The Nikon D6: Here are the official specifications

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and will be updated.

At long last, Nikon has released details of its newest flagship DSLR, the D6. As a camera that will find its way into the hands of sports and action photographers around the globe, it needs to live up to the speed, durability and quality of its predecessors – and though it doesn’t appear to break significant new ground, we expect the D6 will continue to serve the needs of demanding photographers very well indeed.

At the heart of the D6 is a 20.8MP sensor, offering the same resolution as the D5, but it’s now coupled with a new Expeed 6 processor and offers up to 14fps burst shooting with ‘E-type’ lenses (those with electromagnetically controlled diaphragms). Switch into live view, and the D6 will shoot silently at up to 10.5fps.

Perhaps the biggest change for end users, though, is an all-new autofocus system. Though the total number of points has gone down from 153 to 105, now all of those points are selectable and cross-type. Fifteen of the central points are F8 compatible, and the center point can focus down to -4.5EV. All other points are good down to -4EV.

In terms of video, the D6 continues to offer 4K/30p recording, but now comes with focus peaking and an option for MP4 recording.

The D6 makes do without any Compact Flash option, with Nikon offering a single version of the camera with dual XQD / CFExpress card slots. There have been some other tweaks as well, including a maximum shutter length of 30 minutes, the option to shoot different quality or sizes of JPEGs to different cards (basically a JPEG + JPEG shooting option), and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth as well as GPS capability are now built-in. Weight has gone up just slightly, from 1405g to 1440g including battery and memory cards.

Expect to see quite a few of these at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games! Let us know what you think of Nikon’s newest DSLR in the comments.

Nikon adds 20mm F1.8 and 24-200mm F4-6.3 to full-frame Z-series lens lineup

Nikon has announced full details of two more lenses on its full-frame Z-mount roadmap: a 20mm F1.8 S, and a 24-200mm F4-6.3 S with built-in stabilization. The 20mm F1.8 S is the widest prime in the native Z-mount lineup, and the 24-200mm F4-6.3 covers the widest focal range of existing FX Z series zooms.

The Nikon Z 20mm F1.8 S joins existing 24mm, 35mm and 50mm F1.8 primes for the system, and weighs 17.8oz (505g). Optically, it’s composed of 14 elements in 11 groups, including three ED and three aspherical elements. It uses a nine-blade aperture and offers Nano Crystal Coating. The Z 20mm F1.8 will accept 77mm filters.

The Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 S comprises 19 elements in 15 groups with two ED, two aspherical and a single aspherical ED element. Built-in stabilization is rated to 4.5 stops and the lens uses a seven-blade aperture. It uses only the newer Arneo coating to reduce flare – no Nano Crystal Coating. The 24-200mm accepts 67mm filters and weighs 20.1oz (570g).

Lightroom Performance on the 16-inch Macbook Pro

Lightroom Performance on the 16-inch Macbook ProAfter upgrading to the new MBP, I was keen to see how it improved Lightroom performance. Here’s my results with Lightroom performance on the 16-inch Macbook Pro.

And if you’re more of a video user, check out my companion writeup with video export performance tests for the 16″ MBP in FCPx and Premiere Pro.

I have always found Lightroom Classic on my 2017 Macbook Pro to be painfully slow while working with Fuji X-T3 raw files. Lightroom is particularly laggy when navigating between photos in Develop view, and can also be a bit of dog when brushing or spot-healing. Exporting large numbers of photos can take a very long time. I often work with hundreds of XT3 .RAF images in a retouch session, so I was keen to speed up that workflow with this new 16″ Apple laptop.

My raw photo processing workflow generally looks something like this; first I import images, making first-pass selects while rating shots and marking bad shots for deletion. As long as you don’t apply any adjustments to the images and are reviewing them in Library view, Lightroom will show you the low-res sidecar preview that imports with each RAF raw file. This means that selects can be made with almost no lag. Once I’ve trimmed down the stack of photos to something manageable, only then I will begin customizing Develop settings. Those develop settings will then get pasted to groups of similar images, adjusting individual shots to taste. This is the point where Lightroom performance will begin to lag…navigating between images takes a moment for the develop settings to render and display. It’s nearly a 2 second lag. Because of that, at this time I’ll generally render 1:1 previews while stepping away for coffee, so that navigating between shots is snappier. From there I narrow selects down further, fine-tune my favorite images, and then export out final jpgs at the very end.

Firstly, here are the configurations we’re comparing.

Speed up Lightroom performance on the 16-inch Macbook ProOld and Busted:
2017 15″ Macbook Pro
4-core 3.1GHz i7 w/ 16GB DDR3, 500GB SSD
Radeon Pro 560 4GB / Intel HD 630
MacOS 10.13.6 High Sierra

New Hotness:
2019 16″ Macbook Pro
8-core 2.4GHz i9 w/ 64GB DDR4, 1TB SSD
Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB / Intel UHD 630
MacOS 10.15.2 Catalina

Now on to some speed tests. Here are my results showing how Lightroom performs on Apple’s new larger MBP.

Lightroom Classic speed tests 2017 15″ 2019 16″
Import & Fetch Initial Previews – 1000 RAF 05:31 04:14
Paste Settings to 1000 RAF images 07:02 05:31
Render 1:1 Previews of 1000 RAF images 1:32:54 35:53
Export 100 RAF images to JPG 85% @ 3500px 08:54 04:58

Notes: For 1:1 Preview render times, I made sure to apply the same recipe of image adjustments to each photo first. Those settings included exposure, color, grain, noise reduction, optical corrections/transforms, and radial/grad filters. Raw Fuji X-T3 image files were stored on a Samsung T5 external SSD. Lightroom Classic was version 9.1 of the application. Lightroom GPU processing was enabled on both machines, preview storage was on the internal SSD, and the Camera Raw Cache preference was set to 24GB. These are all based on Adobe’s recommendations on how to optimize Lightroom.

