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. 

bythom Hogan US CA SantaClaraSwim 6-21-2014 1Dx 08551

My friend, Sports Illustrated shooter, and Canon Explorer of Light Peter Read Miller has another of his excellent sports workshops coming up September 12-16 in Knoxville. It will include football, swimming, soccer, and athlete portraiture sessions. Another friend and Sony Artisan Patrick Murphy-Racey will also be teaching. As I write this, a few spots are still open. Click the above link to find out details. Be sure to tell Peter you heard about it from a Nikon shooter ;~). 

The To-Do list: After looking at all the out-of-date reviews I removed, I've decided to re-tackle the following: 12-24mm f/4 DX, 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5 DX, 18-55mm f/3.5-4.5 DX, 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 DX, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 DX, 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 DX, 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DX, 55-300mm f/4-5.6 DX, 70-180mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor, and 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII. As I complete the updating of the material in those reviews I'll be reposting them in the appropriate section on That will bring us up to about 50 F-mount lens reviews that are current.

>>> This Week's Articles:

August 9

Sunk Costs and Mature Markets. In doing my usual reading of other media this morning, I came across two short phrases that I find apply to the photographic gear market. Article on

August 7

Tamron announced a new 17-35mm f/2.8-4 OSD lens for Canon/Nikon mounts for just US$599. Those of you looking for the spiritual replacement for the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 may have just found it. This is a small, light, and supposedly quite sharp lens that takes 77mm filters and covers the full frame. I've added it to my list of products to review.

Site Changes for 2018. As you know, I've been puttering in the plumbing of all the sites. Sansmirror was completed last month, and is now almost complete, as well. Check out all the changes made so far on

Nikon's First Quarter Financial Results. It's all starting to sound like a recording: sales down, profits up. In terms of the Imaging business, that's been the trend and the first quarter of the new fiscal year is no different: revenue down 13%, profit up 63% when comparing this year's quarter to last year's. Article on

Choosing Gear for Landscape Photography. Landscape is the type of photography I've been pursuing for decades now, and probably have the most training and experience at. I'll warn you also that it's an area in which I have very strong opinions that may run counter to those of others. Article on

What Are Shutter Actuations/Cycles? You've probably come across the term "tested for ###,### cycles" at some point in your research about Nikon cameras and their shutters (Canon uses similar terminology). What the heck does that mean, and how do you check your shutter to see where it stands? Article on

May I ask that you start your photographic-related shopping by clicking on any of the B&H links on this site, such as the following one. B&H is this site's exclusive advertiser. Starting a purchase at B&H from a link on this site helps support this site.

Some of you probably aren't aware that I've long had a dedicated B&H Landing Page [advertiser link] where the items in each of four different "gear bags" I use lives. We've just updated that page and the underlying pages, as well.


>>> Recent Articles:

July 30

Market Share Distortion. With Nikon’s now announced intention to ship a full frame mirrorless camera sometime this fall, the inevitable “market share” debate has started. Article on

Is the DSLR Dead? I'll save you a whole lot of reading: no. I repeat: no. Still don't believe me? No, the DSLR is not dead. Okay, you just can't take no for an answer, can you? Article on

July 25

And We Got Both. I mentioned Development Announcements from Nikon on Monday when Nikon started their tease campaign. As expected, on Nikon's anniversary date we got the Development Announcement: “Nikon is pleased to announce the development of a full-frame, Nikon FX-format, mirrorless cameras and NIKKOR lenses featuring a new mount.” Article on

Design Priorities for Nikon Mirrorless. Now that the cat is out of the box and Schroedinger has found it to be alive, we can discuss the cat more specifically. Article on

July 23

A Mirrorless Teaser From Nikon. Nikon seems to like teasers and Development Announcements: the micromanagement method of leaking information ;~). Today Nikon put out a first teaser for its upcoming mirrorless system. These campaigns are basically much like an official leak, in that they presage an upcoming actual product announcement without providing any specific details. Article on

Only 39% of Nikon’s Products Remain in Lineup. As I was working my way through the site trying to clean up and fix everything that still needs work, I came to the Nikon Product Announcements section. Something struck me as I worked on that section. Here are the products announced in the last five years (2013-2018) that are still currently available (listed newest to oldest). Article on

Confirmation Bias and Image Sensors. If you want to discover some photographer's "religion," just ask a question about which image sensor is best. You'll almost immediately be rabbit-holed into a warren of comments about dynamic range, color model, high ISO capability, read noise, well size, and a host of other things for which the person making the response probably has no idea how the details they worship actually work. Article on

July 20

New Fujifilm Lenses. Fujifilm had a lot to say about lenses yesterday, introducing the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 and 200mm f/2 lenses that had been on their roadmap. They also updated the roadmap to include three new lenses, including a 35mm f/1 (but only coming in 2020). Article on

Top Quality FE Lens Sets. I've now had a couple of years experience with the Sony FE system, and with quite a few Sony FE cameras (A7, A7m3, A7R, A7Rm2, A7Rm3, and A9). I've also had a chance to use virtually all the Sony lenses and a number of third party ones, so it's time to start thinking about "rationalizing the bag." Article on

July 19

Fujifilm Ups the Ante. Fujifilm appears to be taking on the old Nikon role: re-using sensors and slightly iterating camera designs to proliferate models without taking on much in the way of additional costs. Article on  Black model [advertiser link] Champagne Gold model [advertiser link]

July 16

Reading the Photokina Tea Leaves. Media Preview Day tends to give one an idea about who might have major product announcements at Photokina. Currently, the following companies have big press conferences scheduled the day before the show opens to consumers: Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, and Panasonic. Article on

More Reader Questions Answered. A continuation of my publishing site reader questions that came to me via email, along with my (edited and/or expanded) responses. Article on

