Jeff Burns

Jeff Burns

Lafayette, Indiana

Jeff's father gave him one of his old cameras when he was about ten years old. It was a terrible camera, and the pictures were even worse, but he was soon trusted with better equipment. Photography was an important part of family vacations with the e...
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The Berlebach Wood Tripod – Closer Look

The Berlebach Wood Tripod – Closer Look

A Look At Wood Tripods Most tripods sold today are made of aluminum or carbon fiber. When I started looking seriously for a good tripod, I first considered these standard options, but occasionally wood was presented as an alternative. At least two...

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  • Jeff Burns
    Jeff Burns
    Silver Member
    Posts: 4
    Lens Selection and Z9
    on: October 15, 2023 at 8:04 am

    I have had the Z9, Z 24-120mm f/4 S, and  Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S for about a year-and-a-half now. It is a wonderful system and a vast improvement over my APSC system. The quality of my work improved after purchasing this system.

    These two lenses make a good combination for the landscape and wildlife work that have been my focus for the last few years. I would still love to add a wide angle lens such as the 14-24mm f/2.8, 14-30mm f/4, or 20mm f/1.8, and a telephoto like the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, but even with the additional lenses I expect that more than 50% of shots would be with the lenses I have now.

    Despite how good the Z9 is, I would not carry it in a situation where I could not devote a significant part of my time to photography. It is too bulky and heavy to carry just in case I want to take a picture. My iPhone now fills this need fairly well, but small cameras like a Leica Q3 would be nice for casual travel photography. Someone might suggest a Z8 as lighter alternative, but I think I would still get the Z9 today.  The built-in GPS in the Z9 is important to my workflow, the battery lasts a very long time, and it never overheats with video.

    Kevin, I would be glad to write another article for you, but need to find a good topic – there are more than enough Z9 reviews. I purchased the Z9 and lenses from Roberts.

    Z9, Nikkor Z 100-400 f/4.5 S

    Z9, Nikkor Z 24-120 f/4 S

    Z9, Nikkor Z 100-400 f/4.5 S

    Jeff Burns
    Jeff Burns
    Silver Member
    Posts: 4
    Re: Cameras, Lenses and Shooting Gear
    Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021 at 2:06 pm
    I have preordered a Nikon Z9 and can use help sorting out the options for lenses. Since this is a complete system change I am starting from scratch.
    The past is not always prologue but it is a good place to start. I am moving from an APSC system I purchased six and a half years ago. Lenses for this system include an 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6, 50mm F/1.8, and a 200mm F/2.8. The zoom is a collection of compromises but it is a good all around lens. I often wish it was faster, and occasionally wish for better quality. The 50 mm is a cheap plastic lens but it is very useful. On APSC it is a good portrait length. The fast aperture is helpful for low light, and with some cheap close-up lenses it is not bad for macro. The 200 mm has noticeably higher quality than the other lenses. For both portraiture and wildlife I find I am at F/2.8 often. It has also been my best lens for macro work.
    I want a wider angle lens. Over the years I’ve used panorama stitching extensively and recently have been enjoying the wide angle lens in my iPhone (13 mm full frame equivalent). I’ve also used the 14 mm Nikkor on full frame and and found it very useful.
    My current home has abundant wildlife and 200mm is not long enough for good photographs.
    This is the system I have in mind:
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S
    Advantages of this combination:
    • Wide focal length range
    • Fast at wide angle for astro and night photography
    • 24-120mm makes a good one lens kit
    • 24-120 and 100-400 share 77mm filter size
    • Both 24-120 and 100-400 have good magnification for macro
    • All native Z mount
    • Consistant ergonomics (all have the extra control ring)
    Negatives of this combination:
    • Cost. I will probably have to delay purchase of one lens.
    • Slow max aperture limiting low light, wildlife, and portraiture.
    The best way to round out this system would be to add a fast prime or two (35mm and 85mm) and a fast telephoto. Unfortunately, it will take some time before I have the budget for more lenses. The question then is what are the best compromises?
    My first thought is to skip the 14-24mm for now. The 24-120mm is 3 mm wider than my current kit, and I can still stitch. On the long end there are some F mount options that will be cheaper even after purchasing the FTZ adapter.
    The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR has decent reviews. This would be over a $1000 savings. The Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports is also less expensive and offers extreme versatility, but reviews are more mixed.
    Any ideas are welcome.
    Jeff Burns
    Jeff Burns
    Silver Member
    Posts: 4
    Re: Cameras, Lenses and Shooting Gear
    Reply #2 on: November 14, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    I am contemplating a major upgrade to my photographic equipment and need to factor in the cost of insurance. Currently, I list a few items on my homeowners policy, but I am not sure this is the best option. 


    I am not currently doing any paid photography work but I might sell the occasional print or be paid for a small photo shoot. As an engineer I sometimes work on advanced imaging systems for my employer. I probably do not need many of the features of a business insurance plan like liability coverage, but want to be sure my coverage is not dropped if I get paid for something related to photography. 

    For comparison I am looking at total equipment value of $15,000. 

    Two options involve joining associations. A membership in the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) costs $323 per year and includes basic equipment coverage up to $15,000. Additional coverage that adds features like theft from unlocked cars and mysterious disappearances costs an additional $321 at the $15,000 coverage level. The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) offers optional equipment insurance to members.  Membership is $100 a year. $15,000 in coverage would cost $368 per year. Joining NANPA could have some other benefits since I do a fair bit of nature photography. 

    Other options I have found include Package Choice that appears to be intended for professionals, and

    Coverage needs to cover a wide range of hazards including dropping into water, international travel, and theft from cars, hotel rooms, or camp sites. 

    Thanks for any advice.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Jeff Burns.
    Jeff Burns
    Jeff Burns
    Silver Member
    Posts: 4
    Re: Lr and C1
    Reply #3 on: January 1, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    When Apple dumped Aperture I evaluated both Lr and C1 extensively. I preferred C1 for editing but went with Lr for the DAM and integrated workflow enhancements like pano stitching, HDR, and geotagging. When Adobe went to a subscription model I avoided upgrading until this week. Apple’s latest operating system upgrade finally made Lr 6 unusable. I am not happy about the recurring expense for Lr, but the new version at least makes my images look better. I considered switching to C1, but C1 still has the same disadvantages.

    I am a bit surprised that C1 has not made more advances in the area of DAM. The session workflow works well for some of their core customers, but is inadequate for others. Over the last three years I have used C1 with both Phase One and Nikon cameras as I developed imaging systems for my employer. Sessions work well for small projects. Both the session and catalogue systems are inadequate for enterprise level projects. In production the imaging systems I worked on generated terabytes of images that needed to be shared across the enterprise. Custom systems were in development to deal with the data. Sessions work well for many of C1 photographic customers, but industrial strength DAM should appeal to their cultural heritage and industrial customers.

    DAM in Lr has shortcomings. The catalog is not conducive to a multi-user environment  My wife has never liked that she cannot get to our family photos. Adobe’s cloud initiatives may offer good solutions to these problems, but the cost may be prohibitive.

    If C1 invests in improving their catalog system they could entice many more Lr users to switch.

    On APIs, Canon, Nikon, and Sony have well documented APIs to remotely control their cameras. Phase One has an API to interface with C1. The API can be a very important factory for camera selection for some applications. Existing APIs are good enough to enable exciting applications. Take a look at Sony’s RX0 Multi-Cam capabilities. Time and funding are bigger challenges to using the APIs than the functionality they contain. What would really help is an industry standard API. Then some of the smaller camera companies could have support for features like full tethering.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Jeff Burns.