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Nikon Is The Future

Across two days in March Nikon hosted an exclusive photographic experience for its retailers, content creators and imaging journalists. ePz was on the guest list and Will Cheung made the journey down to London, Nikon in his backpack, to join the fun.

| Nikon Z 7 II in Events

Nikon Is The Future: C30866A1 F4A6 4116 B0A6 007CA1E89DA6 |
Dancer Amy was photographed with Nikon’s new Z 26mm f/2.8 pancake lens on a Z 7II body. The exposure was 1/125sec and f/2.8 at ISO 1600. 


Printworks London, a nightclub and event venue in the Docklands was the location for the Nikon is the Future imaging experience with five photos and video ‘stations’ each manned by Nikon School experts and Nikon creators.

The concept of the event was simple with the invited guests divided into groups of 8-10 people and scheduled to enjoy and shoot each scenario in turn. We had set-ups featuring fine art, fashion, portrait, dance and video. It was a nice mix and gave me the chance to get a variety of shots. At each station the expert outlined what was going to happen and over the next 45 mins, we shot pictures with our own cameras and Nikon loan kit.


Nikon Cameras & Lenses 

I took along my own Z 7II and borrowed the award-winning Z 9 too. I also got the chance to handle and shoot a few pictures with the recently announced Z 26mm f/2.8 and Z 85mm f/1.2 S lenses. The Z 85mm f/1.2 is a £2999 lens aimed at well-heeled fashion and portrait shooters, while the Z 26mm at £529 is much more in my ballpark. In my view, the 26mm focal length is great for street work and the compact stature of this optic makes it perfect to tote around all day long. This shoot wasn’t ideally suited for this pancake lens but from the shots, I took the results were very sharp, and I’m looking forward to trying the lens out on the street soon.


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One mains flash fitted with a lighting brolly to the right above model Venus. The background has a ‘tunnel’ of continuous light tubes. Photographed with a Z 24-70mm f/2.8 with an exposure of 25sec at f/4 and ISO 250.


Capturing Portraits 

The stills shoots were a mix of flash and continuous light, some both. Printworks is an impressive and spacious social venue but well lit, it isn’t. That did make our scenarios much more atmospheric with the venue’s low lighting and modelling bulbs lighting the subject, but it was a challenge for autofocus. The Z 7II found it occasionally tricky to lock on, even with the AF illuminator active. To be fair, it was very dim. Generally, the Z9 fared better, which was no surprise, and even the face/eye AF detect worked well.

Of course, the downside with shooting in groups with flash is that you have to wait your turn with the trigger. On the upside, you can hang back, see what others are shooting and ‘borrow’ their posing ideas.


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Monique was the model for the fine art shoot. The main light was feathered (angled away from the model but with the subject still receiving some light) to give a very even light across Monique's face.


Dancers & Models

My first session was the fine art shoot with model Monique and hosted by Therese Asplund, an international Nikon Z creator. Monique had a very individual ‘look’ and she was lit by a feathered flash unit with a couple of smaller lights in the background. This shoot was a challenge for the Z 7II's AF and manual focusing was needed.

Next, we were in the dance area where we had Amy and James working with us and Nikon School’s Ricci Chera heading up the session. This was a scenario lit by the modelling lamp and flash from a mains flash unit and the venue’s ambient light. There was enough light to shoot without the flash provided a high ISO was set. Of all the sessions, this was the shoot where we got in each other’s way a little bit. Facing straight on gave the best composition of the dancer and the background, so with one photographer working with the flash trigger, those shooting ambient light had to be patient and move around.


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Fashion models Natalia and Maria were lit with several continuous lights. A Z 35mm f/1.8 lens was used with an exposure of 1/100sec at f/1.8 and ISO 800


Cool Costumes & Lightsabers

Two interestingly costumed models, Natalia and Maria awaited us in the next mini-session. Hosted by New York fashion photographer Kino, he talked us through how to shoot editorial and fashion and how to work with models for the different disciplines. This was a fascinating session, especially with the costumes we were shooting, and Kino’s energetic - and excellent - presentation skills.

Two models were available for the fourth shoot, Venus and Steven with his lightsabre, hosted by Neil Freeman from the Nikon School. Venus was posing in a tunnel of light tubes and she was lit with a single flash unit. Getting the exposure balance of flash and the light tubes was key here - and framing shots without the inconveniently situated green fire exit sign in the background. With Steven there was the option of shooting flash, using filter gels, adding smoke for mood or light painting during longer exposures.


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Steven (#stevenmaverickhall) and his light sabre was lit with one studio flash at top left and two small flash heads fitted with coloured gels, enabling an exposure of 1/60sec at f/3.5 and ISO 400


Capturing Video

The final station of my day was the video experience hosted by Nick Leavesley from Beyond Content, a video production service. This session rounded off the day nicely for me as it covered an area that I am less experienced in, and Nick went through how he approaches shoots, the kit he uses and advice on video editing.

All in all, the Night is the Future shoot was a great fun, learning experience with the chance to try different techniques. Thanks, Nikon, for inviting us along.


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Photographs taken using the Nikon Z 7 II

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