About Us / Home

Welcome to my photography blog!

(To return to ‘Home’ click on this link or click on ‘Small Sensor Photography by Thomas Stirr’ in the navigation bar or on the butterfly image at the top of the web site.)

With so many other photography blogs out there the first question you likely have is “What’s the objective of this blog?”

The main purpose is to help readers get the most out of the photography gear that they already own. The second purpose is to highlight what is possible to create when using small sensor cameras.

As photographers, far too often we can get wrapped up in GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) and along the way lose sight of the joy of creating images. There will always be some new camera or lens introduced that will tempt us to empty our wallets, or max out our credit cards. Many photography blogs focus on providing their readers with ‘what’s new’ camera equipment information.

This is not a camera gear review site… and never will be. If you are looking for announcements on the latest cameras and lenses, and technical details/reviews on these products… this is not the best photography site for you to visit. There are a host of other websites that provide that information on a regular basis. And, quite frankly they do a much better job with that subject matter than I ever could.

I may review gear from time to time. When I do, I’ll be focusing on what I own and use and I’ll do my best to make some practical observations on it.

My articles here cover an eclectic mix of topics – from simply showcasing some images taken at a specific locale or of a particular subject matter, to providing some thoughts on post processing. I may also go on a bit of a philosophical tangent from time to time, using photographs to compliment these types of essays.

Over the years I have used a number of different cameras: small sensor bridge, AP-S cropped sensor DSLR, as well as full frame sensor DSLR. In the summer of 2015 I sold all of my full frame camera gear as I found it no longer was the best format to meet my needs.

I do not consider myself a ‘fan boy’ of any particular brand. I own what I own because at the time of purchase it was the best solution for my clients’ needs, and was also the best fit for me on a personal basis.

Currently I use Olympus (now OM System) Micro Four Thirds camera gear for all of my professional work and my personal photography. I also have a rugged Olympus ‘point and shoot’ style camera. I use my gear for various types of photography.

The equipment that I’ve owned and used are considered to be ‘small sensor’ cameras as they incorporate 1/2.3″, 1″ and Micro Four Thirds sensors. The focus of my photography blog shifted in July 2019 to feature and discuss work done with these types of small sensor cameras. At that time I removed most of my previous articles that featured photographs created with full frame equipment.

I’ve been fiercely independent my entire life and my photography has always been experimental and experiential. At times you may find me somewhat unorthodox. I don’t take a ‘textbook’ approach to things. I love to experiment and push things to see how much I can get out my current gear. If that’s also what you love to do, then hopefully you’ll become a regular reader here.

My goal is to have a fun, informative, and respectful blog to help readers get the most out of the gear they already own. Perhaps you may find some inspiration in the images that are shared on this blog. Photography can be a wonderful and creative experience. I hope you’ll choose to join me on this journey.

In order to keep this web site advertising free, I do accept donations through PayPal for those readers who would like to support my work.

We also have a growing selection of eBooks available which may be of interest to you.

Thomas Stirr

Web site: https://smallsensorphotography.com
Email: tom at tomstirr dot com

96 thoughts on “About Us / Home”

  1. Good evening Thomas Stirr
    Going through you wild life shots i see that you have had some great results with your Sigma 150-600 sport, results i cant achieve, not matter the set up i use on my D810 which i purchased for surf shots which was useless and a pity, even on mono pod, tried a P900 had a big focus issue landed up selling it but even on animals focus its just not correct, any secrets will be very well excepted.
    Fine tune was done at zero
    Joe Arraiano

    1. Hi Joe,

      I actually never owned a Sigma Sport 150-600. All of the shots in any articles were taken in the same day (if my memory serves) with a lens that I borrowed from one of my readers. I don’t know what the reader did to calibrate his Sigma Sport. Sorry that I can’t be of more help.


    2. I use the Sigma 150-600 Sports with my V1 and it worked great with my V2. The J5 doesn’t work due to its very small battery, sad to say.

      The Sigma 100-400 C works great with all the Nikon 1 cameras, so I use that much more than the Beast (aka 150-600 Sports).

  2. Hi Tom,
    Still trying my best to figure out and implement BIF settings re: EM1X.
    My BIF/EM1X issue is that I shoot many frames in a burst and normally receive images ranging from totally OoF to kinda close but a very small fraction of keepers if any. My issues become much worse as the birds come closer to the camera.
    —So… it seems the latest greatest cameras are processing 120 AF calculations per second.
    I’m not sure but I thought I read the EM1X does 20 AF calc/sec.
    If that is true wouldn’t shooting at 5 fps allow for 4 AF calculations for each individual frame and thus provide a higher keeper rate?
    “If?” the camera is ‘only’ capable of 20 AF calc/sec and we are shooting 20 fps (18 fps e-shutter with AF) burst then the camera is not able to adjust the AF between individual frames?
    My next idea (contrary to your’s [which I will try also in short order once I find your exact settings for BIF) is to mimick Sony’s popularly successful “AF area wide” setting.
    Set the EM1X AF target mode to the entire sensor (all AF targets) and (with or without Bird Ai) let the camera have it so to speak. I do make good use of the 3 AF limit settings on the 4/300 and incorporate the 3 in-camera settings to give a good range to help keep the AF off the background.
    I have normally used single (sm) Af Target with Bird Ai so that when multiple subjects are in the frame I can move the AF Target over the subject I want to track (if need be). Otherwise, I read, the AF will default to center or closest subject (which is the same as Sony AF wide).

