Jump to content


ericbowles

Member Since 05 Dec 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:58 PM
-----

Topics I've Started

Durango & Silverton Train

08 October 2018 - 09:30 AM

I just returned from leading the Nikonians ANPAT to western Colorado.  One of the activities was a train ride on on a steam train from Durango to Silverton.  I dropped off everyone in Durango and drove the van to Silverton to meet the group at the end of the ride.  The benefit was a chance for some great train photos along the way.

 

The day started in bright sun with light clouds, but by the end of the ride three hours later, we had hard rain, sleet, and a little thunder.

 

 


Tiger Woods at PGA Tour Championship

25 September 2018 - 12:54 PM

I just finished a hectic week photographing the PGA Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.  This is the culmination of the professional golf season, and Tiger Woods won it with wonderful play.  Huge crowds followed him in person and on TV - more than double normal crowds.  The Sunday broadcast with his win was the highest rated FedEX Cup event ever.

 

Here are a few photos from the 18th hole and the awards ceremony.  I was using a Nikon D850 with a 24-70 f/2.8 and a Nikon D500 with a 70-200 f/2.8 VR II plus the SB-910 flash moving between bodies.  The biggest photographic challenge was they left the trophy stand and risers in front of the people and they really got in the way.  The fast frame rate was great for action - both Tiger coming out of the crowd and him hugging his caddie lasted just 2 seconds or less.


Nikon has Updated Capture NX-D - Ver 1.5.0 includes Control Points

13 September 2018 - 01:14 PM

Nikon has released updates to Capture NX-D and View NX-i.  The new version of Capture NX-D has brought back Control Points - essentially the same feature that was in Capture NX2 developed by Nik and known as U Point.
 
Here is a link to combined updates for both programs:
 
 
I've downloaded the program and done some quick testing.  It works quite well.  As before, it's not the most intuitive program and edits are maintained in a proprietary sidecar, but you can always export to other formats and continue using a TIFF in LR, Photoshop, or other programs.
 
You open the Control Point Panel and click on the Control Point icon on the right side of the panel to activate new control points with a click of your mouse.  You can right click to duplicate or delete control points.  You can also right click to show the areas affected.
 
The control points cover more than just Hue, Saturation and Brightness. You just need to click on the small arrow below the sliders (for advanced controls) to expand the adjustments to include all eight sliders - Hue, Saturation, and Brightness plus Contrast, Red, Green, Blue, Warmth.
 
You can adjust the size of the control point and how much area is impacted. It works fine even at a 100% zoom or more.
 
As with earlier versions of Capture NX2, you can apply a neutral control point to prevent adjustments spilling over into unwanted areas.
 
I've been avoiding NX-D, but control points are excellent and easier to use than Lightroom adjustment brush for some edits.
 
The Retouch Brush in Capture NX-D has a nice feature in that you can go over the same area multiple times to improve coverage. Sometimes it works nicely while other times you need the adjustments of Lightroom or Photoshop.
 
This update is a big improvement in the free software.  It's definitely worth giving NX-D a try and using it when appropriate.

Nikon 24-70 f/4 S

06 September 2018 - 09:50 AM

I'm hearing some great reports on the 24-70 f/4 S lens that was introduced for the Nikon Z cameras.  The image quality is great according to MTF charts with better sharpness in the center and all the way to the corners than the current f/2.8 lenses.  It's sharper across the frame at both 24mm and 70mm.  

 

The other interesting thing is that at 70mm the lens focuses at very close distance and is a near macro lens.  It focuses around 5 inches from the end of the lens - and maintains focus as you recompose (minimum focus distance 11.81 inches).  Stabilization in the body is a huge help for this close focus work.   I understand the Nikon rep indicated that Nikon will only consider a lens a "Macro" lens if it provides 1:1 focus, and this one is not that magnified at 1:3.3.  But it seems to do the job nicely.

 

The specs on the lens are pretty good.  It's 3.5 inches long with a 72mm filter size.  The weight is just 500 g - 1.1 pounds or about .75 pounds lighter than the 24-70 f/2.8 lenses.  The lens has 14 elements in 11 groups with 7 rounded aperture blades.  Several elements have Nano Crystal or Super Integrated coatings.  The control ring can be used for manual focus or to adjust aperture or exposure comp settings.

 

All in all, the kit lens is far more than a kit lens.  It's a high quality lens that you would want whatever your mount.  The person who tested this lens at Hunt's demo on the Z7 was planning to wait but changed their mind and placed an order.


Fun with older lenses on D850

22 August 2018 - 04:41 PM

I recently inherited eight older lenses and a couple of camera bodies from an uncle that was a pretty good photographer.  Seven of the eight lenses are older lenses dating from around 1970 to the mid-1980's.  All but the one modern lens are manual focus lenses, and five of the lenses are Ai, Ai-S, or non-Ai lenses that have been modified.  It's been interesting researching the lenses and getting a sense of what they can do.

 

The first I've tried is the 50mm f/1.4 Ai from around 1978.   The focus ring is smooth as silk, and it produces really nice images. It takes a bit of practice to manually focus, but with the shallow DOF, the backgrounds are very nice and the subject sharp.  Using the lens with the modern D850 works remarkably well.  Pixels or cheap so it's easy to practice and you get immediate feedback.  It's easy to enter the lens in the non-CPU list so Aperture priority works very nicely.  Low light photography works by simply increasing the ISO - something unheard of in the film days.

 

Here is an example - my dogs are getting a lot of modeling work.  It's probably going to cost me some treats later.

 

Attached File  Sisko and Braden_8-21-2018_280543.jpg   153.62KB   0 downloads

 

Next on the camera is the Nikon Nikkor-H 85mm f/1.8 - a 1967 model lens that was Ai'd at some point.  The first photos look really promising.

 

These lenses are almost as sharp as the latest versions - maybe better.  The colors are very nice and the backgrounds bring a nice character.  It's different - but  that's okay.

 

I'm considering taking one of these lenses to the PGA Tour Championship next month for some old school / old lens portraits of modern golf pros.