...and other misconceptions I made 09-02-21
2009 Feb 21

Archive for December, 2007

December 31st 2007
Oliver loves the girls

Posted under family | 1 comment | |

S2 and OliverSometimes it’s too much for them and they ask me to remove him. This morning at 4:30am S2 and Oliverthey just weren’t ready to deal with a pushy cat who wanted to be loved. But often they love having him in their lap as much as he loves sitting there.

He’s an incredibly sweet cat and I am so happy that he’s still with us – just amazing.

Here you see him with S2 (who is watching the Wiggles which is why she looks so mesmerized).

The pictures were taken with the 50mm f/1.4 lens, no flash; the focus is on Oliver, S2 is intentionally slightly out of focus – after all, the pictures are about him!

As always, click on the pictures for a larger version.

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December 31st 2007
Ok, I’m spending too much time writing about my new camera

Posted under toys | 1 comment | |

D300 w/ AF-S 80-200 f/2.8 ED lensSo there, I’m willing to admit it. But then again, it seems like I already helped one reader to make up her mind and get a D300 as well, maybe I’ll be starting a trend?

Anyway, K2 was giving me a hard time today when I came back from Pro Photo Supply again and showed her my latest purchases. She was saying things like “Oh my! It’s so big!!“. Pah.

Ok, maybe it’s a little unwieldy – at 2350g or 5.1 American pounds (as pictured here, D300 with the Nikon AF-S 80-200 f/2.8 ED lens that I got today as a bargain (it was pre-owned)) it’s not exactly a light-weight. But it takes amazing pictures. I’m having way too much fun with this…

craftsman detailpower in the skyDead End

It was sunny today in Portland – what a nice coincidence!

And here are a couple more low light pictures – this time our cats Percy and Oliver, shot with a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens at 1/60s, f/1.4, ISO450 and ISO500, respectively. And just to fill the row a picture of S2 that I really love – this one was done with off-camera flash and the Sigma 17-35mm f/2.8-4.0 lens.

PercyOliverS2

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December 30th 2007
What I mean when I say “good at low light”

Posted under toys | no comments |

In these pictures you see that the girls are carrying flashlights. That’s because they were taken this morning between 6:00am and 6:30am in the house with only a few lights on. The first three are in a small hallway with the light off – all light is coming from the kitchen. The other two are from the upstairs hallway with the ceiling lights on.

The first two were taken at 1/25s, f/4.0, ISO3200, 35mm focal length, the third one at 1/40s, f/3.5, ISO3200 and 27mm focal length. That isn’t really low light. That’s dark.

H2 lighting the darkS2 lighting the darkS2 and H2 playing with light

If you look closely you can see some motion blur due to the slow shutter speed – H2’s flash light in the left picture or S2’s feet in the one on the right.

The next two have a lot more light, 1/60s, f/4.0, ISO1600, 35mm and 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO1800, 17mm. As you can tell, Auto ISO tries to keep me at 1/60s (as I told it to) and so it gives me lower ISO values (and therefore less noise).

H2 and S2 in the laundry basketS2 pulling H2 in the sled

Needless to say, no noise cancellation or sharpening was done in post-processing. I did have to fix the white balance and cropped the shots.

Oh btw, I needed to stop the girls from playing in the laundry basket soon after the last picture was taken; they wanted to take their sled down the stairs… and I decided that was more fun that I was ready for.

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December 30th 2007
Nikon D300

Posted under toys | 3 comments | |

Nikon D300Ok, ok!

It was a mistake to do the teaser “I’ll tell you later” thing about the new camera. You can stop emailing now!

Wow. Two comments, six emails and two questions in person in the 12 hours since I posted this…

As Michael pointed out correctly, I was interested in the Canon 40D. Really good camera, as far as I can tell. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized that I would soon get frustrated with it as well. It still had some of the same issues that I didn’t like about the Rebel XT that I had:

  • autofocus issues; both the Rebel XT and the 40D have only 9 autofocus sensors; while the 40D appears to be somewhat better it still has some reported problems with focusing in low light and overall both cameras get easily confused what they should focus at
  • relatively noisy already at ISO800 – from all I can tell from the reviews it’s not really a huge improvement over the Rebel XT
  • only fixed iso settings and no quick way to change this while shooting (at least the 40D now displays the iso setting in the viewfinder – that’s a huge improvement over the Rebel XT)
  • not really any more rugged than the Rebel XT – I really wanted something that felt more solid and promised to survive a few more years

Basically the 40D is a nice step up from the Rebel XT, but I was sure I would end up wanting more in a year. That’s where the D300 comes in (and to be honest, M3’s comment that she got one for Christmas really made me do more research which then pushed me over the edge). It’s more expensive than the 40D but seems to do better on all the things that I didn’t like about the 40D. Or, to phrase it positively, what really sold me on the D300 in comparison can be summed up like this:

  • better low light results (not necessarily night shots – I mean shooting indoors without a flash)
  • very good sensor with useful in-camera post-processing; especially the Active D-Lighting is pretty cool; nothing comparable in the Canon
  • great dynamic range (not sure if it is better than the 40D but it is outstanding in the D300 and I haven’t seen any reviews showing similar performance for the 40D)
  • ISO-Auto mode: tell the camera the slowest shutter speed you want and it increases the ISO if necessary; amazingly simple and such a great idea; I always have my Rebel XT on ISO100 or 200 and then often have blurry snapshots because the lighting forced a 1/10s shutter speed or something – or I switch it to ISO800 for something like that and then forget to switch back and have lower quality pictures than I want
  • outstanding autofocus; 51 sensors, 3D tracking of moving objects, amazingly fast even in extremely low light (I did some shots this morning that ended up being 1/20s, f4 at ISO3200 and it found focus and tracked it without any noticeable delay)
  • none of the Canon things I don’t want, like the different “stupid modes” (err, I mean, Scene Modes – you can’t even shoot RAW in those… I don’t want to pay for these, I don’t want any compromises made for these, they are just useless)
  • amazing LCD; you have to see it to believe it – stunning; bright, full VGA resolution, four times the pixels of the 40D LCD; good enough to seriously check focus, white balance, composition, everything
  • nice solid construction; well sealed, rugged, tough; even a longer promised shutter life
  • much more useful liveview feature – on the Canon the AF doesn’t work while on liveview
  • many small details – much better battery life, 100% viewfinder, doesn’t use strobe flash as AF illumination, etc
  • to be honest, the extra MP (12 vs 10) weren’t really a factor – everything above 6MP or so is enough, I think

I’ll post more pictures and stuff later – right now our good friend Denise is here playing with the girls (which allowed me to write this post to begin with) but I really need to get back to my duties now…

Update: just found out another reason to prefer the Nikon over the Canon – the D300 can control an SB800 or SB600 flash remotely without any additional hardware. With the Canon system you either need to buy a dedicated wireless controller that you put on your camera (like the ST-E2) or you need to use a system flash like the 580EX attached to the camera and a second system flash (like the 430EX) as off-camera flash – either way that’s extra $$ you need to spend in order to start using off camera flash. Money you can save with the Nikon system as there you need just one system flash (SB800 or SB600) and can use the built-in flash to control it!

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