Tag Archives: Nikon

Nikon unveils first projector camera

Nikon has just announced a new camera.. nothing new.. but this one has a built in, tiny, projector.  So that you can project photos onto a wall to view with family and friends.

Is this the beginning of a new trend in consumer cameras – or will this be a one off wierd contraption that fails?

It’s been interesting to watch the trend of user friendly features like face detection for focussing, and now smile detection for taking the shot be introduced to cameras.  I mean, to most casual users – it meets their needs – take photos of others smiling!    The projector seems to meet another need – sharing and viewing photos with others.

For me personally, we do share some of our holiday pics with others through Facebook or share interesting shots with others through Flickr. 

But the community, the family gathering and flipping through photos from a holiday and sharing stories related to each photo – we don’t really do that anymore.  Yes, the photos are on my computer, and I can also put them onto the TV through the PS3, but sometimes it’s too hard – a network error, the folder isn’t being shared, I have to copy them to another location.    I’m sure there are many other people in a similar position to mine.   Something like this could perhaps fill the gap…

Depending on the price point, I suspect that the Nikon projector camera will find a niche for itself in consumer friendly Point and Shoot cameras and Canon will jump onboard and follow.  Competition and inclusion on more camera models will only drive the price down and improve the technology to make it cheaper to manufacture, use less power and make it smaller.    Any bets for how long it will be before we see a mini projector incorporated into a mobile phone?

More info here:  http://www.dpreview.com/news/0908/09080402nikons1000pj.asp

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Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 lens

Interestingly, both my father and my father-in-law are photography enthusiasts too! I think this is partly why I’ve taken up the hobby myself.   And like me, my fathers have accumulated various photographic gear over the years…  but old gear!

I’ve recently found that my father has a Nikon 50mm f/1.2 lens!   That’s a huge aperture!  I wonder if there’s anything larger.  Anyway, I borrowed it recently and tried it on my D80.   Unfortunately, it’s a manual focus lens.  But I was hoping that the D80 would be able to read or even set the aperture on the lens.   But after trying it on, no such luck.   After some googling, I’ve confirmed that the D80 does not support metering with non-CPU AI lenses.

Oh well, I decided to have a play today- having to set exposure manually (shutter speed on the camera, aperture ring on the lens) as well as focus manually.  But it was fun – and the pictures are amazingly silky smooth!   The bokeh at f/1.2 is amazing, and the depth of field is so thin!

The lens looks mighty on the FE2.

Nikon FE2 with 50mm f/1.2
Nikon FE2 with 50mm f/1.2

Here’s a comparison of my cheap but excellent value for money $150 50mm f/1.8 with the 50mm f/1.2.  You can see that the 50mm f/1.2 has no CPU contacts on the mount.

50mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.2
50mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.2

I took some shots of the music of the Presto from Bach’s G minor violin sonata.  This is at f/1.2 on my D80.   A nice small depth of field and creamy out of focus areas.    The only problem I see is that there seems to be a slight green aberration just outside the in-focus area.   And I seemed to have some problems getting the right area to focus – it was almost like something was causing a back or front focus (I haven’t quite figured which yet).   I wonder if my diopter isn’t adjusted correctly, if it’s the lens, the combination of lens and body, or just my lack of experience focusing manually.

Music manuscript with 50mm f/1.2
Music manuscript with 50mm f/1.2

Later this evening, I thought I’d try the lens out with some low light shots.   Unfortunately, with manual focus, and no viewfinder split image focus screen on my D80, I found it extremely hard to get a shot with what I wanted in focus correctly.

My only other complaint is no metering support on the D80.   I don’t mind shooting manual once in a while (especially when the lighting is quite constant), but when I do, I usually rely on the camera to tell me about the exposure.   With this lens, I have to either chimp, or use a light meter.

I think I’ll leave the lens on my D80 for a while to play with.  It’ll definitely be a learning experience, and hopefully force me to learn how to focus manually and judge exposures manually.

Photo of the 50mm f/1.8 taken with the 50mm f/1.2
Photo of the 50mm f/1.8 taken with the 50mm f/1.2

More info here:

Nikon’s Product page – http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Camera-Lenses/1435/NIKKOR-50mm-f%252F1.2.html

Ken Rockwell’s Review – http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/50mm-f12.htm

PBase photos – http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/50_12_ai

Flickr photos – http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikkor50s/

D90 Envy

Nikon D90 (image on nikon.com)
Nikon D90 (image on nikon.com)

I know..  I know..  I sometimes justify the whole SLR route of photography to my wifey saying that I’ll never have to upgrade the SLR body – I will just spend money on lenses.   But the camera gods keep coming out with new fandangled SLR bodies that I really want!

