Fast, Wide, and Handsome II

Photo © Bob Krist

The other half of the one-two wide angle punch Nikon delivered to FXers, the 16-35mm f/4 VR, is another winner. I wandered all over a freezing cold, soaking wet South Beach in Miami (yes, let’s get out of the cold Northeast, and shoot in the nearly as cold, even wetter Southeast….Murphy, when will you and your law ever leave me alone?????) shooting with it primarily at night, as per my instructions from the agency.

I got sharp crisp results handholding at 1/4th, 1/8th, and even a couple of 1/2 second exposures (and that was before happy hour!). My brief said to avoid using a tripod, but did not prohibit the use of Margaritas to calm jittery weather nerves.

Of course, in South Beach, you have to pace yourself, because they all serve Margaritas in giant glasses as big as bird baths. Ummmm, VR II, there’s a challenge for you! The Jose Cuervo smackdown.

Stuff looked great wide open at f/4 too. Man, if I were an FX shooter (and depending on how negotiations go with my wife, my chiropractor, and my spinal surgeon, I might be one day), these would be my two wides. I’m not that much of a gearhead, and even I’m dreaming of them (oh, please come back, little 24, and bring your bokeh with you!)

The 16-35mm is bigger than the 17-35mm, but doesn’t feel any heavier and balanced well on both the big D3s and a D700. I’ll leave it to Nikon and the more techy blogs to give you all the details. I’ll just leave you with a couple of other sample pix and my user impression that this too is a killer piece of glass.

Oh, and just a request to the blogs who are grabbing and using these pics….how about running them with the copyright notice? Is that too much to ask? Geez, when a photography blog doesn’t know enough to run the damn copyright notice with a picture (and you know who you are), what hope is there?

Photo © Bob Krist
Photo © Bob Krist

And just to illustrate how changing the framing from horizontal to vertical can really change the message of your picture, hit the jump. (more…)

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Fast, Wide, and Handsome

Photo © Bob Krist

Well, I can finally talk about those two lenses, the 24mm f/1.4 and 16-35mm f/4 VR, I was shooting for Nikon’s Japanese ad agency back in Miami a while ago. First, I’d like to apologize to the DPReviewers and Nikonians whom I upset with my passing mention of new gear I couldn’t identify until it was announced.

Guys, I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to rile you up that much…. although it’s pretty much a truism that at any given time, camera manufacturers are testing new stuff, so I’m still not really sure why everybody got so, um, exercised.

Actually I do know why. Speculating about new gear is almost as much fun as eating pizza and drinking beer (you know you’ve reached a certain age when pizza and beer go from being a dietary staple to a forbidden fruit), and far less damaging to your arteries (although it seems to play havoc with some people’s blood pressure!).

There was no marketing conspiracy, though, with me making the passing mention. I just really needed a blog post (sometimes, it’s very hard to come up with bi-weekly tidbits….it’s the freakin’ digital Sword of Damocles hanging over your head!) and really it was to talk about the helicopter company and give them a plug.

But folks posited all kinds of conspiratorial sub-rosa marketing campaigns. Thankfully, nobody accused either Nikon or me of engineering the great financial meltdown or fixing the Super Bowl game. (So, my all-powerful Nikon cronies, and fellow members of the New World Order, we got away with those; heh, heh, heh….yeah, Cheney; gimme a high five!).

This shot was done with  the new 24mm f/1.4, a nano-coated gem. It’s a 77mm filter mount, not too big or heavy for what it is and sharp as a tack. Nice bokeh too. I made this shot with the D3s I had to borrow to do the shoot (I’m a DX guy, still, but am sorely tempted by these lenses—I miss the narrow DOF with fast, wide glass. And this baby is just a world class optic.).

It’s Tungsten white balance and the musician, Miami personality, and all around great guy Leo Casino is being lit with an orange gelled SB900 shot through my little portable umbrella setup held by an assistant.

Hit the jump for a couple of other samples. My brief from the agency was to highlight the nice bokeh and shoot wide open, or close to it, whenever possible. More on the other lens coming up in another post. (more…)

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Colorful La Boca

Photo © Bob Krist

Here’s another series of out-of-the camera JPEG outtakes from the Buenos Aires story. La Boca is a colorful tourist barrio, but it’s a little too touristy for National Geographic Traveler’s taste (after all, the story is called “Authentic Buenos Aires).

But I loved it because it was a visual candy store of riotous color and picturesque characters. So here’s a few snaps from a morning stroll through La Boca, all with a D90 and a 16-85mm, 70-300mm VR,  or sometimes, the 17-50mm f/2.8.

Photo © Bob Krist

More after the jump (more…)

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Prides cometh before a fall….

Sleeping prides are no problem to pick off with your DSLR video rig.

Okay. You name the parable, metaphor, or simile that involves overconfidence and overweaning ambition combined with lack of experience, and you can put it in the lede of this post about my foray into being a fulltime videographer on my recent safari through Tanzania.

By day two, I had visions of myself in a second career as a cameraman for Wild Kingdom. I pretty much went through the week like that…until I got home and really looked at my work. Ay carumba! What can I say….those were just delusional dreams brought on by the strength of the sub-Saharan sun!

Oh sure, I could harp on the fact that video-enabled DSLRs have a long way to go in convenience and handling before they become viable machines for documentary work (if you have actors who can do several takes of every shot, the image quality of the video from these machines completely overshadows their handling shortcomings).

And there’s nothing like multiple takes to help cover a myriad of handling mistakes, too.

It’s no mystery that the videos Nikon and Canon are using to promote their video-enabled SLRs are more like short movie features or commercials, with multi-man crews, rather than documentary projects. As Hilary says, “it takes a village” to raise a child. To that I’d like to add that “it takes a crew” to make great video.

But if you have baboons who don’t take direction, or lions who march to the beat of their own drummers, you are in deep doo-doo if you have only one chance to capture this video action on the move with a DSLR.

Hit the jump for a rundown of the things that plagued me, and why I won’t be giving up on DSLR video anytime soon! (more…)

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