Archive for the ‘Nikon Product Reviews’ Category

Unique University Course Schedule + Nikon Digital Days

April 13, 2009

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Understanding Your Digital Point & Shoot
4/15/09 (Wednesday) 11am-1pm $35.00

The digital compact cameras of today are very sophisticated tools that are capable of professional quality results that were once considered only a fantasy of photographers worldwide. Students will learn how to take advantage of today’s features and controls such as scene modes, white balance, video, in-camera image manipulation, image transfer, as well as how to view and understand the histogram and other features of the LCD screen. In addition students will learn the advantages of file format selection such as RAW vs. JPEG and the importance of optical zoom vs. digital zoom using your digital camera.

Understanding Your Digital SLR Camera (Basics)
4/16/09 (Thursday) 6pm-8pm $45.00

You have a digital SLR, you know that the images are going to be far superior to the ones captured by your point-and-shoot camera but not sure how that happens. In this course, students will learn the basic principles and advantages that come with a digital SLR camera. This class is for beginners to amateur photographers looking to gain a better understanding of the automated modes and features as well as the manual control and capabilities of your digital SLR. Our trained staff will instruct you on the importance of understanding the fundamentals of photography such as depth of field, shutter speed, exposure compensation, metering, white balance, reading histograms, on camera flashes, lenses and more.

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NIKON DAYS BEGIN
(Please register early for these classes as they are expected to fill up quickly)

Introduction to the Nikon D300
4/18/09 (Saturday) 12pm-2pm $20.00

$10 Unique Photo Gift Card is included with purchase of this class. If you are passionate about photography and intrigued by high end technology, then this seminar featuring the Nikon D300 Digital is for you. Spend two hours and join Christopher Knapp, Nikon’s North Eastern Technical Sales Representative, learning about the D300’s features, menus and controls and see what all of the “buzz” is about with this camera. Learn about how to control light with the D300’s built-in wireless flash capabilities and then enhance your images right in the camera with the new Retouch menus. Exceptional agility and inspired performance… The Nikon D300!

Nikon Creative Lighting Techniques
4/18/09 (Saturday) 2:30pm-4:30pm $30.00

$10 Unique Photo Gift Card is included with purchase of this class. Overwhelmed with flash technology that your camera and Speedlight introduces? Join Nikon’s North Eastern Technical Sales Representative, Christopher Knapp, for a two-hour session explaining and demonstrating basic flash techniques as well as Nikon’s wireless flash system. Come and learn how to harness the power of light, and completely change the way you shoot with flash!

Introduction to the Nikon D90
4/19/09 (Sunday) 12:00pm-2:00pm $20.00

$10 Unique Photo Gift Card is included with purchase of this class. The D90 is Nikon’s newest digital SLR camera to hit the street and has caught the attention of many a passionate photographer. Fusing 12.3-megapixel image quality inherited from the award-winning D300 with groundbreaking features, including Live View, a cinematic-quality 24-fps D-Movie Mode, and 4.5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, the Nikon D90 is sure to spark the creativity of anyone looking to make incredible images. Join Christopher Knapp, Nikon’s North Eastern Technical Sales Representative, as he takes you on a tour of the D90, demonstrating the key features and controls of this amazing camera including Picture Control, the Retouch menu, the D-Movie mode and more. He’ll also explore the wide array of NIKKOR lenses available to choose from, Nikon’s Creative Lighting System, as well as numerous other accessories available for your camera.”

Nikon Announces 8 New Coolpix Digital Cameras

February 3, 2009

NIKON ANNOUNCES EIGHT NEW STYLISH COOLPIX CAMERAS WITH APPROACHABLE TECHNOLOGY FOR ENJOYABLE PICTURE-TAKING

MELVILLE, NY (Feb. 2, 2009) – Nikon Inc. today announced eight new COOLPIX cameras that marry design and function to create high performing, stylish, easy-to-use cameras. These cameras include four Style Series cameras; one Performance Series camera; and three Life Series cameras.

