Category Archives: Camera Body

Sony A6000

Sometimes the weight of my Nikon D800 and lenses is just too much so I decided to buy the new Sony A6000 camera and the two kit lenses, the 16-50 and 55-210 lens, which gives me an equivalent full frame reach from 24 mm to 315 mm.

sony_a6000

I had a chance to use it recently while cycling up Mt Hamilton and then the next day down the California coast to watch the Tour of California Pro Cycling race.  Riding a bike with my D800 and lenses would be a big much but the Sony A6000 was quite ideal.  We stopped a few places along the way to take some photos, such as the one above.

To take pictures of the race, I switched to the 55-205 mm lens.  Maybe not the highest quality lens, but it is small and lightweight, exactly what I wanted.  It gave the the reach of a 315 mm, full frame equivalent, and yet in an easy to carry lens.  Considering that the Sony A6000 uses a APS-C sensor size, it is rather amazing.

DSC00195

It has a very fast burst rate, around 10 fps.  However you will want to save only to JPEG or  you will fill up the buffer very quickly.   Here are two of the images of such a high frames per second.  You will see little difference between the two images even though I am shooting a fast moving bike race using a long reach telephoto.

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I noticed that when using the 16-50 mm lens at 16 mm, there is heavy distortion and vignetting at the corners.  You can see in the image below the bending of the horizon and the darkening in the corners.

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However this can be corrected by using the lens profile in Adobe Lightroom.

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The video is also excellent, with the only complaint the poor placement of the dedicated video button.  Sorry for the shaky video but it is a bit difficult to carry a tripod on a bicycle.

Overall I am very happy with the Sony A6000.  It has proven to be a great little camera that has abilities far beyond what you might expect from it’s small size and weight.  I recognize that using better lenses would give me much better images, but I already have a Nikon D800 and high end lenses for that and putting a heavy lens on the Sony A6000 would defeat the purpose for what I bought it for.

Is Full Frame Worth the Price and Weight?

I recently moved from a Nikon D300 (1.5 crop using a APS size sensor) to a Nikon D800 full frame and wanted to do a comparison.  Realizing that the differences would be hard to see with full size images on this website, I used a small crop area, as shown in the above photo.

The difficulty in doing this comparison is the vastly different pixel count between the D800 and D300. If you are making a large print the image of the D300 needs to be enlarged by 1.71 times more than the D800. So I used a smaller crop for the D300 images, then resized to get 740 pixels across.

Since this is not a scientific experiment but just one to satisfy my own curiosity, I decided to do a comparison using only the lens I have for each format size.  Therefore the differences can be partly due to the lenses.  The size of the crop for the D800 images was 1/10 the horizontal dimension of the original image, producing a  740×740 pixel crop due to the D800’s amazing 36 megapixel sensor (7,360 x 4,912 pixels).  The Nikon  D300 has a 12 megapixel sensor.   Click each image to see enlarged since this blog might resize to fit.

D800 with both Nikon 16-35 f4 and Nikon 24-120 f4 vs D300 with Tokina 11-16 f2.8

Starting with the widest I can go on both cameras (16 mm equivalent full frame) the full frame D800 is clearly sharper.

D800-16.0-35.0-mm-f-4.0-Lens-at-16-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

D300-11.0-16.0-mm-f-2.8-Lens-at-16-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6
D300-11.0-16.0-mm-f-2.8-Lens-at-16-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

Going a bit less wide, 24 mm equivalent full frame, I used both new full frame lens set to 24 mm and the Tokina set to 16 mm, or 24 mm equivalent for full frame.   The first two images from the D800 look similar, as I expected based on my other comparison post between these two lenses.  The 3rd image with the Tokina on the D300 is clearly less sharp.

D800-24.0-120.0-mm-f-4.0-Lens-at-24-mm-1-500-sec-at-f-5.6

D800-16.0-35.0-mm-f-4.0-Lens-at-25-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

 

D300-11.0-16.0-mm-f-2.8-Lens-at-24-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6
D300-11.0-16.0-mm-f-2.8-Lens-at-24-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

 D800 with Nikon 24-120 f4 vs D300 with Nikon 18-200 f3.5-5.6

First at a moderate wide angle (35 mm full frame equivalent).  Here  the D800 full frame is much better.

NIKON D800 24.0-120.0 mm f-4.0 Lens at 35 mm 1-320 sec at f - 5.6_

D300-18.0-200.0-mm-f-3.5-5.6-Lens-at-36-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6
D300-18.0-200.0-mm-f-3.5-5.6-Lens-at-36-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

Next is a short telephoto (70 mm full frame equivalent).  Again a rather noticeable difference It is a combination of the full frame D800, 36 megapixels and a better lens.

