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November 2007's Updates
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Baby Ryan Rockwell. Cute photos with tech data.

NEW: Nikon D3   D300   14-24mm   24-70mm  18-55mm VR 

Canon 40D  1Ds Mk III  14mm II  18-55mm IS  55-250mm IS

Holiday Camera Guide: Recommended Cameras

NEW: Nikon D3 High ISO Comparison. First shots; sloppy but say enough.


30 November 2007, Friday

Amazon has the D300 in stock at $1,799.95 here as I write this at 7:30PM PST.

NEW: Nikon D300 vs. D200 Moonlight High ISO Comparison.

NEW: Nikon D300, D200, D40 and Canon 5D High ISO Comparison. The Canon 5D slaughters everything else. If you want high ISO performance, you want the Canon 5D for about the same price as the D300. Personally I'm more concerned with color and tone, and the D300 is superior for that. The Nikon D3 will probably have the color and tone of the D300 and the noise performance of the 5D, but costs more than both of them put together and no one can buy a D3 today anyway.


29 November 2007, Thursday

NEW: Nikon D300 Example Photos. Cacahuate! Now you can see why I'm so excited about my D300's color and it's highlight handling. I wasn't even trying, and my first day's shots look as good as if I were.

NEW:Nikon D300 Picture Control System: How I set my D300 for psychedelic colors and how you can download and restore these same settings into your own D300.

Sky and Telescope published the first astro photo made with a D300.

Rename: I'm renaming Nikon's magnificent but stupidly-named "Active D-Lighting" as "Adaptive Dynamic Range" or ADR. We also could use "Automatic Dynamic Range Accommodation" (ADRA). That's what it does: it applies the zone system and alters exposure as well as development for each shot in order to accommodate the scene's dynamic range.


28 November, 2007, Wednesday



Last Night's sunset, exactly as shot in-camera. (D300)

I love my D300. I have been having so much fun shooting that I haven't been able to sit down and show you what I've been doing. The D300 is all about color: it gives me wild colors that I've never be able to get directly out-of-camera before. Battery life is at least 1,000 shots per charge, and I'm using my 2-year old D200 battery!


25 November, 2007, Sunday

Added a ton of examples and observations to my Nikon D300 Review.


24 November, 2007, Saturday

Something's fishy with my new D300. All the lateral color fringing from my 10.5m fisheye seems to have been auto corrected, even in my JPG files direct from camera! Hmm, time to pull out my D200 and see if this is for real or my vivid imagination.


Full-Resolution, Full-Moonlight Example Photo from D300, shot with 24-70mm f/2.8 at 70mm and f/2.8! To those of you who know lenses, this wide-open tele shot should say it all: Holy Cr*p!. Focus is on the nearer row of houses, not infinity, and of course trees blow in this 15 second exposure at ISO 200.

Just as predicted, those of us who ordered our D300s back in August are getting them now. Mine arrived yesterday. I pity the people who don't read me and wait around to read reviews before ordering, since they may have a long wait.

My D300 takes the same battery as the D80 - D200, so I was shooting as soon as it hit my hand.

I shot under full moonlight last night to get high ISO comparisons. I've already written up my impressions in my D300 Review; later I'll format and post the examples. OK, I couldn't resist and did post an example comparing the D200 and D300 at ISO 6,400. (I of course had to push the D200 to ISO 6,400 in Photoshop.)

Also as predicted, about a dozen people who didn't take my advice back in August to order a D300 have already paid those who did order the D300 an average of $2,000 each on eBay. That's $200 more than these sellers paid, and sad point is that the buyers had to pay today via Paypal, and the people who ordered the D300s in August didn't have their credit cards charged until the D300s shipped yesterday. My credit card bill won't even show up until next month, much less be due until 2008. The bottom-feeders reselling used D300s collect $2,000 cash per camera today, and probably won't have to pay their $1,800 per-camera credit card bills until next year.

With digital, one never should wait to order, since if you hate the product when it does ship you either have usually about 10 days to return it for a full refund, or sell it to someone who didn't think ahead for a fast cash profit.

