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Reader Comments: Lenses for Sports Photography

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

Reader Andrew P writes:

It just occurred to me that you don't use examples pertinent to sports photography that much (or at all) in your blog. I like to shoot close-range sports when I get the chance but don't know of any sites that provide the kind of image quality reviews you give, but with sports photography concerns considered as a built-in part of any testing.

For instance, this weekend I did my first-ever paid shoot (hooray) of an international basketball competition in Amsterdam. I bought the Zeiss ZA 135mm 1.8 to complement my Nikkor 85mm 1.4G for the shoot, and took the Otus along for a couple of portraits of players if the opportunity presented itself. As it turned out, I shot most of the 2 day event with the Otus, barely used the 85, holstered the 135mm after a couple of hours, and then on the second day brought a 35mm Summilux and a 15mm Distagon to do about half the work on that day.

The reason this is meaningful to me is that I wound up using MF lenses for almost all of the best shots. The reason is that the AF lenses were a pain in the neck to use. The 85mm 1.4G, though perfectly fine when zipping to focus on a person standing still for a portrait, focusing on moving basketball players was just about impossible. The ZA 135mm was better at focusing quickly than the 85mm, but it was harder to deal with because of its length. When players zipped in and around each other, the lens kept losing focus and then wouldn't take a picture. On the other hand, the Otus, Summilux, and 15mm Distagan (ZF) always fired when I wanted them to and were more often in focus than the AF lenses.

When I read about sports photography on the Internet, I see a lot of people recommending high speed large aperture AF lenses like the 85mm and 135mm that I actually used as being very good for sports. The other two I see mentioned a lot are the Nikkor 200mm f2 and 300mm f2.8. Am I missing something about AF sports photography? Or are these lenses as bad at focusing as they seemed? If this is what AF is like, I'd just as soon stick with MF. Could it be because the sport I was shooting (basketball) allowed me to be very close to the action (literally on the foul lines)? It would be interesting to see a review of MF and AF lenses that compared their near focusing capabilities against moving subjects.

DIGLLOYD: Evaluating a lens for sports photography is radically different than anything else: it’s about handling and autofocus and anti-shake support (or not) and one couldn’t say a lot about optical performance under such conditions. Or the skill of the evaluator.

Even the sports-fame Nikon Ds3 and D4 failed miserably for me on runners coming at the camera when I last shot cross country; they could not track focus head-on. But at the right distance and angle, autofocus rocks.

At close range I completely agree on the manual focus thin: pre-focus with anticipation is the game; try photographing a rower on an erg at close range! Manual focus is the only way to go, autofocus is completely useless under those conditons, and I would agree with the basketball situation. OTOH, out on a body of water at a regatta, autofocus with a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II is my approach of choice.

Autofocus introduces a whole set of new problems at closer range for me, so I agree on the manual focus lens thing. But I think that it comes down to style and technique and distance and so on—no fixed answer.

Quick Look: Adobe Camera Raw vs Nikon Capture NX-D

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

I took a quick look at Nikon Capture NX-D in my review of the Nikon D810.

The image below was shot with Nikon D810 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A. It was processed with Adobe Camera Raw and Nikon Capture NX-D (both).

Processing NEF: a Quick Look at Adobe Camera Raw vs Nikon NX-D

Shown with HD and Ultra HD images and large crops, the settings for each program, commentary included.

  Nikon D810 + Nikon 45mm f/2.8P
Nikon D810 + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Reader Comments: D810 Review, Lenses, etc

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Reader Bjørn J writes:

Thank you for your ongoing review of the D810.

The stunning documentation of the exposure latitude, and the much improved LiveView, convinced me to place a D810 on order today.

I trust your reviews because of your extremely thorough real-world approach to practical use of camera equipment. Your example photos are worth far more than any lab-testing.

DIGLLOYD: Though I can’t think of everything, my core operating premise is “what would I want to know about this gear for my own work in all sorts of conditions before I plunk down my money”.

Reader Herb S writes:

I am happy to have renewed my subscriptions. The quality of your reviews has always been to a high standard and it is still improving regarding your effectiveness to show us all the relevant issues with the gear involved.

