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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.


(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.


(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?


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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.



About Time It Got Here: The Canon EOS 7D Mk II


After what seems like ages of speculation and price drops and rebates on the original EOS 7D, Canon has finally announced the actually truthfully long-awaited successor to the EOS 7D. Sitting atop their APS-C line the EOS 7D line is aimed at professionals who prefer the weight and space savings of a compact body. And previously, that trade in size was at the cost of the absolute very best performance going, but if I'm reading that spec sheet right, the EOS 7D Mk II doesn't really come with any of those trade-offs.

So, I said it's an APS-C model, and to be specific it's of their beloved funky 1.6x crop factor. Full-frame shooters still need to look at the 5D or 1D X line. The sensor is a newly developed 20.2 megapixel model being piped through not one but two of those shiny new DIGIC 6 processors. As a result, you get native ISO of 100-16,000 (expanded 100-51,600) and 10 frames per second continuous shooting for 31 raw frames or 1,090 JPG. And, because fast shooting like that needs a strong AF system underneath it, Canon has drastically upgraded the AF module for this camera. It features 65 points now, and every one of them is the more accurate cross-type. EVERY. ONE. The center one is also sensitive down to -3EV, but really, can we go back to talking about how Canon fit 65 cross-type points on a sensor? I don't envy their engineers these past couple years, I'll tell ya that. To round out the imaging heart is a new 150,000-pixel RGB+IR 252-zone metering sensor, and a shutter life beefed up to 200,000 exposures.

So clearly the 7D Mark II is off to a solid start. Let's see what else there is in the announcement here. Hmmmm-hmm-hmm. Well, in addition to being a boss all cross-type AF system, it inherits the dual-pixel AF from its little bro the 70D letting it do contrast and phase detection at each point for smoother more accurate focus in live view and especially in video mode. It picks up the HDR and multiple exposure modes found in its full-frame counterpart, the 5D Mark III. Additional flexibility comes through the addition of an intervalometer and a bulb timer for those creative time lapse projects. The "Intelligent Viewfinder" has approx. 100% coverage, the LCD is a bit smaller than the going rate at just 3", but is at least 1,040,000 dots for making images look downright fuzzy as soon as you import them to your computer, and hey, it looks like GPS is built right on in there.

Video mode gets a bump, with it shooting in 720p or 1080p at up to 60fps, which it says enables it to do slow-motion capture at full resolution in either the ALL-I or IPB codec. You can also record in .MOV or .MP4, if you're into the more use-ready formats. A mini-HDMI port will pipe uncompressed stream to an external recording unit if you're looking to use this more professionally for your video workflow.

Canon's saying shipments will start in November, and you're looking at $1,799.00 body only or $2,149.00 with an 18-135mm STM lens. It'll use yet-another-new battery, the LP-E6N (though it will be backwards compatible with your LP-E6s if you have some), and a new battery grip, the BG-E16 (also works with the older LP-E6s), and a new wireless file transmitter in the form of the WFT-E7A Version 2. So, the camera itself is a nice price point, but if you want a grip or wireless transfer budget a little extra for accessories this time around.

Preorders? Eee-yup.

EOS 7D Mk II Body Only

EOS 7D Mk II with 18-135mm STM

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Is Nikon's New D750 the Full Frame You've Been Waiting On?


Well, I must admit I was beginning to think it wasn't going to ever come. But, here it is, on my desk to talk about this morning: the long-awaited successor to Nikon's D700 (which is, disclosure, still my own personal workhorse camera).

The D750, the specs tell me, is a 24.3mp full-frame shooter with EXPEED IV and a native ISO range of 100-12,800 (or 50-51,200 expanded). It has newer Advanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX II 51 point AF sensor (with 15 cross types, 11 of which work down to f1.8 just dandy), and along with that gets the grouped target feature seen on other newer high-end Nikons. Nikon also claims it's their first that can work down to -3ev, so, even better for shooting in the dark. You get the updated 3D Color Matrix III module for metering, and around back the LCD is beefed up to 3.2" with 1,299k dots of resolution and new tilting feature. Full 1080p is on board (this ain't the Df after all), and it marks Nikon's first full-frame to have the WiFi built in (so you don't have to pretend you love the WU-1a anymore). Frames per second actually bumps up, unexpectedly, to 6.5frames per second. Shutter life remains rated at 150,000 frames. So, that's all definitely good news all around there.

