Nikon D7200 and ME-W1 Announced

Posted March 2nd, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, video  |  Permalink
Nikon D7200

Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

Nikon today announced the D7200 digital SLR camera along with a new microphone and a new software package. The D7200 comes along

There are a few improvements to the camera over the D7100.
– Larger buffer capacity that will hold 18 RAW shots (14-bit)
– Improved 51-point AF system with -3 EV sensitivity (center point works at f/8)
– Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
– Faster Expeed 4 processor
– Better battery life
– Improved 24 MP sensor
– No OLPF (optical low pass filter)
– Broader native ISO range (100 – 25,600)
– 6 fps frame rate (7 fps in crop mode)
– 150,000 cycle-rated shutter
– Full 1080p 60 video recording

In my opinion, the single most important thing Nikon did with the D7200 is add increased buffer capacity. Honestly, the most frustrating thing on the D7100 (and D750 for that matter) is the limited buffer capacity when shooting sports or wildlife. Now, with a decent buffer size of 18 14-bit RAW photos and a professional-level autofocus system, photographers have a real tool they can use for action photography. The buffer is also projected to hold 27 12-bit RAW or 100 JPEG photographs.

One of the things that surprises me is that Nikon didn’t add an articulating screen like they did with the D750. I use this screen all the time on my D750 and have found it to be a fantastic tool to use in the field.

D7200 back

Image courtesy Nikon Corp

Over the last two years, I have recommended the D7100 to hundreds of photographers and now the D7200 will get my wholehearted recommendation. If you own a D7000 or a D90 and are looking to upgrade your camera, then buying the D7200 is a no-brainer. On the other hand, if you have a D7100 and mostly shoot landscapes/portraits then it doesn’t make sense to upgrade to the D7200. If you own a D7100 and need the extra buffer capacity for sports/action/wildlife, then the D7200 is a great camera for you.

Pricing for the D7200 will be $1,199,95 for the body only, and $1,699.95 with the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens.

D7200 top

Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

Nikon also introduced two other products that should garner some interest among shooters: Nikon View NX-i and the Nikon ME-W1 wireless lavalier microphone.

View NX-i is a new image browsing program that looks like it will replace View NX. Nikon says that it will allow users to browse RAW files that were adjusted by Capture NX-D while also allowing easy upload of images to social networks. More information here: http://nikon.com/news/2015/0302_soft_02.htm

NX-i

ME-W1

ME-W1 wireless microphone runs on AAA batteries. Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

ME-W1 in rain

The ME-W1 is designed to operate in all weather conditions. Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

The ME-W1 wireless microphone is a lavalier mic designed to be used in the outdoors under any weather conditions. Most professional wireless microphones aren’t designed to withstand the elements, so the ME-W1 will surely fill a gap in some videographer’s camera bags. Pricing for the ME-W1 will be $249.95.

Here are pre-purchase links for the products listed in this article

Nikon D7200 B&H Adorama
Nikon D7200 with 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR B&H Adorama
Nikon ME-W1 B&H Adorama





New Orlando and San Diego Nikonians Academy Workshops

Posted October 3rd, 2013 by   |  Photography, Workshops  |  Permalink

Nikonians Academy Logo

Check out our new Nikonians Academy workshops in Orlando/Kissimmee, Florida, scheduled for January 9th – 12th, 2014. Also, I have upcoming workshops in San Diego, California this December 12 – 15, 2013 that still have seats available. Our workshops are some of the best in the business and I guarantee that you’ll learn more than you expected to. These classes are known for their hands-on learning style and small class size. Check them out. Hope to see you there.

Orlando/Kissimme Schedule:

Jan 9 – Master the D800/D4 In Depth 1
Jan 10 – Master the D600/D7000/D7100 In Depth 1
Jan 11 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 1
Jan 12 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 2

San Diego Schedule:

Dec 12 – Master the Nikon D600, D7000 & D7100 In Depth 1
Dec 13 – Master Nikon iTTL Wireless Flash, CLS
Dec 14 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 1
Dec 15 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 2

Sign Up Now Here:

www.nikoniansacademy.com





Large Prints From the Nikon D800

Posted March 28th, 2012 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

I’ve been using the Nikon D800 for less than a week now and wanted to create some large prints from the camera to assess its overall quality. I sent off four different files to a large-format Epson inkjet printer and was very impressed with the resulting images. They are truly beautiful and are giving my best efforts from my other cameras a run for the money. The more I work with this camera, the more I feel it is truly a game-changer.

