Nikon has officially produced its 95-millionth Nikkor lens

The milestone comes eight months after announced it had produced its 90-millionth lens, keeping with roughly the same production rate from the previous five milestones (Nikon announces milestones at each 5 million mark.


Unlike , Nikon doesn’t tell what lens was the 95-millionth produced. Instead Nikon’s press release announcing the milestone focuses on mentioning a number of new technologies and lenses that have made an appearance over the past year or so.


Most notably, Nikon mentions new coating technologies, its Phase Fresnal technology, its use of lighter and smaller fluorite elements and more. A few of the lens mentioned include Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR, and its AF-S DX NIKKOR 16–80mm f/2.8–4E ED VR, all three of which we covered earlier this month.


Considering Nikon’s current pace, it looks like May or June of 2016 will be the centennial mark in terms of millions of lenses sold. We’ll be sure to keep you updated. To see the full press release, head on over to Nikon Rumors’ post by clicking here.


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Earlier this month Canon announced it had produced it’s 110-millionth EF lens. Today, Nikon reached a similar milestone, announcing the Tokyo-based company has produced its 95-millionth Nikkor lens.



FT-1 Adapter – Use F Mount Lenses On A Nikon 1 Camera

The FT-1 adapter allows F-Mount Nikkor lenses designed for use with DSLR and SLR cameras the more compact Nikon 1 Series bodies. This is a great option if you have a lot of F-Mount lenses already and don’t have the budget to purchase more Nikon 1 lenses.

The adapter is simply attached to the Nikon 1 Series like a lens, and the F-Mount lens of your choice can then be attached onto it. Using the FT-1 increases the angle of view of the lens by 2.7 times. This means that using a telephoto lens on the camera will give you an angle of view equivalent to a super telephoto lens being used.

As well as increased telephoto reach, the FT-1 has no loss of light, meaning a lens with an aperture of f/2.8 will remain just that. The FT-1 also allows you to take full advantage of the Nikon 1’s high speed continuous shooting of up to 60 fps when using it and a compatible AF-S Nikkor lens.

This month, 10 members have the chance to have 1000 photos scanned for free by Vintage Photo Lab! Vintage Photo Lab specialise in bulk scanning for your old photo…

If you own a Nikon DSLR system and have recently bought a Nikon 1 Series Mirrorless camera or are thinking of purchasing one, did you know that you can use your F mount DSLR lenses on Nikon 1 Series cameras with the FT-1 mount adapter?



Kenko releases new 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters for Canon EF/EF-S lenses

The Kenko Teleplus 1.4x HD DGX is made up of three elements in 2 groups and weighs in at 110g with a 25mm barrel length. It offers full autofocus operation on lenses with an maximum aperture of f/4 or brighter, with the exception of ’s EF 50mm f/1.8. Exposure is adjusted by one stop and aperture diaphragm coupling is fully automatic. The Teleplus 1.4x HD DGX Teleconverter is set to go on sale for £219 ($340 USD).

The Kenko Teleplus 2.0x HD DGX is made up of 5 elements in 3 groups and weighs in at 157g with a 35.8mm barrel length. The 2.0x HD DGX improves upon its 1.4x counterpart by offering full autofocus operation for lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or brighter, with the same exception for Canon’s 50mm f/1.8. Naturally, the 2.0x HD DGX reduces exposure by two stops. The Teleplus 2.0x HD DGX Teleconverter is set to go on sale for £219 ($340 USD)

Keno provides a helpful document to check whether your and lens combination are compatible with its latest teleconverters, which you can find by clicking here.

Kaili Optronics Kelda 85mm f/1.8 Lens Review

This manual focus telephoto lens offers a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture for a price of around £136, which seems very good value for a lens of this type. So what’s the catch?

Kaili Kelda are a Chinese company who produce a variety of budget-orientated basic manual focus lenses. This lens is available to and SLRs. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.

