Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

I happen to see this post on Engadget about Nikon outing itself with the new D3x. There’s nothing too shocking from the specs, 24.5 megapixel CMOS sensor in the same body. Sounds like the newly released Sony sensor that they are using in their Sony Alpha A900 will also be in the D3x. Here are some quick specs:

  • 24.5 megapixel in a 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS sensor
  • 16-bit EXPEED system
  • 5.0 frames-per-second in it’s full size mode, and 7 frames-per-second in a cropped 10 megapixel mode (I guess they want to encourage people who need the extra 2 frames-per-second to purchase the D3)
  • ISO 50-6400, which I’m guessing means that, like the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III (highest ISO is 3200), this dSLR is not intended for low light situations as with the D3 is. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of any higher ISO range such as 12,800 or 25,600.
  • Same 3 inch 922,000 LCD
  • Live View
  • 12ms startup time with a 41ms shutter lag
  • Dual Compact Flash slots capable of 35MB/second write times

For pictures of the Nikon Pro magazine and how the D3x stacks up against the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, click in to read more. Continue reading Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Finally Released

Long, long overdue, Canon has announced it’s follow up successor to the aging Canon EOS 5D with the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II. It’s certainly exciting considering that Nikon has been one (two, three) upping Canon consistently the past year or so. What are the specs? Continue reading Canon EOS 5D Mark II Finally Released

D3 Buffer Upgrade

This is a cool feature that Nikon offers, for a cost, the ability to upgrade your buffer. If 52 Large JPEGs or 16 14-bit RAW images aren’t enough buffer space for you, you can have your Nikon D3’s buffer upgraded to 119 Large JPEGs and 43 14-bit RAW images. Talk about a nice little upgrade! Nikon had offered a similar service back with the Nikon D1x upgrading its 9 Large JPEG buffer to 21 Large JPEGs. The cost for the D3 buffer upgrade? $500.

It’s Official: Nikon D700 Released

After months of rumors of a Nikon full frame prosumer SLR that will most certainly compete with the aging Canon EOS 5D, Nikon has confirmed those rumors today with the release of the Nikon D700. The Nikon D700 is a cross between the flagship professional model, Nikon D3, and the consumer model, Nikon D300. What features do the new Nikon D700 have?

  • 12.1 MP Full Frame (FX) 23.9 x 36mm CMOS sensor with EXPEED
  • ISO 200-6400 with 12,800 and 25,600 (as options)
  • 5 frames-a-second (FPS) with 8 FPS with the optional MB-D10 battery pack
  • 3 inch 920,000 pixel LCD display
  • 51-point AF system
  • Dust Reduction System (which the D3 doesn’t have)
  • Pop-up flash

The new Nikon D700 is certainly a beast. If the low noise performance is anything like the D3, I’m sure people will be scooping the Nikon D700 up like hot cakes at almost $3000 a pop. This certainly would be a great backup wedding or sports body to the Nikon D3. The Nikon D700 is definitely missing a very useful option that it’s bigger brother, the D3, has: dual CF cards. Looks like that option is still only available on the flagship professional model. I’m hoping the new Canon EOS 1D Mark IIIn will replace the second slot SD/SDHC with a CF slot like the D3. Check out this comparison shot from DPReview of the Nikon D700 versus the Nikon D3.

Now all that is left is, what does Canon have in store for the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II?

Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D

Specifications

Focal Length: 50mm
Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
Lens Construction: 6 Elements in 5 groups
Minimum Focus Distance: Approximately 1.5 feet
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 7 blades
Aperture: f/1.8-22
Filter Attachment Size: 52mm
Hood: HR-2 Rubber Hood
Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.5 in.
Weight: 5.5 ounces

Lens Review

Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D

product

Nikon’s sharpest lens in a small and affordable package!

This lens is absolutely sharp! The images I get from using this lens are nothing short of phenomenal. The brokeh result is also amazing!

I had a bit of reservations getting the 50mm originally because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with a prime lens, 50mm no less. I had been accustomed to using my zoom lens (Nikkor AF 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6D) and was spoiled by variable focal adjustment. It took a bit getting used to the fact that I actually had to physically move versus just moving nikkor_50mm_lens_construction.jpgthe lens to get what I wanted framed in the shot. But the quality and the shots I can get with this lens, I hardly even use my 28-105mm anymore, only when I can’t get closer or further away to an object or person.

About all the reviews I read online about the construction of this lens is true, the quality isn’t entirely there. It’s primary make up is plastic, which has an advantage of making it extremely light, but unfortunately cheap feeling also. The major thing I don’t like is that this isn’t an internal focus (IF) lens, which means the front element moves in or out for focus. I’m also afraid of people trying to adjust the focal length of the lens using the focus ring and not realizing: (1) it is a prime lens and (2) the focus is set on auto and if someone turns the focus ring hard enough, they can break the focus ring.

