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ilkka_nissila last won the day on 13 August 2014

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About ilkka_nissila

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  1. You could just add a WR-R10 + WR-A10 to the 10-point connector and it performs the following functions: - triggers SB-5000 flashes by radio, with full functionality, flash control settings in the menu (I have them in my menu, very quick to access). Fires the flashes very reliably indoors and outdoors, unlike optical triggering, no frequent eye closures like the pop up gives, no long recycle times, you can fire at the pace of the remote flash which in the case of the SB-5000 is very fast - allows one to trigger the camera remotely without a cable (using WR-T10 which comes with the WR-10 kit) - allows one camera to trigger other remote cameras. - you can continue to use your old flash in the hot shoe together with the radio triggered remote(s). The SB-5000 is expensive, admittedly, as a new unit, but it does have advantages: the flash is surprisingly small, compared to SB-910/900, it has a fan so it keeps itself cool, and allows fairly rapid firing at or near full flash energy. It has the radio receiver built in and so since the WR-R10 doesn't need a battery either the radio triggering is carried out entirely without requirement of maintaining extra batteries for the triggering devices, just keep the flash itself and the camera charged, and you're good to go.
  2. Since this would require completely immobile subject over time (or expect artifacts), I find very limited interest in such technologies. I'm used to reconstructing stuff from incomplete data and it really is a crap shoot - it can work, or not. Thus it is essential that the process is not done by an automated in-camera algorithm but with plenty of user control on a real computer.
  3. ilkka_nissila

    The Sony A9

    That could be very complicated as Nikon seems to change the protocol quite often to accommodate different lens types. And these protocol specifications are not public. Furthermore, I am sure that Sony wants to make money by selling their own lenses instead of helping Nikon or Canon make money. I believe to achieve good AF performance on a mirrorless camera, it is essential to provide a motor that can perform small adjustments to focus precisely and reproducibly. Ultrasonic motors perform large focus movements quickly but they seem to stutter about a lot when used with contrast detect AF. The new Sony 70-200/2.8 FE includes two focusing motors: one is the ring ultrasonic motor, and the other apparently a linear motor. My interpretation is that the ring motor is used to fast changes over long distances and the second motor performs precise fine adjustments. To get this kind of performance Nikon lenses would need to be revised with similar motor configuration, or at least a stepper motor in place of the ultrasonic. Nikon have been introducing a few "AF-P" lenses with stepper motors but so far they are consumer entry-level zooms. The live view AF on compatible Nikon DSLRs becomes suddenly very similar in performance to mirrorless cameras: no stutter, no noise, the focus just snaps silently in place. I think Nikon made this change to support better live view and video AF but also it is something that is likely needed to support good AF on any future mirrorless platform (through adapter or not). Canon's STM lenses are similar and they also have made several primes with that technology. Sony is definitely thinking out of the box in their numerous new technical solutions but I don't know if the advancements help users of existing non-stepper motor equipped DSLR autofocus lenses. I suspect all-new lenses are required for best performance.
  4. ilkka_nissila

    The Sony A9

    I think shooting at high frame rate is completely pointless at an event like White House press conference. I think 3-5 shots should be enough to capture the spirit of the event visually. There isn't much happening. The noise problem is created by numerous photographers shooting at high frame rate and accentuated by poor positioning of microphones.
  5. ilkka_nissila

