Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nikon V1 10-30mm / Architecture shots / University of Arkansas

Well, there's no free lunch. I shot the V1 quite a bit today and came away with mixed feelings. I'm not sure what I expected. The good news is it's a great little camera with a lot of potential. The downside is barrel distortion, which is uncorrected in camera (some manufacturers will correct distortion from RAW to JPG automatically). I did manage to use Photoshop to correct a lot of the bad distortion which shows up on certain wide angle shots of architecture. The other semi-downside is sensor noise indoors in dark areas in low light beginning at ISO 400. Not real bad and again, what did I expect? I suppose I was so enthused with it that I expected miracles. In any case it takes great shots with rapid focus and good auto white balance and the stabilization system allows a couple of stops of cushion to shoot low light. The following were singles that were merged and corrected. The lampposts are perpendicular now, anyway. I also adjusted the curves a bit and then converted to B&W. I show both the final version of color and black and white. The last singles show "before" and "after" barrel distortion. The corrected shot still show some distortion, just different distortion. Again, small camera, really small, inexpensive lenses designed as a consumer camera and overall I really like it.

Nikon V1 10mm F2.8 pancake (4 shots stitched) Miller's Mountain / rainbow like cloud

Nikon V1 /10-30mm & 30-110mm Street Photography Fayetteville, AR

OOC Jpeg / No post processing other than some minor crops. V1 focus is snappy. I really like the 30-110mm.

It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it.

Rainbow / Canon G1X

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nikon V1 & why I probably won't need to re-purchase a Leica X1

The red 30-110mm zoom is mounted here.
 Because I am a certified camera nut, I had to buy a Nikon V1 [w/10-30mm lens kit] when the camera basically failed in the marketplace and Nikon dumped the J1 & V1 at bargain prices. That was nearly a year ago. Since then I've kept the camera and used it for this and that but never "seriously" as a go-to camera. It was more of a curiosity. Its user interface is challenging, its controls are sub-standard. It doesn't shoot auto-bracketed shots [note: If you shoot a lot of HDR, it's not the camera for you - also note it doesn't have a built in flash and will only take proprietary flash systems from Nikon]. BTW I don't use a flash much. Once you figure out how to set it (I have it set up internally to shoot in Aperture Priority mode (there is no real mode dial - it is electronic, internal), [Fine JPG with normal color setting and ISO to float up to 400 on demand (always shooting wide open), auto white balance], however, it takes great photos. Let me say that again, because it's important. The camera just plain takes great photos. Oh yeah, and it's lightening quick. Its focus is very, very quick and it is a very responsive camera. The lenses are tack sharp.
Baby hawk floundering around when I got home from the grocery. The V1 with 30-110 @ 110, obtained focus quickly and nailed the shots in low light, winter-like weather like a pro.
More so than any point and shoot I've ever owned. It is quick. Point and shoots don't have decent viewfinders. This one does. The built in viewfinder is very competent. All metal. Mechanical shutter. (unlike the J1, which is plastic, has an electronic shutter and no viewfinder) Because it's a pain to use the menu system (it is not like Nikon's better point and shoots or their DSLRs, it is dumbed down) I figured it would fail for me, however, just like it did in the marketplace.

The 10-30mm kit lens
This is a crop. With poor lighting and fairly low ISO the stabilization did a great job.
 But as I took more photos with it and well, after I had it set where I wanted it, I didn't need to change it much because it always seemed to take great photos. Well saturated, sharp, noise free and very useable right out of the very quick and very responsive camera. Often I'll have to shoot raw and post process to get a useable photo even with good cameras but I noticed everything I shot with the V1 came out outstanding. Because it's a consumer camera and not a pro, it's colors are sharp and jacked up a bit already. The photos pop even at standard setting, which is kinda normal for low end Nikons. One of my all time favorites is the D40 and it had a lot of pop. That can be bad but in this case, like the Leica guys, the Nikon guys and I agree on what a photo should look like. More and more I used it for my everyday needs. I then found a zoom [30-110mm (x 2.7 crop factor)] really cheap (it was red and my camera was black, so?) and began shooting with it and now it is my favorite lens. It renders colors amazingly well. I've now ordered a couple of used or refurbished primes and I'm not only going to enjoy keeping the V1, but it's going to be one of my "go-to's" for photography outings.
 I moaned and groaned when I had to sell my X1 to finance a major camera purchase and always thought that one day, when the price continued to drop, I'd get another. Now I doubt I will. The output from the V1 is as good as the output I was getting from the X1.
Feets don't fail me now, this camera guy will not leave me alone and I can't fly real well yet.
No flash, indoors, ambient lighting with kit lens.
 Right out of the camera. It's a personal thing. I like the look of the shots. I loved the X1 but comparing shots out of the camera, this is (for me) just as good. I always shot the X1 in aperture mode and when a shot wasn't exposed properly, I'd use the shutter dial. The Leica's controls and menus are head and shoulders better.
This would normally be pretty washed out with the fog and lack of sunlight but the colors still pop and the scene is rendered sharply with really good detail.

