Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nikon SB-700 Rant...

Nikon just recently announced the release of a new "mid-range" speedlight, the SB-700.  This new puppy is the replacement for the outgoing Nikon SB-600 and a step down from Nikon's flagship, the SB-900.
I have to say, the new SB-700 has some really cool features.  The controls are more like its big brother with easy to access buttons for all the features you use the most.  It also has "smart filters" like the ones the SB-900 utilizes and it has beam spread patterns to allow you to shape the light.  Also a plus for this flash is the SU-4 type triggering method which is basically a highly receptive slave mode just like the ones in the best made flash of all time, the SB-800 and its newer replacement the SB-900.

However, with all the kudos being said, I do have some issues with this flash, and the SB-900.  I can't do a review of the SB-700 since I don't have one (and probably won't be buying one) but I can definitely form an opinion based on available information ...and I hope Nikon is listening!

My two biggest gripes about this new light is:  number one, it doesn't have a PC sync!!!  That means, for all the radio control shooters out there, this is another flash that you're going to have to buy a PC to hotshoe adapter to use your Pocket Wizards, Cybersyncs and most other radio triggers.  I've heard the argument that Nikon did this so that you will be forced in to using the proprietary CLS system (which isn't bad mind you), but as every photographer who's using off camera flash knows, being locked in to one system is a HUGE hindrance and I think by not adding this one, simple piece of technology is going to lose Nikon a lot of business.

One of the things I dearly love about my SB-800s is that I can use it with CLS or radio triggers without having to add another piece of hardware to it.  The SB-800 in my mind is by far the best flash out there and I think its better than the SB-900.  I don't own a SB-900 but the biggest gripe I hear is about thermal lockup.  I have seen this happen and I have to say, it would annoy the crud out of me if I had to deal with that on a regular basis.  I've shot hours on end with an SB-800 and have never had an issue with them.

Another rant I have about the new SB-700 is the power.  I can't confirm this at this time, but it would appear that the guide numbers (power) is even less than that of the SB-600.  If this is the case, then I am completely overwhelmed by Nikon.  Hopefully this is just speculation on the net that I have read.  Will need to do further research to clear this one up.

And one last thing, the PRICE!  Holy smokes Nikon, c'mon and give us a break.  You rob us of a PC sync or any type of jack for radio triggers and you jack the price up.  I'm having a very hard time swallowing all of this, but I guess for my next flash, I'll be purchasing a LumoPro LP160.  At least the folks at LumoPro pay attention to what photographers want.

One last plead, c'mon Nikon, bring back the SB-800 ...with better buttons, a hard sync jack, and a little more power if you please ...for less than the price of a new Porsche 911.

How does everyone else feel about this?  Sound off in the comments, I'd be interested to hear what other shooters have to say.

Check out David Hobby's post on the Strobist blog for more input.

And just so we're clear here, I LOVE my Nikon cameras, lenses and SB-800s ...LOVE them!  I just would like to see improvements in their flashes, not fall backs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Here in the U.S. its officially Labor Day weekend, and more locally, its the University of Kentucky vs. the University of Louisville college football game ...which is pretty much a small super bowl in this neck of the woods.

This weekend, most people are cooking out, camping and enjoying the weather for this is the last hoorah of the summer if you live North of the equator.  A lot of people are off from work for an extended weekend so I thought this would be a good time to share some links for the downtime between the cooking, eating and watching college football.

First off is a blog called Guess the Lighting ran by photographer Ted Sabarese where he takes well known photographs and dissects them from a lighting stand point.  Its a pretty interesting blog and may be helpful to a lot of lighting photographers out there.  Plus, Ted is an awesome photographer with a great sense of humor.  Be sure to check out his portfolio too.

Next up is photographer Eric Ogden.  I just recently discovered his work and what I like most about his photography is his use of 'motivated lighting' and use of color.  He lets his subjects drive what lighting techniques he will use which is a hard thing to wrap your head around for a lot of up-and-coming lighting photographers.  His lighting doesn't draw attention to itself, and isn't over the top.  Its just enough to convey the mood he's looking for, and to draw attention to the subject.  Check out his work!

Another cool site I visit often for inspiration is Bruton Stroube.  They may have the coolest set of commercial photography for the alcohol and food industry that I have seen.  If you're in to this sort of photography, check them out for a mother lode of inspiration!

Ever seen those cool photos of colored smoke that folks are doing?  If you want to learn how to do this, check out this awesome tutorial over at photo tuts.

Also this week, Photoshop World in Las Vegas has been going on and you can keep up with all the details from Scott Kelby's blog, the Photoshop Insider.

One last tidbit, check out this interview of one my favorite photographers, Platon.

Well, that's all I have for today.  Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend.  I'm heading out to a party with my family and friends, and will be rooting for my team, the University of Kentucky Wildcats ...GO CATS!!!