Might I suggest a good compact standard lens for the D810? It is the Voigtlander 40 mm SL-II. Of course it is not a Zeiss Otus. But good and compact it is.
Now we have to know how effective the D810 ground glass is for manual focus lenses not of the Otus calibre.

DIGLLOYD: [If I can’t do it a little better each year, I’d get bored.] Like the Nikon 45mm f/2.8P, the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II is a diminutive option for a “light carry”. It is a good optic but like all other small lenses has various compromises to be that small. See the review coverage of the Voigtlander lenses in DAP.

Peter W writes:

I've never been more gobsmacked in my life as by your 5.5 stop push from nothing - nothing! - to a totally acceptable image. Absolutely incredible!

D810 ETTR and pulling up the shadows offers tremendous appeal and usefulness.

It's incomprehensible why Canon continues to bring out inferior sensors (noisy, banded blacks) when the Nikon benchmark is in plain sight.

I would be very interested in your comparison of the Sony A7/s/r sensors with their D810 counterparts.

DIGLLOYD: Canon has insisted on building their own sensors, and this has hurt them so far. But maybe Canon has something really great coming at Photokina. As for pattern and streaking noise in particular, this is a Canon thing for sure: Nikon D800E vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III as well as the Canon 5D Mark III noise pages and Canon EOS 1D Mark IV noise pages in DAP.

As for Sony, I’m done with the Sony A7R, having borrowed one 4 times now (I won’t waste my money on a $2000 camera which can’t make a sharp image at some shutter speeds and will rapidly decline in value—it has ruined far too much work from its shutter vibration, making it a frustrating PITA in spite of its helpful EVF. Moreover, the Sony 11+7 bit compression just doesn’t cut it and the too-thick sensor cover glass just kills it for Leica M wide angle short of at ƒ/8 or even ƒ/11 (and it affects even 50mm). The Nikon D810 is a solid and robust workhorse with good controls that takes a wide range of lenses with no adapters—and no goofy tripod mount workaround needed for heavy lenses and it won’t be worth 1/2 or 1/3 of what I paid for it in 6 months.

John W writes:

Hello, again. I've now had my D810 for 48 hours, and I don't have anything to report that is inconsistent with or materially adds to what you have published so far, so I'll keep this short. But, I did want to say three things at this point:

1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your ongoing, detailed D810 analysis and review. In addition to providing reassurance that my early purchase of the camera was not a mistake, it has also already given me several tips and ideas that will help improve my own photography. And, I know that there is much more to come. Great stuff.

2. Different things are important to different people. For me, the quieter shutter and improved LCD and Live View alone are definitely enough to justify the upgrade costs. I do a lot of work inside cathedrals and churches. In those environments, the shutter noise of the D800 was frequently an issue and sometimes inhibited me from taking a shot at all. So, the quieter D810 shutter is much more than a minor improvement for me.

3. I replicated your 5.5 stop push test and got essentially the same results you did. Wow!

DIGLLOYD: my main issue with the D810: it’s very good but falls short of greatness due to some really dumb mistakes in various places (nothing fundamental, but like having a good dinner with bad wine and no dessert).

John H writes:

Just sending a thanks about your detailed and continuing coverage of the 645Z- being a 645D owner with a number of compatible lenses (67, 645, and other brands with adapters) I greatly appreciate the information and critical testing you’ve been doing- it’s part of what makes your subscriptions so valuable compared with the limited depth of conventional photography sites.

While upgrading to the 645z soon is likely a given, your reviews and comments will go a long way towards boosting me up the learning curve of getting the most out of this new model, and help me make constructive decisions about what additional lenses to consider (such as the 90mm macro) to expand the shooting and usability envelope.

DIGLLOYD: more coming, though I might have to ask B&H Photo for an extension of the loaner camera time.

Nikon Capture NX-D: “D” for Dimwits?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

I took a quick look at Nikon Capture NX-D. After noting the failure to code-sign it for OS X, the non-integration into the App Store, the lovely file name I could not find later (“S-NXD___-010000MF-ALLIN-ALL___.dmg”), the installer errors (in the install log), the installation of crapware without notice or choice (Nikon background notification yuck), spelling errors, grammatical errors, modal operation, non-standard command key shortcuts, the failure to associate NX-D with NEF files—I’m persuaded that this warmed over turd emits more or less the same aroma as its its predecessors. And that Nikon and Sigma must have some secretly guarded source of software engineers simply unavailable to companies like Apple. Still, it’s a big step up from Sigma Photo Pro 6, which won’t work at all on my Mac Pro.