Given the price of this lens, you’d be forgiven for having low expectations of almost every aspect of this lens. A mix of high-quality plastics with a lightly textured finish and metal have been used for much of the lens barrel, with a red ring placed near the front end of the optic. This lens isn’t overly heavy for one sporting a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture either, tipping the scales at 385g. As a result it balances well with the Nikon D600 body used for testing.

The manual focus ring feels a little gritty in operation, although there is enough resistance in the mechanism to help with applying fine focus adjustments. Closest focus is 85cm, which is fairly typical for a lens of this focal length and aperture. 72mm filters can be attached to the deep circular hood supplied with this lens, or 55mm filters can be attached directly to the lens. The filter thread does not rotate, which makes it ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters.

This lens has no electronic or mechanical coupling with the camera, so stop down metering has to be used when shooting. The aperture ring has values marked at seemingly arbitrary values, with the distance between stops getting less as the lens is stopped down more. The values marked on the aperture ring don’t quite line up with the click stops either, which may cause confusion when using smaller apertures.

Surprisingly, this lens isn’t a bad performer. At maximum aperture, sharpness is very good in the centre of the frame and fairly good towards the edges. Stopping down improves performance with outstanding sharpness being achieved in the centre at f/4.5 and excellent sharpness towards the edges at f/6.

Chromatic aberrations are kept under control, hovering at around half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame for most aperture settings. These low levels of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in very large prints, or harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is typical for a lens of this focal length and aperture. The corners are 1.3 stops darker than the image centre at f/1.8 and visually uniform illumination isn’t achieved until the aperture is stopped down to f/3.5 or beyond.

Imatest only detected 0.13% pincushion distortion, which is an extremely low amount and should very rarely need correction in image editing software afterwards.

The supplied circular hood does a good job of shielding the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare, however, shooting into the light does result in a noticeable loss of contrast.

With a price of only £136, this lens is very inexpensive indeed. The closest equivalent currently available Samyang’s manual focus 85mm f/1.4 lens, which is available for around £211 and sports a faster maximum aperture and overall better build and handling. Nikon’s 85mm f/1.8G costs around £350 and Canon’s EF 85mm USM can be picked up for £240.

With a price of only £136, you’d be forgiven for having poor expectations of this lens. As far as build quality and handling are concerned, you can see where corners have been cut with the gritty manual focus ring, bizarre range of apertures and an aperture ring that doesn’t line up properly with the printed markings.

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

This month, 10 members have the chance to have 1000 photos scanned for free by Vintage Photo Lab! Vintage Photo Lab specialise in bulk scanning for your old photo…



Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM announced

Sigma has today announced the pricing and availability for its Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM. The lens is priced at £949.99 and is available from the end of July in a Sigma and mount, with the mount to be announced at a later date.

The lens is the manufacturer’s premium ‘Art’ series, featuring a world-first combination of a fixed maximum aperture of f/2 across a traditional wide-angle zoom range.

As Sigma points out, this combination covers the range of three of their stand-alone optics – the 24mm, 28mm and 35mm – offering the f/2 maximum aperture at each of these focal lengths.

The 24-35mm features a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, making it useful for close-up shooting, portraits with an attractive Bokeh, and deep-focus landscape photography.


How Von Wong Captured An Amazing Portrait Deep Under Water

I had this grand idea: To recreate the iconic scene of a young Chinese cormorant fisherman hard at work on a bamboo raft – shot 30 meters underwater in a cenote just above a toxic layer of hydrogen sulfide. Traditional culture as a whole, is something that is inexorably fading with time. I wanted to create a piece that would immortalize a piece of my own culture – the iconic cormorant fisherman. By placing him directly above an underwater river, within this portal that was believed to lead to the Mayan underworld, seemed like the perfect way to bid farewell to a proud tradition. As a general rule, taking underwater portraits is extremely complicated. Simple tasks like breathing, communicating. posing and moving become a lot more complex whilst standard lighting rules and equipment requirements change completely. Transport that shoot 30m underwater and suddenly things become exponentially more complex. Ambient light levels and visibility plummet, dive time is reduced significantly while the safety risks from potential malfunction increase. Add onto that a toxic layer of opaque hydrogen sulfide and only five days in Mexico meant  we were really setting ourselves up for a challenge.

