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The Talking Point about the Nikon Photography Contest

August 8th, 2013 No Comments
Nikon Ohi Factory

Nikon Ohi Factory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our two just-previous posts had to do with Nikon gear and a major contest.  Let’s close out the week by combining these two topics: The Nikon Contest!  This year’s contest results were announced two days back.  

Nikon is an innovator not only in photographic gear, but (and very obviously) in photography contests: witness the types of categories: Photo story (two to five images presenting a theme or idea), Photographic video (45 seconds in length), and a special new category, ‘Motion Snapshot’ made with the Nikon 1.  Get all the facts and figures from Zoltan Arva-Toth’s report in Photography Blog and the contest entry page.

Head on over to the somewhat curiously-designed winning entries page.  You’ll learn here that there a final judges meeting over two days during which a multi-session symposium was also conducted.

Click on each category (and not a particular image) to view the winners, such as Category C.  (Note, though, that if you want to view what Nikon calls “detail information about each work” you’ll have to visit the site again on or after 13th August.)

Category D’s winners are the most overtly humourous and most of Category B’s winners clearly lean towards Photojournalism.  Category A’s winners, however, make for a major talking point.

Category A was an open category for stills but this category’s winners circle is striking – astounding: for it almost seems as if this were one very narrowly-defined category: “Simple, Direct Compositions Involving Humans, and Telling a Little Story.”  Fully a dozen winners exactly fit this description with only one (‘The Sun Comes Out’) not fitting it at all!  How amazing that a big – B-I-G – judges panel ended up choosing winning photos with such a strongly-unifying common thread.

That interesting fact revealed, Category A’s strongly-typed winners include some beautiful images that are classically artistic, ‘Brassai-an’, and evocatively descriptive in their execution or style.


Too bad we have to wait another week for Nikon to publish these images in “detail information.”



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Gear Day on the BPrints Blog, and Beginner’s Day at Nikon

August 6th, 2013 No Comments

The past 24 hours have seen a far-higher-than-normal number of gear announcements.  So much so that all we can do is take in some highlights!  What’s more, it’s an all-Nikon post today.

Only a few hours back (among other announcements), Nikon announced two new Coolpix cameras, both meant for beginners.  Softpedia carried a brief announcement of both items; DPReview focussed on one of them, the S6600, while Popular Photography aimed its sights on the other, the L620.

The latter camera, the L620, is set up to be a super-zoom at a super price: you get 25 to 350mm of range for only around $250.  As almost always with this class of camera, the drawback – also qualified with an ‘only’ – is the aperture range of F3.3-5.9.  Another drawback is the lack of manual modes but newbies should be pleased with not only the scene modes but the 18.1 megapixels on a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor.  Nikon is marketing this kit to soccer moms: with this camera it’s “easy to capture amazing memories from a baby’s first steps to a big hit at a little league baseball game.”

The calling card of the S6600 is ‘connectivity,’ so this one’s probably targetted to the iPad- and smartphone-equipped Instagram crowd.  Another clue as to the targeted demographics is that, with a fully-articulated LCD, this kit is ‘selfie friendly.’  A little more expensive than the other Coolpix, it has 16 megapixels on its CMOS sensor and a similar small downer in the aperture range of F3.3-6.3; however, the two Coolpix entries are so different that they don’t eat each other’s lunch.  Above all, this kit has builtin WiFi and even gesture control so as to appeal even further to the ‘Connected Crowd.’    

Petapixel writes that earlier today, Nikon announced three pieces of gear, a Coolpix, a speedlight, and a zoom.  All three easy-to-use and inexpensive-to-buy items are targeted to novices and beginners.  The Coolpix is the L620 mentioned above.

The zoom is a 18-140mm F3.5-5.6 for APS-C cameras, with improved stabilization and autofocussing.  

Which makes for a perfect transition to a story titled The Rise of the F/4 Zoom Lens.  Peter Kolonia on Popular Photography identifies the increasingly ‘popular’ F4.0 zoom which he calls a “happy median” between function and utility, and price, and also a few more criteria that he lists.

The “just right” mix of constant aperture, weight, optics and price of an F4.0 zoom just can’t be beat according to the “handful of pros” Kolonia spoke with.  Do you have one of them?  Your neighbourhood Wedding Pro probably does.


Lenses – Seven, Hundred, Millions!

June 17th, 2013 No Comments

The past few days have seen a spate of news reports and articles about lenses.  Let’s make lenses today’s post’s theme; lenses by number and by major camera brand!

