Glazer's Camera

  • Nikon Launch Party Recap

    We had a great turnout at last week’s Nikon Launch Party. In fact, we had a line out the door! You guys showed us that you are very excited about the new Nikon D5 and D500 cameras.

    nikon_launch_party-003 Nikon Reps Rose Whitaker and Tony Krup were in attendance showing off the new cameras and answering questions.

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    Tony and Rose took turns presenting about each camera to a packed house.

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    We are now taking pre-orders for the Nikon D5 and D500, so call us today at (206)624-1100 to get on the list.

    The D5 is slated for shipping in March and the D500 is expected to ship in April.

  • Fujifilm XF100-400mm lens review

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    Victoria crowned pigeon- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 2000

    Even on a cold, overcast Seattle morning there are still plenty of photographic opportunities at Woodland Park Zoo. With Fuji’s new XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 OIR WR telephoto lens in hand I wanted to give myself a challenge while testing their newest entry to the X-Series lineup.

    I confess that I don’t photograph at these focal lengths very often so some of the shortcomings I came across were my own and no fault of the lens. When the zebra that one moment is staring straight at you for a nice closeup suddenly decides to gallop about, it was easy for me to forget to increase my shutter speed and capture the action.

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    Zebra- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens & XF1.4X @ 140mm, f/6.4, 1/180s, ISO 640

    Telephoto lenses are great to have at a zoo. The compression of the scene helps fences and nets fade away as though there is nothing between you and the animal. With a f/5.6 widest aperture at the telephoto end, this lens very effectively drops the background into a pleasing blur of color, isolating the subject from their environment.

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    Great blue heron- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 400

    The claimed 5-stop Optical Image Stabilization might be a little stretch as I was able to get a good percentage of sharp images with shutter speeds as long as 1/30th second. Even so, 1/30th second at effective focal lengths of 600mm handheld is quite remarkable.

    This lens is sharp. There’s even no appreciable drop in sharpness that I could tell when adding Fuji’s XF 1.4X Teleconverter (zebra closeup). Counting eyelashes on a zebra from about 35 feet is now possible with Fuji, should the situation arise.

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    Zebra- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens & XF1.4X @ 522mm, f/7.8, 1/180s, ISO 400

    Making it into both my pros and cons list is the focusing capabilities. A long focus throw (having to rotate the focus ring a lot to make an adjustment) is great to have on a portrait or macro lens. Here you want to have as much control over minute adjustments as you can. On the XF 100-400, the long throw means you have a huge range to travel, especially at the close focus end, and this can be quite frustrating if you need to quickly transition from a near subject to a distant one. That said, the tracking capabilities seemed to at least match that of my X-T1. It is extremely difficult, though, to track a darting animal at the full 400mm without much practice.

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    Gray wolf- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 640 (+.7 exp. comp)

    Let me state the obvious. This is a large lens. With Fuji seemingly making it clear that they do not intend to make a full 35mm sensor camera, this lens being slightly larger than the new Canon 100-400mm is perplexing. It is 12% lighter than the Canon, however, which helps maintain a decent balance with the X-T1 mounted so long as you properly support the lens. I had a monopod in use for most of the day.

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    Roosevelt elk Roosevelt Elk- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/180s, ISO 2000 (-.3 exp. comp)

    This leads to another disappointing aspect; the tripod foot. This lens comes with a tripod foot smaller than the one supplied with the XF 50-140mm and with curved edges. This made fitting an anti-twist quick release plate a challenge. I’d love to see these feet come with a standard Arca Swiss compatible foot, especially on a $1,900 lens. Fuji did include a lock to the zoom extension to prevent zoom creep when the lens is hanging upside down, though I never experienced this.

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    Peacock- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens @ 386mm, f/5.6, 1/180s, ISO 640

    Overall, I had fun with the lens and came home with several portraits of these animals I would not have otherwise been able to capture. This lens wouldn’t be in my everyday bag, but I’ll certainly miss it the next time I visit the zoo without it.

    Pros:

    Excellent sharpness with or without 1.4X Teleconverter

    Strong Image Stabilization can produce sharp images of stationary subjects down to 1/30 sec handheld

    Long focus throw for precise manual focus adjustments

    Good close focus distance

    Great slide door in hood for polarizer/variable ND adjustment

    Cons:

    Size – slightly larger than full-frame 100-400mm lenses

    Long focus throw can cause very slow autofocus when transitioning from a near to distant subject

    Poor tripod foot design (too small and too round)

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    Nicobar pigeon Nicobar Pigeon- shot with the X-T1 w/ XF100-400mm lens @ 400mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 640 (-.7 exp. comp)

    All Images edited to taste from RAW.

  • CES 2016

    Glazer’s was in attendance at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES); where tech companies go to show off their latest gadgets and electronic wizardry.

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    The show seemed very similar to recent years with ever more focus on the latest, largest ultra-high definition displays, wearable technologies, personal drones and crazy concept cars.

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    There were certainly a few welcome surprises from the imaging brands including the new Nikon D500, Kodak’s re-entry into Super 8 film camcorders, and Nikon’s first action POV camera; the Key Mission 360.

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    The convention, by and large, is about what the electronics industry can expect in the near future. It’s hard to say exactly where our beloved camera manufacturers will take the devices we use daily for image making. We saw Olympus and Panasonic announce more professional telephoto lenses at a fraction of the size of the equivalent Nikon or Canon; the 300mm f/4 PRO and 100-400mm f/4-6.3 respectively. Nikon’s flagship D5 and D500 cameras can tout the speed and accuracy of their redesigned focusing system among other accolades. Personal, wearable cameras like Sony’s AS50 are decent upgrades to the segment. Nikon’s Key Mission 360 takes this a step further toward virtual reality capture, not dis-similarly to Ricoh’s Theta or the bevy of multi-camera GoPro rigs.

    What was odd was the seeming absence of new camera technologies being shown by the company among the top 5 patent earners in the US for more than the last 15 years; Canon. Canon announced an updated set of compacts and a few camcorders, which are welcome, but in 2016 seem more routine than innovative. The good news is that we are only in the middle of January and we still have most of 2016 ahead for these manufacturers to wow us even more.

    Early next month is CP+ in Japan and then there is Photokina in Cologne, Germany at the end of September. Both should prove to have many more exciting announcements! We can’t wait.

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