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Each year, one of my favorite weekends here at Roberts is Nikon Day. We love having our friends from Nikon to our great city to talk gear, show off long glass, and answer our questions...but more importantly is that Nikon likes to buy our customers lunch! The only catch is that we have to cook it. Luckily, I have a husband who would rather be in front of his grill than anywhere else!
While Nikon Day is always a great event with good deals on Nikon gear, we are taking it up a notch this year and cramming lots of great events into one week. Here is what we have going on starting on June 12th.
Thursday, June 12th: Advanced Nikon DSLR Seminar - Focus on D7000/D7100/D600/D610 series - taught by Nikon Super Guy Alex Podstawski - Hampton Inn in Carmel
If you are passionate about photography and intrigued by high-end technology then this seminar on Nikon Digital SLR cameras is for you! Spend two hours with a Nikon expert learning about the advanced features, menus and controls and see what all of the "buzz" is about with Nikon D-SLR cameras.
- We will explore the HD movie features found through out the line up of Nikon Digital SLRs
- Learn about the Creative Lighting System and how to control light with built-in wireless flash capabilities in Nikon D-SLR cameras.
Here is some additional info on Alex...Alex Podstawski has been working as a Nikon Technical Representative since early 2012. At age 13, he began shooting on his first camera, a Nikon FE and has been working with light and cameras ever since. Working in the photo industry since age 16 and shooting weddings only two years later, Alex has gained experience uncommon for someone his age. His specialties include infrared and ultraviolet photography, portrait, landscape, wedding, event, wireless flash, and auto racing, among others. With years of experience working in photo labs and specialty stores, as well as a diverse professional career, Alex is eager share his knowledge and enthusiasm for photography at every opportunity.
If this sounds like a great class to you and something that you could benefit from - please sign up - we would love to have you! It's only $25 to register AND we will give you a $25 gift card at the class to be used towards your Nikon purchase on Nikon Day.
Friday, June 13th: FREE Nikon Photo Walk around Downtown Indy
While I love our classes, I am always a sucker for a photo walk, especially this photo walk because it will be my FIRST (my two kids and all-the-time job don't leave me a lot of time for photo walkin')! The idea of walking around our beautiful city, talking with our great customers, learning about photography, taking pictures and getting to use gear that I could never otherwise afford sounds like a really awesome Friday night to me. Fingers crossed for good weather. Our Nikon reps will join us and bring some loaner lenses to try out, but BYOC (bring your own camera). If this sounds like a great night to you too, make sure you register because space is limited for this one.
Saturday, June 14th: Nikon Cookout in Carmel!
Our Nikon reps will be on-site at our Carmel store from 10am to 3pm! They will answer your questions - try and stump them...it's hard, they know so much! And, they can help you find the perfect camera. Stop in to register for a $500 Roberts/Nikon gift card!! Yes, you read that right - we did not accidentally add an extra '0.' That is a $500 gift card to be used at Roberts towards your purchase of Nikon gear. You can register for the gift card at either store location, but the reps will only be hanging in Carmel. We will have some great close-out deals on Nikon point and shoot cameras, and we have a ton of Nikon refurb on hand - so come in and check it all out.
If that's not enough to get you in the door...you haven't tried one of our hot dogs. We will be grilling up some awesome hot dogs (we will even have a vegetarian Tofurky dog option), chips, drinks, and cookies courtesy of our friends at Nikon. My husband will be manning the grill himself, and like I said, it is one of his favorite places to be.
We know it's a lot to digest, but the main take-away here is if you like Nikon, next week is your time to shine! We hope you can join us for some of our events! Cheers!
So, how's everyone liking our new Education & Events department? Did you even notice we had one, filled with way more classes and workshops than we've ever done before? if you haven't taken a look, maybe now's a good time. We just added a new special workshop we're doing next month with nature photographer Rich Clark. He's kind of A Name, especially here in Indy, and he has a lot of really pretty pictures in his portfolio. And, for $49 (plus $3 to get into Eagle Creek Park) you could take a three hour workshop on nature photography with him May 31st from 5-8pm yourself. Neato, right? If you're interested, you should reserve your seat here.
