Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Conquer the dark: The New Nikon D5 HD-SLR

I received the press release for the new D5 yesterday from Nikon... I thought I would share that press release with you...

Conquer the dark: The New Nikon D5 HD-SLR shatters expectations for thrilling new levels of low-light performance, image quality and speed

Mississauga, ON, January 5, 2016 – Today, Nikon Canada announced the latest in its acclaimed series of flagship FX-format professional HD-SLR cameras, the Nikon D5. Far surpassing mere evolution, the D5 boasts myriad powerful new imaging innovations, including a Nikon-developed 20.8-megapixel CMOS sensor, an all-new 153-point AF system, 4K UHD video capture and EXPEED 5 image processing to give photographers the best balance of performance, precision and low-light ability. Nikon has also announced products, including the WT-6A Wireless Transmitter and the exciting new SB-5000 Speedlight, Nikon’s first radio frequency (RF) controlled flash. 

“The D5 doesn’t simply get the shot that others might miss — it gets the shot that others just simply cannot,” said Amanda Mohammed, Communications and Nikon Professional Services Manager at Nikon Canada. “With these new products, it becomes evident that photographers who choose Nikon cameras and NIKKOR lenses are equipped with an unrivaled system to surpass even the highest imaging expectations.”

The Nikon D5 once again redefines what an HD-SLR is capable of capturing, and is engineered with the ideal balance of resolution, low-light ability, system speed and processing power. The resulting camera body is truly worthy of the flagship moniker, giving professional photographers and multimedia content creators an indispensable tool to make their creative vision a reality with superior image quality. The D5 introduces many technological firsts for Nikon and offers a variety of new features that share a common goal: to get the shot, no matter what.

New features include:

Astounding low-light performance – The Nikon D5 offers an unprecedented native ISO range, from 100 to 102,400, reinforcing the D-series reputation as the leader of low-light image capture. A new world of shooting opportunities awaits, as advancements in noise reduction and processing help capture low-noise images that were previously impossible, with fantastic fidelity. The D5 tames the shadows, whether shooting a newlywed couple’s first dance or sports with minimal lighting. The D5 also realizes unprecedented image quality in the high-sensitivity range between ISO 3200 and 12800 – the range favoured by sports photographers. In addition, the D5 affords the ability to use higher shutter speeds with minimal illumination, letting photographers capture stunning images that are sharper, clearer, and more colourful than ever before. As an added benefit, the next generation autofocus system performs in near darkness, acquiring focus in as little as EV-4 illumination. For extreme low-light ability, the ISO range is expandable from 50 (Lo-1) to a staggering ISO 3,280,000 (Hi-5), offering near-night vision capability that’s well beyond the visibility of the human eye. This extreme sensitivity is a benefit to photojournalists as well as for surveillance and security applications, letting users get shots others cannot see without a flash. This vast ISO range is also available to those capturing 4K UHD video, opening up new possibilities for multimedia and spot-news capture.

Exhilarating image quality – The Nikon D5 delivers on the promise of stunning image quality, with the adoption of a new, Nikon-developed 20.8-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor. The camera is designed to achieve the optimized balance between the large full-frame sensor size, resolution and the new EXPEED 5 image processing engine. Users can be confident that images will have enhanced sharpness and clarity, faithful skin tones and the unequaled dynamic range that Nikon pros have come to love. EXPEED 5 also helps to enhance noise reduction, letting photographers take full advantage of the D5’s vast ISO range. When paired with legendary NIKKOR optics, the D5 is truly a tool to help photographers capture the sharpest images possible with astounding clarity and radiant colours. 

Powerful performance – Nikon’s EXPEED 5 engine serves to dramatically enhance camera performance, delivering low noise, high speed image processing and offering the additional processing power needed for 4K UHD video. For professional sports and wildlife photographers, the D5 is capable of capturing images at 12 frames-per-second (fps) with full AE and AF, helping to ensure the decisive moment is caught with crystal clarity and absolute sharpness. Users can also shoot at up to 14 fps with fixed focus and exposure and the mirror locked up, ideal for remote capture. Because the action won’t take a break, the extended buffer lets users shoot for up to 200 frames of 14-bit lossless RAW/NEF files + JPG fine*. The new processor is also 25 per cent more efficient, with up to 3,780 shots per charge. 

