• BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP: THE NIKON 1 SYSTEM BALANCES SPEED, STYLE AND SIMPLICITY TO CREATIVELY CAPTURE ALL OF LIFE’S SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS

    The New Nikon J1 and V1 Cameras as Well as Four New Ultra-Portable Lenses are Engineered for Expressive Living

    MELVILLE, N.Y. (Sept 21, 2011) – Nikon Inc. today announced a revolutionary new digital imaging system built from the ground up to empower users with new ways to tell stories through photography, driven by imaginative next-generation technology. The iconic new Nikon 1 system is designed to become one with the user and their lifestyle, providing a unique form of expression with amazing image quality, speed and portability.

  • Pl_BHPhoto_0015The last time I was able to visit B&H’s “superstore” in Manhattan was several years ago so I was excited when I got the “cook’s tour” as part of my presentation on wildlife photography there last week. I was blown away not just by the size and selection (after all we live in a land of large box stores) but by the thoughtful presentation and retailing strategies used. The experience is night and day different—and better—than visiting a Best Buy or Fry’s electronics, or even many local camera stores.

    First and foremost no one is on commission. So they are there to help you shop but are happy to suggest less expensive options or leave you alone if you enjoy puttering through the numerous exhibits yourself. And the exhibits are organized more like a contemporary museum of technology than like a typical slap dash retail display. Items are all in working order, clearly labeled, and organized in such a way that you can make intelligent comparisons. The HDTVs for example are all adjusted so that they have a similar viewing angle from eye level and you can actually compare their images. Try doing that at Best Buy or Frys!

  • by Annie Cardinal

    For the past few weeks I have been testing the Samsung 8GB SDHC Plus Class 6 Memory Card. This card may seem like any other SD card, but it has the unique quality of being indestructible.

  • sp_usopen2011_0057Since its introduction the Nikon 18-200 has been one of the most sought after “super-zoom” lenses. Used not only by amateurs but by many pros for its convenience and high quality images the lens was and is best suited as an “all in one” lens especially for travel. But with time the price has continued to creep up so that the current VR II version is now $800 (and out of stock at many retailers), so it is certainly not a bargain anymore.

    So for those with limits to their pocketbooks or without the time to wait until the Nikon version returns to the shelves I wanted to field test a couple of the less expensive alternatives. I’d already seen the images from the Tamron 18-270 that my clients Jim were using in Africa and was impressed by its small size and reasonable image quality. So for this comparison I borrowed a Sigma 18-250mm OS HSM lens. This new version not only has stabilization (OS) but also built-in focusing motors (HSM) although like all the other similar lenses it is designed for use only with APS-C (Nikon DX) format cameras as it vignettes substantially when used full frame—in Sigma parlance it is called a DC lens. [Full frame users can opt for the larger and more expensive Nikon 28-300mm lens as an alternate]

  • pl_manhattan_0010Photographs taken at extreme angles—particularly up at tall structures—often look awkward and can make the buildings appear as if they are falling over. This is because when we are part of the scene our eyes and brain correct for the odd perspective and “see” the buildings with their natural shape. But once we are looking at a photograph we don’t have that frame of reference and the buildings and other structures simply appear tilted or mis-shapen. Expensive Perspective Control (PC) and Tilt/Shift lenses have been created to help. However, in addition to being large and expensive PC lenses are usually of limited functionality, without zoom capabilities or stabilization in many cases.

  • We had a chance to spend some time in central New Jersey this week, an area which has suffered heavy flooding due to repeated storms topped off by Hurricane Irene. There were plenty of downed trees still being removed and lots of flood damaged properties but everywhere we went most businesses had been able to re-open. The very high water made for some interesting photographs. This one is the historic Princeton Mill building located on the bank of the Millstone River.

  • Ma_Griz_29196

    Each year I think our Alaska safaris can’t get any better. But this year, our twelfth of visiting with the Bears and Puffins alongside the spectacular volcanoes and the mountains lining the Cook Inlet was the best yet. We had two fun groups (kept small as always so we can move around with the bears and provide lots of personal instruction) and our daughter Annie helping with lessons on Photo Books and with the gear hauling…

    July is a special time for the bears of the Cook Inlet. Just about all the moms have brought their cubs out into the open along the water to graze, to learn to clam and to start thinking about fishing. It is still early enough that the bears are fairly relaxed and haven’t starting panicking in their fall rush to put on weight for winter. We were treated to many scenes of cubs and moms playing and mothers nursing both spring cubs (born this winter in the den and first out in the world only a couple months ago) and “yearling” cubs—last years spring cubs in their final year before being kicked out by their moms.

  • Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM AF Lens (For Nikon) The Nikon 200-400mm f/4 AF-S VR Lens has become a legend among wildlife photographers—especially those who shoot from vehicles on safari. I personally know of several pros who have switched from Canon to Nikon just to take advantage of the killer combination of a D3, D3S or D700 with one. The second version upgraded the VR system on the lens but it didn’t address its three remaining shortcomings: f/4 maximum aperture, mediocre auto-focus speed and physical size and weight. Now along comes a major re-design of the venerable Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 HSM EX APO lens with image stabilization (OS), “splash proofing” and low dispersion glass added. Read on to find out if it knocks the Nikon off its throne in my field test…