New Gear: The Metabones Nikon to Fuji Speedbooster

New Gear: The Metabones Nikon to Fuji Speedbooster

Not too long ago, following the release of Fuji’s most recent firmware update for its X lineup of cameras, I posted an article about extending the Fuji system with Leica lenses using the Fuji X mount to Leica M mount adapter. Indeed, this adapter, along with the Leica 90mm Summarit f/2.5 lens, is my standard portrait setup today. Recently, however, we got in yet another adapter for the Fuji X-mount, and this one’s a total doozy.   The Metabones Nikon to Fuji Speedbooster does for Nikon lenses (including the “G” lenses, which don’t have a manual aperture ring) what the M to X-mount adapter does for Leica lenses – it lets you put them onto Fuji’s X-series cameras, including the X-Pro1, which we rent. Now, if that’s all it did, I’d be pretty pleased as punch that we had added it to our inventory. But adapting the lens is only part of the equation here. First, the adapter works for a much wider variety of lenses. Traditionally, Nikon’s “D” series lenses have been the most easily adapted lenses for other systems, as they have a manual aperture ring and therefore can be used in aperture-priority mode on almost all the mirrorless cameras out there, with adapters. The “G” lenses, however, don’t have aperture rings, so they’re not as easy to adapt. The Metabones adapter gets around this limitation by offering its own aperture ring that maneuvers the tiny iris lever inside the G lens to change the aperture. The aperture ring has an 8-f-stop range ring, with half-stop markings. I have to wonder how accurate this is; what if...
Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot. High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for: Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage. Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street. Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system. Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality: Sony RX1 & Sony RX1R These full frame cameras sport 24 MP sensors and fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lenses. They shoot full HD 1080p video and have incredible low-light performance. The “R” version lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is ideal for catching extra detail in landscape shooting. The only bummer about these? You’re stuck with that lens. However, on the full frame sensor the 35mm is a great walking-around focal length and the all-metal Zeiss construction is top notch. Another great small-form-factor offering from Sony is their NEX series of mirrorless cameras (with some sample images here). Olympus E-P5 This retro-looking, handsomely-built micro four thirds camera does full HD 1080p video and shoots stills up to 9 FPS on its 16MP sensor. It is very slim and yet still accepts interchangeable lenses, like the fast 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO. Many of our street photographers extol the virtues of this camera. Fuji X100s Another retro beauty, the X100s comes equipped with...
Multiple Flash Firing with Nikon’s Advanced Wireless Lighting System Using Pop-up Flash

Multiple Flash Firing with Nikon’s Advanced Wireless Lighting System Using Pop-up Flash

Topics Covered: Setting Commander Mode for your Nikon camera and firing off-camera Speedlights using a pop-up flash. Assigning multiple flashes to groups A and B to control from your Nikon camera’s Commander Mode. Adjusting your flash channel, illumination pattern, and zoom position. Compatible Cameras and Flashes (including Canon and Sony): If you own or rent one of the following cameras, you may fire off-camera flash via Commander Mode using the pop-up flash on your camera: D600, D800/E, D700, D300/s, D200, D90, D80, D70s, D7100 and D7000. This system is compatible with the following Speedlights: SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, and SB-R200. No need for radio triggers or cables! Canon shooter? You can do this, too, with the following cameras using Canon’s Integrated Speedlite Transmitter system: 7D, 60D, Rebel T3i, Rebel T4i, Rebel T5i, and Rebel SL1. Canon’s system is compatible with the following Speedlites: 600EX-RT, 580EX II, 430 EX II, 320EX, and 270EX. We’ll have more on how to set this up on Canon’s system in a later post. Don’t want to wait? This page will get you started. For Sony users, the following DSLR cameras and flashes also have a built-in, pop-up flash wireless system: A58, A65, A77, A700 with the HVL-F60M, HVL-F58AM, HVL-F43AM, and HVL-F42AM. Adding Flashes to Your Scene I took the above portrait using a single SB-910 Speedlight inside a 28″ Westcott Apollo softbox. For variety, I decided to show a little bit more of the environment and add 2 more flashes to the mix to get the result below. When working in Nikon’s Advanced Wireless Lighting system, you can fire 2 groups of flashes...
One Strobe, One Trigger, One Camera, and a lot of Luck: Behind the Scenes with Von Wong Photography

