I recently converted my Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera to “super-color” infrared. I’ve been having fun with the camera, but I did notice that wider shots seemed very soft in the corners. According to the team at Life Pixel, wide-angle lenses are notoriously problematic with infrared cameras. Lens distortions tend to be exaggerated and softness is common. The primary culprit, it seems, is the fancy optical coatings on your lenses, which help reduce distortion and aberrations. The coatings are optimized for visible light, not IR wavelengths.
Yesterday, Nikon announced a long-awaited (overdue?) replacement to its 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. The the original 80–400mm VR has been around since 2000, and for as long as I can remember, enthusiasts have cried out for and AFS replacement. Why? Despite very good optics and excellent zoom range, the AF-D model of the 80-400mm was slow to focus and as such sub-par for many action and wildlife photographers. Despite its limitations it remained popular lens because it was the least expensive Nikkor with a focal length of 400mm. On a DX-format DSLR body, that translates to an effective field of view of 600mm, making the 80-400 the enthusiast’s choice for wildlife photography. The relatively compact size of this lens made it an ideal option for travel photographers or people wanting to have extra reach on a reasonable budget. Continue reading Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens→
The D7000, to me, has always been a “close but not quite” camera. By all accounts, its sensor is really good. However, the smaller form factor and diminished performance (AF, frame rate, bracketing limitations) dissuaded me from getting one as a D300s replacement. The biggest surprise to me when I read Nikon’s announcement was the subheadline:
Back in July of 2012, Nikon announced they were developing a monster 800mm f/5.6 AFS VR lens. Today, they announced that this lens is being released and is available for pre-order.
The first question that comes to my mind is “why would anyone want this lens, when you can use a 600mm + 1.4x teleconverter and effectively have an 840mm f/5.6 lens?” Well, I suppose there are a couple of things at play here. First of all, Nikon has quietly implied that only FX-format cameras are their top-end. The D300s, the only “pro” Nikon DX camera, was released in 2009, and other than adding video, it’s the same sensor as the D300 which was released in 2007. Nikon is basically saying, “if you want an action camera, you need a D4.” The only cameras in Nikon’s current lineup that can shoot over 6fps are the D300/s (with grip), D700 (with grip) and the D3s/D4 flagships. Which means if you are a wildlife or extreme sports photographer who wants to take advantage of a modern sensor, you need a long lens to pair with your FX format body. Secondly, sometimes a company needs to produce something this impressive just to demonstrate their engineering excellence. This new lens definitely does that. Continue reading The Biggest, Baddest AF-Nikkor Lens: 800mm f/5.6 AFS G VRII→