If you’re like me, you don’t think they make any difference. We’re wrong! My good friend Brad text not to long ago asking me is I had had any issues shooting the Lexar 1000x in the D4. I said I hadn’t. He went on the tell me he just did for a shoot. When I saw him last, I asked how it all turned out. He said he sent his card to Lexar who returned all his images recovered and a new card. I asked if they said what had happened? They said it was the old firewire reader he used. I couldn’t understand how that could be. I do remember all the USB3 firmware updates for readers but never thought much about it. Doing some research in the matter, I can to learn that the reader does make a difference. In simple layman terms, the only way I can understand it, there is a controller in the reader and a controller in the card. They have to handshake many times during the transfer process and if you’re using an old or cheap controller (reader) with a new, fast controller (card), than it is more than likely they will at some point have an issue handshaking so files get scrambled on the upload. The bottomline, if you’re running new, fast cards, best have USB3 fast readers! I’m running the Lexar USB3 & XQD readers and knock on wood, never had an issue. And that’s your reader trivia for the day.
Another XQD card…why? One of the off beat “things” about the D4 is its two form factor card slots, one being the comfortable CF and the other, brand new XQD. Why? Why mess with what we know works? The bottomline is speed, the CF has reached just about the fastest it’s going to get (1000x). And as we all know, photographers want speed! Another big issue are the pins that the CF cards connect to inside the camera body. If you’re not a company like Nikon or Lexar that sees all the problems bent pins brings, you wouldn’t undertand it’s a design that has seen its day. This among a bunch of other reasons is why XQD is here. Bigger in size of SD, smaller than CF, no pins with potential incredible speed, the new form factor was incorporated into the D4. And there must be more coming because now Lexar has introduced their 1100x XQD card. I am often asked if I use the XQD slot. You bet! On the D4, it is the video slot and for stills, it’s the overflow slot. Is the Lexar 1100x really faster than the Sony 1000x? It is by a heartbeat so why buy it? Lexar stands behind their product! I’ve had so many folks tell me their card went corrupt and they sent it back to Lexar who recovered the images and returned a new card. That’s just pretty damn impressive and why I use Lexar. The new XQD does a great job, been shooting it for a month, retiring the Sony that came with the D4.
The video is almost a year old, amazing how times flys. Also how sometimes gear comes and go and sometimes stays the same. It’s a two hour video and it covers my thoughts about gear purtty darn well. You got the time, I think there might be something in there for you.
I’ve had the 70-200f4 VR3 for a few days now. I’ve had just a couple of opportunities to squirrel around with it as I’m deep in writing my next book. Now many faithful 70-200f2.8 owners have chimed in they are happy with their f2.8 and that’s great, that’s not why I’m talking about this lens though. This lens does a number of things the f/2.8 does not do: focuses much closer, closes down to f/32, weighs nearly 2lbs less and costs less (but comes without tripod collar). Two of these features are important to me, MFD and f/32. They solve very specific photographic issues I have. Some have asked what about the f/4 & f/2.8, don’t you need the speed? I would ask, how many owners of the f/2.8 shoot at f/2.8? Most don’t because either they read they shouldn’t or they think they need to close down for DOF yet paid a lot of money for that f/2.8. Acquiring gear has to solve two major issues in my camera bag, do something very important any other piece of gear can’t and gear lust. So far in my limited shooting, the 70-200VR3 does both so I’m happy.
A really good question that comes in a lot, especially this time of year is “What gloves do you use? Back in the day, I would haunt every outdoor store I ventured by and gleaned the glove display trying to find the glove that kept my hands warm and permited me to shoot. Then our sons got into xcross skiing and I found the Swix gloves and fell in love. From past experience, I bought 3 pairs which until this last fall lasted me for 9yrs. Went to try and find them and found they were discontinued. The closet thing I found was B, Swix Narvik Gloves. This was after I found the A, Mountain Biker Gloves. Now I like these gloves but in the beginning, they were stiff as a board. They have a special material on the top to cut the wind and that works but after four months of shooting, they are just starting to break in. These are the gloves I always have in my jacket and take care of the majority of my shooting. When going to extremes like when the air temp hovers around zero of lower, I turn to ice climber gloves. These seem to change every other day, they are updated and outdated almost monthly. The pair I got last year are now gone, the closest are the C, Grandoe Logan Gloves. They do look bulky but I found them to work really well. They keep the digits warm, permit basic operation and ability to push some buttons. You can push all the buttons on the D3 for example except the button inside the Selector. You cannot run a video camera with them. If you click on all the links, you’ll see they take you to REI. I have found them to have a great selection that varies a little from town to town. These are what I’ve found work for me, perhaps one will be right for you.
