Friday, June 29, 2012

High Speed Video that will rock your world

Wow, this is the coolest video I think I've ever seen...

THE MARMALADE Identity from schoenheitsfarm production on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend! – Ron

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Canon Upgrades 7D Features For FREE!

This has to be a first! Canon is adding major new features to the 7D for free! Buy a Canon 7D now at Adorama or B&H. Here’s the press release: 

NEW FIRMWARE ENHANCES FUNCTIONALITY OF EOS 7D DIGITAL SLR

Free Update Increases Buffer Capacity to 25 RAW Images,

Adds In-Camera RAW Processing and Many Other New Features

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., June 28, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced a firmware update for the EOS 7D Digital SLR camera that adds new functionality to improve its performance for serious photographers and semi-professional users. The update, free to all EOS 7D owners, gives the camera more advanced shooting options, including an increase in the maximum number of burst images taken in the RAW file format (from 15[i] frames to 25[ii] frames) as well as the ability to process RAW image files directly in the camera and the option to set a maximum ISO setting in ISO Auto mode. The firmware also adds the ability to adjust up to 64 audio levels manually prior to recording video, supports custom file naming, and allows for compatibility with Canon’s newly introduced, optional GPS Receiver GP-E2.

“By introducing this firmware we want our customers to know that we are always looking to enhance the user experience for all of our current products in the marketplace,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “The latest firmware for the EOS 7D Digital SLR enhances the capabilities of the camera and brings new possibilities to its users, making it a more valuable tool for their craft.”

Enhancing the Imaging and Audio Capabilities

For budding action photographers who use the EOS 7D as their camera of choice, being able to capture the perfect shot comes down to a matter of milliseconds. The EOS 7D is capable of taking photos at a high-speed burst rate of up to 8 frames per second (fps). With the firmware installed the camera captures up to 25 consecutive frames when shooting in RAW and up to 17[iii] consecutive frames when taking RAW+JPEG images.

Once the firmware is installed the EOS 7D will also be able to process RAW images directly in the camera, allowing dynamic adjustment of exposure compensation, white balance, picture style, noise reduction at high ISO speeds, distortion correction, and other processing parameters. For mobile photographers, this ability to adjust RAW images quickly and re-save them as JPEG files can be a huge time-saver as opposed to downloading files to a computer and making adjustments later. The camera will also be able to re-size JPEG image files in-camera. These features will be accessible through the Quick Control functions which will be accessible while the camera is in playback mode. When viewing images on the camera, image files can also be given a star ranking for easy sorting during post processing.  The firmware will also enable faster scrolling of images when displayed in a magnified view on the camera’s LCD screen. 

The new firmware enables photographers to have more control over the maximum ISO speed when the camera is in ISO Auto mode by setting a maximum ISO range. In certain low-light scenarios, such as during a sunset, where light changes each minute, photographers can lose the brilliance and color if the ISO setting is too high. Now, photographers can ensure their ISO setting will remain within specific parameters allowing them to concentrate on the moment, knowing that they will achieve the desired photographic results. The firmware also adjusts the available ISO Auto range, previously 100-3200 and now ISO 100-6400.

In addition to these enhancements, the new EOS 7D firmware enables manual adjustment of audio levels prior to recording video, similar to the functionality found on the EOS 5D Mark II. Videographers can now manually adjust up to 64 audio levels on the EOS 7D so that they can refine the captured audio to match their particular needs.

Similar to the new EOS 5D Mark III, a new submenu provided with the EOS 7D firmware update enables photographers to modify the first four characters of file names, in the camera. This valuable feature makes it easier to use the EOS 7D camera in multi-camera shooting situations by providing a way to identify the files coming from a particular camera without opening each image individually.

Canon GPS Compatibility

The new firmware adds full compatibility for the EOS 7D with Canon’s GPS Receiver GP-E2. This GPS Receiver can be mounted to the camera’s accessory shoe or clipped to a belt and tethered via a USB cable. The GP-E2 was created to serve outdoor photographers; it records shooting locations including latitude, longitude and altitude, as well as camera direction. The camera’s internal clock can now synced through the GPS unit using UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), the primary standard by which time is regulated, for accurate time recording or syncing clocks on multiple cameras. A GPS Logging function can display the photographer’s route on a map, using supplied software.

