Unboxing – Nikon Z8


I was surprised to get an email from LCE yesterday saying that my Nikon Z8 was ready for collection today (25 May).

My surprise is finding myself at the front of the queue and that LCE had an allocation of the first cameras. I always thought that London Camera Exchange was one of those shops over looked by the manufacturers.

I’m not going to say much about the camera as I’m sure there are plenty of other sources to find out about it out there on the Interweb.

And if you are lucky enough to also have one of these cameras today, then check out this YouTube video on the settings that you should consider changing.

Nikon EN-EL4a batteries


I was just checking my Nikon D3 camera now that I no longer have the D850 and I do wonder how much longer I can use it for. The batteries I own are coming to the end of their life and the official sources for the EN-EL4a battery are all currently out of stock. I wonder how long it will be before it joins my D1 as a doorstop.

F to Z

In preparation for my transition from DSLR to Mirrorless I have got an FTZ II adapter. And according to the technical notes the following lenses in my collection should work with it:

  • 24mm f1.4 AF-S G
  • 28-70mm f2.8 AF-S D
  • 58mm f1.4 AF-S G
  • 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR G
  • 105mm f1.4 AF-S ED E

These autofocus lenses will not:

  • 14mm f2.8 AF D
  • 20-35mm f2.8 AF D
  • 85mm f1.4 AF D
  • 300mm f4 AF D

I also have a couple of manual lenses and they are the 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro and 500mm f4 P.

My main reason for getting the Nikon Z8 is for the improved autofocus and the in body stabilisation. So I’m not really planning to be using the camera much with manual focusing. So what are my options?

The first option is to replace all my F glass for Z glass like for like. Which wouldn’t be very sensible as it would be really expensive plus I have lenses that I very rarely use. There is no point in changing the 500mm f4 P which doesn’t often leave its case or the tilt shift speciality of the 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro.

In an ideal world the first Z lenses I would get is the 85mm f1.2 followed by the 35mm f1.2 which is still to be announced. I would also get the 14-24mm f2.8 to replace the 14mm f2.8 AF D and the 20-35mm f2.8 AF D which don’t have autofocus function with the FTZ II.

Right now there aren’t many Z lenses on the used market. I have seen the 50mm f1.2 for sale and a part of me is considering getting one of these so that I have a native lens to use on the Z8.

Another option is to upgrade my AF D type lenses to more modern AF-S type lenses which are coming down in price so will then work with the FTZ II. I’ve been looking at swapping the 300mm f4 AF D for the 300mm f4 AF-S E PF ED VR but I think the price still isn’t right for the move.

There is plenty to consider for my strategy as I move from one system to the other.

Cheap v Expensive

I came across this YouTube video of a film maker who wanted an Aputure Spotlight Mini Zoom but instead purchased a cheaper alternative.

The cheaper alternative they purchased, to me, had so many disadvantages that I wonder if it is worth it at all.

I get that not everyone can afford to get expensive gear. And a good sign of a professional is their ability to produce work no matter what the budget.

This is a great video on how to get away with making a decent product just by using items that can be purchased from the high street rather than a specialist store.

Currently Wex is selling the Profoto fitting for the Westcott Optical Spot by Lindsay Adler kit at £588. This price does include the lens and I paid £299 for the Pixapro EF-Mount Optical snoot kit which didn’t come with a lens. Knowing what I know now I am glad I did not go for the more expensive option.

I still have this modifier and I was considering getting an Aputure LS 60d to work with it. But would I keep thinking that I would rather be using it with their Spotlight Mini Zoom instead of the cheap optical snoot that I own.

If you want to see how good the Spotlight Mini Zoom is then Gaffer & Gear did a review on it. And CVP are currently selling it for £477. Obviously the light itself is extra.

Nikon Z8 pre-order

I know it isn’t out yet but I have pre-ordered the Nikon Z8 mirrorless camera.

Why? You might ask, as we don’t know what it looks like or the specifications for it. We don’t even know the price. But to me it makes sense.

I have the Hasselblad 500C/M with the 150mm lens sitting around doing nothing. It was a lockdown project but now that I have less time to play with film it is just taking up room in a camera bag. So I have put it in part exchange at London Camera Exchange for the yet to be announced Nikon Z8 camera.

You don’t really have to be a genius to work out that at some point Nikon will have a Z8 series if there are the Z5, Z6, Z7 and Z9 series of cameras.

I love my D850 but mirrorless is the future and I really do need to get on that bandwagon properly.

10 May 2023 The official launch for the Nikon Z8 happened today at 1300 BST.

The suggested UK retail price is £3999. Which is a lot more money than I was expecting to spend.

I can’t really justify keeping the D850 if this is the price I’m going to have to pay for the Z8. So it will have to go. But I will still be keeping the D3 for any of the autofocus lenses that won’t work with the new camera using the FTZ adapter.

