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Green Mountain Camera Blog

  • Sigma Demo Day Event at Green Mountain Camera in South Burlington

    Sigma Demo Day Event

    Green Mountain Camera is pleased to host a Sigma Demo Day at the South Burlington store location. This free event will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2013 from 10AM to 3PM. This event is open to the public, and we welcome everyone to come.

    The Sigma Demo Day will include Mike Deutsch from Sigma to answer questions and demonstrate lenses. He'll have over 30 Sigma lenses on hand to test and try out in the store. He'll will also have some Sigma schwag to give away to some lucky attendees.

    Green Mountain Camera and Sigma will also offer exclusive discounts available only during the event. Discounts of $25 for lenses priced $250 to $599 and $50 for lenses priced $599 and up will be offered. These discounts can be combined with any current Sigma Instant Savings promotion too!

    Stop on by on Saturday, December 14th. He hope to see you there!

    Sigma Demo Day
    Saturday, December 14, 2013
    10AM to 3PM

    Green Mountain Camera
    Staples Plaza
    861 Williston Road
    South Burlington, VT 05403

  • Nikon Df Is Now In-Stock!

    Nikon Df Digital SLR Camera

     

    We recently wrote about the Nikon Df being announced in a previous post. That was at the beginning of November. It seems like ages since then, but we are happy to report that the Nikon Df is now in stock!

    We have the Nikon Df in four different configurations. They are all in stock at the time of this writing, but we anticipate selling out of them quickly. Nikon was unable deliver all of the cameras we ordered, so we still have some backordered, which usually means Nikon is not going to be able to keep up with demand. The silver Nikon Dfs seem to be in tighter supply than the blacks, and the silver body only configuration in tighter supply than all the others.

    Here's what we've got: Nikon Df body only in silver, Nikon Df body only in black, Nikon Df with special edition 50mm f/1.8G in silver, and Nikon Df with special edition 50mm f/1.8G in black.

    If you live local to one of our retail stores in Waterbury Center or South Burlington, VT, please stop on by and check out the Nikon Df. We have the black with special edition lens on display and for demonstration at both stores.

    The Nikon Df takes Secure Digital (SD) cards, so, if you don't have one and you are ordering this camera, make sure to pick one up at the same time. The Nikon Df does not shoot video, but it is still recommended to have a high-speed card for transferring the large files this camera produces, and for if/when the camera is used in continuous shooting mode (it can shoot up to 5.5 frames/second).

  • Green Mountain Camera Adds Panasonic to Product Line-Up

    Panasonic Lumix GH3 Panasonic Lumix GH3

    Waterbury Center, Vt., NOV. 17, 2013: Green Mountain Camera, one of New England’s leading photo specialty retailers, confirms Panasonic has named the Vermont business an authorized dealer of Panasonic digital imaging products. Panasonic is one of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers, and makes the popular Lumix line of digital cameras, lenses and accessories.

    “Panasonic is a natural fit for Green Mountain Camera,” stated Robert Ste. Marie, Owner of Green Mountain Camera. “Panasonic manufactures very high quality, innovative products, and that is what our customers have come to expect from us.”

    Panasonic is recognized for developing and manufacturing innovative still and video imaging products, including the micro four-thirds range of Pansonic Lumix branded cameras and lenses. The Panasonic Lumix GH3, an example of a micro four-thirds camera, was recently named the “Champion Moviemaker” in Popular Photography’s Pop Awards of Photography’s Outstanding Products for 2013. The GH3 features the highest video capture (1920x1080p60 at up to 72Mbps) of any camera that uses compression to record, and does so without sacrificing capturing high quality still images.

    Panasonic has a long-standing partnership with Leica, which is a worldwide leading manufacturer of high quality optics. The Panasonic Lumix brand features many of Leica’s optical designs, and “Lumix” was coined by combining “luminance” and “mix”, suggesting the mixture of Panasonic’s digital technologies and Leica’s optical technologies into one brand. The Panasonic-Leica partnership is an example of Panasonic’s commitment to manufacturing high-quality imaging products.

