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Saturday, 19 December 2015


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So if you're only shooting pictures of rocks...Nikon. "rocks" ?

[But that's a great rock. I'm going to take a better picture of that rock some day. --Mike]

Those Sigma Art lenses are gems. I hope the examples you're testing are as bright and sharp as mine. I've been using the Sigma 35mm Art lens and a Nikon D800 almost exclusively for the last 2 years and it's one of my favorite combos ever.

When you check out these various new cameras, can you check how they are focusing older manual focuse lenses?
Too many of the new cameras are nearly impossible to focus with older lenses. Using the rear screen and magnifying to check focus is not feasible with moving subjects.
Still wish Nikon would make interchangable viewfinders as we had with the top Pro film camera bodies.

Weirdly enough, I have at least two people on my staff with D750's, and one is kind of luke warm about it and one doesn't like it at all and thinks she should have bought Canon, for the reason you state above about confusion in the camera line. She says for the type of work she freelances on, about 90% of her competition use some permutation of the Canon 5D. Both can't believe that the report came out that Nikon users thought the D750 was the bomb; both thought that that they could have as easily got on with the D610 for less money...Interesting.

Doing good work helps your fluency with your equipment, and fluency with your equipment helps you do good work.

Spot on Mike. The head space you're in is far more important than the equipment you use in doing good work but if you like the camera that helps the head space. I like my camera to be invisible but I still like it to be a nice bit of gear though!

I liked my D700 a lot but moved on (eventually to Fuji) when no successor was apparent. Having sold all my nikon gear years ago, the D750 came way, way too late, and for me that has been a very good thing.

Not sure I understand all the confusion about Nikon's lineup. Thom Hogan seems to specialize in complaining about things. Compared to Canon the 610 is the 6d, the d750 is the 5d3. The d810 is the 5ds. The d4s is the 1dx. The only outlier is the Df, which was released as kind of a specialty/throwback attempt.

I've extensively used both the d750 and the 5d3. I prefer the build and some of the controls of the 5d3, but the d750's files are hard to beat. They're both really good cameras.

I have had "many" Nikon DSLR's and none of them felt like either my Nikon F3 or the subsequent Nikon F100.

Film processing locally is difficult to obtain; especially for E6 (and slides).
Digital just didn't cut it.

Until my local brick and mortar shop here in Burlington Ontario suggesteed I try a D750. It was not a 600 series, it was not an 800 series and it was not that awful DF. It has a wonderful deep grip, which no other Nikon exhibits and it is full-frame, most important!

Have had not real need to use the tilt screen although for some it could be useful. The D750 is not intended for video, for me.

For me it is a keeper. Even purchased a new 50mm f/1.8 lense to use with the camera.

Tried a Fuji mirrorless for two weeks, hated it and returned it to the dealer and sold it. At a loss. Too small for me; it didn't feel like a man's camera.

I enjoy a camera with heft, one that will knock out an intruder to my house with one blow if need be. And then photograph the scene afterwards without trouble.

I'm so tempted by that Nikon DF (i'm nostalgic, I know) which in conjunction with that Sigma 35/1,4 Art should be my ideal camera...

Good point about getting to know the camera gradually and not stressing it.

However, I disagree the d750 is the d700 successor.

For instance, the d750 doesn't have a dedicated AF-on button (which I use constantly), it doesn't have dedicated AF switches, its sync speed is worse... The lack of these controls makes the d750 an amateur camera to me.

Not a bad body but for less money you buy a used d700 which still is a more complete machine.

[Well, I don't think you read me quite right. I'm saying the D750 has the gestalt but doesn't get the details quite right. --Mike]

@BH: well, I'd complain about Canon's lineup, too, if I were a Canon shooter ;~)

@jerry roebuck: the Df is the best of the Nikon DSLRs if you're going to try to manually focus them via the focus screen. It's mildly better than the rest due to some small focus screen changes. However, remember that the AF indicators still work on all Nikon DSLRs when you manually focus. They even tell you which way to turn the top of the focus ring on AI lenses ;~).

@chris: bingo. The 35mm f/1.8 is an overlooked gem. Not perfect by any means, but really well balanced in terms of its optical attributes, and quite sharp on the 36mp cameras.

I believe the Df gets a bad rap mostly from people who have not used one for any significant period of time. The image quality is astonishingly good. Although not compact, it is significantly smaller than the D4 or D810 and still smaller than the D750 or D610. The retro dial design actually works quite well if you use lenses with aperture rings. That is how I use mine, and the shooting experience (save for the difference between the through the lens and window finders) is remarkably similar to shooting my M-P 240 Leica. The only thing I would change would be to allow for interchangeable screens (to allow use of a split image focusing aid for manual focus).

The confusion (and Hogan's complaints) about the mid-end of the Nikon line mostly stem from Nikon not continuing the D700 (and D300) body and control style in the pro line. If you want the smaller "pro" body all there is is the D800/810, but then you are also buying 36mp frames... the D600/610/750 bodies all have the down-market "consumer" control style, which maybe you don't want if your other body is a D4 or D800. To me this seems needlessly confusing, but I got off the train (for Olympus, which BTW probably has an even worse control setup then the consumer Nikons, oh well. At least the stuff is small.) after D700 anyway because I got tired of carrying the giant camera everywhere. Still, I like the D700/D300/D800-style handling more than the D610/750.

