Monday, August 27, 2018

Nikon Z6 and Z7 Mirrorless Cameras

Image result for nikon z6 and 7 nikonusa

Nikon finally takes the plunge and enters the highly competitive mirrorless market with two cameras the Z6 and Z7. These full frame mirrorless cameras will compete directly against Sony's offerings.
To continue using Nikon's F mount lenses, there is a F2Z adapter which allows certain F mount lenses to be used on these mirrorless bodies/

Here is the press release from Nikon USA

Nikon Introduces the New Nikon Z Mount System, and Releases Two Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras: the Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6

MELVILLE, NY – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the full-frame (Nikon FX–format) Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6 mirrorless cameras, as well as NIKKOR Z lenses, featuring a new, larger-diameter mount to enable the next generation of ultimate optical performance.

Mirrorless Reinvented
The new Nikon Z mount system is comprised of mirrorless cameras and compatible NIKKOR Z lenses and accessories. This system has been realized through the pursuit of a new dimension in optical performance. It has inherited Nikon’s tradition of quality, superior imaging technology, intuitive operability and high reliability, all innovated from its digital SLR cameras.

At the heart of the Z mount system is the new, larger-diameter mount, which unlocks further possibilities of lens design. The Z mount system will offer a variety of high-performance lenses, including the fastest lens in Nikon history, with f/0.951. Additionally, the new mount adapter will enable compatibility with NIKKOR F mount lenses, adding to the range of choices for photographers.

The letter “Z” represents the culmination of Nikon’s relentless pursuit of ultimate optical performance, and a bridge to a new chapter. It is about redefining possibilities to provide image makers with tools to pursue greater creativity.

Nikon will expand the value of mirrorless cameras through the pursuit of a new dimension in optical performance, and by upholding Nikon’s tradition of quality while responding to the evolution of imaging technology. By providing image makers with stimulating new products, Nikon will continue to lead imaging culture.

Z 7, Z 6 Product Overview
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with built-in focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, and the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 6.

The high-resolution Z 7 has 45.7 effective megapixels, and supports a standard sensitivity range of ISO 64–25600. In combination with NIKKOR Z lenses, the camera achieves an outstanding level of sharpness and detail, all the way to the edges of the image.

The versatile Z 6 is an all-purpose FX-format camera with 24.5 effective megapixels, and supports the wide sensitivity range of ISO 100–51200. With superior performance at high ISO sensitivities and full-frame 4K UHD video capture with full pixel readout, the Z 6 responds to a variety of needs, such as shooting in dimly lit environments and high-quality movie recording.

These two models combine legendary Nikon reliability and a familiar interface with the benefits of a mirrorless, including rapid FPS, hybrid AF, silent shooting and advanced multimedia capabilities.

Primary Features of the Z 7 and Z 6
  1. Equipped with a new backside illumination Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with a new backside illumination, Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with focal-plane phase-detection AF pixels, and the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 6. The Z 7 has 45.7 effective megapixels and supports ISO 64–25600 range of standard sensitivities (reduction to the equivalent of ISO 32 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 102400 is also possible). The Z 6 has an effective pixel count of 24.5 megapixels, and supports a broad range of standard sensitivities, from ISO 100–51200 (additional reduction to the equivalent of ISO 50 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 204800).

  1. A fast and accurate hybrid AF system with focus points covering approximately 90% of the imaging area
The Z 7 has 493 focus points2 and the Z 6 has 273 focus points2, enabling broad coverage of approximately 90% of the imaging area both horizontally and vertically. This hybrid AF system uses an algorithm optimized for the FX-format sensor, to automatically switches between focal-plane phase-detection AF and contrast-detect AF when focusing to achieve focus. Newly-designed NIKKOR Z lenses take full advantage of this system, providing faster, quieter and with increased AF accuracy than previously possible for both still images and videos.

  1. The new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine for sharp and clear imaging, and new functions that support creativity
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with the new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine. Employing the superior resolving power of NIKKOR Z and NIKKOR F mount lenses, subjects are rendered more sharply than ever before. Noise is also effectively reduced.

Additionally, a mid-range sharpening option has been added to Picture Control sharpness parameters. This option, along with existing sharpening and clarity parameters, allows users to make various textures within the screen sharper or softer, for both still images and video3. The cameras also offer 20 options of Creative Picture Control, supporting creative imaging expression. The effect level is adjustable from 0 to 100.