    1. Hi FW,

      As you know there are many factors to consider… so some settings could be involved… handheld technique, shutter speed etc. I always photograph birds-in-flight using 18 fps in silent shutter, so I’m likely not the best person to provide information on the use of other frame rates. I cut my teeth with photography in the newspaper business many decades ago. Those formative, film days taught me to work fast and accurately… and to save film! Suffice to say, I don’t shoot long bursts of images as I find them very inefficient. I tend to shoot short, individual bursts.

      I went back on the website to dig up some article links just in case you haven’t seen these posts.

      Here’s one on ‘pulse shooting’: https://smallsensorphotography.com/benefits-of-pulse-shooting
      This article shares my bird photography settings: https://smallsensorphotography.com/bird-photography-settings
      This posting shares Bird Detection AI tips: https://smallsensorphotography.com/bird-detection-ai-tips
      This one is about using ‘cluster area af’… from your comment this one sounds like the Sony approach: https://smallsensorphotography.com/ducks-using-cluster-area-c-af
      This article discusses the main way that I photograph birds-in-flight, i.e. Pro Capture L with Bird AI: https://smallsensorphotography.com/primary-bif-setting

      Hopefully these will be of some help.


  3. Hi Tom,

    I recently accidently ordered a Nikon 1 J1. Was just checking out a discount coupon that was sent to me by a camera company. Was only looking at shipping costs but ended up buying it instead. Now I can confidently say don’t shop when you are sick…
    By the time I realized my mistake they had already shipped it! Great customer service!
    However, I am so impressed with this camera that I traded it in for a Nikon 1 J5! Skimming the Ebook showed that it was just what I was looking for. Got the basics of photography pretty well covered but need situational info on using the Nikon 1 system. This book is not only beautiful but also very helpful already! Thanks!

    1. Hi Paul,

      The Nikon 1 J5 is a very capable camera which should provide a lot of enjoyment. I’m glad you are enjoying The Little Camera That Could. One of my objectives was to showcase a wide variety of subject matter to provide folks with a good overview of the Nikon1 system and its abilities.


      1. I still like my Nikon 1 J5 but felt like I was getting better performance from my Sony Nex-3N, which I bought to do astrophotography. The Nikon 1 J5 does not have as good low light characteristics as the Sony. However, I ran across your comment on shooting daylight pictures at ISO 3200 in a recent article. Tried it the other day and what a difference. I was keeping the ISO low, to get better color, but had to do a lot of post processing to make them look right. With the higher ISO the images came out good with good color.
        The images also really do look more like old 35mm film. I read this somewhere but wasn’t sure I agreed until I tried the higher ISO. This gives a very disticnt look to the digital images. Thanks.

  4. HI! It’s a pleasure to be here! I still have to read it in depth, but I am amazed to have found a blog from a person passionate about small sensor cameras. I’ve been using a Nikon J2 since 2014 (I know it’s not the best Nikon J camera) for all my pictures and I’m in love with it and with Nikon 1 system in general. So I’ve just recently bought a J5, I’m still waiting for it to arrive. And was the seller of this one who recommended me your blog. A pleasure to read you!

    1. Hi Gonzalo,

      Welcome to the photography blog… we’re glad to have you as a member of the family!

      You’ll find well over 400 articles that feature Nikon 1 images. If you look in the index on the right hand side of the blog, you’ll see that we have sorted articles by sensor size. To find the Nikon 1 articles simply click on the 1″ Sensor heading.

      I also now use Olympus M4/3 camera gear so many of my newer articles were captured with that system.


      1. I was looking throught it, you have a great blog. I’m sure you will se me around. Nice to meet you!

        1. Hi Gonzalo,

          As you go through some of the older articles, please feel free to post comments if you are comfortable doing so. I do my best to respond to as many reader comments as possible, regardless of the age of the article to which a reader may be responding. We work hard to maintain a safe and respectful environment for our readers.


  5. Hello Tom
    Due to Corona we are very constricted in our movements. so I went to my camping site and work in my camper for a while. Right now the weather ist such, that I am trying to sort all those documents on my harddrive.
    2017 you wrote an essay I made a note of. I have just read it once again. It was called something “If, at the end…”. (It provoked a guy who called himself ZeroVc to state some things rather peculiar.)
    One may say, it was written at the wrong time, before Corona, but that would not be true. It was a good essay and valid allways, not only today.
    I do not visit your site all too often now, mainly because with Z7 I have something (very) small and light and anyway, I went more the MF trail than not. Perhaps, in a couple of years soething even smaller and lighter will be necessary.
    Take care

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for taking the time to drop by the website again… always appreciated! I’m glad you find that essay still relevant today. I suppose personal philosophy has a longer shelf life than other topics. πŸ™‚

      It’s good to hear that you are enjoying your Z7! We all need to find gear that best suits our individual needs.


  6. Hi Thomas, I really want to thank you for your work and inspiration to all of us. Your excitement and dedication to the Nikon 1 system made a lot of us a different (and for sure better) photographer. And, you also made me (probably amongst others) to build up and enjoy a terrific Nikon 1 kit from scratch, lately taking into account the end of availability of new items too. This system makes not only unusual photography much more doable and always available (size and reach…) but also makes gear acquisition syndrome a far more bearable one… πŸ™‚ To extend my collection, I just purchased 2 BRAND NEW V2’s (they could not sell for 4yrs straight so I got a price for the package that was a real bargain, all this after a long search to find the dusty boxes in a dark corner of their storage in Eastern-Europe). These were probably the last unused of their kind on the planet, now well on the way to replace my Nikon FX birding kit with the help of the CX 70-300. I am downsizing and very happy with doing so, although I am not there yet to sell my D850…. But I already have enough great photos to show my β€˜real pro’ friends, followed by showing the camera/lens combo, that is at least 5x times less in weight and size of theirs. Seeing their faces is the bonus. It is on you. πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work and take care !

