Weekly Nikon news flash #453


Aurora Aperture introduced the world’s first variable GND filter family (Aurora Aperture filters are sold at B&H).


→ Check out this (new?) "special content" Nikon website dedicated to their 100th anniversary.


The FBI is looking for vendors to fix and maintain their Nikon photographic equipment.

Next are this week's Nikon related videos:

→ Nikkor lens technology explained.

→ Nikon started a new website ineveryframe.com:

"In Every Frame is a celebration of inspiring videos shot on Nikon by filmmakers and creative spirits. Selected videos will be awarded with prizes of US$2,000 and more, as well as being showcased at In Every Frame and on our Nikon communities worldwide. Share your creativity with the world and ignite others to tell their stories."

→ Joel Marklund on the new Nikkor AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens.

→ If you missed the Nikon presentations at the 2018 CES, you can watch them here.

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  • AYWY

    At least they don’t mandate video submissions to use the lousy Nikon imaging space. That’s an improvement 🙂

  • Just Me

    A variable GND sounds good but why would anyone would want a circular GND?

    • Ed Hassell

      Essentially, a variable ND is a pair of polarizers (for which I can see the point); however, making one of the two polarizers only half a circle — which is what has been done here — seems a great but nearly useless concept: it is very rare that I would want the cut-off exactly mid image.

    • Bob Thane

      Yeah, cool concept, but very limited use case.

    • peter w

      It could be somewhat more usefull when drastically over-dimensioned and applied in a Lee or Cokin style filter holder… However, it has no gradient, I don’t think I could find any use for it.

      (rather than using gradient filters in the field, I shoot at low iso and apply a gradient in post production. D300 and D700 dynamic range are allready quite good.)

      • Jeff Curtner

        It’s more useful for video than photo.

        • peter w

          Thanks.
          Both my experience and mindset are 99,9% stills ;).

    • Jeff Curtner

      It’s meant to be used with an adapter on a square filter system such as Cokin or LEE so it can be moved up and down or other direction.

      • Roger S

        That makes more sense. I’m still bothered by the hardness of the transition from light to dark, but the sample images they post on their website don’t reveal a problem with that hard transition, so I’m probably missing something. I also am ignorant as to the use of such filters in video.

      • Macro Cosmos

        Yeah but the largest size is only a measly 105mm, and it costs $194. I also don’t see any space benefits.

    • David Gottlieb

      It should work well with or without a Cokin filter. Have to try one. It’s a handy tool. I wouldn’t criticize it until I had one in my hand and could experiment with it.

  • Ed Hassell

    A little history: Many years ago, there was a little shop just off Wisconsin Ave near Tenley Circle call Mora Camera Repair. Jorge Mora was a Nikon-trained camera repair expert who could work miracles with damaged Nikon equipment. He had originally worked for National Geographic and continued to be their repairman of choice after he opened his own shop. He was also the goto repairman for the various federal police agencies around DC, including the FBI. He was a great guy and a good friend.

    • 白大福

      What happened to this wonderful man?

      • Ed Hassell

        He retired quite a few years ago and is now deceased. I do not know how old he was; however, I am nearly 70 and he was easily 20-25 years older than I am.

        • doge

          He should reopen it. Sounds like business might pick up.

          • Ed Hassell

            Unfortunately, he can’t reopen it: he’s dead. R.I.P.

  • Eric Calabros

    I didn’t know FBI is Nikon shooter

    • Amir

      Ya!When you shoot with Canon,Sony ,Fuji,Pentax, or Olympus,you may end up arresting an innocent guy!Crime scene is where Nikon shines(New motto!)

      • Allan

        Or, they could just amend what they have:
        Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity, Image Quality.

        • Allan

          There’s that integrity word again. 🙂

    • peter w

      CSI has been using Nikons… ;).

      (I think starting with D200 and the 18-200 VR lens. I don’t recall the kind of flash. Probably the macro flash kit.)

      • Roger S

        My kids claim that is the only reason I watch CSI reruns — to see all of the NIkon gear being used. And they could be right.

      • CERO

        those extra dynamic range steps helps a lot during ENHANCING.

    • BVS

      Wonder if they might actually use the 3mil ISO on the D5.

    • Nikkor300f4VR

      Because the Evil is always lurking in the shadow.. (sic!) Moreover the Devil is always in the details.. (sic!) LoL! 😀
      FBI knows they should not underestimate the power of the Dark Side.. Muhahaha..

    • Allan

      Who repairs C.I.A.’s cameras? 🙂

      • Ed Hassell

        I’d guess the CIA uses Minox. 😉

        • Allan

          Two surprises for me. They are still in business. They make digital cameras. Who knew.

          • Ed Hassell

            I said that just to be funny; however, yes, Minox still exists.

            • Allan

              It was funny. 🙂

              I love those old films where the spy takes pictures of documents, I’m assuming, with a Minox.

            • Ed Hassell

              Yep, that’s the one. Tiny little thing. 8mm film cartridges. Somewhere, I’ve got an old Minox LX from back in the ’90’s. Fun little camera.

        • Roger S

          That’s a name from the past. I checked B+H and you can special order a 14mp Minox digital camera for only $200, very retro in appearance. I’m tempted to get one just for nostalgia’s sake, although it’s the little spy cams that are really cool. I actually have a toy camera along the same lines, but it uses 110 film, which is twice as wide.