    “Green Mountain Camera has been a Leica dealer for many years now, and we’ve established a large customer base dedicated to the Leica brand,” states Tessa K. Ferrario, Operations Manager of Green Mountain Camera. “These customers are always curious to see what the Panasonic Lumix line has to offer them. Green Mountain Camera is excited to now be able to demonstrate that line to our customers.”

    Green Mountain Camera will start to receive Panasonic cameras and lenses including the GH3, GX7, and LX7, soon. Panasonic digital cameras, lenses and accessories will be available for sale and demonstration in Green Mountain Camera retail stores in South Burlington, Vt., and Waterbury Center, Vt.. Panasonic products will also be available online through Green Mountain Camera’s website.

  • Nikon Celebrates 80 Years of NIKKOR Lenses

    80 Years of NIKKOR Lenses

    80 Years and 80 Million Lenses--That's a lot of Glass

    We recently received an email with a link to a very interesting infographic about the history of NIKKOR lenses. Apparently this year marks the 80th anniversary of the NIKKOR brand. In addition to it being 80 years of producing NIKKOR lenses, Nikon recently manufactured their 80 millionth lens. When you figure it out, on average, Nikon has produced 1 million lenses a year. Break that down even further, that averages out to 2,739 lenses a day. Yep, a day. That number seems pretty impressive, and quite unbelievable. Keep in mind too that that's an average, spread out over the last 80 years. I'm sure in the early years of Nikon lens production it was much more difficult to produce lenses in mass quantities, so the output now must be much greater.

    Nikon Aero-NIKKOR Lens Example of Aero-NIKKOR Lens

    In 1933, Nikon marketed its first camera lenses under the NIKKOR brand name. The first lenses were Aero-NIKKOR, for aerial photography. The first orders came from the Japanese Army Air Force for the 70cm F5 (700mm), as well as for the 18cm F4.5 (180mm) NIKKOR lens for small-scale aerial photography. The lenses were also exhibited at an exposition held that year, and sale of the lenses began.

    The NIKKOR brand of lenses became famous in the 1950s by David Douglas Duncan whose photography appeared in LIFE magazine. Duncan used a NIKKOR lens attached to a Leica camera body, and this brought the brand a lot of recognition. The legend goes that a Japanese photographer showed Duncan some photographs that he had taken using a NIKKOR lens. The photographs had come out clearly despite the fact that they had been taken indoors, in poor light. Duncan was impressed, so he went out and bought two NIKKOR lenses the very next day.

    In 1971, NIKKOR lenses and Nikon cameras went up with the Apollo 15 space mission. NIKKOR lenses have been going into space ever since, and have been subjected to some rough physical conditions. Space walks will subject these lenses to temperatures of negative 150 degrees Celsius or less.

    Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Lens Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Lens

    There are currently over 80 types of lenses still in production today (I guess everything has to be 80 for Nikon this year). Included in this count are 17 DX format (crop sensor) lenses, and 62 FX format (full frame sensor) lenses. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Lens has the most lens elements. Most people would probably assume that something like the heaviest lens (600mm f/4), or the longest lens (800mm f/5.6) would have the most elements. But, no, the 70-200mm has 21 lens elements in 16 groups.

    Nikon's NIKKOR brand is now also being used with the Nikon 1 camera system. In addition, Coolpix cameras feature built-in (not interchangeable) NIKKOR lenses. Nikon has been producing great NIKKOR lenses for 80 years now. It will be interesting to see what the next 80 years will hold.

  • Sony A7 Real-World Samples and RAW File Download

    We were recently at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. There wasn't a whole lot of camera gear there we haven't already seen, but there were a couple of cameras worth noting. Besides the Olympus OM-D E-M1, we were excited to check out the Sony A7 and A7r. The display area for both cameras was packed, and it was hard to get a chance for a hands-on look. We had our sights set on checking out the new Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens too. We weren't able to grab an A7r, but we were able to look at the Sony A7 with the 55mm lens.