“To find a camera that is a reflection of them, consumers choosing cameras use a host of criteria — what technology the camera offers, how it looks, how it feels and, of course, the quality of images the camera produces,” said Bill Giordano, General Manager Marketing, COOLPIX for Nikon Inc. “Our new COOLPIX cameras combine a series of cutting-edge features that enhance consumers’ picture taking experience, with unique elements that reflect their individuality, to ensure all consumers find a COOLPIX camera to meet their needs.”

Nikon Announced 8 New Coolpix Cameras

POWERFUL NEW NIKON P90 UNLEASHES CREATIVE FREEDOM WITH 24x OPTICAL WIDE ANGLE ZOOM, VARI-ANGLE LCD AND ADVANCED SHOOTING MODES

MELVILLE, NY (Feb. 2, 2009) – Photographers seeking high performance with a long zoom in a compact body now have the ideal camera with Nikon’s unveiling of the new P90. As part of the flagship Performance Series of COOLPIX cameras, the P90 offers new features that include a 24x Optical Zoom, a new 3.0-inch vari-angle LCD monitor with tilt function and anti-reflection coating; and 15 frame-per-second (fps)* high-speed capability (up to 45 frames). The P90 is the ideal photographic tool for photo enthusiasts, travel photographers and consumers with more advanced photography skills.

Nikon P90 Press Release

NIKON UNVEILS NEW S230 TOUCH SCREEN DIGITAL CAMERA

MELVILLE, NY (Feb. 2, 2009) – Hot on the heels of the successful COOLPIX S60 camera, Nikon today introduced the new S230, which incorporates Nikon’s innovative touch screen LCD, offering the cutting-edge of elegant design and intuitive operation. The S230 combines a 3.0-inch high-resolution touch panel LCD design with a new graphic interface that lets users switch modes, view and edit images and change camera settings with the touch of the screen.

“Touch technology is one of the hottest things in consumer electronics today and our new S230 is no different,” said Bill Giordano, General Manager Marketing, COOLPIX for Nikon Inc. “With the S230, our touch screen brings a new level of sophistication and interaction to consumers, by putting the power of the camera right at their fingertips.”

Nikon Press Release S230

NIKON UNVEILS S630 NEW POCKET-SIZED 7X ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA

MELVILLE, NY (Feb. 2, 2009) – Sleek design, and innovative technology come together in Nikon’s new Style Series cameras, giving consumers a variety of options to find a camera that reflects their tastes, style and expertise. With the S630, users get incredible zoom capabilities in a pocket-sized camera. Not only do the new cameras provide consumers with choice, they leverage proven Nikon technologies to take the guess work out of photography and help ensure every picture is a beautiful picture. In addition to the S630, Nikon also introduced the new S620 and the S220.

“Our new COOLPIX S-Series cameras combine a series of standard features that enhance consumers’ picture taking experience, with unique elements that reflect their individuality,” said Bill Giordano, General Manager Marketing, COOLPIX for Nikon Inc. “When consumers pull one of the new S-Series camera from their bag or pocket, the camera looks as great as the pictures they take.”

Nikon Press Release S630

POWERFUL NEW L100 PACKS PERFORMANCE, HIGH-POWERED ZOOM AND ADVANCE FUNCTIONS INTO AN EASY TO USE CAMERA

MELVILLE, NY (Feb. 2, 2009) – Nikon Inc. today introduced the new L100, a powerful photographic tool that blends ease-of-use with advanced shooting functions. Optimized for action shots, high-powered zoom and simple operation, the L100 is equipped and ready to help capture every precious moment with quality and clarity that will make lasting memories an even greater joy. The L100 is one of three new L-Series cameras announced today. For consumers seeking a fully-featured camera at a competitive price, Nikon also introduced the L20 and L19, presenting consumers with a strong value proposition.

“The L100 represents a fantastic choice for the family photographer who needs to capture everything from soccer games to portraits,” said Bill Giordano, General Manager Marketing, COOLPIX for Nikon Inc. “It also extends our tradition of previous L-Series cameras, combining ease-of-use, high performance and a tremendous value for consumers.”

