Roberts Raw!
Marc Lebryk

Focusing the Nikon D750...


Recently I had an incredible opportunity to hang out with someone whom I have admired in the world of photography for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately I must leave you in the dark about exactly who it is (Hint, it's a Nikon Ambassador), but something important that came out of the conversation was this particular individuals thought that the New Nikon D750 having the same autofocus system that the Nikon D4 or D4s cameras has would have the same Autofocus performance. I'm not going to lie, the possibility of a $2300 camera that equals the autofocus performance of my $6500 Nikon D4s is simultaneously exciting and disheartening. I did after all pay $6500 for the D4s, so if it's just as good should I sell it and buy three D750's instead? It's complicated, but to illustrate my answers I took the Nikon D750 on a sports assignment with me. Not a set up event, but an actual sporting events coverage assignment that I had for USA Today at the University of Notre Dame.

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(Nikon D750, 2500ISO, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@70mm. 1/40th@F4. Shot after my assignment while on the way to the car. Wish I had a tripod with me, but I didn't)

One of my contracts since leaving the Indianapolis Star is with USA Today shooting sporting events. I've always loved shooting sports and this was a great addition to the other projects I work on since it allows me to mix my schedule up a bit. This year I haven't shot anywhere near as many sporting events as last year, but that's ok as I haven't exactly been sitting around at home either. That said, basketball season usually has me floating around to quite a few different places and teams. When the D750 experiment came up thanks to my friends at Roberts Camera, I could think of no better way to truly test the metal of the Nikon D750's autofocus than a bonified sporting event. In this case, the NCAA Basketball game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Coppin State Eagles.

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(Nikon D750, 2500ISO, Nikon 200-400F4VR@300mm. 1/640th@F4)

So before we get going. I need to explain a few things. First off, I was not paid to do this review by Nikon or Roberts Camera. I was paid by USA Today to shoot the images as news coverage, and the images were not photoshopped other than some cropping or basic color correction and brightness depending. Secondly this is NOT a full review of the Nikon D750. There are lots of really neat features that this camera has that I won't even talk about. Things like the WiFi or the tilting screen? Didn't even try them. What is important? It's sheer functionality. Can someone get a D750 and take it out to a high speed fast paced event and rely on it? How does it indeed compare to the D4s that Nikon sells for almost three times the price?

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(Nikon D750, 2500ISO, Nikon 200-400F4VR@350mm. 1/640th@F4)

My theory for shooting basketball is to primarily use two bodies alternating. (I do have a third body at the ready, but it rarely gets used during the game; it just has a wide angle on it for "just in case"). The bodies and lenses I generally shoot Basketball with are the Nikon D4 with the Nikon 200-400F4VR lens attached for the far end of the court, and the Nikon D4s with the Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2 for the close end of the court. It's a pretty potent Combo. I dig it. I generally put my faster camera on the closer end of the combo because it's more difficult to keep up with the stuff moving very quickly so close. The closer the action, the faster it moves. So while this particular Nikon Ambassador has been my Photography idol for a long time, I wasn't quite ready to throw caution to the wind on a paid job so I mounted the Nikon D750 to my Nikon 200-400F4VR and started shooting. My theory was simple. The theory was that if the camera couldn't keep up I would just put the D4 back on the lens and be done with it. But then something interesting happened.

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(Nikon D750, 2500ISO, Nikon 200-400F4@400mm. 1/640th@F4)

Not only did I use the D75o the whole game, but by the end of the game the 70-200 was on it shooting the close end of the court. No kidding. Why did I put it on to shoot the close end of the court? Because like the D4s I normally use, it didn't even flinch at the action through the long glass. Now with the 70-200? Same thing. I was easily able to shoot almost as I do with the D4 or D4s. The images were incredibly sharp and clean, and honestly other than having a different resolution it was otherwise unknown that I was using a different camera than normal; which for a $2300 camera is kind of astonishing if I do say so myself.

Now wait.