Moving on to the more mixed news then. A keyword you'll see time and again for the D750 is "light." This is achieved by switch out some of the magnesium on the front and top for carbon fiber instead, in a 'monocoque' skinning process. The other mixed news is the specs still saying the flash sync is at 1/200 (boo) (but there's another note saying it can go to 1/250 if you want with decreased flash range between 1/200-1/250, which I can live with), and the top shutter speed drops a stop to 1/4000 of a second. So, those are some mixed bag things depending on your needs, and if you're a fan of cheating your sync to 1/320 or shooting at 1/8000 or all magnesium chassis this might not be the right shooter for you.

But I'd like t swing this back up to the brighter tone we started with by mentioning the price tag. The D750 will be available later this very month for just $2,299.95 body only. Or heck, if you're new to full-frame and need a good lens to get you going, get a 24-120mm VR with it for $3,599.95. It'll work with the new MB-D16 battery grip which'll run $485.

AFS_20_1.8G.low SB500_back.low SB500_front34r.low

Alongside the D750, Nikon has added a new AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED, and a new SB-500 flash. The lens is pretty much as it says, a fast wide angle full-frame prime, and is slated to run $799.95 this month. The SB-500 is a simple flash with 100 lux LED video light, 90 degrees bounce and 180 degrees rotation. It runs on just 2 AAs to keep size and weight down. Combined with the low guide number of 24m and the lack of LCD controls makes this appealing to people who just need an occasional flash indoors, but probably less so to your average hobbyist or pro. It'll run a pretty affordable $249.95, however.

Preorders can of course be had for the lot of this, so, I'll give you some links here:

D750 Body Only

D750 with 24-120mm

AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED



Nikon D810 Says No Anti-Aliasing Filter For Everyone!



Woo! New things! Today's new thing is a D810 from Nikon. With the D810, Nikon continues its trend of just not having the Optical Low Pass Anti-Aliasing Filter (OLPAF) anymore, so, the D810 more effectively upgrades the D800E and the low-pass including D800 is just sorta... no more. The sensor at first glance would appear to be the same, sporting 36.3 megapixels still. But Nikon says it is a new one, with better micro-lens design that let the sensor suck in more light, and it's being piped through an EXPEED 4 processor. As a result the native ISO range has been expanded even farther than the D800/E, up to 64-12,800 now (versus 100-6400 before). The expanded range is up to a jaw-dropping 32-51,200. Continuous shooting also sees a bump, up to 5 frames per second full-resolution raw. Speak of raw, for those of you who found the D800 brothers untenable because of the massive raw files, the D810 has a new compact raw file option you might like. It'll be at 12-bit instead of 14-bit, but will cut the file size down to 1/4 of the full raw. Certainly a good option for people (like me) who want features you have to go up to the D800 line to get (like, yanno, 1/250 second flash sync full frame), but weren't so keen on having to store every bit of data in those otherwise overkill files. Anyway. The LCD is up to 1.2m dots now, still 3.2". There are a lot of video improvements too, and I'm no expert on those but I see zebra striping, uncompressed HDMI output, highlight-weighted metering, smooth time lapse, and a few other things in there. On the outside, a new deeper sculpted grip is up front, and around back there's the new I button for getting into an interactive on-screen display a la Olympus fame.

So, pricing. That was all the good news, now for the bad. Looks like the pro single-grip body market has finally crept over the $3000 mark, and the D810 will run you $3299.95 for the body only. Oddly enough, there will be a couple kits for this for video purposes, and we'll cover those once we confirm if we'll be carrying both or what. But for now, preorder you a D810 here:


If the price is a bit saltier than you like, we do still have some D800s and D800Es. But, sounds like you might act fast. The D810 is slated for release late next month, and we really have no idea how stock on the older models will go at that point.



