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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.

 



Marc Lebryk

Que Audio IQ Rig Review...


I always love getting calls from the folks over at Roberts Camera here in Indy because either they have something very exciting to talk about that I likely don't understand, or they have a product they want to send with me into the field to either evaluate or break. Despite the fact that the aforementioned breakage has in fact happened, to a point where I was offering to buy the equipment within an hour of having the beta units, this trend still continues because either they like my writing style, they like my opinion, or usually the way the items break is generally entertaining to say the least. That said, this last time they called was because of a new product coming out geared at Newspaper photographers and reporters everywhere named the Que Audio IQ Rig.

iq-rig

(Photo Courtesy of Robert's Camera's Website)

First off I need to say that I am not being paid to do this review (or any of these reviews) so any difficulties I have with an item out of problems with construction or just my sheer stupidity I'll tell you all about. That's what makes these fun. Why is this important for newspapers? Before I left the Indianapolis Star I went through training classes with the editorial staff on conducting interviews and editing the video with the iPhone's iMovie application. The newspaper had several "rigs" for the staff's provided iPhones to record the information usually including some kind of shotgun mic, an obscure wide angle lens adapter and generally shaped to look like an Indycar Steering wheel with a iPhone as most of the display information. This is great for if you are walking around as it gives you a good handhold on your phone, but not a whole lot of stability right? This is where the folks over at Que Audio have decided to come to the rescue with their IQ Rig, which frankly if I still worked at a newspaper I would probably use incredibly frequently.

 

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The rig itself is pretty self explanatory. It's essentially a cell phone holder like you would find in a car except with a base with some rubber feet on it. The base is well thought out as it's got a mount to put the rig on a Tripod for on location when something like a table isn't an option. It's a beautifully simple "well duh" design that just works in that you put the phone on it, back it up to the appropriate distance and rock and roll. The important part of the IQ Rig is the Microphone which is something the iPhone (or Android phones) don't do well for interviewing applications. The iPhone's microphone is Omnidirectional, meaning it just picks up everything it can hear from everywhere. This way if you do an audio interview you can set it down on a desk between two or three people and get ALL of the conversation. This is great for audio interviews, but not for video interviews. To test this out I took the IQ Rig to a restaurant here in Indianapolis and attempted to do an interview with my friend Paul D'Andrea of PDA Photography here in town. My goal was to do a short interview of Paul and his journey of going from web developer to self employed photographer. Attempted is the key word because either the IQ rig is more complicated than I had thought, or something wasn't quite working right with my copy..... I was having a terrible time getting the microphone splitter to work through my headphones and eventually gave up meaning I have no interview of Paul. It was great to catch up with him, but I also wanted to have a bit more of his story on video. As you can see the recorder worked without the headphones working, but I didn't know that at the time. Either way it makes a great sample of a with and without in a busy place. More information after the clip.

So yea the real issue wasn't the noise in fact the Que Audio IQ rig microphone really knocked down a lot of the ambient. I was impressed to say the least. In retrospect it would have been a solid idea to listen to the video at the restaurant and just see, however after several minutes of fumbling we decided just to enjoy lunch. I only learned later that the rig did it's job, and I just gave up early. Live and learn. After this, I tried to use 4 different sets of headphones, and none of them registered with the IQ rig's splitter to let me hear the audio while being recorded. I could hear the tappity tap tap of the phone's controls as I punched them through the headphones while connected to the rig, but when video was recording it was silent as though I was just wearing my headphones to avoid having to talk to folks in a busy place. Always fun, but not always what you're looking for when wearing headphones; especially with a piece of gear like this. Again I did try 4 pairs of headphones, so I'm just assuming that the copy I had was just malfunctioning OR it could be that the jack is only used to listen to audio during playback without having to unplug the rig completely, but why would you not be able to listen to the audio? It is just splitter right? With all of that out of the way, I need to reiterate that the device really did record great audio as you can see of my interview with my friend Brad here in the video below. The interview I did with Brad was basically asking him what he thought of the IQ rig, which he had never seen before and whether or not he though it was viable in his line of work. (UPDATE: I talked with Mark over at Que and he informed me that monitoring audio via the headphone jack is app dependent, and in most cases does not work due to latency issues. Kind of like watching a dubbed movie. He did say that it was easy to test the mic by whispering into it at about an inch away from each side to determine it's effectiveness in every direction would greatly help you understand what it was capable of also.)

