Tag Archives: nikon

Making the switch from Nikon to Sony!

So getting rid of all my Nikon camera gear leads me without a camera (well I’ve got a Sony NEX 5R that always seems to be absent from my posession). The D4s is way too big for travel and when you mount on any sort of f/2.8 zoom (especially the Tamron 15-30), it becomes rather bothersome.

Despite using Nikon for about 10 years, it’s time for a change.

So in comes the A7 mk II, Sony full-frame interchangable lens camera with inbuilt body image stabilisation (yes it’s a mouthful). It was a tough choice with Fuji being highly appealing due to a nice selection of small and fast primes, but full frame’s something I’ve been used to for  a while now, so the choice was Sony, in part also for its video abilities. The A7 II was choice despite lacking 4K video recording, I figured the in-built stabilisation would make it for any shortfalls. Time will tell.

It’s getting paired up with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar T*. Definitely don’t think this lens is worth the $900 price tag, but at $400 for a used one, I think it’s decent value, given its compact size.

First impressions, it’s small, but by no means compact. A little smaller and more blocky than the smallest DSLRs. It’s pretty comfortable to hold with the deep hand grip and distinct hump for the thumb. The exposure compensation wheel is a bit stiff, not as tactile as the other wheels which move with ease.

Whole bunch of custom buttons which are nice, but there’s no markings for a default function, might take a while for them to become memorised. EVF is decent, bright enough and fast enough, doesn’t feel like there’s a lag in low-light (one of my worries with an EVF) but could be more crisp, depending on what’s in frame, the aliasing (jagged lines) are pretty noticeable and you’re hoping the autofocus has got your subject spot on.

Autofocus speed has been good, haven’t seen any major issues. I don’t anticipate to shoot any fast moving objects so not too concerned with continuous focus speed, manual focus on the 35mm is average, it feels much better than previous lenses I’ve used on the Nex 5R and the indicator for focus distance is a nice touch and helps with finding where you’re pointing, seems to track better to your ring movements. The hood is interesting too, it’s designed to sit on the lens permenantly and doesn’t really add much bulk.

Just for the lols, check out the size difference.

Both 35mm lenses (but granted one is f/2.8 and the other is f/1.4), the size difference is huge, not that it’s suprising or anything.

Will be taking it out for Vivid to see how it really goes.

Alright, I’m back to blogging!

In the spirit of buying things that you don’t need because they’re on sale or they’re cheap, I decided to buy a new domain name and have decided that will signal the re-initiation of this blog. So what did I buy? http://andrewnguyen.photo/. Pretty neat huh?

If you haven’t realised, we’ve been getting more and more top level domains (TLD) being made available (the last bit of a domain name is the TLD, ‘.com’ and ‘.org’ are TLDs, as are ‘.au’, ‘.gov’, etc).  I also wanted a new email because I was sick of people spelling ntranced with an e at the start.

I’m still finding it weird to type into a URL bar. So now I have my own domain, I decided to set up email, previously I had a web host do my emails, but this time round, I decided to try an external provider, if you’re willing to pay, Google’s probably your best option. It used to be free, but now starts from $5/m a user/email address, pretty cheap if you’re running a small business. I’m a tight-ass so for me, free was the way to go.

What I found? Zoho (http://zoho.com). Free for up to 25 users and a pretty good step-by-step set up process to get your new domain name pointing to zoho. All up, it was a matter of:

  1. Opening up the control panel of your domain host
  2. Adding a few records
    1. 2 MX records to point to Zoho (these simply direct mail to your host that will handle it)
    2. a TXT record for SPV (this helps prevent your emails from being treated as spam, it basically tells other email hosts which hosts are allowed to send from this domain)
    3. a TXT record for DKIM (this is like a key that allows another email host to verify that the email was indeed sent from where you authorised.

In other news, I’m selling all of my camera gear 🙁 a little sad to see some of it go, but it hasn’t been fun to carry on holidays and I’m awaiting delivery on a new Sony A7 mk II. If you know anyone who’s interested in the following, please get in touch.

  • Nikon D4s body
  • Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 G VR mk II
  • Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 E VR
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART
  • 2x Nikon SB-900 flashes

Latest toys

Been purchasing a few tidbits lately, probably more than I should be, but when they come up for a great price, how can anyone say no? OzBargain is a curse and blessing in itself!

The first purchase was the lovely Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens, a lot of hype around this lens as it was announced and stock was hard to come by in a Nikon mount. Purchased for $810 when DigiDirect had 10% off excellent price for essentially the first batch to Australia. Continue reading Latest toys

Unboxing the new Nikon D600

With Nikon’s announcement of the D600, I pondered if it was worth switching one of my D700’s to this new camera, few questions went through my mind, is this actually an upgrade? Should I be spending the grand or so for this swap? After a short period of deliberation, I decided to jump the gun and get it and now I have on me, a lovely Australian stock D600. I’ll save my thoughts and comparison for later, but in the mean time, here’s the unboxing process of Nikon’s latest FX (full frame) DSLR.

First the box, standard Nikon design but fairly compact, doesn’t feel as big as the D700 box.

Opening the lid, you’re greeted with the paper work, very standard, nothing to get excited about.

Included here is the warranty card, quick start guide, user’s manual, software CD and a  myPicturetown pamphlet. Removing this and opening the divider flap brings us closer to the closer to the camera itself, it’s neatly laid in bubble wrap and plastic inside a cardboard compartment.

Next to the camera is the accessories box.

