Etikettarkiv: nikon

Getting your SB-800 speedlight to work again

I recently brought out my trusty SB-800 speedlight but could not get it to work. To be honest it has been sitting in my camera bag for a while unfortunately so with the batteries in, a definitive no-no when it comes to camera gear – always remove batteries when you put the stuff away for more than a day or two.

So I replaced the old dead batteries and found one connector that had corroded a little. Not good, but with some rubbing alcohol and patience it cleaned up nicely and I got a good electrical connection. Unfortunately that did not help much the flash refused to start anyway.

So I started looking around, not noticing anything in particular and I was prepared to ask Nikon for an RMA when I did a quick google on the problem. Turns out that several people have had problems with SB-800 and SB-600 when they have been sitting collecting dust for a while and then they don’t want to start up.

The solution was simple. Hold down the power on button while twisting the top back and forth as well as shaking the whole thing. I could not believe it, it started right up and now it is working fine.

I have no idea what was going on there but the twisting-shaking motion definitely brought it back to life.

Nikon F mount celebrates 50 years

Yes, indeed, the longest lasting 35 mm camera system lens mount is now celebrating 50 years of existance. And 50 years of remarkable compatibility I must say, of all the well known brands for small frame cameras the Nikon F mount is the longest lasting and surviving mount that is still around.

There are many advantages to this of course, any lens made since 1956 or so can be used on modern cameras wich means the used lens market is huge. You might not get metering or autofocus but if you are prepared to do some of these things in manual mode then this is for you.

Canon changed their mount with the introduction of the digital cameras to their EF mount. There are even two types of EF mounts, one for the small APS-C sized digital cameras and one for their ”full frame” counterpart, the reason being that because of the tightness between the lens aft parts and the mirror some lenses designed for the 1,5 crop format would actually touch the mirror when it flips up if mounted on full frame cameras.

I have used older lenses with mechanical autofocus on my Nikon D70s and D300 cameras and both makes great use of them. I have even tested fully manual lenses and they work pretty well if you take the time to focus properly or use a sufficient large DOF of course :-)

The drawback is that the standard F-mount puts the lens a bit further from the focal plane than Canon and some other makers does, this means that it is not possible to use say Canon lenses on Nikon bodies while the reverse can be done with some success.

So happy birthday F-mount!

Review: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4,5-5,6

This lens has quickly become one of my favorite lenses. The 70-300 is very versatile and it is a lovely walk-around lens for street photo as well as nature photography. It is also useful for portrait work when you want to shoot a little more from a distance. Perfect for candid shots in the crowd.

Full designation: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f / 4.5-5.6 G ED-IF

Fortsätt läsa Review: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4,5-5,6

Review: Nikkor 16-85 f/3.5-5.6

This is a wide-angle-to-normal zoom lens that is ideal for street and general walk around photography especially if you keep a longer lens, such as the 70-300 as a possibility. If you already own the 18-55 or 18-70 lens you may wish to spend your money on something else. This lens is different in some ways but generally it is the same family as those two lenses. This lens is meant to be a replacement for the 24-120 on a digital body and does a good job.

Full lens designation: Nikkor AF-S DX VR 16-85 f/3,5-5,6G ED-IF


This lens uses the Nikon silent autofocus motor so it works on all digital bodies, even those without focussing motor built in. It has low-dispersion glass and internal focusing meaning there is no rotating of the front lens (great if you use polarizer).


The lens have a very obvious barrel distortion at 16 mm which is normal for this wide angles, but I was surprised how much more distortion it had compared to the 18-200 mm lens or the old trusty 18-70 kit lens that used to be delivered with many cameras in the past. The distortion is kind of fun and can be used in interesting ways but when shooting straight lines such as buildings you have to be careful how you point the camera or it looks like the buildings are leaning back (or forth).

This type of distortion is not difficult to correct in photoshop, GIMP or some other editing software but I feel it is a little more than what I had expected at these focal lengths. Once zoomed out to 25 mm and beyond the distortion is much more normal and actually becomes more of a pincushion distortion than a barrel type.

Vibration Reduction

The Vibration Reduction (VR-II) works great. I hardly ever think of it any more but it is there and I have done some serious long exposure time shots hand held with it and there is never a problem. Turn it off when you use it on a tripod however, it can sometimes act really weird when you have a tripod fixed camera and happen to forget to turn VR off.