  1. An electronic viewfinder that utilizes Nikon's superior optical and image-processing technologies to offer a clear and natural view
The electronic viewfinder adopted for the Z 7 and Z 6 is comfortable and easy to use, comparable to optical viewfinders. Both cameras are equipped with an electronic viewfinder for which an approximately 3690k-dot OLED panel has been adopted. The electronic viewfinder has frame coverage and magnification of approximately 100% and 0.8×, respectively, as well as an approximately 37.0° diagonal viewing angle. It draws on Nikon's superior optical technologies and image-processing technologies, ensuring a clear and comfortable view, with reduced aberration and minimum eyestrain, even during extended shoots. Furthermore, a fluorine coat that effectively repels dirt has been applied to the eyepiece protection window. In addition, the <i> menu can be displayed in the electronic viewfinder, allowing users to quickly view and adjust a variety of shooting settings, including ISO sensitivity, AF-area mode, and Picture Control, all while looking through the viewfinder.

  1. An ergonomic design unique to Nikon that enables intuitive and familiar operation
The Z 7 and Z 6 have inherited the superior operability that Nikon has cultivated over the years through its development of cameras. The bodies are compact, while boasting a firm grip that is easy to hold, and the sub-selector and buttons such as AF-ON, ISO, and exposure compensation are all placed so that they can be operated swiftly and easily. Additionally, a display panel has been placed on the top plate of the camera, where information about settings can be displayed, similar to high-end digital SLR camera models.

  1. Video functions such as 10-bit N-Log that enables wide dynamic range, and timecoding that respond to professional needs
The Z 7 and Z 6 support recording of not only full-frame 4K UHD (3840 × 2160)/30p movies using the FX-based video format, but also Full-HD/120p movies. Sharper 4K UHD movies are made possible, using the full-pixel readout4. Additionally, Active D-Lighting, electronic vibration reduction, and focus peaking can be used with 4K UHD and Full-HD movie recording. Nikon’s original N-Log color profile can also be used with 10-bit5 HDMI output. The N-Log setting utilizes extensive color depth and twelve-stop, 1,300% dynamic range to record a wealth of tone information from highlights and shadows for more effective color grading. Timecode support makes synchronizing video and sound from multiple devices easier. Additionally, the control ring built into NIKKOR Z lenses can be used to quietly and smoothly adjust settings such as aperture and exposure compensation.

  1. Nikon's first6 in-camera vibration reduction with approx. 5.0-stop7 effectiveness
The Z 7 and Z 6 are equipped with in-camera vibration reduction (VR). The VR unit provides compensation for movement along five axes. The effects of vibration reduction are equivalent to a shutter speed up to approximately 5.0 stops6. This function can also be used effectively with NIKKOR F lenses, including those not equipped with a VR function, with the Mount Adapter FTZ (sold separately)8.

  1. Other features
  • Same level of strength and durability, as well as dust- and drip- resistance, as the Nikon D850, offered in a compact body
  • A 3.2-in., approximately 2100k-dot touch-sensitive LCD monitor, with a tilting mechanism
  • Silent photography function eliminates shake and noise caused by shutter release,
  • Peaking stack image function9 enables confirmation of the area in focus after shooting using focus shift, which is convenient for focus stacking10
  • High-speed continuous shooting (extended)11 at approximately 9 fps (Z 7) and 12 fps (Z 6) captures fast motion
  • Interval timer photography that makes 8K (Z 7) time-lapse movie creation10 possible
  • An extended low-light metering range12 allows users to easily capture scenes such as the transition from sunset to starry night sky, using aperture-priority auto exposure
  • Built-in Wi-Fi® for direct connection to a smart device using SnapBridge
  • Built-in Wi-Fi® makes the transfer of images and movies to a computer possible
  • Support for existing digital SLR camera accessories such as the EN-EL15/a/b batteries, WT-7/A/B/C Wireless Transmitter (available separately) for transferring images and movies at high speed over a wired or wireless LAN, and radio-controlled/optical controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting, which makes flexible multi-flash photography possible

Development of the MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack
The MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack that is currently in development will hold two EN-EL15b, effectively increasing the number of shots possible and/or movie recording time by approximately 1.8×. It will provide the same level of dust and drip resistance as the Z 7 and Z 6, and will support USB charging using the EH-7P Charging AC Adapter. Information regarding the release of this product will be announced at a later date.

