Cameras and Photography Explained

This page points to all recent articles published on,,, and, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive. 

While it might not have looked that way from this portal, a number of new articles were posted onto the sites while I was sick. Below I’ll try to catch you up on all of them.

>>> This Week's Articles:

Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC Lens Review. The 35mm f/1.8 SP Di VC is one of two prime lenses recently introduced by Tamron that feature VC (vibration control) in a focal length where we don’t normally see it. The second of the lenses is the 45mm f/1.8 VC. Article on

The Data Recovery Interview. At NAB I conducted a number of interviews with people in the industry who work in areas that I felt were of interest to this site’s readers. This is the first of what will eventually be a long series of what I hope are useful interviews from that and other shows. For this first interview, I’m talking with David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology, Limited, a company that makes data recovery software and does physical data recovery, as well. Article on

Should I Buy a Gray Market Camera? Short answer: if it’s a newer Nikon camera model (last year or two), probably no. This is an update and addition to a previous article that had been on the site. Article on

The Nikon DSLR Sweepstakes Game, early 2016. The third annual edition of my “your prize is any current Nikon DSLR, which one do you take” game. Article on

Parts for Nikon DSLR Cameras. A friend recently lost their D7100 battery compartment door somewhere in the Falkland Islands (don’t ask) and wondered whether she could get Nikon to repair it. Heck with Nikon, some things are usable repairable, it’s just a question of whether you can get the parts. Article on

Nikon product announcements section was updated.

Ultimate Camera Upgrade advice was updated.

Lots of new posts on the D5/D500 Blog, including the first two verifiable firmware errors.

>>> Recent Articles:

May 15, 2016

More on Where Nikon Is. Last week’s annual report has additional grim bits to it that show up on closer examination. For one, the core company is unprofitable. It’s only the subsidiary structure that’s somehow produced the positive income numbers we see on the consolidated statements. In the unconsolidated statements, we see some clear issues and problems. Article on

May 14, 2016

Grim Nikon Financials. Nikon didn’t just report weaker Imaging business sales for the year yesterday, their entire report could only be characterized as “grim.” Here’s how the Imaging business looks quarter by quarter for the last four years (straight line is a moving average). Article on

May 10, 2016

Canon EOS-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro lens with ring LED was announced.

Nikon V3 firmware update 1.11 was announced.

May 9, 2016

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR Review. This version of the 24-70mm is the long awaited—and many say overdue—replacement for Nikon’s mainstay mid-focal range zoom. Article on (reminder, overall ratings are on this page)

Proactive versus Reactive. Every new Nikon product is now scrutinized intensely by the customer base that buys early copies, and that quickly becomes a topic of discussion on every dedicated Nikon Web site and forum. Article on

May 6, 2016

The DSLR Travel Kit. I recently wrote an article on listing several seriously compact, simple, kits of camera and lenses that minimized size and weight for all around travel photography. Today I’m going to tackle the same subject from a Nikon DSLR standpoint. Article on

“Buying” Software. I’ve been around long enough to watch the entire history of personal computer software. At the risk of over generalizing, the history basically went like this… Article on

Number of updates to April/May software updates

May 4, 2016

Two Promotions Go Two Different Ways. Canon and Nikon both announced new promotional programs designed to push more high-end product out camera dealers’ doors. It’s interesting how the two programs differ. Article on

Three Small Mirrorless Camera Packages Suitable for Travel PhotographyThis article is an experiment on my part. I’m trying to answer a question I’m getting asked a lot lately. Come spring and people start planning summer vacations. Of course, they want to document their vacation, so they look at their existing camera gear and consider whether they want to drag it around with them for a week, a fortnight, or a month. Article on

May 3, 2016

A Better Quarter, Sort Of. Mirrorless camera shipments were up 13.9% in the first quarter of 2016 versus last year. DSLR shipments were down 5.1% for the same reporting period. Mirrorless volume was 36% that of DSLR volume during the quarter. Article on

April 28, 2016

Nikon 70-200mm f/4 Lens Review. The 70-200mm f/4 rounds out the trio of slower aperture zooms that Nikon makes (16-35mm, 24-120mm), probably in response to the f/4 zoom trio that Canon produced. The 70-200mm f/4G VR is an FX lens, and a smaller and lighter partner to the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. Review on

Recommended Macintosh Hardware. I regularly help others with Mac system recommendations, and I try to keep up with everything happening the in the Mac world. Here are my current thoughts. Article on

Leica announced the LCD-less version of the Type 262, the M-D.

