Review: Nikon 35mm f1.8 G ED (Nikon F Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm f1.8 lead image (1 of 1)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Nikon released their 35mm f1.8 G ED lens earlier this year, and when it was announced it whetted the appetites of full frame lovers everywhere. Though not a direct replacement for the company’s previous lens offering, it was designed with the full frame customer in mind. We believe the 35mm focal length truly shows what the human eye sees and it is a lens that can be used for anything like street photography, wide portraits, events, weddings, candids, food, etc.

With the ability of focus as closely at 9.84 inches and housing seven aperture blades, 11 elements in 8 groups, and weighing 10.76 oz, it is a lens that will probably be on the camera of many a photographer looking to step up their game and become more serious with their craft.

And while we’re confident that this lens will satisfy most customers, we also know that later on you’ll want so much more.

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DxOMark: Nikon 35mm f1.8 G Beats the 35mm f1.4 G in Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 35mm product images (3 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.5

We have just shared our first impressions of the new Nikon 35mm f1.8 G, Nikon’s latest wide-angle lens for full-frame (FX format) cameras. Being only 2/3rds of a stop slower than the 35mm f1.4 G, the lens is a viable alternative for those with slightly slimmer wallets. What we’re most curious about, then, is how the more affordable full-frame 35mm in Nikon’s lens stable performs compared to its proven f1.4 sibling.

DxOMark has just put the lens under scrutiny, and thanks to the comparison tool available on their website, we get a pretty good impression of how it performs compared to the 35mm f1.4. With both lenses mounted to a Nikon D800 (we would’ve preferred to see the results with a D800E, but the 35mm f1.4 was not tested on that camera,) it becomes apparent that despite the huge difference in price, the difference in performance is only marginal.

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Amateur Photographer Concludes that a Better Camera Takes Better Pictures

julius motal the phoblographer street

Local amateur photographer John Bellamy has spent the past few months shooting with his phone. He reasoned that it was silly to buy a dedicated camera because he had a camera built into his phone, but after playing with a Nikon D800E at B&H Photo Video in New York City, Bellamy realized that a DSLR offered far more flexibility, quality and control than his iPhone 3GS.

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Reports State that a Nikon D800s May be In the Works

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As if there weren’t enough variations of the Nikon D800 with the D800E, Nikon Rumors is stating that yet another may be on the way soon. From what they’re saying, a D800s may be on the way in the same fashion that Nikon did with the D4 and before it the D3 series. This would be very interesting though as it seems to be taking on aspects of the D800, D800E, Df and the D610 along with the D4s. However, from what we’re seeing so far it may not be in a retro body like the Df.

  • No low pass (AA) filter (just like the D800E)
  • Improved software to suppress moiré
  • Expeed 4 imaging processor
  • sRAW
  • Same AF improvements like in the D4s
  • Improved low light capabilities
  • 5 fps (6fps with the MB-D12)
  • Price between D800 and D800E – probably around $3000
  • No firm announcement date yet

If this is indeed true, it could make a for a great camera to complement a D800E or D800. Wedding photographers, photojournalists and locations shooters could all benefit from this. For the former two, it could become their main body as the D800 shoots 4fps but the D800s could outdo it with 5fps. Additionally, the extra low light performance could make it rock even more during receptions or night events. As a Canon customer, I truly do have to hand it to Nikon in not only the innovation game for the DSLR world but also in creating excellent cameras that true working photographers would want to purchase.

We’re sure that there are photographers out there that would love to see this come true. With this year being a Photokina year, we can only hope.

Could a Refresh be Coming to the Nikon D800?

Nikon D800 Internal Mic

The Nikon D800 has been doing spectacularly well and in many aspects is probably the best DSLR that you can get your hands on. Very little in the market can begin to touch its excellence, but early reports are hinting that manufacturers may have to try even harder. According to a post on Nikon Rumors, the company may be refreshing the camera this year. Weird, huh? Considering that the D700 lived on its own for so long without a refresh, it’s a bit odd that we’re hearing about this due to the fact that the camera was released in 2012.

The camera already has two variations: the D800 and the D800E–the latter not having a low pass filter to allow for better resolution of images. We’re curious as to what could possibly be coming as it doesn’t totally make sense in Nikon’s lineup unless they wanted to take the D610’s imaging sensor, the D800’s autofocus and merge the two to be a sports shooting speed demon aimed at photojournalists and discerning consumers. In which case, this could be something like a D800 lite.

Considering that this year is also a Photokina year, we’re bound to see something spectacular.