  7. Hi thomas !
    i have been reading your posts for quite a while and i would like your expertise on nikon 1 systems! I bought a J5kit with the 10-30 lens, to complement my D7200, mainly to shoot my kids outdoors! While i love the compact body ,the feel and the video quality of the J5, i can’t say i’am really impressed with the sharpness of the images. I am thinking of buying the 18,5 1.8, have you used the lens? Do you think it will make a significant difference? tested the J5 with the sony rx100 ii, side by side on a tripod (same aperture, iso etc) and the difference in the images is more than a stop..

    thank you very much for your help!

    1. Hello George,

      I went on the DxO site and looked at a comparison between the Nikon 1 J5 and the Sony RX100 and two cameras’ sensors score very similarly. Here is a link to the comparison: https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-1-J5-versus-Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-RX100___1025_812

      In terms of overall score the Sony RX100 comes in at 66 compared to the J5 at 65. Dynamic Range with the Sony is 12.4 compared to 12.0 for the J5 (DxO suggests that 0.5 EV is needed for a difference in dynamic range to become noticeable). Colour depth of the Sony is 22.6 bits compared to 22.1 bits for the J5 (DxO suggests that a difference of 1-bit is needed for it to become noticeable). In terms of low light performance, the Sony scores 390 compared to 479 for the J5 (DxO suggests that a difference of 25% equals 1/3 of a stop). So, from a sensor to sensor perspective there shouldn’t be any real noticeable difference between how the sensors perform in the two cameras…worst case the difference would be barely noticeable based on formal lab testing.

      Sharpness of course is a different story as lens optics come into play. I assume you have the 10-30 mm PD kit zoom which is a decent enough kit lens. In my experience it provides average sharpness with some softness in the corners. I have never shot with any Sony cameras so I can’t comment on the RX-100.

      I do have the 1 Nikon 18.5 mm f/1.8 and use it extensively for my industrial video business. I found it to be sharper than the 10-30 mm kit zoom lenses. I am unclear if buying this lens would make a significant difference to the image quality you have been experiencing as I don’t know if you are shooting jpegs or RAW images and what software you may be using in post. If you are shooting in jpeg you may want to review the camera settings you are using as adjusting these could have a positive impact on the jpeg image quality you can get with the J5.

      Buying a 1 Nikon 18.5 mm f/1.8 lens should give you sharper images than the 10-30 mm PD zoom, all else being equal. This lens does not have VR and wouldn’t provide as much shooting flexibility as the 10-30 mm so you’d need to make a value judgement on the trade-offs involved.

      Something else that you may want to consider is looking at the software you are using. I use DxO PhotoLab as I find my Nikon 1 files seem to really like this software, especially the automatic lens corrections and the PRIME noise reduction. If you shoot in RAW this may be another solution to consider, one that would be less expensive than buying an 18.5 mm f/1.8 Nikon 1 prime.


      1. thanks Tom for the immediate answer.
        I am shooting raw, and using lightroom and the emdedded profile for corrections. Will check you suggestion for DxO PhotoLab ! I don’t mind so much about the zoom, as i’am used from the nikon 35 1.8g. I ‘ve also checked the dxo site, that’ why it puzzled me in side by side comparison.
        Thanks again for your time!

        1. Hi George,

          You’re most welcome – it is always a pleasure to try to help a reader!

          I was also a bit puzzled since the two sensors score very similarly in the two cameras. In terms of sharpness, I’ve found DxO PhotoLab does a very good job with its auto lens corrections. These happen as soon as you open up a RAW file which is also a time saver. The microcontrast function in PhotoLab can also have a noticeable impact on perceived image sharpness. If you do decide to try PhotoLab I’d suggest using the auto lens corrections as well as the microcontrast function. I apply PRIME noise reduction to all of my Nikon 1 files, regardless of the ISO at which the images were captured as I like how my files look with PRIME.


  8. Hey Tom, I am very very new to film making. i’m so use to being behind a laptop writing scripts. I recently bought a Canon T6i and a 50mm 1.8f lens (plus the 18-55mm lens that comes with it) Im looking to shoot a short film in the summer so i’m trying to practice now and be ready by then. I will shoot in 24fps and from reading i should have my shutter at 1/50. i’m a little confused on aperture though. what should i have the f-stop at if i want to video to be smooth and not as jittery. Also my ISO will be around 200. I’m still learning so any helpful advice will be much appreciated

    1. Hi Akevo,

      There’s always lots to learn with every project, and the more of them you do, the more you’ll discover that there is to learn.

      As long as you maintain the fps/shutter speed ratio you can shoot at 24fps using 1/50th, or 30fps using 1/60th or even 60fps using 1/120th. Any of those combinations should give you natural looking motion. You can also shoot outside of those parameters depending on the feeling that you are trying to create with the motion. It is the matching of your frame rate and shutter speed that will create the ‘look’ of your motion.

      Think of aperture as your ‘creative’ setting in terms of depth-of-field in your scenes (lens focal length and camera to subject distance and subject to background distance also impact depth-of-field). I’m assuming that you are planning on using some type(s) of studio lights in order to keep your ISO constant at ISO-200.

      You may want to investigate various types of video gear that can facilitate camera movement. This is a key aspect in production to add visual impact to your work. Here is an article link that may be helpful for you: https://smallsensorphotography.com/creating-camera-movement. Since you only have a couple of lenses with which to work, camera movement will certainly be important to add interest and drama to your production.

      You’ll also want to spend some time determining how you intend on capturing sound for your project since the mics built into cameras do not provide acceptable sound quality.

