Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘impressions

The iPhone 6 Camera

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After spending a couple years with Android smartphones, I jumped back over to Apple with the new iPhone 6. While I prefer the Android OS, I won’t really miss it because I’m still using it (lovin’ my Nexus tablet). Can’t imagine missing out on that sweet looking Android Lollipop update, so yeah, I’m in both camps :)

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The iPhone 6 a beautifully made device, and Apple finally upped the screen size. What I was really after this time around, however, is that iSight camera system. As much as I loved my Moto X, the camera was just ridiculously bad. Not so with the iPhone. It’s got a great sensor and lens combo that’s more responsive, faster focusing, and works better in low light than any phone I’ve had to date. Apple really nailed it when it comes to image processing as well, so colors look great and there’s a surprising amount of dynamic range (HDR results look pretty natural). iOS8 allows much more manual control over exposure than ever before, and the new photos app has great built-in tools for tweaking the images even further after capture.

All images in this post were taken with the iPhone 6, and some were edited in iOS8’s built-in photos app:

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So there you have it, my new favorite compact camera. :)

Written by Jonathan

October 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Small Camera, Huge Sensor

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Logged more time with Sony’s powerhouse of a compact camera this weekend. This thing is a serious imaging machine!

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Do I love it? Yes. The image quality is absolutely stunning, as expected, and the camera’s build quality is top notch. But I only borrowed this thing to keep me occupied while I waited for my rangefinder to come out of repair. Once I get my M3 back, I doubt I’ll miss the RX1. =)

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All Images: Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1

Written by Jonathan

December 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

First Clicks With the Nikon D800

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  Nikon D800 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G | 6 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Bridget and I made a brief drive out to one of our favorite spots to view the Golden Gate after work tonight. Well, she drove. I was busy unboxing the D800 I received only a couple hours earlier. I set it up the best I could in the car, and as soon as we arrived, took a few frames of the bridge during dusk. Hoo boy does this thing bring on the pixels.

More impressions to come…

Written by Jonathan

March 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

More Nikon V1 Impressions

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Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

Sunday was such a beautiful day in the city. The weather was perfect, and as is typical in the winter time on days like this, the light seems to have a crisp, dramatic look all day long. A walk in the park was a must.

I keep forgetting how large Golden Gate Park is. We started at the south-east corner and trekked our way to Spreckels lake, which is a little less than 3/4 of the way to the west entrance that intersects Ocean Beach. The entire journey took us between three and four hours, covering around five miles. We loved every minute of it, and Suki,  who unlike her human companions could have easily walked the length of this park a dozen times over,  was especially happy.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Spread out among the large, open recreational spaces are dense areas of trees and local plant life. Small gardens, large groves, tons of areas to explore. Places where light takes on even more drama, where your image data gets slammed into either end of the histogram. Places where you wrangle your camera’s EV dial and white balance settings. I love these places.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 180


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm | 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 24mm | 1/80 sec, f/5, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 11mm | 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

I love working with the RAW files from the V1 because the experience is so familiar to me as a Nikon shooter. Every manufacturer has its own look, its own way of handling colors, and the V1’s files are decidedly Nikon. Therefore, much of my work flow in handling the V1’s output is nearly identical to how I process my D700 files. Awesome!

The ability to easily carry an entire system on a trek this long is one of my favorite things about the V1. I had a camera body, flash unit, and three lenses covering a 27-297mm equivalent range in my bag with room to spare, and I could barely feel the weight on my shoulder the entire time. I couldn’t possibly carry that range with my DSLR system without destroying my back. When I do head out with the D700, I usually select only one lens to bring along in order to keep weight and bulk to a minimum. No compromise in that regard with the V1. Take it all!


Nikon V1 +  1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm |  1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

Running into other Shibas is always a treat, more so for us than for Suki, who was only mildly interested in this five month old puppy.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

As the sun continued to fall, beams of light became more and more visible in areas with densely packed trees. Right after I took the shot above I thought, “there’s something missing in this frame….”


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Ah yes, a Shiba Inu. =)


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

With the lenses currently available for the 1 system,  you won’t be throwing backgrounds way out of focus, though getting in close with the 10mm pancake can deliver some pleasing results.  Nikon is said to be releasing some fast primes for the format soon. I want them yesterday!


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor  10mm f/2.8 | 1/800 sec, f/4, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 at 110mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 140

Lens changing is pleasantly fast with the 1. Large, easy to see lens markings line up at a 12 o’clock position at the mount, and the rotation required to lock the lens into place is much shorter than I expected. Going from a wide shot of the lake with the 10mm and quickly changing to the 30-110mm for a close up of the duck felt just like switching things up with my F-mount system, only on a much smaller scale.