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't help our Canon rep out and point out in our Events section that we have another session of Canon's popular EOS Discovery Day around the corner to support our equally-upcoming Canon Day shopping event.
It's the sort of event where the Canon tech gurus teach you how to make the most of your EOS camera, and what you can do with flashes and all those settings and features that make Canon what it is. It's technically a free event, but to keep the powers that be happy and show y'all love you some Canon we charge $25 upfront, and then you'll get it back at the event in the form of a shiny $25 Roberts gift card. If you're interested in getting the most from your Canon, follow this link here and sign up: EOS Discovery Day.
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. I remember my grandfather saying this to me when I was very young and it rooted in me a strong purpose to be conscientious of my effect on the outdoors. Moreover, this succinct thought encourages us to be less encumbered by what we bring with us and concentrate on the experience of being outside. On the flip-side, Ansel Adams when asked what tripod he brings with him was quoted as saying "the biggest one he could find." Whatever your mindset, the gear we choose to take with us can quickly determine how successful we will be when photographing outdoors.
Here are some suggestions to keep you nimble and capable when your taking in the sights.
Originally posted on www.lebryk.com
For a photographer, getting a new camera can be a tough yet exciting thing. Really it only happens once every so often, kind of like buying a Car. (At the Nikon D4s Price tag of $6500, it's eerily like buying a car actually...). I don't remember who said it to me first, but it has still held true through all the years, that you Date your cameras but you Marry your lenses. When it's time to upgrade your camera you can't be too attached to the old one, because the newer ones are always better than the older ones and if you're going to stay relevant in this world of photography; sometimes you need to spend the money to upgrade. I personally leapfrog bodies. Until I got my D4s I was using a Nikon D3 and D4 for my photography. When I decided to buy the D4s, the D3 is the camera that was sold. Selling old gear is an easy way to help afford new gear and unless you're super attached to something for some reason, you should be ready to dump the old for the new when it's time. You can do this to save yourself money and to keep your gear up to date at the same time! I like to take my gear to Roberts Camera where I buy about 95% of my gear where they put my gear into the Used Photo Pro stuff. When I buy used gear I buy it from them because it comes with a 6 month Warranty. I digress though. When using a camera everybody is different but one thing that lots of people have asked since I bought the D4s is this: "Is it worth it?". What a great question, and there are going to be a lot of points in this blog to answer it, so keep reading.
Before I get into anything I should mention I'm not paid for this review (which I have already agreed to be re-posted on Robert's Camera's blog). I have been paid by Roberts Camera in the past, but I host workshops with their Education program. This is not part of that in any way. Simple as that. There will be positives and negatives about the Nikon D4s camera in this review but it is all my OPINION. If you don't like my opinion that's fine, I probably still like you. That's how opinions work. There will probably also be quite a few grammatical errors and misspellings as well. Just fore-warning anybody reading it now. Now that the disclaimer part is out of the way, lets do this.
(Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Taken the old Fashioned way... With a Tripod.
(Nikon D4s, 100ISO, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@34mm. 13 Seconds @F14. Manfrotto Tripod and head)
As I said in my Nikon D4 review two years ago I've owned lots of Nikon flagship Camera bodies. I shot Canon (which I was provided) when I worked for the Indianapolis Star, so I'm very familiar with their lineup but yet I still bought Nikon for myself. Not to say Canon is bad, because that's blatantly not true. I've always just preferred Nikon the way that I shoot. With that, I've never thought anything was wrong with any Nikon Camera that I've owned until the next one has come out. When I had my D2x I couldn't figure how they would have improved the Autofocus with the D3. But they did. When the D4 replaced the D3s, it was the same as it is now with the D4s replacing the D4. I didn't think my D4 did anything poorly or wrong until I got the D4s in my hands. Not to say that the D4 does things poorly or wrong, it just does them differently. A good way to describe this would be to say that the D4s is a very optimized version of the D4. All of the technology has been fully realized inside of the D4 and now is operating at it's full potential. It's kind of like when the Original Xbox came out all those years ago and the games looked good, but 5 years later the games looked 1000 times better even though it was the same console using the same hardware. Things get refined as time goes, and technology's true potential is unlocked as new technologies are developed. This is absolutely the case with the Nikon D4s in that while it's still very much a D4; this one has been washed, waxed, and has a brand new Corvette engine under the hood.
