Gear Talk

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon is having a sale or instant rebates going on right now. Several of the high end Prosumer Cameras are in this sale. Some are bundled with lenses, and all come with some freebies to sweeten the deal.  Nikon comes out with new cameras every 2-4 yrs.  It normally is 2+ years, but there are sometimes set backs which push out the dates.

I jumped on the sale and picked up a Nikon D810. The tech inside the camera is 3 yrs old so, I’m sure there’s some kinda wonderful new camera coming down the pipe later this year, but for me this camera is a huge jump up in tech. It will replace my 6+ year old D700.  There’s still a lot of life left in the D700, but she has been my wildlife camera since my D300s’ auto focus motor went out.

It wasn’t worth the price to fix the D300s so, the D700 is what I have been using.  It has 12.3 MP and cropping in on little birds has been limited.  Stepping up the D810 with its 36MP I’ll have room to crop heavily and not lose resolution, and for landscapes, macro, and studio work the images will contain all sorts of lovely details that will be wonderful when making big prints.

As you might imagine I’ve been photographing things with the new camera testing it out since it arrived on Tuesday. I’ve been tweaking it; getting the buttons and dials, and features set up the way I like them.  Here’s a look at some of what I’ve been photographing last week.

Thursday night’s sunset at Lake Vasona. Nikon D810 + 50mm f/1.8G

High Pass resize Vasona Dusk

I spent all day shooting with friends on Saturday at San Jose Municipal Rose Garden and other venues.  The garden was awash in color! Nikon D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

Fill the Frame

3 Garden Arches D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

3 Arched Trellis'

A Bird of Paradise in the Garden at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

D810 + Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D micro

Bird of Paradise

…and Mother’s Day Sunset at Lake Vasona using the 35mm f/1.8G lens my children gave me for my Birthday/Mother’s Day.  I’ve have wanted this lens since it came out several years ago. I sold my old 35mm f/2D lens about the time this lens came out with the intention of buying the new lens, but I never did

get one. There was always something else that I needed to have so couldn’t afford it.  I am thrilled and so blessed to have been gifted this lens. D810 + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G micro

Vasona Lake Sunset Mother's Day

I really love how quiet the shutter is on the camera, and it’s a bit lighter than my D700. The grip is deeper which is nice when holding it, and the buttons are laid out perfectly for my hands.  A couple of buttons have been moved to new places on this camera and I’m getting used to that, but overall I’m really happy with this purchase. I think it’s going to be a pretty great all-around camera which will give my trusty Df a break, and retire my D700.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/1.8G & 50mm f/1.8G | Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

56 thoughts on “Gear Talk

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing these pictures and for your post. I’m very new to photography and have lots to learn especially with cameras. I am still in the process of deciding which camera would be right for me. After seeing your review on Nikon I’m curious to know if you had experience with cannon cameras as well?

    1. Hi, y9en! I’ve had very limited experience with Canon. I have a Powershot, and I have a little knowledge about the Canon DSLR’s and lenses since I have quite a few friends that shoot with them, and I read reviews, and opinions about all gear, but I’ve not shot with a Canon DSLR.

      What are you shooting with now? Do you like it? Are running into limitations that you’re concerned about?

      1. Thank you for the response! Right now I am using mostly my android phone to take a lot of my pictures. It works pretty well right now but down the road I probably need to invest in an actual camera for photography. Hence why I am doing some research on cameras to see which might be better suited for me. I am still new to this so I have quite a lot to learn.

  2. The roses in arches and gardens are absolutely blissful beauty in nature.
    I enjoyed the skies, always glad to see quality photography. The orange bloom on the perfect exotic bird of paradise was exquisite.
    I missed visiting my friend, Deborah, with her Circadian Reflections. ❤
    Here is my second weekend update on an early Friday evening. No grandies tonight. On my own, watching (binging) on a library series DVD of "True Detectives," with Matthew McConaughey later. . .

    1. I’m so glad you liked the Arches so full of Roses Robin! It’s just a snapshot, but I liked them too.

      Oh my, it so rare that I come across a perfect, just bloomed Bird of Paradise! When they’re new like this they’re so beautiful. I like your descriptive word “exquisite”. 🙂

      How was the True Detectives series?

      1. The fact you took a snapshot of those roses made me happy, Deborah.
        The Bird of Paradise may be in a nearby zoo or botanical gardens but I haven’t seen a “real” one yet. I’m not sure they had one at Franklin Park Conservatory. . . A rare treat!
        It is based on a real crime spree during the 90’s for years of children and women becoming missing in the Louisiana Bayou. The characters are imperfect and gritty, but I like Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson so I became engrossed in the stories. The crimes except for two are not shown. I finished it and went over to watch five grandies as son and wife went to friends’ going away party. They were fun and it was a great weekend. 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week! xo

      1. I did! I chose the Sony Alpha 7 II, mostly for size convenience, but I was told about a great website that compared images from all the big players and was pleased with how the Sony held up. Now just to get out and test it! 🙂

  3. Wow – if these are your ‘test’ photos while you play with your new camera, I can’t imagine how you’re going to up your game from here!! Love the last picture with the reflections!

  4. I love the photo of the bridge and the reflection of the arch in the water. I know how excited my daughter gets with a new lens, and particularly “that lens you’ve been drooling over” so I’m very happy for you, Deborah. Nice gift, you have a loving family. I’m also happy because I look forward to seeing the photos you will be sharing. Enjoy that new camera!