Price and Availability
The Nikon Z 7 will be available September 27 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3399.95* for the body-only configuration, or for $3999.95* SRP as a kit with the new NIKKOR Z 24-70 f/4 S lens. The Nikon Z 6 will be available in late November for the $1995.95* SRP for the body only configuration, or for the $2,599.95* SRP with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens kit. For more information on these and other Nikon products, please visit

About Nikon
Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo and video capture technologies; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enable visual storytelling and content creation. In 2017, Nikon celebrated a legacy of innovation with its 100-year anniversary celebration. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories, Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras and Nikon software products. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., announced the production of 100 million NIKKOR lenses, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit, which links all levels of photographers and visual storytellers to the Web's most comprehensive learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon on FacebookGoogle+TwitterYouTubeInstagramVimeoFlickr and Snapchat (@NikonUSASnap).

# # #

  1. Within interchangeable lenses for Nikon SLR cameras and Advanced Cameras with Interchangeable Lens.
  2. With FX (36×24) image area and single-point AF enabled.
  3. Mid-range sharpness adjustment is only possible at “High quality” movie setting.
  4. DX-based movie format with the Z 7.
  5. Simultaneous recording of 4K UHD movies with 10-bit output to the camera's memory card is not possible.
  6. Among interchangeable-lens cameras.
  7. Measured in accordance with CIPA standards (using the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S, with zoom set at the maximum telephoto position)
  8. The level of compensation achieved when a NIKKOR F mount lens is used is not as high as that of a NIKKOR Z lens
  9. Can only be confirmed using the camera with which focus shift was performed.
  10. Third-party software is required.
  11. Continuous H (extended) in 12-bit RAW, JPEG, or TIFF format.
  12. With interval timer shooting or time-lapse movie recording with silent photography and exposure smoothing enabled.

*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Galen Rowell

Image result for rowell ron kauk
Photo Courtesy: Ron Kauk
    Galen  Rowell needs no introduction to the photography community, This great photographer would have been 78 years today.   A cruel twist of fate took him away on August 11, 2002 in a plane crash.
 Though Rowell was primarily a landscape photographer, he was not averse to other forms of photography as well. He spent long hours waiting for the right light for his photos. Living in California, the nationals parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon were his back yard  including Owens Valley in the Sierra Nevada and  it is here that he did some of his most splendid work.

A Rowell photo has a distinctive stamp on it and if you are familiar with his work you would probably recognize the photographs. Some of Rowell's quotes are below:

 "If your artificially lit shadows are as bright as your naturally lit highlights, the resulting image will always appear overlit."

"Is is hard to believe the sense of liberation that comes from debunking the notion that serious photography requires a seriously large tripod."

"I chose 35mm as my sole means of photographic expression because I wanted to be relatively unencumbered. I tried larger cameras , but the bottom line is that my imagination more directly connects with the final image in 35mm."

"I can't wait to go out in the field and search for examples of chaos in clouds, trees and turbulent waters to juxtapose against the more predictable and immutable patterns of nature."

"We usually pass over a photograph devoid of emotional reaction to its subject and say ' This doesn't do anything  for me. ' Of course it doesn't! The photographer didn't have his or her heart in it."

“Photography was a means of visual expression to communicate what I had seen to people who weren’t there. At first I was disturbed that 99 percent of my images didn’t look as good as what I had seen. The other one percent, however, contained some element–a beam of light, a texture, a reflection–that looked more powerful on film than to my eye. Without this I never would have been drawn toward photography as a career. I became fascinated with trying to consistently combine photographic vision and a visualization in my mind’s eye to make images that exceeded the normal perception before my eyes." Galen Rowell


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Magic of the Markha | Trekking in Ladakh

There was no snow when I stepped on top of the Kongmaru La (5100 metres), the last pass on the Markha Valley trek. Below me was the steep trail which I had just ascended, zigzagging across the hillside. The long line of prayer flags danced crazily in the breeze while to the south-east, the snowy dome of Kangyatse peak (6400 metres) dominated the horizon.  To the north west, were a long range of mountains – the Karakoram? Could K2, the second highest peak in the world be amongst them, I wondered? The silence at the pass was soon shattered by the shrill neighing of the ponies and the cries of the pony men guiding their wards across this divide and down into the valley.