(Nikon D4s, 320ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@122mm. 1/250th@F5.6. Two Paul C Buff Einsteins with Sport Reflectors set up to light the track set to 1/4 power. Lights triggered via Pocket Wizard Plus X Transceivers from on the camera Hot shoe)
If you look at the straight nerd numbers the Nikon D4 and D4s have the same hardware running the Autofocus. The Multicam 3500FX platform. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I know my D2x had the Multicam 2000 in it, so I'm guessing that bigger numbers are better. Nikon says that the D4s's autofocus is faster than the D4, and I wondered how that could be. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't exactly have lots of problems with my D4 the way that it is. The real difference is the Expeed 4 processor in the D4s which is supposedly 30% faster than the Expeed 3 in the D4. Essentially Nikon is making the most out of what they already had, which is smart. That means that the D4s does not acquire focus any faster than the D4 did, nor does its initial accuracy in low light situations increase. It does however do more thinking every second, which means that while things are moving and the camera grabs focus IT STAYS THERE.
(Nikon D4s, 1250ISO, Nikon 400mmF2.8VR with TC20eIII Extender for a total of 800mm. 1/1600th@F8)
I really love the new Group Area AF. It basically takes 5 points and uses them to grab and track whatever you're shooting. I never felt as though my D4 was deficient in tracking using the 9 Point AF-C by any stretch. I am only accustomed to assuming that all cameras miss a frame from time to time while shooting a 8-12 fps sequence. I've seen it with any Nikon or Canon body that I've ever used, including the 1Dx. I'm sure that the D4s is capable of missing focus from time to time, but it's a lot more rare now. It used to be that right in the middle of a sequence you would have a frame or two that would be just slightly out of focus (or in Canon's case wildly out of focus) and then it would snap back into sharp for the rest of the sequence. This is no longer the case with the D4s, especially not with the New Group AF. (For clarification; I was using my Go To settings for team sports on my D4s, which you can read more about in this blog post from last year.) So I said that the D4s is essentially the same hardware, so you may be wondering why this works better? It's the Expeed 4. It's gotta be. It's a lot faster, so it's doing a lot more Autofocusing every second than the Expeed 3 could. In computers, two years is more than a lifetime. Nikon knows this, and that's why they do a refresh of their flagship with the 's' moniker every two years.
(Nikon D4s, 1800A-ISO, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@70mm. 1/320th@F22)
So now anybody reading this is wondering when I'm going to get to High ISO and Image quality. (Assuming you didn't Command+F when you got to this page to jump right to it). Nikon Touts that there is a 1 stop advantage in High ISO to the D4s over the D4. They are right, and they aren't. Years and Years ago, as I recall the story, Kodak hired some scientists someplace (they probably all looked like Doc Brown) to determine the best resolution for a Digital camera sensor. To that recollection Kodak decided that 11-12 Megapixels was the Sweet spot in terms of resolution for the size of the pixels in the sensor to best absorb light and digitally record a scene in in almost any light. When the D4 came out people were upset because it was supposedly only "As Good" as the D3s in terms of High Iso when viewed at 100%. Yes, it was "As Good", but it was also at 33% higher resolution than that 12 megapixel maximum that Kodak projected years ago. That means in reality if you sized the D4 images down from 16 to 12 megapixels, you easily got another stop of High ISO out of it. I've never hesitated when I've needed to push my D4 up to 12k ISO, and have even, on occasion, pushed it up to 25,600 with very acceptable results. The shot below is of Roofus the stray cat that I made while shooting birds in our back yard. We call him Roofus because he likes to sit on our roof and look in the window at us, but I digress. To get started, this is a full resolution frame at 25,800ISO in good healthy light outside. I wouldn't be a halfway decent photographer if I didn't have a cat photo in this review. (Duh). Secondly, I would normally crop into this image a little bit on the top, but then it wouldn't be a full resolution image now would it?
