Tagged in: Nikon D800

Peter Lik shoots Nikon!

Peter Lik is a guy that photographers love or they hate. No matter how you feel about the guy, you have to love the fact that is a Nikon shooter. I know he has a Phase One IQ 180 (a dream of a camera) and a few film camera as well.

I mean this guy is selling prints for over six million dollars. It is not like he can’t have any camera that he wants. He is choosing to use what seems to be the Nikon D800 to shoot in the old boneyard for the United States Air Force. That is pretty impressive if you ask me.

As you can see in the image below that there is a Nikon D800 and what seems to be a Nikon 16-35mm lens. I would not be surprised if it was. When you are on his budget, buying glass is not an issue. It also seems that he is using a Really Right Stuff (amazing products) tripod as well. There is another high quality stuff there to make a landscape photographer jealous!

One thing to note is that shooting at 16mm on a full frame camera would be like shooting at 11mm on an APSC sensor based camera such as the Nikon D7200 or Nikon D500. 

Is Peter the real deal?

One question that almost always comes up about Peter Lik is if he is the real deal? The reason that people ask this is some believe that there is investors doing some inside trading to drive prices up at the galleries. I do not know if this is true but it doesn’t seem that the FBI is looking into it. If it was really happening, I would think the government would be addressing it. It would be fraud.

I can’t wrap my mind around someone buying a print for over six million dollars but maybe that is just me.

Best lens to have in 2016

If you are a photographer, either doing it as a hobby or as a professional, you need quality glass and probably need it on the cheap as well. In 2016, these are the lens that I would recommend getting for your camera bag. If you have these half dozen lens; you can shoot anything you need and have world class results. I am not David Letterman but here is my list.

Before I start, let me point out the elephant in the room. There is no zoom lens on the list. If you are using them (I have a few), you can probably get by with the holy trinity. The Good news is the trinity by Nikon is the best set of any maker in the industry.

I believe that primes are better than zooms for several reasons but one main reason would be they are just sharper. Simple as that. Who does not want a sharp image. Personally, I was shot so sharp you can cut yourself with.

Is there time that I pull out the Nikon 24-70mm and shoot with it; yes, there are. If I am in a place that I know moving around will be very hard but I am going to need to shoot at different distances; the zoom are amazing. I do not have the time to change different primes. I just have to lose some of the sharpness. Nothing can be done.

Samyang 8mm

Samyang has an amazing fisheye lens

Before, we get started on the list, half of the lens for 2016 will be made by the Koreans at the factory for Samyang. They make great primes that are very sharp and can offer some very wide open apertures as well.

I realize that some people will say they do not offer auto-focus technology on the offerings. That is true but as a result, they give lens that can compete with some of the most premium names in the business for $300 or less.

The first in the list is the fisheye lens they offer. It is amazingly sharp and there is little to not to love about it. I do not see a need to spend a lot of fisheye lens because they are not useful in many cases. It has a special place and when the call is for the fisheye, it is an amazing lens to have.

Swing it baby

Samyang 10mm

Samyang 10mm

While Nikon has some great ultra-wide lens and even the Tamron version could easily be in the discussion; I still think the Samyang is by far the sharpest and best economical offering.

Much like the fisheye, the 10mm is a special lens that unless you do a lot of landscape; it will not used everyday but is great to have when you need it. I have a friend that uses the 12mm version to creating images of homes for sale.

I use this piece of quality glass for very wide landscapes and also use them for time-lapse. For those purposes, having this lens is a beauty.

The only real down side to using it is the front element is a dome so you can’t really use filters. That means you better know Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop pretty well.


Samyang 14mm

Samyang 14mm

Probably the best lens that Samyang has out (and they have many great ones) is the 14mm version. It is widely used and many love it. It might be one of my most used lens. Nothing beats the sharpness of it that I have seen. I have used it for environmental portrait as well.

Some could say that it is not the Carl Zeiss 15mm offering and that is fine. It is not $3,000 either. Personally, I would say in most cases, the Samyang hold its’ own against the lens that cost ten times as much. I would give the Zeiss the benefit of doubt but as I said, it is apples and oranges.

If you need a great landscape lens and know that 10mm will be too wide for most cases, this is the one lens that I suggest you use. If you really do a lot of that type of shooting and can only get one quality glass; the Samyang 14mm is the one to get.

2015 最後一幕夕景

Nikon 35mm (1.8)

Nikon 35mm 1.8G

Nikon 35mm 1.8G

The last half of the list is all Nikon offerings and they are all at the 1.8 aperture range. The reason that I do not include the 1.4 (which all are amazing) is the cost of getting them. Many just do not have the extra thousand dollars per lens. If you can do for the faster version; I would suggest it though.