      While getting your exposure and depth-of-field right are obviously important aspects in any production, in my mind they are not nearly as important as determining the visual structure and feeling of the production, in terms of field-of-view, camera angles, camera movement, set-up scenes etc. As you know from your script writing, the audience needs to be kept engaged for the project to work. You’ll need to have a good handle on how to structure various scenes visually to keep the audience engaged. Once you have a solid visual plan detailed, you may find that you need some additional lenses…in the short term you can always rent what you need.

      If you want to ‘get ready’ I’d suggest taking time with your script to do some detailed shot planning, then experiment shooting various scenes to learn how your gear performs.


  9. Thomas,
    I have a V2 and the J5. I enjoy using them both. I have other gear as well, because I do quite a bit of low light performance photography. I also use DxO Optics, and have noticed that the latest version, DxO Photolab, generates DNG files that are 6 or 7 times the size of my original RAW files, but those generated by earlier versions were more in the range of 3 times the size. Just this morning, I processed one J5 images, and the DNG files were 138 MB. I understand that DNG files can be larger than RAW files, but this much?

    Thank you for your insights on so many things.
    George Charpentier
    Saskatoon, Canada

    1. Hi George,

      Although I own PhotoLab I have not used it very much at all since purchasing it. I’ve been so busy with finishing up a series of eBooks I haven’t made the time to learn the new features in PhotoLab. I’ve found that a DNG file produced by OpticsPro is almost 4X larger than the corresponding RAW file, e.g. 21KB to 81KB. I did a test file this evening after reading your comment, processing it through PhotoLab in the manner I would have done it in OpticsPro. The DNG file came out about the same size, i.e. almost 4X larger.

      The only thing that I can think of that may be causing the additional file size is if you are using the spot adjustment tools in PhotoLab and adding layers to your image. I very seldom do spot adjustments with my images so that new feature in PhotoLab won’t impact me much at all.


  10. Hi Tom,
    I have followed you for some time and certainly value your input and your ability to provide practical guidance to those of us with an interest in photography.
    At present, I have an A6000 by Sony and some assorted lenses. However, I shot with Nikon for years and must admit I would love to come back. So, here’s the question…
    If, for some horrific reason, you lost ALL of your present Nikon gear, what would you replace it with? Some of your present equipment can only be found (rarely) on various sites such as eBay.

    1. Hi Ron,

      Wow…that is one of the most difficult questions that I have been asked in the three years that I’ve being doing this photography blog! I guess my short answer is that I really wouldn’t have a clue. I haven’t read a camera or lens review for over two and half years and I’m really not current on what is available. My first inclination would be to work all of my contacts and buy as much Nikon 1 gear as I could find quickly.

      One of the reasons that I have built my kit up for the past couple of years is so I wouldn’t have to face the specific question you raised. Right now I shoot with 8 Nikon 1 bodies. I use my three V2s exclusively for my client video projects and I don’t do anything else with them. I recently added a third J5 and use those cameras for all of my photography except for birds-in-flight for which I have a pair of V3s. My wife also uses one of the V3s when we travel.

      If there was no way I could replace my Nikon 1 gear I would have to start at ground zero and re-assess my needs. Man…you have me scratching my head with your question! I’ve gone to a couple of camera shows with some friends the last couple of years and there hasn’t been anything that I’ve seen that I’ve had even the slightest bit of interest in.


  11. Thomas, I just did a pretty stupid thing. I was rushing through a long list of emails while I had a few minutes to spare. I did want to take a quick look at your latest update though. I opened up the the email but unfortunately, in my haste, I accidentally hit the unsubscribe link instead of the link to the post. Pretty careless of me but that is what happens when you are going too fast! I tried to sign up again but my email address is already in the database so it would not let me.

    The idea that I could lose access to your regular updates made me realize how much I value your blog. You recently explained that this is a non “monetized” blog and I certainly support seeing it continue that way. So I made an (overdue) donation and will do so again in the future.

    Anything you can do to un-unsubscribe me would be appreciated.


    1. Hi Kevin,
      I was able to go back in to my subscribers database and change you from ‘unsubscribed’ to ‘confirmed’. You should continue to receive notifications about new articles. Thanks for the donation – most appreciated!

  12. Hi,

    I got your website link from steen heilesen from flicker. Your photography posts are really helpful. I have the below query regarding the nikon 1 j5, Please give your comments.

    I want to use the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S using Nikon FT1 adapter in my Nikon 1 J5 camera. In some webpages I saw that we can not use the shutter speed
    more that 1 second that is 30 sec or bulb mode. Please confirm Is it true or not?

    And also I want to know that can we use the shutter speed less than 1/4000 ie 1/5000 ,1/6000…1/8000 with Nikon FT1 adapter Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S in Nikon 1 J5

    If any other limitation you faced with FT1 adapter please let me know

    your comments are highly appreciated


    1. Hi sasikumar,

      Welcome to my blog…it is always great to hear from a new reader! I have never used an FT-1 adapter with a Nikon 1 J5 camera, so unfortunately I do not have first-hand experience to be able to answer your specific questions. I owned an FT-1 adapter for a short while and used it occasionally with a Nikon 1 V2, mainly with FX 70-200mm f/4 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses. I found that I much preferred using native 1 Nikon lenses with my Nikon 1 bodies and when I sold my D800 and all of my FX glass I also sold my FT-1. So, I haven’t owned/used an FT-1 in a couple of years.

      I forwarded your questions to Nikon Canada to see if they could provide answers.