Six days ago, our team of six trekkers accompanied by the indomitable Stanzin and his crew had started out from Leh. The Markha Valley, wedged between the Stok Kangri range to the north and the Zanskar peaks to the south, is the most popular trek in Ladakh.

We left Leh on a sunny September morning with a hint of autumn in the air. The drive along the Indus and then along the Zanskar river to Chilling took around two hours. The crossing of the river at Chilling is an experience in itself which is not for the faint hearted as there is no bridge!   There is a trolley which holds three people at the most and is run by a winch which drags the trolley across the foaming Zanskar.

Once across the river, our ponies were waiting and with Stanzin, our guide, cook and “Man Friday” in the lead we set off for our trek. The days walk to Skiu was mostly on level ground and in about three hours we arrived at a spectacular campsite on the banks of the Markha river. The hot sun had been beating down on us for most of the afternoon so without much adieu we plunged into the icy waters for a well deserved bath!

The next day’s walk from Skiu to Markha is the longest – we passed a small lodge at Pendse which sells handicrafts made by the Ladakh Womens Alliance Group.  Just before Markha we crested a small pass with a fantastic array of chortens and yak horns.

That night at Markha we were rewarded by one of the most wondrous night skies. With my camera on a tripod I waited for the stars.  The last light of the setting sun faded from the sky and then the shadows of the night took over. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky shone like a beacon while higher up overhead was the Great Bear.

Fifteen minutes uphill from the Markha campsite lies the Markha gompa. The view from the monastery reveals a series of terraced fields in neat checker-board patterns above the river.  The villagers are able to grow one crop in summer and we saw ripened barley ready to be harvested.

The walk to Hankar the following morning took us past the impossibly high Tacha monastery clinging to a cliff which seemed more like a mountaineering challenge than a walk – we decided not to attempt the climb!

Stanzin proposed that we camp the next day near a small lake rather than continue to Nimaling. The lake camp below Kangyatse peak is Markha valley’s best kept secret.  Our tents were pitched on the shores of the lake which is rich in birdlife. We spotted sandpipers, wagtails, redstarts, accentors, dippers and many other species. In the background, the peak of Kangyatse stands sentinel over this pristine location.  The evening ended with a superlative Chinese dinner of hot and sour soup, fried rice and mushrooms with vegetables all cooked by Stanzin:  this was possibly the most perfect campsite on the trail!

The walk to Nimaling is through meadows where we saw marmots and the Ladakh pica scurrying in and out of their burrows. The giant golden eagles were soaring with the thermals and we tried in vain to spot bharal (blue sheep) perched high up on seemingly inaccessible crags.  A sharp wind blew across the pastureland and at this altitude of 4,500 metres we felt that we were finally above the clouds.  Ridge after ridge of the Ladakh ranges were behind us now, the gnarled rocks lit up in extraordinary colours of red and russet.

A steady two hour climb from Nimaling the next morning brought our group to the top of the pass. This was followed by a knee cracking descent of more than a thousand metres all the way down to the campsite of Chukirmo!

The last day’s walk through a canyon follows the valley past neatly manicured villages, a school and finally to the road head at Shang Sumdo. A welcome tea tent served us a meal and chilled juice while we waited for our transport back to Leh.

 Sculpted canyons, fantastic rock formations, ancient villages, Buddhist gompas and above all, the snowy mountains, the Markha valley could well be the ideal short trek in the Himalaya!

For more information on our treks in the Himalaya do visit and for photographs from the Himalaya do visit

And for details on the best gear, equipment and national parks in 2020 do visit this link

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Tso Kar to Tso Moriri Trek | Ladakh

Though the longer and traditional trek in Ladakh is from Rumtse to Tso Moriri, many trekkers now are taking advantage of the road to Tso Kar and trekking from Tso Kar to Tso Moriri which can be done in 5-6 days comfortably. A South Col team will be trekking this route from August 8th to 19th 2018. The itinerary of the trek is below along with some photographs from the region. 

Day 1 8th August 2018: Delhi to Leh by flight and rest in Leh.
Days 2 and 3 9th and 10th August 2018: Acclimatization days in Leh and around monasteries.

