Nikon Tag

There are several well-documented ways of curing a hardened heart: Read Emily Dickenson poems and weep silently. Read " The Pickwick Papers " by Dickens and laugh out loud. Triple bypass surgery. Buy a colourful camera. This last may not show up in the literary or medical world, but I can assure you it's real down at Camera Electronic. For some reason, the Nikon Corporation has its moments of whimsy and tends to translate them into photographic machinery. They are not all intended for the young, either...

The advent of the LCD screen on the back of the digital camera was the real dawn of the age of electronic photography. The sensor, the processor, and all the other ancillary bits were also necessary, but it really did not gel in our minds until we could see that little coloured screen. Once we saw what we had just shot, we were hooked. The hook set even deeper when we could see what it was going to be...

Looks like there is to be a special package from Nikon this Christmas - they have embarked upon a small-frame mirrorless option for their Z-series of cameras. It's a package right now, with a body and two zoom lenses, though in the new year they may split it into separate sales items. But right now it's a team, and very good one at that. As you'll all know there were two Nikon Z-series cameras to start - Z7 and Z6 - and they are both full-frame 24 x 36mm bodies. Nikon then went all out with fresh engineering and designed an APS-C body to enter the product line. It is a little surprising to look down the throat of the Z-mount - itself a major size step from the old F mount and see a smaller sensor. But it is no bad thing - the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f: 3.5-5.6 Vr lens that fronts it is a great little general purpose zoom. If it seems similar to the standard 18-55 focal range that Nikon put on their DX DSLR cameras, that is...

You might be forgiven for thinking that wireless triggers are simple things. So they are, when all you wish to do is tell a circuit to close at a distance from the camera. You put a transmitter on the hot shoe of the camera, a receiver under the speedlight out in the distance, and fire away. As long as the things are plugged in correctly and the AA batteries are fresh, it works every time. When you start to go TTL, however, and start to introduce different models of different maker's flashes, the whole thing becomes as complex as a spider's web. Here's a collage of images from the different trigger systems here in the shop on just one day. Beware that not all triggers made are shown - you have miles to go in this forest before you can sleep...

That sounds like a waspish little criticism, but it's not. It's actually praise for the decision that the Nikon designers made when they decided upon a short telephoto for the new mirrorless Z system. Short tele has always been the choice for portraitists in the film era. Now that we are in the 24 x 36 digital era the same optical rules apply as before and this focal length can come back as a head and shoulders choice. At 80 cm - the closest focusing distance  - and the widest aperture of f:1.8 - you'll have a whopping depth of field of 54 mm! Everything else is going to be bokeh and/or mush. Very good mush, though, as this is the highest performing 85mm lens Nikon has made. Also one of the sleekest - it all happens inside and it all talks to the camera inside. You'll get a choice of AF or manual outside and the biggest focusing ring you've ever seen. And a very clean back end - Nikon lens designers must have had a week-long party when the management decided to...

My days of Oohing and Ahhing over exotic lenses are largely past since I have settled down to do standard things with modest equipment. But there is still a reserve of gurgling noises I can make when I see a really fabulous example of something. When I paused recently from taking product shots in front of the Nikon stand at Stirling street I turned around to the Nikon Z cabinet...

Not to mention the camel exhausts and general air pollution of Cairo and surrounds. I not to mention this because a friend is  touring Egypt - the cities and the Nile up as far as Aswan - and has sent back some glorious photos via our social network. Unfortunately, I think many of them have been taken with a mobile smartphone and the lens has not coped well with the atmosphere. Perhaps it has been fingerprinted as well...

An earlier column mentioned Tamron as a brand name and poked a little gentle fun at the Adaptall system that this company used in the film era. Readers may have gotten the impression that we thought little of the lenses - such is not the case. Camera Electronic and probably tens of thousands of Australians have a keen appreciation of the worth of the Tamron brand and products. It has developed over many items and many decades. Here's an example of what Tamron could do in the analog days  - do for themselves and do for you. It's a 17mm f:3.5 lens with a Nikon AI mount affixed to the back. A similar lens would have been available for most of the major mounts in those days. If its design reminds you a little of Nikon or Tokina remember that the Japanese companies did see people and ideas flow from one to another. Its mount is all metal, as things were in those days, and is sturdy and precise. The lens grind is excellent and the coating does a good job. And...