Seven Lenses with Pentax

The term ‘box set’ usually brings to mind CDs – at least of CDs during their heyday, as in ‘Bear Family box set’.  One does not associate photographic equipment with that term.  Pentax, however, wants to change that.  

Photo Rumors reports that the company has announced a limited edition box set that contains the Q7 mirrorless, a couple of filters, and seven ‘kit’ lenses, all neatly packaged in a box that’s a bit different than the standard camera packaging.  The edition is limited to 1000. 

The Photo Rumors page also includes some eye-popping news of a commercial lens-less camera and a Nokia smartphone with a 41 MP camera!

120 Lenses with Canon

Kevin Carter on DxOMark has been comparing lenses as to how they’ll function on an EOS 700D in Best lenses for you (sic) Canon EOS 700D: more than 120 lenses tested! with part 2 looking at more/other lenses

Numerous lenses have been tested as to how they perform on different Canon models and the resultant detailed report on a per-lens basis (such as Sigma 35mm F1.4) has been published.  Choose another model from the choicelist to see how the lens performs with that camera model.

More handily DxOMark has published a chart of tested lenses in order of score thus providing a ranking of sorts.  These charts are available by type of lens – prime, zoom, moderate telephoto.

One fact that pops out is the consistently high ranking and score that Sigma lenses have received coupled with their equally consistently affordable prices.  As Carter writes for one set of lenses, “For the value choice, look no further than the new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM A.”

70 Million Lenses with Nikon

Congratulations are due to Nikon – and if current production and demand are anything to go by, BIG CONGRATULATIONS will be in order in about August 2015.

Mike Tomkins on Imaging Resource reports that it’s been only about a year since Nikon made its 70 millionth Nikkor lens but the company has already passed the landmark of 80 million lenses.  Ten million lenses in just over a year – that’s huge production and massive demand.

Tomkins closes out his report with a sprinkling of spice: “Nikon’s announcement comes hot on the heels of one from arch-rival Canon, which recently turned out its 90 millionth EF-mount lens.”

If he’s alluding to a race to the 100-million mark, the odds are surely with Canon. . . .

Photography’s Eternal Rivalry: Canon v. Nikon

February 26th, 2013 No Comments

—Well, from the 1970s until now is an eternity in electromechanical equipment and gadgetry with so many major names having fallen by the wayside; even vanishing – anyone remember Akai and NCR?  And, oh, what about Minolta and . . . Kodak?

—And here are Canon and Nikon, still duking it out with the latest face-off being brought to us by ePHOTOzine.  A head-to-head of the kind ePHOTOzine have laid out is not exactly unusual but it is a little extreme to split the difference in the ‘Dimension’ category and award partial victories!  Here’s how they do it:

       Nikon D600                                    Canon EOS 6D

141 x 113 x 82mm (WHD)          144.5x 110.5 x 71.2mm  (WHD)

Right – so Nikon wins on width and Canon takes it on height and depth.  Okay, so this is one seriously thorough comparison job.  The comparison is – as seen in the heading above – between the enthusiast or semi-pro DSLRs of each maker, the Nikon D600 and the Canon EOS 6D.

Canon’s drift towards the Cloud and connectivity and Nikon staying closer and truer to photography’s fundamentals is ‘exposed’ by what each has chosen to include and omit.  Canon’s DSLR has built-in WiFi and GPS while Nikon provides optional adaptors; Nikon provides a built-in flash plus hotshoe but with Canon you get only hotshoe.  

That said, these cameras are packed to the rafters with go-go features like HDR, that go-go feature from yesteryear, multiple exposure, and much more.

For the most part, they are extremely well matched with little to choose between them on any factor.  For the rest of them, for every left hook landed by one, its adversary connects with a right cross.  The Nikon nicks it in Switch on Time to Taking a Photo but the Canon runs away with image quality at high ISO.  Canon edges it in white balance performance in different lighting while Nikon lumps its opponent in focus points.

In truth, the Nikon versus Canon face-off is not about quality or features and never was: it was and is about subjectivity and personal preferences, plus the somewhat different territory each had staked out: Nikon, with its original all-mechanical F3 flagship, was a relatively conservative brand for traditionalist pros; Canon, with its innovative electronic AE-1 hit, was a relatively forward-looking brand for with-the-times pros.  Though that distinction is not quite so pronounced today, it’s still a fair one to make.

Anyone interested in this eternal rivalry should check out ePHOTOzine’s blow-by-blow account.  Scroll down to the bottom for their detailed tale-of-the-tape.


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