Gettin Down with the Z105mc

Kissing Cladoniaceae captured by Z 6II / Z105mc

If you’re scratching your head seeing a “macro” shot from me, well that makes two of us! It’s the lens, the Nikkor Z105mc that has me looking at my feet wondering what’s down there. My world has expanded because of this lens and now has me wanting to up my macro game. I did “macro” many lifetimes ago and some of those hard-fought lessons are slowly coming back to me.

One of those is showing scale. These tiny schrums, Cladoniaceae, were growing on posts on a bridge over a biggish creek in New Hampshire. I couldn’t miss them colors, they stopped me in my tracks. I put the Z 6II / Z105mc on level with them, focused down to 1:1, and then moved the rig until they became sharp. Focus Peaking sooooo makes this easy. Then I took my favorite pen out of my pocket, the new Sharpie Gels, and shot a few with it so you could see just how small these things are. And none of this would have taken place if the Z105mc wasn’t so freakin amazing! Love that lens!!!!

DDreader-54 … Schweet!

Delkin DDreader-54

My UPS app pinged me telling me a box had been shipped from Delkin. I gotta tell you I was wondering all week what the hey was going on as I have no relationship with them. The box arrived and inside was amongst other things, their DDreader-54. I knew nothing about it so I was curious. I popped it out of its packaging and the first thing that struck me is how tiny it is! Just compare the size of it to the ProGrade 1TB CFexpress card I have inserted. Then I noticed how heavy it is and so incredibly well built. With my curiosity peaked, I read the packaging (I tend to look at pictures and then read instructions). The DDreader-54 works with USB 3.2, transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps, support CFexpress, works on Win / Mac and comes with a 5 year warranty. All, very impressive.

But is it fast? Oh yeah, it’s fast! More important to me is that it works with Photo Mechanic on the Mac to Erase and Eject at the end of ingesting. I instantly pinged Bedford’s and ordered another DDreader-54 so I have one at the office and one in my travel kit. Great reader folks!

The Brilliant Z 2x

Eric’s Delta captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8 w/Z2x

When Carol pulled out the Z2x to loan it to me a few weeks back, I said, “Thanks, but I have the Z1.4x, I want to try the Z2x”. She said, “That’s it!” Having shot with the TC-301 back in the day, seeing this tiny little thing in my hand and hearing it was the 2x was a mind lower. Then I attached it to my Z70-200f2.8 and looked at the results and I was amazed. This little gizmo is simply brilliant, gorgeous sharp, and no vignetting. And that’s it, simply put, it’s the one. Buy it!

Platyball – Bloody Brilliant!

I’ll come clean, when I saw these, I didn’t understand what I was seeing! Tripod camera heads with no knobs, what’s the world coming to? Larry has shown us the future and it’s bloody Brilliant! The Platyball, Ergo & Elite literally turn heads on their head and bring to us an incredibly stable, smooth, sexy, shinny and very simply way to secure and work with our camera gear! You can wear the bulkiest gloves, tie one hand behind your back and you’d still have no problem in quickly setting your camera exactly where you want it with a Platyball.

These incredibly inexpensive heads are so incredibly well built. Larry was kind enough to send me prototypes to field test. Monument Valley sand, Montana Rain, Maggie tongue, nothing has phased the function of these heads. Watch the video, I think that will fill in the gaps. And thanks Larry for showing us the future, today. Platyball, bloody brilliant!

MB-N11 or MB-N10, or Both?

additional grips MB-N10 & MB-N11

I love, just love the compact size of the Z bodies! They go in so many places that bigger DSLRs don’t and are simply fun to carry about. That’s how my main body, the Z 6II lives in my kit, body only. My Z 6 though lives attached to the MB-N10 and when I’m doing an air-to-air, the Z 6II is attached to the MB-N11. Why do I use which and when, and why? Well, good questions, lemme answer them for ya.

The Z 6 is now just a video / time-lapse body and the MB-N10 is killer for that. Why? That’s because with the MB-N10 you can hot-swap the batteries. That’s to say that when one battery goes dead, you can switch it out and the camera still has power from the other battery to keep running (you can do this to a fashion with the MB-N11 at least until Battery B goes dead). Doing an eight-hour time lapse, no problem (MB-N10 LEDs tell you status of battery charge with a push of a button on the MB-N10. MB-N11 you need to access Battery Info in body Set Up menu.). Doing a two-hour zoom presentation, slam dunk. The MB-N10 doesn’t have a vertical firing button though but the MB-N11 does. Because MB-N11 has a vertical firing button you can’t hot-swap batteries. It has its batteries in a single try that has to be pulled out completely to swap batteries. That’s the compromise to include the vertical that I need for my air-to-air work. I have them all in my kit and when I need or don’t need them, they are there to power away.

Note: the Really Right Stuff plate for the Z 6II fits on the bottom of the MB-N11 perfectly. Doesn’t look the most elegant but functions perfectly.

The Z105mc … A Sweet Ride!

Spark Plugs from 1929 Wright R975 J69 engine captured by Z 6II / Z105mc

I love it, simply love it … the Z105mc! The last month has been an interesting journey for me as I dive into a genre of photography I find horribly challenging that the 105mc has made so fun! The Z105mc is so bloody sharp and easy to use, it really puts the pressure on to get it right in the viewfinder. That challenge I love and can deal with, it’s the creativity part on that tiny scale I find spooky. I’m sure you’ve heard what a killer lens the Z105mc is for macro photography but it’s spectacular for portraits as well (I would post my tests taken of Sharon but they didn’t get her approval). It is a 105mm for goodness sake!

The Spectacular Z105f2.8 Micro

I added the Z105mc to my kit for upcoming book projects shooting intimate portraits of tiny parts but I need all gear to serve multiple roles. Being a 105mm, I turned it towards folks and shooting at f2.8, it does a spectacular job! In fact, since it weighs less and does macro, there are going to be times now when the 105f1.4 will stay in the locker, being replaced by the Z105mc (I will never get rid of the 105f1.4!) in my kit. The beauty of this lens is the working distance it provides for bringing in lights such as the single SB-5000 I used to light the spark plugs. With its superior edge-to-edge sharpness you have to really pay attention to the depth of focus making sure your subject is sharp and other elements either are or are not based on the story you are telling. I just love this lens, its performance and how it’s pushing my photography. I can’t say enough great things about it!

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