This is why I always order everything new the first day I can, and keep suggesting everyone do the same. I don't get any special treatment; I merely think ahead. That's how I get my gear fast, and no, no credit cards get charged until the gear actually ships. This is of course presuming you're using the good stores.

I have no idea when the D3 will hit; I hear different stories involving secret handshakes everywhere. Maybe next week, maybe 2008. We'll see, but rest assured, if your order isn't already in, you're not getting your D3 for quite a while unless you want to overpay for a used one.

Nikons and Canons are not to be confused with dumpy consumer electronics products which often are often released too early, before the designs are completed. I've never had a Nikon or Canon product that wasn't completed.

When Nikon and Canon update firmware, I never even bother to update it since the v1.01 and 1.00 firmware is fine. Heck, the v.0.37 firmware in the prototype D3 I tried worked great, too, and Nikon knows that version is going to crash.

When Nikon or Canon do goof, the fixes are in the free firmware updates, and very rarely, in free hardware recalls. In the very few cases Nikon or Canon screw up hardware, they've always replaced my hardware for free, even after warranties expire. Nikon and Canon cameras are not to be confused with cheap commuter cars or Microsoft software, and that's also why Nikon takes it's sweet time releasing things.

The hardware design for the D3 was done long ago; it's just the firmware which is annealing. The salespeople all seem to have their D3s in their hot little hands, and simply will update their firmware as it's completed. Nikon doesn't sell cameras to us before the firmware is complete because of all the few losers who will blow miniscule defects out of proportion on the Internet while the firmware is still pre-release.


20 November, 2007, Tuesday

Nikon 18-55mm VR

Nikon 18-55mm VR

BREAKING NEWS: Nikon 18-55mm VR ($200). This is a welcome addition, similar to Canon's recent 18-55mm IS and Nikon's excellent 55-200mm VR upgrade to the original Nikon 55-200mm.

You can buy both the 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR for not much more than half of the cost of the 18-200mm VR. Online experts who spend more time in front of their computers than shooting might even discover that the cheaper lenses are better for shooting test charts (I don't know; I haven't tried), but as every photographer knows, the best way to get a file of a paper test chart is to use a $50 scanner, not a camera.

The reason to pay almost double for the 18-200mm VR is twofold: first, who wants to carry an extra lens, and worse, have to juggle lenses right when the action hits? I don't! Having every focal length setting available with a flick of the wrist is everything.

Second, and less important, is that manual focus is a breeze with the 18-200mm VR. It's a pain with either of the cheaper lenses.

If you can get the $700 18-200mm VR over the pair of $200 VR lenses, just do it.

If money matters (but remember, lenses are always a great investment in the future), I'd keep the 18-55mm (non-VR) that comes as a kit, and add only the 55-200mm VR. VR is critical for long lenses because they amplify hand vibrations, but few of us would ever notice the improvement in the wider angles unless you're shooting in available darkness as I love.

NEW: Nikon's D300 Users Manual and Nikon's D3 Users Manual. I'm hearing that those who were the very first to order their D300s may start to get them this weekend, so now could be the time to read the book cover to cover.

NEW: Holiday Camera Recommendations. You regular readers don't need this, but mom asked.

Praise: The movie Ratatouille had me rolling over in my seat at how well they mimicked focus-pulling and bokeh better than real cameras can. The film was entirely computer-generated (CG), and had the best bokeh I've ever seen.

The new talking-penguin movie Surf's Up has gone even further in mimicking everything about photography.

Surf's Up is completely CG and has completely natural water and waves, the first I've ever seen. Waves, next to the human face, are the most difficult things to create in CG. They even went so far as to include water drops on lenses, vignetting, scratches on underwater housing ports and yes, even added more grain in lower light to mimic faster film stocks. It's as if these guys were doing this all for fun, since those elements aren't necessary to tell a story; they mostly impress observant people with their attention to detail. I loved the photography, you may or may not.

The most incredible thing in Surf's Up, which still has every hair on my body still standing on end, is the last shot. I won't tell you what it is, but most people who've actually experienced something so perfect in real life usually say that they could just die right then and have had had everything in life for which they had ever wished.