D800 Refurb Bonus Bundle (Free Stuff!):


Canon Adds 2 New Wide Angle Zooms, White Rebel for the US



What's small, white, and coming to the US?

Whatever you were thinking of, I'm sure it's wrong. I was talking about the Rebel SL1 above... oh. You were thinking of the Rebel SL1 because I already showed you it, weren't you? Nevermind, carry on then. Be happy in your awareness of it, and how it comes with a matched white 18-55mm for $749 (without any savings programs).

Also, look, two new wide-angle zoom lenses:

20140513_thumbL_ef1635mm_3q 20140513_thumbL_efs1018mm_3q


The top one is the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, the bottom one is the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. Just a quick terminology reminder, EF lenses (red mount dot) will work on full-frame or crop bodies, the EF-S mount (white square) will only work for crop bodies, so, no going and getting ideas about using it on your 5D Mark III, OK? EF-S lenses are also subject to a 1.6x apparent focal length conversion, because of the nature of crop lenses, meaning the new 10-18mm will have the apparent field of view of 16-29mm or so (making the close to the crop equivalent of the other new zoom).

The EF 16-35mm is just as advertised on full-frame, though someone less exciting on crop bodies where it becomes an apparent 26-56mm quasi-standard zoom. It is an L model though, with all the assumed quality that designation and the characteristic red line imply. And, because of the slower F4 aperture there's IS in it, offering up to four stops of help.

The EF 16-35mm will set you back $1,199, and the EF-S 10-18mm will run considerably less at $299.


Corey Rich Shoots Other Nikon Ambassadors Shooting D4s's

So, when you're claiming to have upped the chops of your flagship HD-SLR, just how do you do it? if you're Nikon, you hire outdoorsy madman Corey Rich to use a D4s to make a video about three other shooters (Dave Black, Robert Beck, and George Karbus) using D4s's. It all makes perfect sense. And even if it didn't, the trailer for the upcoming piece itself should show that in the right hands the D4s has serious chops. Me, though? If you gave one to me even YouTube would laugh the result off the internet. So, I'll just go and hit play on Corey's trailer again. Watch the video below, or go hit up Corey's blog (via the External Link button below) for more of the inside scoop.


Nikon's D4s Now Real, Ships in Mere Weeks

I thought y'all's morning should start like mine, with a bad pun. What I can't recreate is receiving a snap from Nick in disbelief over the inanity of the D4s' tagline, but hey, I can show you a screenshot of it:

Nikon D4s: Dominate the Decisive Moment


For added fun, the press release tacks an ", Again" onto that, implying we have at some point previously dominated the decisive moment already. It's a bad morning to be the decisive moment, with all this being dominated and what-not, but a good morning to be a Nikon shooter because the wait for the D4s is over after what was (all considered) not actually a very long time at all. Yes, there were a few long weeks there where Nikon didn't actually have a flagship we could sell you, since the D4 supply dried up before this replacement was ready, but it's all cool now because the D4s is here to be more s-like than the D4 was.

For those of you knew to this game, Nikon tends to handle its flagships like Apple does iPhones. One year you'll have a new model with lots of features and a new number, then the next go will be a more minor update (in Nikon's case usually focusing on speed, both FPS and ISO) with an "s" tacked at the end. "S" for speed, you see.

[There also used to be "x" models with a focus on resolution, but, that was before the D800 was a thing.]

Anyway, look, here it is:

Isn't it handsome, and nearly identical to the D4 before it.

So, what's new? It's still a 16mp sensor, but this is an all-new one that's just the same resolution, and ISO for it now ranges from 100-25,600 native or 50-409,600 (!) expanded. And while expanded ISO may be a lie, that's still a pretty impressive number to have in a pinch. Additionally, the camera will now shoot at 11/10 frames per second, full resolution, and pipe out uncompressed 1080p video at 24/30/60fps. Speed is also added at the transfer point with support for gigabit ethernet when doing LAN transfered, and the new RAW-S files that weigh in at half the file size of traditional NEF raws (while still being uncompressed) promise even faster transfers and snappier workflows for pros in a hurry. Finally, while not distinctly speed related, the D4s is more power efficient. With the EN-EL18a you'll get over 3,000 exposure by the conservative CIPA measuring metric, or over 5,000 by Nikon's internal testing. A few other tweaks and noodlin's are present beyond that, but they're all going to be more minor things and you can satisfy your curiosity about them with the press release after the jump below.

