Archive for September, 2015

Gear Gear Gear = ZZZ

Posted: September 27, 2015 in Cameras, Lenses, Photo equipment

Nikon 1 -- Edwin
I can hear heads thumping… Please, just show me pictures, don’t be a boor and bore me with gear talk. That disclaimer out-of-the-way — GEAR!!!

On one of his Dover beach strolls Paul met fellow photographer, Edwin (pictured above), who is enamored with the Nikon One system of little mirrorless cameras. This picture reminded me of the days when photojournalists would routinely be draped with three or four camera bodies — each with a different lens.  These are commonly refered to as “primes” now.  (I am a pre-zoom guy and it was rare to see a zoom carried by a professional photographer in the 1970-1980s).

My last kit in the newspaper days consisted of three Leica R bodies with five lenses at hand – 19, 35, 90, 180, 400. and as need arose a Lecia M4 with 50mm.

But now, as I have explained in earlier articles, Paul and I shoot with DSLRs and zooms.  He opts for APS-C cameras, primarily lightweight Nikon D5X00 series, with “super zooms” for convenience i.e. 10-24, 18-200, 55-300. He arguments these with a 35mm f 1.8 Nikkor “prime.’  I go with a combo of Nikon D610 and D300 and seven Nikkor lenses from 16- 300.

Edwin with the Nikon One system has an “off-the shelf” Nikkor range from 18- 810 with the current stash of about 15 lenses — sounds gear yummy — but rather limited with only three primes and mostly consumer-grade medium range zooms. One caveat for legacy Nikon users — there is the FT1 mount adapter, that supports autofocus and vibration reduction, for 80+ Nikon lenses (with a 2.7x crop factor).

Anyway — warned you this was tedious — Paul wondered about image Quality aka IQ of this system compared to the mirrorless competition – Sony, Panasonic, et al.  Pixel peepers can look this up at dxomark. We daydreamed that it would be fun in a dorkie kind of way to drape oursleves with four Nikon One bodies with  6.7-13mm, 70-300mm, 32mm f/1.2, 18.5mm f/1.8 lenses. Prepared for any photo-j exigency.

The conclusion was that we have to “keep it real man” and think in terms of the plane of focus behind the camera. If you don’t have a vision (and know your audience) all the gear and pixels in the world will still produce a head-thumping snooze.

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How to Discover America

Posted: September 21, 2015 in Travel
Tags: , ,

Miami Beach
What’s the best way to do it? One thing to consider is whether you are going in winter or summer.  If you are going in winter, and if your time and budget is limited, the best option could be to fly into the Miami area, and stay there. (Remember to check prices for flying into the Fort Lauderdale airport as well as Miami itself).

It seems to me the whole world comes to Miami. There are lots of Americans, of course, but you will also meet a lot of people from Canada, as well as Germany, and France and the UK. I even got to slow dance with a couple of girls from Korea. (Don’t tell anybody about that…)

And the area is good, whether you are on a moderate budget, or if you have just won a big lottery jackpot. For instance, John Lennon owned a five million dollar house in the area. On the other hand, one December, I stayed in a nice room with its own kitchen area, two blocks from Miami Beach, for 60 pounds per night.

If you’ve got a bit more time and money, you could hire a car and drive to New Orleans, which has been, from its earliest days, one of America’s most cosmopolitan and entertaining cities. You could drive it, according to the Rand-McMally website, in 12 hours and 42 minutes, but there are enough interesting things to see along the way, that you could plan to take two or three days for the trip. — Paul

Mantis religiosa

The eyes are the window to the soul… or some such gimcrack-ie.  Nonetheless, standard photo advice is to get the focus on the eyes and add catchlight if it adds depth. This little wonder (Mantis religiosa aka praying mantis) was walking up my stair rail and striking a pose. Caught the image with AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D and Nikon D610.