    The Sony A9

    There are no native fast superteles (300/2.8, 400/2.8, 200-400/4, 600/4 etc.) available for the mount (with adapters, full performance is not available) so I find it difficult to believe photographers who specialize in sports could switch (not to mention the cost of switching, if the lenses were available). If Sony had launched at least a couple of those lenses at the same time, it might have made a different impression of who the are targeting with this camera. However, for other applications where silent operation is a significant benefit, and fast long lenses are not required, this camera seems very interesting. I imagine some wedding, music, theatre, dance photographers would love it.
  6. Because the Euro is worth less now, from the perspective of an outsider. In 2008, 1 EUR was worth 1.5 USD. Now 1 EUR = 1.1 USD. If you want the value of the Euro to go up - manage the governmental and financial chrisis in Greece - it's probably best if UK did not resign EU even though it's not in the Eurozone, as if the UK leaves the EU, it is likely the whole EU falls apart, leading to the Euro vanishing as a currency, and possibility of further instability (even war) - manage the ISIS situation better, to minimize the refugee chrisis and bring stability to the region - also it doesn't help that the reputation of European engineering gets tainted by cases like Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal - we had an excellent mobile phone business some years ago (Nokia, Ericsson), largely evaporated now All of these reduce outside faith in Europe and Euro being able to recover economically. As consumers thus we have to pay more for Japanese and American products right now. It's because we have an unstable continent and aren't producing all that many things that people living abroad want to buy.
  7. I think the issue with testing is that one would have to fire several dozen shots at each shutter speed and test different cameras in different orientations, with grips and without, during following a moving subject, and on static subjects as well, in the different VR modes, perhaps at different distances, different ambient temperatures, etc. and if this problem is present in some samples and not in others, I think it could take a while and increase the cost of the lens noticeably to carry out this kind of thorough testing on each lens. More thorough testing can probably be carried out on some subset of samples (I imagine this is what they do) but then not all problems are detected since not all samples are apparently affected. Sometimes it can be hard to detect something that you don't know to expect. I think Nikon probably carries out very thorough testing of their top lenses, ones that cost 5k€ and more, but on these intermediate level lenses which are sold in high volume (e.g. 300 PF, 80-400), they are probably struggling to keep up with demand, so it is human to oblige to pressure from the bean counters (Make more lenses! What's taking you so long?) and test each lens only briefly and do more careful checks on some samples. I imagine they simply cannot afford to test each one for hours analyzing image sharpness statistically compared to reference products when using VR with various settings, etc., test the mechanical quality, and optical quality of each lens carefully, and offer the products at the price they're offering them. Thankfully this VR problem seems to be one that they are able to alleviate with a firmware/PCB change, even if it is annoying to some early adopters who run into it. I hope the decentering reported by some reviewers can be reduced also as the lens continues to be manufactured. It is true that Nikon doesn't seem overly concerned with obtaining a perfect reputation, I don't think this is any new issue. There were always some glitches in products of the past as well.
  8. I have to admit that it takes a fair dosis of brand loyalty, or humour as you demonstrate, not to return the lens immediately. I personally think that waiting some time before sending a lens into service in this kind of a "soft recall" situation is sensible as the service centers may be in a rush to fix the lens and there may still be issues after the fix, before things have settled down. I wouldn't necessarily want to be the first to get a fix like that. I don't own the lens yet, and am waiting a bit to make my decision. My concern is not with the VR system but the "look" of the image. I think it can be quite startling, or hypnotizing when I look at some prints made from images that I captured with the PF. I don't know exactly what is causing this feeling but it seems there is something different in the way the lens draws, compared to classical telephoto lenses, and I haven't been able to decide for myself whether I like it or not. I absolutely love the handling of the lens, and the superb autofocus tracking, but am still undecided on the optics. The effectiveness of the VR is measured according to the CIPA standard which involves the equivalent of evaluating the sharpness of 4x6 inch prints at a distance of 60-80cm if I remember correctly. So basically a very casual expectation of sharpness similar to images printed very small in magazines or online etc. To reach 4 or 4.5 stops with a requirement of sharpness at the level of individual pixels is next to impossible for any VR system (on a tripod and/or high shutter speed of course it is possible). For some reason the manufacturers elected a standard which is fit for the mobile phone age rather than for critical people who make large prints and evaluate the detail with a critical eye. I would guess the guarantee to CIPA specifications may very well be cleared by the 300/4 PF even in its unmodified, original issue configuration, and certainly with the fixed lens. I would hope that Nikon uses some tighter internal standard for developing and testing the VR systems, but the publically stated specification is according to the CIPA standard. I'm unaware of similar problems with the AF-S VR 80-400 VR system - the VR system of that lens doesn't seem to work all that well at very fast speeds (i.e. 1/1000s, etc.) but I got reasonably good results at 1/320s to 1/160s. Are there some reports of poor VR performance with the 80-400 AF-S VR when used at 1/125s +- 2/3 stops? Thanks. I think the main benefit of VR for the PF 300/4 is that it makes it easier to hold the lens steady for precise composition and focusing when following a moving subject, resulting in better autofocus consistency (since it is easier to