I chose to interview a non professional photographer to go with this interview for a few reasons. Pro photographer has certain pre conceived notions about iPhone photography as well as they look at this and immediately think newspaper. Brad, while owner of lot of Nikon lenses and a Nikon D800, also is the general manager of his company Ultrasun USA. Brad stated this would be great for employers to be able to record job interviews as well as folks that go to trade shows often to be able to get testimonials of their customers and clients unobtrusively as lets face it; cell phone's do a pretty decent job with photos and videos these days and the IQ rig isn't all that scary looking. I know I even I don't feel like having my video taken or done by anybody with a scary looking device and I carry scary looking devices!

 

IMG_6184(Brad holds his iPhone 5s up to the fully extended IQ Rig)

 

As you can tell from that image the device can hold almost any sized smart phone even with the case on it assuming that the headphone jack is accessible. Overall I would have to say I was greatly impressed by the Que Audio IQ rig. It really held its own in terms of recording very useable excellent audio with a device that just about everybody carries in their pocket and has with them every day and everywhere from in the car, to the office to in the bathroom. I think my only complaint as a professional is that there is no way to visually monitor the audio coming in through the microphone on the phone's screen. I'm sure there are video apps out there that do that, however I was just using the standard camera app on the iPhone and as you can tell from the video above Brad's audio is a bit quieter than mine. I left it that way to demonstrate that you do need to be careful when recording your audio that you keep it consistent, because while some things can be fixed in post it's better to not have to do that. The punchline here is that I'm more impressed than I thought I would be. As far as phone accessories go this one is pretty solid. Something I didn't even touch on is that the rig was customizable and that you could even easily pan and tilt the phone and the microphone during recording to maximize your video's audio and visual potential. If you're looking to make the most of your iPhone or Android Phone's video and audio capabilities I think that this is a must have in your kit. It's light weight, and small. It uses a couple of tiny special batteries in the microphone, but they looked like the ones you find in hearing aides that generally come in 20 packs from the local Drugstore. Plus it is relatively small so it can easily fit into a backpack, or messenger bag to take with you as you travel as Brad pointed out. As always if you're looking to buy a Que Audio IQ Rig, do it HERE, or call the folks at Roberts Camera here in Indy. They are very knowledgeable and will even let you come in and play with one before you buy. I promise you, if you shoot a lot of video with your iPhone and you think the audio is lacking? this will solve your problem. More Soon



Marc Lebryk

The New Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art...


You would be surprised how often I get asked what lenses are good lenses to buy for folks either beginner or Professional. It's almost a daily occurrence actually. Not that I mind, because I don't. In fact I'm in middle of a three part series called "the right l ens" that I'm doing for Robert's Camera's blog. (See the first part here, subsequent parts are on the way). It means that people seem to trust my judgment, and I'm honored and humbled by that. I'm especially honored and humbled when someone like Jody Grober calls and says he's got a new lens that everybody's talking about and he wants me to take a couple days to see if it's really all that. In this case he called and said he had the new Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art lens. Now at first you think 50mm F1.4, these have been around for forever what could be so different about this lens? What could be so new about this lens? Also, a Sigma? Yes. Yes, a Sigma. In fact anybody who reads my blog regularly knows that I was asked to do something similar with Sigma's 35mm F1.4 last year when it made all kinds of waves in the Photo world. Sigma's 35mmF1.4 blew me away back then, and in fact to this day is still a lens that I really want. So my big question was how would this 50mm change how I thought about my Nikon 50mm equivalent? Let me just begin by saying DAMN.

IMG_9997

(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art Lens. 1/5000th@F1.4)

As usual I'll now add in here that I'm not being paid by Roberts Camera or Sigma to write this review. If something is wonky about this lens, I'm going to tell you at the risk of being flamed on the internet. (It's happened) No money is changing hands for this opinion, so good or bad you can take it as far as you trust my judgment.