Nikon Press Release For New L Series Digital Cameras

The fotobamaweek contest 1/15/09 – 3/15/09 From FotoWeekDC.org

January 15, 2009

In keeping with our mission to bring you the best of all things photographic, FotoWeek DC and The Newseum proudly announce fotobamaweek, an international photography contest celebrating the Presidential campaign and the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

Take that amazing image during Inauguration week, or find one you have already shot that captures the spirit of the Presidential Campaign, and the Election. Amateur and professional photographers anywhere in the world are invited to enter the fotobamaweekcontest. You may not have a front row seat to the Swearing-In Ceremony, but what about that impromptu moment captured at a campaign rally, or election night at your own private party? Iconic impressions are yours for the taking, wherever you are, here in Washington or abroad. Enter photos taken with digital, film or even cell phone cameras, but please submit them electronically.

• The top 100 winning images, selected by The Newseum’s panel of judges, will be exhibited at The Newseum
• All 100 winning images will be published in a limited edition book sponsored by FotoWeek DC
• Grand prize winners will be announced at a reception at The Newseum.
• Cash prizes totaling $5,000
• All images submitted will be on display at FotoWeek DC’s on-line gallery, along with People’s Choice winners

The fotobamaweek contest opens January 15, 2009 and closes March 15, 2009.

FotoWeek/DC – Fotobamaweek Contest

Pre-Imaging USA 2009

January 10, 2009
© Jason Etzel

Set Up In The Phoenix Convention Center © Jason Etzel

It is the eve before Imaging USA 2009, for many this is the first big event of the year in the photo industry.  Products that were just recently announced in 2008 are now available to have and to hold and that is attracting many photographig enthusiasts to Phoenix, AZ for this years show.  Headlining this years trade show shall feature a keynote address from internationally known photographer Anne Geddes on January 12th along with recently released digital cameras and image editing software.

As the sun sets over Phoenix those inside the convention center are anxiously anticipating what should be a great start to the 2009 Photo Industry.

Tracking Fast Moving Subjects

October 29, 2008

This past summer, I acquired a Nikon D300 DSLR to use for action photography. Using the new autofocus system built into this camera, my percentage of sharp and in focus images of fast moving subjects has drastically increased.

As most of you know, I spend a lot of time shooting nature and wildlife. Last week, I traveled to Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in NJ to photograph waterfowl and wading birds. As usual when visiting this refuge, I came home with some very nice wildlife portraits using my 500mm lens. In addition to the 500mm, I worked with my 70-200 2.8 AFS VR lens to capture some action shots.

The D300 with the 70-200mm AFS VR (with and without the TC14E 1.4 converter attached) is a killer combination for action photography. With the 1.5 crop factor applied, the 70-200 2.8 becomes a 100-300 2.8 (150 – 450mm f4 with the 1.4).

In order to capture action shots, I set my camera to the continuous focusing mode and select the 51 point autofocusing option. In my experience, the 51 point option works best for action photography of birds and waterfowl. My technique is to allow the camera’s AF system to lock onto a target while the subject is some distance away and select the left AF point placing it on the subject’s head. This technique assures good composition and allows the camera to track the target accurately.

Don’t expect to produce tack sharp and in focus images of fast moving subjects 100% of the time even with the latest technology. It takes a lot of practice and experience using these systems before you can ever get anywhere close to this number.

A few of the images I made on this trip are presented below:

Night Heron in Flight

Snowy Egret in Flight

Nikon 10.5mm AF f2.8 G DX IF-ED Fisheye Lens

September 22, 2008

The Nikon 10.5mm AF f2.8 G IF-ED Fisheye Lens is a specialized optic encompassing a 180 degree rectulangular angle of view. Equivalent to a 16mm focal length on 35mm, this is not a lens you would leave on your camera for everyday use, but rather employ for special effects to produce unique and creative images.

This Fisheye is sharp. Resolution figures are extremely high at f2.8 and stay that way through f8. This is true for the borders as well as the corners of the image. Minimum focus distance is 51/2 inches and at f22 hyperfocal distance is approximately 10 inches, so everything 5 inches to infinity is in focus.

The lens is extremely small and lightweight about the same size as a 50mm f1.8 lens, so its easily carried. Build quality is high justifying the 600.00 price tag of the lens.

