Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘review

Some Shots With The Nikon D600

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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

Written by Jonathan

September 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Life With The OM-D

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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

Written by Jonathan

July 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

Shooting The 5D Mark III

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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.

Written by Jonathan

May 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Panoramic Portraiture

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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

Written by Jonathan

April 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Megapixel Madness

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Nikon D800 +  Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

It’s impossible to appreciate fully by simply viewing the downsized images I’m posting here, but from what I’ve seen so far on my monitor at home, files from the Nikon D800 look downright stunning.  It seems that the big headline feature of the camera is its 36 megapixel sensor. I guess I can see why, because this thing captures an incredible amount of detail:


Same image as above, cropped. Really really cropped.

Besides the amazing sensor, however, other key elements of this new camera system are really impressing me so far. I can see definite improvements in metering, autofocus, and especially in handling over my older D700. I’m in love.

Happy shooting this weekend :)

Written by Jonathan

March 30, 2012 at 11:17 am

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