With that now said I'll say that this 50mm sets a new standard for 50mm F1.4 lenses in my book. This is where things get a bit sticky in my opinion though. I've never shot with the Nikon 58mm F1.4 lens, and I've never shot with the OTUS 55mm F1.4 lens that sets the bar for 50mm lenses (I'm actually not allowed to even see the OTUS due to its expense). I have shot with a Canon 50mm F1.2 and 50mm F1.4 lens, as well as obviously my own Nikon 50mm F1.4. Thing is this. Do I condone spending $4,200 on a 55mm F1.4 lens? Not a chance. Everybody dreams of owning that one lavish silly item. A Zeiss OTUS is not that item for me, and I can imagine very similar for lots of people. What about a Nikon 58mm F1.4? Nah, it's not on my shopping list. If Nikon decided to make me an Ambassador and/or loan me one for a while, I'd probably use the hell out of it, but as far as I know, that's not on the horizon so the $1700 Nikon 58mm will stay at Roberts when it comes to my Camera bag. Wait, I thought this review was about the Sigma Lens.... Why am I mentioning the OTUS and the Nikon 58mm? Because the rumors are that the Sigma 50mm F1.4HSM Art Lens is just as good if not better than those much higher priced competitors. After a few days with the Sigma: I believe them.

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First off, the Sigma is much larger than I expected. I think of the 50mm as a Street photography lens, but honestly I didn't feel very inconspicuous with it. In fact, if you look at the above image you can see what I mean in regards to how big it is.... Yea, and that's without the hood. Side note, my Nikon 50mm F1.4 is kind of beat up... I kinda use the crap out of it,so what?. Anyway, I wouldn't be caught with the hood on my Nikon 50mm, but Sigma you wouldn't (and didn't) catch me dead without the hood on it for fear of that large 77mm Front element. The 77mm Filter is amazing though because most of my lenses take 77mm Filters and now that's one less extra filter size I'd have to worry about with the Sigma. In fact the only lens adapter I own for my Formatt HiTech GND filter holder is the 77mm so It meant that I could use those with the Sigma as well. I didn't have the Nikon version of this lens, but instead a Canon version on a Canon 5D Mark II. Just like Sigma's 35mm F1.4 last year, the 50mm didn't really ever hunt for focus even in low light. In the lowest of lights there were slight focus inconsistencies, but there's no telling if that was because of the 5D, the Sigma lens, or because it was darker than I should have been shooting in the first place.

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(Canon 5D Mark II, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art lens, 1/160th@F1.4. Nikon SB-900 Zoomed to 200mm shot up into its built in bounce card, set to 1/32nd power from camera right. Speedlight triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus X from in the camera's hot shoe)

I took this photo of my love Shannon at the Light Painting workshop that I gave for Roberts Camera last weekend. The lighting isn't perfect but I was pleased with the image considering I shot it with a bare bulb Nikon SB900 triggered by a Canon Camera with a Pocket Wizard... (In fact you can even see the speedlight a bit in her glasses, but that's what I get for doing it quickly in two frames, as opposed to setting something up). The Bokeh, or out of focus portions of the image were really beautiful. The colors were right, and the edges seemed full with little vignetting. Honestly though, I don't normally keep my subjects at the edge of the frame, so if there's a little vignette or a tiny bit of edge distortion it doesn't bother me. I saw little to no Color fringing or Chromatic Aberrations though, which really impressed me. Even my Nikon 50mm F1.4G on my D4s will have those from time to time, and while minimal and easy to fix; they are still annoying. Most of the time you can only see things like that when zoomed in at 100% though, so a majority of shooters won't even worry about them anyway. Out of focus backgrounds though appeared very pleasing to the eye whether they were intentionally a large part of the image or not.

