Archive for the ‘ Buying a Camera ’ Category

Lens Rentals Data – Canon Four Times Quicker Than Nikon at Repairs

Lens Rentals published their data for defects and repairs across the kit they own.  Some interesting nuggets in here. Sigma’s 120-300 f2/8 stands out as a serious lemon with 3 times more failures than the next worst offender. This would certainly make me think twice about this lens but in general Canon and Nikon also feature heavily in the top 15 so I don’t think it means avoid Sigma in general.

Check out the methodology and the list at: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/09/lensrentals-repair-data-january-july-2012

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New Nikon 50mm AF-S 1.8G Lens

Nikon Rumors is reporting a new 50mm f/1.8 from Nikon. 50mm lenses offer a low cost entry point to experiment with super shallow depths of field and give great low light performance.  Nikon and Canon both have 50mm f/1.8 lenses for under $150 (100 UK pounds).  The ‘f/1.8’ means the lens can be opened to a very wide aperture, which will let in lots of light, ideal for shooting at night without a tripod.  Such a wide aperture also creates a shallow depth of field making it easy to put a subject in focus and have a blurry background behind.

The significance of this new 50mm lens from Nikon is it overcomes a major drawback of the current Nikon current entry level 50mm which doesn’t include a focusing motor in the lens.  This prevents it being used on Nikon’s entry level cameras where it arguably would be most valuable to have a low cost, high performance lens available. The newly announced 50mm lens is marked ‘AF-S’ meaning it can auto-focus on almost any Nikon DSLR. If you’re a D40, D60, D3000, D3100 or D5000 owner and you don’t already have a large aperture 50mm lens, then this is a great announcement for you.  Price has not been announced but most likely in the 150-200 dollar range.

UPDATE 27th April:

  • Official announcement made by Nikon (see press release)
  • Amazon taking preorders.  Price, $219 including lens hood and a case.

Apple Aperture 3: Now It’s Cheep, Like a Budgie

By Jack Berglund

Importing, editing, sorting and organizing your photos is time consuming. Everyone develops their own ‘system’ to make it easier but its still a major time drain.  Anything that makes this easier is a good thing in my book.  I use Apple’s Aperture to import and organize my photos and also find I can do 90% of my editing there too.

For those of you not familiar with Aperture (and similar software like Adobe’s Lightroom) it allows you to easily import RAW files, organize them in projects and folders, tag and rate images, make a full range of adjustments (contrast, brightness, curves, levels etc), apply adjustments to the whole image or brush them in selectively and then finally publish to your favorite websites or order prints.   It basically takes care of the end to end process of taking photos of the camera to producing your final selection of nicely tweaked images.

The good news for Mac users is, with the launch of Apple’s App Store this week, Aperture is now only $80 down from $200.  As Guy Richie would say: Its a deal, its a steal, its the  sale of the f#@king century.

Nikon D3100 announced

The most significant thing in the D3100 is autofocus in liveview and movie mode (first in a DSLR).  How well it works remains to be seen but its nice to see Nikon moving forwards with video features (including 1080p recording).  Overall the package looks very strong for a 700 dollar camera (with kit lens).  Highlights include: 14MP sensor and increased high ISO (3200, decent for an entry level camera…again depends how good the pictures are at this setting).

Read Nikon’s blurb: http://www.nikon.com/about/news/2010/0819_d3100_01.htm

More eBay Skulduggery

I ordered a Nikon D700 last week from a reputable seller with positive feedback from thousands of buyers.  Everything looked good except the price which was nearly a thousand dollars less than you would expect.  Not listening to my own advice from an earlier post on camera scams, I ignored the  “If its too good to be true then it probably is” rule.  And sure enough, it was bogus.  After ordering, I received an email politely asking if I would mind paying by western union rather than PayPal.  Luckily, as I wasn’t smoking crack I didn’t send the money and will be getting a full PayPal refund.  Its still an annoying waste of time.  The fuller story has emerged and it seems the seller was not aware these items were listed using there account.  Its not clear if someone hacked in through the users account and listed these items but it seems the most likely.

The lesson here? If you’ve got some advice that you believe in and give regularly to other people, you should follow it yourself!

Rebates for Canon and Nikon (US)

Nikon Rebates – ends March 27th

Adorama, BandH and others are offering instant rebates when purchasing a popular selection of lenses with most camera bodies.  Just go to their websites and the saves are applied directly.

18-200mm – $250 instant rebate.  This is a great first lens (its what I started with and still what I keep on my camera most of the time) giving you maximum flexibility without having to carry a lot of gear. I wish this offer had been available when I got my first body/lens!

Other offers: 70-200 – $400 IR, 24-70mm – $300 IR, 24-120mm – $200 IR, 70-300mm – $200, 24-70/70-200 combo – $700

Canon Rebates

The Canon lens rebates are less significant although they are doubled if you buy a 5D MkII at the same time:
200 F2 – $500 IR
85 1.2 – $130
50 1.2 – $100
16-35 – $100
45 2.8 tse – $80
24-70 – $80
100 2.8 IS – $65
15 2.8 – $45
135 2.8 – $35
100 f2 – $30
580ex II – $25
430ex II – $15

Buying a Camera – Part 3: Whats in a name?

By Jack Berglund

I’m not a big fan of ‘marketing fluff’ naming.  Give me a nice logical set of numbers and letters any day.  Cars are a good example.  In a rush to conjure up some lifestyle association, too many manufactures put ridiculous names on their cars.  Naming your latest 4×4 after a Lake (Chevy Tahoe) or even more confusingly, the capital of an ex-French colony (Porsche Cayenne) undoubtedly makes sense in a marketing meeting. What annoys me, is deep down I know it probably works in the real world too otherwise the practice would have died out.  Ditto for the ‘lifestyle’ car ad which shows a pair of models driving through a beautiful place with giant grins and  ‘we’re better because we drive this car’ expressions but tells you nothing about the car.

What fills me with hope is the world of photography.  Here is a place where engineers come up with wonderful pieces of technology, give them logical letters and numbers and push them out to the world for all to enjoy.  Well, not quite.  It seems in both Canon and Nikon’s cases, the naming logic was devised at 2am after one too many Sake.  Continue reading

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