Friday, 1 January 2016

Technology and stuff.

For those who care, I'm gradually migrating photographically to full frame with the acquisition before Christmas of a Nikon D610 body, swapped for a guitar I didn't really use. In one sense it's a bad deal, because the guitar will retain all it's value plus a bit in 10 years time, while the camera will be worth nothing, but OTOH at least it will get used.

Now I have the slightly stressful task of trying to build up a range of lenses at lowest cost possible and with minimal redundancy and highest quality. Ebay has been occupying FAR too much time, and I've also been trying to learn the ins and outs of Nikon and compatible lens ranges (never assume that a lens is good - there's some terrible junk out there at a high price, bargains few & far between). Since image quality is *one* of the key reasons for using full frame, chucking a lousy lens on the camera seems somewhat pointless, and I've been getting used to the camera with nothing more than a 'nifty fifty' in place.

Experience so far is mixed. Image quality at high ISO is excellent compared to the Sony (3200 is fine, even 6400 is usable) but image quality in other respects, like colour balance, is all over the place. The large pentaprism viewfinder is clear and bright compared to what you'd find on even a decent APS-C camera, but in low light it's not a patch on the Sony EVF - that will of course be the opposite in sunlight, where EVF really fails. Low light focussing is also relatively hot & miss compared to the Sony, and when it comes to taking a picture, there's a huge amount of 'stuff' moving around inside compared the the mirrorless SLT cameras.

It's a heavy, bulky, complex and slightly poorly laid out device by comparison, but with noticeably higher image quality and more control over depth of field. I don't have any images on here (linux desktop) but may get some up later.

*edit -  the promised images*




 Nikon D610 plus Nikkor 50 1.8 AFS on auto-iso.

What else?


To quote Ben "the mini is a car for iPhone owners".

The honeymoon is over now, and the thing that irritated me to this point? The naggy computer that tries to second-guess when it needs servicing, brake pads changing etc etc. It's still great to drive (the ordinary mini cooper I had on loan while it was being serviced was even better) but suddenly it feels like it's been spoiled, from being a real car to being a computer with wheels and an engine. I feel like it's nannying me. :p

Don't get me wrong - it IS still great to drive - but if I want to change the brake pads myself then that's what I want to do, rather than have to go back to the dealer (Oxford Mini BTW - first experience wasn't so good, but this latest time they did really well). It's the first car I've owned in a very long time, probably about 20 years, that I've felt safe to press on with instead of having to drive cautiously round each corner, though that only applied when solo.

Windows 10

I reverted.

2 days before the 28 day evaluation period was up I reverted back to windows 8.1 on the work machine, not because windows 10 is bad, but because Dell's W8.1 drivers don't work properly. W10 was generally very good, though not really a great deal different in day-to-day use from 8.1, but some things didn't work or fell over, and in the end it was better to revert. Maybe I'll try again in the spring.


  1. Speaking of cameras... I recently purchased the Pentax K-3 I've been saving for. I haven't had much time to play with it yet, but I'm quite pleased so far.

    At the moment I'm trying to figure out if the camera has a back/front focus issue (which my K10D had), or if it's a "bad" lens. I discovered that newer models have an autofocus fine-tuning option to move focus forward or backward as needed, so I'm not sure I'll be sending it away yet.

  2. Almost al the images I've taken with my Nikon FX have been with either the 50 f1.4 or 105 f2, they work well and resolve sharply. I agree there's a huge number of lenses out there, but the ones that are really good and not crazy expensive is a fairly small list.

  3. @Marc - congrats. I'm glad you got that replacement in the end, and hopefully it will have greater longevity than the last.

    @Fern - you're right about the list of good & affordable leses being small. I'm having mild doubts about this 'upgrade' right now, possibly because the jump in quality apart from at high ISO hasn't happened at all, and in fact image quality with the Nikon 50 f1.8 AFS has been noticeably lower than with my Zeiss 16-80 zoom and Sony 50 f1.4 (which isn't reckoned to be a great lens compared to Nikon and Canon equivalents). It was bought mint used, and it's going back because of that, being replaced by a Samyang 85 f1.4, which is a focal length I think I prefer anyway. That lens is manual focus, but with a focus confirmation chip built in apparently.

    Still waiting for the 28 f3.5 AI lens to arrive, and hopefully that's as good as the seller said considering it's probably from the 1970s.

    Given the limitations of the small APS sensor in my Sony, I'm even more impressed with the optical quality of the zeiss zoom that's been on my camera most of the time for the last year (pity the mechanical quality of that lens is complete garbage, considering their price new).


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