With the Nikon D4s, I feel as though there is some good AND bad news when it comes to High ISO. The good news is that the D4s does indeed provide 1 stop better High ISO than the Nikon D4, but maybe not in the way that you expect. When you're shooting at 25,600ISO you have to assume that the camera is going to make up some information and there WILL be grain. I mean, come on, in the image of the street below I was shooting hand held in the dark. Grain is in fact the sensor making up information, which is why detail is lost and ect. If you are looking to buy a Nikon D4s and assume that 12,800ISO is equal to the D4 at 6400 you might be a bit disappointed. Nikon D4s's images are 1 stop better actual quality throughout the range but the actual grain still remains at about the same level between the cameras. You may be saying; wait, the grain is the same but the pictures are better? How? Well, the Expeed 4 processor has done quite a bit to wrangle noise, and in quite a few cases there is a noise improvement, but where the Expeed 4 really stands out is in what it does for color depth, tonal range, and the kind of grain you will find in your images. Where the D4 favored less grain over detail, the D4s maintains the level of grain, but increases the level of detail.
(Nikon D4s, 25,800ISO, 1/20th@F2.8. Nikon 24-70F2.8N@55mm shot hand held with only minor editing in Photoshop CC)
I shot the frame above coming home from shooting a video at the NCAA Tournament of a reporter from the Detroit Free Press (more on video in a bit). It was a hand held snap. While there is still grain in the image at 100% crop; look a all the color that's still there! That frame would have equaled somewhere between 400 and 800ISO on my Nikon D2x back in 2005 (assuming the D2x was having a good day and the frame was lit really well). Plus look at the fact that you can still read the "St Joseph St" on the street sign even at this lower resolution saved at a level 9 in photoshop! That's what the Expeed 4 is doing, and that's what's giving he D4s it's claim to a 1 stop better High ISO. Lets jump a few stops..... below is a photo of my Friend Tom at 102,400ISO with a 100% crop view. You can see that at normal web viewing size, the noise is acceptable, but at 100% you lose a lot of detail. Regardless, I'd have NEVER taken my D3s or D4 out to 102,400ISO. The D4s though, makes me think that there may be life that far out into space.
The Nikon D4s is capable of an expanded range of ISO's up to 409,600+ ISO. This is in the expanded range, which means once you pass 25,600, it reads H1, H2, H3, and H4. Honestly Nikon should have had the back LCD read WTF instead of H4 when it got to that point. In my opinion 409,600 ISO is completely unusable under any circumstance. This is a shot of Tom at that setting.
(If you're wondering it was shot with the Nikon D4s, 409,600ISo, Nikon 24-70F2.8N@24mm. 1/8000th@F10)
Lets face it; this is a golden age for photography. If you would have told someone 15 years ago that Nikon would produce a camera with a useable 25,600ISO, that would let you shoot handheld in the dark they would have laughed and said they hope they live to see the day. That day is here. I did have a theory, that the Noise Reduction would be better on Jpeg images with the Expeed 4 than on RAW images. That remains somewhat inconclusive because while the jpeg images seemed slightly cleaner out of the camera, but they had more color related noise as well as had quite a bit less latitude to work with in post.
(Another (slightly cropped) full res image at 51,200ISO under crummy Florescent lights)
(Nikon D4s, 51,200ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@200mm. 1/5000th@F3.5)
While you can see in the shot above, when the light is crummy the noise can be crummy as well. The noise is very useable, but at 100% you're missing details. Someplace that doesn't really matter as much is with Video. Not all photographers do video, but I can tell you when it comes to video this camera is equally a video camera as it is a still camera. I am personally a big fan of Corey Rich's photography and he is doing a launch video for this camera for Nikon. He followed around Dave Black, Robert Beck, and George Karbus and did video of them doing what they do best. Shooting action sports. Those guys are good, check out their work. My video experience wasn't to that level of setup and intensity; however mine was as any news shooter's would be. Last minute, and working with what I had.