Nikon V1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 at 110mm | 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

Small cameras have come a long way. Using the V1 system lately has made me realize that for a lot of what I shoot, a DSLR can often be too much camera than I actually need or am willing to carry. These smaller systems will only get better and better, and I personally am much more excited about the future of cameras like the V1 than I am about what’s next in the DSLR realm.

Written by Jonathan

December 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Review: Think Tank Retrospective 5 Camera Bag

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Fuji X100 | 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2000

The Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag: Photographer tested, Shiba approved.  Ever since I started regularly heading out with smaller, lighter gear like my EPL2, X100, and even Nikon FM, I’ve been yearning for an appropriate bag. I have a “carry everything bag” already,  so what I need here is a bag that will carry just what I need for a particular outing. The requirements were pretty simple: durable, comfortable, portable yet efficient, and most importantly, inconspicuous.

I realized something about the design of this bag while eating dinner at a restaurant over the weekend. A family with baby in tow sat down at the table next to us, and I noticed that the father had a bag that looked just like mine, only a bit bigger and with cartoon designs all over it…and it was filled with diapers. But hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed about! Like a good diaper bag, the Retrospective 5 has a very minimalist but efficient design.

Made of highly durable cotton canvas and available in Pinestone (mine) or Black, you certainly wouldn’t confuse it for a diaper bag, but you wouldn’t necessarily think it was a camera bag either, and that’s what I love most about the Retrospective 5. I carry it around with me everywhere, so the last thing I want is for it to scream “I have thousands of dollars of camera gear in me!” According to Think Tank, the minimalist design was intentional in order to help photographers inconspicuously blend into different environments.


Fuji X100 | 1/480 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Under the main flap there’s a clear pocket for your business card along with a really cool hook-and-loop strip system equipped with what Think Tank calls “sound silencers.” Again, the design of the bag is purposefully minimal and inconspicuous, so how inconspicuous is opening a hook-and-loop strip sealed bag in a quiet environment? Not very.

The image on the left shows one of the hook-and-loop strips in “silent mode.” In this configuration, the flap just falls over the bag instead of attaching at the strip, and hence makes no noise. This is how I leave the bag most of the time. On the far right the strip is active, and noisy. =)


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | 1/50 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400

The strap is awesome. The strips of highly grippy rubber (feels like silicone) along the strap’s padding are extremely effective at keeping the  strap from sliding, allowing me to  hang the bag on the edge of my shoulder and move around with confidence while the bag stays put. Thoughtful little details like this add up to make this bag great.

On the left is an included, seam-sealed rain cover. It covers the entire bag with the exception of the straps to protect your gear in the rain. You can see it deployed here.


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1000

Even though the Retrospective 5 was designed with rangefinder or micro 4/3 systems in mind, it will still happily carry a big DSLR (though your shoulder may not be quite as happy).  In the bag above is a D700 with Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G mounted (that’s a big chunk of glass), and in the side pocket a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, stacked on top of a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. There’s still plenty of room to the left of the 50mm, so a bigger lens could definitely take its place. I could mount my 24-120mm f/4 VRII and put it in the bag with my 70-300 VR and have a really wide range in a very small bag.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 400

This is my most common setup when I head out onto the street, walk the dog, or for travel. In one compartment is my Fuji X100, and in the other, my Olympus EPL2 with Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 mounted, effectively giving me a wide and a telephoto in two cameras. This setup is extremely light. The bag also comes with plenty of removable compartments that allow you to customize the interior any way you like. Think Tank says it can easily take a Micro 4/3 system with 3-6 lenses plus accessories. I believe it!


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 |  1/20 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400

See that front pocket in the image above? It’s expandable, so much so in fact that it can swallow my D700 body with ease:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400

Of course, it has no problem carrying my X100 all by itself. If I want to travel as light as possible, I just slip the one camera in the bag, and the rest of the bag easily holds chargers, batteries, and other accessories.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400

Finally, a removable carry handle. Sounds simple, but it’s extremely convenient in practice.

This post doesn’t even cover every single feature, just my favorite ones. There are many little purpose-made pockets and compartments in the bag that I didn’t mention here, but the bottom line is that if you’re a micro 4/3 or rangefinder system user, or even a DSLR user who wants a more compact and inconspicuous solution for carrying a camera and one or two lenses, the Retrospective 5 is a great choice.