Availability

The new firmware upgrade for the EOS 7D Digital SLR camera together with installation instructions will be available in early August at no charge through Canon U.S.A.’s website. For more information please visit the following link to view an online video about the new EOS 7D firmware features, www.usa.canon.com/eos7dfirmwareupgrade

† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

Buy a Canon 7D now at Adorama or B&H.

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Now is the time to jump on Michael Zelbel's VIP list

I’ve heard from Michael Zelbel, the author of “How to Shoot Awesome Photos in any Bedroom (review), that he’s just about to release a new interactive video coaching program for beginner and amateur photographers. It will soon hit the shelves and if you know Michael's stuff then you know it’s going to be awesome. He is going to teach:

  • how to pick your signature style, then
  • shoot really cool photos in your style and
  • present them in a way that opens doors for you

If you are going to purchase this program then it will set you back a pretty penny. That's why I would like to drop you a timely tip about how to get your hands on it at a reduced price.

Before Michael releases the product to the public he wants to collect feedback from beginners and amateur photographers who go through this program in order to develop their skills. That’s why he is going to put the complete program up in his Pro Portfolio Club Coaching Club, so that all members can go through it and provide their feedback. The current members of the club already helped him a great deal developing the program. Besides the opinion of his current members he would also like to have some new members checking it out, members who were not involved with the creation of the program at all.

That’s why he is going to open up the club for new registrations this weekend. Invitations are sent to his VIP list only. If you like to get an invitation, then head over to the following link and get your email onto his VIP list:

http://ProPortfolioClub.com/secretgarden

If you make it into his club, then say hello to him from me.

Disclosure

This is an affiliate advertisement. If you purchase this service, I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Real World Shots: Sony NEX-7 Panorama & More Images Added


f/4.5 @ 33mm, 1/60 sec ISO 1250 AWB Aperture Priority

If you enjoyed my Sony NEX-7 review (click here), then you’ll be happy to know that I’ve added more real-world sample images at http://ronmart.zenfolio.com/nex7. These are all in-camera JPEG’s with zero post-processing and no flash. Click the images to see the originals (6000x4000px usually).

Panoramas

I’ve also including some panoramas as shown below (click for original):


Wide Pano
I failed here because I moved too slowly (12416x1856 pixels)


Wide Pano
This time was better and it did a decent job with only a few small errors found if you look closely


Standard Pano (8192x1856 pixels)

Miscellaneous Shots

Along with the first shot in this article, these are just some random shots that I think show off the ability of this camera. All were taken with the 18-55mm kit lens.


f/3.5 @ 18 mm, 1/40,ISO 1600 AWB Aperture Priority


f/13 @ 18 mm, 1/200,ISO 100 Intelligent Auto


Sunny Day Torture Test
f/13 @ 25 mm, 1/160,ISO 100 AWB Intelligent Auto


Autofocus fail and horrible auto white balance
f/4 @ 32 mm, 1/60,ISO 1600


Auto White Balance just went wonky here (that’s a white plate)
f/4 @ 24 mm, 1/60,ISO 800

 

Closing

Click here to read my full review of this camera.

The more I use this camera, the more I appreciate what I can do. It takes a great image for sure, but I find Canon and Fujifilm cameras easier to use in the field due to better hard button controls and menus. I also find that auto white balance can be very bad sometimes, and the flash is useless.

Order your NEX-7 today at B&H and help support this blog!

Too expensive for your budget? How about this option…

If the NEX-7 is out of your budget, you might want to consider the NEX-F3 which is now shipping. It’s a fraction of the cost, comes with the excellent 18-55mm lens and is only $598!

The cool thing about the NEX system is that it seems to be well thought out and executed, so you could buy the F3 and then grow into the 7 down the round. Your lens and accessories would still work so you could get the body only for the 7 and you’d be back in business

Disclosure

I was provided with a loaner unit of this camera and lens which I intend to return. If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

REVIEW: Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl Photo Paper

Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl (buy at Adorama) is a new version of Ilford’s popular Smooth Pearl photo paper. What makes this version different is the thicker weight (310gsm up from 290gsm) which makes a big difference in your hand. That last point is very relevant because when you are charging a premium price for your work, the customer expects to hold a paper that feels substantial. This product accomplishes that fine art paper feel which helps it to really earn the name Prestige.