The sharpness of this lens is good in the middle and average in the corners. It is however better than the 18-200 in almost all comparable focal settings and I have to give it a pretty decent rating because of this. I always considered the 18-200 very soft and the 18-70 is good but this lens is even better. The sharpest setting for this lens are apetures centered around f/8. Fully open it gets a little soft in the corners but stay remarkably sharp in the center. It is also extremely sharp on the smaller apertures, up to f/20 or so it is still really good and this is unexpectedly well performed by a lens in this cost range!

Sharpness is better than the famous 18-70 and much better than the 18-200 lens which is well known to be quite soft at any aperture outside its sweet spot around f/8-f/11. If you are looking for sharpness then this is your lens.


This lens have a easily seen vignetting. Fully open at f/3,5 and focal length of 16 mm the corners are at leas one full EV darker than the center section of the lens. When stopped down 1 stop it is much better alright and two stops down it is not noticeable any more. The vignetting is worst at 16 mm and becomes better the further along to 85 mm you zoom. I guess this is the price to pay for the excellent sharpness of this piece of glass.

Chromatic aberration, flaring and ghosting

I have not seen any problems with this, I would say it is better than average.

Build quality and feel

Excellent. It feels like the much more expensive pro lenses would. The zoom will not ”creep” like the 18-200 would do and all movements are nice and smooth and precise.

The lens takes 67Ø filters so this is fairly standard and the same thread diameter as the 70-300 which is a gread second lens to this one. I still favour the 18-200/3.5-5.6 lens because of less distortion as a walk-around lens but the added wide angle of 16 mm is great sometimes.

Positive sides:

  • Light
  • Very sharp for a zoom, comparable to a prime in some aspects!
  • Same filter diameter as the 70-300 which is a great companion lens
  • You get VR with it!

Negative sides:

  • Vignetting is strong when fully open on the widest angles
  • It’s not a really cheap lens
  • The distortion could be better actually, compared with the 18-200 or the 18-70 it is much more pronounced at the wide angles.

Nikon D300

So finally I have upgraded to a new camera. After using my D70s for several years I had a careful look-around at what was out there and I decided on the D300. I have met many photographers, both beginners and professionals who have used the D300 in the last year and all of them seemed very happy with their investment, although some said they’d waited for the D700 FX sensor camera instead if they had known it was about to be released.

I decided against the D700 for several reasons and the most important one was the lenses. DX lenses won’t be able to work very well on the FX sensor in the D700 and I like the DX lenses for two reasons, they are sometimes half the price of the comparable FX lenses and they are lighter to carry. The last point is important because I love to hike and bring the camera gear with me. 

The D300 is also a fair bit lower priced than the D700 which meant I got a nice kit including three lenses and an SB-800 for just a little more than what the D700 house would have cost me so I am really happy with it. 

The main reasons for my upgrade was the following

  • The small display on the D70s makes macro work difficult
  • There is no mirror lock-up function meaning mirror slap shakes when using long exposures and tripod.
  • The noise at higher ISO on the D70s is shameful compared to the modern cameras, in reality anything above ISO 600 is unuseable.
  • D-Lighting exposure control in the D300 and newer cameras is fantastic in some difficult light conditions.
  • 14 bit RAW format (12 in the old cameras) meaning 12 dB better image dynamics per colour!
  • No vertical grip for the D70s (that is seriously useful), the MB-10 battery grip for the D300 is awesome!
  • Faster serial shots, lovely when shooting animals like birds. 8 frames per second on the D300 is a vast improvement from the D70s.
  • Larger buffer memory also helps with serial shots.
  • Easier controls on the camera – even if the D70s had nice controls the D300 is not only nice, they are seriously well laid out and though through.
  • Faster in every aspect.
  • Has PC sync connector on camera
I will still keep my D70s of course and likely it will become a pure Infrared camera, converted to take only IR pictures in the future.

Here are some test shots, these are taken handheld in the middle of the night just using existing light. Yes there is noise, but not much and the pictures are actually quite nice. The D70s would come nowhere near this and would not even reach ISO 3200.


Misty street lights