Vello BG-N19-2 Battery Grip Review. An update featuring the revised version of the Vello grip, and pointing out that you can now put together a full 9fps package for a D850 for about US$250 (grip, battery, charger, door). Article on

July 11

Which Long Telephoto Zoom? Nikon's put a lot of work into this category—and into the 70-200mm zooms that sit below it. We now have: 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P, 80-400mm f/4-5.6G, 180-400mm f/4E. 200-500mm f/5.6E. Add the older 70-300mm, 80-400mm (non AF-S), and 200-400mm—all of which tend to still be available new—and you've got a lot of choice. But frankly, the choice is simple if quality is what you seek. Article on

The Nikon 1 Discontinuance Continues. Nikon's labyrinthian Web presence hasn't fully caught up with itself. On the Web site, which is primarily the Japanese subsidiary's online presence to home country users, the Nikon 1 cameras, lenses, and accessories have now been removed from the current product list to the "old" (discontinued) list. Article on

July 10

The Tyranny of Math. Today Nikon introduced the Coolpix P1000, the long-expected successor to the Coolpix P900. US$1000, coming in September. As usual, it's the numbers that get people all excited. Article on

Sony Mirrorless Issues. It seems like we get little geysers of Internet worry popping up every now and then about "issues" with various cameras. That seems to be amplified with the Sony models, as there certainly plenty of people that have vested interest in the DSLR duopoly that don't want to admit that the current Sony cameras have closed the gap. If you were to read the hyperbole in many Internet posts, you might be tempted to totally avoid products, particularly recent Sony mirrorless cameras. Article on

July 8

More Reviews Coming Back. I've updated a number of Nikkor reviews, and will continue to do so as I move things off the bythom site to the appropriate other site. Here's the latest I've brought back to life with updates: 16-35mm f/4G50mm f/1.4G17-55mm f/2.8G DX18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G DX85mm f/3.5G DX Micro-Nikkor.

Fujifilm's Summer Sale. Fujifilm USA has just put quite a bit of their mirrorless product lineup on sale, and I thought you should know about it, as a few of those items are on my recommended lists and the savings aren't trivial. Article on

Nikon July Lens Sale. NikonUSA has put a handful of lenses on sale until the end of the month. As always with these lens-only rebates, I offer you my quick opinion on each one. Article on

What's the Entry Point? It seems a lot of you missed the announcement. Okay, there was no official announcement, just a clear trend: the bottom end of dedicated cameras is now 24mp. Moreover, with the likely upcoming mirrorless announcements from Canon and Nikon, the true consumer bottom the big makers really want to establish is 24mp full frame (EF, FE, FX) at a price point of around US$2000 initially. Article on

It appears now that NikonUSA just lowered the official price of the 70-300mm FX lens to US$599 (from US$750 on introduction), which makes it an incredible bargain if your camera supports AF-P. Support this site by purchasing it at this site's exclusive advertiser, B&H [advertiser link]. But, Nikon, why do this without marketing a new lower list price? It's extremely rare that Nikon lowers prices on products, so why they didn't use a bullhorn to announce this, I don't know. Of course, lowering the price put the product out of stock temporarily at quite a few outlets here in the US (I'm told a new supply is coming this week). 

July 5

Some Reviews Coming Back. I've updated a number of Nikkor reviews, and will continue to do so as I move things off the bythom site to the appropriate other site. Here's what's come back so far: 14-24mm f/2.8G40mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor DX105mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor200mm f/2G400mm f/2.8G, and 500mm f/4G.

July 1

Nikon is Being Managed by Banks. Nikon has updated their stock information information after their final year-end board meeting. It's illustrative of the "problem" Nikon is managing to. Article on

How Do You Test a Lens? This question comes up a lot, particularly when people get paranoid over Internet posts about sample variation and lens faults. So first, a word from our sponsor, the makers of Valium: chillax, digital dude or dudette. Article on

Banks Versus Overall Settings. For a long time now, Nikon has had a dual personality in its DSLR designs. The "pro" cameras (e.g. D500, D850, D5) use Photo Shooting and Custom Setting banks, the "consumer" cameras (e.g. D7500, D610, D750) use Mode Dial U1 and U2 positions to configure the camera. Neither is perfect. Indeed, these represent probably the worst part of Nikon's customization system at the moment. Article on

Sony Can Do. Today Sony announced the 3.0 firmware update for the Sony A9 and it has a new menu option: Write Serial Number. Why we need a menu option for that, I don't know. I suppose some might say being able to leave it off is a privacy option, but I just hear no one asking for that. Also, the 400mm f/2.8 was officially announced. Article on sansmirror.comData page for 400mm f/2.8.

Complete Site Update. Once a year I like to go through a complete page-by-page refresh of each site, checking for various issues, inconsistencies, needed corrections, and improvements that can be made. That takes a bit of time, as this site has grown to about 1500 pages. Article on ( will get a similar update later this month, and old material has now been removed from

ProGrade 64GB Card Review. But to ProGrade's credit, there are plenty of UHS-II cards on the market now that, when you look closely at them, are 150MB/s read, 96MB/s write. ProGrade isn't exactly off the mark here, but don't let them fool you into thinking they're at the top of the heap in speed. Article on

Nikon Camera Hacks. Nikon DSLRs have a plus and minus to having their firmware hacked. The plus is that Nikon is one of the few things around where you can actually go back in firmware by installing an older version. The minus is that Nikon DSLRs can't execute outside of the camera firmware. That's what made the Canon Magic Lantern hacks so popular: you could install them on an SD card and there was no memory limit to how big the hack could be. Article on

All the previous articles for my sites can be found in the Articles Index.

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