I just said I was able to shoot almost as I do with the D4 or D4s. That's correct. You may ask, if the images were as sharp and the camera was keeping up then why would I say almost? This is easy. The Nikon D750 is a $2300 camera and it feels like it. The Camera is smaller than the D800 or D810 without it's grip, and very much smaller than the Nikon D4 or D4s (which has the grip built in). It also as more of a Hybrid interface than any other Nikon camera I have used to date. Hybrid interface meaning that it's definitely a bridge between the interface on the Entry Level Nikon D3200, and the Nikon D800 in terms of buttons and setting changes. There is a small LCD on the top of the D750, but the back screen lights up with pertinent information when you are changing settings as opposed to forcing you to decipher the information on the tiny upper one. It's an interesting system and I'm not against it as it provides quite a bit more information (like very intricate white balance info), but in some cases I think it's a bit overkill as I found it not as fast as changing settings on my D800 or D4s. The camera's small size does have it's advantages though. For example, the D750 can easily fit into my Nikon 200-400 soft case while attached to the lens. This is something my D800 and D4 bodies can NOT do.

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(Nikon D750, 2500ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@105mm. 1/800th@3200ISO)

Something else I noticed about the D750 is that the viewfinder information wasn't the normal Nikon green which strangely enough; I really liked. I'm not sure why exactly, but it seemed easier to look at I suppose. The camera's autofocus was fantastic, and it was incredibly responsive. If it wasn't I wouldn't have put it on my short end shooting basketball. The body was a bit small for my liking, but it was incredibly capable. Is this a camera that I would trade my D4s for? Nope. While it matched the Autofocus Accuracy, it did not match the D4 or D4s in general Professional standards. Examples of things that the D750 did not match in terms of the D4 and D4s are little things like the backlit buttons on the back, or even things like the having the option to use the function button to set the Aperture and Shutter lock. (Things that football shooters use pretty regularly to keep from changing the shutter and aperture of their cameras as they run up and down the field). The other complaint that I have is that the Autofocus Points are closer together inside of the viewfinder. I didn't find that it made a difference when shooting horizontally, but when shooting vertically I often found that things would easily move outside the AF point's cluster, which was annoying. This could be me just complaining about nothing, or it could be something. Take it as you will. I would venture to guess without any research, that the points are about 10% closer together, which means there is 10% more frame without focus point coverage than my D4s, or D800.

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(Nikon D750, 2500ISO, Nikon 200-400F4VR@220mm. 1/640@220mm.)

Overall though, I am very greatly impressed with Nikon's D750. I would not hesitate in the least to carry one into almost any job on any day. It's still not enough for me as a full time pro to replace my D4s over, but if you're someone who is looking for that next step up, or a first step into Full Frame the D750 is a huge win. If you've got a D600 or D610 this is also the case in terms of an upgrade. The 24 megapixel files were great, and the camera was incredible responsive. If you're the photographer that's been waiting for the Long awaited D700 replacement but aren't quite sure this is that, then let me reassure you. THIS IS IT. It's an incredible camera for an incredible value and should not be overlooked by enthusiasts or pro's alike. To say I was impressed is modest. I was blown away, and can see the direction that Nikon is moving with it's next bodies. When the D5 comes out I can only imagine what it'll be like after handling this thing now. If they can put this much technology into a $2300 camera, imagine what they will be able to do with their normal Pro Budget. More Soon.

If you're looking to buy one, make sure you check them out with my friends at Roberts Camera here in Indy. Call, email or phone. They are there for you, and will answer questions! (including unrelated ones)

Body Only

Body with 24-120.

 



Derek

Canon Updates Stalwart 100-400mm, Drops the Push-Pull And Ups The Sharpness


File this under "well, that took 16 surprising years" but Canon has graced our mornings with a shiny, SHINY new 100-400mm IS today.

