Category Archives: Gear

Nikon P7000 Firmware 1.1 update

In case you missed it, Nikon has released firmware version 1.1 for their top-end compact digital camera, the P7000.

I just updated the firmware, and I can report a significant reduction in file-save time for raw (NRW) files.  What used to take 5 seconds now takes less than two seconds.

Official updates with this firmware version:

  • Image recording time at image quality settings that include NRW (RAW) has been reduced.
  • Lens control has been optimized to reduce the frequency with which the “Initializing lens. Cannot focus.” message is displayed.
  • An issue that, in some rare cases, prevented zoom operation has been resolved.
  • An issue that caused the monitor display to exhibit a loss of detail in highlights (blown highlights) when the shutter-release button was pressed halfway with Active D-Lighting enabled has been resolved.

Get the firmware update (USA) here.

Singh-Ray Announces Vari-N-Trio™ Filter

Blur water to the extreme with a Variable Neutral Density Filter from Singh-Ray

Singh-Ray have released a new variation on their variable neutral-density filter, the Vari-N-Trio.  This filter combines a variable 4-8 stop ND filter, polarizer, and now adds color enhancement filtration.

The Vari-N-Duo (ND plus polarizer) is one of my recommended filters in The Photographer’s Guide to Digital Landscapes; anyone who needs a super-slow shutter speed and polarization while shooting moving water will want to have one.  The Vari-N-Trio will begin shipping in limited quantities on December 15th, with full availability expected early 2011.

You can read more about the new Vari-N-Trio filter at Singh-Ray’s website.

Hands-on with the 85mm f/1.4 AFS G Nikkor

The Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AFS G on a Nikon D3s DSLR

Last month, Nikon announced a redesign of their legendary 85mm f/1.4 AF lens. The new model includes an internal silent-wave focusing motor (AFS design) and does away with the aperture ring (G designation). The new lens also adds Nikon’s proprietary “Nano-Crystal Coat,” which should improve contrast and reduce ghosting and flare in back-lit situations. Having received a copy of this lens from Roberts Imaging, here are my initial impressions of the new model. Disclaimer, I don’t spend a lot of time photographing brick walls, so I’m not going to try to dive into “absolute” optical performance. I will, however post some test shots and give feedback as to what I have seen so far using this lens. Continue reading Hands-on with the 85mm f/1.4 AFS G Nikkor

Hands-on review: Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 AFS VR G zoom lens

L to R: 14-24mm f/2.8, 16-35mm f/4 and 17-35 f/2.8 Nikkor zooms

I received my copy of the much-anticipated 16-35mm f/4.0 AFS VR G zoom Nikkor lens last week, and I have done some preliminary testing.  My basic tests fall into the following categories:

  • Build/Handling
  • Optical Performance
  • Comparisons with other lenses

For this test, I compared the new super wide-angle zoom with its Nikon competition for FX:

Both of these lenses are generally considered to be high-end “pro” glass, and they each cost significantly more than the 16-35mm VR.


Continue reading Hands-on review: Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 AFS VR G zoom lens

Going long: Shooting with the Nikkor 600/4 VR and TC-20EIII

Odell_20100212_5225.JPGI finally got a little time (and sunshine) to head out to the local nature center to fiddle around with my 600mm VR lens and try it with the TC-20E III.  When you are using long lenses, tripods are absolutely mandatory; hand-holding is not at all feasible (well, maybe if you pump iron like Ah-nold).

I started off with my normal combo for small birds: 600mm + TC-14E. This gives an effective 840mm focal length on my FX Nikon D3s. The TC-14E only costs one stop of light, so my lens behaves as though it were f/5.6 instead of f/4 when it is wide-open.  I’ve used this combination several times in the past, and it works really well.  I get sharp images and AF performance is still very fast and accurate.

Continue reading Going long: Shooting with the Nikkor 600/4 VR and TC-20EIII