  13. hi tom just purchased Nikon j5, I wondered I have 10mm prime landscapes cityscapes and 18.5mm prime portraits etc.
    but I bought 10mm to 100mm zoom not got yet can send back but most of your images are with 30mm to 110mm is it the telephoto bit that makes more interesting… I’m also considering 70mm to 300mm

    1. basically 10mm to 100mm. vs 30mm to 110mm differences please… by the way your manor with people and your website is intuitive and awesome…

      1. Hi Damon,

        Thanks for your positive comment – I’m glad you are enjoying the website! Since I’m unclear which 1 Nikon 10-100mm lens you have ordered (PD or non-PD version), I’ll comment on both versions of the 10-100mm as well as the 30-110mm. I own and use all three of these lenses.

        The 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 is the sharpest of the three lenses noted above and my favourite 1 Nikon zoom lens to use with extension tubes. Obviously it will provide a bit more reach than either of the 10-100 zooms. I enjoy using this lens so much with extension tubes that I own two copies of it (my wife uses one when we travel).

        The 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom is quite a large and heavy lens (by Nikon 1 standards). It isn’t quite as sharp as the 30-110mm, nor is the VR quite as good…but it is a very capable lens for still photography. Where this lens really shines is when doing video work as the power zoom is quite smooth and quiet. When doing very long zoom pushes/pulls the lens can produce some minor exposure shifts which are noticeable, but may still be acceptable depending on the needs of the user.

        The 10-100mm f/4-5.6 is a great all round lens for still photography. It provides an equivalent field-of-view of 27mm to 270mm and is decently sharp, although I would put it a hair behind the 10-100 PD version. The VR, while very good, is also just a hair behind the other two lenses. The 10-100 f/4-5.6 is my favourite travel lens, and is also the lens I use the most for general photography needs. I’d estimate that at least 70% of my travel images are captured with this lens. It is one of the three zoom lenses in my “Nikon 1 Holy Trinity”. Another benefit of the 10-100 non-PD is its comparatively short minimum focusing distance. This adds quite a bit of functionality to the lens. It is my least favourite lens (of the ones noted in this reply) to use with extension tubes.

        The 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 is a superb lens and is simply wonderful for birding and wildlife as long as the photographer is shooting in good light. This lens is permanently mounted on my Nikon 1 V3 and I absolutely love it. If you are planning to use this type of lens to photograph birds-in-flight, trying to do that with a J5 would not be the best body choice as you would likely have more success using the 70-300 with a V-Series body as the V-Series have viewfinders.

        So…there’s my take on the two 10-100mm zooms as well as the 30-110mm. Each of them is quite capable in their own way.


    2. Hi Damon,
      I primarily use the 30-110mm for close-up work with extension tubes. The 10-100 f/4-5.6 non-PD is my ‘go to’ zoom for general photography. I regularly use the 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom for video work.

  14. A short story, relevant to the J5 10-30 and 30-110.

    We live on the Island of Guernsey in the English Channel and on the January 23rd this year, we received a phone call from our son , who works in London, that the ambulance was on the way, he had come off his cycle, turns out he had broken his fema.

    A quick pack of carry on bags, one way tickets and my wife and I are on the way to the East End of London, decision of camera, J5 as above.

    Five weeks later we came home with our son making a full recovery.

    If it had been larger suitcases or we took the car it would have been a D7100 etc. Circumstances dictated the choice, small and capable.

    7,000 photos later,taken at night, in winter light, inside museums etc, seeing life in London as a “resident” the capabilities of the J5 changed my take on photography for “city breaks”.

    The ability to keep this combination in pockets or on a belt, does not look “serious” etc I was impressed.

    Thank you for your advice and thoughts

    1. Hi Nigel,
      Thank you for sharing your story about your son! It is great to hear that he made a full recovery! It is unfortunate that his injury was the impetus for you to discover more of the Nikon 1 J5’s capability. I often refer to my J5s as ‘pocket rocket’ cameras.

  15. I am so impressed with your photos.
    A few questions:
    1. Did you put your copyright on each photo in your ebook?
    2. Did you try for a traditional publisher or just do ebook?
    3. I ask because I’m an author and a photojournalist and have been trying to get my South African book (I taught there) of photos published by a traditional publisher for years. I just did my first ebook romance but really want to try photo ebook. Hope you will reply. Joan

    1. Hi Joan,

      You should put a Copyright on each photograph as well as a Copyright notice on the entire publication. You should also consider some kind of “Terms and Conditions” acknowledgement as well as sign-in conditions on the purchase of individual e-books so you can track every buyer.

      I did not approach any traditional publishers. I have had a book published through a traditional route about 20 years ago (i.e. Miller’s Bolt). If you go this route you will first need to find a Literary Agent to represent you as the vast majority of publishers will not even open a solicitation letter/manuscript that comes directly from an author.


  16. Hi Thomas,
    I’m not going to start this email by blowing wing up your arse as to how good your photographs are, you already know that they are good otherwise we wouldn’t be reading of your success. This email is to thank you for having the courage to step away from all the bullshit blogs and print a friendly, down to earth blog for everyday reading and more importantly, letting us learn from the path that you have forged. Some of your readers seem happy that they have some new acronyms to play with like GAS and SAS, and this is a good thing because whatever it takes to get people away from the Nikon/Canon GAS that other writers subscribe to and preach to their faithful brethren. Your writings are laid back and easy to follow and through this approach it is very easy to join in and follow along and join the ‘converted’. Thank you Sir, from a proud ticket holder and the newest member of your flock. . .Bruce Terrill. Victoria, Australia

    1. Hi Bruce and thanks for the supportive comment – much appreciated!

      I have thought for a very long time that the joy and love of photography is being obscured by a preoccupation with gear and by a penchant for highly technical discussions that can be intimidating for a large number of people. There are few things more liberating than to grab a camera and create images as our mutual spirits move us. If my blog encourages folks to do that, then I am a happy man!

