• Tue, 06 Oct 2020 22:19:00 +0000

    My move to Mirrorless

    I have used digital SLR’s since the Nikon D1 was launched so have many years of experience in getting the most out of this type of camera – so why have I now switched mainly to mirrorless?

    The journey for me began with the purchase of a Panasonic GF-1 – an early micro-4/3 format camera with a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. I bought this rather than a compact camera as it was very small and offered the opportunity to change lenses. I quickly discovered the drawback (until recently) of mirrorless cameras in that autofocus performance was excellent for static subjects but useless for moving subjects!

    Mirrorless offered me an electronic viewfinder (though not great quality) and a compact lightweight camera body and reasonable results but no-way would it replace my DSLR’s.

    As time moved on, I tried the Olympus E-P3 which offered built in stabilisation so I could use a lower ISO and still get sharp images at lower shutter speeds. The viewfinder was a clip on one and overall it was quite an improvement but still hopeless for moving subjects.

    When the Olympus OM-D E-M1 came out this offered the promise of much improved continuous AF as well as a better image sensor, 5-axis stabilisation and a range of Pro lenses. I bought one and a 12-40mm f/2.8 pro lens and later the 40-150mm f/2.8 pro together with 17mm f/1.8 and 45mm f/1.8 prime lenses then added the 9-18 wide-angle zoom. Overall this was a great package, lightweight and compact with good image quality and reliable continuous autofocus – though still not close to my Nikon full-frame system.

    Then, Nikon announced the Z system and after trying this out at several Nikon events and the Nikon School in London I decided to add a Z7 to my kit.

    The Z7 has been a joy to use with its fantastic electronic viewfinder and superb image stabilisation system and the massive saving in size and weight compared to my Nikon D850. The lenses too show superb optical quality and are silent in use so I found myself using the Z7 with the 24-70mm f/4 S lens far more than the D850 with 24-70mm f/2.8E VR lens so I decided at that point to sell all my Micro 4/3 kit and purchase a second Z7 body and trade in my D850, and 24-70 F-mount plus the 24-70mm f/4 Z mount lens for this plus a 24-70 mm f/2.8 S lens and 14-30mm f/4 S lens.

    My kit now comprises of the following:

    Nikon Z9, Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S, Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR, Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S, Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Nikon Z 1.4 and 2.0 Teleconverter S, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport, TTArtisans 11mm f/2.8 Fisheye, Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S, Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S, Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S, Nikon 105mm f/2.8 MC VR Macro S, Nikon 500mm f/8 N, Nikon FTZ-II, Meike Extension tube set, Leica Q2, DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone, DJI Osmo Action, DJI Ronin SC, DJI Osmo Mobile 6, Godox V1 (3), Godox Lux Senior, Rotolight Neo 2 (2)

  • Mon, 15 Jun 2020 20:53:57 +0000

    Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens for Nikon Z series

    Lets get this out of the way right at the start – this lens is the best 24-70 f/2.8 lens I have every used and fully justifies the move from F-mount to Z-mount to improve lens quality.

    The increase in mount diameter from 47mm to 55mm and the reduction flange distance from 46/5mm to just 16mm has allowed the Nikon designers to eliminate compromises forced on them by the F-mount.

    The lens is beautifully constructed and looks designed to take the sort of day to day punishment so Pro photographers put their gear through. The lens features a 77mm filter thread, OLED display on the lens which can be changed from aperture or focussed distance. Also provided are a programmable lens function button, A/M focus selector, a DISP button for changing the OLED display information (Aperture, focal length, depth of field, Focus distance) , a large and perfectly weighted zoom ring, a manual focus ring and a control ring which can be programmed for 21 different actions such as Aperture or exposure compensation for instance. Supplied with the lens are front and rear caps, locking petal type lens hood (HB-87) and a soft pouch (unpadded).

    In use the 24-70 snaps into focus extremely quickly and totally silently thanks to it’s twin drive focus system. The zoom action is very well damped with no play and exceptional smoothness. manual focus is a pleasure and can override the AF system at any time by just moving the MF ring. Focus range is from 0.38m to infinity at all focal lengths. The control ring is very useful and can be programmed for 21 different uses.

    Optical performance is exemplary with pin-sharp images possible at f/2.8 thought the zoom range across the whole width of the frame. The only reason to stop down from maximum aperture if to gain depth of field. Bokeh is wonderful thanks to the 9 curved blade diaphragm providing a creamy background blur and focus gently falling away from the focus point. There is no significant focus ‘breathing’ (change of image size as focus is changed) so this lens is great for video too.

    The Nikon ARNEO and Nano-Crystal coatings do a great job in suppressing flare too and Fluorine coating protects the front and rear element too.

    In terms of size and weight the 24-70 f/2.8 S is substantially smaller and lighter than both the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the newer VR version weighing just 805g and measuring 89mm x 126mm – and as you can probably guess comes highly recommended.