Archive for the 'Photography' Category

Film, and why I like it.

December 11th, 2008

I’ve been shooting a lot of film as of late. Nothing fancy, just standard 35mm film. I have not, nor do I plan to stop shooting digital it’s just that I’ve started shooting film as well. To be honest I don’t even remember why I started shooting film, it just happened one day. I guess it was around the same time Nikon released the D3 and the D700, digital cameras with an image sensor that is the same size as a frame of 35mm film. I got to thinking about the cost of the new digital cameras, $5,000 and $3,000 respectively and I wandered around the internet looking for the cost of color film and Nikon film SLRs that could use the lenses I already own. Up until the release of those cameras all Nikon digital cameras used a image sensor that was smaller then a frame of film. In my searching found that I could get a great film camera that supported all the same lens features of my D300, for which I paid $1,800, for $100.

Fujifilm Neopan 1600 Black & White Film Review

August 22nd, 2008

I ordered this film to allow me to shoot in dark environments and also to capture in black and white. This is a ‘professional’ film designed to be shoot at ISO1600 but can be ‘pushed’ to ISO3200. ‘Pushing’ film means you shoot it a stop slower and then push the exposure during processing allowing you to bring out the images that are essential underexposed by a full stop. It’s a trade off in quality but the image you have it always better then the one you don’t and gaining that extra stop can make a huge difference in tricky low light situations.

My experience with this film is limited to use at ISO1600 only. When using this film with my 50mm and 85mm primes I have never been in a situation where ISO1600 was not enough. The combination of F/1.8 and ISO1600 is very good in that regard.

Kodak Ultra Color 400UC Film Review

August 18th, 2008

I ordered this film after I shot my three rolls of Fuji Superia 400 film as a part of my effort to take a look at a few of the more popular options in 35mm film. This was my most disappointing film to date. At first I thought that it was perhaps me who made the mistake. Perhaps I shot the film wrong or didn’t set something correctly but I looked through my images and found some Fuji Superia that I shot in the exact same way as this film. I shot one then the other at the same event. The only actual difference is I shot this film mostly with one of Nikon’s best lenses, the 14-24mm. A lens that is universally agreed to be of amazing quality.

For these images I was shooting an evening softball game in fading, but still strong light. My shutter speeds were reasonably high during the game and I was able to stop motion as well as the softball itself. I’m willing to consider the image below my fault because the sun is in frame. I have shot the 14-24 lens into the sun on my D300 and seen no problems at all but I’ll allow this one as a scratch image.

Used Stuff from KEH.com

August 4th, 2008

I ordered some used Nikon gear from KEH.com this week and I thought I’d mention how impressed with them I was. I should also mention that, of course, they nor anyone else is giving me anything for talking about their products and services. Odds are they don’t even know about it.

I ordered a Nikon TC-200 manual teleconverter and the Nikon 24-50mm zoom lens used from them. Both products were listed as ‘BGN’ or bargain quality according to their condition chart and both pieces look flawless.

The TC-200 is quite old as Nikon began making them on 1988. It’s basically a tube with some glass in it that doubles the focal length of a lens and make the lens one stop slower. If you attach a 50mm F/1.8 lens it becomes a 100mm F/4 lens ect. I don’t know how old this piece of hardware is but I expected it to look a little beat up when it arrived. The only issue I can see is a couple small scuffs on the very bottom where the tele-converter would meet the table if attached to a camera. It’s otherwise flawless. Glass is perfect with no dust and KEH listed this as 70-79% of original quality!