The Nikon 10.5mm works great for landscapes, and even some portraits. If you are careful in composing your images the fisheye distortion is not that noticeable, especially for landscapes.

If you have not used a fisheye before it will take some time and planning to learn how to use one. My first few hours photographing with the 10.5mm resulted in many dissapointing images. After some practice and experimentation I was able to produce some very nice photographs. 

Some photographers think of fisheye lenses as expensive toys and dismiss them completely. I could not disagree more with this categorization. If you can afford one, the fisheye lens will become one of your favorites. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My Favorite Lens

September 12, 2008

A few weeks ago, I replaced my Nikon 80-200mm AF ED f2.8 push-pull lens purchased over 10 years ago with Nikon’s updated version of this lens, the 70-200 F2.8 AFS VR ED. This lens is now my absolute favorite and is on my camera constantly due to its versatility and quality.

The true focal length of this lens (with the 1.5 crop factor) on my D300 is a 100-300mm f2.8. These focal lengths are ideal for the landscape and nature photography I do. The 300mm range is great to have for wildlife subjects that are approachable, especially a fast F2.8. For many years, I used a 300mm lens for wildlife and worked around its limitations by learning how to get close to my subjects.

The 70-200mm 2.8 VR produces images with a degree of sharpness, color and contrast that exceed the expectations of all photographers who use it, even full-time professionals. There have been published test reports suggesting the lens performs better on Nikon’s small sensor DSLRs than it does on the new FX full frame cameras like the D3 and D700. I have not tested the lens on either of these cameras. My experience is with the D300, and I can honestly say I’m floored by its optical excellence.

Even with Nikon’s TC-14E 1.4X teleconverter attached to the lens, I’m hard pressed to see any reduction in sharpness and contrast. This combination further increases the versatility of the lens making it a 150 to 450mm f4.

This is one lens I don’t have to worry about which aperture setting is the sharpest. It’s tack sharp all the way from f2.8 to f16 . My choice of aperture is totally dependent on the depth of field I need for creative effects. At F2.8, the 70-200mm VR gives a very pleasing out of focus area or “bokeh” (the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field). The quality of bokeh produced by the 70 200 VR is every bit as good as found on Nikon’s high speed professional portrait lenses.

The Nikon 70 to 200mm 2.8 AFS ED VR is worth every penny I paid for it. I highly recommend it.

Trip to Jim Thorpe, PA

August 27, 2008

I spent three very enjoyable days (August 21-24) on a photography and mountain biking trip to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Jim Thorpe is a very small town (named after the famous athlete) located in the Western Pocono Mountains, approximately 2.5 hours from New York City.

I went to Jim Thorpe with the intention of photographing a 25 mile organized bike trip I was making through the Lehigh Gorge. As it turned out, the biking was fantastic but the photography was poor due to the very bright harsh sunlight encountered on the day of our trip. Since light is everything in photography, I packed my camera in my Lowe-Pro Slingshot bag and left it there unused for the entire 5 hour ride. I could have tried using a polarizing filter to cut glare or made images in the shade, or used fill flash to shoot portraits but decided against these options preferring to enjoy the beautiful scenery and bike ride instead.

One important aspect of photography I have learned over the years is knowing when to shoot and when not to. I will rarely if ever, photograph in bad light even when presented with a good subject. It’s just not worth it.

I spent the next two days in Jim Thorpe photographing architecture and old trains very early in the day and again in the late afternoons and early evenings. I carried with me my Nikon D300 with the new Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR lens. I really liked using this lens. I found it equally as sharp and much lighter in weight than my professional 17-55 2.8 ED zoom when stopped down to an aperture of f8. There is some barrel distortion that shows up at the 16 to 24mm settings which affected some my architectural photos but this is a normal phenomenon common to most consumer and some professional grade zoom lenses. The Vibration Reduction feature built into the 16-85 was a godsend and worked as advertised allowing me to shoot at 3 stops below the recommended minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length for hand-holding. With VR activated, I was able to shoot down to 1/15 sec. and obtain sharp photos.

If you are an outdoors oriented individual and enjoy bike riding, hiking, historical sites, fishing, scenic drives and photography, a visit to the town of Jim Thorpe will be worth the time and expense.