Fast autofocus acquisition, with precision – An exciting addition to the D5 is an all-new AF system with Nikon’s first dedicated AF processor. The Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor module offers superior AF performance with 153 AF points, including 99 cross-type sensors – triple the AF points from Nikon’s previous flagship, the D4S. Of these 153 points, 55 AF points/35 cross type points are selectable by photographers to quickly and easily frame any shot. The system is configurable in 153, 72 and 25-point coverage when used with Continuous AF, allowing for stellar AF tracking performance of even the most rapidly moving subjects throughout the frame. Fifteen of the AF points are also functional up to f/8, further aiding those who require extreme telephoto capabilities, including wildlife photographers. This all-new AF system is coupled with a new 180K pixel RGB metering system and Advanced Scene Recognition System helping to achieve optimally balanced exposures and accurate white balance in even the most challenging light.  

Rugged reliability – Downtime is never an option, so professionals need a camera that’s going to be reliable and support a demanding workflow. The Nikon D5 delivers with rugged construction and robust weather sealing, coupled with a familiar yet enhanced Nikon interface. A new 3.2-inch 2359K dot XGA LCD adds touchscreen functionality, allowing the user to easily pinch, zoom, swipe and scrub in playback, and also enter text faster than ever before. Being the champion of low-light, it is only natural that buttons and dials illuminate for enhanced visibility, while two additional Function buttons have been added for increased customization. The camera also features a Quick Release Mode setting for rapid access to release mode settings. Additionally, a new shutter and mirror sequencing mechanism nearly eliminates blackout time and mirror slap for bright, consistent views during high-speed shooting – realizing truly confident tracking of fast, erratically moving subjects that were previously difficult to track. The D5’s shutter itself is tested to 400K actuations for maximum durability. When paired with the WR-R10 wireless remote controller (transceiver) and WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter, the D5 can also interface with Nikon’s newest Speedlight, the RF controlled SB-5000, for new possibilities in lighting control.** 

Rapid and flexible workflow Further enhancing speed, the D5 is able to utilize the superior read and write speed of XQD memory cards, which are up to 35 per cent faster than CF cards. To appeal to a wide variety of photographers, the D5 will be available in two versions; with either dual XQD card slots or with dual CF card capability. The camera is also capable of shooting smaller RAW Size S or M file types (12-bit, uncompressed) for greater flexibility when transferring batches of files from the field, while retaining image integrity. Photographers can also use the built in 1000 Base-T 400MBps Ethernet connection for image transfer, with speeds up to 1.5x faster than the D4S.

Multimedia powerhouse with 4K UHD video – The Nikon D5 is the first Nikon HD-SLR capable of capturing 4K UHD video (3840x2160 at 30p), letting users create stunning ultra-high definition video with beautiful clarity and colour. Multimedia content creators can also use the D5 to produce 4K time-lapse videos in-camera using the Time-lapse Movie function, and can create 8-megapixel still images from frame grabs. A great addition to any production environment, the D5 includes all of the most popular pro-level features of the Nikon D810, such as Full HD 1080p video at a variety of frame rates, uncompressed HDMI out, simultaneous live view and headphone/microphone connections. Additionally, the D5 adds a feature to smooth exposure transitions using the Auto ISO function as well as exposure compensation, to create natural-looking exposure transitions in video.

New radio-controlled SB-5000 Speedlight – Lighting with no limits
The Nikon D5 is optimized to work with the newest Nikon flagship speedlight, the SB-5000, illuminating new possibilities in creative lighting. A first for Nikon, the flash operates via radio frequency and will operate without a direct line of sight for a range of up to approximately 98 feet (30 metres). This new-found flexibility lets photographers place lights in different rooms and around corners, and work seamlessly in bright ambient light with maximum efficiency. 

When paired with the WR-R10 and the D5 or the D500, this speedlight can control up to six groups (A-F) or 18 speedlights for truly advanced wireless lighting. It’s also possible to perform Advanced Wireless Lighting using either radio-controlled (up to three groups) and/or optical controlled units (up to three groups) by simply attaching a conventional, optical-control Nikon Speedlight or the SU-800 Commander (as a master or commander unit) and a WR-R10 (as a commander) onto the D5. 
The smaller SB-5000 Speedlight also has a radically new design that includes its own internal cooling system, which prevents overheating of the flash panel from consecutive firings. As a result, the SB-5000 can fire consecutively for longer than conventional models, without flash cool-down time between bursts, and can fire up to 120 continuous shots at 5 second intervals. Controls have also been streamlined and refined, with the addition of an “i” button for access to frequently used settings. The design also integrates versatile bounce ability, with the flash head capable of tilting down to -7° or up to 90°, and rotating horizontally 180° to the left and right.  
New WT-6A Transmitter
Nikon has also announced the WT-6A Wireless Transmitter for use with the D5. An ideal solution for professional image transfer, the WT-6A can transfer with speeds of up to 130 mbps wirelessly and supports the fast IEEE802.11ac standard. The connectivity distance has been extended to approximately 656 ft. and can be used to transfer images to an FTP server or to a computer. When in HTTP mode, the unit can be used to operate camera controls, begin Live View shooting or start/stop HD video recording.
Price and availability
The Nikon D5 HD-SLR will be available at Authorized Nikon Canada Dealers in March 2016 for a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $8,499.95***. 

The Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight will be available in March 2016 for an MSRP of $769.95**. 
 The WT-6A Wireless Transmitter will also be available in March 2016, with pricing to be announced at a later date

Nikon New Camera Announcement - the Nikon D500

Nikon announces the new D500 to replace the tired D300s

I'm happy to inform you all that Nikon has finally replace the old and tired D300s. It has been a long time waiting for us pro body Nikon users to replace this camera, in fact the production date of the D300s was July 30th 2009. In the mean time since 2009 Nikon has made many dx crop sensor cameras but none that offers the new features I'm about to tell you about.

Many wildlife and sports photographers have been waiting for years for a high fps (frames per second) camera to preform them justice in the field. Why have they been waiting you ask when they already make the D4s and now the announcement of the D5? Because of one great reason.... a crop factor. Let me quickly explain a crop factor to all of you that don't understand it. There are two types of cameras in Nikon's line up a DX crop sensor and a FX full frame camera. A full frame FX sensor offers you the focal distance equivalent of whats located on your lens. Meaning on a 20mm lens you are shooting at a true 20mm, this is great for landscape photography and some close wildlife as the usual large MP size offers a no crop. But a dx crop sensor offers something called a crop factor, on this camera the crop factor is 1.5x meaning if you shot with a 150-600 lens you do the multiplication of 1.5 times the focal distance, turning that lens into a 225-900. This allows photographers to get a closer image of a subject and still have a large.

So lets get into some of the new specs that this Nikon D500 has to offer. For the past few years Nikon has used the expeed 4 processor chip in the majority of their cameras offering a higher megapixel to the DX and FX models. They have now released the making of the new expeed 5 processor chip to handle high MP, with an ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to 50-1,640,000 equivalent,  and now offering touch screen and wifi Bluetooth capabilities to your phone.

At a large size of 20.9 MP the D500 hits the market offering file sizes that can render large images at a faster syncing speed. The frame rate has now bumped up to 10 fps offering photographers almost double what has been offered in the past models. The write speed before hitting the buffer is up to 200 shots at 14 bit lossless uncompressed raw images. Images will be stored in the bank of SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II compliant) + XQD.  But that's not it, the AF systems is now built up with the new 20k module like the D5 to keep up with the fast processing time. And for all you that like to compare how many focus points your camera has, this one will have 153. So far on paper this camera has proved leaps and bounds over previous dx models, but just wait there is still more to share.

On the rear we now have the new flip screen to help adjust for better viewing, this really can come in handy for image review in harsh light conditions and for landscape photographers. This 3.2 inch LCD screen is not only adjustable like the d750 but its also a touch screen. The D500 offers a new way to share photos wirelessly with the new Nikon SnapBridge, making this camera’s built-in connectivity easier to use than ever before. SnapBridge allows for Bluetooth2 supported connections between your camera and compatible smart device, thus making automatic upload of your images possible. Once enabled, the camera stays connected to the smart device and transfers photos, eliminating the need to re-connect devices. Those looking to share images from their travels or from the field can also tag images for transfer in camera and can password protect their connection for added security.

The body features an enhanced level of build quality, offering the same amount of weather sealing as the Nikon D810. The durable body is a structurally composed of magnesium alloy for the top and rear, while the front is reinforced with lightweight carbon fiber. The shutter has been currently tested for approximately 200K actuation's.

The D500 can record 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)/30p/25p/24p as well as 1080/60p video for up to 29 min. 59 s, with simultaneous output via HDMI available. It is also possible to generate 4K UHD time-lapse movies within the camera. In Full HD or HD mode, the D500's electronic Vibration Reduction function 2 reduces the effects of camera shake in the horizontal, vertical and rotational directions during hand-held movie recording, while Active D-Lighting preserves details in highlights and shadows to capture footage with natural brightness.

With a rumor of a suggested srp of 1995.95 body only. Or the bundle with the 16-80 f2.8-4 and body @ a rumored srp of 3069.95 This camera seems like its right in line with the proper budget of what some might consist as a pro body dx camera. 

What can I say this camera is what us Nikon users have been waiting for. Now all we need is one in our hands to put it to the test. 

Happy shooting!!

To see trips you can test the D500 out on, see this link :)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Wildlife Photography Workshops in Canada

Canada is home to a myriad of wildlife. From the common to the more exotic, many are seen during our workshops. Over the coming years you will see many wildlife workshops that are added to our normal Canadian workshop itineraries.