One Strobe, One Trigger, One Camera, and a lot of Luck: Behind the Scenes with Von Wong Photography

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong set out to the Salton Sea with some dart rope and a crew of chance encounters who were excited to make the trek to help out with this dramatic shoot. Check out the spectacular results below! Luck, Fire, and a Failed Ecosystem by Von Wong Photography, reprinted with permission. Equipment Used Lighting Gear: Profoto B2 Acute PocketWizard Plus III Camera Gear: Sirui Tripod T2205X, sponsored by LOVINPIX Nikon D800E Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 To see more great behind-the-scenes images and some of the technical notes for this shoot, please visit the full Inspired by Fire post HERE. Special thanks to Von Wong Photography for sharing this experience with us! Benjamin Von Wong will be speaking and doing a demo at at Profusion in Toronto on June,...
Learning To Leave The Matrix – A Tip On DSLR Light Metering

Learning To Leave The Matrix – A Tip On DSLR Light Metering

With our dependence on LCD screens to give us immediate exposure feedback, knowing how to meter light is at risk of quickly become a fading skill. In this guest blog post you will learn how your DSLR meters light and what that means for your photography. This is a great intro for beginners as well as an easy reminder for the more seasoned shooter. Learning to Leave the Matrix by Jay Cassario, reprinted with permission. In photography, light is everything. Understanding how your camera reads light and determines correct exposure is the most important thing your camera does, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. Your camera has different ways that it reads light by using an internal light meter and, depending on which metering mode you have your camera set on, it determines the correct exposure. For the most part, the metering mode is untouched and buried in the camera settings because, when you’re in the Matrix, life is good. Matrix is the default metering mode for all modern Nikon DSLR camera bodies (Evaluative Metering for Canon) and is often never changed. Actually, it’s recommended by many that you not change it because it works so well–but that’s not always the case. I’m going to explain a little bit about leaving the Matrix default mode and why you would want to such a crazy thing. First, I’m going to do a quick explanation about what metering is. Metering has everything to do with exposure and understanding how your DSLR meters will help you understand a little bit more about how your camera determines the correct exposure when taking a picture. All...
Nikon D7100 – Cropped Sensor for Night Photography?

Nikon D7100 – Cropped Sensor for Night Photography?

Want to know how the Nikon D7100 stands up to the challenge of night photography? David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses on the night sky. Kingham put the Nikon D7100 to the test to find out if its cropped sensor is worth considering as a viable choice for night shooting, especially when compared to the similarly-priced Nikon D600. Nikon D7100 – Cropped Sensor for Night Photography? by David Kingham After my previous test The Best Nikon for Night Photography, I was bombarded with requests to test the new contender in the APS-C sensor arena–the Nikon D7100. The initial numbers from DXOMark looked very promising for a cropped sensor. Previous cropped sensor bodies do not fare well with the extremely high ISO’s needed for night photography. Set Up I needed a benchmark to compare the D7100 to so I choose the Nikon D600 as a comparison because it’s the closest, price wise, and is the next logical step up from the D7100. The D600 also fared extremely well against the other full frame bodies I previously tested. So I felt this was a fair test of APS-C vs. Full Frame sensors. For the test, I needed a fast, wide angle lens. For the D7100, I choose the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, which is a stellar performer when shooting wide open. For the D600, I choose the Rokinon 24mm 1.4. I set both lens at f/2.8 to level the playing field and I set the Tokina to 16mm to match the equivalent focal length of the 24mm. Build The build of these cameras are nearly identical. The D7100 is a...
Nikon’s Biggest Gun: A Review of the New 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR Lens

Nikon’s Biggest Gun: A Review of the New 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR Lens

