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!
Work these last few weeks was crazy, and I have yet to tell you about my experiences with the Nikon D600, of which I am now a very satisfied owner.
But since I got this camera, two weeks ago, a major thorn in my side was the official lack of support for it in Adobe Lightroom, my main photo editing / workflow software. It was possible to get around this by tricking Lightroom into thinking the images came from a D800, but this was a schlep and no ideal way to deal with it.
Since yesterday, Lightroom 4.2 is available, and adds supports for 22 new cameras, including the following important mainstream models such as:
Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i
Canon EOS M
Nikon 1 J2
Sony Alpha NEX-5R
Sony Alpha NEX-6
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V
* Nikon claims that D600 support is preliminary, meaning that there might be small inaccuracies in e.g. white balance that need to be corrected manually.
Endorsement: If you’re still undecided and know that you could use it, yes: I can definitely recommend buying Lightroom. The amount of time it has saved me is worth much more than its cost. Currently retailing at $130 it is cheaper than almost any DSLR lens, and it will add more to the quality of your photo’s than a lens of that price. There are freeware alternatives out there, and I’ve used many of them. In the end I prefer using a single and reliable piece of software over many loose and vendor-specific tools. You can support this site by ordering it now via this link: Adobe Lightroom 4 for $129.95 (via B&H).
Update: This very same camera (that Usain Bolt held) is up for auction on Ebay. Proceeds are apparently going for support of cancer research. Golden touch, indeed!
Not only is Usain Bolt the fastest man alive, but he is also a budding photographer! :)
Usain Bolt shooting some after-action snapshots with Swedish photographer Jimmy Wixtröm’s camera. Under British law this makes Usain the copyright holder. Image: Reuters.
Immediately after making history by defending his 200m Olympic crown, Usain walked over to the photographer booth and took Swedish photographer Jimmy Wixtröm’s camera.
Bolt then proceeded to take several photos from his unique point of view. Pretty good photos, too! Now the question may be asked who has copyright of these photos. Continue reading →
Bottom line: the D800E misses a proper anti-aliasing filter. This probably does more harm than good, so buy the D800 instead, unless you absolutely need maximum per-pixel resolution and know how to avoid Moiré artefacts. Disclaimer: The D800/D800E are great cameras that differ in subtle ways. Making a purchasing decision based on these differences will necessarily involve “splitting hairs”, but that is probably why you are reading this blog entry, so let’s do that.
I started writing this post before D800E reviews were available online. Now that it’s been tested by dpreviewand DxO I have to admit that the D800E is less prone to Moiré than I expected it to be. Yet I stand by what I wrote in this post and I still advise you to get the D800 instead of the D800E unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Read on.
The D800 and the D800E
When Nikon announced their brand new D800 and D800E full frame (FX) DSLRs a few months ago, it was a breakthrough. These cameras push the limits in resolution beyond anything previously seen on 35mm and set new benchmarks in DSLR video capabilities. This is great news, because whether or not competitors come up with even better models, you (the consumer) still win. So, we know that they are excellent. All he reviews tell us so. The big question in photographers’ minds is probably whether to get the D800 or the D800E. The “E” sounds somehow more Exotic and Exclusive, and promises even sharper photos. Given this, the D800E’s 10% higher ($3300 vs $3000) price sounds justified. Sort of like a D800 “de luxe” edition, right? Not necessarily.
J.D. Power and Associates, a company best known for their car satisfaction surveys, have recently published a buyer satisfaction comparison for the major DSLR manufacturers. In the car world we know that Japanese cars tend to be the most reliable/satisfying, but in the camera world we deal almost exclusively with Japanese brands – so who is going to win?
Since bars speak louder than words, I'll skip to the results:*Note that the term "DSLR" excludes mirrorless and compact cameras.
Olympus and Panasonic are leaders in mirrorless system cameras,
at the expense of their DSLR product lines.
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 ($594, 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 both reversed, and larger – the Tamron being sold for €374€399 vs the Sigma’s €565€579.
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.