Find out what makes Nikon the number 1 choice.
Time lapse sequences of photographs taken by Ron Garan, Satoshi Furukawa
and the crew of expeditions 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from
August to October, 2011, who to my knowledge shot these pictures at an altitude
of around 350 km. All credit goes to them. I intend to upload a FullHD-version
Shot using a Nikon D3S with 17-35mm F2.8 and 14-24mm F2.8 lenses.
To whom it may concern.
I took this photo at the Rhino Lion Park a while ago, today I saw the photo again and I was really impressed with the quality of this photo as you will see.
The point is that this photo is taken with an entry level Nikon camera and I personally think it's very impressive!!
I know this is random though but I wanted to say well done to the Nikon team and also let you know that when I do upgrade I will most definitely stick with Nikon, I am very satisfied.
Painted reed frog
Out of interest, with my old Nikon FTN, I photographed a Python constrictnig and swallowing an Impala whole - many years ago now, in the Kruger Park. Had lenses from 28mm to 500mm, and using a Komura 2 times convertor, which I did not initially believe in, got some fantastic results - mainly birds.
When I got the Coolpix, I had the choice between Fugi and a couple of others, but saw the Nikon name and contest over! I have blown the pic I sent you to A4 and it's still needle sharp - with only 8 mp.
The alarm clock went off much too early. It was 4am and I had gone to bed a mere three hours earlier. Last minute packing before an early international flight will do that to you. I was headed half way around the world from my home in Santa Cruz, California to speak at the annual congress of the Photographic Society of South Africa (PSSA). The theme for the 2010 congress was landscape photography which has been my primary subject for the past two years after spending most of my time photographing the underwater world. I brought along all my usual equipment: a Nikon D300, Nikkor 12-24mm f4G, 35-70mm f2.8D, and 70-200mm f2.8G lenses, tripod, and an assortment of filters. In addition to meeting members of the PSSA and experiencing a new part of the world, I was looking forward to the opportunity to test drive a Nikon D3S, Nikkor 14-24mm, and the latest version of the 500mm f4 super telephoto courtesy of Nikon South Africa.
Throughout the six days of the PSSA congress, I handled the D3S with an assortment of lenses and was impressed by the balance, especially when coupled with my 50mm f1.4G lens and the 70-200mm f2.8G VR. I am familiar with the D300 / MB-D10 combination, but the D3S with its integrated battery grip simply felt better in my hands. I've always been a fan of Nikon's ergonomics, and the D3S excels in this department. The right hand grip and control layout is intuitive and easy to use for my medium sized hands. Auto focus was quick and accurate as expected, but what impressed me most was shooting at ISO 6400 and 12,800 indoors under uneven artificial light and how easily the camera locked focus from across the room as well as the control of noise. Coming from the D300, I was still very impressed with the D3S' performance in low light. The fun part came on one rare evening when the storm clouds cleared and I fired off some test shots outside my room of the Milky Way. This is what I wanted to try with the D3S / 14-24mm combo.
Let me take a moment as well to include my initial impressions of the 500mm f4G ED VR II lens; although I did not have the arca-swiss plate to allow me to use it on my tripod. So what does one do with a long lens and no tripod? I cranked up the ISO to 800 in midday light and handheld at f4 while pulling off shutter speeds around 1/2000 to 1/3000sec. These wild zebras were grazing near the road and I walked over to them, making sure not to spook them. As I inched closer, I was amazed at the sheer speed of 11 frames / sec in addition to the quick and accurate auto focus. The image to the left is not cropped and has minimal processing with no additional sharpening or noise reduction applied and the 10)% crop to the right. Seeing is believing, and I certainly believe this pairing makes a formidable wildlife / sports rig.
