The Nikon D7100 and Nikkor 10-24mm lens in Scotland

Tieme Pool (Website | Facebook | Twitter) visited Scotland with his Nikon D7100 camera and Nikkor 10-24mm lens:

In the fast-moving world of technology, the Nikon D7100 is already ancient, and while the D7x00 series has been known as a semiprofessional body, the D5x00 series has been getting better and better. As specially since the D5200, the D5x00 series even beats the D7x00 on some aspects of image quality. My Nikon D7100 has been my reliable companion since 2014, and many people wonder why they should buy the D7x00 series over the D5x00.

As mentioned, the D5x00 series is getting better and better in image quality, but there are a few advantages if you own a Nikon D7x00. First off, the build quality is slightly better. It is weather sealed (which is a big plus if you’re an outdoors photographer like me), the viewfinder is slightly bigger and brighter, battery life is better too, and the autofocus system is superb. Besides, you have an additional memory card slot in the D7x00, it has a built-in focus motor (good for old, non-AF, lenses), and is faster in burst mode.

Even older is my Nikon 10-24 wide angle lens, introduced in 2009, and never upgraded by Nikon ever since. And with this trustworthy combination, I went out to one of the counties that every photographer wants to visit: the Highlands and the Isle of Skye in Scotland. To make sure my beloved camera didn’t feel alone, I also brought his friends, a Gitzo tripod, a B+W polariser, and a pair of Lee filters (I tried Cokin for a while, but it just didn’t work for me. Not just the colour cask, also the reduction of sharpness).

I started in the Highlands, as a friend of me, working on his mountain guide license, took me into the wilderness near the Ben Nevis, the Grey Corries, and the Mamores.

The Water of Nevis.

The Water of Nevis.

The hike in the wilderness was amazing. Drinking from waterfalls and creeks isn’t possible in The Netherlands (we don’t have waterfalls to begin with, and the water will get you sick quickly). And to do so was a fantastic experience.

The first ever waterfall I drank from.

The first ever waterfall I drank from.

The Lee filters I use are a Graduated Natural Density filter, to darken the skies, and The Big Stopper. This is a Natural Density filter that reduces the light getting into the camera by a thousand times, to create long exposure shots during daylight, like the waterfall above.

The downside of the trip were the many midges battling me whenever there was no wind. A midge is a mosquito with the size of a fruit fly. And why are they so bad? They attack in large groups!

We slept in this bothy (Meanach) to hide from the midges.

We slept in this bothy (Meanach) to hide from the midges.

My next stop was the Isle of Skye, I did that alone. And my beloved Nikon 10-24 showed to be a trustworthy friend. I was tired of the long days (wake up way before sunrise and go to sleep after sunrise) and the hikes, and got a bit sloppy. I switched lenses, so I removed the Nikon 10-24 and attached a Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II. As I acted quick, I placed my Nikon 10-24 on the ground, and not so sturdy. While attaching the 70-200, my 10-24 decided to bounce of the rocks! I couldn’t catch it, that would mean dropping my 70-200 and D7100, so I had to let it bounce. In horror I ran down the rocks, my lens must have bounced at least 15 times, about 10 meters down the rocks… The lens cap had fallen of the B+W polarizing filter, and with my heart beating in my throat, I checked my lens. No broken glass, no scratches… Nothing! Even the filter wasn’t scratched! What a relieve, the Photography gods must have liked me that day!

Thanks to my Nikon 10-24 surviving a good pair of bounces down the rocks, I could take a “selfie”!

Thanks to my Nikon 10-24 surviving a good pair of bounces down the rocks, I could take a “selfie”!

During my first day on the Isle of Skye I visited Neist Point and Portree. What a spectacular Island! Portree is the largest town of Skye, yet still very small.

The colourful harbour of Portree. Or Port Rígh, or Port Ruighe.

The colourful harbour of Portree. Or Port Rígh, or Port Ruighe.

Neist Point is a rock and lighthouse in the area Waterstein. This is positioned in the west, so perfect for the sunset.

The colours and the view… You would be stone cold if your not touched by the beauty of nature.

The colours and the view… You would be stone cold if your not touched by the beauty of nature.