When I saw that shot, I freaked out at first with how perfect it was, and it just got better and better. Just like a fireworks display or musical composition that pulls everything out for an incredible climax, this last shot went beyond everything else that happened in the entire film. I don't know how well you'll enjoy it if you've never spent any time in the water, but it sure has me writing about it. It's the most incredible thing I've ever seen photographed. Of course it's CG, so they could do things no human photographer ever could do. If you know of a moving shot like this caught naturally, I'd love to see it. I've seen stills, but never a motion clip with a moving camera.

If you see Surf's Up on DVD, most of you will enjoy the little feature after you see the entire film showing some very basics of how they animate these things. (Don't watch it before.) The movie starts off bogusly, but stick through it because it gets much better. Even if you hate the movie, the last shot alone has me considering buying the DVD.


18 November, 2007, Sunday

Now that Apple has updated us to Safari 3, Safari 3 automatically reduces huge images to fit your browser window. This is great for my mom, but means you folks can't see my full-resolution images at 100% anymore.

To see them at 100%, simply click the image. Reclick to make it fir the screen. Easy, but not obvious.

16 November, 2007, Friday


I'm actually a little surprised that the new 24-70mm Nikkor is obviously so good. When I ran comparisons against cheaper and older lenses, I fully intended to see the old stuff be about the same. Nope, the 24-70mm outdoes them all.

People rightfully ask how I can go off about how much sharper the new lens is, then in the same breath say they all look the same. The answer is simple: to see sharpness differences, you have to know how to make a lens look its worst. Shoot it in daylight at f/2.8, then look at the image at 100% on a big screen, and the differences between lenses become obvious.

That's not how we make or display pictures.

Most photos are shot properly at reasonable apertures, like f/8, at which most lenses DO look alike. Even if there are small differences visible at 100% (there aren't), these small differences become completely invisible at small amateur print sizes like 13 x 19" (30 x 50cm).

Much as someone knowledgeable in an art form can appreciate a virtuoso doing something almost impossible that seems ordinary to most people (like when I hear Hector Olivera do a portamento on a real pipe organ, which organists know a pipe organ can't do), I know how impossible and remarkable it is to make a zoom lens sharp at f/2.8 and do it without darkening in the corners on full-frame. The 24-70mm does just that. My Velvia 50 slides seem three-dimensional even at f/2.8, presuming I'm shooting tests at infinity from the mountain with good seeing conditions so everything can be in focus.


Tokina announced a 11-16mm f/2.8 lens for Nikon DX and Canon 1.6x cameras. This could be interesting, since it's designed to be an expensive, 9-blade diaphragm, high-performance lens and may or may not outperform the Nikon 12-24mm. It's got a 77mm filter thread and is traditional AF, meaning no AF on the D40 or D40x. It may or may not get exported out of Japan; I hope it makes it to the USA. Tokina Japan lists it at 90,000 Yen, equivalent to $811 US.

Less exciting from Tokina is a 35mm 1:1 Macro, also only for the smaller format cameras. It has a 9-blade diaphragm, a 52mm filter thread, and won't autofocus on the D40 or D40x. It's boring because, to paraphrase Randy Newman, "short macro lenses got no reason to live." When you shoot macro, you need space between you and the subject. My 105mm is my favorite on my DX camera. Use a shorter lens and you get in the way of your lighting and you make the perspective look unnatural. I'd much prefer even the Nikon 60mm or Canon 60mm macros. Since Tokina Japan lists it at 68,000 Yen ($613 US), more than the Canon or Nikon lenses, I'd not get too excited. It may or may not get exported out of Japan.

Much less exciting, Sigma announced a 4.5mm circular fisheye for DX cameras, and a 10mm full-frame fisheye for DX cameras. This could be good news for Canon 1.6x shooters for whom there are no fisheyes, but a non-issue for Nikon shooters since we've had the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye for years.

A 4.5mm circular fisheye is almost useless; all you get is a circular image in the middle of an otherwise black frame. A 10.5mm full-frame fisheye is fun, since you get a complete full-frame image.