We have been scouting locations, following migratory patterns and researching many areas across Canada to bring you photography workshops in some of the most beautiful locations, for some of the most sought after wildlife photographers like you want to photograph.

To see photos of the different species you could encounter on a workshop in Canada, and see the workshops we lead for wildlife in Canada, please click on the link below.

How to photograph "Northern Lights"

The spectacle known as the northern lights is something I promise you will never forget, and if you are prepared to photograph them, you will be able come home and share your photos you are proud of with friends and family.

The Aurora Borealis occurs in the Northern hemisphere.  It can be experienced in locations further from the Arctic circles, but to improve your chances of seeing them you need to spend some time on or near the activity zones. Iceland, Norway, Yukon and Alaska are just some of the places famous for the Aurora Borealis in the Northern hemisphere.

How to Photograph the northern lights


A good sturdy tripod.

A remote trigger so you don't have to touch the camera.

The camera should be a 35mm SLR camera with manual focus (set to just shy of "infinity"), which works well for Northern Lights photography.

You should also consider a camera that has BULB mode so you can manually control exposure times.

Digital cameras will need to have to be manually adjustable focus with ISO ranges up to 1600


Beyond the basic photography equipment, you should bring the following gear for great results:

A wide-angle zoom lens, f2.8 (or lower numbers), will give great results photographing the Northern Lights.

If you have a prime lens (with fixed focal length) for your camera, bring it.


You generally will not be able to take good pictures of the Northern Lights with short exposure times. Good exposure times for this are 20-40 seconds per picture (the tripod will help you eliminate shaking of the camera - you can't hold the camera by hand.)

A sample exposure time for ISO 800 with an aperture of f/2.8 would be 20 to 30 seconds depending on the brightness of the lights.


It can be hard to predict the Northern Lights so you may be in for a few hours of waiting during a cold night.

The best times generally are after midnight and range from October to the end of April each year.

You should head out of the city and get away from light pollution to obtain maximum quality of photos.


1.Batteries don't last as long in cold nights. Bring spare batteries.

2.Try lots of different exposure settings; night photography is challenging. Test your setup first.

3.Include a part of the landscape to make the photos more attractive and as a visual reference for size.

4.Do not use any filters, as they tend to distort the beauty of the Northern Lights and degrade the image.

5.Turn on "noise reduction" and the white balance can be set to 5000K or set to auto on digital cameras.


To increase your chance of a successful aurora hunt, you need to be aware of the weather.  If it is cloudy, your chances of seeing the aurora grow weaker.  If you have a clear sky you have a much better chance.

You also need to check the space weather for the northern lights forecast. Please not, even if the space weather forecast is weak, it may still be worth venturing out if you are up north in the areas that I previously mentioned… Iceland, Norway, Alaska and the Yukon.

So you are in an active zone and you have a clear sky and the space weather is a bit uncertain. You can increase your chances again by eliminating light pollution.

The moon can also work against you.  If you are planning a trip to an Aurora zone, try to book it as I do when there is a new moon.

Get your camera set up so that it is easy to handle. Using a flash light make sure your cable is connected, your lens is set just short of infinity and the camera is level to the ground. Then turn off the flash light and let your eyes adjust to the darkness.

You can use the waiting time constructively.  You can practice with your bulb and find a good composition.  Set your camera to f/2.8 (or as wide as possible) iso 800 and take some test shots for 30 seconds.  Do this in all directions but mainly due north (Aurora Borealis).  You may start to see a green hue on your pictures near the horizon. This is a good sign and this is the part of the sky you need to watch.

As the aurora starts to get brighter you need to start adjusting your settings accordingly.  Start by bringing down your iso.

Important note… Always check the brightness of your image on the histogram and never rely on the camera preview screen.  Your eyes have adjusted to the dark so an underexposed image will look fine – until you get it home! Speaking from experience… the back lit LCD screen in the dark makes photos look brighter than they actually are.

If the whole sky explodes and the Aurora casts a shadow, you need to be quick to adjust your exposure times.  The best Aurora shots occur during these brief moments.  A faster shutter of 8-20 seconds will preserve some of the details of the display.

Star trails

The added bonus… Sometimes you cannot avoid star trails if you don't trust iso 800 and you lens stops at f/4, you might be exposing for 2 minutes with a weak aurora.  Generally it is preferred to expose for less than 30 seconds to prevent noticeable star trails.  Stars begin to move over 20 seconds… so if you want fixed stars you will have to increase ISO to keep exposure times under 20 seconds… but, sometimes star movement adds an element to the images you take.

Please join me as I travel to northern Canada to photograph the Northern Lights. The following trips still have some availability.