The problem with this plan is that there might be other photographers who are thinking the same thing. Which will mean plummeting prices for a secondhand D850 as loads of them come on to the market. Good if you are looking for an excellent DSLR but can’t or don’t want to pay full price.

Unboxing – Godox SA-P

After six months having had the Pixapro EF-Mount Optical snoot I was really getting to know all the down sides of that piece of kit. My evaluation was that it wasn’t really suitable for my set up. I would have to get a light that would work better with it. Researching more, I discovered that since I now have a Dedolight meant that I could attach a projector to that light.

And when I say doing research I mean watching YouTube and this one has been the most helpful.

So instead of spending about £350 on a new light I could spend just over £100 in getting a projector unit from Godox. It makes more financial sense to do this. So finding a used version of the Godox SA-P Projection Attachment for sale at a below £100 price made even more sense to get it.


The box that this unit came in was tiny compared to the box the Pixapro® EF-Mount Optical snoot came in.


And when you put them side by side the size difference is pretty clear.


A big part of me is regretting buying the Pixapro® EF-Mount Optical snoot. But there is a part of me thinking that if I hadn’t got it then I wouldn’t have known what I wanted out of a projector for my lights.


I think Andrew Lock, the presenter of Gaffer & Gear said that the shutter blades for the Godox SA-P weren’t very good and he is right. They are extremely fiddly to make them work which is the opposite of what you need when trying to make a precision cut of light.

Will I get rid of my Pixapro® EF-Mount Optical snoot? I don’t think I will. I might need a projector which has a Bowens mount and if I move to the Nikon Z system, I will have plenty of spare F mount glass to use with it.

Modifying Profoto A2

The Profoto Clic OCF Adapter II is now shipping for the A series lights. And as usual it is the high Profoto price of about £260 including VAT. If you add shipping to that, it isn’t cheap.

As I have a B10 that I can use the OCF modifiers with, I’m now not sure if I want to spend the money on this item but use the money elsewhere.

Which got me thinking, is there anything I already own that I could use with the A2? Will any of the modifiers I purchased to work with my Nikon Speedlights work with the Profoto A2?


So I tried fitting the Rogue FlashBender Small Reflector to it. To my surprise it does go around the A2 with no problem.


And it does flag the light pretty well.

But what about the Rogue 3-in-1 Flash Grid?


It is a bit snug fit but does it matter what it looks like if it does the job?


I’m pleased to say that it does a pretty good job in narrowing the beam.

For now it doesn’t make sense to get the Clic OCF Adapter II but it is always an option for the future.

Rotolight NEO 3 PRO

Rotolight have launched an Indiegogo for their NEO 3 PRO and AEOS 2 PRO lights.

From what I can tell, this version of the light there are minor bumps in specification. The light output has been boosted and it can be used with more remotes in flash mode. It is able to work with Godox, Elinchrom, Pixapro, Neweer and more importantly Profoto remotes. There are also some changes to the materials used on the PRO model. Gone are some of the plastics for metal.

Part of me wishes I had waited for this model to come out before buying my NEO 3. But would Rotolight have created this version if people had not purchased the first version. I doubt they would have put in the research and development if nobody was interested in that first version.

There aren’t enough new features in the NEO 3 PRO for me to consider getting one. I’m not planning to use my NEO 3 as a flash unit. It would be nice to have a brighter light output but nothing I have seen excites me about the PRO version.

Pixapro EF-Mount Optical snoot

I’ve realised that in my unboxing of the Pixapro EF-Mount Optical snoot I wasn’t getting the optimum amount of light out from the Profoto units.


In my original testing I was hanging the optical snoot very close to the front of the light.


As you can see there is quite a lot of space when the optical snoot has the Profoto mount attached to it. So to get the most light means pushing the units together as far as they can go. This will then allow the front of the light to be as close as possible to the back of the chamber in the optical snoot.


What worries me about this set up is how much heat is being generated that can’t escape and will this might end up damaging the light? Do I want to risk having to repair a very expensive light?


The optical snoot did come with a Bowens mount, which has a much lower profile than the Profoto mount.


My thinking is to take the Profoto mount off and then get a continuous light with a Bowens mount. An Aputure LS 60d retails for around £367 inc VAT which is much less than having to replace the B10 or B10 Plus.

Profoto colour accuracy

I was looking back at my tests of the Profoto lights and realised that the B10 Plus, B10 and A2 gave out different colour temperatures from each other.

Here is a reminder of the readings.

A25698K664 lx
B105976K1430 lx
B10 Plus6004K2800 lx

Which made me wonder if they would look different from one another if used together.


The answer is no. When mixed together, to my eye, I can’t see any colour shifts in the different lights.


This is the A2 set as the back light.


This is the B10 set as the fill light.


And this is the B10 Plus as the key light.


This is the B10 Plus and B10 on with the A2 off. And to be honest I think the B10 acted more like the key light than the fill light.

The white balance on the D850 was set to auto.