hold the focus point precisely on the target), not so much the improved sharpness. Sharpness is increased certainly in the window from 1/250s to 1/500s (and at slow speeds but then the subject movement often comes into play). At 1/10s to 1/60s I can't imagine ever using a long telephoto lens hand held. Even with the best VR it's still going to fall short of the results that one can get using a tripod (and EFCS), and static subjects tend to stay still long enough for me to set up a tripod. I like the determinism of tripod made shots. Of course for people who go for intentional movement blur effects these speeds may be very useful even on action subjects, but I never had this skill. I recall Bence Mate's beautiful wing movement pics in BBC wildlife / NHM / Veolia Nature Photographer of the Year contest some years ago. They were very beautiful, and he was using the 28-300mm Nikkor. With the D version of the 300/4 I needed 1/1000s or so to get consistently good sharpness hand-held. At 1/640s even on 12MP FX I got a bit blurry results. With the VR PF 300/4 (sample that I tested some time ago) I could get great results between 1/250s to 1/1000s thanks to the VR system extending my shooting envelope. So two stop advantage in some circumstances thanks to VR. I think this is already very useful; I never expected four stops to be realized. With a fixed VR PF 300/4 things should be still better, of course, though it won't have much practical benefit for me since my subjects typically can't be trusted to stay still for such a long time. With the 36MP cameras it's very typical that I use 1/1000s even with short focal length lenses, because I like the fact that I can be guaranteed not to see much subject movement blur. The fast shutter speed helps with human faces, to get more clearly delineated emotional expressions.
  9. From what I understand there is also a PCB that needs to be replaced, not just firmware installed, according to some reports on other forums. This may not be required on all lenses, but some. So, it's best to inspect the lens in service.
  10. Nikon is now offering a firmware fix for the 300/4 PF intermediate shutter speed VR issue, but the lens needs to be turned in to service to install it. Serial numbers 205101 and higher already have the new firmware.
  11. At dpreview.com someone posted a comparison between D7200 with and without grip, and D810 with and without grip, and only the D810 images (without vertical grip) were unsharp, whereas the images made with the gripped D810 + PF 300 were fine as well as the D7200 with and without grip. My interpretation of this is that the larger mirror and shutter of the D810, together with a light weight high magnification lens, has a tendency to produce unsharp results with VR on at certain shutter speeds but adding weight to the camera body (the vertical grip) alleviates the problem. And the D7200 with its smaller mirror and shutter may simply produce less vibration to begin with (this is consistent with my tripod based tests comparing the D7100 and D810 as the former didn't seem to need EFCS whereas the latter does, with 70-200/4 at 200mm). This is one point in favour of using DX for telephoto applications: less vibration. Of course the D810 does have the EFCS feature which can be used to solve the problem at least for relatively static subjects and tripod bound camera or lens. I guess in time we will get more data on how the VR of the 300/4 PF behaves in various situations. My impression was that it was useful for high shutter speed hand held work (1/500s to 1/1250s) and stabilized the lens and helped in keeping the AF sensor squarely on a target while following the action, and didn't seem to cause damage to the image at these speeds, at least compared to not having VR on. To me it's not so critical to be able to shoot at 1/160s on a grip-less D810; I can add the grip and/or possibly use a D7200 in the future, to make it work; and in the end at such slow shutter speeds a human subject can be blurred because of subject movement, and faster speeds are my preference, but I still think that on a light weight 300mm lens, VR is a good option to have, even if its implementation is not perfect for intermediate speeds.
  12. I got the opportunity to test a friend's 300/4 PF today and shot a few hundred images with it of mostly people subjects in a city environment on a sunny day (but mostly I used the sun for rim/hair light effect, preferring the faces to be lit by soft skylight). I think the light weight of the lens combined with its long focal length makes hand holding at intermediate speeds (1/200s, 1/160s) difficult even with VR on. I don't know if it is a "flaw" or just a result of physics but I can confirm that shots at 1/160s and 1/200s on that copy were not as sharp as those from faster as well as slower speeds (such as 1/60s, 1/100s) with VR on. However even at 1/160s the VR did improve sharpness a lot, compared to hand holding the lens at those same speeds with VR off. So I can't really claim a malfunction even though better VR performance was seen at slower as well as faster speeds. However, to the things that really matter. The AF is very fast and quiet (in this lens SWM is true to the "silent" name), and tracks approaching subjects (with D810 body) impeccably accurately. There is none of the slight hesitation and jittery behaviour of the autofocus of the 300/4 D AF-S; the E version's AF really works very well on the D810. The lens is a pleasure to carry and use. I was expecting to see strange bokeh effects and low contrast but I was suprised positively to see allround excellent image quality in the final print. This includes colour, contrast, bokeh, and detail in the main subject. I might have concluded otherwise based on viewing the images at actual pixels view on a computer, but since I mostly care about print quality it was good that I took that extra step. I have used the 300/4 AF-S D version (two copies, one just recently purchased, typical luck ;-)) for many years and I can say that in my applications involving people subjects the new lens is a clear winner if only because of its improved AF, better handling, and quite pleasant to view image quality. The old lens is excellent as well (at close up to medium distances, I was never all that happy with its long distance image quality) but doesn't have as decisive AF, and does take a lot more bag space, so it is less likely to be taken along when traveling. I started out suspicious of the PF design, but because the lens received many overall positive reviews and my friend offered to let me use his lens long enough to reach a conclusion, I did change my mind. I think the lens is likely to become quite popular and hopefully it make up for some of the reduced sales of recent years in the camera market.