Canon seems to have a bit more design unity in their mid and higher end cameras, maybe? I'm not sure, I've never used them extensively.

Some day when I retire to take location photos all over the world in my leisure time maybe I'll get whatever the D800 is then. Or maybe the iPhone will do everything by then. 😃

Thanks for this thoughtful Sunday afternoon read. Wisdom is welcome--it helps shed light on the day of the longest night of the year.

I'll be interested in your take on the D750, as I recently acquired one myself (and like it a lot so far). If any of your tech staff fall idle, Thom Hogan says Nikon released a firmware update (1.10) for the beast last week.

I'll put in a plug for the much maligned Df. Camera reviewers seem to be very critical of it, dismissing it as a botched attempt to appeal viscerally to aging baby boomers waxing sentimental about our first film cameras (F, F2,F3, FE, FM,etc), when it fact many users like me believe the Df has far more to offer than that. I own a D810 as well, and the DF complements the D810 as a second camera body better than pairing a D810 with a D750 for D610 despite how seemingly different they are in outward design. Both Df and D810 use the two button AF/AE setup on the back whereas the 610 and 750 have a one button arrangement. Both use the same round eyepiece that I fit with the Dk-17m magnifier, so I don't feel a difference when putting either up to my eye. I cradle the bulk of the camera/lens weight in the palm of my left hand, so blocky grip (D810) or petite grip (Df) is largely irrelevant to me. D810 with Zeiss primes is my go to camera for landscape photography and big prints on my Canon iPF8300. Df combined with small AIS primes is my kit for nimble unobtrusive street shooting. It's film camera appearance and smaller size seems to phase folks on the street far less than any modern big rig dSLR, and while I like my Fuji X100 for this type of photography as well, the X100 largely stays home now that I own a Df.

As for those hybrid controls the reviewers love to hate? The Df lays out ISO, EV compensation, and shooting modes in a pretty straightforward manner. If anything, my challenge is moving back to the more buried and complex control interface of the D810, but even there, it's not a big deal. These two Nikons play really nicely together, IMHO.

Thanks for this, Mike. It's so easy to lose site of the fact that a camera or camera/lens combination one has used for years, decades even, has become a part of you. When I recently got my X-Pro1, I felt lost at sea. I still feel that way much of the time, but I did have the sense to introduce something familiar as a bridge.

I mounted my Zuiko 28/2.8 and set a custom b&w mode. Not that manual focusing on an X-Pro1 is optimal (especially in lower light where the X-Pro EVF struggles) but it gave me sort of comfort zone. Once I made a photo that I liked, even if imperfect, I relaxed enough to stop fighting the camera and the feeling that "this isn't going to work, it's not the camera for me."

I purchased a D810 after the recent price drop. I handled a D750 but it felt a little flimsy to me. The D810 is a workhorse, albeit with a few quirks. It's probably the most tool-like of my cameras. I don't love it but I love the pictures it takes.

With D or AI/S lenses the D810 is not really that bad, size or weight-wise. I installed a DK-17M with a DK-19 eyecup and the viewfinder is now more like my F100 and a bit better for manual focus. The rangefinder is nice too. I'm sure both are equally true for the D750.

The Sigma 35 Art turns the D810 into a beast. I wish it was lighter but it is totally useable wide open where it has a very interesting look. It might be a tad too clinically sharp stopped down, but that's probably just me as I think this is precisely the quality for which the lens is praised.

I considered the Tamron too so I'm looking forward to the future post(s) on these lenses.

The D750 is a great camera, and if that had been around when i got the D600....I may not have a Fuji now as well:) But, I did get that Fuji, and then an XT-1, so although the Sigma 35 + D600 combo is brilliant, I went with the Fuji 16 1.4 over the Sigma 24 1.4. Curious if much of the audience that would have been drooling over the D750 2 years back already moved to Fujis and Sonys. That said, once the great depreciation hits, it would be a great 'Last Big Nikon' to use my Nikkor glass with - that grip is so dang nice!

[Well, I don't think you read me quite right. I'm saying the D750 has the gestalt but doesn't get the details quite right. --Mike]

Agreed, but then, why would one pay so much for a body which is 'not quite it'. At this price, things should be done right.

Someone shooting professionally / frequently will feel restricted by this body.
On the other hand, someone shooting occasionally will not be happy with its price.
So for whom is this d750?

Compared to the d700, the d750 got a newer sensor but its operability / functions got cut back. I guess anyone who's used the d700 intensively will be bothered more by what's missing in the d750 than what is new.

[The confusion (and Hogan's complaints) about the mid-end of the Nikon line mostly stem from Nikon not continuing the D700 (and D300) body and control style in the pro line. If you want the smaller "pro" body all there is is the D800/810, but then you are also buying 36mp frames... the D600/610/750 bodies all have the down-market "consumer" control style...]

Exactly my point.

Your title - "Making Friends . . ." I purchased a Nikon Coolpix, it was certainty NOT my "friend." The camera stopped working after about one year. Found out that I would pay more on fixing it and shipping. What a waste of $$!
I consider any Nikon my "enemy." My friend currently - Canon.

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