    • hussey

      They shoot Nikon because the long lenses are black. White canons would stand out on the stake outs! 🙂

  • That looks like it isn’t graduated at all!

    • Ed Hassell

      Graduated ND filters come in hard and soft varieties. The hard ones have a distinct demarcation between the lighter and darker segments; whereas the soft ones are gradual from lighter to darker over some significant segment of the filter.

  • animalsbybarry

    Peter
    So we have talked about Mirrorless Z mount
    Pelicular F mount adapter
    But what about the sensor ???

    What kind of resolution and autofocus system do you think this will have ???

    How about the 2 layer dual pixel sensor Nikon patented ????

    • Nikkor300f4VR

      You mean the “quad pixel AF”?

  • br0xibear

    Definitely worth keeping an eye on Joel Marklund’s Instagram site,if anyone’s got an early D5s for the Winter Olympics it could be him…

    https://www.instagram.com/joelmarklund/

    • He is very careful, they all are..

      • br0xibear

        He posted this image a few days ago of him testing the new 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED lens, that could be a debadged D5 he’s using…which seems an odd thing to do ?…or is it a D5s ?

        ©joelmarklund
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2c2e27f0ee2a4f52612c8d3056730c18a33df96ad451473c9b9b4ce8de826905.jpg

        • Hard to tell… nut he is an ambassador, right? Why debadge it?

          • br0xibear

            That’s what I was curious about, why debadge a D5?
            And if you look at it, it’s not a piece of tape covering the “Nikon” logo, it’s just not there as far as I can make out…which if I remember correctly is what that D850 time lapse tester said about the body he had…it had no markings.

            • We shall see once the next Dx camera is released if he shot the campaign.

            • br0xibear

              Strangely Nikon Austria just posted this video of Joel going through his gear…and none of his bodies are debadged ?

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1klo_EAFnA

  • Bill Slattery Jr

    Looks like the FBI is fed up (fed get it?) with Nikon USA’s service also.

    • ZoetMB

      They should just go arrest someone at Nikon for providing bad service.

      Taking on a government contract can be a horror though. In spite of all the stories of bad work done under government auspice, when I was a recording engineer, another engineer told me a story of some recordings that were done for training for a government agency under contract.

      Government inspectors came in and said, “how do we know these tape decks are operating at exactly the right speed”? Answer: if you look on the idler wheel, you’ll see black lines. If I hold up a strobe light and the lines stand still, it’s the right speed. Government inspector: But how do we know that the lines are printed properly?

      That particular studio eventually went out of business due to how crazy the government drove these poor guys. Since the recordings were just voice actors reading a script, it wouldn’t have made any difference if the decks had been a little fast or slow, but they weren’t anyway.

    • Adam Lang

      This is a statement of intent for a non competitive bid to only negotiate with nikon as only nikon can provide authorized service.

    • PhilK

      It appears that the announcement was primarily to point-out that they are taking the unusual step of putting a bid out on a contract where there is literally only one single company that can fulfill it. (Sometimes sneaky RFQ’s are made that engineer it in convoluted ways to make it appear that only one company can fulfill it, but in this case Nikon literally is the only organization that has the basic materials necessary to service most of the modern Nikon equipment, because they won’t allow anyone else to get parts/equipment/documentation/certification.)

      I hope Nikon gets some heat over this from some other organizations as well, because the idea of not authorizing anyone else in the world to work on your equipment – especially when there are many countries which have zero official Nikon service/presence at all, is pathetic.

    • neonspark

      by law they have to allow other companies to bid for this. Off course we all know “bob’s camera shop or canon japan” isn’t going to get the contract. But by law they have to allow them to try.

  • 2blueherring3

    The hard varieties I have tried have been pretty useless, would never waste my money again.

  • hussey

    The FBI notice is basically them saying that only Nikon can fix their gear, and if you happen to disagree with that assessment then you should come forward and state your case, right? Good luck with that one!

  • neonspark

    seems ok but a bit clunky for video work considering you have to be static and can’t move the camera at all. definitively ok for some video applications like time-lapses or b-roll but really niche for most people.

    still, an interesting filter for sure.

  • Roger S

    I knew I was missing something — obviously distant focus would defocus the transition. Thanks for the insight. I haven’t used graduated filters before, but just got a set from one of my kids for Xmas. I’m looking forward to learning how best to use them — likely to be more fun that applying similar effect in post processing.

  • Macro Cosmos

    What a useless filter, interesting concept though… I mean a smartphone with an external speaker is interesting too.

    So the largest size is 105mm, and costs a whopping $94 in kickstarter cash. My excellent haida 150mm*100mm soft GND is cheaper, and it can be moved up and down without bringing serious vignetting issues.
    (Oh, WHOOOPS, it’s $194!!!!!!!!! for the 105mm version. One can get a rectangular GND for ultrawides like the Nikon 14-24 with that much!)

    Yeah, it can be moved up and down, so what? It’s only useful for mid-range to telephoto ends. Wide angle lenses such as a 20mm could benefit from this too (I seriously doubt it won’t bring horrible vignetting), but what about wider?

    GND isn’t like ND, GND can be done in post, and this is how I do it. I still use ND filters, since I don’t want theoretically 2^6=64 exposures to simulate the effect of a 6-stop long exposure (realistically, it can be done with like 5 shots, I still prefer in camera in this case). With GND though, 2~3 brackets of +/- 2EV does the trick for me. But again, I don’t specilise in landscape work so this is just my preference as a noobish amateur.

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