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(Canon 5D Mark II, 800ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/320th@F1.4)

Most of my time with the Sigma was spent at either F1.4 or F2 because I'm a firm believer in having a lens like this for a purpose. If I wanted to shoot 50mm F8, I'd use my 24-70 at 50mm F8. You'll tell almost no difference in image quality between the twi lenses that way. Same goes for any lens I own that has a F1.4 Aperture. If I wanted to shoot at 85mm F10, I'd use my 70-200. The real reason to buy a lens with a F1.4 Aperture is to shoot at F1.4 or F2. Otherwise known as that place where other lenses can't go. With that I should mention that at those "regular" settings, this lens really shines too.

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(Canon 5D Mark II, 2000ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/60th@F5.6)

Even on a Canon 5D Mark II, I never felt like the new Sigma 50mm F1.4 was going to let me down. There are plenty of occasions where I've not had faith in my Nikon 50mm F1.4, but I've gotten used to the circumstances that cause any trouble I may have and know how to avoid them. With the Sigma, I felt confident across the board. That may be the whole "it's a new toy" syndrome, or the fact that this lens is twice as expensive as my Nikon Counterpart. This may be a good time to address that in fact. Yes. My Nikon 50mm F1.4 is only $490. The Sigma is $1,000. The Sigma is easily twice as good as the Nikon 50mm F1.4 in my opinion. Super sharp, super fast, and very accurate with Sigma's version of the Silent Wave Motor where as the newest Nikon 50mm F1.4G has been tested to be a tiny bit slower than the old Nikon 50mm F1.4D. Do I feel like Canon's 50mm F1.2 is twice as good as the Sigma? Definitely not. What about The Otus? Is it worth 4 times as much? (4 TIMES AS MUCH???). Seriously? Not a chance.

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(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/8000th@F1.4)

What Sigma has done here is given "ordinary" folk the ability to own the cream of the crop. While as even a pro I'd love to own a Zeiss OTUS, it'll never happen and that doesn't keep me awake at night. The Sigma however? Absolutely. I'd love to own one. (Not to mention that 35F1.4 that I raved over last year). Not owning the Sigma 50mm doesn't keep me awake at night but I do know that not only would I own it but I'd use it quite a bit. It would most likely end up in the condition of my Current Nikon 50mm lens after not too long and that's fine because these things are meant to see and photograph different things, even if those things mean they get a little dinged up. You should see some of the stuff my 85F1.4 has seen. I know that I am someone who very eagerly awaits an 85mm F1.4 ART lens, especially if it is of this quality. I bought my Nikon 85F1.4D for $700 on ebay about 6 years ago, and the new Nikon 85mm F1.5G costs around $1700..... If anybody from Sigma reads this, call me, or call Jody Grober at Roberts because my money is waiting for a new 85mm F1.4HSM Art Lens.

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(Canon 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/160th@F2)

AAAAAAND there is the ever so ubiquitous cat photo. What do you expect, there are lots of available subjects, but none are as readily available or as sleepy as the cats. As you can tell, there are very few issues in background bokeh, or on the edges in terms of vignetting. This image is obviously back lit and the lens and camera had very few difficulties with this combination. Even if you may not think of a 5D Mark II as an old camera, it is, and there were no issues here. In fact, as I recall it was a fraction of a second "Auto Levels" in photoshop to achieve that uncropped image above. Could I have done that with my Nikon 50? Taken the photo maybe, but not had as little editing to do. That's what you pay for...

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(Canoon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 HSM Art, 1/1600th@F1.4)

So yea, wow. Sigma has once again impressed me beyond belief by what they have produced in a prime fast aperture lens. So much so that as as I said above. Sigma. Call me. My money is ready for a 85F1.4 Art lens. I don't know what made you decide to step up like you have, but you have put Canon and Nikon on a run for their money and I like it. Sigma Nailed this. Nikon and Canon have the camera bodies and Sigma has added a helluva contender to the lineup of lenses to let the photographers shoot the way that THEY want to shoot. When students ask what to buy when the Nikon or Canon equivalent is a bit out of the price range Sigma is now my go to answer. I challenge Tamron and Tokina to prove me wrong. Everything I've touched or seen out of Sigma in the last 2 years has not only met but far surpassed my expectations from not just the Sigma name, but the Nikon or Canon name as well. If you don't own a 50mm lens (and I am a firm believer that everyone should have a 50mm prime of some kind in their bag) then the Sigma is more than just an option; This time it's the cream of the crop.