      You can rest assured that the photography e-books that I currently have in development will all follow the approach that I use on this blog.


  17. Hi Thomas.

    I just subscribed to your site as I find your images inspirational. For the longest time my “photography” was always GAS-based. I just kept buying and selling cameras and equipment thinking that somehow this would make me a better photography. I am sure my wife can iterate better just how many times I bought and sold equipment looking for the next best thing.
    However, the reality hit me FINALLY that I should focus on SAS rather than GAS. And that I should stick with a camera that is fun and encourages me to shoot rather than worrying about my equipment.
    4 years ago. when my wife told me she wanted to get into photography as a hobby as well, but did NOT want to get a fancy system like mine (at the time I was using a Nikon D700), I bought her a Nikon 1 V1 and the 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8. She loved it, but I never took it seriously as tool. Then I started playing with it…and found it much more fun to use than my D700. I decided to get myself a V1 as well, although this again was based more on GAS than SAS.
    As I wanted something a little more “serious” than the V1, I decided to get the V2 along with the 1 Nikkor 6.7-13mm and the 1 Nikkor 18.5mm. Even though I had this combination, I still kept buying and selling other cameras, from other full-frame to Fuji X and so on and so on. But none of these cameras were as fun to shoot as my little V2.
    Just this past Christmas I noticed that the Canon 6D was on sale for a very good price. I jumped on the sale and bought myself a new body as well as the 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens. The boxed remained unopened for 2 weeks as I contemplated whether I needed this new equipment again.
    Then I found your site. Your essays on here as well as the ones you contribute to Photography Life convinced me to just use my V2 and focus on SAS rather than GAS. I returned the Canon and lens and now I feel so much better for it.
    I love the V2 and the images I get from it while I learn more about photography. After reading on several other photographer sites the same message, that a camera is just a tool and that SAS is more important than GAS, it was your site that finally got into my thick head.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Aristotle,

      Welcome aboard – it is always great when we have new people subscribe to the photography blog! And…thank you for sharing some of your experiences with GAS – most of us have lived through our own struggles with it! One of my objectives with my photography blog is to encourage people to go out and have fun creating images, regardless of the gear that use to do so. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying your Nikon 1 V2 and having fun creating photographs!


  18. Hi Tom,

    I enjoy your site very much.

    I have recently picked up a J5. Nice camera. It is begging to grow up into a V something with an evf and all isn’t it? πŸ™‚

    I also have a V2 and have been doing some tighter comparisons between them IQ wise. I know at base ISO up to about somewhere between 400-800 the j5 is smoother and richer color and tone. Also at extreme ISO the J5 holds onto color and tone a bit better. I have noticed the rated ISO discrepancy that you have seen as well. Interestingly, the highlights do clip more in the V2, but if I do a minus .3 comp it protects my highlights much better and the overall histogram is a similar curve to the J5 as well. The net effect being less blown highlights in blue skies or sunlit concrete etc. I have checked shadow detail in both Lightroom and DXO and it is not that far off from the J5. The J5 is slightly better, but when using the V2 that minus .3 has resulted in a much smoother and closer match than if metering at default. The V2 color to me also seems warmer and maybe a bit less magenta tint. I think the J5 is more neutral which is good, but I have been able to grade the IQ quite closely between the 2. I also can see the difference in the J5 sensor being more immune to underexposure than the V2 regarding noise floor, ISO invariance of sorts.

    I was wondering if you have noticed the same when getting into that ISO 800 on up where the 70-300 lives? A third of a stop on the shadow ins isn’t much of a penalty for richer highlights. I remember reading somewhere that is why the camera manufacturers are rating their ISO higher than what it actually is, to protect the highlight more since the noise floor is less relavant in the newer sensors.

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Steven,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your assessment of the V2 and J5. While I have experimented a bit using exposure compensation with my Nikon 2 V2s I typically don’t use it. When shooting landscape images with the V2 I would often use a graduated neutral density filter and I liked the results more taking that route than using exposure compensation. I have also found that the sensor in the J5 is more immune to underexposure than the Aptina sensor in my V2s. I have also noticed that subtle transitions in colour shading are handled better with the J5’s sensor. In lower light conditions the V2 acquires focus better than the J5, which tends to hunt a bit.


  19. Congratulations with your beautiful pictures!
    I also have the J5.
    Did you already cleaned the sensor on the J5?
    I wonder if you can youse the regular eyelead sensor gel to clean it? Or if you need the Sony version because it is a Sony sensor…

    Thank you
    Best regards

    1. Hi Bart,
      Glad you liked the images! I haven’t cleaned the sensors on my J5s yet. I spoke to Nasim about this and my understanding is that I regular eyelead is fine for the J5. The issue isn’t the Sony sensor, but the coating that is on the sensor. Both Sony and fuji use very ‘sticky’ coatings on the sensors in their cameras which is why Nasim recommends using a different eyelead tool that isn’t as sticky as normal. You can always do a test and gently put your eyelead tool on the sensor at an angle and see how much ‘stick’ it has. If it lifts off easily there shouldn’t be an issue.

