I get it, I really do! Like many, when the Df was first announced, even though I’m an old fart, I didn’t see why I’d want a retro digital body. When the Df reached my desk, from the moment I opened the box, I started to get it. Yes, it is a digital camera, yes it have many basic design features that take you back as far as the F2, but’s it’s more than that. I mean, if I told you the Df has the O/C Key, that would mean nothing to you unless you owned a F2 and attached a motordrive. It requires the AR-3 cable release, there is no ten pin socket. I still have my AR-3 cable releases, most will scramble to see what that is. Yeah, it has dials for ISO and Exp Compensation, a dial for Shutter Speeds if in Manual, but the whole package is a great camera designed to make the photographic experience more than just … click. The Df brings to photography something I talk about … romance (it does NOT do video!)! I can honestly say that I can’t just let it sit, I want to have it in my hands and shoot.
OK, so what about quality? If you’re spending good money on a camera body, you need more than just a romantic experience. The Df delivers! It has the same sensor as the D4, an image quality that has made me a lot of money. But as we all know, the sensor depends on the software to deliver to us that quality. Well, I’ve only had the Df a couple of days, but like I said, I can’t put it down. During a break in the snow Saturday, Sharon was looking out the window at our winter wonderland. The light was gorgeous so I picked up the Df which has the 50f1.4AFS attached and made a few clicks. I focused on the closet eye and shot with a narrow DoF. You can see the over all photo above and then below, you can see a severe crop of just the eye. That quality would make any client of mine very happy, so it more than works for me! Both of these photos are right out of the camera because at this time, you can’t process them in ACR.
So what’s new an cool? The one thing I played with over the weekend is using the WU-1A Wireless which as you can see, plugs right into the side of the Df.Along with Nikon’s iPhone app, you can fire the Df remotely, the whole time seeing on your iPhone right through the lens. This is technology that only costs $54, that is simply mind boggling to me who once paid thousands to do the same thing. So this going retro might seem like pie in the sky stuff from the beginning but there is actually more to it than just looks. The camera feels great in your hand, its controls are simple and straight forward. The LCD on the top of the camera is useless but with a push of a button the LCD lights up with all the info you need. It takes a small battery, I loaded mine with a Lexar 128GB SDXC 600x and without even cracking the IB, been shooting up a storm. I feel it’s more than worth the price because a tool calling you to go shooting is a good thing. mtc
Nikon Df Website
Df Instruction Book
Sharon has totally flipped over her Nikon 1 V2 and is selling her prior system. Basically new, barely used for sale are:
Nikon 70-300AFS VR $400
If interested, give Sharon a call at 760.924.8632 / 661 204.1506 (9-5PST M-F)
The Nikon 1 AW1 is just really cool! Being a former owner of Nikonos, it’s great to see an instruction book again that states, “Don’t change lenses underwater!” Duh! The Nikon 1 AW1 is the world’s first waterproof interchangeable lens digital camera. The AW-1 (not just a waterproof J2 on the inside) is a wonderful camera. Two brand new water/shock/freeze proof lenses have been introduced with the Nikon 1 AW1, the 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens and 10mm f/2.8. It features built in Wi-Fi and GPS (not functional underwater). The AW1 is fully compatible with existing Nikon 1 system optics, although these are not waterproof and shockproof (it can be dropped from 6′). It can go down to 49′ and is rated to work down to 14degrees (though it was -10 when I shot with it yesterday morning no problem). After taking the product shot you see above, I shot with the camera. The snow that stuck to the body melted and than froze onto the body and it just kept on clicking. The lens has this great metal gnarled surface that sticks to any surface no matter how wet it might be. Amazing!
The AW-1 though offers some new handling that I think is really cool. Nikon describes it like this: Shooting in less than ideal environments requires usability that extends to every facet of camera operation. Nikon 1 AW1 delivers on all fronts with new Action control — a revolutionary new interface that makes adjusting as easy as tilting the camera. Even when wearing gloves or otherwise bundled up against the elements, you can quickly change shooting modes and play back settings. You’ll also appreciate the wealth of sensing functions, including depth, GPS/GLONASS, altitude and more.