Last year I upgraded from my Nikon D70 to a D80.   At the time I did think it was a bit indulgent as I didn’t really push the D70 to the extremes.  But when I’ve had to use them both side by side for some shoots, I really notice the key differences – in particular, the larger brighter viewfinder, the 10MP vs 6MP, the larger 2.5 inch LCD screen.

But now Nikon has announced the D90 model.  It has a whole slew of new features that I’m not sure I’d use (like Live shoot mode, Movie mode), but I’m really lusting over these particular features:

  • 3 inch LCD at the back that’s the same as the D3 – I really notice the difference when reviewing photos on the D80 compared to the D70.  This is even bigger with 4 times as many pixels.  It should make reviewing images on the camera even easier.
  • The same high image quality as the D3 using Nikon’s latest Expeed technology – don’t need to save up for a D3/D300 now
  • Big improvements in low light sensitivity (less noise at higher ISOs, and up to ISO 3200) – I love shooting using existing light, large apertures and high ISOs (read – anti-strobist!).  Anything to reduce noise is good.
  • Buit in image sensor cleaning – I get scared everytime I take my Giotto Rocket Air Blower to my D80’s CCD.  It’s about time Nikon introduced this capability into the camera itself.
     
  • 12.3 MP – more isn’t necessarily better, but it means getting good resolutions after cropping easier

So, wifey (or any other relative looking to buy me a present) – if you’re reading this – I’d love to see one of these under the tree for Xmas! hahahaha..

Back to reality, the D90 (body only) seems to be going for US$999 at BH Photo & Video and AUD$1329 at DigitalRev on eBay.

More info here:

Ken Rockwell’s D90 Review – http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d90.htm

Digital Photography Review’s D90 Review – http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikond90/

Nikon’s Page on the D90 – http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Digital-SLR/25446/D90.html

Review: BH Photo Video

My new toy finally arrived!  But what a journey!

After toying between the Nikon 18-200 VR and the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, I decided that I’d make more use of the 17-55 f/2.8, especially since I love low light photography and minimal depth of field.  I know the VR would also help in low light in certain situations, but VR doesn’t help stop a moving object.   I know both of these are expensive purchases – but I’m considering this my belated birthday present to myself 🙂  (plus I don’t really go out drinking or gambling hahahaha!)

So my next decision was – where to buy this lens from?  As in my earlier post, price is a huge factor for me.  I really can’t bear to pay the retail store price in Australia.  So I went comparing online.  Here is a snapshot of prices (all prices in Australian Dollars except otherwise marked):

  • Dirt Cheap Cameras $1999 (product link)
  • Cheaptronics $1579 + $16.80 postage (product link)
  • Local Camera House ~$2200 (before bargaining)
  • Cameraland Camera House $2199, $1999 duty free (product link)
  • Digital Rev eBay $1480 + $79 postage + 10% GST = $1707 (Gray Market!) (product link)
  • BH Photo Video US$1199  + US$49.60 = $1262 + $52.21 (on 9/July/2008) + 10% GST = $1440 (USA & Worldwide Warranty – not Gray Market!) (product link)

I suspect the Cheaptronics lens is a Gray market one.   So looking at the above prices, with the Australian dollar at an all time high, it’s clear that buying from B&H Photo Video is a no brainer!

The only hassle is the time – it took just over a week until it was attempted to be delivered, but in the end I drove to the depot to pick it up myself.  Spent 10 minutes trying to find the darn building as there was no clear UPS sign out the front (there will be next week apparently!).

So how was the experience through BH Photo Video?  Good – I have nothing to complain about.  The order was processed quickly, and once my credit card went through, it was shipped almost immediately.  I can’t complain about the price.  Haven’t really used the customer service as I haven’t had to.  The site is extensive with a huge number of photography products being sold.   I can track my package electronically through UPS.  All good!

My only complaint is that they would only allow me to ship to my personal/home address and not to my work address.

Now to sell my 18-70 kit lens 🙂