My family had secured for me the ultimate in cold weather,gloves mittens for xmas many years ago which I love to shoot with! Actually, they are custom made trapper mittens that are strictly for cold weather use.
How cold? Well, at 12degrees my hands were almost uncomfortably warm, not perspiring but almost too much warmth. Working in places like Yellowstone or the Arctic in the winter, these mittens will be so perfect. Yeah, I can squeeze off the shutter, no, can’t work any other feature on the body. No, can’t buy these at REI. They are a two layer mitten, a heavy wool removable liner and outer Beaver fur. I just can’t wait to get out in the cold and put them to use! Thanks family!
Yeap…save money on the Nikon D600 until the 24th! And be sure to tune in tomorrow..big NEWS to announce!
The geniuses at Think Tank are at it again with their new Glass Limo. what they call “The photo industry’s slimmest profile backpack for carrying “Big Glass.” Capable of carrying a 600f4 or 500f4 with body attached, this beefy case can carry this and much more. I’ve just packed it up for its first trip but it’s not carrying any big glass. As you can see pictured above, you can pack the Glass Limo with a bunch of basic gear. With all the extra padding, you could throw this thing around without fear of damaging gear. This is a bag you must might wanna check out.
At the same time, Think Tank has updated their Cable Management Pouches. I simply can’t live without these things! Cable Management 10 V2.0, 20 V2.0 and 30 V20 feature clear window, wide opening and large capacity. Good stuff protecting and organizing our photographic gear, check ‘er out!
I love the files from the D800! I just had delivered one big ass print from the D800 out of an Epson 11880 and it is spectacular! I know this, I sure don’t want my portrait taken with a D800, I don’t want to see that much detail! With that said, I still prefer the D4 and when given the choice, I will pick up the D600 over the D800. And when folks ask me, I will recommend the D4 first and D600 second and D800 last. With that said, many have pinged me and asked me, “Why don’t you like the D800?”
Scott Kelby wrote a marvelous piece, which, in many ways mirror much of what I think. First, I like the D800, I don’t dislike it. I use it rarely but when I do, it does exactly what it is meant to do, deliver beautiful big ass files. What I have against the D800 is not the camera but the mentality behind why many think they must own the camera.
I was with a D800e owner, helping them at the camera shooting. They had traded up from the D800 to the D800e because they wanted the extra megapixel umph! I didn’t ask why for a couple of days but I sure was curious. Then we were working some files and I watched them struggle getting them uploaded in their computer (took forever), a rather new machine that struggled to create previews and then just doing some simple steps in Photoshop. I finally asked the question I had been biting my tongue about. “What are you going to do with these images” I asked? They looked me square in the eye and said, “They are for the web.” I said really, what are you going to do with the images. “I’m serious.”
I’ve encountered a whole lot of D800 owners who, while they love their files are simply not having fun. Seriously, you do one thing to the file in Photoshop and you nearly have a half gigabyte file on your hands! Focus issues, DOF problems, dust spots, the list goes on and on that are magnified by that big, gorgeous file the D800 produces. You have to be a craftsman when you take the photo with the D800 that will show every goof in all its megapixel glory! This is a camera who’s smallest prints should be 24×30 (hell, that’s almost the native size of the file) yet how many who own the D800 make that size prints?
That brings up the D600, why do I like it so much? It makes gorgeous images as well even if it only has 24mp. Only! It costs less, fits the hand better, has the essential CSe4 (missing in the D800) and seems to go forever on a battery charge. The only gripe I have about the D600 is it only has a 3 frame bracketing and not 5, 7 and 9 frame. And I’m not alone. Just to see if I’m nuts or not (and I am nuts), I’ve put the D600 in a lot of D800 owner’s hands and asked them to shoot it for a day. Almost all have said they liked the camera and even more, liked the increased “speed” in dealing with files in post. I asked if they saw a difference in the image quality. Only looking at the images on their monitor, they 100% said no.
It’s not that I don’t like the D800, I do like it, own it and use it when the job requires it. I don’t like the mentality that more megapixels is better and that just owning it will improve one’s photography. It, like the D4 and D600 and other bodies are tools and in the hand of a craftsman will perform and produce as they should. But just like I said of the D3x for years, the D800 isn’t for everyone. I’m not after changing any body’s minds, don’t even want to convince someone who owns a D800 they made the wrong decision. I just wanted to put it out there my simple thoughts on this wonderful camera. It’s a great camera for the job it was built to do!