First up is 35mm (that happens to be on my Nikon right now), it is a great piece to have on the camera if you want an all-purpose lens. Remember, in the prime discussion, it is better to be too wide that too tight. The auto focus is very good and I think the Nikon 35mm (1.8G) is probably one of the better quality lens in the terms of bang for the buck. I have seen it as low as $200.

I know many professional photographers (myself included) that have used it for some high end shoots. While I prefer to have the 1.4 aperture; the 1.8 is pretty good. Szkander

Nikon 50mm

Nikon 50 1.8G

Similar to the 35mm is the more popular 50mm 1.8G. I am going to take a guess here I would bet this is probably the most bought lens that Nikon offers. Everyone loves the 50mm lens. While many use the cheaper (but inferior) version (1.8D), this version is widely used and normally lives in the camera bag of most professional photographers. Just because it is a $200 lens does not mean it is not “professional.” Quality does not always require a second mortgage.

I got this lens mainly for street photography and doing shots while traveling. You can’t really do landscape with it or much in HDR. (I was doing alot of both back then) However, environmental portraits works very nicely with this len.

I also like the distance that the ninte fifty allows. I can get a little space on the streets for personal safety but I am not shooting like a huge len like the 300mm (2.8). The distance that it allows is actually about the right space you need.


Nikon 85mm

Nikon 85mm 1.4G

Finishing out the list is the 85mm focal length of Nikon primes. This is a lens that some photographers such as Matt Granger says it their most used lens for doing studio work. They love it for the same reason that I love the 50mm on the street: proper distance from the subject. I use the Samyang offering personally but the Nikon version is a little better.

I know alot of wedding photographers love to use this glass and I know it can used for alot of product photography. Personally, I like that I can shoot from such a distance that people don’t notice if I am on the street. Being a white guy in Southeast Asia with a pricy DSLR can be a challenge. Staying back is beneficial for numerous reasons.

I will probably be investing in the Nikon 85mm (1.4) before I go to the Middle East this summer. It is not just the distance (as I already said can be important), it is also the compression that Nikon gives you with the 85mm focal length. I have to say that these piece of glasses are of top quality. One of the best lens you could own in 2016.

Ousman BW

Saying no to GAS

Alot of people think that the camera makes the photographer but it is really the photographer than makes the camera. Consider this, the Nikon D800 is considered one of the best DSLR ever made. I believe part of this is because it is made for the serious photographer. The user base is mainly people that could get amazing images from any camera. With that said, the Nikon D800 is amazing!

With that said, there is a lie that if you have a great camera and great glass in front of it; you will get great images. This is a myth. Great pictures are the products of the photographer, not the lens. If you struggling to get great shots, invest is learning the basic of how light work, and how cameras behave; not getting more lens you do not understand how to use or what they can (or can’t do).

Please note that the images in this post are not the author of HDR School but are imported from Flickr. Clicking each one will redirect you to the original page on the Flickr platform.

10 reasons I sold my Sony mirrorless camera!

I use to have some Sony mirrorless cameras. In fact, I have four of them and was seriously considering a more to the mirrorless market. The concept behind them is amazing. A smaller, lighter, more flexible system with the same sensors and image quality of a Nikon DSLR. It looks amazing…. on paper.

It is really sad because they could really be a mover and shaker in the photography world but they probably wont. One reason I question that is Sony sees their sensor business as the silver bullet to save the Sony Corporation. I do not think that the camera market will save the whole empire. Just won’t happen.

In reality, the very things that photographers go to Sony mirrorless cameras for, they find when they get there…. just marketed better. People are upset that Nikon or Canon does not innovate fast enough and we are just string along. Guess what? Sony does it just as much. They just are much better at marketing their process and not as open about it.

Simply put, I think alot of people (I was) are in love with the idea of Sony mirrorless; not really the actual shooting with them. There is just too many problems in the end. I will take a heavier but trustworthy Nikon DSLR anyday!

10. Sony is not stable

One of the major issues to look at is that Sony could go under any time. They have sold off things, quit making laptops, reduced their television footprint and basically just have cameras and phones now. They have even made their sensor business completely apart from the rest of Sony. I believe, as does others, this was to save it when (not if) Sony has to file bankruptcy in Japan. I hope the Toshiba move is not the nail in the coffin for what is now known as Sony Semiconductor Solutions.

If you want a camera system for a brand that use to exist, just go get a Kodak (that developed the DSLR) and you will have the same thing. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

9. Build Problems

The cameras themselves are build very cheaply in Ayutthaya, Thailand. I do not think I have seen such poorly made professional grade camera body in my life. They are basically made of pop medal. A small drop can completely destroy the system. This is not what you expect out of a higher end camera that professionals could use.

I was walking in Quezon City, Philippines and the Sony NEX 6 dropped out of my hand the second day I had it. It destroyed the pancake lens, shattered the EVR, broke the flash, offset the shutter assembly and cause the battery to not connect. All because of a 12-15 inch drop. To be fair, I have dropped the Nikon D7000 from 10 feet in the air and it lived to tell about it.