D800-24.0-120.0-mm-f-4.0-Lens-at-70-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

D300-18.0-200.0-mm-f-3.5-5.6-Lens-at-69-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6
D300-18.0-200.0-mm-f-3.5-5.6-Lens-at-69-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

Moving out to the longest I can shoot with the D800 (120 mm), the difference is similar.

D800-24.0-120.0-mm-f-4.0-Lens-at-120-mm-1-320-sec-at-f-5.6

NIKON D300 18.0-200.0 mm f-3.5-5.6 Lens at 135 mm 1-320 sec at f - 5.6_

In summary, if you want to make large prints, then the full frame setup clearly has some advantages, but for sharing photos on the web, the APS size sensor will give you just about the same advantages for less money and less weight.

Using DX Lens on Nikon D800 FX Body

The only full frame lenses I currently have are from the days of film, all manual focus.  After aquiring a Nikon D800, I ordered the Nikon 24-120 F4, which is designed for full frame.  When using my Nikon D300, I really liked my super wide Tokina 11-16 mm f2.8 zoom but buying yet another lens right now was stretching the bank.  So I did experimenting with my Tokina DX lens.  For those not familiar with Nikon terminology, FX is full sensor size, using the same area of 35 mm film.  DX is their name for their smaller sensor with a 1.5x crop, used on many of their DSLR cameras, such as the D300.  When I attached this DX lens to my D800, I could see that at the 16 mm focal length, I was not getting any noticeable vignetting, even when I was using the full image sensor.  Of course if I tried to zoom at to 11 mm, the vignetting occurred significantly, down to just outside the grid lines for the DX sensor area.  So what if I used this Tokina lens on my D800 and should I use the DX sensor area (which gives me 15.5 megapixels) and zoom as I wish from 11 to 16 mm, or should I use the full sensor area (which gives me 36 megapixels) and use only the 16 mm focal length?  These two images show those two extremes.  I left the filter on the lens for all these tests, but did discover that the filter is causing some of the vignetting so there is the option to remove the filter to go even wider.

11mm-DX Drop

11mm-DX Drop

I guess I am not surprised that the the perspective is almost the same for the ftwo photos.  This does open up the possibility of using this lens with the full FX sensor area, but limiting it to 16 mm focal length, which is indeed a very wide perspective.   This will give you the same perspective as using the lens at 11 mm and DX crop (1.5 crop).  By using the full sensor area you will end up with potentially a sharper overall image and for this lens I did such a test and can see that.

With the Nikon D800, there is another optional sensor crop besides DX and that is the 1.2 crop, which still uses 25 megapixels of sensor area.  This photo was taken using the Tokina DX lens with the 1.2 crop, zooming to 14 mm.  On the left is the image as taken where you can see some slight lens vignetting in the corers.  On the right the same image after applying lens correction and vignetting adjustment in Lightroom 5.

14mm-1.2 Crop

14mm-1.2 Crop Corrected

So how sharp is this DX lens. Here is a highly cropped portion of the above photo. Looks pretty sharp to me.

14mm-1.2Crop-Small Crop

In summary, if you are moving from a APS-C sensor camera like the Nikon D300  to a full frame camera like the Nikon D800, you don’t need to immediately sell off your lenses and you don’t necessarily need to use the FX crop sensor.  There is no doubt a lens designed for full frame works better, but you can see that you can often use those old lenses until you get the means to replace them.

Nikon D800 DSLR

Our daughter is quite the photography.  A few years ago she moved up to a full frame digital SLR, the Nikon D700.  That is a great camera, but a year ago, her husband decided to surprise her for Christmas with a Nikon D800.  Being so familiar with the D700, she just never used the D800 that much.  While visiting, her husband was taking some of us to Garden of the Gods, so I asked if I could borrow her D800, since I had left my Nikon D300 back home.  She was kind enough to let me use it, borrowing her great Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens.  It was a cloudy day but using some post processing I was able to get some great shots.

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I was real excited when I saw what this camera/lens combination could do.  I have really enjoyed my Nikon D300, but always wanted a full frame DSLR.  My daughter said she wanted to sell the D800, since she only uses her D800.  It was a great opportunity for me, and by purchasing it she didn’t ahve to go through the effort to sell it.  I wrote her a check right then.  The next day, I returned again to Garden of the Gods, this time with some sun.