Here’s a short video I produced today showing off the prints and comparing some black & whites, color, and panoramas from the D800 and the D7000.

Nikon-D800-Prints from Mike Hagen on Vimeo.





Corey Rich Adventure Video With the Nikon D7000

Posted February 24th, 2012 by   |  Photography, video  |  Permalink
Corey Rich's adventure video in the extreme Alaskan wilderness was created with the Nikon D7000, 10.5mm fisheye, 10-24mm and 70-200mm.

Corey Rich's adventure video in the extreme Alaskan wilderness was created with the Nikon D7000, 10.5mm fisheye, 10-24mm and 70-200mm.

If you’ve ever questioned the capabilities of the Nikon D7000, then I encourage you to see this video that Corey Rich recently produced in the extreme Alaskan wilderness. His documentary is a testament to hard work, great vision, and more hard work! Just watching the video made me tired.

Click this for the direct link to the Nikon D7000 video by Corey Rich.

Corey Rich’s Website at www.coreyrich.com.





Visceral Morning at Camp of the Cascades

Posted February 20th, 2012 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Reeds and reflections at dawn. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens, handheld.

Reeds and reflections at dawn. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens, handheld.

Last weekend I attended a retreat at Camp of the Cascades, near Yelm Washington. It was a short event where we arrived at 6pm on Friday evening, then departed by 3pm the next day, but I still brought my camera to see if I might be able to capture a few pics of the area. On Saturday morning, I woke up before dawn and went on a quick 40 minute jog around the lake. I brought along a Nikon D7000 with an 18-105mm kit lens and took off into the darkness with my head lamp. Along the way, I photographed the morning sky and the trees along the lake.

Lake reflections at dawn. Since I was hand-holding my Nikon D7000, I used a high ISO and bracketed three shots. I merged them together in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Lake reflections at dawn. Since I was hand-holding my Nikon D7000, I used a high ISO and bracketed three shots. I merged them together in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Although the shots from the morning adventure might not be the best I’ve ever taken, the experience was visceral. Before the morning light opened up detail in the shadows, I could hear loons rapidly flying by in the darkness. As they landed on the water, their whoosh made an eerie sound that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. A few minutes later, as I was running the perimeter of the lake, my headlamp highlighted the leg of a freshly killed deer on the trail. There was hair and blood all over the place and it was clear that a mountain lion had taken this deer within the last few hours. If the hair on my neck wasn’t standing up on end earlier, then it sure was now! My eyes darted to the left and right trying to figure out if I was in immediate danger. I found nothing so I continued on my journey while adrenaline caused my heart to race.

I never found the mountain lion, nor did I capture any shots of the loons, but I did get a chance to experience creation through my camera that morning. For me, that’s a big part of what photography is all about.

Boats in the early morning light. I hand-held this shot and exposed for the sky. Then, I opened up the shadows using Photoshop's "Shadows and Highlights" filter.

Boats in the early morning light. I hand-held this shot and exposed for the sky. Then, I opened up the shadows using Photoshop's "Shadows and Highlights" filter.





What’s Your Walk-Around Camera?

Posted August 19th, 2011 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink
Gig Harbor garage.

Gig Harbor garage. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens.

This week has been a low photo-productivity week for me since I’ve been hunkered down writing books. However, like most shooters, I get antsy and have to get out of my office to shoot pictures. When I head out on an errand or go for a walk, I like to take an easy-to-use camera with me. My goal isn’t necessarily to photograph a specific subject, but rather just to get the creative juices flowing again.

For these situations, I love to take my small Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm kit lens. I love the low weight of the D7000 camera, and I also love the sharpness of the kit lens. Over the last three months this camera has definitely become my go-to system for times when I’m hanging out with my family or going on a weekend trip.

Tools on a workbench.

Tools on a workbench. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens.