Unwrapping it all, you’re led to the following goodies, (obviously) the D600 camera itself, EN-EL15 battery (same as the D7000, D800/e and Nikon 1 V1), charger, localised power cable, neck strap and eye piece cover.

Here it is on the box

On the left side are the covers for the various ports and jacks, on the D600, we have a 3.5mm headphone port (for audio monitoring) as well as a 3.5mm microphone port, these are used in conjunction with video recording. In the middle is a mini-HDMI port (which also allows a clean uncompressed 1080p output) and a mini-USB. Down the botton is a port for an external GPS receiver (for geotagging your photos)

You’ll also notice on the left side is the flash pop-up button (which is a digital button not a physical trigger which opens the flash), bracketing button as well as the D7000 styled AF switch and button.

Shot of the rear; you can see the square viewfinder, rear dial, playback, delete and auto-exposure lock buttons (no AF-ON button here sadly) as well as the diopter adjustment on the top. Along the left, Nikon’s changed the layout slightly and this falls in line with the D800 (minus the OK) with the Menu, touch-up, lock/help, zoom in, zoom out buttons. Few things to note here, from the D800 and D600, Nikon has flipped the zoom in and out buttons around. Similar to the D7000, these also control White Balance, ISO and Quality.

Along the right hand side is the directional joy pad with an OK button in the middle along with the focus point lock switch surrounding it, underneath is a D800 styled live view switch with the Live View button in the middle. Under that is the info button (which I’m not sure if anyone uses). Also around here is the little speaker, memory card write indicator and infrared receiver (for a remote shutter).

Not much to say about the right hand side, the memory card door sits here and underneath are dual SD card slots which can be used in various configuations. You can duplicate to both, use it as overflow (writes to the second card when the first is full) or put RAWs on one card and JPGs on the other.

The front has the standard red Nikon flair on the grip, a function button, DOF preview button and a light for auto focus assist in low-light. The top of the camera has a secondary LCD screen which details key info like focus mode selected, number of shots remaining, shutter speeds and aperture and a whole host of other icons.

The left has two dials (similar to the D7000), one for shooting modes and the other for your standard PASM modes. They’ve included a little click button to move the PASM wheel which makes it a little bit trickier to change modes while the camera is up on yoru face. The right hand side has Nikon’s dual action power/illumination switch, a soft shutter button within and surrounded by a dedicated video record button (like the D800) and the metering mode and exposure compensation buttons.

Another one to the collection

Just picked up another prime lens, something which will hopefully suit a more casual shooting style and a bit more versatility than the ‘nifty fifty’ (which is a lot more nifty on a full frame camera).  It’s Nikon’s AF 35mm f/2D (the 1.4 beast is ever so slightly out of my price range).

35mm f/2D

Felt pretty good with the purchase, been contemplating one of these for a while and it came up for the right price and I snapped it up straight away. Excellent condition and Aussie stock too! (nice surprise, didn’t know when I bought it).


Ok, I’m not talking about the type of the jayesslee girls (I did get a photo with them at boombox though), see below =P.

twins and me 🙂

Jealous? But the twins I’m talking about are these…


Yes, that’s two D700’s with battery grips and they’re both mine =D

So that brings my gear whoring to the following:

  • 2x D700 FX bodies
  • 2x MB-D10 battery grips
  • SB-900
  • Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 24-120 f/4 VR
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8
  • Zenitar 15mm f/2.8 fisheye
  • Loads of other crap..
Gear whorin'

So, who wants to give me a test run to shoot a wedding ceremony? =P

Nikon AF-S 24-120 f/4G ED VR N ;)

So in light of my trip to Japan, I decided I needed a new lens for my travels as I don’t have anything that you could consider to be practical or versatile for travelling purposes. I also needed a ‘normal’ lens and decided on this rather than the well re-knowned 24-70 f/2.8G despite it not costing much more.

Pics of the new toy:

My thoughts?

The lens is solid, it has a nice weight to it and the zoom rings feel very nice, however, it’s not as nice as the 24-70 which again has a sturdier feel, most likely due to the differences in the zoom mechanism as the 24-120 uses the regular extending barrel. Image quality wise, it performs very well, very sharp beyond 35mm event at f/4 and still sharp below 35mm. Definitely very high performing and very close to the 24-70 in sharpness. Only down fall of the lens is distortion at the wider focal lengths 24mm to about 30mm and some rather significant light fall-off at 24mm. The falloff is somewhat comparable to what’s seen on the 24-70 and when shooting test shots can be somewhat unnerving, real world performance should be stellar.

The bokeh (background blur) of the lens is very smooth and creamy and the vibration reduction (VR) performs quite well, easily shooting 1/4 at 24mm and 1/15 at 120mm without too much effort (on full frame). Autofocus is pretty quick, not as quick as the 24-70, but by no means slow.

Overall I think it’s a great lens, it does have some draw backs, but the extra range over the 24-70 and the VR makes this lens more appealing to me as a lens to keep on the body at all times.

For sale – D90 + 18-55 + 2x8gb SD Cards!

So my beloved D90 Digital SLR needs a new home, it’s served me well over the past year, but it’s time to move on.

Asking for $1000 ono (picture below)

Sale package:

  • D90 Body
  • Nikon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 VR Lens
  • 52mm UV Filter
  • Sandisk 8GB Ultra SDHC card
  • Sandisk 8GB SDHC card (regular blue one)
  • Lens cap
  • USB Cable
  • Video Out cable
  • Body Cap
  • Manuals
  • Original software CDs

Also have a Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX lens for sale

Asking for $400 ono.