I like this paper and felt it was a nice alternative to some more expensive papers in this class, but it has a very professional feel that clients are sure to appreciate.

Specifications

Here are the key facts about this paper:

Basis Weight 310 g/m²
Thickness 12 mil
Gloss (60°) 24%
Surface Finish Pearl
Opacity 99%
Tint (CIE L*a*b*) 95.1, 0.6, –4.6

Ilford’s full web page on this paper can be found here.

ColorThink Pro Color Gamut Analysis

In comparing Epson’s 4900 profile for Exhibition Fiber against Ilford’s Prestige Smooth Pearl 310gsm’s 4900 profile, the Ilford profile had the slight advantage. Realistically though this means they’d perform about the same. Here’s some analysis done with ColorThink Pro 3.03 to illustrate the profile differences:

image
ColorThink Pro 3.03 2D Comparison of Epson 4900 Profiles
Exhibition Fiber (interior) and Prestige Smoot Pearl 310gsm (exterior)

image
Smooth areas indicate Epson Exhibition Fiber advantage
Tile areas indicate Ilford Prestige Smooth Pearl advantage

How I tested this paper

I printed a color image first, then a grayscale (in color rather than Epson's ABW). I considered both to be frame worthy. The grayscale tones were so outstanding that I didn’t need to conduct any further tests because I had comparison prints on other papers that proved this was a first class print. I then printed a selection of color images of various types with people and objects and compared those against my printing series reference images. 

After I was satisfied with the results on my Epson 4900, I repeated my testing on the Canon iPF6300. It performed equally very well on both platforms.

I like the heavier weight of this paper as flimsiness is something I hate about nearly all other RC papers I’ve used. I was especially pleased that it was thick but not so stiff and thick that it would probably curl really bad with rolls. I wasn’t able to test the roll paper, so don’t quote me on this, but I felt like this thickness was a good compromise of quality vs performance.

Epson Stylus® Pro 4900 Print Settings (Photoshop CS6)

You can download profiles here.

I used n_GPSPP12_EPSpro4900_PSPP250n.icc for the 4900 (and GPSPP12_EPSpro3880_PSPPn.icc for my 3880) with the Premium Semigloss Photo Paper (250) Media Type.

I found the color accuracy of the profile to be excellent and the results a perfect match for what I see on my NEC PA Series display with the print in a GTI PDV-2020EX light box.

Here’s my settings:

Photoshop CS6 Print Settings - Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl Paper 310gsm
Be sure to use the printer correct printer profile and check Black Point Compensation

Epson 4900 Driver Settings - Main - Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl Paper 310gsm
Be sure to use the Premium Semigloss Photo Paper (250) Media Type

Current Settings
Max Quality works well

I’m not a big fan of printing from Photoshop CS5, but CS6 has improved so that I feel I can get used to it. I use CS4 or CS6 when printing, and for Epson I use the typical File | Print driver.

Lightroom 4.x

Lightroom performs the same way, so just make sure you use the correct profile and you are good to go:

Lightroom 4 Print Settings - Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl Paper 310gsm
Make sure you use the correct paper profile here

You might also find these articles handy when printing on Epson printers:

Canon iPF6300 Print Settings (Canon Print Plug-In for Photoshop)

You can download profiles here.

I used the GPSPP12_CANipf6300_PSGP280n.icc profile and the Premium Semi-Gloss Paper 280 media type as shown here:

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Print Plug-in settings for a Canon iPF6300, iPF6350, or iPF8300

This paper works very well with Lucia EX inks from Canon. When printing, be sure to use the Premium Semi-Glossy Paper 280 Media Type, and I found the Relative Colormetric rendering intent (aka, matching method) to be my preference in my test prints.

The Canon profile prints a little warmer than the Epson, which I like, but color purists might wish to adjust the Color Settings or modify their file to compensate for this.

Overall this is a very good printer profile, so I advise against building their own with the ColorMunki Photo. I think you’ll find that Ilford’s profiles are superior.