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Back in August, I told your about the new Hitech filter system. The lack of water in the Sierra kept me from really doing much with their Big Stopper. Well on our K&M Adventure, ME, I had plenty of water so pulled out the Big Stopper. Attached to the D4 and 18AF, I went out as far as I could on the rocks safely and started to shoot. First, you manually focus and lock that in place with gaffers tape. Then it’s finding the exposure. I ended up shooting at 120sec, f/8 using the MC-36 as a timer. I have to tell you, I wasn’t thrilled with what I was seeing on the LCD.
My bud Kevin was shooting next to me and on his LCD, we saw a normal color with his Big Stopper. On my, looked like I was shooting in moonlight. Everything was blue. No matter, I kept on shooting figuring I could deal with the color cast in post. That is what I did, in ACR, simply took the Color Balance tool and clicked on the lighthouse to get the color you see here. What I do like is the blur to the clouds the long exposure. While the Hitech Big Stopper does have the color cast, I don’t hesitate using it just know on the camera’s LCD, the moon will be out.
A lot of folks have been asking me what I think of the D600. In a nutshell, I really, really, really like it! Had the opportunity to do an air to air with my friends at the Texas Flying Legends Museum. I used the opportunity to shoot with the D600 and it did a great job! The weird thing I’ve yet to figure out is, I have no problem handholding this small body like I do with the D800. While I’m not going to be writing a field report or anything like that, I will simply say, the D600 would be the body I would recommend to folks over the D800. Simple reason, besides the gorgeous files, it has the same “e4″ flash custom setting like the D4
Kinda stuck in Boston so went for a walk this evening with the D600. It’s been a rainy, drizzly day so finally just before beer time we went for a stroll. I took the D600 with a 24f1.4 attached just for fun and to get use to it. There was no light but I shot anyways. The first thing I noticed was it’s a great feeling camera! And when you shoot with it, it has the old time, F3 clunk when it fires. I like that. What you see here is a HDR, 3 image HDR. Ya, while Nikon gave the D600 the ability to disconnect the camera and flash exposure comp, they only gave it a 3 image bracketing system. That aside, my initial, (repeat initial) feeling is a really like the D600 files. The 14bit Nef is 31MB of gorgeous info. So it’s like all photography, the ying and the yang and so far, the pros out definitely out weighing the cons.
“Why do you shoot mainly with the D4?” This is a ~real~ common question and very valid since it costs more than any other Nikon body. To me it’s real simple, Custom Setting e4! I’ve been talking about this Custom Setting since the D4 first arrived on my desk and it’s not changed. Not found in any other Nikon, Custom Setting e4 permits you to disengage the exposure compensation setting in the body so it only effect the camera body meter and not the flash. With every other camera body, when you dial in exposure compensation, any amount you dial in the body automatically effects the flash. So if you dial in -2 in the camera body to underexpose the ambient light by 2 stops, you’ve also have dialed in -2 into the flash. With the D4 using Custom Setting e4 engaged, you dial in -2 into the body, the flash exposure hasn’t changed. This one Custom Setting basically gives our flash 3 more stops of light!
Putting this into practice, here’s my “artsy fartsy” photo of our friend Meb. You can see the sun in the top right corner and the shadow it casts on the ground on the left. So it is very much at play in the photo. The lighting is simply two, SB-900s. I’ve dialed into the camera body -3.3 exp comp which is giving me the exposure for the ambient light. With any other camera, that would have made the flash almost useless in this situation since all the flash can do is a +3. When you take the -3.3 in the body and add the +3 in the flash, the flash is now at ZERO! But with e4 engaged, the +3 on the flash is actually +3 and the final effect you can see on the left side of Meb.
Yes, I have the D800 in my camera bag and now the D600 and use them when their big MP is required. But the camera body I turn to day in and day out is the D4. Yes, it costs more to buy, yes, it has a whole lot less megapixels an no, that doesn’t matter to me or more importantly, my business. And that’s the one variable that most photographers understandably can’t relate to and why my choice of the D4 seems odd. It’s a tool doing things no other bodies do, tools I need to be a successful visual communicator.
NOTE:It appears the D600 has the same feature (though different designation). It’s been pointed out to me it’s on the Menu but I’ve not had the opportunity to read the IB yet to confirm. Something to do on the plane flight east today.
I travel a lot, I like to shoot a lot, so combining the two in only natural. Carrying a camera body on your shoulder while trucking through the airport gets old really fast. Pulling it out of the MP-1 or Think Tank when in the air never works. Like this last flight from WA, the scene out the window was fleeting and having the D4/50f1.4 right there when I want to shoot was a must to get the shot.
