Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill


Real World Field Tests...

When I first created this website I had no plans to include a section on field tests or product reviews. It has come about by popular demand (and, hopefully, as a way to reduce the amount of email flowing into my in-bin!). At launch (February 22, 2010) it begins with only two gear bits. I will test and add additional products as I acquire them - I will not be re-testing "old" gear I have already been using. However, shorter overviews of many other pieces of gear can be found in my camera gear pages, including on my page on cameras, my page on lenses and teleconverters, and my page on "everything else" (including Camera Bags, Backpacks, Additional Accessories and Gadgets, and Outdoor Wear). Enjoy!

A few words about my field testing protocols and philosophy:

I test my gear quite extensively in an effort to discover how it will perform for me (using my own shooting style) in a field situation. I don't do these tests for profit, but simply to understand how the product in question will work for me in the field and thus so I can understand how I can use the product to better create images that I can sell. I test gear under field conditions only (no lab work) and use the same techniques I'm likely to use when I'm shooting the particular item in the field. While I do some of my testing very methodically, much of it is pure "field shooting". I do not shoot images of targets under rigidly controlled lab conditions - I shoot images of wildlife (or "proxies", such as my Portuguese Water Dogs) in the field. It's not critical to me to produce results that are generalizable or that are rigorous enough to be published in a peer-reviewed journal - I care about how I can use the gear in the field and how to get the results I need to sell images! While some "lab tests" have a real-world correlate that translates into a limitation in the field, I find an increasing number of tests quite esoteric and the "differences" between two products is real only in a statistical sense (and has no real correlate in producing a quality image, which is NOT a pure science). There are tests I rely on - for instance, I find's published values for "Low-Light ISO" performance are almost always close to what I consider "acceptable image quality" (in terms of noise), and thus they have a real-world correlate for me.

So, in short, these are "real world" field tests from the prospective (and biases) of a professional wildlife photographer. They help me understand my gear. And, based on the web traffic each of them receives and the email I receive from those who read them, they appear to help others. That's gratifying.

The Field Tests:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRIINikon's Series 3 tele-converters4 Ways to 400mm
Nikon D7000 - First ImpressionsLensCoat RainCoat ProThe Nikon V1
The Nikon D800The Nikon D4Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR
500mm Wars - Sigma vs. NikonNikkor AF-S 120-300mm f2.8ENikkor AF-S 180-400mm f4E
Z 9 Firmware WishlistNikkor Z 800mm f6.3 VR S