Hacked Canon 5D Mk III is Said to Have Dynamic Range of the Nikon D800

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus product photos (5 of 5)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

Magic Lantern has done some amazing things with Canon cameras by hacking the firmware. Recently, they expanded the dynamic range of the 5D Mk III by a stop. Now, user Jonathan Zdziarski did an informal test comparing the results of the Canon full frame DSLR and the Nikon D800–which has enjoyed quite the reign as a camera with a kick ass sensor.

Using what the hack calls Dual ISO, it is able to capture more information in a photo–therefore expanding its dynamic range. To do this, the camera takes two photos at different ISO settings and merges them together. According to Jonathan,

“Each individual scan-line is interleaved as its sampled from the sensor, so you’re capturing one image with every other scan line at, say, ISO 100 for example, and the next scan line at ISO 800, 1600, or whatever you specify in ML.”

Crazy cool, huh? What’s even crazier is that it seems to be improving the image quality at lower ISO settings too.  Of course, this is really best with still images and not really for video–the added capabilities of RAW video though are a nice touch.

You can find more over at Jonathan’s blog. We also wonder if Canon is paying attention to this.

Photographer Tim Kemple on the New Phase One IQ250 (And Comparison to D800)

Phase One IQ250

Photographer Tim Kemple is no stranger to the Phoblographer. We’ve interviewed him before about his work in the great outdoors and his photography in general. But when we heard that he got to play with the new back, we were extremely curious to talk to him about it.

Not only was he able to tell us a bit more about the experience, but he was kind enough to provide crop examples of the new back against the Nikon D800.

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Review: Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus (Nikon F)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus product photos (5 of 5)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

“Do whatever you need to,” was the response given to me by the other editors of the Phoblographer when asking about budget for the review of the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens. When we were calling it for review, it was also decided that I’d handle it–afterall, this is probably the single most important lens that anyone has created this year (with Sigma’s 18-35mm f1.8 being a close contender.) Then you add in the fact that we only had this lens for 10 days (we usually test a lens for an entire month before publishing a review) and you’ve got one of the most challenging reviews that we’ve ever done.

When Zeiss created this lens, they decided that it shouldn’t have a single compromise on the image quality. It was also designed for high megapixel DSLRs. The image quality is reflected in the price tag–which is just under $4,000. Indeed, it isn’t a lens that we believe everyone will go out and buy.

And while our thoughts on the lens are overwhelmingly positive, we encountered a couple of situational problems that made the lens’s functionality somewhat tough at times.

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Sample Images from the Nikon D800 and Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu's Shoot Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens photos (3 of 9)ISO 1001-60 sec at f - 5.0

We’re currently in the middle of testing the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus–which can arguably be considered to be the best lens ever made. the lens is on loan to us for only a little over a week and so for the past couple of days, we’ve been booking shoots, planning coverage, and working a lot. In fact, this is the most expensive review that we’ve ever done–considering studio space, MUAs, rentals, etc.

So far–we don’t have a single complaint about the image quality. In fact, we downright love it. Our problem though is with the focusing. Zeiss has always made manual focusing lenses with the exception of their Touit glass. But in our findings so far with the Nikon D800, the focusing is often quite tough to nail at anywhere up to f5.6. Quite often, we’d place a focusing point over a subject’s eye to get it sharp. With others, we wouldn’t quite get it. In a professional workflow situation, this is quite annoying and it begins to make me wonder why Zeiss didn’t make this an autofocus lens.

However, we’ve always found Zeiss glass to focus better with Canon bodies–but at the moment there is no super high megapixel Canon DSLR. More findings will be posted in our full review. But some sample images are after the jump.

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Useful Photography Tip #66: Take Your Time to Get Prepared

The skyline of Frankfurt, Germany during the blue hour

The skyline of Frankfurt, Germany during the blue hour

Recently, I went on a photowalk with a friend. We went to Frankfurt, the European capital of finance, to do some street and architectural shooting. After roaming the busy streets of Frankfurt’s city center, around 7 pm, my friend suggested we head to the banks of the river Main to get a better look at the skyline. Once we arrived, he set up his tripod, mounted his Nikon D800 equipped with the 14-24mm f2.8 on it, and laid down on the grass. When I asked him what he was up to, he said, “Now we wait for the blue hour to arrive.”

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You’ve Still Got Three More Days to Win a Canon 5D Mk III or a Nikon D800!