Earlier this year I switched briefcases to Think Tank’s Disguise 60 v2.0 and I’m so glad I did! It normally takes the D4, 50 & 24f1.4, MacBook Pro Retina, 5 hard drives, cords, iPad, headphones, book, cables and a whole lot more and still easily slips under the seat. In flight, getting out the body and lens, a snap. This system not only makes it easy to shoot while traveling, it actually frees up space in the other bag/case to take more video gear which is a growing issue. Tons of protection, easy to pack and carry, no-brainer!
Well, I’ve been shooting with the D800 for over a month which includes the new Epson Finish Strong ad campaign and the photo above of the P-51D Mustang “Precious Metal.” Many have been asking me what I think of the camera so thought I should give you my two cents worth. The files are gorgeous, there is simply no way around it! They are also freakin huge! Since I process much of my aviation and landscape photography while on the road working, I am incredibly thankful I’ve switched to the MacBook Pro Retina. I don’t know how folks are working a 5 image HDR taken with the D800 without such speed! It could be just me, but when you have a dust speck on your sensor, with the D800 is looks like a bomb crater! I suspect it’s the resolution of the sensor but a dust spot when you shoot closed down is simply massive! But when it comes to creating 24×30 prints, the D800 is simply spectacular producing better files than my beloved D3x. The increase speed in FPS and buffer dump is a joy, lemme tell you. I really like that.
When it comes to shooting the D800, I still need that additional bulk of the grip. I keep taking it off as I shoot more and more with the D800 to see if I can take advantage of its smaller size. But it simply is a no go, my hands need that greater mass to hold onto. Now comparing the MB-D12 to that knock off a “fan” sent me, well I don’t have any kind words. Been shooting with the knock off for a month and it is already “fading.” It has become so loose that I can’t shoot with it attached to the D800 on a tripod at slow shutter speeds. I’ve tightened screws a couple of times with one now stripped out. While the knock off might be less money, I simply can’t afford it crapping out on me during a shoot. I have to admit I am shocked that within a month it is already showing the effects of constant use. I’m going to keep using it until it does fall apart because I want that photograph. I do carry the MB-D12 though with me waiting for that day. And if it’s a shoot for a client, I switch to the MD-d12.
When it comes to recommendations for you, well I don’t think you can go wrong with the D800 but in all honesty, it might just be more camera than you need. You must consider the file size because when you do an HDR with it, you instantly have possibly 1GB of files open and possibly that much to file for just ONE image! My D600 should be delivered today and I’m very excited to run it through its paces, I have the feeling that might just be the camera. As for me, the D4 with its Custom Setting e4 is my workhorse, go to camera for nearly all my own photography.
Amazingly, only one person has asked me this question why, after 27yrs, I made the switch. Of course, buying one MacBook Pro hardly switches the office over which is still all Window machines. Personally, I’ve not had a problem with or ever regretted being on a Window machine. In fact, those who know me know I make the Windows machine sing, producing an incredible amount of work. Nope, the reason for the switch is real simple.
I need notebooks that are very small, light and fast. Photoshop and Word is the same on either platform, so that wasn’t the issue. With a huge increase in my travel coming up and with the extra junk I have to have with me to capture video, I had to find an answer to the additional “stuff and weight” issue video brings and the new MacBook Pro was it. It’s a gorgeous traveling computer. Have I found it difficult to move from Win to Mac? Not in the least being a control freak, I have both platforms set up basically the same. Photoshop Actions work on the Mac just like on Win7. Have I found the increase in speed and the loss of weight? Oh baby, the Retina freakin rips like no computer I’ve worked on. Is the display to die for? It is gorgeous but is the same in the 7lbs Dell m6500 I have, but it is faster and much, much, much smaller. I’ve had a great few days setting up, learning and customizing and as I get to road test my results, I’ll be sharing them with you. I can tell you one thing for sure, the MacBook Pro is more than worth its price and we’ll have more in the office soon!
I’ve had a number of folks email and ask if I’ve found a remote method for starting video capture with the D4 / D800. What I do is use the Pocket Wizard III and it works great! Is there something special you have to do to make this work? The only trick is on the D4 / D800, set Custom Setting g4 to Record movies. When you do that, when the D4/D800 is in Movie Mode (lever on the back of the camera) the shutter release starts and stop the video recording. With this, you partially depress the Test Button on the Pocket Wizard, the camera will focus, depress fully and the recording begins. To stop, depress the Test button again. I have added CS g4 to My Menu because I use it so much. Hope that helps.
This is GREAT gear folks and it might just solve a problem that we share. Great filters, affordable and instock. Here are the links to them:
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4×4 Master Kit
I can’t recommend these enough to you!