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I was lucky to capture many images with this wonderful camera.  I now need to decide what lens to buy.  I can use my DX lenses, but that would not take advantage of the full resolution.  I have several old prime lenses, but none are auto-focus.  In the mean time, I am just playing around with some of the images I did capture using some post processing.

DSC_1235_HDR-Edit

 

Nikon D700 – Where it fits

Nikon has released a new full frame (FX) digital SLR named the D700.  In a simplified way you could think of it as a D3 sensor in a D300 body.  Until the D3 was released, all Nikon digital SLR were based on a DX sensor size with a crop factor of abotu 1.5.  The D700 is the second DSLR from Nikon that offers a sensor the same size as 35 mm film so that a lens will have the same field of view as it did on a film camera.

But where does this new model fit into the lineup.  As you can see from this chart, it is significantly more expensive than the highly rated D300 while also being signficantly less expensive than the D3.  As one would expect, the price point increases rapidly as the model moves toward the pro level.  One could argue that the best camera, strictly from a price point, is the D300.  Above that model, the price increases rapidly.

New Nikon D300 Camera Arrives

Just a few minutes ago the new Nikon D300 camera arrived by FedEX.

Camera Arrives

While I am waiting for the battery for the D300 to charge, I put the new 18-200 mm lens on my Nikon D70 to take a few shots to test it out. Here shots each at 18 mm, then 70 mm, then at 200 mm. This covers the focal range of my two prior zoom lenses, a 18-70 and a 80-200 mm. All images were shot in RAW. Click here to see the images in full resolution.

at 18 mm

At 70 mm

at 200 mm

Three more at the same 18, 70 and 200 mm, then with the new battery charged, I repeated the same three shots using the new D300 and new lens. The time of day was different so it is not a good comparision. I have not fine tuned the exposure compensation for the new camera and I also have a custom curve in my D70, which I have yet to do for the D300.

D70 at 18 mm

18 mm

D300 at 18 mm.

D300 at 18 mm

D70 at 70 mm

70 mm

D300 at 70 mm

D300 at 70 mm

D70 at 200 mm

200 mm

D300 at 200 mm

D300 at 200mm

I then got my 55 mm Nikon micro lens out that I have not been able to use with the D70 camera. The D300 works with the older lenses. I just dialed in the focal length and maximum aperature and the metering worked fine. I did a quick picture close up but the focusing so close without the screen I use to have on film cameras was a bit tricky but it was very easy to put the camera on aperture priority mode and have it handle the exposure. I have several such prime lenses, 24 mm, 35 mm, 50 1.4, 55 micro, 105 2.5, 200, that I can not use once again.
55 mm Micro non-cpu non-auto focus

I forgot to set the clock in the new D300. Guess what the date was set for. My birthday, March 23rd!

Nikon D300 Digital SLR Camera

I just ordered a new Nikon D300 Digital SLR with a 18-200 VR lens. The question might be why did I purchase since I already have a Nikon D70 Digital SLR. This new camera is highly rated and I can use my extensive collection of Nikon lenses that I had bought back in the days of film. My D70 would use those lenses but without any metering. Nikon had a promotion of $300 off if you bought this camera body with the 18-200 VR lens. VR stands for Vibration Reduction, allowing up to two more stops than you could normally shot. Since this is the DX format sensor, 200 mm is equivalent to a 300 mm lens on a 35 mm camera so having VR is important.

The new camera has a lot of improvements and has been highly rated in many of the reviews I have read, including the recent Mac World magazine, where it was given an editor’s pick.  It was also the Popular Photography & Imaging, Camera of the Year 2007

Here are some additional reviews at DP Review:

I had intended to order it from Costco which had a reduced price in addition to the $300 off but their shipping period was 10-15 business days and I needed it before that. I ended up buying at BuyDig.com where I have purchased other items. The camera is sold out at many online stores but they had 3 left so I went ahead and ordered this morning.

I feel in the Nikon digital SLR line this is their 2nd best camera ever. The only one that beats it is the new D3, a full frame DSLR. But that camera body costs 2.5 times more and is really geared only for professional photographers. This review of the D3 shows how the D300 compares to the D3.

Some of the features of this camera that excite me include:

  • 12.3 mega pixels
  • CMOS sensor
  • Super fast operation
  • 1/250 flash sync
  • Ability to work with my older Nikon, non auto focus lens with either manual or aperture priority mode
  • 3 in. LCD
  • More sophisticated auto focus system
  • 100% coverage in view finder
  • Lower noise, especially at higher ISO settings

Some views of the camera.

Here are the specifications: