Rodney Campbell's Blog

1312

by on May.10, 2019, under Life, Photography

Gerry was telling me there was no way this panorama would stitch… No wait… that was me telling Gerry that 🙂

1312

1312

NIKON Z 7 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 15 sec at f/2.8, ISO 3200 x 8 Frames

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

The milky way was really high in the sky – almost vertical above us. So I really didn’t expect this to work. Angling the camera way upwards trying to include both the bunker at the bottom and maybe the top of the milky way arch above

However here we are – me proved wrong and Gerry right 🙂

Actually Lightroom barfed – but I was able to get it together in Photoshop

The result of eight (8) vertical frames stitched

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Z 14-30mm Lens with the NiSi V6 Filter Holder

by on May.08, 2019, under Life, Photography

Today I wish to look at the new Nikon Z mount 14-30mm f/4 S lens with the NiSi V6 100mm Filter Holder. Primarily to assess whether vignetting is going to be an issue with filters with this lens

Z 14-30 @14mm + Nisi V6 Holder (incl CPL) vs F 16-35 @ 16mm + Lee Holder + CPL

Z 14-30 @14mm + Nisi V6 Holder (incl CPL) vs F 16-35 @ 16mm + Lee Holder + CPL

The 14-30mm Z lens is seriously ultra wide (down to 14mm). It also has a flat rather than the usual bulbous front element (as found on every other 14mm FX lens). Finally it has a standard 82mm front filter thread

For a landscape photographer this is EPIC!

This means I can finally use “normal” filters. This includes my standard 100mm slot filter system – all with a lens this wide

However my existing Lee filter holder with the large 105mm polariser on front noticeably vignettes on the 16-35 from about 19mm. This meant typically for the vast majority of my landscape imagery I was limited to using focal lengths from around 18, 19 or 20mm

I’d heard that the NiSi filter holder (with the polariser) will definitely work down to 16mm. Possibly even 14mm without vignetting

So I’d ordered the new V6 NiSi holder and today I’ll be testing whether my hypothesis is valid

I shot all of the following with the Z7 on a tripod facing a white(ish) wall, manual focus, ISO 64, aperture priority

All these images are essentially straight out of camera RAW’s, no (lens) profile corrections, etc. The only thing I’ve done is synchronise a white balance between all the shots and taken the saturation down to remove any distracting colour

Lighting was natural light coming in from outdoors. Therefore some slight change in light direction and intensity during the sequence might be expected

First up a baseline shot with just the camera and lens at 14mm

Z7 + 14-30 @ 14mm

Z7 + 14-30 @ 14mm

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14 mm, 1/8 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Next I added the NiSi V6 adapter ring (including the NiSi CPL). Other than the expected exposure change I see no other practical difference (or additional vignetting)

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi Adapter (incl CPL)

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi Adapter (incl CPL)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14 mm, 1/2 sec at f/8, ISO 64

To that I’ve added the 3 slot NiSi filter holder onto the front. Again no practical change (or additional vignetting)

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi Holder (incl CPL) (3 Slot)

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi Holder (incl CPL) (3 Slot)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14 mm, 1/2 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Next I added 2 stop ND graduated filter (these are 150x100mm slot in filters). I added this filter to the outermost (furthest) of the three slots. Other than the expected exposure change I see no other practical difference (or additional vignetting)

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi + 0.6GND

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi + 0.6GND

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14 mm, 1/2 sec at f/8, ISO 64

The only change for this shot is I’ve slid down the grad so that it completely covers the imaging area and becomes a 2 stop ND (rather than grad)

Note: I checked and there’s still easily enough filter coverage for a grad to be used this way even at 14mm. This is great because I don’t need to buy any solid ND’s. I can just continue to use my various grads as I’ve done previously

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi + 0.6ND

Z7 + 14-30 + NiSi + 0.6ND

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14 mm, 1.30 sec at f/8, ISO 64

For comparison I’ve mounted my existing 16-35mm f/4 F mount lens on the Z7 using the handy FTZ adapter

I’ll be using this to test the Lee filter holder to show what I mean by noticable vignetting with that holder a even much less wide focal lengths. I can’t mount the Lee holder on the 14-30 Z lens because I only have a 77mm Lee adapter ring

Firstly the baseline shot again with just the camera and lens at 16mm

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 Only @ 16mm

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 Only @ 16mm

NIKON Z 7 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1/3 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Adding the Lee UWA adapter ring and the Lee 2 slot holder again shows no additional vignetting

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 + Lee Holder (2 Slot)

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 + Lee Holder (2 Slot)

NIKON Z 7 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1/3 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Here I attach the Heliopan 105mm slim Circular Polariser (CPL) to the ring at the front of my Lee holder. As you can see this is what I mean by extremely noticable vignetting and this doesn’t go away till I get to about 19 or 20mm

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 + Lee + 105 CPL @ 16mm

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 + Lee + 105 CPL @ 16mm

NIKON Z 7 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Even at 20mm you can just barely see the impact on the far right top and bottom corners

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 + Lee + 105 CPL @ 20mm

Z7 + FTZ + 16-35 + Lee + 105 CPL @ 20mm

NIKON Z 7 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 1 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Note this isn’t a review of the NiSi filter holder and CPL. I’ll do that separately once I’ve had a chance to properly use it out in the field

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Comparing the Old vs New

by on May.06, 2019, under Life, Photography

Old vs New

Old vs New

NIKON D600 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85 mm, 1/100 sec at f/5.6, ISO 450

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

This is my typical landscape shooting basic loadout. i.e. when going out on a typical landscape shooting session I almost always take the camera body and at least these two lenses. An ultrawide angle zoom – probably my most commonly used lens, and a midrange telephoto zoom

I’d already posted previously the difference in weight between my D-SLR based setup:

D750 (840g) + 16-35/4 (680g) + 24-70/2.8 (900g) = 2420g

and the new Mirrorless kit:

Z7 (675g) + Z 14-30/4 (485g) + Z 24-70/4 (500g) = 1660g

However in the image above you can see in real terms the physical size difference with the two kits sitting side by side

Note that the above isn’t all I take – I’m also carrying:

  • a camera bag
  • tripod + ball head
  • (lots of) filters (which actually takes up quite a bit of space)
  • intervalometer/remote(s)
  • headlamp/torch(es)
  • batteries
  • the arca L-brackets you see on the cameras
  • and sometimes other things like pano rails and additional lenses

But saving a kilo is saving a kilo, and saving a third of the space in my bag for the base camera kit is still valuable

Note also that the comparison above isn’t exactly apples for apples

The F mount 24-70 is a stop faster at f/2.8 so will be bigger and heavier (thats half the extra weight there). But for landscaping purposes it’s “equivalent) (since I’ll be shooting at f/5.6 or above anyway). Plus everything I’ve seen indicates the Z lens is superior in IQ in every other way to the older F mount lens (and even the newer VR version)

Conversely the Z 14-30 gives me more at the wide angle end. Two extra millimetres (14 vs 16) is incredibly valuable. Whilst a few mm difference at a tele end makes very little difference, a single mm at extreme wide end makes a huge difference. 16mm has a diagonal Field of View (FOV) of 107.1 degrees. 14mm has a diagonal FOV of 114.2 degrees

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First Step on the Mirrorless Path

by on May.04, 2019, under Photography

Well I’ve finally succumbed to the lure of mirrorless… It has been a long long time in the making…

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm, 1/60 sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

I’ll be going on a ten week trip around half of Australia in a few months time. With oodles of opportunities to get back into my photography

My trusty Nikon D750 has been my main camera for over four years now. It’s still a fantastic camera – this is easily the longest I’ve used any one D-SLR – and even by todays standards it’s an epic machine

However with my daughter now very keen on photography she’s taken my D600 (my backup body) and even my FM2n film camera

So with this forthcoming trip into some very remote parts of Australia it would be remiss of me not to have a backup camera. At least that’s part of how I’m justifying it all in my mind 🙂

I started by looking very seriously at the D850 – it is my natural next progression… I tried it in store and it is lovely but it’s just sooo big and heavy

Part of why I havn’t been shooting much in the past 18 months is that I injured my shoulder. This made it quite difficult to carry my heavy camera bag and even lift and hold my reasonably heavy D750 and lenses up to shoot

I’m just not getting any younger and I think it’s just time for lighter and smaller. Especially for when we travel and go on holidays but also for general landscaping walks

In the past I havn’t been convinced of the mirrorless promise. Sure the camera body might be smaller and lighter but equivalent full frame lenses with decent IQ (either adapted or even native to the new mirrorless format) have been essentially the same size and weight as the normal full frame D-SLR lenses. Thus my overall kit would be almost the same size and weight combined

I had assumed the Nikon Z would be the same…

The two lenses I most use for my landscape photography (probably 90%+ of my shots) are the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Except for when I’m doing astro photography or architecture. These are the two lenses I always have in my camera bag with the camera. In the past they’d also be the two lenses (along with the 28-300) I’d take travelling and on holidays

That adds up to some significant size and weight:

D750 (840g) + 16-35/4 (680g) + 24-70/2.8 (900g) = 2420g

If I went the next gen D-SLR route – D850 (1005g) it would be 2585g total

However if I went the mirrorless route with the two new equivalent native Z lenses:

Z7 (675g) + Z 14-30/4 (485g) + Z 24-70/4 (500g) = 1660g

Significantly lighter and much smaller too (and actually better image quality than my existing lenses)

So with the recent release of the Nikon 14-30mm f/4 Z lens I was in a real position to consider the switch

So here we are…

I’ve grabbed the Z7 in a kit including the Z 24-70/4, a 64GB XQD card and the handy FTZ lens adaptor. The FTZ will at least allow me to use most of my existing dozen or so F mount lenses until more (smaller and lighter and higher IQ) Z native lenses come out to replace them. I’ve also picked up the Z 14-30/4 lens

You can see I’ve also grabbed the RRS arca L bracket for the Z series

And finally – you may note that

  • the 14-30mm Z lens is seriously ultra wide (down to 14mm) AND it has a flat rather than the usual bulbous front element (found on every other 14mm FX lens) AND thus it has a standard 82mm front filter thread
  • this means I can finally use “normal” filters – including my standard 100mm slot filter system with a lens this wide
  • however my existing Lee filter holder with the large 105mm polariser on front vignettes on the 16-35 from about 19mm
  • I’d heard that the NiSi filter holder (with the polariser) will definitely work down to 16mm and possibly even 14mm without vignetting
  • So I’ve also grabbed the new V6 NiSi holder and I’ll post more on this after I’ve tried it

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Awash with Possibilities

by on Jan.12, 2019, under Life, Photography

A few more images from our maiden flight with the new DJI Mavic 2 Pro along the shores of Curl Curl beach

The following image is probably my favourite of the morning. The low early morning light just perfect across the waves and sand

Falling Tides

Falling Tides

DJI Mavic 2 Pro L1D-20c + 28.0 mm f/2.8 @ 10.26 mm, 1/160 sec at f/4, ISO 100

One thing I immediately noticed on importing the images into Lightroom was a marked improvement in the source RAW files. It was obvious that the fine detail was better. Zooming into 100% over the sand or the fine structure of the water wash only confirmed this view

Additionally even without a polariser the RAW image is rich and saturated pretty much straight out of camera. Compared to the flat and ever so slightly mushy RAWs which came out of the Phantom

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Awash with Possibilities

Awash with Possibilities

DJI Mavic 2 Pro L1D-20c + 28.0 mm f/2.8 @ 10.26 mm, 1/240 sec at f/4, ISO 100

I’m looking forward to further experimenting with the possibilities of my new camera. Especially later this year when I’ll be spending two months in the remote Australian outback. Which was ostensibly the reason for purchasing the new drone

Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

DJI Mavic 2 Pro L1D-20c + 28.0 mm f/2.8 @ 10.26 mm, 1/240 sec at f/4, ISO 100

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