    The Sony A7 is a world's first. It is the first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera to feature a full-frame image sensor. The A7 packs 24 megapixels, while the A7r boasts an impressive 36 megapixels. We currently have both cameras on order, and are hoping they will show up in early December. We anticipate this will be a limited early release, and the demand will be pretty high, so we won't have cameras in stock for very long. If you are interested in a pre-order to secure a camera for you, please give us a call at (802) 244-0883.

    The A7 has a solid feel to it, and there are lot of external controls for manual manipulation. The camera is overall snappy and intuitive for the average advanced camera user. Sony must have heard of the complaints coming from NEX-7 users who were accidentally hitting the video record button. Sony moved this button to a better, safer position on the A7.

    While at the PhotoPlus Expo we switched out the memory card in the A7 we were using for our own memory card. We were able to pop off a couple of shots within the convention center. The lighting wasn't great, and the images weren't thought through, but here are some real world samples straight from the camera. The camera was set to aperture priority, ISO 400, and the aperture was set to f/1.8. The image of the older gentlemen looking down was shot at 1/60 of a second, so there is definitely some shake. The others were 1/125 of a second and are more solid.

    Sony A7 Sample Image Sony A7 Sample Cropped Sony A7 Sample Image Sony A7 Sample Cropped Sony A7 Sample Image Sony A7 Sample Cropped

     

    These images are sized down to play nice on the website. They were actually all shot in RAW, so they've been converted. If you are interested in looking at a RAW file, you can download one here. It is a relatively big file, 25MB. You will need high-speed internet, or it might take you while to download. Please note that there is no 3rd-party software out there that will allow you to view the A7 RAW file, like Photoshop, etc.. You will need Sony's Image Data Converter. The Mac version can be found here, and the Windows here.

  • Green Mountain Camera Now Carrying 3 Legged Thing Tripods

    3 Legged Thing is a British tripod company that specializes in compact, stable, modular tripod systems

    Green Mountain Camera is extremely excited to announce the formation of a new relationship with 3 Legged Thing. 3 Legged Thing designs and manufactures high-quality, unique tripods. They are a British company with a presence around the globe, but has only a handful of dealers within the United States. Green Mountain Camera is happy to join the ranks of authorized dealers in the USA.

    3 Legged Thing Tripods In StockWe've started to receive 3 Legged Thing tripods, and they are now available for sale in our stores and online. So far we've received some carbon fiber models, including the very popular Brian, Frank and Eddie. We look forward to carrying more of the 3 Legged Thing line-up in the near future. Any customer suggestions are highly appreciated. Let us know what you want to see, and we'll be happy to get it in for you.

    3 Legged Thing tripods have some very unique features that will appeal to serious photographers--both amateurs and professionals. 3 Legged Thing has produced a great video that explains some of the awesome features found in Brian. Even if you aren't interested in this tripod, it is definitely worth a watch.

  • Nikon D5300 vs. D5200: What’s the difference?

    We take a closer look at the differences of the Nikon D5300 and D5200

    Customers are constantly asking us, “what’s the difference”? There are a lot of great products out there, and product features often overlap. Is one brand better than the other? Is one product better than another? The answer is not often an easy, definitive “this one’s better”. There are many aspects and features of a product that will require taking a closer look. In addition, each individual person has different requirements, so not all products are the same to each person.

    The issue gets especially blurred when new products are made. And beyond that, camera makers now have the tendency of keeping older products around for longer. When a new product comes out, the old product is discounted, and kept in the line-up. The tendency used to be to completely discontinue a product, and take it off the shelves, so there was less confusion when making a choice. Newer was better, and that was all you could get. Now, newer may be better, but the older model may be good enough, and the lower price tag is always attractive.

    The new Nikon D5300 and the now older D5200 are perfect examples of this problem at large. We know the D5200 is going to be cheaper, and the D5300 should be better, but “what’s the difference”? It’s not until we take a closer look at the main differences that we can make an informed decision. So let’s take a closer look.