Always Take Your Camera

Posted July 29th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

I know you’ve all heard this a million times before, but if you are a photographer, then you should always have a camera with you. I don’t care what type of camera you take, but it should be something that allows you to snap an image. Cell phone. Point and Shoot. dSLR. Rangefinder. EVIL. ILC. Anything.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge from Narrows Park in Gig Harbor, WA. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm. Hand held five frame panorama. Stitched together with Photoshop CS5. Processed through Nik HDR Efex Pro to bring out detail in the clouds. Converted to Black and White in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge from Narrows Park in Gig Harbor, WA. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm. Hand held five frame panorama. Stitched together with Photoshop CS5. Processed through Nik HDR Efex Pro to bring out detail in the clouds. Converted to Black and White in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had lots of family staying with me at my home in Gig Harbor, WA. Each day, we’ve gone on hikes and adventures exploring this beautiful corner of the world. Over the last two days my nieces, nephews and I have been exploring the local Puget Sound beaches. The kids and I have been having a blast skipping rocks, climbing cliffs and looking for jelly fish. The entire time I’ve slung my little Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm kit lens over my shoulder everywhere I go. It’s been wonderful to capture these great images that I normally would have passed by.

Mt. Rainier and Tacoma Tide Flats. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm, handheld. Photo taken from Sunrise Park. Processed in Nikon Capture NX2 using Pro Contrast. Border was created in NX2 using a rectangular marquee and a levels adjustment.

Mt. Rainier and Tacoma Tide Flats. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm, handheld. Photo taken from Sunrise Park. Processed in Nikon Capture NX2 using Pro Contrast. Border was created in NX2 using a rectangular marquee and a levels adjustment.

“You can’t get the pics if you don’t have the camera.”
-Mike Hagen





Event Photography With Flash

Posted May 18th, 2011 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography  |  Permalink

Great questions today from a photographer (W. Kwan) who attended my recent workshops in Los Angeles. Here are his questions and my answers below.

Mike,

First off, I’d really like to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Nikonians community.  Your workshop was the best class/workshop I’ve ever been to including my undergraduate work.  I truly felt like I’ve learned a lot from your class and made me really want to experiment for with my flash.  I’ve been practicing greatly by just keeping my flash on my body.  I rarely try to take any pictures without my flash now.

I wanted to ask you for some advice since I’ve been asked to photograph someone’s graduation party inside a banquet hall by the beach with a patio overlooking the beach at sunset.  I’ll have my friend who will be helping throughout the banquet.  The gear that we own is (2) d7000s, (2) sb-600, 85mm 1.8, 35mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 11-20mm 2.8, 18-105mm 3.5-5.6, and two continuous soft boxes.  I have several questions and it would be greatly appreciated if you could help me out by answering some questions.

Question: I was wondering if our equipment is good enough for an event like this.  If not, what are some equipment I should rent.  I was thinking about renting a 24-70mm 2.8.

Answer: Yes. Your equipment is fine. Honestly, it is less important to have the “gear” than it is to have the “technique.” I strongly encourage you to practice shooting in a couple of scenarios before the big event. Try shooting at sunset. Try shooting in the dark inside a banquet hall. You’ll learn an incredible amount by doing this before hand.

I like your lenses, especially the 85mm, 35mm and 50mm. I don’t see any reason to rent the 24-70mm other than just having another backup.

Question: Also, it’s been difficult taking pictures with low light and flash because in the past I noticed in Aperture Priority mode, the shutter speed would be at 1/15 or 1/20 second making it too slow to shoot.  Also, my ISO would also be at like 1200.  In a situation like that, what are the different options I have?

Answer: The solution for long shutter speeds in low light with flash is … ISO and aperture. Don’t be afraid to bump up ISO to 1600 or 3200. The D7000 performs very well at these ISO values and I shoot up there all the time. For aperture, shooting at f2.8 or f1.8 will also help to bring in much more light. At these big apertures though, you’ll need to be careful about getting accurate focus since depth of field is so narrow.

Question: Any advice on shooting big group photos of like 10-20 people?

Answer: For big groups in a dark area, the key is to bounce the flash. If you aren’t careful, you’ll blast the front row with a lot of light and the back row will be dark. Therefore, using a bounce method to send the light up to the ceiling will be helpful. If this isn’t possible (i.e. ceiling is too high), then I recommend flattening the group and trying to keep them all about the same distance away from the camera. In other words, use two rows rather than 5 rows.