Last week I received a message from my buddy and talented photographer Ben Von Wong. We all know him for his incredible photos that mix practical effects as well as precisely-applied post production visuals. His recent photoshoot entitled “MAKING OF: BALLANTINE’S PRESENTS VON WONG’S UNDERWATER RIVER” is no exception. To make this all happen, Benjamin created a portrait shoot with a set his crew built aboveground and installed 30 meters underwater just feet above toxic hydrogen sulfide. Learn more about his shoot below.

If you want to learn more details about how this shoot was accomplished head on over to Von Wong’s blog:

I appreciate Von Wong because he is always trying to push his boundaries to the next level creatively and production-wise. I think this shoot came out great and like it even more now that I know how much setup went in to making it happen.

Commercial Photographer (mainly Phase One medium format digital) and filmmaker based out of NYC. Started a site called to spread stories about well-behaved and positive pitbulls. Love cars, 80s movies, dogs, and adventure. Free time is spent traveling, sleeping, adventuring, or working on my baby, a 1969 Mustang Mach 1.



The aesthetic differences between umbrellas, reflectors and softboxes

As part of their OnSet video series, Adorama has shared a helpful tutorial showing off the difference between three of the most popular light modifiers available: umbrellas, reflectors and softboxes.

In the two and a half minute video, photographer Daniel Norton concisely explains what it is each light modifier is designed to do, how you can use each modifier and what the aesthetic changes are between the varying uses of each modifier. There isn’t much to the video, but it’s beauty and value is in its simplicity.



Sony-fit Nissin Di700A and Commander Air1 flash kit launched

The Nissin Di700A and Commander Air1 flash kit have gone on sale in a Sony-fit version in recognition of Sony as a ‘major contender’ in the market.

Already out in and versions, the Nissin Commander Air1 is designed to control three groups of Nissin Di700A flash, up to a maximum of 21 NAS guns.

It is an ideal controller for photographers who want to simultaneously fire multiple flashguns at various distances, without the need for cables, according to UK distributor Kenro.

Kenro’s managing director Paul Kench said: ‘We’re very excited about this new addition to the range. Sony is a major contender in the digital camera market – dominated by Canon and Nikon – and Nissin has recognised this by now making all their new flash systems compatible with Sony cameras.’

Kenro Ltd, the exclusive UK distributor of Nissin flash guns and accessories, has announced the immediate availability of a new SONY fit for the TIPA Award-winning Nissin Di700A with Commander Air1 Flash Kit.

Using radio transmission, the range of the new Nissin Air System is up to 30m. For flexibility, transmission channels and IDs can be set to prevent misfiring in the event of signal interference on the same channel.

The Nissin Commander Air1 can control 3 groups of Nissin Di700A flash (with a maximum of 21 NAS guns), making it an ideal controller for photographers who wish to simultaneously fire multiple guns at various distances and without the need for cables. The Commander Air1 is also available to purchase separately.

Select Dial with a simple user interface Supports TTL compensation +/- 2EV 8 steps of Manual output Manual zoom coverage 24 – 200mm High-speed synchronization: 1/8,000 sec 1st and 2nd curtain synchronization AF assist light 8 Channels Capacity approx. 3,000 flashes Flash Interval: up to 10 times per second Function Mode: TTL, Manual and Manual Zoom Flash Exposure Control: 1st Curtain synchronization, 2nd Curtain synchronization, High-speed synchronization, Red-eye reduction, Slow sync. (Nikon only), FE / FV Lock (set on camera) Uses 2 x AAA batteries Weight: 55g (without batteries)