    Image Sensor

    24.2 Megapixels (D5300) vs. 24.1 Megapixels (D5200)

    For a digital camera, the image sensor is a huge part of the equation when making a purchasing decision. Unlike a roll of Kodak Gold 200 film that would be the same from camera to camera, image sensors and the quality of the picture produced by that sensor differ in almost every incarnation of a model line. The easiest difference to spot is megapixel count. In the case of the Nikon D5300 and D5200 they’re essentially the same. Unfortunately, that information alone is not helpful, but let’s take a closer look.

    The D5300 is missing the Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) that is typically placed in front of the image sensor. The D5200 still has the OLPF in tact. We first saw Nikon removing the OLPF from the D800E. The Nikon D800 actually has the OLPF, but the D800E does not. This is true with the D5300 and the D5200 too. What is an OLPF, and what is the big deal anyway?

    The OLPF is used to slightly soften an image. You would think that with a high-resolution image sensor you’d want to keep things sharp. To avoid issues with moire, however, camera makers place a filter in front of the image sensor to ever so slightly blur the image. Moire is an effect caused when the pattern in a subject is overlapped with the pattern of an image sensor’s pixels, and you get a strange, additional patterned effect. Well, with high-resolution image sensors, you certainly would like to keep things sharp, so Nikon has started to remove the OLPF. There are really not many situations where moire will be an issue, and with modern software, this issue can often be resolved post-processing. The benefit is ever-so-sharper images.

    If you take pictures of intricate textiles or patterns of colors and shapes, the absence of an OLPF will be a definite downside. For most other situations, the D5300 is going to be a sharper choice.

    OLPF Moire Effect Comparison This image was taken directly from Nikon's website. Here you can see how intricate patterns can create a moire effect when with the absence of an OLPF.

    Processing Engine

    EXPEED 4 (D5300) vs. EXPEED 3 (D5200)

    Along with the image sensor is the image-processing engine. Image processors are small, specialized computers that take all of the information recorded by the camera’s image sensor and turn that into a (hopefully) beautiful picture. Each incarnation of a model line typically has an improved processor. This usually translates into a faster camera, better video, increased low-light (better ISO) performance, etc.. Nikon’s EXPEED 4 is an improvement over the EXPEED 3. One of the biggest benefits includes 1080 60p HD video. The D5200 has 1080 60i HD vdieo.

    Video

    1080 60p HD (D5300) vs. 1080 60i HD (D5200)

    Although the Nikon D5200 is capable of shooting progressive 1080 HD video at lower frame rates, the D5300 expands the video shooting capability of the product line by featuring progressive HD video at 60 frames per second. The D5200 is capable of 60 frames per second too, but the video is interlaced.

    Interlaced video is essentially video with half the resolution, but shown twice to get full resolution. One frame of video is essentially split in two. One frame will feature even lines of a picture, while another frame will feature odds. When the frames are flashed quickly on a screen, one after the other, the human eye perceives the image as having full resolution, not separate frames of alternating lines of resolution. This usually works out fine, until there’s action. When watching fast moving objects you can observe “artifacts” with interlaced video. It will look like the moving object is slightly blurred at the edges and has horizontal lines through it. Progressive video displays every line with each frame, so there is no potential for artifacting. The overall quality will look much better, especially when viewed on bigger TVs or screens.

    Interlaced Video Example of Fast Moving Object This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia. It shows the artifacts of interlaced video, especially for moving objects.

    Wi-Fi

    Built-in (D5300) vs. WU-1a Adapter (D5200)

    The Nikon D5300 and D5200 are both capable of connecting to Wi-Fi, but the D5300 has it built-in. The D5200 requires an adapter, the Nikon WU-1a, which is an additional $60 purchase.

    Wi-Fi in these cameras is really cool, and for at least two reasons. The first is for being able to share images quickly and easily. The smartphone camera has become wildly popular for several reasons, but a big part of it is being able to easily and instantly share images on social networks. The only problem with smartphone cameras is that the quality of the images is still lacking overall. The Wi-Fi capability of the D5300 and D5200 with the optional WU-1a, allows you to connect to your smartphone to share your images instantly like you would with pictures taken by your smartphone. This is a win-win. Instant sharing, plus exceptional image quality.

    Another benefit of Wi-Fi is being able to control these cameras remotely. Although this benefit is used less often, it is pretty cool that you can control the cameras from your smartphone. I know of a customer who set their camera on a tripod near a hummingbird feeder and went around the corner of his house. He was able to capture some amazing pictures of the birds by snapping away from his smartphone, and didn’t have to worry about scaring the birds away.

    In addition to Wi-Fi being built in, the D5300 also features built-in GPS. Again, the D5200 is capable of GPS, but requires a Nikon GP-1A adapter, which is an optional accessory that costs over $200. GPS can be really cool. Each image capture can record and save the GPS coordinates of the location where the image was taken. You’ll never forget where you took a picture again. Using Google Maps or Nikon’s software you can view on a map the locations of each of your recorded shots.

    Build/Construction

    Monocoque design (D5300) vs. More traditional structure (D5200)

    The Nikon D5300 is even smaller and lighter than the already light and compact D5200. This is due to the monocoque design of the D5300. What exactly does this mean? Think of a monocoque structure as like an exoskeleton. Instead of the insides supporting the structure of the outside, the outsides help to give the overall structure support and durability. The D5300 uses some specialized materials and design in its outer coverings to reduce joints and increase the support and durability of the camera, all the while reducing its overall weight and size. The D5200 weighs approximately 555g to the D5300 at 530g.

    Final Thoughts

    Overall there’s no doubt that the D5300 is an improvement over the D5200. In addition to the differences noted above, the D5300 has a bigger, higher resolution LCD screen. It is 3.2” and a 1037k dot resolution screen over the D5200’s 3” and 921k dot resolution screen. The D5300 also added a couple more picture (art) modes, which include Toy Camera Effect and HDR Painting.

    The biggest features to stand out are the removal of the OLPF and the built-in Wi-Fi. Right now there isn’t really a big difference in price. Actually, the starting prices are the same. The D5200 has been on sale for $100 off, however, and we assume this will only increase. Are these features worth $100 or more? It depends on what you are using the camera for and how these features meet your needs. If you are going to use it, the built-in Wi-Fi saves you $60 for that feature, and the GPS will save you more. If you want the best resolution possible, and are not afraid of some moire at times, the D5300 will be tack sharp. Whatever you decide, both cameras will overall take great pictures.

  • Hands-On Video Unboxing of the Olympus OM-D E-M1

    The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been trickling into our stores, and it has been causing a lot of excitement. This camera has been in short supply since its release, and we wanted to share the experience of what it is like to actually have one and open it up.

    Every time I put my hands on this camera I am instantly reminded of my old Olympus OM-4. The OM-D E-M1 does feel better in my hands, however; the grip is really nice. This is a really cool camera, and the retro look and feel just adds to the overall experience without taking away from the camera.

    The OM-D E-M1 can be purchased in our stores or online here. As noted, this camera has been trickling in and the demand is high. If you are interested in purchasing one, and it doesn't look like we have it in stock, please give us a call (802) 244-0883 and we would be happy to add you to our list. You can also contact us through our website here.

  • Nikon Df Digital SLR Camera and Limited Edition 50mm f/1.8 Lens Announced

    Nikon Df Digital SLR Camera If you have been paying attention to the Nikon USA website, you've probably noticed the series of videos they have been posting on the homepage. Over several days, and through a series of well-produced teaser videos, Nikon has been strategically revealing what we can now say is the Nikon Df. Nikon's revelation campaign centered around getting back to "Pure Photography", and made it clear that the Df would be a throw-back to a previous chapter of Nikon's history.

    We feel this has been one of Nikon's best marketing efforts for a camera announcement. Product announcements are typically thrown at the public. One day the product is a secret, the next day the whole world knows. The campaign to reveal the Nikon Df created a lot of buzz, and got a lot of people excited...including us.

