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Photography & Videography Techniques and Equipment This forum is for the discussion of technical and practical details of how to take good pictures and videos, as well as discuss the equipment used in that pursuit.

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Old 02-22-2018, 02:31 AM   #1
Spring is springing, and a new camera to play with.

Looks like as chilly as January was here, February is trying to make up for that in spades with much warmer temps. High 70s, hitting into the 80s every day. Plants are going nuts thinking that Spring is here and here to stay. Hope they all don't get surprised by a sudden late freeze like we had last year. Definitely knocked out a lot of blooms, new growth, and newly developing fruits on a bunch of our fruit trees.

Anyway, seems like I have a problem in that I just can't seem to buy just one camera at a time. I bought the Sony RX10 IV "bridge" camera not all that long ago (which is phenomenal in it's own right), and then I've been looking for a suitable replacement for the ancient FujiFilm FinePix S3 Pro camera body that I have been using with my Nikon lenses for quite a number of years now. Well, let me think. 12 years? I have a gap in my photo backup files from 2002 thru 2006, so I'm not sure exactly. So I'm guessing I got it at least in 2006, but maybe before.

The Fuji still works just fine, but I figured that camera technology HAD to have improved substantially from when I bought that camera back then. Matter of fact, I bought it used, if I remember correctly, from a guy getting out of still photography and going more heavily into video. Anyway, Fuji apparently got out of producing camera bodies that could mount Nikon lenses (or else I just didn't look hard enough for one), so I felt I was going to have to go with an actual Nikon camera body this time. Nikon had recently come out with the D500, which was getting high marks but I was really leaning more towards a full frame (FX format) body. The D500 is a 20.9 megapixel camera, but a small sensor frame (DX format) body. Still, a big step up from my Fuji, but I had been looking at specs for the Nikon D810 body which has 36.3 megapixels which seemed like a more "future proof" step to take. But reviews felt that the D810 was getting long in the tooth, and didn't have the fast autofocus capabilities of the newer model cameras. And it was stuck with 1080P video, instead of 4K. Not that Nikon has ever been any great shakes at implementing video, but still, I can't see me ever settling for any camera device with less than 4K video again. So rumors were that Nikon was likely working on an upgrade to the D810 sometime rather soon.

Nikon also recently introduced the D5 camera body, that is real expensive (for me, anyway), and although it is branded as being a full frame (FX) body, the megapixel count is actually less than the D500 at 20.8 megapixels. I just felt it odd that the D5 didn't have a much higher pixel count, so I thought that perhaps Nikon would be coming out with something that might fill that slot. In any event, the D5 was just out of the question because of expense, anyway.

And yeah, the rumors were correct. Nikon came out with the D850. It was announced late July, 2017, and started shipping to dealers in September. I wasn't about to be the first on my block with something new like this, so I just sat back and waited for first hand actual reviews of this new camera body. And they were not only glowing, people seemed to actually be going berserk over this new camera. Well, I guess so. A 45.7 megapixel camera that had most of the capabilities for auto focus and general performance of the D500 and the D5. I do wish it had 4K at 60 fps, but heck, I guess I couldn't hope for everything. 30 fps will do in a pinch. So anyway, rabidly glowing reviews were coming in, with some people even claiming that Nikon has wildly underpriced this new camera body. It was on backorder absolutely EVERYWHERE from the moment it was offered for sale, unless you wanted to pay scalpers twice MSRP for one. Matter of fact, it is STILL on backorder every place I have looked even today! Nikon can't build them fast enough to keep up with the overwhelming demand! The place I ordered it from (Crutchfield) got it to me after waiting for only a month, so I guess I was lucky. I've heard of people waiting MANY months for their orders to be fulfilled.

Anyway, this camera body is still a lot more money than I have ever paid for a camera, and a lot more than I ever THOUGHT I would remotely pay for one. I guess this would be nothing for a professional photographer, but heck, that certainly isn't me. I'm lucky if I can get even 100 views for any of the YouTube videos I post, so I know video and photo stuff that interests me doesn't seem to interest most of the rest of the world. But heck, even if something is only of interest to me, I STILL like to capture the moment if I can and show it to others.

One reason I ordered the D850 from Crutchfield is because they have an excellent return policy. Basically I could return it within 60 days, with no questions asked if it came to that. So I was figuring that if this thing didn't live up to the hype, then I certainly wasn't going to spend that kind of money for something that turned out to be a disappointment. I HAD to absolutely love this thing, or I was going to come to my senses and send it back for a refund. I had the box sitting with all the packing materials, just ready to put the camera back in and ship it back if this was going to be a big let down.

Man, what a small unassuming box it came in. Not sure what I was expecting. Maybe flashing lights and a marching band? Pretty hefty chunk of technology in the hand that feels like you could kill someone with it if you hit them alongside the head with it. At the end of the camera neck strap, this would be a weapon of note if used that way. Probably not something with a big lens attached to it that you would want hanging around your neck on a long hike up a mountain, though. So I charged up the battery over night, and the next day I slapped one of my lenses on it. Hmm, through the view finder it certainly seemed sharp enough. Took some test pics and marveled over the 137 megabyte TIFF files it was creating. I haven't quite got the hang of working with RAW files yet, unfortunately. But they won't be all that much smaller, I don't think. So yeah, this camera is going to be needing some pretty large memory cards for it, too. And yeah, this camera takes some high speed memory cards, too, which aren't all that cheap. The memory cards NEED to be fast in order to get the images out of the camera's buffer so you are ready for the next shots ASAP.

