January 11, 2020

The conundrum of Nikon Z6 ProRes RAW

Zoomed and scaled view of a zone plate test shot (Nikon Z6, photo mode - no video!)

Ever since Nikon and Atomos annonced the availability of the Apple ProRes RAW codec for Nikon Z6 (and Z7) cameras back at CES 2019, the more curious-minded among us were puzzled.

How can that be? Not the part that a RAW codec via external recording over HDMI was made possible. That part of the announcement sounded fairly straighforward. After all, a RAW codec only contains one channel per pixel. So, even at 12 Bit, there should be ample of bandwidth left in the HDMI specification - even when going beyond 4k. To be precise, HDMI 2.0 supports up to 18 Gbps. a raw 30fps 4k (UHD) 12bit signal is 2.78 Gbps. Even 6k raw adds up to 6.26 Gbps. So enough bandwidth indeed.

The puzzling part was that Atomos and Nikon announced the external raw feed would be 4k. Apple ProRes RAW is compressed but unbayered pixel data directly from the sensor. But it is known that the Nikon Z6 does a full ~6k sensor readout to downsample its video feed. The Nikon Z6 has no 4k raw data! How can that be? We're eventually going to answer that now!

March 2, 2019

A working L-Bracket for the Nikon Z6/Z7

The GABALE L-Bracket for the Nikon Z6 and Z7
I haven't posted on my blog for quite a while. But I am still alive and still going strong :)

One of my more recent aquisitions is a Nikon Z6 which isn't to replace my D850. But which will be a nice companion and an outstanding tool for my video work.
I decided to post here because things on the L-bracket side of things are a bit confusing for the Nikon Z6. Esp. a claim made by Ricci (@nikonricci and yt RicciTalks) that the 3-Legged Things Zelda works in conjunction with the Nikon WR-R10 wireless transceiver made me decide to blog my experience.

Unlike Ricci, I found that the Nikon WR-R10 does not fit with the Zelda. It can be made to fit, but then it slightly tilts and puts stress on the port. Not good. I am not alone in my finding. The Zelda may be a great bracket, esp. a lightweight one. But it doesn't fit my bill the way it is.

I found it surprisingly difficult to come by solid information about what brackets do actually work with the Z cameras. Therefore, I decided to try my luck with the GABALE L-Bracket.

November 27, 2013

Can you tame an Otus Zeiss?

Otus scops aka Eurasian Scops Owl aka Otus Zeiss (Image under Wikimedia Commons)
The ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 lens currently is the finest lens ever made for a 35mm SLR. Every test coming in from DxO, DPReview and other test sites all speak the same language: there has been no lens with a similiar performance before the Otus. Wide open at F/1.4, it beats many excellent lenses out there at F/2.8, and by F/4, it breaks most limits. Across the entire field.
     So, even at its undesirable price level, it remains a desirable item sold out for six months now. But a question remains: can you tame it?

July 4, 2013

Comment: Why the new "Dual Pixel AF" will transform the photo industry

Image ©Canon Europe. The Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor structure.

I do not normally comment on developments I have no inside information about. It is just adding to the noise in the internet. Here, I decided to make an exception :)

So, Canon launched the Canon 70D digital SLR camera 2013, July 2, two days ago. It includes an autofocus technology named "Dual Pixel cmos AF" which promises to introduce high-speed autofocus performance to live view shooting and movie recording which previously would have required a phase detect AF module, at least in lower light situations.

I believe that this innovation looks much more innocent than it actually is. Here is why.

September 21, 2012

Photokina 2012: Nikon talks about the D800's outer AF issue

"I AM here4U" at Photokina 2012

Note: A copy of this blog article has been published in German language too. Please refer to the corresponding version (Deutsch) before posting comments. Thank You.

Prior to Photokina, I had scheduled a meeting with Nikon Germany, partly in order to discuss the known issue regarding the outer AF focus fields of the Nikon D800 camera.

So, on Tuesday I had the pleasure to discuss the topic extensively with both Michael Wollburg (Manager Customer Support Nikon GmbH) and a Nikon technician in charge. The meeting was very friendly and constructive.