New Year New Gear
I know that this is a bit late for the actual new year, but I wanted to make an update anyways on some new happenings with my photography. Prior to the new year I had been interested in a couple things to further my photography endeavors in new ways and thanks to my amazing wife I've been able to obtain some of these items. I hope that I will be able to get some interesting shots out in the future to share with you, but for now, you'll have to make due with just a couple shots!
New camera, with the new tripod. Shot on the Nikon Z6.
For Christmas my wife gifted me a brand new camera, the Nikon Z7 II. For those that have followed my Instagram account or read other blog posts will know that prior to this I had been shooting with a Nikon Z6. Still an amazing camera but suffers from a low pass filter installed in the sensor, and unfortunately only has 24.5MP. The low pass filter, while it does help with eliminating Moire, it also reduces sharpness just a hair making my landscapes look slightly soft.
Image 1: Cropped image from Z7 II Showing Moire Pattern
Image 2: Image showcasing just Moire Patterning
As for the bump up to 45.7MP on the sensor from the old one at 24.5MP, this does not as much effect my image quality as it does my flexibility. I love to print my images and the higher the resolution the better quality I can make large prints in. Although, it also allows some more flexibility when it comes to cropping after the fact. I can crop a bit off the edges without losing the ability to print a quality image at the larger print ranges which allows me to use more images. I'll have to do some printing comparisons between the Z6 and the Z7 II at some point to really see the difference. From the images that I have printed so far, it is difficult to tell a quality difference, but these are different images and that makes it more difficult to compare details. Especially when neither print was sized in a manner that would be difficult to print at 24.5MP in the first place.
Image 1: Nikon Z7 II with NIKKOR Z 70-200mm, 1/250 sec at f/3.5, ISO 64
Image 2: Same image cropped in to show details picked up on cellphone screen
The auto focus systems on the new Nikon Z6 II and Nikon Z7 II are definitely improved, although still not as good as you'd expect from a $3200 camera from competitors such as Sony and Cannon. Where Nikon's cameras shine is still in the RAW file quality and color reproduction. Both of these are most important when it comes to more still based photography. In addition, the in body stabilization of the new camera is still as good as ever. I was able to capture a waterfall, handheld, at lower shutter speeds while still getting a nice and sharp image overall. Below I've shared two more images from the new camera, one of my cat in lower light that really expresses the strong colors and sharpness of the images produced on the camera without a low pass filter. The other is of the waterfall that I shot hand held. When viewing these images please note that these files are at a fraction of the full image quality due to file size limitations with the web.
Image 1: Nikon Z7 II with NIKKOR Z24-70, 1/25 sec at f/2.8, ISO 800
Image 2: Nikon Z7 II with NIKKOR Z24-70, 1/15 sec at f/10, ISO 800
Now, as far as camera accessories I have upgraded my travel tripod. I've been looking at the Peak Design Travel Tripod since it was in development and am happy to say that I have been very satisfied with it so far. It is way more convenient to operate, is more rigid, it has an innovative compact ball head mount design, integrated cell phone mount, works with my existing backpack clips, and most of all my camera does not come loose and fall out of the ball head mount.
With the Nikon mirrorless cameras having such good in-body stabilization, and my old tripod being a bit of a headache to operate, unfortunately I've developed some bad habits of shooting too often handheld. Sometimes even when a tripod shot might improve the image a bit via focus or HDR stacking. This is something that will change now that it's easy to pull out, manipulate and set up the tripod.
In the short amount of time that I've had with this new tripod I've managed to get a few interesting shots. These pictures did not quite turn out how I was hoping, but not due to any issues with the new gear and more of just being at the locations at the wrong time of day. Although, I have some trips scheduled so hopefully I'll get some good upcoming conditions!
Image 1: Nikon Z7 II with NIKKOR Z 24-70mm, 1/200 sec at f/9.0, ISO 200
Image 2: Nikon Z7 II with NIKKOR Z 24-70mm, 1/20 sec at f/5.4, ISO 250
Even though this is just a small taste of what can be done with the new camera equipment, it does a good job of showcasing where things will be going for the remained of this year, and years to come with my photography. As the year goes on, I have high hopes of spending more time at the coast with my camera and experimenting more with long exposure photography and water. So don't forget to check back every now and then to see what new locations I have visited!