That video was shot using nothing but street lights on my Nikon D4s set to 1/30th, F4 at 16,000ISO. Audio was recorded with Sennheiser G3 lav mic, which fed directly into the Stereo jack on the D4s (which is also why the sound only comes out of one channel. The file is straight out of the camera). If you shoot a lot of video. This thing is a game changer. While it doesn't shoot at 4k, most devices can still only display at 1080P anyway. I haven't pushed it, but I would imagine that even 51,600ISO (Maybe even 102,400) is very useable at HD video size. This is certainly going to take film making to a whole new level.
So wow. That's been a lot of info, in not a lot of time. Well, not a lot of time for you, at the time that I'm to this part of the review my wordpress has informed me I'm on 44 revisions. I suppose the conclusion from my initial question above is YES. Is the D4s worth it? YES. Yes it is. To each their own, but I find the added features of the D4s camera to be worth the money to get it. The video aspect of it, as well as the extra speed and processing inside the body will go greatly over the next few years where it is my primary camera shooting everything from landscapes, portraits, and product, to sports of all kinds. The Extra dynamic range and detail inside the High ISO does indeed stand up to Nikon's claim of 1 stop better High ISO, and I look forward to how that is going to impact my photography. I had my NPS allotment sent to Roberts Camera here in Indy where I buy most of my gear, and you should too; because they are great people. They are always ready and willing to help me solve a problem and on one occasion I had someone on their staff bring me things on location in a bind; without asking them to do it. It's that kind of extra mile that makes me shop there, over and over again. They are
good Great people, and I always try to push great people. Get your links below. Mores Soon.
Originally posted at www.lebryk.com
Over the years, whether for the Indianapolis Star Newspaper or for other organizations I have had the opportunity to shoot quite a few different sporting events. What most people wanting to get into shooting sports get hung up on is that they don't realize how similar of a mentality shooting any individual sport can be. The hardest part (aside from having the gear required) is simply deciding what you need to do to shoot said sport. Knowing your camera, and having the correct auto focus setting also helps; but lots of people can't get past that. That's why when I was approached by Roberts Camera here in Indianapolis about teaching a Sports Photography workshop where we would have a class portion to get through the nitty gritty tech stuff, and then go and shoot an actual sporting event I couldn't' say no! That's exactly what we did too. We had a group of people sign up via the Roberts Education website, we had a class portion to discuss things like back button auto focus, and especially all of the auto focus settings that I use for sports. (Which for the record you can also find at this blog post from a while back). Then we all went over to the Pan Am Plaza here in Indianapolis to shoot the Junior Team USA vs the Indiana Ice. As a couple of bonuses Robert's had a one day rental special for the day where the students could rent gear and keep it for the whole weekend for a days rental. Some of the guys did this to try things out too, which is great because it's hard to know what will work best for you when spending the kind of money required to buy the good stuff when it comes to camera gear. The other bonus, I set up my lights and each person got 10 minutes of game time to shoot on Sports lights. This is great because as a few of them said; it might be the only time they ever have that opportunity.
(My shot from a previous Indiana Ice game to test the lighting setup. Nikon D4, 800ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2 @200mm .1/250th@F5. Paul C Buff Einstein Set to 1/8th power hooked up to a Vagabond 2 Battery pack on each side of the rink with 11" Sport Reflectors triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus X Transceivers).
To get started all the guys were really amped about being there. The class was a nice and intimate size of 6 students. It was really great because it gave me a chance to work a lot one on one with each of them to get their cameras set up the way that we deemed best for shooting action sports. While many cameras are similar, they are very rarely identical and so some settings had to be slightly adapted, or translated into something that worked for their particular camera. The guys were troopers. We spent almost 4 hours in the classroom ahead of time talking about light, filling the frame, and autofocus. It was admittedly a little long, but that's something that can be adjusted for next time. The guys took it in stride though, as you can tell by some of the work they produced.
(Photo by Nathan Rich. www.nrichphoto.com with a Nikon D800E and Nikon 70-200VR2.)
