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ericbowles

Member Since 05 Dec 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:04 AM
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Topics I've Started

Nikon SB-300 is a nice little flash

04 January 2018 - 11:07 AM

The complaint I have about my large speedlights like the SB-910 and SB-800 is that they are just too big and clunky.  But they do the job and are excellent flashes.  The alternative used to be use the little on-camera pop-up flash.  The D500 and D850 don't have an on camera flash, so that option is unavailable, and I don't want to carry a big speedlight unless I plan to use it.  The SB-300 fills the gap.

 

The SB-300 is smaller than the Nikon battery charger or a glasses case.  It's small enough to keep in my camera pack all the time so it's always available.  I can use it with an SC-29 flash cord for off camera use.  It has a guide number of 59, so it is not that powerful, but is enough for a gentle fill flash.  This is great for close up and macro work as well as casual portraits.

 

This is a simple flash - controls are minimal and generally it is controlled with the camera.  The SB-300 sells for just $147.  If you have an on-camera flash, it still can be useful to move the flash off camera or off axis.


Marshal Point Lighthouse - Maine

15 October 2017 - 11:25 AM

I just returned from 12 days in Maine - scouting then leading the Nikonians ANPAT.  The only camera I used was the Nikon D850.

 

Here is a favorite location - the Marshall Point Lighthouse.  It's a bit remote, but worth the effort for sunrise or sunset.

 

Both of these images were from sunrise.  They are Normal JPEG's - straight form the camera with minimal editing.  We'll have a more serious edit of the RAW file when Lightroom is updated for the D850.

 

Overall I am thrilled with the D850.  It's a fantastic camera that I've used for polo, pro golf, landscapes, street, and a little  wildlife.  The AF system is terrific.  The color and detail is great.  There has been no issue at all with my lenses or handholding.

 

 


PGA Tour Championship with the D850

27 September 2017 - 10:26 AM

Last week I was able to photograph the PGA Tour Championship using the D850.  This event is the season championship for pro gold and is held at a beautiful venue - East Lake Golf Club - the home course of Bobby Jones.

 

This series is from the awards ceremony with the trophy, winner of the Fed Ex Cup for the season Justin Thomas, and the Tournament winner rookie Xander Schauffele.  The challenge for the ceremony is they positioned us shooting almost directly into the late afternoon sun.  I had to blast everything with flash and was pretty pleased with the results. 

 

The funny thing now is I have about 3000 frames with the D850 - and almost everything has been handheld.  Processing is still a work in progress.  I was shooting RAW+JPEG and had to turn in JPEG files straight from the camera twice a day.  The in camera copy command worked nicely when needed.  Writing to two separate cards also worked well.


Polo with the D850

26 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

I had a chance to shoot a polo event last weekend using the D850 and the 200-500 and 70-200 VRII lenses.  The camera really rocks!  It was great with fast focus, action, and high frame rates.  Using it side by side with a D500 was very intuitive - the controls were the same.

 

Polo is pretty demanding with fast action, a ball that travels at speeds up to 160 mph, and a field measuring 300 x 100 yards.

 

 


D850 Automated Focus Series - examples

15 September 2017 - 08:35 AM

I tried this function out for the first time yesterday. I did not spend much time with it but wanted to see how much difference there was. I tried a couple of simple tests. 
 
The first was a macro image of a flower about 1.5 inches in diameter and near minimum focus distance of a 105 f/2.8 VR. I was using an aperture of f/7.1 - relatively shallow. Using a 5 shot bracket with a setting of 10 for the adjustment between images, I got a very nice set of images that should combine well in a stacked image. I started at the front edge of the flower, and ended around the back edge. The series is fully automated. I used a 1 second interval between images.
 
The first series images shown are image 1, 4, and 5.  Image 1 was focused on the front of the flower.  Image 4 was the best individual image.  Image 5 was the final image showing focus on the back of the flower.
 
The second test was using the same 105mm lens for a landscape. I used an aperture of f/11 with a starting focus point about 25 feet away. This was not a typical landscape image, but I had a lot more DOF than would be possible without a stack because I was using a longer lens. 
 
The series shows the first and last frame of the series.  Focus for the firsts frame was on the right edge of the front pool of water about 20 feet away.  It looks like focus for the last frame was more than 150 feet away near the large trees in the distance.
 
I think both of these situations could be very useful. Macro is an obvious situation where you just can't get enough DOF. It was also nice to effectively have a focus bracket so I could choose a single image.
 
The landscape image was more unexpected. Having enough DOF to use a long lens for a landscape image is a challenge. You usually lose the foreground and the distant background. Now I have a choice. If a long lens is the only choice for framing and composition, now I can get enough DOF for the image to make sense.
 
I've put this feature toward the top of My Menu and might use a function key for this setting.  It's that useful.