Posts Tagged: Nikon

Something from the hard drive #4

This is the fourth instalment in my something from the hard drive series and we have moved into 2009.

The first image is an early attempt at some light trails. I spent some time on a bridge over the M5 with the D70 set up on a tripod, experimenting with different exposures. Fortunately I was one bridge down from a junction and managed to include the slip roads in both directions, which I think made the shot more interesting.

I came across this rural church in the sunshine and after looking at several angles settled on this shot using the trees as framing.

The last shot in this trio is  a more unusual view of the sea front at Weston Super Mare, somewhere I’ve frequented numerous times over the years without realising this was even here.

That’s it for number 4.

Something from the hard drive #3

The third instalment in something from the hard drive features a trio of images from a typical Cotswold town called Chipping Campden.

This trip was shot in early December, 2008. There is some sun but a lot of the buildings are in shade.

I’d like to think my photography has improved since then and presented with the same conditions I would produce a totally different set of images.

There are a lot of market towns and villages in the UK I would call hidden gems. Under the right lighting they can produce some lovely images.

All you have to do is find them and figure out when’s the best time to photograph them, which could involve multiple visits at different times of day and even different seasons.

Hey…nobody said this photography lark was easy….

Something from the hard drive #2

Something from the hard drive part 2 – these shots were an attempt at some architectural photography and if I remember rightly (they were taken in 2007) also part of a school project for my son.

The shot below was actually a streetlight which had some interesting angles and curves.

I liked the rectangles and right angles in this shot, together with the alternating glass and cladding.

All these were taken on a Nikon D70 with 18-70mm zoom,  it was a great combination of body and lens and produced some very likeable images for me.

I still think there is something about the output from the CCD sensor Nikon cameras. I have a D200 which I like but at almost a kilo just for the body, it’s getting a  bit heavier than I want to carry around these days. The D200 did produce some of my favourite photos.

I am toying with getting another CCD version Nikon, the D80, arguably the D200s’ smaller brother. The D80 has more or less the same internals in a ‘plastic’ body. This makes it lighter at around half a kilo (585g) body only. It also uses Sd cards rather than the Cf cards used by the D70 and D200.

Another advantage for me, and I know this is very subjective, is that all the bodies mentioned here just sit right in my hands.

I did have a D80 and it was one of the few cameras I regret selling. Interestingly a D80 or D200 can be had for around £60 – £70 used (depending on condition) here in the UK.

I know the output might not suit everyone but at that price, if you like CCD output I think it’s quite a bargain.

(Other Nikon CCD cameras are available😀).

Something from the hard drive #1

I’m starting a new series called ‘Something from the hard drive’. This came about from going through my images on yes, you guessed it .. my hard drive.

In this series I am picking images that may have an ‘interesting’ subject rather than be artistically ‘perfect’. You know what I mean.

So to kick off here are three images from Cardiff Bay in Wales. The first one is the corner of the Wales Millennium Centre. I thought this angle was more unusual and interesting than a straight head on shot.

This is inside the Senedd, the Welsh assembly building. The curves and lines of the roof appealed to me.

This is view looking through the transparent walls of the Senedd across part of Cardiff Bay, towards the voco ST David’s, Cardiff, the building with the curved roof. It is actually a five star hotel and no we haven’t had the pleasure of staying there.

You can easily spend a day wandering around Cardiff Bay. There are plenty of interesting subjects for the photographer and a variety of establishments for eating and drinking.

Looking a bit bare

Looking a bit bare…. is how I would describe the local nature reserve.

Instead of posting about gear – I actually did a gear post and took it down again – I thought I would post about how different the local nature reserve looks before spring comes.

Stream and sparse undergrowth

Looking out from the bridge

You can’t normally see across here due to the vegetation.

Opposite view to above

Once all this has grown back I will take some comparsion views. Later in the year these two areas will become a hive of insect activity and in due course home to damselflies and dragonflies.

right angled tree branch leading to spiral pattern

Is there a photo here?

I’m sure there is a photo here but I haven’t found it yet. I normally try to work the scene but currently a decent image evades me.

For a final shot we have Woody doing his thing:

Here’s to getting a bit further a field in due course.

Stay safe.

