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Sep 29 2014 Nikkor 24-120mm F4G-Lightweight and SHARP

Ok, I admit it. I'm a bit of a lens snob. I love quality glass, and I carry a slew of lenses to each wedding. I don't pack a ton of lenses with for no reason. I use them ALL. One day I'll post a blog about each, but today I want to give a shout out to my F4 Nikkor lenses that allow me to shed some weight for SOME parts of the wedding day without sacrificing performance or sharpness. I NEVER thought I'd own any F4 lenses. I begin each day with my Nikkor 85mm F1.4G on one D4S, and my Nikkor 35mm F1.4G on another D4S. I also carry a Nikkor 28mm 1.4D, and an assortment of other goodies as well. It's a large kit, and I use everything in the bag. 
 
The wedding day is long. I mean, really long at times. I bust my ass for my clients, and I can't ever let a moment pass without making sure I've done everything I can to capture those moments in the most creative way possible. I've been shooting professionally now for 33 years. Yeah, insert age joke here..... At 52, or heck, at any age, it's physically draining to carry any amount of equipment all day long, let alone flagship cameras with fast glass. While I tend to shoot with the most shallow depth of field possible for much of a wedding day, I also recognize when I need a bit more depth as well. Enter my Nikkor F4G lenses. The Nikkor 70-200 F4G, Nikkor 24-120mm F4G, and the Nikkor 16-35mm F4G have been in my bag now for a few months. My neck, shoulders, arms, and my entire body thank them. These lightweight tools have allowed me to shed weight without giving up a thing. I shoot the first dance, parent dances, and many other elements of the reception at F4 to allow some room for error, so why not shoot them with lighter gear? They focus well in low light, and unless I need to open up wider than F4, they're ideal for wedding receptions, family formals, and anything else I don't need a shallow depth of field for.  
 
If you'd asked me a few years ago if I'd use F4 glass- I'd have said "no way". To me, they were generally considered "amateur" lenses. Today, there's no way I'd do without them given how much fresher I feel after a grueling wedding day shoot. These lenses are built to last, focus fast, and they're as sharp as anything Nikkor produces. Many may say, "why in the world does anyone carry that much gear to a wedding?" Fortunately, I don't. I have amazing assistants who help me with all of my gear, and we pack everything in a tidy Tamrac rolling strongbox. My assistants and I are symbiotic on the wedding day, and they often know what I need before I need it. All of my gear is incorporated into my workflow seamlessly.  
 
I'm often asked what I bring to a wedding. Here's a fairly comprehensive list of what's in my bag.  
 
 
 
 
Cameras:  
2- Nikon D4S's 
1-Nikon D810 
1- Nikon D4 
 
Lenses: 
Nikkor 28mm F1.4D 
AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.4G 
AF-S Nikkor 85mm F1.4G 
AF-S-Micro Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED 
AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8G ED 
AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR 
AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8G 
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G ED VRII 
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR 
AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR 
 
 
Speedlights: 
3 SB910's 
1 SB900 
 
Battery packs: 
3 Nikon SD-9's (incredibly efficient) 
 
Pocketwizards: 
2-TT1 Mini's 
3-TT5 Flex's 
2-AC3 zone controllers 
The handy power cable that attaches to the camera body(really cool) 
 
Rogue Flash Benders-modifiers 
Small, medium and large for various needs 
 
Bogen carbon fiber monopod 
 
GL-1 gunlight 
wescott Ice Light 
 
Granola bars.... chocolate.... valium...(kidding!} 
 
I also have A Nikon D3S and a Nikkor 70-200 VRI in my car for backup.  
 
 
 
This was shot with the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G VR and was racked at 30mm 
The next shot was with the same lens at 100mm. The versatility is really stellar.  
 
 
 
 
 
 




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May 19 2014 Ruben and Sally-Liberty House Wedding with the Nikon D4S

Not too long ago, shooting something like a bridal party with sparklers was a real challenge. Cranking up the ISO wasn't an option years ago, and the use of fill flash sort of washed out the sparklers. Today, with the Nikon D4S, not only can I shoot an image like this at ISO 6400 without even thinking about it, but the focus system in low light kicks serious butt. I'll be posting more images from this wedding of Sally and Ruben at the Liberty House soon, but I wanted to share this. For the pixel peepers, I've also included a 100% crop of the image as well.  
 
Nikon D4S Nikkor 24-70 F2.8G, 1/125th @ 2.8 @ ISO 6400.


100% crop of the Nikon D4S @ ISO 6400


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May 15 2014 Sally and Ruben-Liberty House Weddings-Nikon D4S

I love working at the Liberty House in Jersey City NJ. It's got one hell of a backdrop, and at different times of the day, you'll get a wide array of moods. For the past month or two, the Nikon D4S has become my workhorse. I'm using the D4S and 2 D4's as my essential gear along with 8 lenses. In this image, the autofocus in low light on the D4S makes this image much easier to capture than every before. The D4S isn't just for high ISO. It's focusing system is the best of any camera I've ever used. There was virtually no contrast to focus upon, yet the camera managed to lock on to my subject. The NYC skyline as a backdrop doesn't suck. The rest is all about Sally and Ruben- who were phenomenal to work with. This is a preview of their wedding which I'll blog in a week or so. Huge thanks to the staff at the Liberty House. Their service was stellar! 
 
 
For the photo geeks 
Nikon D4S Nikkor 70-200 VRII, 1/50th @ F3.5 @ ISO 500


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May 6 2014 Nikon D4S-A few observations-Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

"Can I capture an image I wouldn't be able to make with another piece of equipment?"…. That's generally the question I ask myself when I think about a new piece of gear. There are certain things in my bag that I'll rely upon- right until there may be something better- with the exception of my Nikkor 28 1.4D… that's never leaving my bag, but I digress…. One of the benefits of shooting so many frames during the year- I estimate that number to be roughly around 250,000 frames per year or so- I get a good feel for what my gear is capable of. Each flagship body from Nikon does a little something different, and the Nikon D4S simply allows me to make pictures I have never been able to make before.  
 
Yeah, I know, many will say that since I'm a Nikon Ambassador United States, and that I wouldn't say anything else. If you know me personally, you know that I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it. The responsiveness- specifically the decisive focus system, the sharpness of the files and the high ISO performance make this camera the absolute perfect wedding photography camera. I presently use one Nikon D4S along side Nikon D4 bodies, and I feel like I have the ideal tools. Within the next few months, I'll be doing a Kelby One video on what's in my bag and how I use everything.  
 
I want to be clear that I'm not going to do any type of review of theD4S , for obvious reasons, but every once in a while I'd like to share some things that I observe about this new beast. Below is an image I captured at a recent wedding. It was at the Westin Philadelphia , and they were serving dinner to all of the guests. I noticed the bride was in some nice back light, and she and her new husband were whispering to one another. While I knew the light level was quite low, the quality of the light wasn't too bad. I was really just playing around, but I set the ISO on the D4S to 20,000 and fired off a few frames. Yes, I said 20,000. Now, heard this camera could go up to some silly high ISO's, but I never dreamed that I'd make quality wedding images at 20,000. The proof is in the pudding. My mind was blown.  
 
Below, you'll see the image shot at 20,000 with Lightroom at default settings and slight adjustments- but no further noise reduction was used. The 100% crop is included below. The image was shot at 1/160th @ F2.8 at ISO 20,000.


100% Crop of the Nikon D4S @ ISO 20,000


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