Conclusion

If you are doing prints for galleries or clients, I think they will appreciate the substantial feel of this paper over its thinner sibling ILFORD GALERIE Smooth Pearl which is only 280 gsm and 11 mil. The Prestige edition commands about a 20% premium based on pricing at the time of this article, but those reselling their prints should easily be able recoup the difference. However, those who are just printing for themselves and/or will be putting the prints behind a frame quickly, I think you’ll find

I like this paper and have been enjoying the chance to use it lately. My only complaint is that I don’t have more of it in letter size sheets, and 17 & 24” rolls because those sizes are just being released today!

Learn more at http://futurenow.ilford.com and http://futurenow.ilford.com/#SmoothPearl.

Where to buy

If you enjoyed this article, please support this blog by using these links when ordering.

Click here to purchase Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl at B&H, or click here to purchase from Adorama.

You may also be interested in my Fine Art Printing book:


NOW AVAILABLE - Click Here to learn more

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using select links in this article, I may make a commission. I was also provided with a 11x17” sheet pack this paper weeks in advanced so that I may test it for a review.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Massive B&H Sales & In-Stock Updates

Hot Deals include Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, Sigma, Tamron, Sandisk and Panasonic! B&H is going wild with sales and seems to be getting a bunch of stuff in stock, so I decided to do a quick page rather than using my hot deals column on the right side of this blog.

Canon

Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip for 5D Mark III (in stock)

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens (due Friday)

Canon 5D Mark III in stock (rebates available)

Sigma

Sigma Lens Rebate Page (For Canon, Nikon, Sony & Pentax)

Tamron

Tamron Lens Rebate Page (for Canon, Nikon, Sony & Pentax)

Sony

Sony Alpha Lens Rebates end on June 23

Sony Alpha SLT-A37 Digital Camera with 18-55mm Zoom Lens (new & in-stock)

Sony NEX F3 In Stock (great low-cost alternative to the NEX-7 I just reviewed)

Fujifilm

Fujifilm X10 Rebate – See my X10 review – I love this camera!

Sandisk

Sandisk Specials – expiring soon – limited quantities

Panasonic

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. Lens (Silver) – back in stock!

Cool Cable Finder Page

Cool Cable Finder Page

And more (previously announced):

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links on this page I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Monday, June 18, 2012

REVIEW: Sony Alpha NEX-7–Yeah, it lives up to the hype

Sony NEX-7
Sony NEX-7 – Yeah, it’s really as good as everyone says it is

The Sony NEX-7 has been around for a while, and when I saw it in New York last fall I wasn’t captivated enough by it to give it a deep look. I tried to reach out to Sony, but they seemed uninterested in blogs like mine so I figured I’d focus on the much hyped Nikon 1 V1 and Fujifilm X100. Both of those cameras end up disappointing me, and the eagerly anticipated XPro-1 had brilliant image quality in yet another poorly executed end product. My dream of having everything I loved about the Fujifilm X10, yet with a better sensor had seemed to be an impossible dream.

While I won’t be replacing my X10 just yet, I’m impressed with the Sony NEX-7. I’m still in the camp that if you want a DSLR, get a great DSLR from Canon or Nikon, but if you want a compact camera then get X10. However, The NEX-7 is the camera I’d easily recommend over the Nikon 1 V1 (and J1), X100, XPro-1, and the Canon G1X.

Living with the NEX-7


Well laid out, but not has handy as you might think at first glance

While the NEX-7 isn’t as big as a full-blown DSLR, it’s big enough that it’s not going to drop in the door pocket of my SUV like some of the other cameras I’ve tested. The lenses are proper lenses, not some tiny pieces of junk like those found on the Nikon 1 V1.

The unit I tested also had the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens which surprised me with the fact that it didn’t suck like most kit lenses typically do. It seems to be well made with reasonable optics (not great, but usable) and features a very usable minimum focus distance. I also had the 50mm f/1.8 which cost the same as the zoom, but was much more frustrating to use due to its longer minimum focus distance (15.3 vs 9.84”). If I were buying one of these for myself, I’d definitely go for the zoom and pass on the 50mm. Here’s a sample image taken with both the 50mm and 18-55mm @ 50mm (both at f/5.0):

Mouse over to see 50mm, mouse out to see 18-55mm @ 50mm
Mouse out for the 18-55mm @ 50mm (full-size) and
Mouse over for the 50mm (
full size)

Controls & OLED Display


The grip, buttons and knobs are first class – no cheap feeling at all

This camera features an excellent grip and a very usable OLED display in the rear. I expected to be blown away by the OLED display, but I wasn’t. Perhaps I’ve become desensitized after staring at the new iPad display, but I didn’t perceive it to be any better in real-world use over the LCD’s in the latest Nikon and Canon cameras, nor was it to super to the Fujifilm cameras I’ve used. The controls have a good solid feel, but like many cameras in this class it’s lacking the controls I want where I need them, so often you are cycling through menus or buttons to get to what you need. This really hampers reactionary work, so this is definitely not a camera I would recommend to a photo journalist looking to downsize to something more discrete.

