The WR-R11a & b

The WR-R11a connected to a D6 talkin to 2x SB-5000s

Technically are far as wireless operation is concerned, no difference between the original WR-R10 and the WR-R11 units. The new 11s connect to the bodies the same way, pair with the flashes the same, have the same range limits and unit limits. So then why are there new ones? I wondered that myself so got an WR-R11a in my hands to use. The first big thing you notice is that for the circular 10pin, it is no longer a two-part unit. It’s now a single unit with a hinge. It’s more robust, built better I guess you could say. The WR-R11b square 10pin (goes in like the Z bodies) is also much more robust. That’s it, that what the 11s bring to the game, great technology in a robust package.

Animal Eye Detection – Cool Tool!

Kodiak Brown Bear captured by D6 / 180-400VR

The anticipation use to kill me! I’d go off on an adventure and not until the day AFTER I got back in the office I’d see the images from the trip. And then only after that would I know if I got the image sharp. Those were the days of film and manual focus, now thankfully long ways in the rear view mirror. Today we have digital and with it, autofocus with animal eye-detection AF. Many ask me if it works. It does and works very well but you need to meet it half way to make it a great tool in your photography.

Greater Roadrunner captured by Z 6II / 800AFS

It starts by turning on Animal Eye-Detection in your camera. I have it active in both my D6 and Z 6II and in the Z 6II you can see the yellow box appear and grab onto the eye telling you it’s working graphically. The key to making this work though is the image size in the viewfinder. Helping one shooter who wasn’t have any success, I quickly learned that if you have a small image size (depending on cropping in post for your final image size), the eye-detection is not as effective. Shooting as I do to get the image size I want in the viewfinder, the D6 / Z 6II locked on easily. The two eyes of the Kodiak Brown or the one eye of the Roadrunner, the cameras locked on brilliantly. Get that critter in the viewfinder so it’s not a micro dot meeting the system half way, it will become a valuable tool in your photography!

Snapbridge Adds Location Data to Z

Snapbridge keeps getting more and more powerful! For example, you can update your firmware in your Z 6II & Z 7II via Snapbridge now. Or, you might want to add location data which you can do as well. All ya gotta do is you see above prior to shooting. You might be thinking there should be more instruction to make this all work but it’s that simple. It works really well!!!

GPS Location data can be read on the Z’s LCD or app like NX Studio you see above

“Which AF Mode Are You Using?”

Aero C-104 captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

Ever since our cameras brought us autofocus, the question has been posed, “Which AF mode are you using?” Unless you’re crazed like me and shoot every moment of the day trying and testing every possible mode in every possible situation, it’s simply darn confusing. Nikon though has done a killer job of late making this really simple for me at least. With the latest firmware updates for the D6 / Z Family, it’s even simpler. The vast majority of the time I’m in Auto Area AF (AAA) on both the D6 & Z 6II. It simply works. Those times with the D6 when the AAA isn’t right (subject doesn’t stand out from the background) I go to C2 which I have set up as a 3×15 sensor arrangement (see below). On the Z 6II those times AAA isn’t right (subject doesn’t stand out from the background), I go to WIDE-S AF. And the other times, I still go old school, manual focus.

How often do I use AF? These days it’s probably 90% of the time with 10% being manual focus. It’s changed as time goes on using more AF as systems just get better and better. Is there a trick to making the most of AF operation? It’s important to understand AF requires contrast, strong vertical or diagonal line to function in the first place. With the latest firmware updates, low light operation has vastly, vastly improved. You need to make the most of the settings in the camera to fine tune your AF operation for your photography. You can find my settings here for that. Lastly, if you’re panning and the camera is searching, that is an operator issue and not camera. You gotta have good panning technique for the AF able to do its job. That’s it, for my photography it’s become real simple and just one less thing I have to think about and for me, that’s really important!

Note: NX Studio shows you what AF mode you were shooting in and the active sensors when you took the photo. That’s what you’re seeing here.

Northern Sea Otters captured by D6 / 180-400VR

D6 vs 1.20 – Amazing Low Light AF!

Greater Prairie Chicken captured by D6 / 800f5.6

This morning, I had the tremendous good fortune and great time amongst Greater Prairie Chickens. Been photographing them since film days and while I have tens of thousands of images of them, I never have enough. And I’m always going for that one which, if I get it, I’ll be sure to share it. This morning I was shooting the D6 with newly released firmware 1.20 providing better low light AF performance. That’s what the press release stated but I found that to be an understatement! Shooting in Auto Area AF long before the sun rose with no contrast in the scene, the D6 nailed focus in a snap! Having shot every body from F5 to now the D6 in these conditions, I can tell you first hand that the new firmware rocks! All I had to do is keep up with these darting dots of feathers, the D6 did the rest. So much fun, I can’t wait for the next five mornings to see what I’m fortunate enough to witness and capture. Thanks smart engineers at Nikon!!!!

#18 Graphite – Fun Curve

Bryce Canyon captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

Our cameras come with a number of special or what I think of “Fun” Picture Controls taking our photography in an untypical path. One of these is #17 Charcoal, one I’ve played with a lot and use in very specific times to help tell the visual story. I’m in Bryce shooting and my dear friend said, “I think I’m going to use Graphite.” She has been playing with this Picture Control on some macro shots. The light had gotten hard and the call of the wild pancake was loud, so I decided to switch to #18 Graphite and give it a try.My first shots had direct light on the hoodoos and that simply doesn’t work with Graphite whose tone curve tends to not like highlights. I then turned to areas that had no direct sunlight and shot. Graphite worked some very cool fun on the reds and oranges of Bryce. The photo looks like a combination of B&W and infared and gets this looks with no post processing. What you see here is right out of the camera via NX Studio. When you look at the original view (below), it’s not one you would take in color but with the Graphite, a new tool in my visual storytelling arsenal makes some photos works with the help of a fun curve!

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