Introduction Until recently, Canon’s 800mm f/5.6 lens has been about the longest lens currently in production by one of the big manufacturers. The longest lens on the Nikon side has been the 600mm f/4, which I took out for a spin not too long ago. Now, Nikonians have their own cannon (yes, pun intended) to play with. The Nikon AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens is finally shipping, and we’ve got them in our inventory for rental. I took this behemoth out for a test to see just what Nikon packed into it. Last week, I posted sample images from that shoot; here’s the full review. A Bad Start My experience with the 800mm began poorly. I took the lens out with a D4, an Induro AT–413 tripod and a Custom Brackets gimbal head to one of my favorite birding spots in the Redwood Shores region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Every spring, these black-and-white birds call Black Skimmers show up around here, and make for some excellent photo opportunities. They gather around the shoreline, and fly low over bodies of water, letting their lower beaks dip into the water as they fly, trying to snap up small fish. Get lucky, and you can walk away with an image of one with its beak creating a wake through water, which is what I was aiming for. Well, things didn’t start out well. I set up everything, balanced the lens on the gimbal, and started shooting. Immediately, I noticed that the lens was incredibly slow to focus. For static subjects, it was fine – you could zero in...
Sample Images from the Nikon 800mm f/5.6

Sample Images from the Nikon 800mm f/5.6

I’ve been out testing the Nikon 800mm f/5.6 lens we just got in, and have a few sample images to share. I went out to the Redwood Shores region of the San Francisco Bay Area to shoot the skimmers that show up around here every spring, and got a handful of other birds as well. The full-up review is coming soon, so stay tuned for that. Black Skimmer   Images © Sohail Mamdani. All rights...
The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He set out to find the best astrophotography and night photography lenses for their price point. Discover why Rokinon lenses may transform how you shoot. The Best Lenses for Night Photography by David Kingham Prime vs Zoom What do you want in a lens for night photography? The most important factor is how much light a lens will let in so that we can shoot at lower ISOs– this means apertures of f/2.8 or greater (f/1.4 being preferred). Most zoom lenses only go to f/2.8 and, while they are perfectly okay for night photography, they are not the ultimate lenses to use. Enter the prime lens! A prime lens is a fixed-focal-length lens that is designed to have much larger apertures. If you have looked into the major manufacturers’ primes (Nikon, Canon, Zeiss) you may be thinking I’m crazy right now because they are expensive (unless, of course, you rent them)! I went on a search for lenses with the ultimate quality-to-price ratio. Rokinon Lenses In this search I’ve become a huge fan of Rokinon brand lenses. These are also branded under Samyang, ProOptic, and Bower. They are all the same lenses, just with different names. Rokinon seems to be the more common name in the US. The following lenses are relatively cheap compared to the pro-series Nikon or Canon lenses: Rokinon 14mm 2.8 (also available in Canon mount) Rokinon 24mm 1.4 (also available in Canon mount) Rokinon 35mm 1.4 (also available in Canon mount) Rokinon 85mm 1.4 BorrowLenses.com has the following Canon cinema lenses available to...
The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift: Freelensing Your Way to a Specialty Lens

The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift: Freelensing Your Way to a Specialty Lens

While we’ll never condone the wanton destruction of a lens (especially one of ours), sometimes a little home reverse engineering can do wonders–or at least make for a fun weekend project. This is exactly what photographer Jay Cassario did over at Lightshop. He took a $120 lens and converted into a tilt-shift, saving himself about $1,000. Of course, he could have just rented a tilt-shift lens from us but that is not the point! Read all about Jay’s quest to break a lens and have it be reborn into a tilt-shift. FREELENSING – The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift by Jay Cassario, reprinted with permission. Freelensing is a relatively inexpensive way of getting the similarly unique affect of an expensive tilt-shift lens, where the focus plane is thrown out of whack with the added bonus of natural light leaks. No, this isnt anything new, and the look that an expensive tilt-shift lens gives has been around for a while, but I wanted to share with you my experience with it and how I did it. Yes, I did purchase a brand new Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D lens from B&H only to break it and take it apart the minute I took it out of the box…but that was the reason I purchased it. I had tossed around the idea of spending the money on a tilt-shift lens that would easily cost me over $1000, but after reading about the freelensing technique from Sam Hurd, I figured I would give it a try. At the end of the day, it’s the unique look that I’m going for, so if I could get that by...