Rodney Campbell's Blog

Archive for February, 2010

HDR Photography – High Dynamic Range…

by on Feb.03, 2010, under Life, Photography

My second play with HDR Photography.

As before it is composed from three bracketed handheld shots. I havn’t really done anything with this shot other than generating the HDR and very minimal tonemapping adjustments (I still don’t know what I’m doing yet 🙂 ).

f/5.3, ISO 200, 180mm equiv

f/5.3, ISO 200, 180mm equiv

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Joy with a Nikon D90 D-SLR…

by on Feb.02, 2010, under Life, Photography

A few months ago I finally decided to take the plunge and invest in my first Digital SLR.

Way back in my much younger days I was an avid amateur photographer (film only in those days) with my own black and white darkroom at home.

My last SLR was a Canon EOS-50e (film) which I last used somewhere around 1990.

In the early nineties I started early on with the digital revolution with my first real digital camera being a Nikon Coolpix 900 (which I absolutely loved – split bodied and a mighty 1.3 megapixels).

Since then I’d had a procession of pocket digitals including the Nikon Coolpix 995, Canon S2-IS and Panasonic Lumix TZ-15.

The Coolpix 995 (with interchangable lense additions – I has the 8mm fisheye, 24mm wide angle and 2x telephoto lenses) really introduced me into stiching panoramas in the early 2000’s.

My more recent compacts introduced me to the joys of an UltraZoom with 10x or more optical zoom lenses that went from reasonably wide to telephoto.

In the last few years however I’d been getting more and more disappointed with the quality of my images (clarity, sharpness) and the very limiting scope for creativity and the real struggle to limit depth of field (common to all small sensor digitals).

My heart was crying out for my early creative photographic roots and it is with great joy that I took the plunge and invested in a Nikon D90 D-SLR with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II lens.

I realised up front that I was making some optical sacrifices in choosing the all in one travel lens – however I really didn’t want to bother changing lenses most of the time. However I’ve been absolutely astounded by the quality of the shots I’ve been able to get and I can wholeheartedly recommend this setup.

As the store I bought from didn’t have the Nikon 18-200 in stock at the time however they loaned me a new Tamron 18-270mm for about a week while I waited for my Nikon to arrive which also gave me the opportunity to try this lens as well.

I think the shots from both lenses were fantastic (very sharp – much sharper than I had hoped) and the AF was extremely fast with both lenses (I’d say the Nikon was perhaps marginally more responsive). For an all in one (never take off the camera) lens I’d be extremely happy with either.

The one difference I did note however was the feel of the lens – the Tamron isn’t anywhere as smooth in it’s action as the Nikon (e.g. zooming in the Nikon is smooth right across the zoom, whereas with the Tamron it was very inconsistent – it is Ok between about 18-70mm but then really sticks there and you have to twist much harder to about 100m before it frees up again to the end of the range). This isn’t just this one lens either – the other two I had tried in stores were exactly the same.

I’ve since purchased the Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D lens and Nikon SB-600 flash.

I know it has already started!! 🙂 – I’m even thinking of my next wishlist items (a Macro/Portrait lens – possibly the Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro and an UltraWide lens – possibly the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX).

I havn’t had the opportunity to use either my 50mm (75mm effective) or flash extensively yet but the miniscule DoF from the 1.8 should make it a very nice portrait lens with those really blurry backgrounds that I adore (can anyone say bokeh 🙂 ).

Over the coming months I’ll endeavour to post a few samples of some of the shots from this combination.

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