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Pretty much everything about the lens that could be upgraded has been. The quirky push-pull is gone, replaced with a traditional twisting zoom ring. But the stiffness and response of that zoom ring is still customizable, so, you can tweak how racking your 100-400 out works best for you. It has also switched to internal focusing, giving it yet another touch of the premium the original model was oddly lacking. The optical formula has jumped from 17 elements in 14 groups up to 21 elements in 16 groups, which has added only a few millimeters to the product but a sure-to-be-felt half pound to the weight. The trade-off for the extra time in the gym is a drop in minimum focusing distance from nearly 6 feet to just over 3 feet (bumping the maximum reproduction ratio up to .31x), and MTF charts that promise big, big things:

mtf

 

We'll have to wait and see how those pan out in the real world of course, but Canon is suggesting quite a notable increase in performance across the board at 100mm, with the sorta changes that will lead to it being visibly sharper across the frame. 400mm sees a less dramatic increase in sharpness performance, but should have a cleaner look especially in out of focus areas as they clean up the various astigmatisms on the graph a bit.

If you weren't already suspecting it, a new model with more glass and performance after a period of time long enough for an American child to grow up and start driving does come with a price hike. The new EF 100-400mm f/4-5,6L IS II USM will run $2,199.99 next month when it starts shipping, which is $500 more than the $1,699.99 price the outgoing model is sitting at. But chin up, Canonistas, that's still also $500 less than Nikon's equivalent offering in their camp.

If the price isn't too salty for you, and a better 100-400 is exactly the thing you've been waiting on, we're taking preorders now. No charge to preorder, and we'll call you once we have one for you and arrange payment only at that time. If you choose to or need to decline, you're free to do so and we don't tie up your funds in the interim.

Preorder a new 100-400mm II



Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography Class - Downtown


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. “Auto” is more than a bad four letter word! It’s the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to impact our final image. We’ll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$125
When:January 10th, 2015 - January 31st, 2015
Times:10am - 12pm
Where:Roberts Camera - Downtown
220 East St. Clair Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography - Brownsburg


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. “Auto” is more than a bad four letter word! It’s the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to affect our final image. We’ll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$125
When:January 8th, 2015 - January 29th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Starbucks Brownsburg
1085 N. Green Street
Brownsburg, IN 46112
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Cheryl Wessel: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography - Carmel


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. “Auto” is more than a bad four letter word! It’s the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to affect our final image. We’ll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByCheryl Wessel
Cost:$125
When:January 7th, 2015 - January 28th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Earth Fare Market
1392 S. Rangeline Road
Carmel, IN 46032
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography - Greenwood


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. “Auto” is more than a bad four letter word! It’s the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to affect our final image. We’ll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$125
When:January 6th, 2015 - January 27th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Strange Brew Coffee house -Greenwood
4800 W. Smith Valley Road
Greenwood, IN 46142
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Jennifer Hall: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography - Broad Ripple


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. “Auto” is more than a bad four letter word! It’s the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to impact our final image. We’ll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByJennifer Hall
Cost:$125
When:January 5th, 2015 - January 26th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Dunkin Doughnuts - 86th Street
1216 West 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: Free* Canon Rebel Camera Class


If you purchased your Canon Rebel begin the process of learning how to use the camera to it's fullest. Learn what the buttons and dials on the camera do. You paid good money for your camera, now let us teach you how to use it. This class is free to anyone who purchased a Canon Rebel. $30 to anyone who did not purchase the camera at Roberts

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$0
When:January 5th, 2015 - January 5th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Roberts Camera - Downtown
220 East St. Clair Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: Free* Nikon D3100's/5100's/7100's Camera Class


If you purchased your Nikon D3100/D5100, begin the process of learning how to use the camera to it's fullest. Learn what the buttons and dials on the camera do. You paid good money for your camera, now let us teach you how to use it. This class is free to anyone who purchased a Nikon D3100/D5100 from Roberts. $30 to anyone who did not purchase the camera at Roberts.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$0
When:January 7th, 2015 - January 7th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Roberts Camera - Downtown
220 East St. Clair Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: Free* Canon Rebel Camera Class


If you purchased your Canon Rebel begin the process of learning how to use the camera to it's fullest. Learn what the buttons and dials on the camera do. You paid good money for your camera, now let us teach you how to use it. This class is free to anyone who purchased a Canon Rebel at Roberts. $30 to anyone who did not purchase the camera at Roberts.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$0
When:December 11th, 2014 - December 11th, 2014
Times:6-8pm
Where:Roberts Camera - Downtown
220 East St. Clair Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Register Today