Choosing Film – Part One

May 2nd, 2008

It never occurred to me that buying film could be so confusing. With digital you just pick and ISO setting and go but with film each manufacturer makes a number of different kinds of film based on it’s speed, the way the grain looks, and if it’s color or black and white. I’ve been trying to pick out a few types of film as of late to bring on a short trip I’m taking north in the next few days. I received a great comment on my first Nikon FE post that pointed me toward a very simple approach to buying film. The comment came from the blogger at Mutable Conclusions who also owns a very similar camera to the one I just bought. Unfortunately, I received that tip just after I placed my first film order. Basically, he offered a few tips about how to best use film and recommended that I find an ISO400 speed film that I liked and use it for most everything. I’m inclined to take the advice about picking one type of film and using it as my standard film. I’d like to have as little to worry about as possible when I grab the FE. It’s simple to use and joy to shoot with so I don’t want to sully that. When I buy film to keep around for everyday shooting I will standardize on just one. Which one however, is another question that I will work to answer over the coming months.

NAB News: Red Scarlet

April 15th, 2008

NAB, or the National Association of Broadcasters, is holding their annual conference in Las Vegas this week. It’s a place for a number of companies to show off their new products ect. Standard conference stuff. Something quite interesting has caught my eye though, it’s the Red Scarlet.

I’m not usually a big video guy. I prefer sill images to video but the camera looks amazing. It shoots at 3k, well above current HD video standards, and will sell, as a complete package, for somewhere around the $3000 range. Time will tell how close they come to what they have announced, we won’t know until next year, but if it does hit the $3000 mark I may just have to pick one up. It’s quite a feat of engineering at any price but to make it something you can carry around… that’s just incredible.

Progress Check In

February 20th, 2008

I’ve been as busy as ever these past few weeks but I have been slowly making progress on all my little projects. Yesterday Apple posted a few 160GB iPod Classics to the refurb site so I scooped one up. Should be here next week. When I bought I considered also getting an apple dock but at $50 it doesn’t seem worth it for my needs. I did pickup one of the JBL On Stage II speakers. It’s kinda pricy at $129 but it gets great reviews and sounds much bigger then it is. I’ll review it when I’ve gotten a chance to test it out. It’s a nice device if you have an iPod, but it also has a 1/8″ jack on the back so you can also use it as computer speakers. Multi-tasking is key in my book.

Ramblings: Technology Thoughts from an Amateur Photographer

February 8th, 2008

In a digital world one has to be very thoughtful of where the industry is going before making a purchase. I wish tech companies would be more transparent in this regard though I can’t blame them for being hard to read; No one wants people to stop buying because in two months a new product is going to come out.

In realistic terms this has a large effect on how I buy camera equipment. I believe that, in time, full frame image sensors with be the norm on DSLR cameras. Basically, a DSLR that you buy today uses a image sensor that is smaller then a frame of 35mm film, but high end cameras are starting to come out with an image sensor that is the same size as a 35mm frame of film. This has a huge effect on the industry.

Underwater Photography

February 3rd, 2008

Why is it so expensive to outfit a camera for use in water? I understand the need for divers to have solid and high quality diving cases for their cameras but what about the normal Joe looking to take their camera into a wet environment? I’m not about to spend twice what I paid for the camera for a box made of clear acrylic with a couple of buttons! Not only does a case for the D300 cost double what I paid for the camera but a case for a point and shoot also cost twice what that camera cost!

I’ve found one company making what looks like thick ziploc bags for the camera but they look so damn unwieldy I can’t image them being useful.

This shall take some further thought and research… All of this to be able to take a camera kayaking…

Topslakr

Digital Photography Workflow

January 11th, 2008

I shoot a lot of pictures so sorting, editing, and using them can be cumbersome. Over the years I have moved around from application to application trying to find a good way deal with all the data. The biggest issue for me is that the application doesn’t get in the way of my organization of images, but works with it. I don’t want my images stored in some kind of ‘library’ file, I want them stored in flat folders that are easy for me to move around as I need to.

Up until recently I was running Windows or Linux on my desktops but over 2007 I switched to the Mac platform full time. I’m not suggesting you need to do the same, the applications I use and my workflow will work equally well in Windows or Mac, but it seems important to know where I’m coming from.

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