Catching a Sunrise

Catching a sunrise proved a bit harder than I thought. On a nice but cold morning I thought of incorporating some exercise with a photo session. Thinking I got up early enough was my first error. It took longer to defrost the car than I anticipated. With the windscreen clear I set off on the short drive to my chosen destination.

The car park was covered in ice as I pulled in. Any thoughts of getting out again were quickly put to one side while I wrapped up and gathered the camera gear. The car thermometer put the outside temperature at -3 degrees C (note to self figure out how to do degree sign on the laptop).

A short walk later and this was the view:

 

Continuing along the in places, very icy path I came across some grouse.

grouse

These two seemed to be calling each other from either side of the path. Within a few seconds they had disappeared back into the undergrowth.

While most people use sleepers to build a bed or wall in their garden, at some stage it would appear they were also used for fences:

I don’t know how long these have been here, but the weathering would suggest some time. By now the temperature had increased to just above freezing.

Time to call it a day and see if the car will get out of the car park. Spoiler alert, it did.

Stay safe.

PS. found the ° symbol. Eventually.

 

Snow scenes

Some nice snow scenes resulted from the recent weather. Observing lockdown restrictions here in the UK,  I went for a local walk and came across the following:

snowy scene

The snow had turned the fields into a white barren like landscape. With no wind and suitably wrapped up for the conditions it was quite pleasent. I would estimate that there was a good 6 inches of the white stuff around. Maybe deeper in places.

snowy countryside

Rather than take the DSLR, I popped the Nikon V1 in my pocket and just in case had a spare battery. My current cameras are pretty good in respect of battery life. But not knowing how long I would be out in the cold, I took a spare. In fact I always carry spares no matter the weather but very rarely need them. You can bet the one time you don’t have a spare, you’ll turn the camera into a paperweight just as that banger of a photo appears round the next corner.

snowy countryside

Talking of things I normally carry: filters. I have a small ND Grad for my Nikon 1 gear. On this occasion it was still indoors nice and warm.  Given the snow and the time I went out I should have known better. With the filter I could have calmed down the right side of the above photos a bit. Ah well, next time maybe I’ll grab the whole bag of gear rather than just the camera. Being Nikon 1 it’s not like it’s an ardous weight to carry around.

I actually just weighed my N1 bag. Any guesses?  1.4kg all in. Thats a body, four lenses, (two zooms, two primes, equal to 28-300mm), spare battery, gps, mini tripod, spare sd cards and filters. Should of just grabbed the bag eh?

All of the above images were overexposed by two stops. I least I remembered to do that 🙂

Stay safe.

Minimalism and photography

I decided to revisit my minimalism and photography post I did a couple of years ago:

Minimalism and photography. Do they go together? When people think of minimalism they tend to think of having to sort out their stuff and get rid of it. If you follow The Minimalists you will get a much better idea of the concept.

Everybody has their own interpretation of something they read and what they take away from it. At the moment part of my take on minimalism is:

Remove things that don’t add value to your life.

Adopt a conscious consumerism approach, buy what you need not what you want.

Think about using what you have before making a purchase.

Think about how much freedom you will have worrying about less stuff.

Whilst I am slowly reducing the amount of clutter I have, I’m not blindly throwing things out. There is a fine line though. The ‘keep it just in case’ pile is getting smaller in the house. Unfortunately the same pile in the garage is a more difficult task for me to tackle. I don’t know why DIY orientated stuff is harder to make a decision about. I’ve only just got rid of a steamer that hasn’t been used in about eight years. When I stop and think about it now, I can’t reason why I’ve kept it so long. The same goes for an old metal tool box with a collection of oversized spanners in it. A throw back to the days of DIY maintenance on the car.  Which I also haven’t done for years. Even the wife thinks of it as a family ’heirloom’.

By now this may start to be familiar in photographic terms. How many flashguns, lenses, bags, filters, brackets [insert anything else you can think of] do you have lying around? How many of these items are kept ‘just in case’?

So that bit of text in italics above is an excerpt from the original post. How am I doing on the minimalism and photography front? Not too bad at all. How about minimalism in general?  Could be better is the answer.