As for what NX-D excretes (please forgive the expression), I didn’t get beyond the hassles and I’m not sure I want to try. Maybe tomorrow or next week.

Reader Question: Smaller, Lighter “slow” Aperture Lenses for Nikon D810?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Reader Cecelia C writes:

I love the good news about the D810. If you don't care about 1.4 apertures, but you do care about across-the-field sharpness and micro-contrast what lenses would you recommend?

I am hoping for some smaller and lighter options. I was thinking of the f1.8G Nikon lenses...but even 2.8 lenses would be ok with me, especially after seeing your comments on the higher ISO performance.

DIGLLOYD: Major camera vendors have not been keen on bringing relatively slow designs to market (except for crummy plastic zooms). Canon is an exception, making a stab at it with the 24/2.8 IS and 28/2.8 IS but failing to realize the blunder of not making them really good in an apparent attempt to keep the price down. Averaging out low price and very high quality to average price and average quality is not a winning idea.

Even Zeiss has not seen fit to bring out ultra high quality f/2.8 lenses (I would like to see “near perfect” 24/4, 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/2.8 and 90/2.8 designs). The Otus line rocks, but oh the size and cost for those two stops.

Prime lenses (fixed focal lengths) at ƒ/2.8 are just not “sexy” and the video crowd wants T/1.5 or at least T/2.1. Besides, entire web discussion forum would crash overloaded with irate fanboys complaining about a $1500 f/2.8 lens, even it it were near perfect wide open, or so the camera companies seem to think (I think there is a good untapped market there).

For want small and light (and cheap), the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is a good choice. For manual focus, the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar or the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 or the smallest and really diminutive choice: the Nikon 45mm f/2.8P.

Which led me to a thought and experiment: just how well does a simple and classic 4-element Tessar design perform on the Nikon D810?

Aperture Series: Nikon 45mm f/2.8P on the Nikon D810

  Nikon D810 + Nikon 45mm f/2.8P
Nikon D810 + Nikon 45mm f/2.8P

Nikon D810: How Much Underexposure Can It Take?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

This evaluation of sensor quality speaks to the versatility and value of a camera/sensor that can accept gross underexposure and still produce a good image, and/or the ability to give a severe boost to dark areas while retaining color quality and detail.

These real world attributes will appeal to anyone who has worked under difficult field conditions such as high dynamic range scenes.

Canon had better have something really good to announce at Photokina, because while the D800E already embarrassed the 5D Mark III, the D810 wins my praise as best ever.

In my review of the Nikon D810:

Pushing Nikon D810 at ISO 64 up to 5.5 Stops

Several intermediate exposure values and pushes are included.

Shot with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

  Nikon D810 range of exposures
Nikon D810 range of exposures

Peter W writes:

I've never been more gobsmacked in my life as by your 5.5 stop push from nothing - nothing! - to a totally acceptable image. Absolutely incredible!

D810 ETTR and pulling up the shadows offers tremendous appeal and usefulness.

It's incomprehensible why Canon continues to bring out inferior sensors (noisy, banded blacks) when the Nikon benchmark is in plain sight.

I would be very interested in your comparison of the Sony A7/s/r sensors with their D810 counterparts.

DIGLLOYD: Canon has insisted on building their own sensors, and this has hurt them so far. But maybe Canon has something really great coming at Photokina. As for pattern and streaking noise in particular, this is a Canon thing for sure: Nikon D800E vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III as well as the Canon 5D Mark III noise pages and Canon EOS 1D Mark IV noise pages in DAP.