    If you weren't already aware, used camera equipment is a big part of our business. I don't think there is a time when we don't have a Nikon FM, FM2, or similar type of mechanical 35mm film camera around. We see them all the time, and that is a testament to how popular the older, mechanical Nikon film cameras were. The new Nikon Df digital SLR is a throw-back to that time, and highlights a lot of the manual features that were standard on those analog cameras.

    Nikon Df Manual Features

     

    As you can see, the control dials of the Nikon Df are built for manual control. It's strange to see a mechanical ISO setting dial on a digital camera. The information display on the top has shrunk. Here the display features shutter speed, aperture value, battery charge, and shots left on the memory card. And that's it. This downsized display has made room for a quite large shutter value dial, and also the mode selector dial (manual, aperture value priority, shutter value priority and program mode). For digital cameras these things are typically manipulated by the press of a button.

    Nikon is using the same 16.2 megapixel (MP) full-frame (FX format in Nikon's terminology) image sensor, paired with the Nikon EXPEED 3 image processor, as seen in their flagship Nikon D4. Nikon boasts that the Df is their thinnest and lightest full-frame digital SLR to date. The Nikon Df also features a huge ISO range that is expandable up to 204,800. I'm sure a lot of users will be happy to get some of the performance aspects (image quality) of the D4 for half the price.

    We're really excited that Nikon has developed a lens mount system for this camera that will allow it to work with all modern AF-S, AF-D and AF NIKKOR lenses, in addition to AI and non-AI lenses alike. Owners of old NIKKOR glass will really appreciate that inclusion.

    The camera also features a continuous shooting speed of 5.5 frames per second, and Wi-Fi with the optional Nikon Wu-1a adapter. Of all the features that this camera does include, the Nikon Df does not have video. The Df has no option for capturing video. I guess Nikon's idea of "pure photography" is still capture only.

    The Nikon Df should be available by the end of this month (November, 2013) in both silver and black, and will cost $2749.95 for the body only. Nikon has produced a limited edition AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens with retro styling to match the new Nikon Df. The camera will be sold as a kit with this lens for $2999.95. We'll have the new Nikon Df online and in our stores for demonstration and sale as soon as they come in, and we are currently taking pre-orders. Just give us a call at (802) 244-0883 if you are interested.

    Nikon Df in Black

     

    Nikon Df Back in Black

  • Green Mountain Camera Joins Fujifilm Authorized Elite Digital Dealers

    Waterbury Center, Vt., NOV. 2, 2013: Green Mountain Camera is the latest retailer to join the Fujifilm program of Authorized Elite Digital Dealers. Green Mountain Camera enters the program as the first photo specialty retailer based in Vermont.

    The Fujifilm Authorized Elite Digital Dealer program is a limited dealership opportunity where authorized dealers demonstrate and sell the X-Series lineup of Fujifilm digital imaging products. The X-Series profile of digital imaging products includes some of the world’s most popular digital cameras like the X100s and X-PRO1.

    Fujifilm X100s

    “Green Mountain Camera is extremely honored to be part of Fujifilm’s Elite Dealer program,” stated John Ste. Marie, Owner of Green Mountain Camera. “We are excited to bring the X-Series lineup of digital imaging products to our customer base, here in Vermont and throughout the United States.”

    Green Mountain Camera will start receiving X-Series digital imaging products from Fujifilm over the next several weeks, including the most recently announced XQ1 and X-E2. This is in addition to other X-series products like the X-M1, X100s, X-PRO1 and Fujifilm’s X-mount series of lenses.

    “This is exactly the type of product our customers want to see,” stated Tessa K. Ferrario, Operations Manager of Green Mountain Camera. “High-end digital imaging products like the X-series line are not always common in local retail stores, but customers want to see what these products have to offer. Looking online is not the same as having something in your hands.”

    Green Mountain Camera will have Fujifilm X-series digital imaging products on display for demonstration in retail stores in South Burlington, Vt., and Waterbury Center, Vt.. These products will also be available online through Green Mountain Camera’s website.

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