    1. Thank you so much Dan! A few nights before the sky was completely different. It’s hit or miss and never the same look no matter how often I go to this lake.

      I’m thrilled to have this lens/focal length in a prime in my bag again! When I looked through the viewfinder at the lake to frame up the shot I sighed a huge sigh of contentment. I “see” in this focal length. It just fit. No cropping, or too much fiddling. I’m like that with a few other focal lengths as well. 50mm hasn’t ever felt this way for me even though that’s the “normal” view. I know, I’m a tad outside normal. 🙂

      I know I have pretty great kids…most the time. I’m so glad I am they’re mine. 🙂

      I hope Faith gets to cross this lens off her wish list!

        1. I just checked the map and see how close I was to B&H! I didn’t get there. There was too much other stuff to see, and I was with my sisters who aren’t as “into” photography as I am so they really weren’t interested.

  5. Gorgeous pictures! I have a question, as this is gear talk. We need a good point and shoot, but not your grandmother’s camera. In the business for years it has been Sony Cybershot, but they keep screwing with it, and we’ve had to return two of them after less than a year due to vibrations in the lenses. Fixing it is much more expensive than buying a camera, and Sony knows these don’t work. I just bought one and it was not cheap and can you believe they are now SO cheap in terms of the product they don’t even have a automatic pop-up for the flash when it is on? This is old, simple technology.

    I tried a Canon Powershot, and it is so bad (poor focus in fluorescent lighting, or bad color when the same shot is taken six times under the same lighting — all different colors) it has been relegated to the woodshop (the place where cameras don’t always last long. So we’ve sent it to hard labor with the idea that if a camera is to be ruined, let it be that one.

    We have to be able to take good shots with a flash of details and large areas of furniture and other objects (textiles, threads, micro-items) and successively with little set-up. Often action shots. I absolutely hate all the cameras we’ve tried recently. Either fuss and bother or they take bad pics.

    Any ideas? The cameras take a beating so I am unwilling to spend over $600. My best workhorses were used Sony’s for years but I can’t even get those anymore.

    1. Have you tried the Canon G7x mark II, or the Panasonic FZ1000? Both are just over the $600 mark though.

      The FZ1000 is more of a Bridge camera, but is a non interchangeable lens camera. It’s little brother the FZ200 is my point&shoot camera.

            1. Good idea about hanging onto the Sony until you’re sure about the Lumix.

              There are quite a few tutorials on the FZ1000 on YouTube by Graham Houghton. He’s pretty great and an expert with these cameras.

              I hope it works out for you! Let me know how you like once you’ve tried it out. A friend of mine bought one two years ago, and uses it all the time. Sometimes she doesn’t even take her DSLR out! I forget to take mine. 🙂

  6. I don’t really understand camera talk, but I’m glad you’re happy with your purchase. That bird of paradise photo is simply stunning!

    1. Thank you so much Judy! You’re too kind! I’m always learning something new. I can’t tell you how many Re-do’s I want to get for images that didn’t pan out the way I had hoped. 🙂

      I wish we were closer so we could shoot together. There are things you can try though. Check with your local or nearest camera store to see if they have classes, Jr. College is a great place to learn too, but in the meantime look for Photography Meet-Up groups in your area, and join one or more then go out shooting with the group. There’s bound to be someone who shoots with your camera or knows it enough to help you out with settings, and composition.

      I would recommend two books to get you started before any of the above though.
      Your camera’s manual, and
      Bryan Peterson’s book Understanding Exposure. I have the 3rd edition. I know there’s a 4th Edition out now.
      It’s a great book to get you out shooting with your camera off Auto Mode everything. He teaches you to shoot in Manual Mode to have complete control over the image, why you want to. He also teaches the reader to look at the world through your viewfinder more creatively.

      Also YouTube has wonderful tutorials on photography, and cameras of all sorts and brands if you need a little help figuring out all the bells and whistles of your camera.

      If you have any questions feel free to ask me. If I know the answer I’ll help! If I don’t know I’ll say so.


        1. 🙂 I know.
          Do you sometimes want to say in response to someone who says your camera makes great pictures something like, ” Yes, I bet your pots and pans make a great dinner too.” “)

  7. Congrats on your new baby! I hope you enjoy the D810 as much as I. Despite being about 3 yrs old it’s still considered the king of the hill in dynamic range and IQ. Several industry respected commercial photographers have recently performed real world test (as opposed to brick walls and lab) against the Canon 5D Mark IV and Sony A7R II, and they all independently demonstrated the D810 outresolving the other two. Sony came in second but users complained about excessive and non-intuitive menu diving. The venerable Canon lagged behind, not too badly, but excelled in other areas like FPS, programmable features, etc… Two of the professionals are known Canon ambassadors, one being J.P. Morgan.

    The D810 really brings out the best in your lenses too. My humble 50mm f/1.4G is tack sharp on this body. Don’t know if I got lucky with a great copy, but wow! Sigma Art lenses really sing too. If I didn’t already have the Nikkor 50 and 85mm f1.4 primes I definitely would have picked up the Sigmas.



    1. Thank you so much for contributing your findings of the D810, and for the added information about lenses.

      I confess I’m a bit concerned with the resolving power of my older lenses which are mostly D lenses.
      I will be shooting with them all to see how they do. My 85mm f/1.4D should be fine though, because shooting shallow with that lens no one is going to be looking at the corners. 🙂
      I’m also worried about hand-holding too.

      36mp will show all the flaws in my shooting technique, and lenses I’m sure.

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