Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nikon launches D7000 and two killer lenses!

Nikon has (finally) released the successor to the aging D90. The new D7000 slots into the mid-tier ranking of the Nikon DSLR hierarchy, promising performance with a new 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and a faster 'Expeed 2' processor. One of the key highlights is the inclusion of a magnesium alloy body, which until now was only reserved for the higher-end Nikon body. This is interesting because while Canon has been systematically shifting their mid-tier bodies (such as the EOS 60D) downwards in terms of features and specs, we have Nikon actually moving the other way up by including better build for their mid-tier bodies. The Nikon D7000 features a high res 920k 3" LCD and Full HD 1080p 24 frames movie recording capabilities. Looks like the Nikon camp has unleashed a powerful challenger this time round…

Another interesting development comes in the form of the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G. This wide-angle prime lens holds 10 elements in seven groups, including one aspherical glass element, and incorporates Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for quieter auto-focusing, along with Nano-Crystal coating to reduce flare. It will definitely be a welcome addition to the camera bags of street photographers, journalists and portrait photographers looking to capture street photos and environmental portraits in low available light.

And finally, Nikon has also updated its 200mm F2 VR professional lens to Mark II. Although the optical formula remains unchanged, the new AF-S Nikkor 200mm F2G ED VR II utilizes the second generation of Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology (VR II), as well as the company's proprietary nano-crystal coating to reduce ghosting and flare.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I hate camera straps

Let's get this out of the way for once and for all - the traditional camera strap doesn't work most of the time. It is made to be worn around your neck with the camera in front of you, and probably designed by a chiropractor, because that's who you'll be visiting if you use it for long periods of time. Given that a mobile phone can be a weighty pendulum on a lanyard, who actually wants to hang a heavy DSLR around your neck the whole day?

Some people actually sling it over one shoulder, only to see the camera crash to the floor when one is momentarily distracted. I find the traditional camera strap very useful when I wrap it around my hands when shooting, but never for carrying the camera around hands-free.

There are a couple of different variant designs on the camera strap in the past years, and two of the most interesting ones are the Y-Strap and R-Strap. Both straps run diagonally down your body supported by one shoulder, and the camera rests on the opposite hip. The weight is on the shoulder and not on the neck, which makes for comfortable wear for longer periods. The camera slides up smoothly along the strap to your face, guided by the length of the strap.

So if you're not happy with the traditional camera strap and want an alternative option, check out the Y-strap and the R-Strap. I like the fact that you're not advertising a huge DSLR on your chest that screams "I'm a photographer!', which means you can probably get closer to your subject without them noticing. Just watch out when you walk past tables - you definitely don't want your precious lens or camera meeting the corner of some sturdy benches!

The Y-strap

The R-strap