Flash Performance

I found the pop-up flash to be just as useless as most point and shoots, despite its interesting design. It still doesn’t go high enough to clear the hood on the zoom lens, and it’s a tiny nuclear bomb of light that hits the target like a laser instead of spreading wide to light the entire scene. Here’s what you can expect in your typical dark restaurant scenario:


Typical point-and-shoot like nuclear blast of light from the on-camera flash (0EV FEC)

Pulling the flash exposure compensation back is a challenge by default, but when you set it to –3EV it gets better but is still pretty hot due to the direct nature of the flash. Here’s an example which admittedly is being impacted by the white hoodie which acts as a reflector here, but you can see on the girl and toddler that the lights not quite as hot:


You can dial back the flash, but not enough (-3EV FEC)

Just like the Fujifilm X100 and XPro-1, this camera features a LCD viewfinder that matches what you see on the rear. However, it’s not as advanced as the brilliant Fujifilm design which also allows for true optical – there is no optical here. I also found the viewfinder to be frustrating as I’d often get my hand too close to it and end up causing the rear LCD to go black.

A good investment with growth opportunity


20 minutes before sunset on a cloudy day
Click for original (this has minor debris removal and cropping, original is untouched)

What I really like about this camera over the competitors is that Sony has made a great selection of E-Mount products in the NEX lineup that give you room to grow. There’s long, wide-angle, pancake, fisheye, etc… lenses as well as high quality Carl Zeiss lenses like the 24mm f/1.8 Sonnar.  This is a platform that grows with you, so you won’t be left out in the cold as easily as I fear will be the case with some of the other manufacturers highly proprietary designs. In fact, if you don’t mind manually focusing, Bower makes an adapter which allows you to mount your Canon EF lenses to the NEX-7.

Bookshelf Test

I found this camera to underexpose by about 1 stop compared to my other cameras so I shot all of these in M(anual) mode at +1 EV. These are all the in-camera JPEG’s with no modification. Click to view the originals for a fair assessment of image quality as artifacts appear in these small thumbnails that do not appear in the original file. I was VERY impressed with the results – this is competitive with any DSLR on the market.


18-55mm lens - f/5.6 @ 50mm, 6s, ISO 100, DRange Auto, AWB


50mm 1.8 lens – f/5.6, 8s, ISO 100


ISO 12,800 is usable for casual photos

HDR Result


HDR Mode +/- 6

This camera has built-in HDR support (JPEG only and discards exposures). The best it can do is shown above which is quite good, but one frustrating fact is that when you are in HDR mode you can’t use the timer. As a result your finger press can introduce shake that can ruin your long exposure. A remote release or great care is required to avoid camera shake at the start of the first exposure.

Mouse over to see before, mouse out to see after
Mouse over to see the non-HDR and mouse out to see the HDR Auto version

I found the auto HDR setting to be very conservative, but the auto-alignment was brilliant. Hand-holding was never a problem for reasonable light exposures.

Conclusion

The battery was good for a day which was a big improvement over other non-DSLR cameras I’ve looked at. The performance of the Anti-Blur mode (JPEG only) was outstanding. It’s the mode you use when you are in the dark restaurant or pub and you want to get that family shot. Of course, it doesn’t help you with the the fact that there might not be a lot of light on your subjects faces, but at least your subjects won’t be hopelessly blurry.

I was impressed with image quality with the kit lens and availability of lenses (including third party), I find this to be a good choice for those looking for something smaller than a traditional DSLR – for casual use. I was also pleased with the pano feature which works much like the Fujifilm X10, but is more forgiving and fun to use (click here for samples). Video is also excellent, but sadly I didn’t get much time to test it so I have no meaningful samples to share.