  20. Hello. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your amazing images! I’m hoping you might be able to advise me a little. I have recently become very interested in wildlife photography and want to buy a longer lens. I currently use a Nikon 70-200 and now want to choose between the Sigma 150-600 and the Tamron equivalent. I believe the Sigma is rather heavy but perhaps a better quality image provider than the Tamron although I’m not certain about this. I would wonder how successful I might ba at getting good images on a tripod if I want to shoot a moving subject. Perhaps you could give me your opinion if you have time. Best wishes, Martin

    1. Hi Martin,
      Part of your decision will be based on the camera body that you are using. You have 4 zoom lens choices…the Nikkor 200-500, the Sigma Sport 150-600, the Sigma Contemporary 150-600, and the Tamron 150-600. Of the four lenses the Sigma Sport would be the sharpest…but also the most expensive and the heaviest. The Sigma Sport is quite a heavy lens to use hand-held and most folks would use a tripod or monopod fitted with a gimbal head.

  21. I have just bought a used V2 and am anxious to try it with my 70-200 f4 lens. Have you tried this for BIF and have any thoughts?

    1. Hi Jim,
      I wrote an article on this exact subject some time ago. Here is a link: https://smallsensorphotography.com/capturing-birds-in-flight-with-nikon-1-and-ft-1-adapter Since that article was written a couple of things have changed…first I did update my firmware which allowed my V2 to shoot at 15fps in AF-C. Secondly, by depressing the display button on the back of the V2 you can deactivate the rear screen. There still could be a slight lag with the image appearing in the viewfinder so keeping your thumb over the eye sensor is still a good idea. Pre-focusing the lens is also very helpful when shooting birds in flight.

      1. Tom:
        Thanks very much for the quick response and link to your article. Your bird photography has inspired me as well many others to practice this craft. I shoot with a D750 and a 200-500 f5.6 most of the time but want to try some lighter gear, especially for BIF. The Nikon 1 V2 seems well suited for this.


  22. Tom,

    I find your articles very informative and not intimidating or overbearing for a novice photographer like myself. I own a J5 and I recently purchased the 18.5mm lens for it. I took it on a weekend trip to Mallorca as I live in Germany and travel in Europe is very cheap. I also have the two kit lenses for the J5. I prefer to photograph architecture and cityscapes. I own a mac so I have access to their baked in Photos program that is inferior to the known brands on the market, but it suits my needs. I’m no pro and I don’t pretend to be on. At the same time as you cleverly pointed out in another article it is not the software, nor the camera, but the eye and perspective the brings life to the image (paraphrasing). I have tried the Capture NX software by Nikon but even that seems arduous to me. I like the Nikon 1 series because I enjoy traveling very light and quick. The only gear I have is a Peak Design leash and a Gorilla pod tripod. I have Timbuk2 messenger bag that I can fit everything else I need for my adventure.

    I look forward to reading your articles and expanding my knowledge of photography. I will certainly keep coming back to this blog.


  23. Hello Thomas
    I have seen almost all your videos on youtube …
    I have a Nikon v1 … have you tried tamron 150-600 with FT1
    to wildlife ….
    I am considering a FT1 to my nikon v1

    do not you make a video with the setup

    friendly kennet from Denmark

    1. Hi Kennet,

      I shoot with three Nikon 1 V2’s and none of my V2’s would recognize the Tamron 150-600 lens at all. When using the FT-1 adapter you need to be careful as not all third party lenses will be recognized by your Nikon 1 camera body. I did some tests with the Sigma Sport 150-600 and my V2’s would recognize it. Unless using a tripod with a good head I found that it is quite awkward to shoot with a long, heavy lens like the Sigma Sport with one of my V2’s attached. Since I prefer to shoot hand-held this was something that did not interest me at all.

      You may have good luck with the new Nikon 200-500mm lens, although I would check the FT-1 compatibility chart to make sure it would work. The other thing to keep in mind when using the FT-1 adapter is that you will be limited to one focus point in centre frame which you will not be able to move. I found this quite restricting and I now only shoot with 1 Nikon native lenses with my V2’s.


  24. Hi Tom; I recently purchased a Nikon 1 J4 at my local camera store, and have since ordered a used Nikon 1 V2, based on information from your blog. I felt that as I was getting older, I no longer wanted to carry a 27 pound camera bag, as I used to when photographing weddings. What I am really looking for now, is a new camera bag that will grow with my Nikon 1 System, but also protect all of my gear individually. I don’t feel that I need a system quite as elaborate as yours, but would like maybe 3 bodies, a few lenses, and of course a flash. Any recommendations for a new bag would be greatly appreciated, as I’m not really sure of what is out there for the smaller systems, that are tried and true.

  25. Thomas,
    I would like to ask you for any recommendations regarding Nikon 1 blogs . We are long time DPR users and have been active in all the Forums we for which have had equipment.
    But the Nikon 1 blog has been frustrating. There is very little interest in BIF shooting with limited feedback/participation on the numerous post we have made over the past year or so. Our experience in the Sony Nex Forum was quite different, but most of our BIF shooting is now with the V3/70-300, and the response has been underwhelming at best.
    The Nikon 1 Forum is filled with mostly nice folks . . . it is just that they they seemingly have little to no interest in those subjects we shoot with our Nikon 1 gear. The “fit” just hasn’t seemed to work.

    Any suggestions you have is appreciated.

    Thanks for your time,


    1. Hi Jack,

      Since the Nikon 1 product line hasn’t been as well accepted as other cameras there likely isn’t as many active forums. As you have likely found, photographing birds in flight with the Nikon 1 system is a bit trickier than using a DSLR but can yield great results with a bit of practice and adjustments to technique.

      I can’t comment on the quality of the participation in Nikon 1 forums as I seldom visit them due to time constraints, you may want to investigate the following: NikonRumors, photographerslounge, and nikonians. Photography Life also has a forum section with a wildlife topic area. Your other option would be to visit some wildlife/bird forums to find some birds-in-flight discussions. I think a lot more nature photographers are considering/using the Nikon 1 system because of the outstanding CX 70-300 lens.

