Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Quantum Leap ......

What you see above are 2 cameras hooked with 2 lenses. The left one is latest Nikon mirrorless which is Nikon Z6 which offer Nikon new Z-Mount which is widest among any current camera manufacturers. The Z6 is coupled with new Nikon S-Line lens which is made specifically for Z-Mount cameras and the lens attached to it is 35mm f/1.8S. Nikon Z system is the Nikon first mirrorless system. Lately Nikon introduced the firmware upgrade for both Z6 & Z7 (47MP elder brother) which make both mirrorless cameras to do the Eye-AF and better face tracking which was first introduced by Sony and now almost becomes a bench mark for superior AF tracking.

On the right hand side we have Son of a Gun, The Legend, The Myth, The toughest DSLR out there, many Photographers souls, a DSLR with no video functionality dedicated made for soul photography …. Nikon D700 which was introduced to the world back in 2008 as a Mini D3. D3 was so expensive that many people bought D700 just to experience the D3 taste as both D3 & D700 got the same sensor. Only SNR firmware was different. That lens on D700 is 20mm f/3.5 AI-S which was introduced back in 1977. That lens 20mm f/3.5 AI-S is the all in one best wide-angle lens by Nikon.

Now you all be thinking, why me writing all these intro type stuffs for both cameras which is already available on internet? Why all these praises & specs like this is something new? What’s so much new we all will be learning from this blog? & The answer is YOU. But let’s compare both cameras side by side a little to make some quantifiable differences. BTW, the green highlighted are the winners.

Nikon D700
Nikon Z6
Year released
Mega Pixels
AF Points
Supported Card
Single CF Card
Single XQD Card
12 FPS
Supported RAW file
Picture Control
Almost the same with no major difference
No Video
Full 4K Video support
Electronic Front Curtain support
Flash Sync Speed
Same as 1/200
Built-in POP-UP Flash
Battery Grip Support
WiFi/Bluetooth Support
Rated max. Shutter Actuation
Number of Shots per battery
Above 1000
around 250

Now for sure most of you must be thinking, where is Nikon D750? Why not compare it with Z6 or put that into the battle of other 2 to make it Triple Threat (this is a wrestling term BTW) and my answer is NO. D750 is 4-5 years old machine and my intention is to show the quantum leap of technology advancement that occurred during the last decade or more and the hardware that I have in my disposal is D700 and Z6 which fits on the very idea of this blog.

So, by looking at the above comparison that I showed, it is very clear that Nikon Z6 is a clear winner. A decade of technological advancement happened in the world of photography really pushed the limits of these photography gears and let them do the things which was not possible a decade ago. From EVF to 4K video, to in-camera HDR and lot more to offer in tiny form factor with light weight package we have in a form of Z6. But at some cost. Everything in life cost us in every domain. In order to get these technological advancement, we have sacrificed the battery grip, POP up Flash (used for famous Nikon CLS system), longer battery life and single card slot (in compared to other Nikon Pro bodies), so sacrificed all these features in order to get all these features which was not possible before in a single camera machine. And all these new features are there for who? And the answer is right below …

From these 11-12 years of technological advancement, everything is changed in photography. But does this change the ethics and basics of taking photos? NOOO.... it doesn’t. It is still the SAME. How come? Let’s find out ….

It really does not matter what brand you are associated with or what gears you are using, what DOESN’T change is,

·      You STILL have to look into the view finder regardless it’s OVF or EVF,

·      You STILL have to do the best composition from the given framing of your lens,

·      You STILL Have to look for the light and shadows,

·      You STILL have to get the best poses from your models,

·      You STILL have to click at the RIGHT MOMENT to capture that iconic moment which if you missed, you are gone,

·      You STILL have to drag yourself to the remote places in the pitch dark to get the first ray of sunlight at the top of the mountain,

·      You STILL have to look for the best angle to make the ordinary into extra ordinary,

·      You STILL have to drag the shutter to capture the motion effect in a still image,

·      You STILL have to take multiple shots for Panorama regardless PS stitches them for you,

·      And besides so many other STILL’s …… YOU STILL HAVE TO PRESS the shutter release button.

Now it is abundantly clear that regardless of technological advancement, the most important thing which is STILL constant for more than 100 years of photography … is YOU. Everything boils down on you. You are the main difference maker. You are the main show runner. World is a Canvas. Like it is written in one of the famous photography books that

“The photography frame requires you to have absolute confidence. This is your opportunity to show us what you find most important. Convince us with your cut.”

When I read above lines from the book, it quickly spawn the idea on me that no matter how much advance gears I have or I will have, if I am not able to use them in efficient way to make the image which made viewers eyes stop on my image more than 7 seconds then it’s my fault, not equipment’s fault. I own both D700 & Z6 and they both have their own significance in my photography career. Both offers me something in a way or another which other can’t, and I use them both for a reason. I took hundreds of frames from both machine which were equally praised by my photography peers who are using the latest and greatest. My most famous shots are from Nikon D700. Does this mean that Nikon Z6 is somehow kind an inferior? No. First off, it is a new machine so by over the period of time and its more usage, I will able to furnish something more out from out which will be presentable. My most used machine is Nikon D700 which I found my soul mate because every time when I am using it, it pushes me to do difficult stuff which is easy by using other gears (like Z6 or D850). I love photography challenges and D700 helps me to over comes those challenges because of its limited features which made me to think more about taking the shot rather than just pressing the shutter release.

Remember another important fact, gears cannot and will not define the light no matter how much advance they going to be. Its photographer’s job to find or create light and then use it. May be in future, actually for sure it will happen when Artificial Intelligence will become so strong that you just point the camera towards one direction and camera will automatically going to capture the scene, will edit the best composition out from it for your and save the edited part of it not only in your camera but also uploading into the cloud storage services for you. This means that, camera will do all the work and heavy lifting for you, all you need to do is just press the shutter button. May be by “just thinking” or using voice command feature your device able to capture the image. Note that Google is already working on such algorithm for their app name “Photos” where it basically searching the web or by sneaking from the internal stored data on your phone or from the internet cloud, and then just quickly suggesting you the best composition or edit the best frame for you. Apple iPhone Photo album creation feature does the same automatically by creating an album for you from your recent holiday trip. But again, your need to realize that basic hardcore fact, that particular google photo software or Apple software still using your images, your compositions to train itself. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) still rely on humans and his/her created arts as a source for a code to decide or to answer your query.

In the world of photography, everything revolves around YOU. It starts by pressing the shutter release button (by YOU), to the viewing of it (by YOU) all the way up to be an iconic image which lasts for decades as an inspiration to the future (for the upcoming YOU). No matter how much technology is going to advance, we as a Humans were, are and always will be center of the Photography. Now people who knows for a long time for sure must be thinking, how come today I am talking about ethics, art and soul of photography? I am the same person who always talk about gears and stuff. And my reply to those friends is simple. We all are in a journey of learning photography which includes me one way or another. I literally dove down all the way to the depth of the technical learning of photography and now I am on my way journey to the other side of the coin which is learning the soul of photography. In case if you are thinking why I made the comparison table of D700 vs Z6, well …. We need to create contrast between machine and a photographer to highlight the significance of YOU. D700 and Z6 are the best example that I found which not only shows the both old and new extreme of photography gear limits as we speak, the only constant thing is behind these machines.

Life will end one day, learning must not.

Happy learning guys!

Babar Swaleheen