A few examples of the images I made on this trip are presented below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fast 50mm Lenses for Available Light Photography

July 7, 2008

Another digital essential that resides in my camera bag is a fast, versatile, affordable, lightweight Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens (effective focal length of 75mm on my Nikon D300). A fast prime lens of this focal length is great for available light applications whether used indoors or outside as an event lens or as a fast portrait/travel/landscape lens.

I enjoy working with short telephotos in the classic portrait range of 70 to 135mm (50 to 85 mm on a cropped sensor DSLR). These are my favorite focal lengths because they allow me to crop my images tightly eliminating distractions and wasted space. In addition, the natural perspective, distortion free images created by theses lenses are in tune with my personal vision and how I see the world.

The shallow depth of field (DOF) produced by this lens at apertures of f1.4 through f2.8 will enable you to artistically blur backgrounds and place emphasis on your main subject. Brokeh (the rendition of out of focus areas) is almost as good as Nikon’s more expensive portrait lenses, namely the 85mm f1.8.

In addition to the shallow DOF characteristics as described above, this fast short telephoto (on a cropped sensor digital camera) can be used to stop action or subject movement even in low light without having to resort to flash or use high ISOs. This is a very valuable feature that’s useful in all types of photography.

Optical performance is amazing, especially when stopped down to f2.8 and below. At f1.4, the lens is a good performer and is capable of producing sharp photos. Stopping down to f2.0 results in snappier images with better contrast. When set at f2.8, my results were terrific, with outstanding optical quality and a very attractive DOF. For distance shooting, an aperture of f8 to f11 produced tack sharp, highly detailed images with great color and contrast.

The 50 f1.4 is a fantastic low-light companion lens to have in your bag, especially if you are using one of the slower aperture multi-purpose zooms.

Nikon D300, Nikon 50mm f1.4 @f8

Nikon 18-200mm AF-S DX VR f3.5-5.6G If-ED, Quick Field Test

January 28, 2008

I own some very good lenses in this focal length range and never had the desire or the opportunity to work with the 18-200mm AF-S DX VR F3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens until a few days ago.

My first impressions of the lens were very positive. I was surprised by its small size and lightweight (19.7oz.). Build quality is good without feeling cheap, but it is not at the level of some other Nikon lenses in this price range. Nikon used a lot of plastics in the construction of this lens.

The 18-200 VR is a DX lens and is compatible with Nikon’s APS-C DSLRs. The effective focal length is equivalent to 28-300mm on full frame 35mm SLRs. The close focus distance is excellent at 1.6 Ft. The lens takes 72mm filters.

Optically, the lens is constructed with Nikon’s best glass including two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) and three aspherical elements. Considering its zoom range (11x) image quality is very high. Photographs are sharp with good color and moderate levels of contrast.

Optical performance at the wide end is better than at the longer focal lengths with the best results occurring in the 24-70mm range. To achieve the best results with this lens or any non-professional zoom lens it’s always a good idea to stop down the aperture a stop or two. With the 18-200, this is especially true when the focal range is set longer than 100mm.

An impressive feature of the lens is how well it handles flare and ghosting. I was amazed how effective it is under field conditions. I had no problems in this area even when not using the supplied lens hood.

The VRII system incorporated in this lens is outstanding. It is highly effective, fast and quiet. Nikon claims a potential equivalent to 4 f-stops of stability over handholding in low light conditions. In my field test, I easily obtained this number. The lens offers two VR modes – a “normal” mode for both static subjects and object tracking and a 2nd “active” mode to compensate for more pronounced vibrations (e.g. shooting from a moving vehicle).

Auto-focus performance is very fast and quiet due the AF-S system employed in the lens. I had no problems focusing on objects near or far. The AF system easily locked onto both stationary and moving subjects as well as targets in low light with little contrast.

In conclusion, this is a very good lens. The Nikon 18-200 VR is a compromise lens. It was designed and built for photographers who want a one-lens solution covering the most popular focal lengths. The lens is ideal for travel photography, walkaround, and hiking/backpacking applications where lightweight and convenience are the overriding factors.