April 25, 2016

How Companies Pick Lenses to Make. Fujifilm apparently had a recent change of mind about lenses, postponing the expected 120mm f/2.8 and deciding to go with a shorter focal length. At least if we’re to believe rumors. Why? Size. Article on

Thunderbolt 3 Delivers a Jolt. One thing that was clearly evident at NAB is that Thunderbolt 3 is the future. Or wait, USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 is the future. Before we get to that seeming contradiction (it mostly isn’t), let’s quickly review the history of personal computer connection technologies: parallel, serial, SCSI, USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt. Article on

More Troubles at Nikon. I find it a bit disingenuous that Nikon announced delays in products in conjunction with reporting impacts from the earthquake that hit Southern Japan earlier this month. The delays in products that Nikon reported weren’t due to the quake, and any future delays due to the quake are still as yet unknown. Article on

The NAB Convention by Numbers. A comparison of NAB and Photokina trade shows. Article at 

April/May Software Updates page refreshes as new updates are added

April 26, 2016

Nikon announced a minor firmware update for the D7200 (version C1.01). Mostly a bug fix.

April 14, 2016

New Lenses Announced. Today Zeiss announced the third lens in the all-new Batis lineup, the Batis 18mm f/2.8 for the Sony E-mount. Article on sansmirror.comBatis 18mm data pageMeyer-Optic 50mm data page.

April 13, 2016

Thom’s NAB Mini-Blog Page. Coverage of the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters convention and trade show. This is done via a blog-type page that updates as new information is posted, with the newest items at the top of the page, older material at the bottom. Mini-blog page on

Bracketing. Perusing the press releases and media information I received last week I was struck by two particular ones that tell us something useful about the camera market. The Huawei P9 and the Hasselblad H6D represent a near perfect bracketing of what it means to be a “camera" these days. Article on dslrbodies.comApril 5, 2016

Nikon announced firmware update for the D810 (1.11) and D810A (1.01). Only change is to make camera again work with WR-R10 wireless remote controller after that unit is upgraded to version 3.0 of its firmware.

CIPA Stress. The first two month’s data from CIPA in terms of camera shipments is out, and the declines in most data points continue unabated. Article on

Panasonic Adds a GX Camera. Panasonic today announced the GX85 (in the Americas; outside it’s named the GX80). This is a slightly down sized and down specified version of the GX8, using a 16mp sensor without a low pass filter and a tilting touchscreen instead of a completely folding one. Article on sansmirror.comCamera data page.

March 30, 2016

Nikon 200-400mm f/4G Lens Review (moved and completely updated from old site)

D5 Blog continues. Today listen to the D5 in action and learn about Nikon’s latest blunder.

March 29, 2016

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens Review (moved and updated from old site)

Sony Adds Two FE Lenses. Sony today used the RX10 Mark III announcement to introduce two new lenses for their FE mount: the 50mm f/1.8 and the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6. Article on sansmirror.com50mm f/1.8 data page70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 data page.

Dual Gain Becoming the Norm. Updated. Both the recent Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Sony A6300 demonstrate something that’s becoming more common in sensors: dual digital gain. Of course, they both use variations of the same underlying 24mp APS sensor technology, so that these two cameras use dual gain isn’t a complete surprise. Article on

March 28, 2016

Choosing a Simple Prime Kit. Lens month continues... Here’s the thing about using primes: you tend to think a bit more about perspective, because framing is dictated by your feet (moving position) more than your hand (zooming). Article on Updated: added “The DX Problem (Buzz Buzz) to the article ;~).

