Nikon Mirrorless Announcement - My Views by Philip Swallow

Ok, first and foremost this won't be a deep technical analysis of the Nikon Announcement, plenty of people have covered that already despite not having access to review units yet!

There will be some technical references however as I think they are necessary. This is mostly about my thoughts as a Nikon user and how I see the general direction of travel and when I will jump on board with this modern camera technology.

Overall, I think this is the right move for Nikon as it is the way the industry is heading. Sony have delivered some excellent Full Frame (FF) mirrorless bodies and a number of photographers have made the switch, one notable being Hannah Couzens who moved across from Canon earlier this year.

Sony going first has been good for them but it also allows the likes of Nikon (and Canon) to assess their offering and shape their own lineup accordingly. I don't think you always have to be first, but you do have to get it right. Worth noting here that Apple have typically watched the market and then delivered a world-beater, i.e. let the other guys to the R&D and test the market then strike your blow.

I never buy Version One of anything. It is the final beta version in so many cases. I will be regularly catching up with the real world reviews, YouTube coverage and sales numbers. But I don't expect to invest in a new Nikon Mirrorless body for around two years.

I do think it odd that they only provided one card slot but only time, sales and XQD performance will see if they rue that decision. Sony found a way of fitting two cards (SD, one slower than the other) in a smaller form factor FF mirrorless body but Nikon said it wasn't possible for these launch models. A response to a comment I made on Instagram about this saw the following reply from a Nikon employee "never seen an XQD card fail". As the saying goes, "there's a first time for everything" and a wedding shooter would not want to be at the mercy of that first failure! 

I think the pricing is realistic and some of the bundle offers look good (for 2018 only?). But that would still be Version One of course.

I'd like to understand more about battery life, which looks poor on paper. Add in a tether setup and you would really need to plug in the USB-C charging cable to keep it all going for a day in the studio - assuming this is possible. Generally the Nikon batteries have been so good and so reliable so this could be seen as a dilution but the EVF does cause drain so you can't have everything. I would have preferred a larger form factor that could have supported a larger battery . . .

I like the fact that Nikon have set out a draft lens roadmap. That suits my own high level timetable but again, let others experience them for real before I decide what to do. Having an adapter means I am under no pressure to replace everything straight away.

One other technical point is the AF. Sony have Eye AF, I've never tried it but people seem to like it. As a portrait photographer I am perfectly able to select the focus point and admit I have never craved something that needs to detect an eye! But some people think it is a missed opportunity.

So have they got it right? Very hard to say. This is a new era for the company, but it does seem like a mixed bag and it is impossible to please all the people all of the time. 

We shouldn't have to wait long for some proper feedback and commentary on this new hardware. The bodies will be released in late September (Z7) and late November (Z6) and review units will be available prior to then - exciting times!

So, are you going to pre-order, watch, wait, move systems?? I'd love to hear any comments you may have!



Doesn't great praise make you feel good! by Philip Swallow

We were invited to a fund-raising Afternoon Tea and I being me, asked if they'd mind if I brought my camera gear to help capture the event. This was referred to the President and all was agreed. As well as the experience and enjoyment of the afternoon there was a singer performing there, Paulo Freitas, who was excellent. I like capturing shots of musicians and performers so it was all set up superbly!

The event was a huge success and hundreds of pounds were raised for Alzheimers and Dementia Charities. You will see on my Testimonials Page what it meant to the President.

A huge feel good factor on all fronts, and new friendships were forged. This is something I will certainly do in the future and would urge you all to support, in whatever way you can.

Budapest Trip - Travel Vlog by Philip Swallow

We had a fantastic five days in Budapest in early April and have put a Travel Vlog on my Youtube Channel to tell our story - if you haven't been there then you must go!

We were very fortunate with the weather but there is plenty to do even if you are less fortunate on your trip. The place has beauty, history, culture, great food, great people and is easy on the pocket.

I have integrated my still shots into the video - have a look (and like!) 


I've launched a Podcast! by Philip Swallow

I'm an avid podcast listener and have been for many years. I find it a really useful and entertaining way of catching up on things that interest me and it felt natural to gravitate towards this medium to help to share information about me and my journey.

At the time of writing this blog I have recorded three episodes, all available on iTunes. It has been great fun! I hope that by sharing what I have done here and on the "Socials" I can reach out to like-minded photographers and get some positive engagement as we join forces and enjoy our journeys together.

So please have a listen (and subscribe!) and get back to me with any feedback. It is intended to be an honest account and something that people can relate to. I don't have a formal plan of where it may go, I've usually got plenty to say on many subjects but over time I would certainly like to have others make a contribution, be that in interview or co-hosting or any combination.

Thanks for reading (and listening) - enjoy!

One year on - more Folk Music by Philip Swallow

I was invited to do a shoot at the Lime Meadow Folk & Blues Club last Friday, 10th November. It was a great evening! Two acts performed, Two Coats Colder and Sally Ironmonger & Brian Carter. Please see my Musicians page for some of the shots from the evening. I've been delighted with the opportunities I've had to photograph musicians this year and am working to experience many more!

Hectic Summer! by Philip Swallow

Well things have been mad lately, but mad good rather than mad bad. It had been a difficult start to 2017 with both Sue and I losing our fathers - great men, may they rest in peace.

Photography-wise, I have had a mix of work. I shot the Bromley Pageant of Motoring in June, two double-birthday events in July and now have a photographic residency at a local Jazz Club. And in between that I shot a surprise wedding proposal (she said Yes!) and a follow-up Engagement Shoot in the local countrside. 

Expanding horizons by Philip Swallow

Well at last we have some colder weather here in the UK and I'm quite happy with that. We had a great October in terms of light and I was able to develop my portfolio by doing a couples portrait shoot for my good friend and his partner. We were able to take advantage of some beautiful afternoon light and use his garden which offered up a mix of backgrounds. They were delighted with the results as was I. 

I hadn't really done much portrait work up until then but it has fired up my enthusiasm to do more. I don't think a change in seasons will alter this, if anything it will be a chance to take more natural outdoor shots. I am looking at a couple of options for those shoots so keep posted. 

I have also lined up something else that is new for me, and that is some live music photography. I'm really looking forward to this one; a friend who has set up a folk club and is a good photographer himself, is happy for me to go along and take some for use in my portfolio. Researching that I've looked at some similar shots online, many of which were washed out with flash - I think I can make a better job of it. It will be high ISO and fast lens combo for this one.

Take care all, catch up soon.