Nikon celebrates a significant milestone this month, with the production of its 60 millionth NIKKOR interchangeable lens. The landmark figure is the culmination of over 50 years of Nikon’s commitment to supplying professional and amateur photographers alike with the best possible equipment.
Five million lenses have been produced in the last seven months alone, after total production of NIKKOR lenses reached 55 million in August 2010. Since then Continue reading →
April 5th sees the announcement of the fourth Nikon “thousand” model, the D5100. Following on from the D7000 and D3100 launches last year – both excellent cameras that introduced new sensors to Nikon’s range and left the D5000 mid-ranger looking a bit orphaned, the D5100 takes the logical step of bringing the larger 16.2Mp sensor from the D7000 into a cheaper, more consumer-oriented camera. Nikon have sensibly retained the swivel screen of the 5000, albeit with a more conventional side-hinged layout rather than the quirky (and tripod-unfriendly) base hinge of the original, and introduced a new body design with a slightly aggressive edge to the top plate. All of this is very predictable – with an older 12Mp sensor the D5000 was looking increasingly uncompetitive (despite the fantastic results it’s capable of delivering) whilst the D3100 introduced 1080p video – 14.2Mp and 1080p in the model below the former consumer video star couldn’t last!
I have been using the new Nikkor AF-s 85mm f/1.4G lens, arrived yesterday. I have produced both raw and JPEG profiles for the lens on the D3X – these can also be used on the D3, D3S and D700 (profiles tend to be fairly portable between bodies, if done on the highest resolution option).
Submitted to Adobe. This profile was made at 4m distance, and maps the lens at f/1.4, f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/11.
Very little correction is applied as the lens is already very good, but there is a small adjustment to distortion and vignetting, and some cleaning up of visible CA. It is still a good idea to enable de-fringe as well.
As part of my tests of the Nikon D3S (British Journal, report in December, with additional material by Richard Kilpatrick who is shooting with Nikon on November 25th at a press event) I dragged the £6,000 400mm f/2.8 AF-S IF ED G supertele into the rain as darkness gradually forced the ISO up from a mere 10,000 to the maximum 102,400. The object was make a short video showing rising floodwaters, no threat in our town but still dramatic to watch.
Here’s how it came back from the hour in the rain, a quick wipe down with an oily rag and it was all as good as new. Actually, it needed a thorough drying with the towel then a clean up with a lint free microfibre cloth to remove dust and towelly stuff. The very deep lens shade kept the exposed front element totally dry despite the wind and rain; I just made sure it was never aiming into the wind.
During the shoot, wind noise was a major problem. I locked the microphone to level 2 manual gain, not automatic which would have been a disaster. Many clips had to be shortened, some discarded due to violent wind noise I could not mask. The sheer weight of this combo made lugging it with a decent Slik tripod (pan and tilt head for video) difficult; I drove to the evening location with the rig laid flat on the back seat of the car, but still had to walk several hundred yards for some shots. I wore a Tog24 parka and found that by pulling the fur-lined hood over the camera body I could cut out nearly all the wind noise. I must have looked like a view camera operator with a dark cloth, or something out of Monty Python with my jacket pulled up and the hood over the Nikon!
But, this seemed such a good solution to the wind noise I would consider unzipping the hood from the parka and using it as a baffle in finer weather.
My favourite part of the video is the one with the worst noise, where I was not able to keep the wind away from the direction of shooting – the sequence of the road (flooded by the morning) with headlights, tail lights and cars in rain. This consists of three takes blended with long crossfades. During each take, the manual focus of the 400mm used at near wide open f/3.2 aperture was pulled to bring the moving traffic in and out of focus, and create huge bokeh circles from the lights. This would be impossible with a camcorder and not all that easy with a conventional high-end video kit. The combination of full frame 35mm format and the fast 400mm has enabled a highly effective cinematic technique to succeed on the first time of trying. With some markers on the focus ring, some practice and many more takes the result could have been refined further.
But I was getting very wet and so was the camera!
The first part of the video is all on the 400mm with tripod, with High ISO video enabled. The ‘next morning’ stuff is on the 24-70mm, hand held, locked down to ISO 200 at f/8.
I’m not sure when our final review of the camera will appear in the British Journal, it should be early December.