Stylish design and simple operation A wide range of zoom angles from 24-200mm Guide No: 48 at 105mm zoom head position (at ISO 100 in metres) Rotating lock release button Recycle time 0.1 – 4 secs Number of flashes approx. 200 – 1500 High-speed synchronization up to 1/8,000 seconds shutter speed Wireless TTL slave for A/B/C groups Standard & 3.5mm PC sync terminal Quick-loading battery magazine – BM-02 Compatible with Power Pack Colour Temperature: 5,600K AF-assist beam effective range: 0.7 – 6m/ 2.3 – 19.7 feet Accessories included: Soft case, flash stand (with screw) Uses 4 x AA batteries Weight: 380g (without batteries)

Says Paul Kench, Kenro’s managing director: “We’re very excited about this new addition to the range. Sony is a major contender in the digital camera market – dominated by Canon and Nikon – and Nissin has recognized this by now making all their new flash systems compatible with Sony cameras.”



Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Review

This ultra-wide angle zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to a 14-28mm lens used on a 35mm format and sports a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. The lens is also dust and splash proof and is available from around £1000 at the time of writing. In this review we’ll take a look at how it performs.

The lens barrel is constructed from high quality, robust materials with a glossy finish and the bayonet is metal with a rubber gasket to prevent the ingress of dust and moisture into the camera body. Despite the robust construction and constant f/2.8 aperture the lens only weighs 534g. This makes the lens an ideal companion for the Panasonic Lumix G6 body used for testing.

Focusing is performed internally, although due to the bulbous front element, necessary to provide such a wide field of view there is no filter thread. Sliding back the focus ring reveals a distance scale and automatically changes the camera to manual focus mode, which is ideal for applying quick adjustments. However, it is quite easy to nudge this by accident when changing lenses, so care needs to be taken to ensure the lens is in the correct mode for shooting. The minimum focus distance is 20cm throughout the zoom range, which is ideal for close ups, or shooting in claustrophobic environments.

At 12mm sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame and excellent towards the edges. The performance of the lens at this focal length is limited by diffraction, so there is nothing to be gained in sharpness by stopping down.

Zooming to 10mm results in a slight reduction in sharpness at maximum aperture, although performance is still excellent across the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/4 results in outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame and excellent clarity towards the edges.

Finally, at 14mm sharpness is very good in the centre and good towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to between f/4 and f/5.6 results in excellent clarity in the centre and very good performance towards the edges for this focal length.

Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled throughout most of the zoom range for this kind of lens. Fringing barely exceeds half a pixel width, which should make these chromatic aberrations difficult to spot.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is also well controlled. At 7mm and f/2.8 the comers are 1.52 stops darker than the centre of the image and at 14mm the corners are only 1.27 stops darker than the image centre. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination across the frame throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is well corrected in camera, but without corrections applied, detected 1.73% barrel distortion at 7mm which reduces to 0.61% at 14mm. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame throughout the zoom range, which should make applying corrections in image editing software afterwards fairly straightforward.

A petal-shaped hood is built onto the front of the lens, which does a reasonable job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with loss of contrast or flare. Strong sources of light in the frame, such as the sun can cause flare and a noticeable loss of contrast.

Currently, this lens is available for around £1000, which is good value for a lens of this quality. There is no direct equivalent currently available for Micro Four Thirds cameras, with the closest alternative being Panasonic’s 7-14mm f/4 lens, which costs around £800.

Given the ‘Pro’ moniker assigned to this lens, expectations of its build and performance should be high. During testing this lens proved itself worthy, by delivering images with outstanding sharpness, whilst handling well and sporting a robust dust and moisture resistant construction. The lens may be a little prone to flare, but given the extreme angle of view on offer and the compact size of the lens, this flaw may be something many will be able to forgive, or even forget.

Outstanding sharpness from maximum apertureRelatively compact and lightweightRobust buildDust and splash proofQuick access for manual focusGood valueExcellent control of CA

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.