  13. In D800 and newer cameras (also D4?) either the shutter button or AF-ON activates VR (to aid in stable focusing). In previous generation cameras, only the shutter button activated VR (but using AF-ON did not prevent it from functioning obviously). If this works differently with the 300mm PF then there must be a bug somewhere.
  14. The aperture ring can be problematic for hand-held use of long lenses. A lot of people seem to object to the aperture ring because its use would mean the lens has to be supported by something other than the left hand while adjusting the aperture (depends of course on which position axially the aperture ring resides). I like the aperture ring for relatively compact lenses though. There seems to be a trend towards the requirement that most controls be accessible by only using the right hand. It is not my preference but nevertheless expressed by many. Of course, traditionally long lenses were supported by a tripod or monopod, but with VR, high ISO, and reduction in weight of the lens, there has been a move towards hand-held use of even very large and fairly heavy telephoto lenses.
  15. No, but the 27 consecutive frame buffer in 12-bit NEF recording at 6fps is spacious enough that it can be used for some action without feeling the camera is a handicap. It's not a sports or action specialist's camera but it is $500 less expensive than the 7D Mark II and as such accessible to many people who can't afford or justify the cost of the latter, and for the general photography enthusiast not especially focused on action, the D7200 via its sensor heritage is likely to produce better image quality in general photography, especially at base ISO. Not everyone wants to pay a lot of money for a highly specialised tool. The 7D II is close enough in price to the much higher image quality D750 that in my opinion it is not at all obvious, which camera becomes the better choice for an enthusiast unless they have a specific application for high fps. Canon 7D II's AF system has a lot of cross type points which is useful when manually selecting an off center point but according to dpreview.com's AF testing the Nikons such as D750 have better tracking of subject moving across the frame (the intelligent/dynamic tracking where the subject is identified and followed based on scene context) than the 7D II. So it depends on what you want of the system, which implementation is better. As for AF problems, there are plenty of reports of those amongs 7D II users. Nikon has had higher resolution sensors for several years and so they're more likely to be identified with AF issues than Canons with their lower resolution. Nikon has been improving their AF track record with the D810 and D750. I do feel a broader coverage of cross type points would be preferable to what Nikon currently offers, since I prefer normally to manually select a focus point and use just that, but Nikon's view on the matter seems to be that too many off-center cross type points would confuse the automatic identification and tracking algorithm with irrelevant information (this was the explanation they gave when the Multi-CAM 3500 was first introduced, as to the question of why there are no cross type sensors outside of the central columns). Far off center points are less reliable in DSLRs due to optical/technical reasons, whether they have cross type sensors or not (cross type does help but not as much as in the center where AF is much more accurate). The Sony A6000 has a 24mp sensor and is capable of 11 fps RAW, data readout. I.e. the data readout shouldn't be a problem. The Sony A6000 is a year old by now. Comparing e.g. the A6000 vs. Nikon D5300 for dxomark, the sensors seem very similar except the base ISO dynamic range is 0.8 EV worse in the Sony than the Nikon (which to my knowledge is using a Sony manufactured sensor). This may be a simple result of sampling the sensor too fast and as a result more noise is digitized (the difference is still 0.7Ev at ISO 200). 0.7-0.8 Ev is a lot for sensors of the same generation and manufacturer (the real world significance of it may be debated and is subjective / application dependent). It may also be the case that Sony is simply not selling this fast sensor of theirs to Nikon, preferring to keep them to their own camera models exclusively as they have stated they are doing with the 12MP 35mm full frame sensor in the A7s. Alternatively, Nikon may prefer to keep every good bit of data they can get from the sensor instead of sacrificing data quality to gain speed. It is a legitimate choice to make and depends on customer needs, which is preferred. If high speed cameras that sacrifice some image quality compared to their slower cousins were as desired as they now might seem to be based on internet chatter, the D300s should have sold brilliantly, but it didn't. Nikon made their own conclusions from this and changed priorities, placing image quality above speed for enthusiast/semi-pro DSLRs. I do believe Nikon is working on a more direct competitor to the 7D Mark II but this could take a while before it is released. If they have to start a new sensor design project to achieve the speed and image quality objectives, it could take some time. There is also the matter of profitability; as consumers are moving away from cameras to new pursuits, it may be that only the very high end products can remain profitable, and the prices of those will start increasing to compensate for the reduced sales volume. The DX market may become a commodity market where everyone has more or less the same product and profit is extremely low. So is it possible for Nikon to be successful in this market again, with so many competitors? Addendum: I don't want to dismiss the 7D Mark II or its significance to those who need it. I know it is a great camera for certain applications and has very innovative and significant features (such as the anti-flicker for better exposure and color consistency under flickering lights). I believe Nikon has taken note of it and is preparing an appropriate response. But I would not be too hard on criticising Nikon for their policy of optimizing image quality instead of fps, buffer, video features etc. It is not possible to be best at everything at once.
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