Now let me point out the other half is in no way a minimalist. I am still trying to do the conscious consumerism thing. That for me is working a lot better. In the past  I would have been a lot more impulsive on my purchases, Now its more a question of ‘well it still works so I’m good for now’.

Of course that will only work for so long…. But I am a lot more mindful of the things I buy. There’s that conscious consumerism thing.

In terms of my photography gear I am already reasonably minimal. I have a ‘standard zoom’,  and a ‘medium zoom’ as my everyday carry in a small bag set up. That covers wide angle to telephoto (24-300ish mm in full frame equilavent).

On top of that I only own another two lenses (a 35mm 1.8 DX and a 85mm Macro lens). As much as I try I just don’t like the results from anything wider than 18mm on DX. I have gone through a couple of 10-20mm lenses but I never end up keeping them.

I do go back and forth on the macro lens as well. I currently have one and will hang on to it for the time being.

My better half currently has my old D3200 (you forget how small they are) with a 18-55 and 55-200. Despite my best efforts though she doesn’t tend to use them much preferring her phone instead.

Nikon 1 V1

I Like my V1 but not enough to replace it.

I’ve also got My Nikon V1 and a couple of lenses. I do like using it but I’ve come to the conclusion that if any of It breaks it will not be replaced. I stopped spending money on that system a while back.

What I do seem to have is a draw full of chargers, cables and other stuff of dubious usefulness. I need to sort that lot out sometime.

If you are fortunate enough to have a few lenses for a challenge try going out with just one or two. Or maybe have a look at the metadata in Lightroom to see which you use the most. You might surprise yourself which focal lengths you shoot at.

So how do you cope when your partner doesn’t share your minimalism ideas? Well like most things in life you have to pick your battles 🙂

I have to admit I’m not a full blown minimalist but starting to think about what I keep and what I buy is a step in the right direction.

If your curious about minimalism pop over and pay Joshua and Ryan a visit at theminimalists.com. You never know it may change your life 😉

( Other minimalist advisors are available).

Roaming in Rome

Roaming in Rome – an day excursion on our recent cruise:

If you have had the pleasure of booking a cruise the second thing on your list (after deciding where to go) is what excursions you do.

Booking our cruise so far in advance, the excursions hadn’t actually been released, so it was a return trip to the travel agent to sort them out.

We diligently went through the list for each port of call to see what was on offer. Fortunately they give you a rough guide to how long each one lasts. Some were 12 hours. That was too long for us so we opted for some 1/2 day excursions instead.

One of which was Rome. Now let me say it is impossible to see what Rome has to offer in a half day. A whole day isn’t much good either. Some would suggest you need at least a week.

Being both on a coach and grateful of not driving we got to see some sights that we wouldn’t have time to visit.

Opting for the half day tour results in only a couple of hours or so free. This afforded us enough time (much to the wife’s delight) to do a mini Angels and Demons tour:

Piazzo Nivarno

Piazzo Nivarno

Castel D'Angelo

Castel D’Angelo

We essentially walked a loop from the coach drop off point which between taking in the sights and finding our way around, filled our free time quite nicely.

There are a few things you notice about Rome. It has:
Loads of history
The Vatican
Loads of tourists
A graffiti problem
Loads of photo opportunities
You don’t want to drive there (think of driving in London but more manic and with more scooters)

Should we visit Rome again I think we would look at doing a couple of attractions in a day. One in the morning, one in the afternoon and do them well, without rushing.

As this cruise was an anniversary celebration, photography wasn’t the prime objective. I took my Nikon V1 kit and some lenses…..and did the typical tourist thing using my phone around Rome. I didn’t have to worry about lugging gear around or changing lenses. More importantly I didn’t have to worry about the wife hanging around while I tried to get the shot. There were far too many people to attempt ‘proper’ photography anyway.

Before leaving we had an idea of producing a small photo book after our cruise, so with this in mind decided that the quality from our mobiles would be more than adequate.

Using mobiles and a tablet also had the advantage that we could put the images in albums as we went. Depending on your choices you could organise your images by port, city, attraction, country, you get the idea. Not to mention social media updates were a breeze. Trying to do that with a MILC or DSLR would have required more equipment and a lot more faffing around.