As for Sony, I’d done with the Sony A7R, having borrowed one 4 times now (I won’t waste my money on a $2000 camera which can’t make a sharp image at some shutter speeds and will rapidly decline in value—it has ruined far too much work from its shutter vibration, making it a frustrating PITA in spite of its helpful EVF. Moreover, the Sony 11+7 bit compression just doesn’t cut it and the too-thick sensor cover glass just kill it for Leica M lenses. The Nikon D810 is a solid and robust workhorse with good controls that takes a wide range of lenses with no adapters—and no goofy tripod mount workaround needed for heavy lenses and it won’t be worth 1/2 or 1/3 of what I paid for it in 6 months.

Gene F writes:

Canon has way too many professional users not to catch up quickly to Nikon. Their operating system and design ethic and really everything but the sensor are better too, imo, which is why pros love them. But maybe I'm just comfortable with them; they seem to me more well-conceived and navigable.

Leica, on the other hand, might be quitting photography in favor of jewelry-making.

DIGLLOYD: Well, they’ve had 2+ years to catch up. And I bet Canon will, and maybe as soon as early 2015 (following an announcement at Photokina). And maybe not. I also like a number of things about Canon DSLRs and I think the autofocus is superior with fast lenses.

Nikon D810: Adobe Camera Raw Support

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. If you’re not quite up for the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A for Nikon is fantastic.

See also recommended SDXC and Compact Flash cards for Nikon D810.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Michael E writes:

How are your reading the .NEFs? Lightroom does not recognize them.

DIGLLOYD: most all of my examples show the ACR version and conversion settings on the review page. Download Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 8.6 RC for CC & CC 2014.

ACR 8.6 RC features

Improve performance when batch processing images (via the Save button in Camera Raw) and when converting images to DNG (via DNG Converter). This performance improvement is only available on 64-bit systems.

New Camera Support

  • Nikon D810
  • Panasonic LUMIX AG-GH4
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000
  • Added Camera Matching color profiles for the following camera models:
  • Sony DSC-RX100 III
  • Sony A7S (ILCE-7S)
  • Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II (ILCA-77M2)

New Lens Profile Support

GEAR SALE: Canon 50/1.2L, Canon 35/1.4L, Pentax K3, Olympus SHG Zooms,

This site moves through a lot of gear. Most items are tested as loaners, but some gear has to be bought, and that means spinning off gear no longer needed.

Buyer pays 3-day UPS or FedEx shipping and/or supplies own shipping label (no USPS) and/or picks up locally. California buyers responsible for any applicable sales tax. USA only, no overseas shipments.

Contact me (please use an appropriate email subject)

Canon lenses

Canon 50mm f/1.2L, perfect glass, hood caps in excellent condition $1150.

Canon 35mm f/1.4L, perfect glass, hood caps in excellent condition $1050.

Pentax K3 premium silver edition

Very lightly used (under 1000 actuations) Pentax K-3 premium silver edition (details) in box like new as shipped. $800.

Olympus Super High Grade (SHG) zooms

These are reference-grade lenses for Four Thirds (Micro Four Thirds with Olympus MMF-3 adapter). Terrific choices for video users in particular (ultimate build and image quality, but these are large and heavy lenses best used for video rigs).

The SHG designation is not marketing hype; these are absolutely outstanding lenses that are reference lenses for all other Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses. See reviews in Guide to Mirrorless.

Sale of the three as a set preferred but will consider selling singly also. Also have three unmarked/unopened extended Olympus 4-year extended warranty cards (not registered) for lenses; will include (though unsure of warranty status for 2nd buyer). One Olympus MMF-3 adapter also. LIKE NEW IN BOX.

  • Olympus SHG 7-14mm f/4 Zuiko ED: $1400
  • Olympus SHG 14-35mm f/2 Zuiko ED: $1900
  • Olympus SHG 35-100mm f/2 Zuiko ED: $2000
  • All three take $400 more off and MMF-3 adapter gets included.

Pentax 645Z: Various Notes

Perfect for the Pentax 645Z.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

In general, the Pentax designers did an outstanding job; your author picked up the camera and was using it within 5 minutes without even cracking the manual. Things like mirror lockup are better done than any other camera, period. But to see the CARD NOT FORMATTED bug still present a year after I first saw it with the Pentax K3 is disappointing; it’s a general bug afflicting both.

Memory Cards: Big discounts on high capacity SDXC and Compact Flash

Perfect for the Nikon D810.

