Yesterday, Nikon released new firmware for almost all of its current DSLR line-up, namely for the D4, D800, D600, D3, D3s, D3x, D7000 and D3200. Most of these updates only add full compatibility to the exotic new 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens – a lens very few people will ever see or use.
The highlight, for me, is the fact that Nikon has now finally addressed the uncompressed HDMI bug that frustrated D600 videographers. This issue used to be a reason for DSLR videographers to get the more expensive D800, and seemed like a lame up-selling scam on Nikon’s part. No more, it seems!
On FX, this new lens will perform similarly to a 16-57mm F2.8 VR on DX (APS-C). The closest one gets to those specifications on DX, however, is with the expensive but built-like-a-tank Nikon 17-55mm F2.8, or Sigma/Tamron 17-50mm F2.8. The former lacks optical stabilization, while the latter two lack the Nikon badge, and risk more focussing and quality control issues.
Update on 27 July 2012: new sample photos (full res available for download)
Today I am comparing two “premium” third-party standard zoom lenses: the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 VC ($650, B&H), and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 OS ($670, B&H). Both offer a useful 17-50mm with fast F2.8 max aperture (at all focal lengths). Both feature optical stabilization. Both are available for multiple camera mounts (including Canon, Nikon and Sony).
Interestingly the price difference in The Netherlands (where I live) is larger – the Tamron being sold for €374 €415 vs the Sigma’s €565 €589.
In addition to their similar specifications, these two have very similar size and weight, and compete in the same price range. Direct competitors, therefore. But which one is best?
I got my hands on both of them (Nikon mount), and put them to the test.
Yesterday, Nikon has released new firmware for their D5100 and D7000 DSLRs. Since they were launched this is the first update for the D5100 and the third update for the D7000, and correct a couple of very minor issues.
If you own any of these and are happy with the way your camera works you may safely ignore the update.
Not sure whether you should upgrade or don’t know what firmware is? Then read this. Personally I own a D7000 and yes, I will upgrade mine. If you also wish to stay at the cutting edge and upgrade you can
You know that to get the most of your DSLR you should be shooting in RAW, right? But these days Nikon cameras gives you even more options: 12-bit or 14-bit, and compressed or uncompressed RAW (NEF) files. Which should you choose?
Short question: Does it matter? Will you see any difference between compressed (lossy) and uncompressed (lossless) RAW? And between 12 and 14 bits?
Short answer: No it does not matter. Choose 12-bit compressed (because they take up less space) and forget about this topic. Or choose 14-bit uncompressed because theoretically you’re getting the “most” from your camera – you just have to live with the file sizes.
Summary: Newer Nikon DSLR cameras seem to choose unnecessarily high ISO values when using a flash in combination with auto-ISO – specifically in “P”, “A” and “S” mode. I have verified this issue for the Nikon D7000 and the D3100, and from forums I deduce that it also goes for the D5000, D3000, D5100 and D300s.
In a recent post I went on the offensive, criticizing Nikon for their overweight bodies and lenses. And yet, I own a Nikon. And I’m not ready to jump ship just yet. Why? As Nikon is currently promoting its newest DSLR offerings, the D3100 and the D7000, I’m drooling for an upgrade to my old D80. But, realistically, why would I pay the price premium to continue investing in the Nikon system? Why not Canon, Sony or Pentax? As we now know, it’s not for saving weight.