Using a phone as a phone.

We actually did use our mobiles as phones. The included European roaming package we had with our contracts came in useful on several occasions. As soon as we reached a port the phones automatically connected to the local network. Get the title now?  Just in case you don’t know, DON’T use your mobile at sea, the signal gets routed through a satellite system and will cost a fortune.

The cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and everything we wanted, apparently we will be doing it again 🙂

Before we go on our next one I need to do some serious thinking about what gear, photographically I will take.

In fact I’m questioning whether my current collection of equipment is still suitable for my needs.

That’s probably a subject for a future post……

 

 

I’m going to stop buying gear

I’m going to stop buying gear because whenever I get into a system things tend to go downhill.

My premise of buying into Nikon CX was to gain a smaller capable system and use the crop factor to extend my DX zoom capability.

I quite like my Nikon 1 system and still use it. Quite a lot actually. It’s not very often you can stick the equivalent of a 300mm lens in your pocket, carry it around all day and not notice.

In terms of extending my zoom capacity with the DX zoom it sort of worked. It would have been better if Nikon hadn’t of knobbled the AF to one centre point though.

Anyway the downhill part became the demise of the 1 system. Nikon couldn’t figure out where to go with it. By the time they released the V3 with the third different body style my expenditure on the system stopped. I’m feeling a bit of deja vu here.

As it happens Nikon’s expenditure on the system stopped as well.

On the DX side of things I started with a D70 had numerous bodies since and currently use a D200  and D5300. So you could say I stuck with DX.

For me DX is a nice compromise in terms of cost, weight, value and performance. I’ve happy with my DX system and for what I do don’t need full frame.

Now it would appear that DX could go the way of CX.

Im starting to feel the APS-C sector is going to become very niche. The only company really sticking to the format seems to be Fuji.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the APS-C segment comes under pressure from smartphones at the bottom end and lower pricing on full frame from the top end. This could also apply to m4/3 as well.

If you don’t need full frame will there still be a choice of formats long term? Or will we be forced to choose between a smartphone and full frame?

Fortunately there is more than enough pre-owned gear around to last for a while.

In the meantime I’m going to stop buying gear and see where the dust settles.

 

A walk in the woods

A walk in the woods – what does it do for you?

For me, I get outside, get some fresh air, say hello to other people enjoying the outdoors, listen to the birds and get to look around for potential pictures. I also pay attention to the weather, if it has been raining or is about to rain, watch out for squirrels or maybe deer and keep an eye on the light. While I do all that I get some exercise and get to relax.

And you thought it was just a walk in the woods 🙂

Some images from my last walk:

Lichen

Lichen on a cliff edge

In the picture above I imagined the lichen to running off the cliff a bit like lemmings. I don’t know why. Now I’ve mentioned it you can see it too, cant you?

How about this one:

Fungus on a tree

Stuck on you

At first glance this fungi looks like it’s been stuck on this tree. I was fascinated by the shape and layering.

Talking of things that look like they’ve been placed:

Fungi between the branches

I couldn’t have made a better job of putting this here myself. It’s like it was jammed up between the two branches.

And finally:

Plant root

Is it going to get you?

This root structure looks more like some creature that is about to jump out at you. In fact I was expecting it to move while taking the picture.

Don’t always look for the obvious

On this walk I could hear some woodpeckers although they were quite elusive. There were plenty of other birds adding to the sounds of the wood. All of them seemed camera shy on this particular day.

So I wondered about looking at what else was around. We’re almost into spring here so in a few weeks this same wood should have more leaves on the trees. Hopefully a bit more colour and some sunshine too.

I am going to make a point of returning to see the difference.

And I won’t just be looking for the obvious…

Camera/lens: Nikon D5300, Nikkor 85mm Micro

It’s a balancing act

It’s a balancing act these days. My new found interest in Astrophotography has resulted in a new found interest in the weather.

Keeping an eye out for clear nights is now something I do more often. The balancing bit comes in with fitting the odd clear night around family commitments.

According to the weather forecast we are looking at cloud and or rain for the next week or so. Oh well.