As you can see from the table above, Lightroom rendered 1:1 previews 2.58x faster on the new hardware, and exporting is improved by 1.79x. Those are very impressive gains. Navigating between images in Develop mode is noticeably snappier, and now takes just over a second by my count. Spot-healing and brushing performance is also improved and much less prone to lagging.

Additionally, the first step of the importing process is significantly faster on the new 16-inch, but fetching previews still takes a while…so in the end the importing numbers end up being pretty similar between models. It’s my understanding that preview-fetching is more about disk speed than processing power, so the same note about fast storage as above applies here.

Finally, I suspect that storing images and previews on a faster drive would improve all these numbers further. Something like the OWC Thunderblade, perhaps. But all in all, a well-equipped 16″ Macbook Pro makes a significant difference in Lightroom performance and usability right out of the box. I hope you’ve found this information useful.

New Tilta Camera Cage for Alexa Mini LF/MINI & Trade In Deal

Tilta has a new camera cage for the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF/Mini as well as a deal where if you have one of their existing ALEXA Mini camera cages you can trade it in for the new cage. Alexa Mini LF/MINI Cage The new Tilta camera cage is made out of high-quality aluminum, CNC-milled protective … Continued

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Subway Mouse Fight Wins People’s Choice for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition just named the winner of this year’s LUMIX People’s Choice Award, and the perfectly-timed photo by wildlife filmmaker and photographer Sam Rowley is just too good to keep to ourselves.

Selected from over 48,000 submitted images and 25 impressive finalists, Rowley’s winning photo is called “Station Squabble,” and it features two mice getting into a tussle over some leftover crumbs in the London Underground.

While this might look like a random, lucky shot, it was actually the result of quite a bit of patience. According to Rowley, he visited multiple subway platforms every night for a week hoping to capture the perfect moment. The shot itself captures a scuffle that lasted no more than a split-second before one of the mice scurried away the victor.

“I’m so pleased to win this award. It’s been a lifetime dream to succeed in this competition in this way, with such a relatable photo taken in such an everyday environment in my hometown,” says Rowley. “I hope it shows people the unexpected drama found in the most familiar of urban environments.”

In addition to Sam’s image, the LUMIX People’s Choice Awards also recognized four “highly commended” images from the 25 finalists, which you can see below:

© Aaron Gekoski – Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Highly Commended
© Michel Zoghzoghi – Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Highly Commended
© Martin Buzora – Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Highly Commended
© Francis De Andres – Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Highly Commended

In order, the above shots include: Aaron Gekoski’s thought-provoking portrait of an Orangutan being exploited for performance, Michel Zoghzhogi’s picture of a mother jaguar and her cub carrying a captured anaconda, Martin Buzora’s portrait of a conservation ranger and the baby black rhino he protects, and Francis De Andres’s almost pure-white shot of a group of arctic reindeer.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. To learn more about the competition, head over to the WPY website.

Image credits: All photos used courtesy of the Natural History Museum

How Badly Do You Have to Damage a Lens Before It’s Too Damaged to Use?

How Badly Do You Have to Damage a Lens Before It’s Too Damaged to Use?

Protecting your lenses from damage seems like a necessary requirement to being a photographer. In those unfortunate cases where a lens gets damaged, how damaged is too damaged to get beautiful photographs?

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A Beginner’s Guide to Autofocus for Action Photography

A Beginner's Guide to Autofocus for Action Photography

Action photography will challenge your skills as a photographer, but one thing you should pay particular attention to is your autofocus settings. If you are new to the pursuit and want to increase your chances of getting the shot, this helpful video will show you the basics of autofocus settings for action photography.

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Using User Files and All Files to Speed Up Switching Modes on the FX9.

Sometimes changing modes or frame rates on the FX9 can involve the need to change several settings. For example if you want to go from shooting Full Frame 6K at 23.98fps to shooting 120fps then you need to change the sensor scan mode before you can change the frame rate. One way to speed up this process is to use User Files or All Files to save your normal operating settings. Then instead of going through pages of menu settings you just load the appropriate file.

All Files save just about every single adjustable setting in the camera, everything from you white balance settings to LUT’s to Network settings to any menu customisations.  User Files save a bit less. In particular User Files can be set so that they don’t change the white balance. For this reason for things like changing the scan mode and frame rate I prefer to use User Files.

You can add the User File and/or All File menu items to the user menu. If you place them at the top of the user menu, when you enter the cameras menu system for the first time after powering it on they will be the very first items listed.

Both User Files and All Files are found under the “project” section in the FX9 menu system. The files are saved to an SD card in the SD Card Utility slot. This means you can easily move them from one camera to another.

Before you save a file, first you have to give it a name. I recommend that your name includes the scan mode, for example “FF6K” or “2KS35”, the frame rate and whether it’s CineEI or not.

Then save your file to the SD card. When loading a User File the “load customize data” option determines whether the camera will load any changes you have made to the user menu. “Load white data” determines whether the camera will load and overwrite the current white balance setting with ones saved in the file. When loading an All File the white balance and any menu customizations are always loaded regardless, so your current white balance setting will be overwritten by whatever is in the All File. You can however choose whether to load any network user names and passwords.

Using User Files and All Files to Speed Up Switching Modes on the FX9. was first posted on February 11, 2020 at 9:55 pm.
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How to Take Great Portraits in Mediocre Locations

How to Take Great Portraits in Mediocre Locations

We do not always have the luxury of shooting in stunning locations, which can make it difficult to take great portraits. Nonetheless, you can still take compelling portraits even in drab locations with a little bit of know-how. This excellent video will walk you through the process as a photographer shoots in such a location.

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