The lights are on during the Blue Hour!

The lights are on during the Blue Hour!

As my trip was all about hiking, I went out the Quiraing the next day. This is a must do hike for photographers on Skye!

Make sure you are quick, light can change incredibly fast!

Make sure you are quick, light can change incredibly fast!

A 300 second long exposure (using the Big Stopper) to have a little break from hiking.

A 300 second long exposure (using the Big Stopper) to have a little break from hiking.

August is a really pretty month for Skye! Too bad it is a great month for midges too.

August is a really pretty month for Skye! Too bad it is a great month for midges too.

You’ll run in to all sorts of impressive landscapes while hiking The Quiraing.

You’ll run in to all sorts of impressive landscapes while hiking The Quiraing.

“The Table”

“The Table”

On the right side you see the “Table” and in the middle of the picture the “Prison”.

On the right side you see the “Table” and in the middle of the picture the “Prison”.

This island looks like a fairytale.

This island looks like a fairytale.

Two other fun attractions are Kilt Rock and the Lealt Falls. Beware though: these are proper tourists attractions, so for me this was a stop and go moment!

A quick, yet beautiful, stop and go.

A quick, yet beautiful, stop and go.

Hike down to the Lealt waterfall if you have the chance.

Hike down to the Lealt waterfall if you have the chance.

On the third day, I was still happy my Nikon 10-24 survived the fall down the rocks. And the Lee ND Grad Filters were of great service too! Our cameras are not able to capture a wide range of light intensity. So darkening the sky using a filter, is a great option to avoid blown out parts of the photo. As this country looks like a fairytale (many movies have been recorded here), I moved on the the Fairy Pools. A spectacular set of waterfalls (the colours are impressive, not the size) which you have to visit around sunrise. As during the day, tourists swarm (and ruin) this place.

Colours like a fairytale.

Colours like a fairytale.

Some fine pools for a fresh dip.

Some fine pools for a fresh dip.

The cool colours of the waterfall, and the warm colours of the sunrise are spectacular! And with the Black Cuillins in the background, the scene is complete. If you are here during sunrise, it is mesmerizing!

The Black Cuillins in the background are spectacular!

The Black Cuillins in the background are spectacular!

The water is so blue, and so crystal clear!

The water is so blue, and so crystal clear!

And if you are in good shape, continue your hike towards the mountains, where most tourists don’t go.

Can you imagine I had this place whole to myself?

Can you imagine I had this place whole to myself?

Later that day I captured the sunset at Talisker Bay (after visiting the Distillery obviously!).

The sunset at Talisker Bay.

The sunset at Talisker Bay.

A spectacular sunset!

A spectacular sunset!

On my final day on Skye I paid a visit to probably the most photographed rock formation on Skye, the Old man of Storr. A cliché spot, but a must do.

The Old man of Storr.

The Old man of Storr.

The light is amazing today!

The light is amazing today!

On my way back to the mainland of Scotland, I said one final goodbye to Sligachan. A small village (although I haven’t seen any houses), with a spectacular view on the Black Cuillins.

The old bridge of Sligachan.

The old bridge of Sligachan.

Goodbye Black Cuillin!

Goodbye Black Cuillin!

I was lucky to avoid the rain, probably more famous than the gorgeous landscape, and had a fantastic pair of hikes. I hope you enjoyed my pictures, and thank you so much for watching!

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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  • Eric Calabros

    10-24 is good. Scotland is better.

    • Going to Scotland with a 10-24 is even better 😉 Thank you! And yes, it is a brilliant country!

      • jojo

        Very good, yes, but just one VERY SMALL point. I know of the midge problem from personal experience, and the fearsome terror of an attack in numbers, but is your reference something like the way anglers exaggerate the size of the one that got away? A midge the size of a fruit fly???

  • fanboy fagz

    great stuff. thanks for none of the overly saturated HDR crap. cheers.

    • Ruthrrobbins1

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    • Thank you so much! I have tried HDR once to be honest, but preferred using filters to get a correct exposure.

      Trying to catch up with the replies 🙂

  • novak miler

    Lovely photos

  • jstevez

    Always good to read equipment reviews backup with superb photos, thank you for posting.