Talking of balancing acts, we photographers quite often have to manage compromise. How much we spend on a piece of gear versus  have much we will use it is a common one. For hobbyists it’s harder than professionals. Why? Because a pro will look at it as a tool. Does it add value to what I do? How quick will the payback be? For the rest of us it’s more a case of want than need.

How much have you got?

Another compromise amateurs make is what gear to actually take with them on a shoot. Too much gear can lead to analysis paralysis. You have some FOMO (fear of missing out) by leaving something behind. So you end up lugging a suitcase of stuff around – just in case. Chances are you will only use one or two lenses on that hike or day out. The rest is extra weight.

OK. What do you do?

Im fortunate in that I don’t have a huge amount of gear. I balance my photography needs with the needs of the family. (Plus the wife keeps an eye on the spending😀).

I’ve got less than half a dozen lenses for my Nikon DX body. I can usually leave a couple of lenses at home without too much anxiety. If I’m really unsure I might leave them hidden away in the car.

My CX kit is a different kettle of fish. I can cover (the FF equivalent of ) 28 – 300mm in three pocketable lenses with not much weight. Whenever I’m out I always carry a spare battery for whatever body I have. In reality I very rarely use it though. Theres that FOMO again.

More often than not my balancing act is do I take the DX or CX kit. If I’m going out for potential wildlife shots I.e. birds, dragonfly’s etc, I’ll take the DX kit with a CX body and FT-1 adapter. More urban adventures and I’ll take the CX gear.  Hiking it could be either. Or a combination. In some ways I’m glad I don’t have more.

In choosing the right gear your balancing what you think you’ll shoot against what you’ll actually shoot. A planned day out for photography can make that choice easier, but  how many times have you grabbed a camera bag to go out ‘somewhere’ because the sun is shining? Or your just going out anyway. I have to admit I do that all the time.

Sometimes I get some reasonable shots, others the gear just stays in the bag and I enjoy a day in the sunshine.

Whatever your up to may you achieve a suitable balance.

Fuji film won’t go full frame

Several websites have reported that Fujifilm won’t go full frame. Apparently the news has come about after Photokina. I hope they stick to that philosophy.

I tried Fujifilm for a while with an XE-1 and the 18-55 lens. It wasn’t too bad but for various reasons I ended up selling it and the 50-230 XC lens I used for the telephoto end of things. It was a bit unfortunate as at the time I was contemplating a photo kit comprising  XE series and XT series bodies. Alas it was not to be.

I don’t have any problem with the APSC format at all. In fact for what I  do I think it is somewhat of a sweet spot. For most amateurs the APSC size sensor is enough. My current DSLR is Nikon DX (Nikon’s version of APSC). Thinking about it all my DSLRs have been DX and I haven’t had the urge to go any bigger in sensor size.

Portmeirion, North Wales

Portmeirion, North Wales – Fuji XE-1 with 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens.

I don’t trust Nikon

After the Nikon series 1 debacle I’m not sure we can trust them to continue with their DX line. Nikon have alluded to the premise of less units and more value. In other words fewer cameras at higher prices. This seems at odds with the mass market consumer end DX is aimed at.

The fact that Nikon never really filled out the DX lens line properly doesn’t earn them any points. They iterated consumer zooms unnecessarily. At the same time the DX bodies received what can only be described as ‘meh’ upgrades. You also get the feeling they were forced to release the DX body they didn’t want to do. The D500.

Lets keep APSC going

So long term I hope Fujifilm keep to their promise statement that they won’t go full frame and instead keep the APSC format going together with their version of medium format.

Why?

Because the m43 market will be squeezed by smartphones. This would also imply any smaller format will be equally squeezed.

The full frame mirrorless wars are just starting. At a time when camera sales are falling there appears to be a Dodo like rush to get more fish into a shrinking pond. When the splashing stops there could well be some casualties.

If you’ve spent your R&D and tooling budgets gambling on full frame mirrorless and the sales don’t come to recoup those costs…well there may not be enough left in the piggy bank to change direction again.

But you’ve said Fujifilm are expensive.

Yes I have. I consider the lenses overpriced. You could argue they hold their value well though 😀.

The XT-3 is currently £1349 here in the UK (as of date of post) body only. For me that’s a lot of money for an APSC body.The XE-3 body only is £699. Compared to other APSC body offerings Fujifilm do seem to command a premium.