Comparing Photos from the Canon 1D X, Nikon D810, and Pentax 645z

In this article, I’m going to share a simple comparison between photos taken with the 1D X, D810, and Pentax 645z. First things first, this is not a scientific or carefully done test. Don’t read too much into it! This was just because I happened to have all 3 cameras here, and had a bit of time spare. And I like playing around with gear.

The most important thing to note is I didn’t have the right lenses to do a really fair comparison. This is just for curiosity to see how a similar picture would look coming out of each camera.

The Nikon is using a Nikon 35mm f/1.4, and the Pentax is using a Pentax 55mm f/2.8. The Canon is at the biggest disadvantage, with a Canon 24-70mm II lens shooting wide open. The 24-70 is an outstanding general zoom lens, but it’s not really fair to compare it wide open to two other prime lenses.

I don’t normally use a 35mm lens for portraits but again, it’s all I had here. So the Nikon has it’s 35mm, the Canon 24-70mm is set to 35mm, and the Pentax with it’s 55mm is equivalent to roughly a 43mm so I took a small step back as well. I wasn’t on a tripod, so the framing is not identical, but close enough.

These images are completely untouched and auto white balance. Of course you can make the colours anything you want. All lenses are set at 2.8. The ISO varied slightly over each camera but was pretty low.

So out of all that, my personal conclusion is that the Canon probably gets the nicest colors straight out of the camera. I like the overall look of the larger sensor Pentax more than either the Canon or Nikon. The medium format ‘look’ is something that is hard to describe but I think is pretty clear to most people in these quick test shots. If this was a wedding and I was doing a proper edit of course I would go through and get the colors spot on.

If I posted 100% crops here my wife would kill me. But to summarize from looking at the files at 100%, the Pentax is a clear step above the other 2 cameras with the most ridiculous amount of facial detail rendered at 100% view. The D810 does well, but does trail significantly behind the Pentax. The 1D X did very well considering it was using a zoom lens wide open. I would think D810 would compare better sharpness-wise to the Pentax with different lenses such as the lovely Zeiss Otus 55 or 85mm. But as it is with the 35mm f/1.4, there is a fair gap. I’ll do a small aperture test later in this post.

At this size, they all look pretty similar. So we need 100% crops to really see. It’s hard to frame these identically with the different file sizes and lenses.

The Pentax is surprisingly well. Until recently, medium format was pretty much unusable above ISO 400 and took a huge resolution hit if you did go over 400. These days, to have a 51MP medium format body that produces very good and detailed high ISO work is just amazing, and it’s a reason why I can use this camera very effectively at weddings.

The Canon obviously trails by a fair way here, but it still produces a decent result — remembering, of course, the 1D X is a few years old now. I still regularly print files from this camera in wedding albums at ISO 6400 and a bit higher, and the noise will often be greatly diminished on print. I would also run some noise reduction over this file in my editing process, but haven’t here.

The next test is the dynamic range at high ISO. Both of these shots were f/2.8 at ISO 1600. The Pentax was not used here. This is just Canon against Nikon.

There in the leaf shot you can see the dynamic range of the Nikon. The Canon is clipping highlights a bit on the edges of some of the leaves, the Nikon is not. But indoors, the dynamic range was near identical. So as far as I can tell, there is a difference in low ISOs between the cameras, but it becomes a much more level playing field dynamic range wise once the ISO starts getting high.

As a wedding photographer this is a spectacularly useless test — I put colors and dynamic range and how a camera handles well above how many pixels it has. But I know some people will be curious, so here it is!

So the Nikon here is certainly not bad, but there is a noticeable difference to the Pentax. Given the Nikon costs about 35% of what the Pentax costs, it’s not a bad result. I actually thought the Nikon would do a bit better and retook the shot a few times to make sure but that was the consistent result — at least with this lens.

The Pentax 55mm used in those teddy shots is a very good lens, but it’s far from the sharpest available. I have a 35mm that is a big step up in sharpness from the 55mm but did not use it as the framing would be too different to the Nikon 35mm — it’s essentially a wide angle lens in medium format.