The auto focus of the 50mm is reasonably fast, not as quick, nimble, and quiet as the Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/4D, but definitely faster than my Nikkor 28-105mm. It’s not quiet when focusing either because of no on board focusing motors; it depends on the camera’s focus screw. This also makes the lens not usable in AF mode on any Nikon cameras that don’t have the focus screw such as the new D40.

Having a maximum aperture of 1.8 is amazing. I’m able to hand hold in low light conditions and actually get decent shots without having to use the flash. Recently I was playing with my Dad’s Canon 5D with his Canon EF IS 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens versus my D100 with the 50mm f/1.8D. My dad’s 5D wasn’t able to take any pictures without the SpeedLight. Granted that his 28-135mm lens is probably not quite the best lens or even comparable due to the discrepancy in maximum apertures, but I was expecting to at least get some decent shots. It was a living room with the windows open on a slightly overcast day. I have never been a fan of flash photography, I know it is necessary in some cases, but I wish to avoid it as much as possible and this lens lets me accomplish that.

I purchased this lens from BeachCamera.com and would highly recommend them for many reasons, the main ones being: fast shipping, lowest price, and best warranty. The lens cost me $126.90 (I chose 3-5 day shipping was why it was so expensive) and arrived in 3 days. And because BeachCamera.com is an authorized Nikon dealer, you get an automatic 5 year warranty extension to the normal 1 year buying from non-authorized dealers.

I think everyone should have this lens in their collection, Nikon doesn’t make many other f/1.8 lens. I almost regret not getting the Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4D lens, but the price difference and the performance difference didn’t justify one another. If you have ~$300 to spare, get the f/1.4D, but if you’re on a budget, get the f/1.8D, you won’t regret it.

Also see: http://www.bui4ever.com/2006/11/16/nikkor_50mm_f18d_part_1.php

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These are merely a few samples. For more pictures, please visit the gallery.

My rating: 4.5 stars
****1/2

Photography

Introduction

I’ve have always been vaguely interested in photography. Not hard to imagine when your parents own a photo shop so you practically grow up around everything photography. But growing up, I didn’t like shooting pictures or being in pictures. I had this funny habit of never smiling whene my picture was taken.
As I got older, I begin to appreciate shooting pictures. This interest grew rapidly during my car modification days. I wanted a way to keep track of the modifications with before and after pictures. At this point, I was really only interested in point-and-shoot as I did not fully appreciate and understand the need of single-reflex-lens cameras, or commonly known as SLR cameras. I did manage to get good pictures from my Sony CyberShot DSC-P71, a 3.1 mega pixel point-and-shoot camera. It was funny too because it took me almost three to four months after having the camera before I learned how to actually shoot decent night photos without the flash. I was pulling out my hair trying to figure out why all my night photos were dark and blurry.2004-11-06 - New York City - 090

It wasn’t until my friend, who got a Canon EOS 10D SLR camera, showed me how to better use my Sony CyberShot camera. At the time my friends and I all thought our friend was crazy spending a $1000+ on a camera with no lens. I never imagined ever even considering spending that kind of cash for any camera.

So I kept taking pictures of my car, my friend’s cars at various locations trying to get that one “money-shot” that I could post up on the forums and wow everyone with my little point-and-shoot camera.

My First Time With The Nikon D100 SLR

The first time I got a chance to lay my hands on an actual SLR and use it was my dad’s Nikon D100 that he used for shooting portraits. It made my little dinky Sony 2004-11-05 - New York City - 045CyberShot look like nothing compared to the size of the Nikon D100. The reason I was even borrowing the Nikon D100 was I was hoping to get some extraordinary shots of New York, where Andrea and I were going for her birthday. Before taking the camera, I should have thoroughly read the book on how to use it, but unfortunately my dad forgot to include the manual when he let me borrow the camera. I figured how hard could it be to use…boy was I wrong! The SLRs have so many configurable options that one could easily get overwhelmed. The multitude of available options is great for varying situations, but is fustrating when you want to just take pictures.

I never did quite figure out how to use my dad’s Nikon during the New York trip, but I did surprisingly got some decent shots. Most of the shots were shot in manual mode (which I didn’t know squat about anything to even be shooting in that mode). There are shots where I had set the camera to aperture prioritythinking the “A” on the command dial means auto (doh!). For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why some of the shots seemed so dark, now that I look at it, my f-stop was set to 13 for daylight and nighttime shots. No wonder I couldn’t shoot anything at night… The only reason I was able to even get a decent shot of Time Square was because it was so damn bright there, f13 would probably have been what the D100 would have chosen anyways.

Some of the main things I really liked about using the SLR is: 1) the ability to capture so much of a picture and zoom in so tight to a picture that normal little point-and-shoots aren’t able to achieve. This made me appreciate how nice it is to have optical zoom versus digital zoom. 2) The fast shutter speed. I was literally snapping everything I could see and frame. It was great! With my Sony CyberShot, I would take a picture, have to wait until that picture processes and then take another one. Quite slow