Contest-ready-For-the-Phoblographer-and-Borrow-Lenses-contest

In case you’ve missed it before, we’re currently running a contest together with BorrowLenses.com where we’re giving away a Canon 5D Mk III or a Nikon D800 to the lucky winner. The runner-ups will receive BorrowLenses.com gift cards or memberships. All you’ve got to do is head over to our facebook page and sign up for the contest–it’s as easy as that! The contest ends June 22nd at 12 a.m. EST, so hurry up!

All the details here.

You Can Still Win a DSLR and a Film Camera in Our Contests!

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We’re currently running two contests in conjunction with BorrowLenses.com and Lomography. In the former, you can win a full-frame DSLR body of your choice–either a Canon 5D Mk III, or a Nikon D800–, while in the latter we’re giving away a Lomography LC-A+–the modern, advanced version of the Lomo classic. All you’ve got to do to win is to head over to the posts announcing the contests and follow the simple steps to participate. The BorrowLenses contests will be running through June 22st 12AM EST, while the Lomography contest ends May 31st 12AM EST.

Win a Canon 5D Mk III or Nikon D800 from The Phoblographer and BorrowLenses.com!

Win a Lomography LC-A+ From The Phoblographer and Lomography!

In Case You Missed It: We Have Two Awesome Contests Running Right Now

Contest-ready-For-the-Phoblographer-and-Borrow-Lenses-contestEarlier this month we teamed up with BorrowLenses and Lomography in order to give away stuff. And by stuff we mean cameras. And by cameras we mean either a Canon 5D Mk III or Nikon D800, and a Lomography LC-A+. Both contests are still running and will be for a couple more days/weeks, so you can still sign up and take your chances at winning one of these great photographic tools.

The BorrowLenses contest will be running through June 22st 12AM EST, and the Lomography contest will be running through May 31st 12AM EST. For more info and to enter the contests, please visit the respective posts:

Win a Canon 5D Mk III or Nikon D800 from The Phoblographer and BorrowLenses.com!

Win a Lomography LC-A+ From The Phoblographer and Lomography!

DxOMark Says That the Canon 5D Mk III and Nikon D800 Aren’t So Far Off in Sharpness

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Product photos Canon 5D Mk III (1 of 10)ISO 200

Alright Canon fans–time to breathe…everything will be okay. Planet 5D found a report from DxOMark stating that when it comes to pure sharpness, the Canon 5D Mk III and Nikon D800 aren’t so far off from one another. To come to their findings, they test each camera with loads of lenses and when good glass was paired with the 5D Mk III, there was almost no difference between this camera and the its Nikon competitor. In fact, they go so far as to say that sometimes Canons’ 5D Mk III outdid the D800–and once again with good lenses.

But what about the D800E? That is the camera that was designed to take full advantage of the resolution. According to the report, “In future tests, it will be interesting to see if the Sony sourced sensor in the Nikon D800E variant with its altered (zero strength) OLPF (Optical Low-Pass Filter) is significantly more efficient at resolving detail or if it’s as a result of the differences in fill-factor (affected by RGB filter transmission, micro-lens design and circuitry) between the Canon and Nikon sensors.” So we’ll just have to wait and see.

What does this mean in real life? Well, it confirms that if you’re purchasing these cameras, you really should be springing for the better glass. When I first bought my Canon 5D Mk II, I purchased the nifty 50 with it–and in looking back I really shouldn’t have. Sure, it’s a nice starter lens, but in the end if you really want to take the full advantage of your camera’s capabilities you should go for higher end glass. If you’re sending your images to the web, who the heck cares? Most people can’t tell the difference. If you’re printing large or shooting for NASA though, then you might want to consider the findings.

Canon 5D Mk III Will Have Uncompressed Clean HDMI Out By the End of the Month

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Product photos Canon 5D Mk III (2 of 10)ISO 200

Remember last year Canon stated that a major firmware update was coming for the Canon 5D Mk III? Well in a recent interview with News Shooter, Chuck Westfall stated that they’re on scheduled on it will be coming by the end of the month. Now when you tether your Canon 5D Mark III to an external recorder through the HDMI port you’ll be able to capture completely uncompressed HDMI video in all its high definition quality.

But hopefully there might be more to this firmware update that than. Canon has already stated that their speedlites aren’t performing the best with the camera when it comes to autofocusing. Maybe an Easter egg may be in there as well?

This is an extremely interesting move for Canon overall now though because it now means that all video evaluations regarding the Canon 5D Mk III vs the Nikon D800 need to be redone. It makes us wonder if Sony will do anything else with the A99 to take these cameras on at a higher level.


DxOMark: Leica M Can’t Stand Up to Nikon or Sony (Bests Canon)

The-PHoblgorapher-Leica-M-comparison-DXO-mark

Editor’s Correction: in a previous version of this article we slipped up and compared it to the Leica M-E. We apologize for this mistake.  The new Leica M indeed bests the Canon 5D Mk III’s sensor. Edits are down below. We apologize for this mistake.

DxO Mark has just released their analysis of the new Leica M’s sensor. From what I’ve been reading from other tests around the web, people are really digging the new camera. But according to DxOMark’s lab tests, more affordable full frame cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony are still quite far ahead of it. To be specific, theSony A99, Sony RX1 and Nikon D800 all best the new Leica M. However, the M’s sensor trumps the Canon 5D Mk III.

So what significance does this have? Despite the fact that all images are still taken by photographers and they need to have a creative vision first, consider the prices. The Leica M has a full frame CMOS sensor, weather sealing, can use an EVF, shoot video, and can also use Leica R lenses. The LCD screen also enjoyed  major upgrade from the Leica 9–the camera’s predecessor. The M is also more affordable than the M was on launch too.

But the Canon 5D Mk III, Nikon D800, and Sony A99 all can do what the Leica can, and more at a much more affordable price. Canon also has a much more complete system than Leica despite the sensor not being up to par. (The RX1 isn’t weather sealed though.) Granted they aren’t as compact or have the build quality of the Leica, but every photographer works on a budget. My buddy Jim Fisher over at PCMag.com sprung for one of these and now I’m wondering if he has buyer’s remorse.

Review: TriggerTrap

TriggerTrap Review

I would call timelapses a fad, but these tend to go away after some time. People have been pushing the envelope for quite some time now with some amazing short films. Some of which has created big stars like Tom Lowe and his forum. Getting started with a timelapse is a daunting task that can include just a still camera or many moving parts.

I’m here to talk about my experience with TriggerTrap which gives most cameras the ability to do a timelapse. TriggerTrap is essentially a team up between a great mobile app and a cable which connects your camera to your phone. Lets see what Triggertrap can do for you.

Update 11/11/2014: We’ve updated the review ot include some of the new features. All updates were done by Chris Gampat

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Amazing Deals of the Day: Pentax K-5, Nikon D600, D800, Canon Rebel T4i, EOS 60D

Pentax K-5

Adorama and B&H both have some amazing deals going on at the moment, and we took the liberty of compiling them into one post for your convenience.

Not sure which one is for you? Click each camera’s name to read our respective review.

BorrowLenses Is Giving Away a Camera

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JIBGiveawayBL

Our friends over at borrowlenses.com are having two awesome giveaways to celebrate their new East Coast headquarters; one on Facebook and the other on Twitter. They have tons of great prizes that they are going to be giving away including a brand new 5D MKIII or D800 (Facebook) and a Cinevate Axis Jib (Twitter).

They have posted information on both giveaways through their blog: Facebook Giveaway / Twitter Giveaway

Entry to the contest is free, so everyone jump in on it!

 

Eye-Fi Offers Explanation As to Why the Nikon D800/D800E Didn’t Work With Their Cards

Nikon Rumors let the world know that the Eye-Fi X2 cards now work perfectly fine with the highly sought after D800 and D800E. If you want to use your cards with the camera, all you need to do is download the latest firmware update and apply it; then you should be all gravvy.

I shot an email over the Ziv Gillat of Eye-Fi and asked him what the issue was. His statement:

So by default, Direct mode broadcasts on channel 6. In the D800, due to noise that’s coming from the USB 3 interface, we needed to broadcast on channel 11.

And there you have it. You should be all ready to shoot and upload with no problems. Just remember that the RAW files should take forever to transmit because they are so large. For the rest of us though, this brings up an interesting question of how futureproof the cards are if the industry is moving to USB 3.0.

CONFIRMED: BBC States That Neither the Nikon D4 or D800 Are Acceptable for Broadcast

Not too long ago, everyone on the net was abuzz about how the Nikon D4 and D800 had passed the EBU Technical test, also known as the BBC test for videography capture. Originally, Nikon Australia stated it, but the page is now down though still active as one can tell by the link. Petapixel picked up on the news, and went further.

We looked at the tests and from the vernacular, it all seemed very questionable. So we contacted the EBU and recently got a hold of Andy Quested, the Head of Technology for BBC HD and 3D. Here’s his statement.

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