Metal Tulips

Posted May 6th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

Creating a compelling photo with every-day subjects can be extremely difficult. Take for example, the venerable tulip. It has been photographed in every conceivable way you can imagine. I’ve seen photos of tulips splashing in water, upside down, against black backgrounds, against the blue sky, and repeating in patterns of giant fields as far as the eye can see. How do you create something visually compelling that has been photographed literally millions of times? The answer isn’t always in taking the photo, but rather in what you do after you take the photo.

Tulip processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0

Pink tulip processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0. Image taken with Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens and exposed in Program Mode.

I took these two images (above and below) yesterday while practicing my “Program Mode” photography from May’s GOAL Assignment. I knew that the images weren’t going to be anything special in the camera, but I had an idea about making the flowers appear metallic. Perhaps with just the right amount of post-processing I could create something fascinating.

Red tulip processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0. Image taken with Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens and exposed in Program Mode.

Red tulip processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0. Image taken with Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens and exposed in Program Mode.

Capturing the Image
As you know, the great end result always depends on a great initial photo. Therefore, make sure that your photo is well exposed and in sharp focus. In this case, I used a Nikon D7000 and an ISO of 400. Since I’m spending this month shooting in Program Mode, I set my camera to “P” and began different compositions. As I took the shots, I verified that my shutter speed was high enough so I wouldn’t get any blurriness from camera shake. Oh, I also turned on Vibration Reduction just to make sure my images were sharp.

Here are the two original images as captured in the camera.

Original photo directly from camera.

Original photo directly from camera.

Original photo directly from camera.

Original photo directly from camera.

Turning Tulips to Metal
The next step was to bring the photos into post processing software. I regularly use Lightroom, Photoshop and Nikon Capture NX2 about equally in my workflow and they all do a great job. I knew that I wanted to use the solarization filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 to create the metallic effect. I also knew that I wanted to darken down the green leaves in the background. For me, the fastest and easiest way to perform these two actions was in Nikon Capture NX2 since it works with Nik’s Color Efex Pro 3.0 plug-in and it has the amazing Color Control Point technology.

Here’s my step-by-step process in Capture NX2:

1. Choose multiple Color Control Points and place them on the green leaves and background (shown below). Reduce the brightness, or”B,” slider which changes the brightness of the selected areas.

Place Color Control Points on background and reduce the brightness with the B slider.

Place Color Control Points on background and reduce the brightness with the B slider.

2. Click the New Step button to add a new Adjustment Step. From the pull-down menu, choose Color Efex Pro 3.0: Stylizing –> Solarization. See example below.

nik_solarization

3. Now, you’ll need to adjust both the Saturation slider and the Elapsed Time slider (below) until you’re happy with the result. There isn’t a magic formula here so keep playing until you like what you see.

solarization_new_step

4. Done! That’s it. Now, save the photo or print it out and you have your metallic tulips! If you don’t have Nikon Capture NX2, that’s ok. You can do these exact same things in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. In fact, Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 is a plug-in that works in all four of these host programs.

hagen_110505_043_metal600px

hagen_110505_029_metal600px

Never forget that the process you apply after you take the photo is just as important as the process of taking the photo. I think it is important for us to “see with post processing eyes” so we can always be thinking about where to take our images and how to create something new.





Nikon D7000 Technique – Mirror Lock UP and HDR

Posted April 6th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Software, Uncategorized  |  Permalink

The new Nikon D7000 camera keeps on impressing me. There are a lot of little improvements in the software that really benefit photographers trying to get the most performance out of their gear. One of these is being able to shoot a bracketed HDR burst while also using Mirror Lock-up.

Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000

Let me explain why you’d do this, then explain how to do it.

Why

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography involves taking a series of photos at different exposures and then blending the series together in software. Each photo is exposed at a different brightness level and therefore contains exposure data for certain parts of the scene. For example, the darkest photos in the sequence will contain data for the bright sky/clouds, while the brightest photos in the sequence will contain data for the shadows.

After you take the images, it is common to use a software program to merge the series together into one photo. Programs like Nik HDR Efex Pro take the best-exposed parts of each picture and then create one final image that has detail in the shadows, highlights and everywhere in-between.

Whale skeleton and hotels along Washington State Pacific coast. Nikon D7000. Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Whale skeleton and hotels along Washington State Pacific coast. Nikon D7000. Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Ok, now that you understand HDR, let’s talk about the process of taking the photos. Since the software will be merging many images to create one final image, it is important that the camera remains steady during the burst of shots. You can imagine that the photo might look weird if the camera physically moved between shots, since the software might have a difficult time properly lining up elements of the scene.

For the very best HDR photos, it is generally best to:

1. Use a tripod

2. Use a cable release

3. Use mirror lock-up

The third item in the list presents a challenge to photographers. This is because it can take a long time to shoot a series of photos while also using mirror lock up. As many of you know, mirror lock up requires you to press the shutter release (or cable release) two times for each exposure. The first push lifts the mirror and the second push trips the shutter.

Normally when you are shooting an HDR sequence, you want to set the camera to take a fast burst of photos, so elements in the scene don’t move from shot to shot. For example, if you were photographing a landscape with clouds in the sky, the clouds can actually move quite a bit from the first shot to the last shot if you don’t rapidly take the photos. In this example, the software will have a difficult time with ghosting in the clouds, creating an odd look to the image.

Enter the Nikon D7000! In Nikon’s newest prosumer SLR camera, they now allow you to shoot a bracketed HDR burst while simultaneously using mirror lock-up. This means that the camera will automatically take the entire bracketed sequence while also activating mirror lock-up before each photograph. Awesome!

The result is a fast sequence for the bracketed burst, and a stable camera as a result of mirror lock-up.

How

If want to automate the process, or just make it faster, then do this:

1. Set camera for M-Up (found on the shooting mode dial)

Set your camera's shooting mode dial to M UP. This activates the mirror lock-up mode.

Set your camera's shooting mode dial to M UP. This activates the mirror lock-up mode.

2. Activate bracketing on your camera by pressing the BKT button and rotating your command dials. You’ll want to set it so it reads 3F 2.0.

Press the BKT button on the left of the camera. Then, rotate main command dial and sub command dial until you see 3F 2.0.

Press the BKT button on the left of the camera. Then, rotate main command dial and sub command dial until you see 3F 2.0.

3. Press Menu button. Navigate to Shooting Menu (camera icon)

4. Choose Interval Timer Shooting

Choose Interval timer shooting from the menu.

Choose Interval timer shooting from the menu.

Then choose Now.

Then choose Now.

Then choose 1 sec.

Then choose 1 sec.

5. Set up interval timer to take one interval and three shots per interval (1×3).

Then set camera to take one interval and three shots per interval (1 x 3)

Then set camera to take one interval and three shots per interval (1 x 3)

6. Choose “On”

Choose On. Then, the camera will begin shooting the 3 frame HDR sequence.

Choose On. Then, the camera will begin shooting the 3 frame HDR sequence.

The instant you press OK, the camera will start taking the bracketed sequence, so you’ll want to already have your composition and focus set. The camera will then quickly take all three frames in rapid sequence while locking the mirror up for each one.

Shot 1 of 3 in the sequence.

Shot 1 of 3 in the sequence.

Shot 2 of 3 in the sequence.

Shot 2 of 3 in the sequence.

Shot 3 of 3 in the sequence.

Shot 3 of 3 in the sequence.

After you’ve completed the HDR sequence, the next step is to bring the photos into your favorite HDR program to process the HDR image. My favorite program is Nik HDR Efex Pro. It allows me to create realistic HDR images like the one immediately below, or surreal HDR images as shown at the end of this post.

Final HDR image from Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Final HDR image from Nik HDR Efex Pro.

In summary, I really like how Nikon keeps innovating new ideas. Even if the ideas are fairly small in the grand scheme of things, Nikon is always looking for ways to make our photography better. Allowing us to lock our mirrors up during the HDR burst is a perfect example of Nikon listening to feedback and implementing that feedback in the real world!

Below are some recent HDR pics I’ve taken with the D7000.

Hotel at sunset. Kissimmee, FL. Nikon D7000. Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Hotel at sunset. Kissimmee, FL. Nikon D7000. Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Bumper cars in Bend, Oregon. Nikon D7000. Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Bumper cars in Bend, Oregon. Nikon D7000. Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.





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