A Virgance in the Force

Talk About a Virgance in the Force!

AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Lens

Nikon today announced the world’s first ultra wide-angle zoom lens with vibration reduction, the AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR. I’m stunned by the innovative design of this full-frame lens. It looks hardly bigger than Canon’s 17-40mm f/4 lens but packs a four-stop VR (image stabilization for us Canon shooters) system.

Think about the possibilities.

  • How about hand-holding a landscape shot down to about 1/8th of a second exposure and coming back with a tach sharp image?
  • How about photo-walking with this lens in NYC and being able to really capture that sense of just how big the Big Apple really is?
  • And where does this leave us Canon shooters?
  • Will big “C” react to this competitive challenge or leave us hanging as they did when Nikon added their own hot shoe mounted GPS system?

I wonder what Fake Chuck has to say?

Why Not Use Small Strobes?

I was comparing Kirk Tuck’s two lighting books Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography and Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Studio Photography this weekend and it really got me thinking. I enjoyed reading both of Kirk’s books even though they recommend completely different lighting gear  for each situation and it started me questioning some basic lighting assumptions.

Small StrobesWhy do so many well respected photographers like Joe McNally, David Tejada and Kirk Tuck seem to prefer using small strobes on location but more traditional lights in the studio?

Why not use small strobes for both?

Is it the “sunk cost” of all the Elinchrom Ranger lights and battery packs they’ve already bought?

Do these larger lights really offer that much more “volume of light” as Joe McNally likes to say?

If small strobes like the Nikon SB-800 or SB-900 are good enough for “on location” work, why aren’t they good enough in the studio?

Any thoughts?

Scott & Matt Host Nikon D Town!

Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowsky are at it again! I honestly don’t know when these two guys sleep. Not only do they each manage their own blogs and produce the Photoshop User TV podcast, but they also host, manage and teach at the Photoshop World user conference.

Now these two Nikon shooters have created a new web site and video series where each week they will bring you the “coolest tips and tricks, news and accessories for Nikon’s Digital SLR cameras”.

You know with all this Nikon love going around, us Canon shooters are starting to feel a little like the Republicans in Washington. Out numbered and out gunned!

Where is the Fake Chuck Westfall when we need him. 🙂

Landscape Photography – Being Level Headed

In landscape photography its the little things that count. One of the most important aspects of creating a well composed landscape image is knowing where “level” is. This is especially true when your background is hilly or mountainous. We use our sense of “level” so much every day that a person will look at an image on the web or in print and instinctively know if it’s not perfectly level.

Nikon's Virtual HorizonFinding the perfect “level” has become fairly easy for Nikon shooters since inclusion of a Virtual Horizon in the D3, D300 and D700 firmware. This wonderful little feature was made famous several months ago in a hilarious post by Joe McNally. I’m not quite sure this was exactly the publicity Nikon was looking for but it certainly demonstrated the feature well.

Ross Hinged Bubble LevelFor those of us shooting with Canon DSLRs the answer is the not so famous hot shoe bubble level like the one shown here from Ross Photographic. This wonderful little device takes all the guesswork out of finding a perfect “level” in our landscape images.

Nikon Releases Lens Wake-Up Call for Canon

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

Now this is interesting!

Yesterday Nikon released their first prime lens designed specifically for their APS-C crop sensor camera bodies like the D300. They also priced the new lens to sell at only $200 (USD). The new AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G offers a field of view similar to that of a 50mm in FX and 35mm formats. According to the specifications listed in the press release, this lens offers Nikon’s silent wave motor (SWM) auto focus system as well as full-time manual focus capabilities. Add to this a fast f/1.8,  7-blade rounded aperture and you should have a very nice lens at an incredible price. To complete the package, Nikon includes front and rear lens caps, a lens hood and a soft pouch.

Compare this to Canon’s $240 (USD) EF 35mm f/2.0 lens which does NOT include full time manual focus, nor an ultrasonic motor (USM) auto focus system, nor a rounded aperture, nor a lens hood, nor a soft pouch and you start to understand how really interesting this new lens is. I’m not even going to compare this to Canon’s $1200 (USD) EF 35mm f/1.4L USM given the vast price difference.

So what does this mean for Canon enthusiasts? Will Canon match Nikon’s commitment to the APS-C crop body market sometime in the future? Or will Canon continue to be “beat up” in the marketplace by a much more innovative Nikon? Only time will tell!

Thursday Quickie – Nikon Raising Lens Prices During Global Recession

According to the Nikon Rumors site, Nikon is raising lens prices on a worldwide basis and cancelling all existing backorders.

I realize this doesn’t affect Canon shooters like me, but what can Nikon be thinking? Have they gained so much market share in the past few years that they feel invulnerable to the current economic downturn? I’ve never thought of Nikon as arrogant but this move seems to defy logic.