  Recommended Storage cards
Recommended Storage cards

Memory cards have deep discounts right now.

Memory cards I prefer to use myself.

The one card that has performed flawlessly for me since day one is the Toshiba Exceria Pro 64GB. It is the only card I have used that has never had a glitch. I also use SanDisk and Lexar, but the Toshiba has never disappointed me unlike those two brands.

I like the 64GB (or larger) sized because out in the field it means I can generally leave files on the card as backups even after downloading*.

 

* Unless it’s Pentax which has a nasty “card is not formatted bug” even on the 645Z (the K3 first made this stupid bug plain)—if anything disturbs the format, such as merely renaming a folder, you’re hosed and have to reformat or hike back to the car for another card.

Nikon D810: Study of Image Quality from ISO 31/64/100, ..., 12800

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

This extensive real-world evaluation of noise includes:

  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB.
  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and red/green/blue color channels.
  • Three large actual pixels crops ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and red/green/blue color channels.
  • ACR processing settings and histogram for the image as conveted to ProPhotoRGB.

Shot with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

In my review of the Nikon D810:

Nikon D810 ISO 31/64/100 to 12800 (Fruit Medley)

The appearance of noise depends on the character along with its magnitude, and especially the degree of enlargement. For that reason, a downsampled evaluation to match Sony A7s actual pixels is also provided, from ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and red/green/blue color channels.

  Nikon D810 at ISO 800
Nikon D810 at ISO 800

Ashish V writes:

Just wanted to say that the colour reproduction in this image looks just stunning!
My guess is that it's better than 800e.

Did you need to do much work on this image to get the colours so good?

DIGLLOYD: That’s the beauty of it: total “work” was to shoot one frame with a WhiBal card (a separate frame). Using that frame, click to neutral in ACR, then use that setting for the others in the series. Piece of cake, scarcely any work at all. I like the WhiBal White Balance G7 Pocket Kit because it is inexpensive, durable and compact.

Nikon D810 Image Quality

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Image quality of the Nikon D810 is sensational. My D800E workhorse now has a worthy replacement in the D810, and the operational improvements are already proving their worth to me.

As for the Sony A7R, its clunky shutter generating loads of shutter vibration has been a constant work destroyer that undermines its raison d^etre, a “stop ship” that wasn’t.

The Nikon D810 avoids all that with its electronic first curtain shutter option (Canon has had EFC for years). What a relief! With Zeiss lenses, particularly the APO-Distagon and the APO-Sonnar and the coming Otus 85/1.4, the system picture makes a ton of sense—much smaller rig than a Pentax 645Z along with far superior lens selection (to both Pentax and Sony). And no “you’re fired blurry pictures you idiot” Sony thing. The D810 is what I call a realistic workhorse platform. Classic Nikon sensibility.

Low ISO and stuff

To my eye the D810 images are free of the odd look that I noticed immediately with the A7R. Full 14-bit lossless compressed at ISO 64 looks to be my new game. The Sony 11+7 bit lossy compression never made sense to me as having any worth in a $2K plus camera (well, $1K or so now, no even medium term resale value in those small Sony bodies).

I’ll be showing low ISO quality at 31/64/100/200/400 soon.

Pentax 645z: Long Exposures

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

I wanted to evaluate the Pentax 645Z image quality with long exposures for two reasons. First, medium format has often suffered with long exposures (most though not all cameras), and second, the 645Z establishes a reference for the Nikon D810.

I evaluate a 32 minute exposure with +0.4 stop push in my review of the Pentax 645Z:

645Z Long Exposures

Includes HD and UltraHD images in RGB and with the red/green/blue and gray gamma 2.2 channels and two large crops with same.

This test scene won’t last long as I have dibs on those blueberries.

  Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8
Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8, 32 minute exposure

Nikon D810: Live View Quality vs Nikon D800E/D800

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

I photographed the Nikon D810 and Nikon D800E rear LCDs on the same test target to evaluate Live View quality

Wow. In my review of the Nikon D810:

Nikon D810 vs D800E Live View quality

Nikon D810: Real-World Dynamic Range

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Real-world dynamic range is a major plus when the camera has it.