The Sigma fisheyes probably autofocus on the Nikon D40 and D40x while no Nikon fisheye does. I'd still rather use my Nikon fisheyes on my D40 because fisheyes don't need focusing anyway.

In case you're curious, as soon as I get a D3 in my hot little hands, one of my first comparisons is going to be a direct shoot-out among the Nikons fisheyes. I have access to a 16mm f/3.5 full-frame fisheye (made in 1974), 8mm f/2.8 AI-s circular fisheye (1985), 16mm f/2.8 AF-D full-frame fisheye (2005) and the 10.5mm DX Fisheye (2006). Of course full reviews of the two oldest ones are forthcoming, too. Hint: the 8mm fisheye is one of the most useless and expensive lenses made by Nikon.


15 November, 2007, Thursday

San Diego's Photography Week continues! Come see Ken Rockwell's presentation tonight, free, in Pacific Beach, San Diego at 7PM tonight. Details.

For those of you who came down for the week, not only was the Expo fantastic, but we've been rewarded with stellar weather these past two days for photography.

I've gotten back my first Velvia 50 from the new Nikon 24-70mm AFS. I've never used a sharper lens, period. The autofocus is dead-on on my F6, unlike on my D200, so it's deadly sharp even at f/2.8 in broad daylight at every focal length. Wow!

I also just got an original 35-70mm f/3.5 AI, Nikon's first pro mid-length zoom, to try when my D3 arrives. This old zoom is also very convenient; it has no kludge factor. OK, maybe the 43-86mm f/3.5 AI was a pro lens, but the 35-70 3.5 AI, with two rings and no external movement when zooming, is slick. I've also got a 43-86mm to try on the D3 against the new 24-70mm, and yes, I'll be re-reviewing a slew of old and obsolete lenses as time permits. They almost all will work on the D3.


13 November, 2007, Tuesday

My Nikon 24-70mm arrived yesterday. I shot it up against a bunch of lenses, except for the most relevant, which is the 28-70 2.8, since I don't have one. Thanks to my readers, it looks like I'll have an easy time of borrowing a 28-70 AFS when my D3 arrives for a serious comparison. THANKS!


12 November, 2007, Monday

I got my hands on all the new Nikon gear this weekend for a little while. I even had some time to compare the new lenses against some old ones on the D3. Read Saturday's report if you haven't already. I'll be moving my reports from below to the respective product pages later today.


11 November, 2007, Sunday

NEW: Photo Expo today, 9-4, Del Mar Fairgrounds, and it's free. It costs $9 to park at the fairgrounds, but there also is a raffle that looks free, so it's a deal even for cheapskates like me.

This show is bigger and more relevant than anything this side of NYC all year. When you roll in the free seminars from the big names, it's bigger than anything, anywhere. The new Nikon D3, D300 and the new lenses are there, too, for you to try out.

Canon, Pentax, Sony, Tamron, Tokina, Epson, Mamiya and every other name brand have their own factory reps there to answer anything you can imagine. I was there yesterday and it was awesome, and if you don't care about gear, there are loads of free seminars from big name speakers.


10 November, 2007, Saturday

Today I got my first hands on the Nikon D3, D300, 14-24mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8. Here are some first impressions:

A very nice thing about all this gear is how well it feels in hand. The lenses just work, the control rings are made of metal, there are no sharp edges or goofy mode switches, the focus flicks with a single finger. Everything just feels so right.

Likewise, the D3 just feels and sounds wonderful. Even if you don't care about the pictures, it just feels so good. It's easy to hold the whole D3 and either big new lens in one hand, and shoot with one hand, too. The D3 fits my big American hands perfectly. The D3 is sculpted and works so well that it becomes an extension of my consciousness.

D3: You can't not love the D3. It just feels right. It requires no users' manual: just pick it up and, if you know Nikon, you know the D3.

Besides how great it feels, it sounds great. It's smooth, quiet and fast. Finder blackout is almost imaginary. There is very little vibration: press the shutter and everything is over in less than the blink of an eye.

