Category Archives: Reviews

Nikon Z 24-200mm Lens Review

The all-purpose zoom lens that’s perfect for travel and walkabout photography

The Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3 lens (left) isn’t much bigger than the 24-70mm f/4, but packs an 8.3x zoom range that is perfect for general-purpose and travel photography.

Earlier this year, Nikon announced the 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR zoom Nikkor for full-frame (FX) Z-mount mirrorless cameras. Despite its variable aperture design, I was intrigued by the idea of having a native Z-mount lens for travel and general purpose photography. During my international photo tours, I typically used my 24-120mm f/4 VR zoom Nikkor as my primary lens.

When I moved to the Nikon Z mirrorless camera system last year, one of the challenges I faced was coming up with an appropriate travel kit. When I’m traveling, especially internationally, the size and weight of my kit are more important than superior optical quality. The Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S lens, which is the Nikon Z “kit” lens, is very good but has a limited zoom range, meaning I’d need to add a longer telephoto zoom to my bag.

I considered using my 24-120mm f/4 with the FTZ lens mount adapter, but I found that it was a little clumsy to use and frankly, quite heavy. That left me with the following travel kit:

This kit worked well on my photo tour of Scotland in the fall of 2019, but it was still a bit cumbersome compared to having a good all-purpose zoom lens. With the addition of the 24-200mm to the Nikon Z lineup, I could theoretically have a two-lens kit, with the 24-200mm being my go-to lens in most situations. This change would save me nearly a kilogram of weight from my bag!

Continue reading Nikon Z 24-200mm Lens Review

Gear Review: Nikon DX 18-300mm lens comparisons

Nikon DX 18-300mm Lenses Compared

18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX zoom Nikkor versus 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 VR DX zoom Nikkor

Nikon has two 18-300mm DX zooms. How do they compare, and which is right for you?

Nikon 18-300mm lenses
Nikon’s 18-300mm DX lenses. Left: 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 AFS G DX. Right: 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 AFS G DX lens

All in-one zoom lenses have come a long way in terms of quality and focal length range. While many enthusiasts and pros tend to shy away from all in-one lenses in favor of higher-performance glass, there are certainly times when the “superzoom” lens is ideal. For me, superzoom lenses are perfect when you’re traveling and you don’t want to carry multiple lenses. Superzoom lenses are also perfect for street photography or photo walks, where you never know what kind of subject you might encounter.

Nikon offers two 18-300mm zoom lenses for their DX (APS-C) format cameras. I had the brief opportunity to compare them and report my results. Continue reading Gear Review: Nikon DX 18-300mm lens comparisons

Review: Gnarbox WiFi Hard Drive

Gnarbox Product Review: A Wireless Portable Hard Drive for Mobile Workflow

As I find myself exploring the world with my camera, my need to “go light” has ramped up. While I still prefer to use my DSLRs, one area where I can really save some space and weight is by exchanging my laptop for an iPad for overseas travel. My mobile workflow on the iPad is still evolving, but Lightroom CC (formerly Lightroom Mobile), is quite competent for most travel photography. The Gnarbox portable hard drive is a potential complement to the traveling photographer looking to stay light and use a tablet instead of a laptop.

Gnarbox
Gnarbox is a portable WiFi SSD backup solution for mobile workflow.

The Achilles heel of most tablets is storage space. While the iPad Pro can be configured with 512GB of memory, that’s not a lot when it comes to RAW capture with my Nikon D850. In the field, it would be nice to not only have a file back-up solution that integrates with the tablet, but also a way of previewing and triaging images before moving them to the tablet to use in editing apps. Enter the Gnarbox, a portable hard drive with WiFi connectivity.

Gnarbox (gnarly name, dude) is a portable solid state hard drive (SSD) that connects to your mobile device via its own local WiFi hotspot. This means you can use it with mobile devices that do not support USB drives, like the iPad. I got my hands on a Gnarbox from B&H Photo to test, and what follows is my experience with it using iOS mobile devices. Continue reading Review: Gnarbox WiFi Hard Drive

Product Review: Oben CTM 2500 Monopod

A $99 Monopod That Delivers in the Field

Oben CTM 2500 monopod
The Oben CTM-2500 5-section monopod

I recently started using monopods again for bird and wildlife photography. Monopods provide stability in the field yet are far easier to pack and maneuver when shooting. I wanted to try out something less expensive than my older Gitzo monopods, so I looked at options and found the Oben CTM 2500.

The Oben CTM 2500 Monopod

The Oben CTM 2500 monopod is an inexpensive carbon fiber monopod that is sturdy enough to hold my 500mm f/4 Nikkor lens. However, I’ve done most of my testing using the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens and my D850. I was very pleased to discover that this monopod performs well in the field.  Continue reading Product Review: Oben CTM 2500 Monopod

Nikon D850 Hands-On Review

The Amazing Nikon D850

My hands-on, non-techincal, totally subjective review

Nikon D850 Review
Sunset at Bandon Beach, Oregon captured with the Nikon D850

I’ve had the Nikon D850 for about a month now, and I’ve been able to use it on two of my landscape photo safaris so far. I figured then it’s time for a Nikon D850 review! I want to briefly present my impressions with this camera based on my experience in the field. I’ve previously shot with both a Nikon D800E and Nikon D810. This is my subjective review of how the Nikon D850 DSLR camera has impacted my photography. I’m sure others will post detailed technical reviews of noise, dynamic range, etc. I’ll leave that to the technical geeks and instead focus on my personal experiences with this new camera. Continue reading Nikon D850 Hands-On Review