Posts Tagged ‘review’
I had a chance to shoot with the brand new Nikon D600 this weekend. It’s so new that I have no way to post process the camera’s RAW files on my computer, so the frames in this post are camera-processed JPEGs with a little oomph added to them in Lightroom.
The D600 feels just like using a slightly heavier, fatter D7000 with an FX format sensor. Typical of Nikon’s latest digital cameras, the image quality is quite fantastic, but a couple of things immediately bugged me with this camera. First of all, the AF system covers a very small center portion of the viewfinder compared to most other DSLRs, and in practice it seems a little silly selecting between the 39 AF points, all of which are sardined into that little center area.
The other thing? Maximum native flash sync on the D600 is 1/200 instead of the 1/250 I’m used to with Nikon bodies. The small flash lover in me goes “awwwwwwwwww.”
Of course, there’s a lot to like about the camera too. It’s relatively small and light weight for a full frame shooter, it’s packin’ an awesome sensor, and the price makes FX more accessible than ever before. But eh, I already have a compact full framer that I’m pretty happy with =)
Images: Nikon D600 + Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G / Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
I totally love the Olympus OM-D. The Pana-Leica 25mm, Olympus 12 and 45mm M. Zuiko primes, and the body itself all fit in my camera bag with plenty of room to spare, so I can take the entire kit wherever I go.
The OM-D checks a lot of the right boxes. Fast, responsive, quiet, well-built, small, light, good-looking. It’s weather-sealed, has a great tilt and swivel touch screen, an awesome EVF, plenty of physical control points, plenty of amazing lenses to choose from, and the new 5-axis stabilization works so well it’s scary.
Grainy-Filmy look brought to you by VSCO (Kodak Portra 800). Black and whites are out of camera. I’m really looking forward to logging more time with this system.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 | 12mm f/2 | 25mm f/1.4 | 45mm f/1.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/160 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200
I was honored to have been invited by my cousin and best buddy, Josh Liba, who flew all the way to San Francisco from Medellin Colombia, to help shoot a fantastically beautiful wedding yesterday as his second shooter. I helped cover the event using Canon’s new 5D Mark III, a very impressive camera. The new auto focus system in particular is a significant feature for the series. If you’re a Mark II owner, you’ll really notice the vast improvement in auto-focus performance with Mark III. Vast. Improvement.
Here are just a few frames I grabbed as I went throughout the day, trying to point my camera at whatever Josh wasn’t shooting:
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/2,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/2,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/600 sec, f/2, ISO 200
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 35mm f/1.4L | 1/30 sec, f/4, ISO 100
The shot above was taken using a couple of Canon’s new Speedlite 600 EX-RTs, one on camera, and one behind the couple on the other side of the dance floor providing some rim light on my subjects. The cool thing about this new flash unit is that it has the ability to radio trigger other off-camera units. Very, very cool.
You can see Josh in the background at the edge of the frame to the right taking a shot from the other side. His on-camera flash is actually pointed at that wood-panelled wall right next to him. He fired his camera at the same exact time I did, washing light off that wall and providing my shot with some very welcome background detail. Yeah, uh, we totally meant to do that ;)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/8,000 sec, f/1.2, ISO 100
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/6,400 sec, f/1.2, ISO 100
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/3,200 sec, f/2, ISO 100
Such unique experience, shooting a wedding alongside your best bud. It was probably the most fun either of us have had on a gig.
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G | 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 (19 image stitch)
Wait, what? The thought of stitching several photos together to make a portrait, a technique developed and made popular by Ryan Brenizer, seemed like an odd idea to me at first. But the kind of look you can achieve by doing so is really unique. Like any other kind of panoramic photo, the idea behind the method is to increase your final image’s angle of view while maintaining a given focal length and distance from your subject. However, this technique can work wonders when shooting very close to a human subject at wide apertures, because stitching several of the resulting photos together allows you to achieve some really pretty bokeh effects.
For example, at the distance I was from my lovely wife for the first panorama, a single-frame shot using the 85mm f/1.4 looks like this:
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G | 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100
The photo above was taken wide open and pretty near the lens’ closest focusing distance. As a result, Bridget’s left eye is in sharp focus, but the background is completely and beautifully blurred into bokeh heaven due to the extremely shallow depth of field. But what if I wanted a wider angle of view while maintaining both the focal length and the super shallow dof? No problem! Lock your focus and exposure settings, and then take a series of overlapping photos surrounding the first photo’s point of focus. Merge the photos together in post, and poof! Bokeh panorama. The image at the top of this post is a 19-photo stitch from a series of photos I took surrounding the first image in the series, pictured directly above, which served an anchor point for the rest of the panorama.
One mistake I immediately realized that I made after the merge is that I didn’t take enough frames to cover the bottom right of my intended composition, though a little work in CS5 still gave me the composition I was after. But hey, not bad for a second try, right? (Wife will not allow me to post my first try because she’s not wearing makeup in the photo. I think she looks beautiful regardless, but hey, I understand). Indeed, the most difficult part of the entire process is pre-visualizing your intended composition and then taking enough frames to cover the composition when you finally merge the photos.
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G | 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100
Another example of a single frame shot with the 85mm. This time I’m going for a full length portrait, accomplished by merging 19 total frames:
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G | 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 (19 image stitch)
One side note: I did not stitch full resolution, 36 megapixel frames from the D800 here, but can you imagine the final size of these images if I had? Hoo boy….
Bokeh panoramas look pretty awesome on small, inanimate objects as well. Here’s a 13 image stitch:
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G | 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 (13 image stitch)
I’ve heard of this awesome technique before, but never really thought about trying it myself until another blogger I’ve been following, Kim Miller, put this ridiculously awesome blog post together that tipped me over the edge. To thank her for said tipping, a plug seems appropriate: Head to her blog for a little inspiration, because she does a much better job walking you through the process than I ever could, and her site is littered with awesome examples of bokeh panoramas. Enjoy!
All Images: Nikon D800 | 85mm f/1.4G
Processing: RAW images processed using VSCO in Lightroom 4 / Image stitching in Photoshop CS5