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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR - The 300/4 Cometh.

Well...a few days ago, we saw Nikon come out with their newest telephoto lens - the long awaited Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR to replace their very long-in-the-tooth but very capable AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED. The Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR has added VR to the mix as well as a Phase Fresnel lens to cut down on chromatic aberration and ghosting. If London Drugs or Broadway Camera get a sample lens to try, I'm going to get a couple of shots with it just to see how it is. My prime 300mm will be the f/2.8 VRII, but I'm liking the size of the Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR which is dramatically smaller than the lens that it replaced. Let's just say Nasim Mansurov at PhotographyLife blog has offered up a size comparison. Go to his blog and take a look. That means that lens will be able to be handheld easily which is great for long hikes through rough terrain and that lens can still take a 1.4x or 1.7x teleconverter easily. I don't know how a phase fresnel lens works so I don't know how it will affect using an aspherical TC-20EIII, but I will test that out too when I can get my hands on a workable copy of this lens. Outside of my disagreement with Nikon on the fact that pro-DX still has a market to cater too, I find the lens offerings from Nikon to be very nice.

My own personal opinion is this is a lens that is very useful to the outdoor photographer on a budget. But since I shoot in dark dim arenas, the only time I'd be able to use this kind of lens is when I'm going outdoors to shoot. It's still useful for sports photography if lets say that you are shooting for an outdoor trackmeet, but still the f/4 aperture will mean that you will have to put your ISO higher and get your shutterspeed up to freeze action, but overall, this lens is well worth looking into and may be an alternative to the f/2.8 VRII version which will set you back over $6K CDN.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The FX/Pro-DX Conundrum

The more time that elapses between July 30, 2009 and now; the more I feel that Nikon perhaps is considering the Pro-DX market dead. And that is unfortunate because Canon will swoop in quickly to fill the void left behind as Canon is continuing to pump out their 5D full-frame bodies out with regularity every few years. I'm not a Canon shooter nor will I ever become one. But I am extremely resentful of being forced to upgrade to a professional grade body when a Pro-DX body would do just as well and be considerably less than what it would cost to convert to an FX pro-body with the specs needed.

Having found a niche in sports (think hockey) photography from wildlife (though professional wildlife photography is still my main goal), I find that my requirements require high-ISO to boost the shutterspeed to handheld (1/250th and faster) from shooting in dimly lit arenas and fast moving hockey players. It also requires a fast f/2.8 14-24mm lens to capture the action in the corners which also requires another fast body to utilize the lens to its full potential.

So my gear when fully realized will be the Nikon D4s (FX) with 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and my long-in-the-tooth Nikon D300s (pro-DX) armed with the 14-24mm f/2.8. Ideally a 300mm f/2.8 would be useful for getting close-in shots of hockey player's faces, but that's another $6,000 lens that I don't need to expend money on at the moment.

Do I like have to acquire a new camera body? Not when I have no choice in the matter. Hockey is shot in dark, dimly lit arenas and that starts pushing the specs of the camera to the edges of the performance envelope. I'd rather have a margin of safety with regards to consistency of photos than have to deal with a camera that's shooting at the very edges of what it was meant to do. Certainly the D810 if pushed will do what's necessary, but if I have to upgrade to something that I have to push to do the job I want it to do, then why don't I just spend the extra $3900.00 and go all the way up to a professional body?

...AND because of the lack of continuation of designing, manufacturing and releasing Nikon pro-DX bodies THAT is exactly what Nikon is forcing us to do.