The price tag comes in at $6,499.95, and Nikon's slated to begin shipping them to our dock March 6th, so, if you're not on our list you should certainly do so soon. If you're an NPS member be sure to give us a call at 1-800-726-5544 and ask for John or Jody to get help getting your allocation in.

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Canon's New EOS Rebel T5 Dives to Lowest Price Yet



Well, this one will be a bit quicker because really, at this point, what do we need to say about the Rebel line other than its price this year? The EOS Rebel line-up has been the gold-standard in entry level DSLRs for as long as they've been around, and it's unlikely the new T5 will be changing that. We can say that the T5 becomes the lower of the two Rebels, sitting below the T5i and replacing the T3. It's got the usual 1.6x APS-C sensor with 18 megapixels being piped through a pretty old DIGIC IV processor, resulting in a pretty 'meh' ISO range of 100-6400. But, with a list price of $550 including an 18-55mm IS lens, will that matter to most people looking at it? probably not, and certainly better than the 100-1600 range that was typical at this level when I hired in those years ago. It has 9 af points, the center one being the much better and more-reliable cross-type sensor, and will chug along at a less-than-inspiring 3fps. But, you do get 1080 HD recording at the more typical mainstream framerates, so, when the still mode can't keep up with recording your kids and pets just flip over to video and record them instead. And, again, did we mention just $550, because yeah. This thing is not a bank-breaker.

Grab a preorder on our site, or read Canon's surprisingly low-hyperbole press release after the jump.

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Moar CES Nikon Stuff: Full-Frame 35mm Lens, D3300

So, Nikon had some actual announcements at CES too, namely a new D3300 and a 35mm f1.8G for full-frame FX bodies this time, but there's also a new Coolpix L830 (and S6800, S5300, S3600, and L30, but, yawn) in there too.

So, here's the D3300:



Except it comes in two other colors:

D3300_GR_18_55_VR2_front.low D3300_RD_18_55_VR2_front.low


Specs-wise, you're looking at a 24 megapixel sensor with an EXPEED 4 processor, no low-pass filter, and a redesigned 18-55mm with a retracting lens barrel a la mirrorless lenses. Bits of it are made with carbon fiber, so, you can pretend it's even more high-tech.



With the new 18-55mm mounted the D3300 is about 30% smaller overall than the D3200 with an 18-55mm was. Woo.

Preorder your smaller D3300 here.

Also, look, here's a 35mm f1.8G:



Some of you may be asking, but, wait, don't Nikon already make a 35mm f1.8? Well, yes, but that one is a DX model, meant for crop bodies. This one is full-frame ready, yanno. This is a different 35mm, the optical formula is all different and stuff, so, if you've been wanting a better 35mm prime for your FX body start saving your nickels and dimes, because this one can be yours next month for a cool $599.95.

Preorder an FX 35mm f1.8G

And lastly, look, a Coolpix L830:



(Hint: it's a 16 megapixel BSI camera with a 36x zoom that'll cost you $299.95 next month. You're welcome.)



CES Catch-Up: Nikon Pre-Announces D4s

Hello all! We're back from our impromptu snow break here at Roberts, and hey, guess what's been happening while we've been at home trying to keep power?


As a result, boy howdy are we back-logged on some announcements. So, let's start with what is at once the biggest and least relevant announcment:

At some point in time Nikon will announce a D4s.

Because, you know, it's the "s." Wait. That was someone else, right?




Anyway. since it's a preannouncement there's not really a lot else to say, so I'll just put the press release after the jump. And, if you're the sort who doesn't care what the specs end up being, you just want your name on the list for one now and beat the crowd, we have our preorder page up already for you here:

Preorder a D4s

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