Replacement foot Kirk LP-45 for Nikkor 70-200 VR II

Just in case you were wondering if the Kirk LP-45 replacement foot fits on the new Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens: yes, it does, just as it did on the old Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. If you’re using Arca Swiss compatible clamps, this is the foot to go for, you won’t be disappointed. Continue reading

Review: Benro monopod MC-96m8 (carbon fiber)

M8, that’s how Benro calls its carbon manufacturing process for its latest carbon monopod & tripod series. According to a press release, the difference between the older N6 and the new M8 process is:
“Based on Benro’ Generation ll C-series N6 Tripod , the new Generation C-series M8 Tripods use updated QIHM-8X Quasi Isotropic technology, providing 20% greater strength. Magnesium and Carbon materials are used to produce a tripod that’s 10% lighter”.

At least from the outside there’s no visible change between M8 and N6 (I also own an N6 series tripod) but then I am certainly not an expert in carbon fibers. When comparing the MC-96m8 monopod data with the older MC-96n6 model the only difference is that Benro doubled the maximum load capacity from 10kg to 20kg. No difference in weight (shouldn’t it be 10% lighter too?). Anyway, with 740g (26 oz) it’s still a lightweight. Continue reading

Aperture 2.1.3 fixes (some) missing EXIF export tags…and more!

Yesterday, Apple released a new version of it’s photo management and raw conversion software Aperture. The issues addressed include:

  • Nikon images imported using a direct camera-to-computer connection now display thumbnails correctly in the Import window.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause duplicate image versions to be created after rebuilding a library.
  • Fixed a library issue that prevented operation of the Relocate or Consolidate commands in some circumstances.

The fixed import-thumbnails issue is great news for Nikon D700 users. Finally, we’re able to see what photos we’re about to import from our camera. I also checked if they fixed an annoying EXIF metadata export issue when exporting a photo – and to my big surprise, they did!

EXIF data

EXIF data

As you can see in the screenshot above, EXIF Viewer displays the latitude/longitude metadata information in an exported Aperture photo when using Aperture 2.1.3. The master image was a raw camera file which I exported as a JPEG. Unfortunately, lens information is still missing in the exported photos :(

Tokina AT-X 116 vs. Nikkor 14-24 on Nikon FX body

In a previous post I wrote about the possibility to use the Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX 11-16mm lens on a Nikon FX body – in FX mode. I detected some corner softness with the Tokina on my D700 so I thought it would be useful to have a direct comparison between the two lenses in FX mode. The comparison itself is pretty unfair because the Tokina was designed to work only on APS-C (DX) DSLR’s and costs 3 times less than the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm ultra wide zoom.

Weather conditions for a comparison test shot weren’t too good today but still sufficient to show the sharpness differences between the two ultra wide zoom lenses. Continue reading

Tokina AT-X 116 Pro 11-16mm DX ultra wide zoom on Nikon D700 FX body

I’m in the middle of transitioning from my Nikon D80 DX-crop sensor DSLR to a Nikon D700 full format FX-sensor DSLR. I replaced the Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 DX lens (24-300mm) with:

  • Nikkor 24-70 AF-S f/2.8
  • Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 AF-S VR
  • Nikkor TC-17E II teleconverter. I’m still getting acceptable sharpness with the 70-200 tele. Of course this is a compromise and I don’t think I’m going to use the converter a lot. Maximum aperture is f/4.8 with a f/2.8 lens. The teleconverter also works great on my Nikkor Micro 105mm AF-S VR macro.

I still have my Tokina AT-X 116 Pro f/2.8 DX ultra wide zoom lens. I was thinking about replacing it with a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 ultra wide zoom lens but the Tokina actually works quite well on a FX body like the D700 – in FX mode! Continue reading

Aperture doesn’t export all EXIF header info

While playing around with the new geotagging Places feature in iPhoto ’09 I was pretty stunned by the fact that Aperture 2.1.2 doesn’t export the full EXIF header info when exporting photos from an Aperture project. I already found out that Aperture doesn’t include all EXIF fields for its preview pictures but I expected it to write all EXIF fields when doing a full-size JPEG-export and the Include Metadata option is selected in the export options. Continue reading

Review: iPhoto ’09 face detection limited but still useful

Even though I’m preferring Apple Aperture over iPhoto to post-process my RAW format photos, the new “Faces” feature in iPhoto ’09 (part of iLife ’09) sounded interesting enough to me to give iPhoto another try. To get some photos in iPhoto without having to duplicate them, I set it up to reference Aperture preview JPEGs in iPhoto’s preferences instead of copying them to the iPhoto library. The preset for Aperture preview JPEGs is 1/2 size of the original photo. Now I’m able to reference Aperture projects by dragging them to iPhoto using the Show Aperture Library menu in iPhoto’s File menu.  Continue reading

Review: DSLR photographers tools for iPhone

Here’s a review of iPhone and iPod touch apps that can be very useful to DSLR photographers. On one hand I was looking for iPhone apps which calculate sunrise and sunset times for a given location or even calculate the so called “blue hour”. On the other hand I was looking for apps that calculate depth of field, hyperfocal distance and flash exposure. I also had a look at some GPS coordinate tracker apps but due to (deliberate) limitations in the iPhone OS most of these apps don’t really work great. More on that later on. Continue reading

Nikkor 18-200mm vs 28-80mm sharpness comparison

I’m a big fan of the Nikon Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II AF-S lens because it’s so versatile. It’s also a great companion to my Tokina AT-X 116 ultra wide angle zoom lens. Both fit nicely into my small LowePro SlingShot camera bag and it doesn’t get too heavy.

After reading Ken Rockwell’s review about the Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 G I was curious to see how much sharper it is than my 18-200mm lens. Ken claims the 28-80mm to be “unbelievably sharp”. Continue reading

Review: Tian-Ya gradient filters (Cokin P-series compatible)

I’ve been using an A-series Cokin filter system for years but with the transition to bigger lenses I had to transition to the larger P-series Cokin filter system. Now I’m using the rather slim wide-angle holder P299 to reduce vignetting for shorter focal lengths. I don’t need the possibility to hold more than one filter as I’m only using a single graduated neutral density (GND) filter anyway. Cokin filters are expensive in my country. The P-series filters have a price tag of around 50 US$. They cost half the price on Adorama or B&H but they charge 50 US$ (!) just for shipping the filter to Switzerland.
So I searched on eBay for less expensive soft edged graduated filters and found some P-series compatible filters from a Chinese company called Tian-Ya. Continue reading

Holux M-241 GPS Logger field test

We just returned from a two week holiday in Scotland. I hauled my complete photo gear (which added almost 10kg to my backpack…aww) with me because I planned to spend quite some time photographing. It turned out that the scottish weather can be rather challenging to the passionate photographer but that’s another story. Of course I took my Holux M-241 GPS logger with me because I wanted to geotag all our photos. I also decided to take my small 13″ notebook with me, just in case the GPS logging device runs out of storage. As it turned out at the end this wouldn’t have been necessary. More on that later on.

Continue reading

Nikon D80 RAW .NEF GPS geotagging workflow on the Mac

I already wrote a few articles about how to use my preferred GPS logging device, the Holux M-241, on the Mac. In this article I’m focusing on the linking process between the GPS data and the photos. This process is called a geotagging workflow. Most of the time I’m taking pictures in RAW mode so the workflow is optimized for this type of images. I’m using a Nikon D80 but the workflow should work with almost any other (Nikon) digital camera like the Nikon D200 or Nikon D300 too. Continue reading