      If I can be of some assistance feel free to contact me via email.


      1. Tom,
        Thank you very much for the response. I can honestly say using the V3/70-300 kit has made my BIF shooting easier! That lens, as you well know, is a marvel. While hoping for a V4 with an improved sensor, a N1/70-300 kit will likely be with us for a long time.
        I will check out all your suggestions . . . thanks again for the input.

        Take care,


    1. Hi Dave,
      Unfortunately I do not have any ‘inside’ information about any new products. I would suspect that a new V4 will be out in the first quarter of next year and will likely feature the new 20.8MP BSI sensor that is in the J5. This is a significant improvement from previous Aptina sensors with much better dynamic range and colour depth. I think that’s about all we can count on in terms of specs. The V-series has typically had a much larger buffer than J-series cameras (usually 40 images vs. 20), a good grip and EVF. Nikon made some rather strange decisions with the V3 in terms of a detachable EVF and grip which I’m hoping they correct with the V4. I would like to see a return to standard SD cards but since the J5 has micro-SD I think that’s what the V4 will also use. I’d also like to see a common battery but unlikely since the J5 continues Nikon’s habit of unique batteries. I skipped the V3 as I did not think it was a significant enough improvement over my V2’s…plus the detachable EVF was problematic for me in terms of video. The new sensor is certainly good enough that I may pull the trigger on a V4 even if the other design quirks aren’t fixed.

  26. Recently, several friends introduced me to bird photography. While we have — or have had — big iron, full-frame DSLRs, all of us lately have obtained Nikon 1 V3s and 70-300mm lenses for birding. In my own case, I decided to buy after seeing the extraordinary results you’ve obtained and I have yet to see anyone who has coaxed more quality out of that relatively small sensor. Bravo! I love mine and it’s with me most of the time now. An effective reach of 810mm in such a small, affordable package is downright miraculous when there is enough light. A question: Have you had an opportunity to try the Nikon P900? This page – https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/3198630/?inAlbum=nikon-p900-samples-gallery
    includes a link to some original files. Download the one for the second duck (4608Γ—3456, 5.1MB) that is said to have been shot at full tele (effective 2000mm). If true, the result is pretty amazing, considering the camera costs only $600. I know there are numerous drawbacks to the P600 (vs. the V3) but I’m curious about a master’s take on it.

    1. Hi David,
      I actually wrote a full review on the Nikon P900: I think this is quite an interesting camera for the money. It has some drawbacks that you’ll see in my review. No RAW capability and the AF performance is fairly weak. It is fine for static nature subjects but it is not up to the task of BIF in my opinion. For many folks it will make an excellent all-in-one camera that will be particularly suited to travel. I think it will find a home in some birders’ bags because of its exceptional reach. If it had RAW capability I would have given it some consideration…but it really doesn’t meet my needs without RAW.

        1. Hi David,
          Apparently Nikon has filed a patent for a 10-600mm Nikon 1 zoom lens. Based on the crop factor of the CX sensor that lens would have an efov of 27-1620mm.

  27. Hi Thomas Stirr,

    may I ask you a question concerning Nikon 1 V2? I saw your beautiful bird photography and bought a V2, which are these days rather cheap. My main (ex-professional) gear is Nikon D3, D800 and many other things. So my “Goliath” is a 600 : 4 AFS. And now this tiny toy!!! My biggest problem is, how to achieve some kind of AF-ON technique, which is important part of my photography. I’m so used to it, that anything other is impossible to imagine. Can you give me a hint?
    All the best from Germany, Raimund.

      1. Hello Thomas Stirr
        and thanks a lot for your quick and friendly answer. AF-ON is the way you can manage autofocus with your thumb on almost any DSLR. Either using the AF-ON key or AE- lock. Autofocus is (per menu a4 – D 800) no longer connected with half-pressed shutter and stays continuos until one takes the picture or loosens the thumb, to fix the last position. It is a kind of “manual” autofocusing with all the help of modern electronics. You can recompose or change the target very fast and secure. Sorry for disturbing you!! My first test pics with 300 2,8 blew me away and were even at 3200 Iso simply stunning. I never would have tried this little gem, if I hadn’t found your encouraging reports. (Nikon should be happy and honor your efforts.)
        All the best and pardon my poor English…
        I got the feeling, I’m on the wrong place in your blog with my questions. Very sorry for that.

        1. Hi Raimund,
          The V2 has AE-L/AF-L on the rear control wheel. You can also half depress the shutter. Another interesting feature is that if you shoot in single point AF you can move that single point anywhere in the frame, even into the corners. I always use this feature and as a result I never have to ‘focus and recompose’ the way I have to with my D800.

          1. Hi Thomas,
            Thanks for your helpful answer, I’m working myself through the manual, looking forward to better weather.
            Lot of fun with N1 V2.
            All the best

  28. Hi Thomas!

    I was just wondering that being an Ontario resident, have you ever gone shooting snowy owls in the Holland Marsh area?

  29. Hi Tom,

    Congrats on a nice site and will to spread your knowlage about photography which I find very helpful! I like very much your article and advice about thirds and gso. Keep up the good work!

    Best of luck,


  30. Tom
    This is a great and wonderfull reason to have this blog…. To become expert with the gear we already own…… By the way your pics are wonderfull.

    1. Hi Luc,

      Really glad you like the images! I’m hoping we’ll get a lot of readers participating in the discussions and sharing their experiences as well to make this a very rich and enjoyable experience for everyone.


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