November 23, 2012
my experience in using both the Canon and Nikon systems
It seems that whenever I post here about using either Canon or Nikon gear, or when I’m seen with either, that some people are surprised that I’m using the other brand.
Just to mess with everyone, here is a snap of me carrying a Nikon D4 and a Canon 1Dx, each with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I look like kinda gung-ho there. I certainly do look happy with all those toys … appropriately enough, in front of Toys’R'Us in Times Square. The gleeful smile is mostly because I still have the same enthusiasm and love of the gear as when I first fell in love with a camera, way way back. I love the Art, but I also love the toys.
I know there’s a lot of curiosity about this topic – whether I shoot with Nikon or Canon. Or why I would have both systems. Most people who follow the Tangents blog, will know that I (predominantly) shoot with Nikon. There are specific reasons for that, and that’s the topic of this rambling blog post …
August 4, 2012
maximum flash sync speed, and the Nikon SB-900 / SB-910 speedlight
Because of the way the focal plane shutter works in DSLRs, shutter speed doesn’t affect our flash exposure … while we don’t go over maximum flash sync speed. When we go into high-speed flash sync, our flash output drops. (The linked article there explains it thoroughly.)
However, when we work with ambient light (and intend to add flash to our subject), then a change in shutter speed has an indirect effect on our flash exposure. A change in shutter speed will mean a change in aperture, and this is what affects our flash exposure (with manual flash), or our flash output (with TTL flash.) Check this article for how manual flash and TTL flash differ.
Therefore when we add flash to ambient light, then our shutter speed choice becomes important.
June 27, 2012
review: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens
At the same time that I photographed Anelisa for the review of the Nikon 28mm f/1.8 AF-S lens, I had the brand-new Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens (B&H) on my other camera body. For every place that I photographed Anelisa with the 28mm f/1.8 lens, I also shot similar images with the 85mm f/1.8 lens. In a way, these two lenses complement each other, if you like working with a dual prime lens setup. A nice wide-angle view with the one lens, while the 85mm is a sweet portrait lens.
Wanting to show off the shallow depth-of-field, I shot at f/1.8 or f/2.0 throughout this photo session.
I have to remark that in terms of the bokeh alone, this new f/1.8G lens is a superb upgrade to the previous f/1.8D version. The D series lens had harsh bokeh. The G series lens has smoother bokeh. In fact, doing various test shots in my garden the next day, I couldn’t distinguish between the bokeh of the Nikon 85mm f1.4G (B&H) and the new 85mm f/1.8G lens. Couple that with autofocus that is faster than the f/1.8D and that this new lens is very sharp wide open, the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens (B&H) is an excellent choice for the more budget-minded photographer.
June 25, 2012
review: Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G lens
To test out the new Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G lens (B&H), I met up with Anelisa in Brooklyn to try my hand at some environmental portraiture. With such a wide field-of-view, you inevitably have to include the background.
I wanted to show the effect of the shallow depth-of-field of this lens, so I shot at f/1.8 or f/2.0 throughout. When you use a fast (i.e., wide aperture) wide-angle lens, and have sufficient distance between your subject and the background, that shallow depth of field can be used to great effect. It can be tricky though, since wide-angle lenses tend to show a lot of depth-of-field unless we’re specific in how we use them.
April 22, 2012
Nikon D4 / Nikon D800 time-lapse photography – review
The highly anticipated Nikon D4 (B&H) and Nikon D800 (B&H) are loaded with features, and both cameras offer exceptional image quality. Hidden in the list of camera specs, is an item which is of specialized interest – Time-Lapse Photography. So if a photographer doesn’t have a specific interest in this, they are most likely just going to gloss over this – but this is quite a powerful feature.
With Time-Lapse photography, as with video, it just looks much more interesting if the camera moves as well. With movies too, the cinematography and how the camera moves, make all the difference. Last year some time, I stumbled on the Time-Lapse photography by MindRelic. The movement of the camera as the city scenes unfolded, blew my mind. This was done via a motorized dolly – specifically, the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly. So of course, with no prior interest in Time-Lapse photography, I immediately bought a Stage Zero dolly. It all just looked that cool.