I can tell a lot about how a camera's sensor and lens works together with an ambient light selfie. Skin tones, detail sharpness, and especially auto white balance. This camera just takes great shots.

The above stereo selfie shows the 30-110mm @ 30mm on the left and the 10-30mm @ 30mm on the right. Both shot with the same settings, just swapped the lens on the fly [in a matter of a couple seconds] (changing nothing but the lens). The longer zoom's color rendering shows more true reds, the small lens is more yellow (what my eyes perceive). I find the camera's auto white balance to be outstanding. With electronics you never know but I think it's the len's statement here. I like the 30-100mm rendering better. [after a bit of reflection here (duh) the 30-110 is f3.8 at it's short end and the 10-30 is f5.6 at it's long end, so of course, it's (the 30-110) letting in more light wide open and that's likely why the shot is a bit brighter and shows better color. And of course if you're shooting 61mm (30 x 2.7) you're better off with the longer zoom's wider native aperture. Perhaps why I like it better, especially at that focal setting. Ain't science grand?

Bottom line? I will not be parting with the V1 any time soon and I will be shooting with it a lot. I won't be re-obtaining an X1. This camera will be used when I would have grabbed the Leica because it's out of camera jpg's render in a very similar manner. The reason I liked the X1 was it was a no-brainer to shoot great OOC and it gave me pitch perfect photos. I feel the same way about the V1 and of course, I will now have a view finder and can swap lenses for different focal lengths and situations and oh yeah, the focus is lightening quick. Wow. A real win, win, win.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sony R1 crisp morning / Sun Star / Stereo Lens Flare

Two side by sides, merged, produces the stereo lens flare which likely wouldn't be quite as pronounced if it wasn't for the UV filter I keep on the lens for protection. The Zeiss lens on the R1 is an amazing piece of glass. Lenses hold their value very well and digital cameras don't. If you had a Zeiss Sonnar T*, 24mm-120mm, f2.8-f4.8 (assuming it could eve be built to work with other DSLRs) it would be worth a ton of money but since it's hung on the front of an older digital camera, it's value is 25% of original. Funny thing is the camera is still responsive and takes tack sharp photos throughout it's focal range, even at wide open. 8MP is big enough to print large prints. The sensor can't get dirty, the screen folds around to set on top to allow various angles to shoot from (my favorite is Roloflex style). It focuses quickly, it has button control for nearly everything, it shoots +/- exposure compensation for hdr and it's not real big and its build quality it amazingly good. If you shoot in the dark, the high iso isn't nearly as good as today's new sensors, that's the cameras main "flaw." It's a joy to shoot and own.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Leica M8 15mm Voigtlander

The top shot is post processed for effect. It is one frame from the 15mm on the M8 which equates to ~ 20mm in 35mm terms. I used Topaz to make it more dramatic. The second shot is three side by sides merged in Photoshop. They were shot raw and merged together. There was no particular post processing other than the merge and reduction to monochrome. It breaks the rule of maintaining a consistent exposure level through all frames as the left side's exposure is higher to maintain the whole scene's viability and the right side is reduced to prevent blowing out the drama of the sun in the clouds. It gives the photograph a certain 3d effect as the foreground (left) is easier to visualize while the right side fades to dark. The darker sky on the right also seems to fade as you move away which adds to the turbulent effect of the circle on the right. All in all it worked for me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sony RX1 @ Crystal Bridges

I've been advised not to title my photographs. Let the viewer take from the scene what they will, without prior advice. This one approaches telling a story. But perhaps not to you, which is fine. I use older (1st gen intel) Macs to process and presently my developing process is to convert the ARW to DNG using Adobe's free raw converter, then load the DNG into an older version of PS. I don't have to upgrade to get the latest raw processor for ARW. The RX1 raw has tremendous detail and can be stretched up and down as much as +/- 14 stops. That wasn't necessary for this shot which was cropped and developed without much adjustment.

The RX1 is incredibly discreet. It's leaf shutter is nearly silent.

Jeans are nearly ubiquitous. It is Arkansas after all.

Friday, November 1, 2013