The video is encoded to best quality 720p from iMovie09, and can be best be downloaded and viewed without any YouTube jerkiness at full res if your connection is not good.
Nikon has teamed up with six of the industry’s most influential technology suppliers to bring cutting-edge, digital workflow solutions to professional photographers across Europe.
Nikon, Adobe Systems, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Nik Software, Wacom and X-Rite have joined forces for a unique, nine-city Creative Alliance Tour. The tour has been set up to provide creative professionals with a comprehensive insight into a complete digital workflow. A full-day seminar will take place at each city stop, hosted by photo professionals and evangelists Keith Thompson, Kevin Dopson, Robin Preston, and Guy Gowan among others. These influential master photographers will demonstrate live shoots, and talk about why colour profile and calibration is key to getting the best end product.
From image capture to printing and marketing, delegates of the Creative Alliance Tour will learn how to achieve optimum results (high resolution in, high resolution out) using the most innovative techniques available to photographic professionals. The seminars will consist of inspirational presentations and in-depth technical workshops, with the opportunity to share questions and experiences with the experts.
“The long-established professional photographic community has seen dramatic changes to photographic technology in the past few years, with the transition from silver halide to digital, and from traditional SLR to digital SLR. Combining the resources and expertise of the seven companies, this tour will provide a unique platform for the photographic community to learn about the latest technological innovations and take advantage of a complete digital workflow within their existing production process,” said photographer and digital artist, Robin Preston.
Photographers should not miss this opportunity to gain valuable insight into the latest workflow tools that could help their business maintain its competitive edge.
Registration and dates
The Creative Alliance Tour has started in Ede on the 24th June 2009, in the Netherlands. The tour will resume the 15th September 2009 in Manchester and 17th September 2009 in London.
Spain, Germany, Italy and France will follow in October and November 2009. For the exact dates and registration information please visit: www.thecreativealliancetour.com
Though autofocus is not possible with live video in any current true DSLR (the Panasonic GH1 promises this) it is possible to use pull-focus effects with a little planning. We now have a Nikon D5000 – it won the competition for best fine image detail when comparing results frame by frame with Canon’s nominally higher resolution rival. It was also a very good deal, £629 inc VAT with an 18-55mm VR kit lens and a SanDisk Ultra II 8GB SDHC card plus Crumpler Messenger Boy 2500 bag thrown in free (from Jacobs). You Tube sample –
The wind noise has made filming with the D5000 almost impossible for the last few days, because it has been very windy. Simple as that. So I devised a popshield or wind sock for the tiny microphone by cutting a piece of red nyloop fabric from a pad which once belonged in the bottom of a lens case. Then the 70-300mm lens arrived, so I tried this combination on a race when the light was reasonable and it was not raining.
Technically, it’s not a good idea to pan with action when holding a lens of this size at arms’ length in order to see the framing on a rear screen. However, I had already experimented with a monopod and found that didn’t work – my pans tended to skew the horizon too easily – and for this clip, I did not want to use a tripod. I wanted to see what the VR did, and how well it worked with a fixed focus set on the fence before starting.
True to promise, the Nikon D5000 did become available on May 1st in the UK, and my review camera turned up mid-day in time to be photographed and have its battery charged. Taking it out on my walk to the post (regrettably, to send in large sums of VAT and tax…) the sun came out though it was a very cold and windy day. With the sun, the breeze dropped to a reasonable level and on the way back I was struck by the motion of the trees, leaves and flowers.
Nikon UK is pleased to announce the D5000, its latest digital SLR camera that is perfect for capturing family fun and developing the skills of photography hobbyists. Packed with features that make taking pictures easy and fun, this camera stands out above the competition with its unique Vari-angle LCD monitor, allowing you to shoot easily from almost any angle. (Press release from Nikon UK, April 14th).
Nikon UK will be introducing a second price increase on the 1st March 2009 which will affect Nikon’s Imaging and Optics products. The price increase is due to the relative weakness of Sterling and the continued strength of the Yen. A range of product groups will be affected however the COOLPIX series and selected digital SLRs will not see an increase. An updated Recommended Retail Price (RRP) list will be available to view at www.nikon.co.uk from 1st March 2009. Nikon will continue to review its pricing structures.