to answer as many questions as I can. Questions are really light this week, you run out of them? Keep in mind the answers are just my $.02 worth and you have to take what works for you and your photography and embrace it and ignore the rest. So here’s this weeks questions ….

85f1.8Moose man!
I need advice on just one lens, 85mm Nikon. I don’t have the budget for the f1.4 version but I do have the funds for the f1.8. My question is, what am I giving up buying the f1.8?
Thanks for your time!


Paul, this has been a common question of late. I have been trying to get my hands on both the f1.4 and f1.8 for a side by side but have only got my hands on the f1.8. There is no difference in focal length, there is a difference in physical size, filter size and as you mentioned, price. The f1.4 closes down to just f/16 where the f1.8 closes down to f/22. I kinda like that f/22. The f1.4 is much sexier, I like that. Now I’ve shot with f1.4 in the past and its smokin hot sharp. I can now say the same thing about the f1.8. It’s performance at its MFD all the way out smokes too. So these brings you down to the isolation quality of f1.4 compared to f1.8. To be real honest with you, I’m not going to try to tell you there is one. I’m sure technically there is, but in practice, I just don’t see it. So my $.02, going with the f1.8 is a smart move especially when counting pennies. Hope that helps.

Hi Moose,
I’m a helicopter Pilot over in the UK – I’m hoping to try and photograph more Aviation generally, but also sometimes when we train with multiple crew I get to stand behind the seats and get some shots! I’ve recently bought a Nikon 16mm Fisheye for my new Df, both of which I love, although I’ve quickly noticed the challenges of achieving good exposures in the often difficult light of cockpit shots. Have you got any of advice for these situations, and could you also offer any help as to what metering modes are best for airborne shots – I’ve been having a play but feel a little in the dark if you’ll pardon the pun!
Thanks again for all your inspiration, I’m on my third read of Taking Flight now and love it! I was recently in Florida and tried to make it to Fantasy of Flight, but we tried to go down the day after it closes its doors! It’s such a shame but we will be back when it re-opens for sure, and we got to see a launch at Kennedy which definitely made up for it!
Anyway, hope you are well and thanks again.


Hi Jamie! Great to hear from folks across the pond! Glad you’re liking Taking Flight and it’s helping. On your Df / 16Fish cockpit question. First, I would go with a single click option. The issue of the BT Journal coming out the end of the month has a pg28 video lesson that would be the technique I would recommend to you of underexposing in camera and processing it in ACR. Next recommendation would be using a single SB-910 along with Custom Setting e4. Be sure to turn the flash backwards and bounce the light and NOT light the cockpit directly.
Glad you got down to Fantasy. Sorry it was closed for ya but I’m sure in the future Kermit will have the public back. He has a great collection and he loves to share it!

Hi Moose,
*Sigh* – Can you talk (again) about whether or not to leave VR on or off when using a tripod?
I was recently shooting in very windy conditions on a tripod, and my gut said that my camera must be moving some, and that VR had to help in those circumstances.
Can you tell me your reasoning? I think I’ve read too many different blog posts on the subject.
Long-time fan,


Greg, VR does seem to confuse the heck out of folks. Here’s what I do and more than likely, it’s not what the instruction book says to so. VR is always on, set to Normal. Now if you’re in doubt, just turn it off. If you’re using proper hand holding or long lens technique and you are on a stable footing, VR isn’t going to make any difference in your images.

Can’t thank you enough for taking questions from us newbies, it’s a big help! I’m just starting, I’m still in high school and money to buy gear is hard to come by. I want to learn about and use flash but I simply can’t afford the Nikon units. I’ve read about the Bolt VX-760N and wondered if it will work on my D7000 and if it’s a good flash.
You’re my hero!


Tony, it’s so great to hear you’re into photography, lemme see if I can be of assistance. I contacted my friends at B&HPhoto and they sent me a sample of the Bolt VX-760N. Now being a Nikon dude, I depend on my SB-910 so recommend it first and foremost. But I do understand where you’re coming from so I put in a little time with the Bolt to give you an honest answer. While it does not have all the features of the SB-910, it does have two things that would help you learn light, iTTL operation and a powerful light. I think for the price, it’s a darn good flash as long as you don’t need all the features the SB-910 offers. So I would recommend you get yourself one and beat it to pieces using it and learning light. In the process, take some portraits and get paid for them and save that money up to eventually get yourself the SB-910. And keep clickin!

I did a quick search on your site and hope that I am not duplicating an already answered question. I have for the past year been shooting with the D4 and feel fairly comfortable with quickly adjusting the Exposure Compensation given the lighting and how the light interacts with the shades of the creature I am photographing. SO – This past weekend, enter the D4S and with the first few hundred clicks, it seems the Exposure Compensation is quite different in how it interacts with the new sensor/processor. To my eye, it seems I do not need as much negative compensation to saturate colors and not “Blow Out” white feather details. Have you noticed a difference and if so which way does yours lean?
Thanks and hope to catch you at the WOH airshow this year.


Chris, thanks for searching for the answer! The D4 & D4s & Df work exactly the same for exposure compensation and range of light and deliver the same results with the same settings. No idea why you’re seeing any difference but for me, they are interchangable in this department 100%!