8. Camera shops wont touch Sony mirrorless systems

After dropping it, I was off to the local camera repair shops to see how much work it would take to get it fixed. What I found out was no one will touch them with a ten foot pole. No one knows anything about the mirrorless cameras. This is an issue when you need it worked out for some reason.

The reason this matters, especially in the Philippines, is that you will be without your camera for 1-2 weeks (or more) while it is sent to Singapore, Japan or the United States to be worked on by the technicians. A month without your tools is alot of money you are losing.

7. Sony Service Centers suck

A trip to Sony Philippines and the Sony Service Center in Makati was even worse. They do not know crap about Sony mirrorless cameras and only care about television and smartphones. One of the people working there told me so. I had figure out exactly what was happening with it and asked to speak to a technician about. Sony Philippines will not allow them to speak directly with customers. When there is a language barrier, who knows what is being translated.

In the end, one of the major problems was the camera was switched to the EVF so the LCD wouldn’t come on. However, the EVF was broke so I had no way to see anything. They wanted to send it to Singapore. I asked a few Sony mirrorless users about it. We found out that just hooking up a HDMI to a television will give access to change the settings. Really surprising that Sony Philippines and the Sony Service Center couldn’t tell me this.

6. Sony Distribution is not much better

A walk into almost any camera shop in the Philippines and if you can find a Sony mirrorless camera, there is about 75% chance that is grey market and was bought here illegally by the stores from Hong Kong. Part of the reason is business related but part of it that distribution by Sony is just horrible.

I found the same to be true in the United States. Alot of local shops just do not have the cameras. It had to be ordered at B&H or Adorama. If they ever dream of competing with Nikon; they better get fix this problem pretty quickly.

5. The Electronic View Finder is annoying

The one good thing about Sony mirrorless systems is you can use the liveview without a monopod. You have to. The electronic viewfinder is just annoying and not even that close. I have used it a few times on shoots and I must say it just does not match up like they shoot. I have tried them on a few systems as well. Not impressive.

The Optical view finder in Nikon cameras might not let you see what you get but it much easier to use in reality. I could never get on with the EVF. However, to be fair, I normally use the liveview on the Nikon D800 and attach a monopod to it.

4. Battery life is a joke

If you really use the cameras for serious work, plan to carry about a dozen batteries with you. I took the Sony A6000 on a trip to Palawan last month and I had five batteries for it with me and had to charge them up every night as well. Five Sony batteries lasted about a little longer than one Nikon battery. This is just plain unacceptable.

Having to charge five batteries every evening when you are travel gets old really fast. It means you have to stay close to the batteries so you can unplug one and plug another one in. I have better things to do with my evenings. I perfer charge one while I go eat dinner and the another one when I come home.

3. Carl Zeiss lens are crazy expensive

I love their lenses and I have a few of them for the Nikon cameras but they are not priced for the guy that wants a great camera for vacation and street photography. People will not spend $1,500 on a lens to take photos of their dinner and cats. Sorry, they just wont.

A system without native glass to put in front of it is just worthless. While the Carl Zeiss partnership is the strength of the Sony mirrorless system; it is also the biggest weakness as well. If they want to be a legit system; they better get serious about the mid-range lens market quickly.

2. Sony Flash are not all that

After looking at the len problem or what Jason Lanier mocked calling it the Lensgate; you have a bigger flash with flashes. Sony just does not have decent flashes. I have yet to see anything that competes with the Nikon SB900 yet come out of Sony. It is all simple flashes and have serious limitations.

If you say that using flashes are old school (I agree), that is fine; however, some forms of photography still require a good flash. Sony does not have them. That is a problem. Period.

1. Sony Snobs

Speaking of Jason Lanier, he is a great example of the Sony Snobs, the gear heads that worship their cameras. When someone hand me a print that they got with their Nikon; they put emphasis on the image and the editing. However, a Sony Snob is more interested in telling me about the camera they used than the image itself. No one gives a damn that you shot it with a Sony mirrorless camera! Sorry to break the news to you, bro.

In many ways, the Sony Snobs are the main reason I sold my cameras. I just can’t stand brand whores that can’t enjoy photography without comparing how big of a @#$ they have. When you care more about what camera you use than what image it produced; you are a Sony Snob and a brand whore.

What am I using now?

Well, before I tried the Sony mirrorless, I was shooting using my old Nikon D7000 (that Jason Lanier told me to marry) and was using my Nikon D800 full frame camera for professional work. I never got rid of them and really never planned to. The Nikon system is far more advanced and I can find lens for them very cheaply and quickly.

Today, I am still using the Nikon D800 but sorry, Jason, I divorced the D7000 and married the Nikon D7100. I have plans to get the Nikon D7200 as well as the Nikon D750 but that is in the works right now. I am also wondering what the next generation in the Nikon D8xx line will look like.