onsdag 19. august 2009

D60

Ok, D40 died!

Happened some weeks ago now, it is still under warranty so hope to get it fixed when I just get around to hand it in!

But, could not be without a camera so got the cheapest Nikon digital body there is now: The D60, cost me 4000 nok :-(.

tirsdag 2. juni 2009

On the topic of Zooms

A friend asked me for input regarding zoom purchasing, for practical reasons I answer in blog.



These are difficult question to answer because what lens to get/use depend on what you are going to photograph, so I will just write some reflection on my two zoom purchases after got my kit.

Background

First there is two main types of shots of creative photography: Storytelling shots and subject isolating shots.

In the storytelling ones we keep much or all in focus because different elements possible in different distance from the focal plane play together. In the second one the main subject is in focus and every thing else is blurred, usual the background but seen cool ones where the foreground also can be. You know the type, think flower and portrait shots!

The two important factors in achieving one of the two types is focal length and aperture, both are attributes of your lens not your camera so that is why I will be writing about it here!

Storytelling

This is what interests me the most!

Good news: Aperture is not that important here if you go really wide or long! That is good news because the most tricky stuff in creative photography is to get the right aperture for the shot you want to make. Aperture sure play a role in getting a large depth of field: f/16 - f/22. More good news: All lenses has the small openings, cost nothing to make a small hole!

But in the very short and long aperture play less of a role!

Lets take the wide angles first:

Ultra wide is cool, 10mm/11mm is the king of coolness!

First of all, the importance of wide angles is not to capture things in the wide (sometimes it is) but to compose in depth!

The reason is that when you go wide enough you pretty much get everything in focus from close to far even dropping way below f/16 something you may have to do because there is not enough light for above f/11...

Using the wide focal lengths you should think what to put close (really close often!), in the middle and far away because you absolutely can get it all (in focus) even with the smaller f numbers!

Here is an all in focus ultra wide shot:

Shopping Cart Mess At The Bus Terminus

Focal length 11mm and f/11. So f number lower than 16 and if I shot it today I would probably chosen f/8 that is the Sigma 10-20's optimal aperture from an image quality point of view and I can guarantee all would been in focus!

So what with telephoto shots? Same thing but at a different scale! Now you put the 'near' far away from you and then the middle and far is gonna be far to... Then also stuff get into focus even if you drop way below f/16.

You know I have had fun with the churches and a yellow building in Bergen doing this ;-) Here is a 'all in focus' tele shot of mine:

Between Churches

Focal length 135mm and f/9. Notice f stop is in the "optimal optical" range of f/8-f/11, no need to go above f/11 to get 'all focus', I do not think I could have blurred foreground church from my chosen viewpoint!

Isolating main subject


Here aperture becomes important, it starts f/5.6 and lower (lower f numbers larger opening). And here there are different between zoom lenses! The expensive ones has more low f numbers than the cheap ones but all got f/4 and f/5.6 that will often do it.

Here is flower shot of mine doing the blur thing:

Flowers

Focal length 135mm and f/5.3, here the aperture is important!

But a tele zoom with f numbers from 2.8 (seems to be the 1.4 of the long!) does give more creative exposure options in this area of creative shooting...

Another consideration with the zooms is whatever they keep their apertures in their zoom range, it is the signature of a pro tele zoom that it keeps f/2.8 all the way...

With that in mind the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 MACRO looks darn good on paper: Lowest f number is f/2.8 in all it's zoom range and it do not come with a pro price tag! The image quality reviews say is good value for the money.

But you read a lot about focus problem (particular on Canons it seems to me!) with this lens, you may have to go back to store and get a new one! Still I was half way in the door to get this one but in last second got the Nikkor 70-300 AF-S VR f/4.5-5.6, why?
  • Saved me between 2000 to 3000 NOK!
  • Extra 1000mm
  • I love the VR (I guess IS in Canon language) a lot but could have lived without it.
  • Dropping the lowest f numbers makes it light (fast tele got glass man!). I like to go pub hoping with the camera in ready position ;-).
Conclusion

I know you did not ask about ultra wide zooms but I thing this is something all should consider, sure if you are only going to shoot birds then you can forget about it...

I love the tele zoom but if had to have only one I must have selected my Sigma 10-20. Good news is that all the independent lens brands (Sigma, Tokina, Tamron) all got excelent afordable ones!

And final words that should been read between lines in above: We do not shoot in any of the "Program modes", everything on the wheel but M, A and S is a waste of place: The camera is not a mind reader, it will probably not choose the right aperture/shutter speed for the shot! Thumb rule is you got typical six combinations of speed and aperture to choose from, art of photography is that you decide.

torsdag 28. mai 2009

Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR


Got this today for 4000 NOK at Japan Foto. Have not had chance to use it much yet but think I may like it, for one thing the D40 is still a light rig with it mounted and VR seems like a good idea...

Will tag shot I take with it Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR on Flickr.

torsdag 21. mai 2009

Dust

Got rid of dust shown in last post a while back. The yearly free Check & Clean did not do it, had to fork out 900 NOK. Only good thing about it was I learned where the single Nikon garage is in Norway: 15 min walk from my office (at Åsane).

mandag 27. april 2009

Sensor dust :-(


Sensor dust revealed by make shift pinhole....

onsdag 15. april 2009

Return To Film?

I dug out my old film camera a Canon AE-1 program and invested in a new battery (59 nok) and a black and white Kodak Tri-X 400 film roll (50 nok).

Here is a fun shot of it from my flickr stream:

Two Unlikely Friends Having A Talk

The flickr meeting we had where the shot below is from had with no doubt something to do with me doing this strange thing...

Film Shooters

Not sure where this is going... that is part of the fun!

PTLens

I decided to splash out on 25$ on PTLens. I like to on some shots taken with the Sigma 10-20 to correct barrel distortion and I like the perspective correction function in this. Not as powerful perspective controls as found in Gimp but easier to use when I planned the shot to be used with it.

lørdag 14. mars 2009

fredag 27. februar 2009

lørdag 14. februar 2009

Purchased Capture NX2

Trial period out of Nikon NX2. Decided it is the post processing software for me a long time ago so planned to support one of the local serious photography shops by purchasing the box in order to get a key. But the local FotoVideo shop was sold out!

Well, well painless to buy key online from Nikon's Norwegian site. Put me back 1499 NOK, around 220 USD.

torsdag 12. februar 2009

The BR-2A

A cheap alternative to a micro/macro lens is an adapter that allow you to mount a lens the 'wrong' way. Nikon call it's the BR-2A Macro Adapter Ring. Which is a bit funny since Nikon else do the right thing and call their macro lenses micro lenses....

For some reason it comes in a big package from FotoVideo!

Unpacked:

The 50mm 1.4D mounted in reverse:

The first test shot:

Put me back 345 NOK (69 freight), around 50 USD.

I will tag images shot with it "Nikon Macro Adapter Ring BR-2A" on Flickr.

So I was wrong about that aperture ring would not be used on the 50mm!

tirsdag 13. januar 2009

Me a Nikonian?

I guess I am (even if will stray away from Nikkor lenses when budget clearly dictates so), so joined them: The Nikonians. Not an expense yet, happy with forum and webcast lurking for now so not sure will ever pay up to any of their colored memberships.


The World of Nikonians - www.nikonians.org

fredag 2. januar 2009

Capture NX2 Book

Just got Real World Nikon Capture NX 2 by Ben Long as an online e-book through my O'Reilly Safari account. Not sure if need it when got the good doctor's guide. But not a real expense I feel since got account because of my day time job. Probably blog about what I think about the book later.

The book is of course available as a regular book.