It’s a long game though.

If by charging these prices Fujifilm stay in for the long game that can only be a good thing. A camera is part of a system. If the system gets neglected by one manufacturer while another produces what people want that could well be worth paying a bit extra for.

Should Nikon (or any other manufacturer) continue to neglect part of their range the consequences are obvious. Others will step in to fill the void. It’s no good producing cheaper bodies with a mediocre lens line up hoping you can encourage people to move up a model or three. It might have worked years ago but I’m not so sure it works now.

If Fujifilm can keep their system offerings compelling I think their future in the APSC market could be a good one.

The caveat is whether they have the will to control their pricing strategy to remain competitive.

 

 

Will DX become the new CX?

It took Nikon three years to kill off the 1 series, so will DX become the new CX?

Nikon released their last 1 series camera in 2015. This year after all the speculation Nikon 1 owners were finally put out of their misery with the officially discontinued announcement. The lack of love for CX lenses was there all along, We were in denial.

Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm CX lens

Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm CX lens

Unfortunately there could be some parallels with DX here. Why on God’s green earth did Nikon put so much effort into 18-something zooms.

Surely some of those resources could have been put to better use. Like a couple of wide angle primes that people were begging for. But no…let’s do another zoom… just in case we don’t have enough.

Then the piece d’resistance – the AF-P series. Let’s release more of the same but this time we’ll nobble the backwards compatibility. Score.

Nikon couldn’t produce or didn’t have the will (your choice) to proactively run three lens lines. But they have backed themselves into the same corner again.

I am a CX shooter. I am a DX shooter. For me DX (or Aps-c) is a sweet spot of value, size and quality. I don’t need a £2k (or £3k)  mirrorless or DSLR or even full frame camera, my photography is more of a hobby.

I fear that Nikon will eventually ‘pull a 1 series’* on their DX range and ignore them out of existence. Maybe not straight away but in the next three to five years.

The problem then becomes a familiar experience. At which point do you say enough is enough and refrain from buying new bodies and lenses.

A bit doom  and gloom? Yes, but that is what Nikon 1 owners went through.

Learning from the past do we really want to [have to] go through it again with DX?

 

* ‘pull a 1 series’ – adj- to totally ignore telling people then discontinue. Pertaining to cameras, lenses etc  🙂

It’s bananas I tell ya!

It’s bananas…. Here in the UK, Tesco managed to get them themselves some free publicity on the BBC news website over bananas.

Apparently their inner city stores (due to increased rents) are now charging by the banana rather than weight. Effectively this means the price of said bananas has increased from between 10 and 15p to 25p each according to the article.

bananas

Are we more worried about bananas?

Now let’s put that in some photographic context:

A Nikon D850 body only was less than £3000 in May of this year. It is currently between £3249 and £3499. There is a similar price range for the Canon 5Dmkiv. A Nikon D7200 is now £150 more than in May. (Source camerapricebuster.co.uk, today’s date).

I’ve written before that camera prices have been nudging up slowly without anyone really noticing.

The new mirrorless offerings from Canon and Nikon are starting around the £2k bracket. With what appears to be at first sight an accompanying bump upwards in lens prices.

I’m not sure I could bring myself to spend the larger sums of money now being asked for the current mirrorless cameras AND the lenses. No matter how good they are, you are going to need deep pockets.

Hopefully prices of used gear will remain sensible.

It’s interesting how the price of bananas gets people riled up, but the £2k+ prices of new cameras just seems to be accepted.

The mirrorless offerings still seem evolutionary rather than revolutionary. They only took the mirror box out and that took Nikon 19 years.

I’m still thinking this won’t be enough to encourage ‘new’ people to jump onto the band wagon and give a much needed increase to sales.

From what I’ve seen so far, camera manufacturers are still largely ignoring the kind of workflow improvements needed to attract the smartphone buyers.

Eventually the big camera companies may cotton on and stop the ‘ we need to release a new product that’s good but won’t cannibalise our current models’ syndrome.

Until then will photographers quietly put up with increasing prices for not a lot more?

Cos if we do ….it’s bananas I tell ya 😀