Day 4 11th August 2018 Drive from Leh to Tso Kar lake 4 hours and then to Ponganabu to camp for the night (4500 metres).  

Day 5 12th August 2018: Ponganagu to Riyul Time: 2-3 hours Level: Easy Riyul to Nuruchan (4350m) 3-4 hours 16 km moderate
The first part of the trail skirts the lake of Tso Kar. It is a flat walk well suited for acclimatization. Jeeps also ply on this flat route but are few and far between. Along the right or western edge of the lake will lead you to a large chorten beside lush pasture land which marks the campsite of Riyul. You can have lunch here.  Then, follow the jeep road which runs on the right of the pasture moving south. The road traverses soft, sandy soil which makes the first few hours difficult walking. Some 4x4 have made tracks moving south-east. Do not follow this. Carry on south until you reach the fields of Nuruchan (4350 metres). If you are walking from Ponganagu you may want to camp here. The campsite is further south from the village. The track follows the river upstream, curving to the right.

Day 6 13th August 2018 17th Nuruchan to Rajankaru (4900 metres) 8 km 4 to 5 hours Level: Moderate
Cross the river at some point upstream. Wherever you cross you will have to take your boots off and wade across the calf-deep waters. Climb onto the other bank and climb up the plateau in front. Walk in a south easterly direction. The path is well defined and climbs very gradually to the top of the Horlam Kunga pass. From Nuruchan it should have taken no more than three to four hours to the top. From the pass follow the path which goes down rapidly to the base of the valley in a south-easterly direction to Rajungkaru. There are many places to camp here. It’s also a favourite with the nomads. Although their camps are picturesque watch out for their large, fierce dogs.

 Day 7 14th August 2018 : Rajankaru to Gyama Barma ( 5100 metres) 9 km  Level: Moderate 4 to 5 hours
From Rajungkaru, follow the river upstream until you see a rocky plateau with nomad camps. You’ll need to climb up to the plateau, cross the stream and head straight south towards the Kyamayuri La 5410 m (17,853 ft.). Do not head towards the south west which leads over the Barma Pass. Instead, follow the well-defined track, keeping to the left or east side of the mountain. The last hour is difficult as the track becomes steep and the soil is soft and crumbling. It often snows on this pass so keep a jacket handy. From the top follow the track which runs along the left or east side of the mountain down to a vast, grassy valley ringed by snow peaks on the south west. A river runs east-west. Either camp here at Gyama Barma for the night or if you aren’t knackered then continue upstream until the track moves south east up a rocky mountain. You will have to cross the stream to get to this.

Day 8 15th August 2018  Gyama Barma to Gyama (5100m) 3 to 4 hours 9 km Level: Moderate
From Gyama Barma it is a steep one hour climb up to Kartse La which is again well over 5000 m. From the top the path runs down a meadow gradually reaching the bottom of the hill at Gyama after another hour or two. There are two streams here. A small stream running west-east (right-left) and a larger one running southwest-northeast. Camp along the small stream as it is well sheltered. The larger stream runs through a windy plain which would get cold at night.

Day 9 16th August 2018  Gyama to Korzok (4500m) Time: 6-7 hours 14 km Level: Moderate to Difficult
At Gyama cross the large southwest-northeast stream which will take you to the eastern side of the valley. The pony track which runs below the Mani wall on the left leads south-east up a smaller valley. Climb steadily for a couple of hours, traversing a small grassy plain and then entering a narrow gorge. You will need to cross the shallow stream in the gorge at several points. When the gorge opens up again find the path turning left or east over a grassy knoll until you come upon the prayer flags and cairns marking the Yalung Nyau La. From Gyama this would have taken about three hours. You can catch a glimpse of Tso Moriri from the pass. The track moves down steeply towards the east onto a broad, dry plain, eventually turning into a small pleasant green valley traversed by a stream. This area provides excellent campsites. A little further down towards Korzok and you will again run into campers from Leh who have made the journey to Tso Moriri by jeep.
Tip: Check out the Gompa at Korzok which houses a tooth relic of Kashyapa Buddha in the Heart Chakra of the Buddha statue in the main prayer hall.

Day 10 17th August 2018:  Rest Day Tso Moriri 

Peaks from Tso Moriri

Day 11 18th August 2018  Drive to Leh by road Time: 6 hours
Day 12 19th August 2018 : Leh to Delhi by flight

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