My only real gripe about this camera are the annoying menu system and its lack of quick access to things like white balance and macro mode. I also hated that I didn’t have a easily accessible way to zoom the live view like I would on a DSLR. YES, I can realize I can reprogram buttons but the fact is I don’t see any candidates I’d want to reprogram. I just want more buttons for faster access, and its crappy menu system doesn’t help either.

If you are hell bent on going with a more compact alternative to a DSLR, then I think you’ll be happy with the Sony NEX-7.

Order your NEX-7 today at B&H and help support this blog!

Too expensive for your budget? How about this option…

If the NEX-7 is out of your budget, you might want to consider the NEX-F3 which is on sale now. It’s a fraction of the cost, comes with the excellent 18-55mm lens and is only $598!

The cool thing about the NEX system is that it seems to be well thought out and executed, so you could buy the F3 and then grow into the 7 down the round. Your lens and accessories would still work so you could get the body only for the 7 and you’d be back in business.

Real-World Sample Images

You can find the latest images that I’ve added at http://ronmart.zenfolio.com/nex7 as well as my article entitled “Sony NEX-7 Panorama Images Added”. Here’s a few that I’ve done so far that are worth mentioning. None have any post-processing and all link to their original in-camera JPEG’s:


I was pleased with the detail from hand-held shots in low ambient light


My wife thinks these are creepy, but this and others in the gallery give you an idea of how the lenses compare. These were all done hand-held in admittedly tough wind conditions.


This was really dark in real-life – I was shocked at how well the NEX-7 did here


Using Landscape mode and Shade White balance, rich colors were possible


This is a tough shot because my son is bouncing around like a head banger
Using the Anti-Motion / Blur feature, I stopped him his tracts and got a good clean shot.
That’s very impressive for this price point.


Taken on the go while walking back to the car
Macro mode sometimes just works

Macro mode was hit or miss. Here’s an example of a miss where the camera made an audible focus lock sound, but the net result was a total fail (which happened a lot):


Macro mode can let you down if you aren’t careful


50mm 1.8 lens - it works well as a portrait lens


Thanks to a shorter minimum focus distance, the 18-55mm outperformed the 50mm for this shot


Lots of detail even at ISO 1600


Horrible shot, but what’s noteworthy is that at ISO 640 there’s still plenty of detail in the netting


Another horrible ISO 6400 shot, but the detail on the strawberry is impressive (ISO 1600 version)


Shallow depth of field was much easier than with a point and shoot

Disclosure

I was provided with a loaner unit of this camera and lens which I intend to return. If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Celebrate RonmartBlog.com reaching 1,000,000 visitors and win a gift!

RonmartBlog.com made possible by this lady
RonmartBlog.com established
thanks to the support of my sweet wife

If you’ve enjoyed this blog then please help me celebrate this blog reaching the 1,000,000+ mark by:

I’m deeply honored that the success of this blog continues thanks to your overwhelming support! On August 8, 2011 I announced that this blog crossed the 500,000 visitor mark, and in only 10 months shortly this blog will have doubled in size by reaching the 1,000,000 visitor mark – THANK YOU!

You’ve enjoyed reading nearly 2,000,000 pages and you’ve saved nearly a dollar a page thanks to my Discount Coupon Code page found at the tab bar on this blog as shown here:

SNAGHTML1739ec3b

If this blog has helped you then please show your support by:

Here’s to the next 1,000,000 and beyond!

Thanks,

Ron Martinsen (gear)
http://portfolio.ronmartinsen.com (portfolio)
http://ronmartinsen.blogspot.com (photo blog)

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

NEW Lenses: Nikon 18-300mm VR II and 24-85mm VR– Pre-Order Now at Adorama

Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR
Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR II Lens
Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR II Lens

Nikon Expands Acclaimed NIKKOR Lens Lineup with the Addition of the New 18-300mm VR All-in-One High Power Super Zoom Lens and the 24-85mm VR Lens

Today, Nikon Inc. announced the addition of two new lenses to the legendary NIKKOR lineup, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lenses. The new 18-300mm VR lens is a versatile and compact 16.7X all-in-one super zoom DX-format lens, while the new 24-85mm VR lens is an ideal standard zoom for any FX-format photographer. These optics were designed to meet the needs of all types of photographers, from those looking to capture everything from family outings to elusive wildlife and stunning landscapes.The new 18-300mm and 24-85mm lenses deliver the performance and superior image quality that photographers of all levels have come to expect from NIKKOR lenses whether capturing still images or HD videos.

