Tag Archives: reviews

Hands-on Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF AFS VR Nikkor

A Lightweight, Compact Telephoto Lens from Nikon Perfect for Sports and Wildlife

The Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens is perfect for hand-held shooting.
The Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens is perfect for hand-held shooting.

I’ve always considered Nikon’s 300mm f/4 lenses to be underrated for sports and wildlife photography. They are sharp, focus fairly close, and can handle a teleconverter. Because these lenses are fairly compact, they just scream to be hand-held. The only thing missing was image stabilization (VR). Nikon released a completely redesigned 300mm f/4 lens that includes the latest VR stabilization, and I was able to get a demo lens from B&H Photo for evaluation.

[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/OrnBO8d0WUI” title=”Nikon%20300mm%20f%2F4E%20PF%20ED%20VR%20Nikkor%20lens” autohide=”1″]

The Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor is an interesting lens. It features:

  • E designation: Electromagnetically controlled diaphragm for consistent exposures
  • PF: Phase Fresnel lens design (This lens uses a Fresnel element, which drastically reduces chromatic aberration).
  • AFS: Silent wave internal focusing motor with full-time manual focus override
  • ED: Extra low-dispersion glass element
  • VR: Image stabilization
  • Nano-Crystal coating

Continue reading Hands-on Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF AFS VR Nikkor

Tripods for under $500

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPm9MoEN4V4[/embedyt]

A good tripod is one of the most critical photographic accessories. A solid tripod enables you to shoot long exposures, use lower ISOs, and get sharp images. However, I think the first time any of us went tripod shopping, we had a bit of sticker shock. Good tripods, like my recommended Gitzo Series 3 Systematic, can cost nearly $1000. For most of us, that’s just a ton of money to spend on a tripod, even if it will last for years.

Fortunately, there are some good tripods out there for under $500. Many of these are aluminum models, but you can also find some carbon fiber ones at this price point. I had the opportunity to try out three tripods courtesy of B&H Photo, and all of these would be excellent options for outdoor photographers. Continue reading Tripods for under $500

Field Test: Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 AFS G VR

Male house finches from approximately 30 feet away
Male house finches from approximately 30 feet away, captured with the Nikon 200-500mm AFS G VR zoom lens.

A few weeks ago, I received the new Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 AFS G VR zoom Nikkor lens. My initial impressions were quite good for a lens of this design and price point. I had a chance today to take it to the local nature center and try my hand at some bird photography; something that I think that the target market for this lens is quite interested in.

I set up the 200-500mm on my Nikon D810 DSLR and I used my Gitzo 3-series tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head and Wimberley Sidekick gimbal adapter. Continue reading Field Test: Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 AFS G VR

Should Photographers Consider an iMac?

The late 2015 27" iMac with 5k Retina Display.
The late 2015 27″ iMac with 5k Retina Display.

I’ve used Mac workstations  since the early 1990s. As a professional photographer, it’s important to have a computer that is not only fast, but also scalable. For me, that meant being able to add internal hard drives, PCI expansion cards, and plenty of RAM. By having a computer that I could incrementally upgrade, I am able to extend the useful life of that machine. As a working professional, I consider upgrading my computer system every 3-5 years, depending on my needs.

In 2013, Apple radically redesigned the Mac Pro line to include internal PCI-based solid-state drives and dual video cards. Despite the performance benefits, the new form-factor no longer supported internal expansion of any kind (other than RAM). Although I was not in the market for a new Mac at that time, the immediate consequence of the new form-factor became clear. From now on, any hard drives that lived inside my existing computer would have to be moved to external enclosures. Continue reading Should Photographers Consider an iMac?