So I started looking through the menu system on the camera, and sheesh, there are more options there than you can shake a stick at. And honestly, most of them didn't mean a whole lot to me then. The more I have been learning about the camera, the more impressed I am getting. This D850 is like a computer with a lens stuck on the front of it. But still, is it REALLY worth that kind of money to me? Just out of curiosity, I took the lens I was using off of the D850 and put it on the old Fuji camera body I had been using for so many years. Well, I want to tell, you, the difference through the view finder was absolutely shocking. The view through the Fuji was like I was looking through heavy fog compared to the D850. I couldn't believe the difference. And honestly, that pretty much clinched it right there. To go back to the Fuji camera body would be the equivalent to being used to watching 1080 Blu-ray on your TV and then going back to VHS tape recorded video. This D850 thing was going to be a KEEPER.

Of course, then I started finding out that some of my old camera gear I had been using was pretty obsolete. Had to buy two new flashes with a transmitter controller. The way flash is being handled by the camera bodies has changed quite a bit, it seems. Just as well, as I had dropped one of the flashes a while back, and it makes funny noises whenever I would start it up. But heck, the new flashes REALLY interface with the camera, and exposure has been excellent with them. Of course, I am still learning the camera, but already the results are far exceeding what I could get out of that old Fuji camera body. And I haven't even been playing around with post processing the images yet, as most other people seem to be doing. I'm still in the old school where I am trying to get the best images possible natively from the camera, but that seems to be a really outdated mode of shooting photographs these days, too. Interestingly, the camera apparently has a way to natively take HDR (high dynamic range) photos that I need to explore. And there is another method of taking multiple photos with varying points of focus (called "focus stacking") that can be combined in a external program to put everything in focus in the final image. A sort of *super wide* depth of field thing. And probably a lot of other stuff that I haven't even stumbled on yet.

Yeah, I am excited about this new camera. Oh, and what did Connie think about all this? Actually when I just casually mentioned that I might want to get a new camera for my Nikon lenses, she just asked "What are you waiting for?" We are retired, with decent retirement savings, and social security income, so why not spend it to enjoy ourselves? We sure as heck don't want to leave money on the table when we kick the bucket, now do we? I often wonder how I was so lucky to find that girl. Glad I married her and didn't let her slip away.

Anyway, one of the things that was intriguing me about this camera with such a large sensor was how well cropping small sections of the image out of the raw photo taken would work out. I had read reviews that said that the images are SO detailed that YOUR failings in holding the camera steady become readily apparent if you are not careful and use proper technique. And I'm not shy about admitting that my hands aren't anywhere near as steady as they used to be, so this did worry me quite a bit. And honestly, I can see where some images are not as clear as others when I zoom into a 1:1 peep (they call this "pixel peeping") at the photos I have taken. So I know I either have to improve my technique to keep the camera steady, or rely even more on a monopod and tripod than I have been in the past. Or likely do both, to be honest.

Anyway, the other evening I was out using the camera with my Nikkor 105 micro lens with both flashes attached via a bracket, as some flowers were blooming, and I really wanted to try this out. Honestly, the rig is kind of heavy, any I know my hands were shaking quite a bit just from holding the weight. But they really didn't turn out too bad, all things considered. And the exciting part is that I know they will get better as I get better using this camera. So I'm going to post some of the pics in later replies in this thread. For some of the images, I will actually zoom in and crop out segments of the images to show how well this camera does with that sort of thing.

Oh yeah, and since the last time I bought Nikon (Nikkor) lenses, they have now come out with these new VR (vibration reduction) models that I think might even go a long way to cancel out this old age induced unsteadiness in my hands and arms. Wonder if I can get an advance on my social security checks from the government? :duck:
Old 02-22-2018, 02:34 AM   #2
First group of pics.

Old 02-22-2018, 02:36 AM   #3
Second group of pics.

Old 02-22-2018, 02:39 AM   #4
Third group of pics.

Old 02-22-2018, 02:40 AM   #5
Fourth group of pics.

Old 02-25-2018, 01:46 AM   #6
We've got a fence lizard living on a tree along our pathway that was another photo opportunity for me with the new camera. She is kind of shy, so I had to move slowly and not get too close to her to keep from spooking her. Luckily the Nikon D850 has megapixels to spare, so even getting a moderate distance away from a small subject still gives me a lot of leeway with cropping the image to get what appears to be a closeup shot.

These three pics were taken using a Nikon 28-300 zoom in natural sunlight. The camera was set to programmed mode, so depth of field isn't all that great. The first pic is "as is" out of the camera, with the following two using successively smaller areas in the cropping.

The next three pics were taken using the Nikon 105mm Micro lens with dual mounted flashes. This time the camera was set to aperture priority at f22 to get the widest depth of field. Again, the first pic is "as is", with the later two using cropping to "zoom" into the subject for greater detail.

I think there is a lot to be said with using a camera with the highest density pixels you can get for the image sensor. It gives you a lot of practical versatility using selective cropping without any noticeable loss of detail for the final image.
Old 02-25-2018, 02:07 AM   #7
And more flower pics, while I had the camera out.....


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