To capture stunningly sharp images with excellent clarity and color reproduction or HD video that exhibits sharp critical focus with a dramatic depth of field, the new 18-300mm VR and 24-85mm VR lenses will empower photographers with a variety of exclusive core NIKKOR technologies. Both lenses are equipped with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) II image stabilization system which provides the equivalent of a shutter speed approximately four stops faster. The built-in Vibration Reduction will help photographers create blur-free images and video while shooting handheld and in challenging lighting conditions. Two focus modes, manual-priority autofocus (M/A) and manual focus (M), are easily selected in both lenses as well. When either lens is in manual-priority autofocus (M/A) mode, users will be able to instantly switch from autofocus to manual focus operation by simply rotating the focus ring, even during AF servo operation. Additionally, both lenses feature an internal focusing system, providing fast focus without changing the length of the lens while retaining working distance through the focus range, and Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology designed to deliver fast, accurate and quiet AF performance. The lenses also boast Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) which provides superb color reproduction, color consistency and reduced flaring.

“Whether a pro on assignment, a photo enthusiast or an indie cinematographer, all Nikon users appreciate and rely on the vast selection and reliability of NIKKOR lenses for all of their imaging needs,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm VR and AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm VR lenses are fully optimized to capture stunning images and videos while meeting the growing needs of photographers of all levels around the world.”

The NIKKOR 18-300mm VR Lens: Nikon’s Longest Focal Range

Building on the popularity and versatility of Nikon’s telephoto zoom lens lineup which includes both the NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 and 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lenses, the new 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens is Nikon’s longest focal range ever, with an astounding 16.7X ultrahigh-ratio zoom range. The DX-format 18-300mm VR lens is surprisingly compact, lightweight and covers a focal range from wide-angle 18mm to super-telephoto 300mm, equivalent to a focal length of 27mm to 450mm in FX/35mm format. At the 300mm focal length setting, the lens’ large f/5.6 aperture enables photographers to shoot at faster shutter speeds with shallow depth-of-field. This new super telephoto zoom lens is ideal for taking stills when travelling and for all around general photography including landscapes, portraits and distant subjects. The 18-300mm lens is also excellent for recording HD video as it can be used for wide establishing shots, medium close-up shots and extreme telephoto sequences when the users want to separate the subject from the background.

The construction of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens consists of 19 optical elements in 14 groups with three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings, and three aspherical lens elements that virtually eliminate aberrations at wide aperture settings. The new lens also incorporates a nine rounded blade diaphragm to help achieve a natural looking dramatic separation between subject and background.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR also has a dedicated zoom lock switch which secures the lens barrel at its minimum length and will prevent the lens from sliding during transportation. Additionally, the 18-300mm VR lens is ideal for capturing close-ups with great detail, as it offers a 1.48 ft. minimum focusing distance at 300mm, as well as a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:3.2X.

The NIKKOR 24-85mm VR Lens: The Standard Zoom for FX Shooters

Ideal for photographers seeking an FX-format compatible standard zoom lens, the new AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens delivers sharp, crisp and high-quality images and can be assigned as an everyday walkabout lens. Covering the frequently used focal-length range of 24mm to 85mm, this lens is a great companion for any FX-format shooter and is ideal for shooting stills of landscapes, architecture, head and shoulder portraits, candid shots or group shots. For HD video shooters, the 24-85mm VR lens is a natural choice when filming landscapes, large groups of people or when wide field establishing shots or medium close-ups are needed. The 24-85mm lens is a great everyday lens that is compact, lightweight and easy to carry on any photo assignment or family adventure.

In addition to the lens’ built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens features Auto Tripod detection which recognizes when the camera is mounted on a tripod, even during HD video recording, to help deliver specialized VR correction. The lens construction of the 24-85mm VR lens consists of 16 optical elements in 11 groups with one Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass element, three aspherical lens elements and a seven rounded blade diaphragm.

Price and Availability
The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens will be available at the end of June 2012 for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $999.95*. The AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens will also be available at the end of June 2012 and will have a suggested retail price (SRP) of $599.95*

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