But then the winter approached and it was just too cold to venture outside at night to try out Time-Lapse photography. So the dolly lay dormant, still boxed, in my office. Until my Nikon D4 cameras arrived a few days ago!
September 1, 2011
lens review: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G vs Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
The 50mm lens in general is an interesting optic. Not necessarily for what it does, but how it seems to have fallen out and back in favor over the years. For example, in the 1970′s pretty much all 35mm film cameras shipped with a 50mm lens. Zooms weren’t something that just came with the camera as a kit lens. It was the 50mm lens that was the “kit lens”. So the first thing the serious amateur would do, is dump the 50mm lens and get a zoom lens to get some variety in their photographs.
Then over the years, more compact and slower aperture zooms became the norm. Even more so during the digital era.
Now, as more of the newer photographers are realizing that a 50mm lens is an inexpensive way of getting super-shallow depth-of-field, the 50mm lens is seeing something of a resurgence in popularity. That super-shallow DoF is a look that your f5.6 kit zoom lenses just can’t give you.
With that, a 50mm lens deserves a place in your camera bag. It takes up little space, and is (usually) inexpensive. (Well, until you step up to something like the Canon 50mm f1.2L … but that’s another story.)
Nikon just released the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G (B&H) as an update to the popular Nikon 50mm f1.8D (B&H), and as a more affordable option than the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G (B&H) … so let’s look at how it performs.
March 13, 2011
Auto FP setting for Nikon D300s & D700 – high speed flash sync
The Nikon D300s and Nikon D700 have a custom setting to enable high-speed flash sync – custom fucntion e1. However, you have the option of setting it to either 1/250 Auto FP, or 1/320 Auto FP. I’ve often been asked which is the preferable setting … and you know, I never quite knew either.
So it was time then to systematically check this out and see what actually happens at either setting – 1/250 Auto FP and 1/320 Auto FP – for both the Nikon D300s and D700 …
December 15, 2010
Melissa & Dennis – their wedding day from Neil van Niekerk on Vimeo.
review of the Nikon D3100 video capability
Nikon recently released two very interesting D-SLRs – the Nikon D3100 (B&H) and the Nikon D7000 (B&H). Improving on several of the entry-level Nikon D-SLRs, they also offer HD video capability (1080p at 24 fps), and even does so with full-time auto-focus capability.
So when B&H sent me a Nikon D3100 for review, I thought what better test than to start in the deep end, and use it during a wedding to shoot HD video. The intention was to use the HD video from the D3100 along with the still photographs from my usual set of Nikon D3 bodies … and compile this as a stills & video Fusion clip, shown at the top here. I shot the stills, and Jessica, my assistant with an attitude, shot & edited the D3100 video clips. A first attempt at stills/video Fusion for us.
So how did the Nikon D3100 fare? Quite impressively actually …
Filed under: equipment review
— Tags: New Jersey wedding photographer
, Nikon D3100 review
, Nikon D3100 video
, review Nikon D3100
, wedding photographers in New Jersey
, wedding photography
— Neil vN @ 10:06 pm
November 6, 2010
Auto-focus (AF) settings for Nikon cameras
The current line-up of top Nikon D-SLRs offer a range of AF settings. The combination’s in settings seem daunting at first. But with other settings on my D3 bodies, I keep it fairly simple. Instead of flip-flopping between numerous settings, I keep it simple by generally using the AF settings in just two ways. This depends on what whether my subject is static or moving …
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October 22, 2010
review: Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G AF-S
So after a slight delay, my copy of the brand-new Nikon 85mm f1.4G (B&H) actually did arrive. I was itching to try it out on a photo session, and yesterday afternoon had my assistant, Jessica model for me. During the short photo session, I used the new 85mm f1.4G and the classic 85mm f1.4D side-by-side. As you can see in the photo above, (Just like the older version of this lens), the new lens’ extremely shallow depth of field and superb bokeh, give backgrounds that just melt away.
My first impression already is that lens is even better than I anticipated …