But landscape photography, as I mentioned earlier, is my passion, so putting the D3S and the 14-24mm lens to good use was at the top of my agenda. Before and after each day’s events, outings were planned to explore the local landscapes. One of the first morning sessions was spent east of Clarens in the Free State. As the rain let up, I wound up overlooking this field towards the direction of the sunrise light. Now, my typical way of going about landscape photography relies on filter use to control light, but since the 14-24mm does not have a front thread to screw in any filters, I decided I would simply exposure bracket and hand blend my images in post processing. The stormy sky caught my attention first and the clouds were moving at a steady pace. I knew my go-to ISO 100 on my D300 would not be such a wise choice if I needed to make multiple frames with fast moving clouds. They just wouldn’t line up. So, I set the D3S to ISO 400 to allow me a fast shutter speed to perform a bracket burst without the clouds moving too much between shots. Upon close inspection, I was impressed with the image quality coming out of the D3S and the noise levels were minimal with a very natural look and feel.
That evening, a lightning storm rolled through the area and by morning had just about finished clearing out as I entered the Golden Gate Highlands NP. When I came across these patterns in the rock mixed with the prominent red grasses, I knew that is what I wanted to photograph. Although I like to use a wide range of focal lengths in my landscape photography, I seized the opportunity to shoot at 14mm on an FX camera and include the rising sun over the misty valley. My images with the combination of the D3S and the 14-24mm were some of the sharpest frames images I have made. I was equally impressed with the corner sharpness of this ultra wide zoom as well as the overall details I was getting from only a 12 megapixel sensor. I have always been happy with my D300 and 12-24mm lens but when using the same settings for in-camera sharpening, the D3S 14-24mm combo was simply on another level. I had always heard how well the D3S handled low light, but the fine detail I was getting was an unexpected surprise.
D3S. 14-24mm f2.8G @ 14mm, ISO 400, f14, 1/100 & 1/25 sec
D3S, 14-24mm f2.8G @ 14mm, ISO 100, f16, 1/40sec & 1/8sec
The entire week I had been exposure bracketing instead of using my normal graduated neutral density filters. It wasn’t until I returned home that I realized on most occasions, I only needed two exposures to get the entire dynamic range of a scene. The D3S retained great highlight and shadow detail that I only appreciated once back in front of my computer. On the final sunset of my stay, I wanted an image of the sandstone butte just inside the west entrance to Golden Gate Highlands NP which I had seen every time entering and exiting the park. Once again, I made good use of the wide end of the 14-24mm lens and got down to the creek in order to add some foreground interest. And like the previous two images in this article, I simply blended two exposures to get the look I wanted.
Although I only had a few days to try some professional level Nikon gear, I can honestly say there is a reason it is some of the top equipment on the market today. In real world landscape shooting situations, I found it to be a versatile tool with the flexibility to adapt to a wide variety of conditions. In fact, using the D3S changed my entire mindset when it comes to camera bodies. I had always been satisfied with my camera bodies as I migrated from the D100 to the D200 and currently the D300. But the D3S was a game changer and will undoubtedly make its way into my gear bag.
Jim Patterson is an underwater and landscape photographer based in Santa Cruz, California, USA. His images have been featured in publications including National Geographic, American Photo, Popular Photography, and California Diver. As well, he offers instruction through Santa Cruz based Sea to Summit Workshops. More of his work can be seen at:
THE CAMERAS & PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT DARYL & SHARNA USE
We have used Nikon® cameras and lenses exclusively since 1990. This decision was made based upon our need to embrace the autofocus technology that was becoming increasingly prevalent at that time. Nikon had made the decision to stick with the same bayonet lens they have used forever, thus allowing photographers who already owned Nikon lenses to use the same lenses on the new cameras, albeit without autofocus (AF). For us this was a major incentive, as it allowed us to take advantage of the large number of second-hand Nikon lenses available on the “used” market as photographers upgraded to the newer AF models, or changed to other brands. Nikon has been a major camera brand, and one used & relied upon by professionals the world over, for decades, with the result that there are always good, quality, pro lenses and bodies on the second hand market.