March 25, 2016

Nik Collection Now Free. Google today announced that the Nik Collection of standalone/plug-in programs for photography is no longer going to be sold for US$149, but instead will be free to all. Those who bought the collection in 2016 will be given a refund. Article on

Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4E Lens Review

Continued to clean up the f/1.8G reviews, including adding some additional field notes to some of the reviews, including focus shift and focus performance.

The Nikon D5/D500 Blog. Link updated. Starting later today I’ll be starting to put up small bits and pieces about the D5 (and eventually the D500) as I start working with them and learn something of interest. This will be a dedicated page that updates whenever I learn more, so bookmark it and come back from time to time. If you have questions that aren’t answered by this page, by all means drop me an email and ask away.

March 24, 2016

Added Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review. Cleaned up a bunch of small mistakes in the reviews (but not the header picture yet, which needs to be re-done). As a famous character of the 80’s would say, looks like I picked a bad week to quit sniffing glue...

March 23, 2016

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review

Nikon 24mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review

Nikon 28mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens Review 

As I noted earlier in the week, I’ve introduced a few new elements to these reviews, and I’ve gone back and added them, as appropriate, to the other existing lens reviews. Moreover, I’ve separated the lens reviews into two sub-menus, one for Nikkor Primes, the other for Nikkor Zooms. Eventually, there will be a Third-Party Lenses folder, too. The Reviews page on this site has also been updated with ratings. More reviews coming. Be patient. This process is taking me a bit longer to catch up with because there are a lot of moving parts.

March 21, 2016

So Many Unanswered Questions. Here we are two months post D5/D500 announcement, a weeks after the DL announcements, and we have so many important, unanswered questions still. Here are the things I’ll be looking for answers to over the next three (!) months. Article on

Latest Software News. It’s that time of the year. With all the recent camera intros, we tend to have the converter and broad digital software packages all have to update, and they often use this time to sneak in features. CaptureOne, Lightroom CC/6.5, Camera Raw, DxO OpticsPro, FastRawViewer, Capture NX-D, View NX-i all got significant updates. Article on 

Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens was added to the lens database.

March 17, 2016

The Leica Vario-Elmarit 90-280mm f/2.8-4 has been added to the sansmirror lens database.

March 16, 2016

The Complete Guide to the Nikon D750. Yes, it’s finally here and available for download: my eBook covering the Nikon D750 is over 900 pages of densely packed information that helps you fully understand this camera. Book Ordering Page

I’m hoping to restore the D3/D3s/D3x, D300, and D700 guides as downloads next week. Depends on those pesky lens reviews ;~)

The “Portable” Safari Kit. Note the word “portable” in the title. The goal here isn’t to make the “best” safari kit, it’s to make one that travels easily and still performs well. That starts with fitting into restrictive airline carry-on bag restrictions but also means not taking up a lot of room in the vehicle you’re on safari in. Article on

March 14, 2016

Nikon Target of Short Sellers. Bloomberg late last week reported that Nikon is the most shorted of the Japanese tech stocks, with 16% of its outstanding shares covered by a short position as of last week. Article on

The Real Lithium Story. I’m already seeing the usual paranoia and panic over news stories reporting that lithium batteries will be restricted on passenger planes starting April 1st due to the adoption of an interim set of regulations worldwide. Article on dslrbodies.comMarch 7, 2016

March Nikon Lens Rebates. As always when Nikon offers lens-only rebates, I provide a lens by lens analysis of whether these are deals you should be interested in or not. The new rebates are in effect already and last until April 2nd. Article on

Nikon’s D750 Rock and Hard Place. In one very  important respect, I feel sorry for Nikon. Both D750 problems fall into those issues that you really struggle to deal with as a manufacturer. Yes, the defects are almost certainly there. But how many people will actually encounter them? Article on

Price Drifting. It’s time to update my old pricing advice. Long, long ago in a far off galaxy, the way digital camera pricing worked was like this. Article on

March 1, 2016

D750 Still Having Issues. Nikon yesterday updated their service advisory for the D750 camera for the third time. Article on

Previous articles can be found in the Articles Index.

If you're wondering where the Teaching Points went, they're here.

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