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Archives from month » November, 2013

Nikon’s New Retro Camera: Nikon Df

Nikon's New Retro Camera: Nikon Df

Not too long ago, Nikon announced its intentions to join camera makers such as FujiFilm and Leica in the “retro” market with their new Nikon Df. The specs on this camera are pretty impressive. It is a full fledged DSLR with plenty of bells and whistles alongside the more retro body style with all the knobs that older photographers remember having to dial in back in the days when you still had to work a lot of magic in the dark rooms before the image was ready to be seen. Some of the specs built into this camera include (list taken from Digital Photography Review):

  • 16 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50 – 204,800)
  • Maximum 5.5 fps continuous shooting
  • 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type AF points
  • 3.2-inch, 921k-dot LCD screen
  • Physical shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation dials
  • Compatible with virtually all Nikon F-mount lenses (including pre-Ai standard)
  • Single SD card slot
  • EN-EL14a battery (quoted endurance of ~1400 exposures)

Did you notice something missing from that list? Something that is considered fairly standard in any high-end digital camera these days? If you picked up on that the Nikon Df can’t shoot video, give yourself a cookie. It’s weird that a camera with this many high-end features would be deliberately crippled so as to not create video. Perhaps that will be changed in the camera before it officially hits the shelves. One can only hope. After all, with there being so many other cameras on the market with a retro look-and-feel that can shoot video, Nikon is going to be hard-pressed to convince even the most adamant hipster to go for the Df for the 1970s National Geographic vibe alone. I mean, the Df has wireless features but no video? Not a good idea for a high-end camera.

Still, if you’re a still-life photography-only type and you’re really wanting a camera that can deliver power in a body that reminds you of when disco was cool, then the Nikon Df definitely delivers on that.

— da Bird

Death of a Loyalist Soldier: The Controversy Continues

Death of a Loyalist Soldier: The Controversy Continues

One of the most famous war photography images is the one called The Falling Solider or Death of a Loyalist Militiaman and was taken by Robert Capa, the father of modern war photography and photojournalism, in September of 1936. The image is said to depict the death of a republican soldier who was killed by a mounted machine gunner at the Cordoba Front during the Spanish Civil War. While the subject of the image (the falling soldier) seems clear, this photo has been surrounded by controversy since the 1970s.

However, recently, The Guardian reported that an interview with Robert Capa had surfaced where he discussed this very image. He claims, in the interview, to have been in the ditches at the time and not to even have seen the photo when he snapped it. According to his report, he held the camera over his head, above the edge of the ditch, and snapped the images blindly after having watched several of his trench-mates get mowed down by the Franco machine-gunner when they attempted to rush its position. This interview is the only instance that exists of Capa discussing this very famous image and his only remarks directly on it were “The prize picture is born in the imagination of the editors and the public who sees them.”

So, why is this image so controversial? Is it because of the graphic subject matter? No, actually, it’s because there’s a good bit of evidence to support the argument that this image was staged and does not depict what Capa and his editors claimed it depicts. Comparisons of the landscape in the photo match a site at Espejo, not the battle site of Cerro Muriano as Capa and others claimed. José Manuel Susperregui has also demonstrated other flaws in the photograph’s story in his own book. Among these flaws is one that shows that Capa gave very different accounts of the vantage point and technique he used to obtain the photograph.

The question remains, however; why would Robert Capa stage this photo and lie about it if he did, indeed, do so? His own words show that he may have truly believed that he himself couldn’t judge what would be the story photo or the photo that perfectly encapsulated the moment and message he was trying to share. Or perhaps he had captured a similar image and decided to “recreate” it to make it more dynamic or appealing. Or he could simply have gotten his photos mixed up and honestly believe the stories he put out about when, where, and how he captured this image.

The fact remains that, whether staged or nor, The Falling Soldier is still one of the most famous photos from the early 1900s and will remain an iconic image for war photographers for many years to come.

— da Bird

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

And it’s over. Not just the week, but Halloween. If you got great photos of kids out and about in costume on candy-collecting duty, we’d love to see them! Beyond that, though, there has still been plenty of action in the photography world this week. The seasonal changes are starting to fade and we’re well into the “fall” phase of autumn with falling temperatures and falling leaves (not to mention falling branches that damage vehicles). There has also been a lot of retrospectives from Hurricane Sandy which hit this week a year ago. And, as always, many photographers have been busy writing up guides, tips, and advice columns for their less-experienced fellows to use.

Oh, before I forget: there will be a partial solar eclipse this Sunday over the Eastern US. If you want to catch it, check out this article for more details!

All of these things and more were covered in our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then we’ll recap the high points for you below!

That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday.

— da Bird