If you're looking for a Sigma 50mm F1.4 lens, get one HERE at Roberts Camera here in Indy. I buy about 95% of my gear from them. They are good people, whether you're local or not.

Otherwise as usual. More Soon.

 



Phil

New Nikon Coolpix A and Coolpix 330. A predictable entry and a big WOW!


We got a treat yesterday when Jeff Penn, our Nikon rep, brought in two new cameras that will soon be in stock at our stores.

The Nikon Coolpix A is a camera that many folks are salivating for.  My first impressions of it were good, but I was hoping for a little faster auto focus.  But first the good;  The camera is very small and easy to handle.  In terms of a smaller point and shoot with a true APS sensor, it has the competition beat as of today.  The controls are easy to get to.  Coming from the P series Coolpix cameras, the layout is very similar.  The manual focus control is very easy to manipulate and offers you many levels of electronic zooming to allow for precise focus.  The images are very sharp, color is spot on.  It is supposed to have a sensor in it very similar to that of a Nikon D7000 SLR.  I believe it.  My only reservation is the speed of the auto focus.  Not quite up to snuff.  If SLR image quality in a point and shoot is what you are after, I would still seriously give this one a look.  Pricing will be $1099.95

coolpixA

 

The Coolpix 330 was the real surprise for me.  Way to go Nikon!  This one you got exactly right.  I was expecting to be wowed by the Coolpix A, but the 330 is the one I would love to have for myself.

First, the speed.  Wow.  This thing is very fast.  As fast as many SLR's out there.  The screen resolution is very high.  Colors pop off the screen.  It's not an APS sensor like the Coolpix A, but it does have a larger, 1/1.7 in. CMOS sensor that dwarfs it's predecessor in the P310.  They added RAW capture to this one.  Finally.  The close focus macro is the best that I have seen in a Nikon to date.  GPS and 5x optical round it out.  At $379.95 this will be a big contender.  It will give those Canon S110's a run.  I can't understate how impressed I am with this one!

coolpix330

 

We should start to see these beauties by the end of this month (March 2013).  Can't wait!



Derek

Marc Lebryk Reviews Fuji XPro-1


 

Whew, busy day over here at Roberts blog central. Now the news is that Indianapolis-based photographer Marc Lebryk has finished up a hands-on review of Fuji's hot new X-Pro 1 we were able to wrangle him for a weekend. With it's uber-retro form factor and its clear aims at eroding some of Leica's digital rangefinder market, the X-Pro 1 was probably the most hotly anticipated mirrorless compact we've seen announced since Panasonic and Oly created the market a few years back. And if you're one of those people with the itch, but not the scratch (see what we did there?), you can read Marc's thoughts to help ease the sting for a while. Or maybe convince yourself to take the plunge. Either way, your reading enjoyment is at the link below.



Derek

EOS 5D Mark III Puts Canon In DXO Mark's Top Ten


 

While we wait on Canon to get back to us about it's going to do about the pesky light leak, how about some shop talk about the EOS 5D Mark III's technical prowess under the hood? Luckily, that's exactly what DXO is giving us the ability to do, with another of their infamously objective sensor test barrages. The final word? The EOS 5D Mark III ranks highest of any Canon sensor to date, with 24 bits of color, 11.7 stops of ISO range, and capture details uncompromised by ISO all the way up until 2293. Not a bad show, we think you'll agree. Now, it's just back to waiting to see what happens with more of the new Canon king getting sent out...

Check out the full DXO break-down via the link.

Results By DXO Labs



John

Fuji X-Pro1 Amazingness and Other Such Goodies


Hello Readers,

I dont know about you, but ever since Fuji announced the X-Pro1 in January i have been anxiously waiting to put it through its paces.   This is my extremely cursory upfront first impression review.

WOW!  Wowsers!  Yep...speechless.  Almost.

I have seen some great shots from this camera out there on the internet.  The tonal value of the black and white images have especially impressed me.   Unfortunately, the internet can't tell you everything you need to know about a camera.  It can't tell you how it feels in your hands, how well it balances or if the dials move smoothly and precisely.  Fuji nailed it.  This camera is more friendly to operate than the little brother and award winning X100.  I was up and running at full speed within 10 minutes of first holding the camera.  Its EASY.  For the nostalgic, old school, rangefinder photo bugs, you will be right at home.

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Derek

Local Derby Shooter Marc Lebryk Talks D4


Photo by Marc Lebryk

Following up hot on the heels of the last D4 love post, we have one of our favorite local photogs today getting his initial thoughts about Nikon's new D4 up. As a long-time Nikon shooter for his personal work, and a Canon shooter for his day job, Marc Lebryk is often a pretty good source for balanced thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of both systems. And, after burning in excess of a thousand frames with a D4 in his first weekend with it, his review seems to stop at nothing short of glowing. But, don't take our word, go on over to his blog to see his exact thoughts, some high-iso crop samples, one full-size high iso shot from a Derby bout, a video sample, and more.

 



Derek

Nikon Cleans Up At DXO Mark's SensorParty


So, you might be aware Nikon has recently released two highly anticipated cameras, the top-pro D4 and the compact pro D800. And as always with new cameras, the pending question have been: can they improve upon the image quality of the last generation? This is especially true in the somewhat controversial D800 with it's massive resolution which is criticized online for challenging one of the common rules of digital imaging: the smaller your pixel, the more noise you'll have. Considering it's predecessor was one of the low-light kings, people have been waiting with some anticipation, we feel, to see how such a drastic change is going to affect the legacy Nikon's been building in low-light performance.

And now, DXO Mark, makers of analytic sensor evaluation software, have finished their purely empirical analysis of Nikon's two new sensors. Their conclusions? Nikon has nailed it.

DXO's Results For The Nikon D800

The D800 is a runaway success by their measure, and is now their top-rated sensor of any type. Yup, any type. Even medium format. And in case you skimmed that graphic up there, I invite you to go back and pay attention to that reported 14.4 stops of dynamic range. Now that's impressive. For you low-lighters out there, ISO performance is rated at the point where image noise begins to compromise detail and resolution. So, the D800 doesn't quite rule the way the D3s did (it made it up to 3253 ISO in that measure), but it does best the D700, which only made it up to 2303. Not bad for a camera with more megapixels than I have years to my name, right?

And, what about the D4, you ask? Well, it's apparently no slouch either, and currently sits at the third best sensor they've ever reviewed, below only the D800 and Phase One's IQ 180 back. None too shabby there. High ISO performance here edges really close to the D3s (which remains the highest-rated low-light shooter in their database), falling a mere .15 stops lower in exchange for those extra megapixels.

So, you Nikon folks shouldn't have any worries about the new generation of cameras left except one: do you need more resolution, or do you need a machine gun that can fire shots fast enough to assemble a zoetrope from the results?

For you Canon folks, we're still waiting for results on the EOS 5D Mark III, we'll report back once they're in. For everyone else, why not go ahead and get on our preorder lists for Nikon's two new champs, or hit the links below to check out DXO mark's full reports on them?

D800 Preorder

D4 Preorder

 

DXO Mark Analysis for D800

DXO Mark Analaysis for D4

DXO Mark Sensor Rating Chart



Derek

Engadget Reviews Casio Tryx


The Casio Tryx is something of an odd product. It's a point-and-shoot, and maybe a bit of a Flip alternative. No worries there. But it's got this trick, you see, where the body with the LCD hinges and swings and swivels out from inside a metal frame so you can... something. Prop it up on tables, use it like a handle, do those... other extreme things. And, it's got all of two buttons, the rest being done through a touch interface. So, it's an interesting product, to say the least. And, now you can read what popular tech blog Engadget thought of it. Yup, they've posted their own hands-on thoughts about Casio's most original little camera. What'd they think? Why, hit the link below to find out.