With the love affair we have with Sharon’s V2, we don’t hesitate working with Nikon mirrorless. The AW-1 is really sweet! All metal construction, small, light, waterproof and pretty amazing image quality. This can easily be the outdoor photographers best friend!
This is simply an interesting tool I thought I should make you aware of. Camera Shake technology is moving right along and Piccure is a pluggin that might just help an image that is not tack sharp. Nothing can replace taking an image sharp right from the get go, nor does Piccure fix every image, but it does work with some. They are in fact pretty up front about what it does and doesn’t work on and that impressed me. I ran it on a couple of images, one you see right here. In this example, it worked pretty well. You can see how the nose of the Shrike, my lovely bride and good friend Casey are definitely sharpened. Below you can see the results and when you look at the magnification, it’s impressive.
Now like I said, it doesn’t work on everything and I had such a result. I contacted the folks at Piccure and they returned my email with answers ASAP and were very up front and helpful. Hat’s off to them for that. One issue with the technology, which I have no doubt will solve itself in time which is why I’m telling you about this, is it works best with the sRGB color space. My issue was the complexity of the ProPhoto RGB image I was trying it on. You can DOWNLOAD is for a full, FREE 14day trial for Photoshop and/or Lightroom. You got an image that is soft that really means a lot to you that you want sharp? You might just give this a try.
Yeap, we’ve gotta a couple of print left so extending the sale a couple hours longer. We have a couple of duplicate prints left from our Peterson’s Flying Circus booth at the Reno Air Races. Printed on aluminum (by Image Wizards), 16×20, boxed and ready to ship, $295 which includes S&H. We just have these, the special price is just for these but if you want to order prints for the coming holiday season, happy to help. Give Sharon a call 760.924.8632 (9-5PST m-f) to get in the Black Friday spirit!
Rode just introduced their newest mic, the Rode VideoMic Go and it’s a tool YOU should check out! This small, light, very inexpensive shotgun mic (under $100) is a great BIG way to improve the sound recording in your video. I don’t have a sound sample for you, but here are the specs hinting at it’s ability.
Lightweight at Only 2.6 Ounces
Rycote Lyre Suspension System
Powered by 2.5V Camera Plug-in Power
Integrated Shoe Mount with 3/8″ Thread
3.5mm Mini-Jack Output
Foam Windshield Included
Reinforced ABS Construction
3.5mm Coiled Output Cable Included
Once I have sound samples I can post, I will so you can hear its ability. It might be the perfect stocking stuffer
The video above is still the basic way I clean my sensors. Copperhill products simply rock, making it simple and painless, as much so as a product can. Recently though, I came up against a dirty sensor that quickly put me in sensor cleaning hell. I simply couldn’t get my sensor clean, it smeared and smeared and I couldn’t figure out the issue. At home, I do it in a heartbeat and it’s something I can do in my sleep. But in this instance, I was going through supplies like mad with no progress. It was driving me nuts. Then I figured out the issue.
One of the key components in cleaning our sensors is the rapid evaporation of the cleaning fluid we use. We don’t “dry” it all off, it evaporates off. At my office, there is no humidity so the sensor is dry before the swab can get to the other side of the sensor. In Texas where I was having so much trouble, the humidity was through the roof. Making the problem worse was the air conditioning running in the room. The cleaner wouldn’t evaporate, never, in those conditions. Headed to the outer bathroom area, turned on the hair dryer and warm up the air around the camera and cleaning was back to simple again. Why it took so long for me to figure out still bothers me but if you have issues cleaning your sensor, it might not be you! Working in warm, dry air makes all the difference in the world.
One of the GREATEST joys photography has brought comes from the family affair. Many know about our son Jake and all the great stuff he’s doing in the industry like the articles in Dispatch and Plane & Pilot just this month. And I personally enjoy his product reviews like today’s, he does a great job covering all the angles. But I get a kick out of how he has mom with “her” Nikon V2 (don’t even try to get that away from her) shooting the “action” shots (she and that camera do a great job!). It truly is one of the hidden blessings of photography since all four of us (plus one very significant other, Katt) come together to tell the story through photography. Give it a try, get your kids involved, you will find that not only does your photography improve, so does your life!
Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced an exciting Black Friday special that actually starts now! With this special offer you get a $50 rebate on their renowned rolling camera bags. And, should you order a roller plus one of their popular Urban Disguise shoulder bags you are eligible to receive a $100 rebate! And, to top this off you’ll receive free shipping not only on these items but on all Think Tank Photo gear!
To partake of this special holiday offer simply click here and you’ll be directed to Think Tank’s roller page. There you will find a link you can click to download the rebate form. Really easy!
Think Tank’s rolling camera bags are renowned for being the best made, most innovative rollers available. Each comes with easily configurable inserts, innovative security measures, and Think Tank’s “No Rhetoric Warranty.” The rollers are sized so as to make it easier for you to roll your valuable photography gear onto airlines as carry on, as opposed to having to check it.
The new 58f1.4 AFS hit the desk yesterday and to say it’s impressive from the get go is an understatement! It’s a big sucker, feels great in the hands and looks sexy as hell on a body. It has a 72mm filter size with the whole lens being that diameter. It comes with a deep, scalloped shade just making the 58mm looks sexier. But what’s important is the image quality. I bounced around the house looking for subjects and I naturally turned the lens on my gorgeous wife, but she said she was having a bad hair day. So I can’t post those (I run into that a lot with my family). So then I turned the lens to the flowers, focusing on the
pistol stamen (I don’t do flowers) to show just how shallow the DoF is and the lens, sharp. Oh ya, it’s sharp! I’ve had the 50f1.4 AFS since it was introduced, use it a lot. It’s also a very sharp lens but is physically smaller (and costs less) than the 58mm. The knock I’ve had about the 50mm though is its focusing speed. The 58mm is a tad faster than the 50mm, but focusing speed is still not lightning fast. I have a lot of shooting to do this weekend which I’m lookin forward to. This is a schweeeeet lens!
The D610 is just a fun camera to use! And while fun is an important reason why we own our gear, there has to be that technical reason as well. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan on the D600 and the D610 is supposed to be the D600 with its issues resolved. Well, I’m of the opinion it’s a bit more than that. I have no insider info, just my experience shooting with the D610 this past week compared to my shooting with the D600 prior. It’s just a better experience with files just a tad sweeter. No, don’t have resolution charts or side by side comparisons, just the experience of looking at images giving me the belief the D610 does a tad better job of taking and producing images. Here’s a couple of examples that have me thinking this. This first one as it appears, is a sunset shot looking to the west with the sun below the horizon and the lights on in the hangar. I’m shooting with the 50f1.4AFS (being repl as of today with the 58f1.4AFS) and not having a tripod and being tired, raised the ISO to 800 and went click. Simple, clean results, just a tad nicer than the D600 (field smoke always makes for great colors!).
Went to the Houston Space Center and dragged the D610 around though I was shooting with the Coolpix A most of the time. Finally, at the end of the tour I pulled the D610 out and shot with it. I was looking for just a detail shot to zoom on in post to see what the D610 would deliver. Again, I was shooting at ISO 800 with the 18-35AFS handheld. You can see for yourself the 200% crop and what the D610 delivers. That’s simply a clean file with lots of detail.
I need the D610 for those times when I need to blend. The D4 is just not a “blend in” body but the D610 sure is! I have so much faith in it, I instantly put it to work on a project. At the end of the evening of the 40′s hangar party, after I’d taken the portraits, I was still looking for a way to get higher to shoot down on the festivities. That’s when I thought of “Betty’s Dream.” A couple of seconds later we were inside and through the hatch shooting. I took up the D610 / 18-35AFS and made the clicks real fast (I love the slightly faster FPS of the D610). I realize many would love to see the side by sides, charts and the rest but that’s just now how I go through a piece of gear. I take it in the field and use it where it will either fail or pass and in my book, the D610 more than passes. It delivers what I need to deliver to my clients and I feel it does it better than the D600.
And in case you can’t picture popping through the hatch of a B-25, here’s Jake going up for the shot after I got down. The trick is, DON’T pull on anything red inside the cockpit!