As a mid-2014 full-frame DSLR sporting the latest Sony sensor, the Nikon D810 brings high expectations for dynamic range, particularly at its new true ISO 64 value (previous minimum was ISO 100, the “Lo” settings not being true ISO).

Kicking off my review of the Nikon D810:

Nikon D810 Real-World Dynamic Range

Includes HD and UltraHD images in RGB and also R/G/B/Gray color channels in same, plus large crops. All toggle between as-shot. Processing settings and histograms and RawDigger info also shown.

  Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8
Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8

Pentax 645z: Real-World Dynamic Range

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Real-world dynamic range is a major plus when the camera has it. As a medium format camera, the 645Z brings very high expectations for dynamic range.

Who needs HDR with a sensor like this?

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

645Z Real-World Dynamic Range aka Faux HDR

Includes HD and UltraHD images, and large crops that toggle between as-shot and adjusted as well as the processing settings and histograms for each.

  Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8
Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8

Nikon D810, Sigma 50/1.4, Pentax 645Z, Sigma dp2 Quattro

Get the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

The Nikon D810 is here.

To answer a few reader inquiries:

  • I will be covering the salient differences with the Nikon D810 vs D800E: operational aspects, image quality, etc.
  • I do intend more Pentax 645Z coverage, but I’ve deferred that for the arrival of the Nikon D810 (for comparisons), and I want to now make field shots in the mountains.
  • I intend to cover the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A Nikon-mount version. I’ve had it for about ten days now, but I deferred coverage until the D810 arrives.
  • I intend more work with the Sigma dp2 Quattro, but it’s time for field shots now, just as with the Pentax 645Z.

Shootout: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art' vs Canon 50/1.2L and 50/1.4 (5D Mark III, Decorated Bike)

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

It isn’t much of a fight—more like a beating. This medium range comparison includes all apertures from ƒ1.2/ƒ1.4 through ƒ/16 with HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

In my review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A:

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A vs Canon 50/1.2L and 50/1.4 (Decorated Bike)

Additional coverage of the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM is likely; on Nikon D810.

     Decorated Moots FrosTi Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4
Decorated Moots FrosTi
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4

Nikon D810: Enroute

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

The D810 is enroute; I expect to have it Friday July 18th. Testing to follow. See previous discussion.

Nikon D810: can it compete with Pentax 645Z?

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

My expectation is that the Nikon D810 sensor will be of the same generation and quality as the Pentax 645Z sensor, both being made by Sony is my understanding. With only a slightly smaller photosite size (4.88 microns vs 5.3 microns, ~20% in area), I’d expect the D810 to offer per-pixel quality not too far off from the 645Z. Elecronics matter too, as does the quality grade of the sensor, so that is all a little rough. But what really does matter is lenses, and there, Zeiss Otus on Nikon has few if any equivalents on Pentax. Lenses are big deal for any system.

So I hope to get out in the field with both by the end of this month, and do some field work side by side. But first, I’ll nail down some stuff on my temporary home-grown test scene, which offers an effective proving ground. The main issue is how to match field of view; there is no good equivalent focal length match for a 90mm on the Pentax 645Z. Update: reader Andrej K points out that the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, which is indeed a near match.

Nikon D810 About to Ship

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

It appears that the Nikon D810 should ship on July 17. I’ll be looking at it very closely over the next few weeks.

See previous discussion:

One concern I have is what appears to be a restricted scenario use for the electronic first curtain (EFC) shutter, as per the manual. It appear to be available only in M-up mode, which would make it useless for executing the shot at just the right moment in Live View. Also, an EFC shutter available in Live View mode means no shutter-bang from exiting Live View mode, if indeed the D810 requires that procedure. But that worry is probably unfounded as per Tom S below.

The strange note on “lines or fog” is also worrisome (I dont’t understand what it means).

Nikon D810 EFC shutter
Nikon D810 EFC shutter

Tom S writes:

That freaked me out too but the official Nikon press release states:

“Additionally, the electronic front curtain can now act as an electronic front shutter when using live view or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode", under "Refined Controls and Construction”

Would be nice if the manual did not appear to contradict that by omission!

DIGLLOYD: this sounds very hopeful.

Nikon D810
Nikon D810

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