The Nikon Z9’s ‘Pre-Launch’ Function Makes Lightning Triggers Out of date


In case you’ve ever tried to {photograph} lightning in the course of the daytime, you recognize it’s virtually inconceivable. By the point you press the shutter button, it’s gone. That’s why lightning triggers, whereas no assure of success, exist. However the addition of the brand new “Pre-release” function within the Nikon Z9 mirrorless digital camera now makes these triggers out of date. It ensures success, as I discovered final week.

Over the past half-dozen years I’ve been working small-group images journeys to locations round the US. Sedona, Arizona, with many nice places close by, reasonable summer time climate, and a great likelihood for storms has been excessive on my listing of “have to do a workshop there.” Final week I lastly did, and it was nearly as good as I’d hoped. However it was the thunderstorm we watched Thursday night that resulted in a brand new “Aha!” second for me.

Amongst the numerous options added to the Nikon Z9 with the discharge of firmware 2.0, “Pre-release” was an eye-opener for motion photographers. It means that you can wait till you see the motion, then press the shutter button and seize the moments earlier than you pressed. It actually adjustments how you’re employed, however it wasn’t till I used to be on my technique to Sedona, and enthusiastic about the opportunity of lightning, that I spotted I may reap the benefits of Pre-release for that.

Whereas we had some lightning the primary night time, whereas I used to be working a low-level lighting demonstration, capturing lightning throughout a time publicity is fairly simple. It wasn’t till a few days later that we had lightning throughout daylight. That’s lots harder to shoot.

This was the night time shoot, with low-level lighting (utilizing LumeCubes), that I created up for my group the primary night time. The storm within the distance was a bonus, however when doing 15-second exposures, capturing lightning is fairly simple. I did activate the intervalometer function constructed into my digital camera so it might hold firing these lengthy exposures with solely .5-second between pictures. Nikon Z9, Handbook publicity, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 200, 15-seconds at f/5.6, Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens at 54mm.

Returning to Sedona from one other shoot for sundown, I took my group as much as Airport Mesa, the place there’s a pleasant overlook. Our objective was to {photograph} that final hour of daylight on the mountains throughout from us, however a storm rolled in. Whereas it blocked a lot of the solar, it additionally gave us a lightning present. And that’s once I turned on Pre-release.

Whenever you do this, and press midway down on the shutter button, the digital camera begins recording photos at 30 frames-per-second in a steady loop to inner reminiscence (not the cardboard). Whenever you see motion occur, then you definitely push the shutter utterly down and the digital camera information that final one second, half second, or one-third second of motion from the loop onto the cardboard (you select the quantity). In different phrases, it goes again in time to seize one thing that’s already occurred. And it made photographing lightning extremely simple.

See it, then press the shutter button and also you’ll have it. That’s as sophisticated because it will get so long as you activate the Pre-release function with the Z9. And whereas the lightning solely lasted a couple of half hour, in that point I made a variety of good pictures to select from. Nikon Z9, Aperture Precedence, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 500, 1/60 at f/8, hand-held, in Matrix metering, -1.0 EV, Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens at 65mm.

To do this, I stored the digital camera as much as my eye, and every time I noticed lightning pressed the shutter down absolutely. And each time I ended up with lightning photos. Notice the plural. Usually I’d find yourself with a number of lightning pictures from one flash, and one time I even had ten frames.

So what’s the catch? I can’t shoot RAW, because the digital camera mechanically switches to JPEG, though nonetheless with the full-resolution 45-megapixels. There’s additionally an choice to shoot at 120 frames-per-second, though at a decreased 11-megapixels. However nonetheless, wow.

From begin to end, I can see lightning in every picture of this ten-frame sequence, which signifies that for the reason that digital camera was taking pictures at 30 fps, the burst lasted for a couple of third of a second.

In fact, for now, lightning triggers nonetheless have a market, since there are only a few cameras that may do that. However for these of us fortunate sufficient to have a Nikon Z9, that’s one much less accent they’ll be tempted to purchase.


In regards to the creator: Reed Hoffmann is a photographer and images teacher who has been within the picture business for many years and who has used each Nikon DSLR (and taught most of them). The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. Comply with together with Hoffmann’s newest workshops right here. You too can discover extra of Hoffmann’s work and writing on his web site, Fb, Instagram, and Twitter. This text was additionally printed right here.


Picture credit: Header lightning picture by Flash Dantz. All different pictures by Reed Hoffmann.



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