My New Pride & Joy

Two weekends ago I did something I didn’t think possible. I paid off all of my credit cards. I paid off all of my student loans, years early even! And after all of that I still had money burning a hole in my pocket. How much money? Well… let’s just say enough for me to pay cash for a few new toys.

Nikon D810

First I picked up the big guy. A brand new Nikon D810. For the last six years I’ve been shooting with a Nikon D700 and I’ve loved it. This camera changed the way I shot photos and put me ahead of almost everyone in my photography courses with the incredibly powerful sensor and ability to capture such dynamic range. It is what allowed me to make the images I made with the awesome subtly that became my style. 

Alas, things started to wear down after shooting over 100,000 images with the D700. Don’t get me wrong, I could have shot for another six years with this camera if I’d gotten it tuned up and repaired a few things but I’d also be hindering me just as my Nikon D80 hindered me before I got the Nikon D700.

For those wondering why I continue to choose Nikon over Canon, it’s down to three things.

  1. My library of lenses would be far to expensive to replace
  2. I love the the fit, finish and ergonomics on the Nikon
  3. Nikon sensors regularly score higher than other sensors in their class (and beyond)

For an example, check out the DxO Sensor Test chart below:


That’s my camera vs the comparable Canon vs my old camera. The Nikon D810 beats all three handily while the Canon only barely squeaks by the Nikon D700. I don’t want to incite some sort of Canon vs Nikon vs Sony debate here. I know Canon does lovely video and they have a very loyal following and they have hacks like MagicLantern. That’s all great but for me it comes down to raw numbers and my experience with both brands.

After the camera purchase I felt a burning desire for a new lens. As you may know I shoot almost exclusively with prime, or fixed, lenses. Switching from a kit zoom lens (Nikon 18-135mm f3.5-5.6) to a 50mm f1.8 made me a better photographer, by a lot. A fixed 50mm equivalent lens is the only lens a new photographer should have in their camera bag. Period.

After I felt I’d mostly mastered the 50mm f1.8 I added a few more to my kit. A macro Nikon 60mm f2.8, a Nikon 24mm f1.8 wide angle lens and finally a Nikon 85mm f1.8. I already had a Nikon 80-200 f2.8. What I wanted for so long was a replacement Nikon 35mm f2.8, mine was a hand-me-down that was DOA.

But then I thought, why not go for broke and get the Nikon 35mm f1.4? Oh, well because it is $1,600. Then I saw the Rokinon 35mm f1.4 and I was in love.

Rokinon f1.4 35mm USM

No, this lens doesn’t have autofocus and no it doesn’t have any anti-vibration and no it doesn’t have all the wiz-bang coatings or computer chips in it. What it does have is the smoothest focus ring and has proven to be one of the sharpest lenses I’ve ever used. The first one I got was defective unfortunately (just my luck) but a few days later the replacement was here and my love for this lens was realized.

Nikon-D810-with-Rokinon-35mm-f1.4I wandered around North Park and took a few photos on the first day with the camera to see what it could do and to have some raw files to play around with. By the way, the uncompressed raw files come in at 70mb per photo! That’s crazy but not too surprisingly this thing has a 36.3 megapixel sensor.

I have tons of other photos but can’t really share them at this point. Turns out the camera is new enough that Apple hasn’t updated it’s operating system so that it can handle them natively. Photoshop can open them but even Lightroom can’t preview the images unless I shoot them in the compressed format. It’s only a matter of time before software updates are released but until then I have to open each image in Photoshop just to see what it is.

Now that I have a camera that can shoot video, and since my two BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cameras are still on back order (probably going to cancel that order) I’ve been building out a DSLR video rig for this camera. These things can get hella expensive, remember the Zacuto I reviewed? I might have the money for the camera and lenses but adding a $1,600 rig on top of it just wasn’t going to happen. So I went the cheap route.

Neewer DSLR Shoulder RigI am totally going to do a longer review of this setup once I have finished outfitting it. So far I’m pretty confident that I made the right decision. For around $200 I have a rig that does everything I need it to do and more. Plus it saved me hundreds, perhaps over one thousand, dollars.

In the meantime here’s some video from the Nikon D810 before I had the shoulder rig or LCD viewfinder which are both essential to great DLSR video.

Nothing too great here but I was just fooling around. I’m hoping to do some really cool stuff down the line with this camera, not just in photography by also some video work. This is a new frontier for me, outside of client work, so I’m very excited!

23 thoughts on “My New Pride & Joy

  1. flyboy8824 it’s basically the Redrock Micro DSLR Field Cinema Deluxe minus $1,700! It’s a blog post coming soon 😀 Works great!

  2. justex07 awesome. The lower end rigs I’ve bought have always fallen apart or not worked so I’m just waiting for a zacuto rig

  3. flyboy8824 I used to have a Zacuto rig, loved it. If I was to spend that money again I’d look at what ikancorp is putting out these days.

  4. flyboy8824 weird that you’re an egg and that I wasn’t following you anymore. What happened? lol

  5. justex07 Ikan makes some good stuff. Used a shoulder rig from them. The zacuto target shooter is the one for me I think

  6. flyboy8824 the new Zacuto fold-out stuff looks killer for wham-bam video stuff. Wish I could justify the $800+ purchase!

  7. flyboy8824 that might be how you got dropped c/o ManageFlitter. Weird though. I’m sure you can fix it 😛

  8. justex07 exactly. Might be doing another tv show so will invest in a rig a mk3 or black magic then

  9. flyboy8824 I ordered two BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cameras a month ago… still waiting. Debating if I should keep the order or cancel it.

  10. justex07 almost pulled the trigger on one but didn’t want to spend on the glass. And rig

  11. flyboy8824 I got two for the price of one, which is the only reason I haven’t cancelled the order already haha. Want them? 😛

  12. justex07 just checked it out ! I expect to see some pretty video soonly! =D ps: I may be crashing in SD for a bit on my Odyssey back to LA

  13. LeoWolfe now I just need some inspiration on what to shoot. Lemme know if you make it down here!

  14. justex07 oh, if I get there we can come up with a million things to shoot, I’m sure =D I have a loooong list of short ideas !

  15. ikancorp flyboy8824 our pleasure I’m sure! Any new stuff coming out soon that I should be drooling over?

  16. Great post. Would you mind sharing the component list for your rig thus far? Working on some options myself (just picked up the D810) and would be interested in know what you have so far.


  17. Sure.

    Nikon D810
    Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AF
    Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D
    Nikon 85mm f/1/8 AF (don’t recommend for this camera, too soft)
    Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AF
    Nikon 28-300 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR
    Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC

    NEEWER Follow-Focus CN-90F
    NEEWER DP500 DSLR Matte Box (not worth it)
    NEEWER DSLR Shoulder Mount Support Rig
    NEEWER Adjustable Follow Focus Gear Ring Belt
    Zeikos ZE-NBGD800 Battery Power Grip
    TAKSTAR SGC-598 Mic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *