Tag Archives: nikon

Nikon D850 First quick review

Here is a real short review of the new Nikon D850, it’s simply another great update from Nikon. As always in my reviews I don’t care if the manufacturer gave me a camera free or if I had to buy it myself, I tell the brutal truth, good and bad.

keep in mind that I took it out of the box and ran right out to play with it, no instructions read or much of any idea what I was doing with it, ha ha.

I got the camera out of the box, it right away seemed lighter in weight than my previous D810. I decided to take the camera out and try it on a new section of Utah that I haven’t explored yet. First of all I want to see what the camera was able to do on its own.  Everything was set to fully automatic, ISO, the exposure, focus mode, P for professional. 

I haven’t gone through all of the different things that are possible yet but here are some of the features that I’ve noticed that stood out so far. The touchscreen was great just simply setting up my name and the date was so much easier with the touchscreen, that just can’t be beat. The camera has a tilting screen and I’m not sure if I like the way the screen swings away it just seems like it’s a little fragile and it might break I’m sure they tested this a lot so it’s probably just me being paranoid. Most of my complaint also is that it doesn’t seem intuitive to open or close with the way they designed the hinges. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s just something to find out as time goes along.  Anyone that has bad knees or a bad back will absolutely love being able to tilt the LCD though.  I mean I can go and get low-profile shots without having to get down low to the ground anymore.  I just hold the camera down bend over a little bit and watch the screen it’s fantastic. I can only imagine how good it’ll be when I’ve got pointed straight up at the sky doing nighttime stars. I won’t have to lay down crouch underneath it twisting myself at all kinds of weird angles.  That’s going to be awesome and I’m very much looking forward to that feature.

I don’t notice a difference in the quiet mode.  I was really expecting it to be very very quiet almost like a mirrorless camera just from all the marketing hype that they did about it being quieter.  It is nice to have a continuous selection in quiet mode so I do like that feature since I was always missing that in previous cameras.

I do miss not having the AE lock button like on previous models.  I don’t know what their logic was.  Maybe their market research showed that I was the only person in the world that used it?  I feel taking that button away to be a poor decision.

The auto focus was a nice surprise. I was pretty satisfied before this camera and now it just seems much crisper and faster. It doesn’t wander back-and-forth trying to find the focus point.



The software is a spectacular surprise with  the snap bridge app on my iPhone.  I never used that app before because I simply didn’t know much about it but now I will always use it.  My favorite thing is the GPS function, my phone simply tells the camera where I am and embeds the GPS location in each image.  You always carry the phone around with you everywhere anyhow so the biggest thing you have to worry about is just remembering not to leave the phone in the car.  I assume just like any other Bluetooth device, you have around 20 or 30 feet of the phone. Also, I have to remember not to turn the camera off because I’m assuming that it would have to go through the pairing process which takes a few seconds and you might miss that location if you’re getting a quick shot. I’ll have to get used to just leaving my camera turned on.


Nikon 70-200mm f4 vs 70-200 f2.8

ok, so i ordered the new Nikon 70-200mm f4 from amazon and compared it to my older 70-200mm 2.8 VR II.   the results were pretty clear and simple, the 2.8 is a sharper lens.

i put my nikon d800E on a tripod.  i set it to iso 1000 since i was inside, just one overhead light.

i set it to aperture priority at f4 so i could have as little depth of field as possible.

i was about 4 or 5 feet from the subject (a post office box)  i set both lenses to 200mm.

took the same picture with each camera and did not move the tripod.  just changed lenses right on the tripod.

first was the strangest observation, as you can see in the pictures the f4 gets up closer in the image.  i’m sure there is a logical reason for this, but it makes no sense to me.

for the purpose of comparison i cropped the 2.8 image in lightroom so it would be the same size for comparison of sharpness

this first image is the regular 2.8 at 200mm uncropped

f2.8 (1 of 1)


this second image is the f4 lens uncropped.  notice the strange difference in size when both were set at 200mm??

f4 (1 of 1)


this last image is the f2.8 that i cropped so i could compare them at the same visual size.

f2.8 (1 of 1)-2


there is no doubt from these pictures that the 2.8 is the sharper lens.

the 2.8 also focuses much faster even when it is set at f4.

so i was hoping that the f4 would be sharper since it does weigh alot less and is smaller, but alas i’m still going to be using the bigger heavier and sharper 2.8 and back to amazon goes the f4.

if anyone has any different results i would most definitly like to hear about it and i’ll be conducting a few more tests since i still have 3 weeks to return it…..

you can email me directly at mike@michaelleggero.com if you have questions or if you know why they looked different when each was set at 200mm??



Nikon 600mm vs. Sigma 300-800mm

When you need a huge long lens for your Nikon there are a few choices.  Today we will talk about the Sigma 300-800mm and the Nikon 600mm.  If you are looking for a quick answer, in my opinion, the Nikon 600mm is the better lens. There, now you can quit reading if you only wanted a fast answer.

Onto the details:  I first purchased the Sigma lens when I couldn’t find anyone that had the Nikon in stock.  The Nikon is still extremely difficult to find and buy however.  Both lenses have advantages and disadvantages from weight, size, and both have a learning curve to being able to use the lens to it’s best.

When you have both in your hands the Nikon is a smaller lighter lens but it is still very large and heavy.  The sigma weighs just under 13lbs while the Nikon weighs 9.8lbs.  I’m not sure that’s really a noticeable difference when you are carrying it around with all the other gear, but if you are only carrying the lens and camera body hiking a couple miles I’d rather bring the Nikon.

Length, the Nikon is 17.5” and the Sigma is 21.5” which does make a difference in traveling.  I fly a lot and I would never ever want to check this lens.  I try to pack all my gear in a standard roll aboard suitcase so I can bring it with me onboard the plane as a carry on.  The Nikon will fit in a standard roll aboard suitcase and the sigma will not.  This is a huge advantage to me because if you get a grumpy flight attendant they can enforce the one carry on rule and you’re stuck out of luck.  Both lenses come with their own cases; hard case for Nikon and soft case for Sigma.  Both of the cases are acceptable as carry on size but like I said, one carry on rule can get ya sometimes.  My basic rule is that if I’m traveling alone I only bring the Nikon.  And if I’m doing a driving road trip then I use the Sigma.

Physically handling each lens is different.  The Nikon has VR so in the right conditions you can “almost” hand hold it.  Basically, I’ve been successful using a monopod or leaning it against a tree, rock, car window, or other stable surface.  The sigma does not have VR so a large stable tripod is a requirement.  When I use the Sigma I put it on a large gitzo with a Wimberley head and a 6” Wimberley plate.

The big advantage of the Sigma is that it is a zoom lens.  You will read in other reviews that you can find your subject at 300mm and then zoom in to 800mm.   This does work good and I’ve used this technique several times with good success.  I don’t think it’s a huge advantage though once you learn how to keep both eyes open with the Nikon you can find your subject easily too.  To clarify that technique, look through the viewfinder with one eye and keep your other eye open looking at your subject.  Your eyes will adjust and kind of “match” and you can find your subject easily using that technique.  It takes practice but works with any lens.

Performance; both lenses will give you great images.  Both lenses have internal motors to focus.  The Nikon does focus faster.  Nikon also says you cannot autofocus with teleconverters.  This is NOT true.  With a Nikon 1.4 or the new 2.0 teleconverter I can still use autofocus.  When you put both converters on and stack them you do have to use manual focus.  The sigma will autofocus with the Nikon 1.4 converter but will not autofocus with the 2.0 teleconverter.

So now we get to the real story. How sharp are they and which one gives you a better image.  Honestly there is very little difference in sharpness.  I’m not going to go into crazy charts and scientific method, you can see all that stuff on their web site and if you understand what those charts mean then you are better than me, ha ha.

To test sharpness I went out to a cemetery and found a dark stone against snow with some good colorful flowers.  I figure that’s going to give the best idea of color, contrast and sharpness.  The following pictures were taken on a Nikon D700 set at iso 200 and aperture was 5.6 for each image.  I set the Sigma to 600mm so it would show the same magnification as the Nikon lens.  The images have not been sharpened or anything.  There is no post processing work done to any of the pictures.

As you can see, the Nikon images have a bit more brightness and contrast which makes it appear a tiny bit sharper.  However, I don’t think it actually is sharper.  If you process the Sigma image and add some contrast then the sharpness is identical.  It’s just a trick of your eye.  Personally I like the brighter contrast in the Nikon lens, but that is just a matter of opinion.

Both lenses are excellent.  Don’t get discouraged by thinking a non Nikon lens will give you any less performance than using Nikon glass.  When you get to this price range Sigma really did the job well and didn’t cut any corners.

That being said I would recommend the Nikon mainly because of the faster autofocus and the vibration reduction.  Unfortunately it is almost impossible to find the Nikon 600mm lens to purchase in the USA.  I finally had to get mine from Canada and Nikon USA will not honor any warranty for goods purchased outside of the United States.  I am playing the odds on this one simply because I figure if I spend a fortune on a lens then they are going to build it well and I’ll never need warranty repair.

If you can’t find the Nikon 600mm then purchase the Sigma 300-800mm and throw on a few teleconverters and go take a picture of the United States flag on the moon.