There's no puck in that frame, but the goal doesn't look where the puck isn't...... All of the guys were different in what they shoot, the style they shoot, and the kind of photography that they like. Some shoot events at the track, others just enjoy shooting, one was a parent looking to get tips on how to better shoot his kids hockey games. What made it all really great was that when we got to the Pan Am Plaza one of the Indiana Ice Team photographers (John from White Shark Photography), said a few inspiring words of wisdom to get them started.
(Photo by Rob Baker, More photos here, with a Canon 7D and a Canon 70-200F2.8 lens)
John and his wife Kelly have been shooting the Indiana Ice as their official team photographers for the last 10 years, and it showed when John gave the guys a couple of tips. The tips he gave were much more game and situation related than I could have given in regards to if you are having trouble following the action. Ironically one part that stood out in his advice was the part that was similar to if you were shooting football with a 70-200 in that you should just wait for the action to come to you as opposed to chase it. This was especially true for the lights we set up, which only lit up a third to half of the rink.
(Photo by Mike Dempsey with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 70-200F2.8 Lens)
The class went well, and as you can see from the couple of shots above the guys learned quite a bit. I wish I could post something from all the guys as there were lots of good frames from the workshop but there is only so much time in the afternoon and some of the guys sent several shots to go through. If any of you guys are reading this, I'll be sure to send each of you feedback on them in the next day or two so watch out for that. I said a few times on Saturday as well as I'll say it again here that hockey is a very tough, and very fast sport to photograph. There is even another level of difficulty added by the fact that at this particular hockey venue you have to shoot through the Lexan wall to protect the crowd. It tends to make sharpness a never ending quest since if you're shooting at a funny angle you tend to miss the shot completely. Thanks again to the guys who attended the workshop for a great day, and thanks again to Roberts Camera for putting on such a great event. Look in the future to a few more really cool things that Roberts Education is going to be doing. I can't let the cat out of the bag so to speak, but I know of a few of the things in the works and they are worth keeping tabs on. In fact there is a class they are working on coming up that I'll probably even sign up to take. Until then though. More Soon.
Shooting Small with a BIG Impact.
If you're selling something on Ebay or Craigslist, the pictures can be the difference between someone passing through or stopping for a longer look.
The normal process for shooting these types of pictures is to setup a white or black sweep on a table, add some lighting on the sides, dial in your exposure and Bingo Bango you have a salable item in queue. It works. And if your shooting pictures of baby grand pianos or a Honda CB750 this is still an appropriate method. However, most items posted for sale online are smaller than the family dog. For those items you will want to use a light tent. And the best news is that it is the EASIEST shooting scenario you have ever seen. A light tent will drastically increase the quality of your product images.
If you have a bright, sunny day, a light tent on its own can be a powerful aid to making better pictures. Unfortunately, I don't live in a tropical climate with eternal sunshine so adding lighting is a must for me. In its simplest form, a light tent kit with constant lights is a valuable tool. This kit is excellent for small subjects but generally requires the use of a tripod.
Look for these items to be our Hot Deals in the coming week!
We're always looking for those little extras in our shopping experience. Want to hear the icing on the cake? When you shop at Roberts, you learn at Roberts. How's that for value?!
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Everyone that uses their phones to take pictures please raise your hand. Okay, now those of you who didn't raise your hand, quit lying. Its pretty great, right? Take a picture. Put it on Facebook. Capture a short video. Put it on Facebook. Go to a concert. Instagram that dude! Little Susie smashes her face into the cake at her first birthday party, but Grandma wasn't there to see it, send her an email. Don't want to download your pictures to your computer and delete them off the memory card? Need to find a way to back up your pictures to the cloud while on vacation? I could go on, but I think you get the point. Smart phones are a part of our life in a very BIG way. But you say you want better pictures? Sit back and relax. This is gonna blow your mind.
Hi Friends! For all of you camera geeks out there I thought I would mention one of my very favorite camera comparison tools to look at. Dpreview.com (Digital Photography Review) has a great "Studio Comparison Tool" which alows you to pick up to four different cameras and look at the exact same still life image shot from each of them side by side. It is really amazing! If your in the market for a new camera or just intrested to see how all of these new fancy camera's compare to each other this is a very fun and interesting site to check-out. Watch out this can be addicting!!!!