The finder is immaculate. Thank God Nikon has hidden all the AF sensor marks which littered earlier finders. For the first time since 1988's landmark Nikon F4, we have a clear finder with nothing in the way of our compositions except for one thin graticule marking the center-weighted area (an homage to the 1959 Nikon F) and the area covered by the sea of AF sensors.

I shot with a prototype. There is the possibility that some of the menu options, features and performance may change slightly when we get all our production versions.

Auto-select AF works great (that's the big white rectangle setting on the rear AF sensor mode selector switch). For my short period of shooting, it always instantly found my off-center subject with one or some of its sea of 51 sensors. This is going to be huge: if I don't have to either 1.) use my thumb to jack-around the AF sensor to land on my subject, or 2.) focus with the center sensor and recompose, then I can just shoot, which lets the camera get out of the way between me and my photograph. New photo hobbyists rarely appreciate that the most important improvements in photo technology have simply been features which get the gear out of the way of the photographer.

Canon has been grappling with seas of AF sensors, and how to control and select them, for about a decade. Canon has even tried eye-control! Let's hope Nikon, late to this party, has solved the problem. From what little I've seen so far, I think that this sea of sensors in the D3 and D300 will eliminate me from having to select AF sensors and/or recompose every single shot as I have had to do with Nikon these past 25 years. Yay! Many of you have no idea how emancipating this will be; it may be as big a leap as auto focus, zoom lenses and auto exposure have been. Most of my, and everyone else's, photos today still wind up being composed with the subject on one of the AF sensors, and that's bad.

When an AF sensor is active, it lights up clearly in red. When several of them are active, they light in red. When they are inactive, which is almost all the time, they disappear. Bravo! I finally can see my composition again without all the engraved AF sensors getting in my way as they do in older cameras. I hope an F7 film camera has this. Whoo hoo! This is far more important than what the D3 does at high ISOs. If you shoot a lot, it's indescribably nice to get our viewfinders cleaned up.

Auto ISO allows selecting the maximum ISO to which the D3 can go if you let it. You may set this maximum from as low as ISO 400, and may set the D3 to fly automatically up to ISO 25,600 (H2.0)! Of course you also may choose the slowest shutter speed below which the D3 raises the ISO.

High ISOs? They are for real. At 100% on my 30" monitor, I can't see any noise even at ISO 800. ISO 800 looks identical to ISO 200.

At ISO 1,600 I first can see some noise, but only in flat midtone areas. Noise at ISO 1,600 is pretty much invisible; you really have to be looking for it.

There's more noise at ISO 3,200, but it's still only visible in flat midtones, not in highlights or shadows. ISO 3,200 has about as much noise as a scan of a 35mm Velvia 50 transparency! ISO 3,200 is the first setting that has any hint of being shot at a high ISO.

ISO 6,400 is noisier, and the blacks are crushed a little to help hide the noise. At ISO 6,400 the highlights are still clean, and the shadows too dark to see any noise. ISO 6,400 is great, I'd use it any time I need it and not worry about noise. ISO 6,400 looks like it's shot at a higher ISO, but heck, earlier cameras looked like crapola set up here, and the fastest films ever sold had to cheat to get to ISO 3,200. If it's dark and ISO 6,400 means getting a sharp shot, just shoot at ISO 6,400.

ISO 12,800 (H1) looks similar to ISO 3,200 from my D40, which is noisy enough to avoid it unless I really need it. "Really needing it" means it's still better to shoot at ISO 12,800 than to risk motion blur.

ISO 25,600 (H2), at least on the prototype I tried, looks bad. Then again, ISO 25,600 is insane, a last-resort before using night vision intensifiers. ISO 25,600 is noisy but sharp.

Of course this was a prototype, and I think it had the NR turned off, which is not a default. The D3 you and I can buy will probably be even better, especially with NR active at default. We'll see, but in any case, the Nikon D3 is the cleanest camera I've ever used, even in prototype stage. It's perfect at ISO 800, where film used to look bad, and still clean enough to shoot in daylight at ISO 1,600 with no excuses!

Virtual Horizon: I kid you not: call this up in the menus and the rear LCD shows a virtual horizon indicator from an aircraft instrument panel. There is supposed to be an in-finder indication, but I wasn't able to call it up.