    • And thank you for leaving a comment 🙂 Some fine hardware for a hike (although I might consider for an ever lighter tripod, or start going to the gym 😉 )

  • second paragraph is excessive

    • Thanks for the feedback Dmitri! I am known to elaborate a bit too much. I’ll keep it in mind for my next posts!

      • now correct! Cool!
        And cool pictures (color, space, post-processing) !

  • Just Me

    Really nice photos. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you very much! Always good to receive words like that, thank you 🙂

  • Spy Black

    Nice work, thanks for sharing.

  • Great work… Still love my D7100 as an option. That lens is a good one too.

    • What is your primary camera? Love the D7100, but if I stay crop, I must say, the D500 is jaw dropping good! The lens is fine too!

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

  • smith0100

    Wow, it is a beautiful country. Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

    • Oh man, Smith, honestly, I had a few emotional moments, because the beauty overwhelmed me. Even looking at the same spot for 10 minutes made me feel that I looked at 10 different scenes because of the very changing light. Gorgeous country with fantastic people. The Scots are probably the nicest people I’ve ever met!

      Thank you for your comment and compliment!

  • CarSalesman

    I can see the photographer has great skill, my compliments, but why do images in this web site always appear fuzzy?

    • Maybe because they are low resolution?

      • Spy Black

        The page images seem a bit fuzzy (although not horrible), but if you click to see an image it looks fine.

        • Strange, what browser and OS are you using? Maybe there is some image compression going on that I am not aware of.

          • Spy Black

            You may be correct. I’ll check again at home on my workstation browser, I’m presently looking at it on Opera on a Moto G phone.

    • Oh wow, that is a great compliment, thank you! It might be the resulotion of the images. Sorry for that!

  • Fly Moon

    Wow. Very impressive photos.

  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    I, too, am waiting for Nikon to update the 10-24. And the 12-24. Both lenses are way overpriced for what they do. Still, the pictures all look great, at least reduced to webpage friendly size. But the 24mp sensors can do mural sized printouts, there’s just no proper ultra wide angle lens from Nikon to achieve that.

    • MB

      Maybe you should go out and take a couple of pictures yourself instead of waiting? Much more fun, trust me 🙂

      • CaMeRa QuEsT

        Oh, I’ve got no other choice but to use my 10-24 whenever the occasion arises. It just frustrates me to no end that I paid dear dollars for this lens that is neither as sharp nor as contrasty as other options costing half its price, and the worse part is that I can’t unload it without taking a big financial hit. Also, at least in the case of my copy, it’s pretty much useless opening it wider than f8: both outer quarters of the frame get terribly soft.

        • Spy Black

          eBay dude.

          • CaMeRa QuEsT

            That’s exactly where the “big financial hit” happens.

            • Carleton Foxx

              NIKON doesn’t make terrible lenses…Send it in for repair. You might get lucky.

            • Spy Black

              Just price it the same as what everyone else is averaging. You can’t expect miracles just because it’s a Nikkor.

          • ZZ

            One man’s junk is another man’s treasure … scored a decently used Nikon 12-24 f/4 for 450 ducats on ebay last year … it’s older, comparably sharp (or not so sharp) and better built than 10-24 …

            • Carleton Foxx

              I own the 12-24 Nikkor and I always think I hate it until I shoot an assignment with it. As long as you keep the camera dead level, use a tripod, and shoot between F4.5 and 8, you can make magnificently sharp pictures (but you have to use plenty of edge sharpening).

    • I do understand the point you make. The 10-24 is not known for the best sharpness, although it isn’t bad! What body you combine it with?

      For example, the 16-35 is sharper, but you need a full frame body for it. When screwing a 16-35 lens to the D7100 it loses most of it sharpness.

      But yeah, like you said, a financial hit.. Still looking for the pot of gold 😉

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      • ZZ

        Do you mean 16-35 loses wide angle FOV on crop sensor body like D7100? I have 16-35 and is pretty darn sharp, whether it’s on D800 or D7100 …

  • Merv S

    I was in the Outer Hebrides and Mull in June 2016. I brought my 18-105 on my D5100 and 10-24 on my D40. I took maybe twice the number of photos on my D5100+18-105, but found out when I got home that I preferred more pictures taken with the D40+10-24. I didn’t use a tripod as I was on a small tour bus, I did use a circular polarizer.

    I will highly recommend the island of Lewis and Harris, my trip was more motivated by wanting to revisit this island from a prior trip in 2006. This is not to say Skye isn’t beautiful, but my preference is with Lewis and Harris.

    The D40 still does a rather good job I think, I did also pass by Glencoe for a second time, and managed to get all three sister peaks in one picture.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/mervyn_s/29022460701

    • Are you sure it wasn’t the Caribbean? The Ocean on your Flickr page is gorgeous! And I see you had the chance to spot some Puffins!!

      The D40, wow, that’s old but gold!

      I hope to go there some day! But I promised my Scottish friend to first do Snowdonia (Wales) with him if I get back 🙂

      Ah, Glencoe, that is familiar territory 🙂

      Thank you for comment!

      • Merv S

        Thanks, the puffins were on the small island of Staffa where Fingal’s Cave is located. This was part of the island of Mull portion of my vacation. Apparently, puffins don’t mind having people around as it scares away seagulls.

        I hope you make it Lewis and Harris, and look forward to more photos from you of that island. This link is not mine, you can get an idea of what to expect:
        https://www.flickr.com/groups/lewisandharris/

  • Andoz Krishnadas

    for me the biggest reason to get the d7xxx over ther 5xxx would be ergonomics u dont have to hold down the iso button or an apparture button to change its values and that extra front dial on the 7xxx was the biggest reason to get this over the 5xxx maybe there are many of you pro d5xxx users out there but for me it was way too much hassle to stop look at the camera hold down a button or two and change values with the single back dial … more often than not the moment is already past by then … but the 5xxx could make a half decent backup studio camera in a pinch

    • That is a valid point Andoz, thank you for the additional information! That, indeed, is a good reason for the D7x00 body!

      I practise to blindly set my camera to avoid missing a shot, and having to make my fingers dance rather unpleasantly over the buttons is not helping with that 🙂

      Cheers!

  • Man, am I glad i did not upgrade to 7200! So that i can invest the money in the D500…

    • What is your current body? The D7000/7100? Or D5x00?

      Oh man, have you tried the D500? Set it to burst mode and never let your finger go of the shutter button.. It is soooooo fast!

  • FountainHead

    Really nice work. Thank you.

  • MB

    Pretty pretty pretty … so who needs D500?

    • Thank you so much! Well…. The D500 is super fast, both the AF-S, and the large buffer. You can contentiously shoot without waiting for the buffer to empty, amazing camera!

      I also tried my Nikon TC20 III + Nikon 70-200 VR II f2.8 on the D500, autofocus even than is pretty good!

  • Max

    I’m surprised that there are lots of people who think “so what’s the big difference between d5xxx and d7xxx anyway?”

    • I for one, was one of those people a couple of years ago before moving up form my D3100 😉

  • Francisco Cabrita

    Several lenses that have the 10-24mm lens that has never been harnessed to foce landscape was only for indoor but seeing these great photos I will try to do the same

    • You should try! Getting out doors in the wilderness is such an experience 🙂 But it is a good lens for architecture indeed!

      Thank you!

  • Albin

    Thanks for the story and images!

  • Reilly Diefenbach

    Quite a few of these nice shots suffer from superwide bloat. Something to try on your next outing is a two to seven or so shot stitch at a normal focal length, which will reproduce correct geometry and allow for a massive increase in resolution and sharp corners.

  • jojo

    We sometimes hear complaints over the use of plastics in lenses, but this experience with the 10-24mm shows another side of the argument. Metal parts dent and deform, plastics can flex and avoid serious damage in some situations. If you were to think of the Nikon 10-24 and the much more expensive 14-24/2.8, you would probably think of the 14-24 as the more “rugged” lens. I once dropped a 14-24 lens, it slipped out of a partly closed bag and fell a little less than one metre onto a carpeted floor. The result was a badly dented lens needing an expensive repair. Perhaps a cheaper plastic bodied lens would have bounced and rolled?

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