Manual-focus lenses have a three-stage "> o <" manual focus indicator, just like the F6 and early AF film cameras, for super-precise manual focus. It's on the bottom left as usual, and all in green. It doesn't seem to be obvious enough to use out of the corner of your eye, as it was on the F4. There are memory positions for 9 manual focus lenses to get full EXIF data and matrix metering.

Rear LCD: As expected, it's got double the linear resolution (four times as many pixels) as the newest Canon 3" LCDs. The Canon 1D Mk III, 40D and 1Ds Mk III look fuzzy by comparison. There is an LCD protector, but all the D3s I saw didn't have them attached.

Exposure Increments: Thank goodness, I can set these differently for ISO, exposure compensation and exposure setting. I prefer to set ISO only in full stops, set compensation in thirds, and aperture and shutter speed in either depending on my mood.

File Sizes: When I saw the file sizes, at first I thought I had goofed and shot at the wrong resolution. In fact, the D3, at least with prototype firmware, makes extremely efficient JPG files. This means that the D3 makes great-looking high-resolution files that don't take up much file size, card space or disk space. I shot in Large JPG Basic. They looked perfect (I saw no JPG artifacts), and the median file size was only 1MB! This allays my largest fear of the D3, which was that its files might have been bloated, as are the files from many of my other NIkon DSLRs. Nikons tend to produce files of the same size, while Canons are smart enough to vary file sizes to suit the level of subject detail. I shot mostly things with little detail, but the fact that files sizes were small, the images looked great and that the file sizes varied with subject complexity give me a very good feeling that the D3 is not going to bloat my hard drives and backup CDs. Yay!


D300: Much the same as the D3, in a package that feels like the D200.

I didn't bother trying high ISOs.

The AF system is similar, which also makes the D300 revolutionary with a clear finder for a change. The AF sensors, when activated, aren't quite as visible as on the D3.

The rear LCD is the same as the D3, and superior to anything else.

The PC flash sync and remote terminals have the same clever tethered covers as the F6.


14-24mm f/2.8: Insanely Good: It's the sharpest 14mm and 18mm lens I've ever used, by far. I know, because I brought my 14mm f/2.8, 18mm AF and 18mm f/3.5 AI-s and shot them against the 14-24mm on the D3. See the comments that used to be here now on ny 14-24mm f/2.8 page.



24-70mm f/2.8: I've added this content to my developing (hee hee) Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 review, especially since I now have one.


NEW: Photo Expo this weekend, 9-5 today (9-4 Sunday), and it's free. Be there; I will. There may be a charge to park but there also is a raffle that looks free, so it's a deal even for cheapskates like me.

This show is bigger and more relevant than anything this side of NYC all year. When you roll in the free seminars from the big names, it's bigger than anything, anywhere. I'm expecting the new Nikon D3, D300 and the new lenses will be there, too.

It's also the first sunny day in San Diego in a month from all the fires, so come down from LA or Santa Barbara or Chicago or wherever, make a weekend of it, and then stay for my free talk on Thursday. Sunset: about 4:50 PM, and if the cloud formations stay as they are now at sunrise as I write this, could be spectacular. over our numerous unspoiled beaches. (Hey, excuse me for having a good attitude, but I'm stoked to see the sun for the first time since I left for Yosemite in mid-October!)


09 November, 2007, Friday

WHEW! My site was constipated with all the photos I put on this page. I couldn't edit this page until I put all the Eastern Sierra photos into their own galleries and then could pull them off this page. They are much bigger in the new galleries.

NEW: Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra. Dozens of photos with full creative data.

San Diego Photography Week: Come on down!

Even though the weather here has been $#!tty (a local saying for "cloudy" and "hazy") ever since the fires, if I were you, I'd blow off work today and head down for a fast vacation in San Diego, at least for the weekend. We have a lot going on, and it's all FREE! You may want to look for hotels in Mission Bay, a fun place to stay, especially if you're into water skiing and other ride-on-toys.

NEW: Photo Expo this weekend. I've been there the past two years: it's a bigger, better and free show with both all the newest gear from Canon and Nikon (I'm expecting to see the D300 and D3 there), as well as loads of free seminars which usually cost much more elsewhere.

The great thing about San Diego is that just about everything worthwhile is free; unlike the big city where it costs even to park! I'm always astounded that this show, put together by one of our best local camera stores, is so much bigger and better than anything put on anywhere outside of New York or Las Vegas every year. It's well worth the trip!

Advance Notice: I'll be presenting my Eastern Sierra images to the Photo Section of the San Diego Sierra Club at 7PM this Thursday, November 15th. All are welcome and, like almost everything in San Diego, FREE! Come on down!

If I can get my film sorted, I hope to show actual Velvia 50 transparencies, not the measly digital files I show in my Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra gallery. Depending on time, and whether or not my cheap 35mm projector does a decent job on the club's mammoth 30 foot screen, I may also show intense medium format transparencies from Guatemala. I don't know about you, but many of us are dumping digital. We'd rather shoot than be in front of a computer all day and night and don't find it funny anymore to have to blow five grand on a new camera every 18 months.

Upcoming Nikon Lens Tests

NEW: I don't know if anyone cares except for my own lens-crazed self, but I just got a used 200mm micro AI-s and ancient (1974) 16mm f/3.5 fisheye in to test, all under the excuse of testing them for use on the Nikon D3 when it arrives. All these old lenses become very useful, at least for still subjects, on an FX camera. The 16mm has been factory AI converted, so it works perfectly.

I've gotten a bunch of other things, but these two today are particularly nice, and no one ever seems to mention them. Of course I paid more for the old, first generation 16mm as a collectors item than I did for my current AF-D 16mm fisheye, but you usually can find the old fisheyes for less than the AF lens if you don't want perfect examples. (I want to make nice product shots to illustrate the article.)

If you know of anyone, I may need to borrow a 16mm f/2.8 manual focus fisheye in about a month when I start comparing everything. I have access to an 8mm fisheye (expensive and almost useless) and every other 14mm and 18mm lens Nikon has made. Not that all these old lenses are great for modern photography, but I will be doing shootouts of just about every Nikon lens ever made in every focal length. I'm starting at the short end and working my way towards tele. Thus, if I can borrow the 16mm f/2.8 manual version to which I don't have access, I'll be able to include them with the rest.

I doubt anyone has one, but since I will have access to the 14-24mm and 14mm, borrowing the 15mm f/3.5 and 13mm f/5.6 would be interesting to compare to the 14mm lenses.

It will take me a while to work up to these focal lengths, but I also have my eyes open to get access to 24mm f/2 AI-s and 35mm f/1.4 AI-s, which I don't have yet for comparison. I have access to just about everything else.

I don't know about you, but I'm really curious how old stacks up against new, zoom against fixed, and manual focus against AF. We'll see, once and for all, unless I die trying.

This project is inspired by The Rockwell Retirement Ranch, which has had people loaning, selling and sending me old gear before the D3 was even announced. Now that I have old gear sitting here and the D3 is coming, it's going to be a party comparing lenses from the 1970s against Nikon's most expensive newest lenses like the 14-24mm and 24-70mm f/2.8.

Super 8 Update

Kodak has introduced new super-8 movie films. As I keep telling you, film, like Tombstone, Arizona, is too tough to die.

More Me

I like this write-up mentioning me in reference to Toastmasters. Presentations are very much like photography: strong editing and removal of irrelevant elements leads to a strong message.


04 November, 2007, Sunday

NEW: Canon 16-35mm L II Review. San Diego's air is still loaded with smoke, unless it's simply humidity.


< < back to what's new today

What Was New in:

October 2007

September 2007

August 2007 (Loads of new Nikons and Canons)

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

January and February 2007

2006 November - December (includes birth of Ryan Rockwell)

2006 October - November (includes photos from a trip to NY)

2006 June - September

2006 Jan - May



Caveat: The ads below come from a third party and I don't see or approve them. They are sent to your screen directly from a third party. They don't come from me or my site. See more at my Buying Advice page. Personally I get my goodies at Ritz, Amazon and Adorama.


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