A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, March 16, 2009

Finding a Happy Medium

Wow! What a response to my last post! Rather than having my response lost in all the comments, I decided to just make another post. First, thank you all.

Yep, I got the manual offline, as well as Ken Rockwell's guide. I had not seen Phil Askey's review, I will be reading that tonight.Look Ma! No strap! You all know how it is..... When all else fails, read the manual.

I had figured out how to get to aperture priority mode, but I was trying to chose my aperture with the lens ring. Same as I used to do on my X-700. I guess a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I never expected the camera would tell the lens to open up or close down as well. I have found that with this particular lens I can use the lens ring to set the aperture in aperture priority mode, as long as I have the ISO set to automatic. Otherwise, it balks. Speaking of that...... I'm loving the automatic ISO setting. That's better than a penicillin dispenser in a Tijuana bordello!

The lens works great and focuses fast at its designed focal length. It's when I go manual and try to make an 85mm lens focus at 18 inches that it is a little tough to turn the focus ring. Probably just the way an AF lens is when used manually though.

Chris, you are absolutely right. I need a UV filter on that glass. Problem is, the rim has taken a couple of smacks before it came to me, and it is no longer round. I use UV filters on all my Minolta glass, and am a believer in doing so. If I can not safely straighten out the rim, I will attach a black foam lens hood to help protect the glass. Yes, I have an Op-Tech Pro strap on the way too. At present, I'm using an old hippie strap. It sucks.

When I was learning to use a manual camera, I would take trips to the Ueno Zoo in Japan and take endless photos of the gorillas and orangutans. They were willing, non-curious models with a neutral background of concrete. Taken with the Nikon and cropped down. Click to enlargeThe concrete was a suitable distance behind them to place it out of focus with an open lens. At present, I am using the dogs as models while I learn. They are ever willing and patient models with a lot of activity to give the auto focus a workout. Most of these images will be deleted into pixel dust, as they are for learning the camera only.

The Nikon D-200 has three image sizes, 3872 X 2592, 2896 X 1944, and 1936 X 1296. All are humongous in comparison to my needs for online work. Fortunately, I have a pretty good photo editing program and can crop the images down and compress them as needed. With a manual film camera, I often used a zoom lens to crop prior to having images developed, that is no longer a concern now. The best thing, in my opinion, is that I can control the image, allowing only what I want to be in focus. Manipulating the depth of field to accentuate the subject matter has always been a major consideration for me. I can tell that this particular lens will be a favorite of mine. I will likely use it to photograph my daughter in theater, for portraiture, and for candid shots.

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11 Comments:

OpenID reflectoscope said...

The photo of your dogs looks great, both in terms of composition, and image quality. I have a good camera now, but I would like to have a great one like that sooner or later.

Jim

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

X, just have a little patience. A DSLR has more than a few important differences over a film SLR, and they take a bit to learn for us old-school film junkies. :)

I went digital (from an X-700, go fig.) back in '99, with a point-and-shoot pocket camera. When I got a Canon DSLR in '05, all of a sudden I had to relearn all the old film stuff, *plus* the new digital features!

But, one of the major benefits to digital is also one of its best aids to training- "film" is cheap, and results can be seen virtually instantly. Experiment.

Personally, I shot everything from closeups to panoramas, and fiddled with every setting just to see what it'd do. My old photo classes back in high school never touched on things like exposure bracketing, and of course we couldn't change the ASA of the film on the fly, so there's some trial-and-error even for those of us that grew up with Tri-X.

Practice, practice, practice. Can't wat to see what you come up with. Though I will say, considering your compositions, you might consider adding an actual gallery, like Flickr, to display them.

Doc.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Farm.Dad said...

I just gave up lenses ect.. with the advent of digital cams . I own a few " bridge cameras " which fill all my needs without buying lenses . Best of luck on the nikon and i can understand the draw of a true slr for digital pics . I just wont pay the taraff for the lenses any more .

6:56 PM  
Anonymous wolfwalker said...

Xavier,

The lens works great and focuses fast at its designed focal length. It's when I go manual and try to make an 85mm lens focus at 18 inches that it is a little tough to turn the focus ring. Probably just the way an AF lens is when used manually though.

Pretty much, yeah. When you disengage the autofocus, either on the lens or on the camera body, you're turning off the circuit that powers the focusing motor. That's all. When you turn the manual-focusing ring, you're manually turning the focusing motor in the lens. That takes a little more muscle power than on an old fashioned "everything's manual" lens.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little jealous at your find. My Nikon 4004S is starting to lose plastic pieces from age. I've been liking the D-700 but can afford the D-300. If I could find your deal I'd snap it up. One nearby gun & pawn has some good pieces like a new Rossi for $329 but some hints of drug activity. :-( I'll have to check more pawn shops. I'm also looking for a Mosin Nagant but will wait until I get my CC in May.

delford on THR and Ruger forums

7:30 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'm jealous about your find; I wish I could get a d200 at that price :-)

A good source of used Nikon stuff is:
www.keh.com
I've bought a few lenses from them.

Disagree about the need for UV filter. It would do nothing but degrade image quality, and any bump that breaks the filter would also break the lens.

Consider getting a flash (SB-900, 800, or 600), the Nikon flash system is amazing.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Xav.
That's a class glass you've got there. DON'T get caught up with that UV filter crap "protecting' the lens. Why compromise the fine optics with a slab of plate glass that puts two more surfaces (think light aberrations) in front of it? Best protection: a lens hood!!! Pick up a dedicated Nikon lens hood and keep a hand over the end of the lens when carrying. You won't only protect the glass you'll eliminate flare. This has worked for me for years with my Canon L's and all My Hassie lenses.

Cheers and enjoy the cam.
Bill

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Chris Bennett said...

Xavier:
go to: Custom Settings: Controls: f6
This will allow you to set aperture with sub-command dial or aperture ring.

Be aware that if you change this, and then use a G series lens (like your 18-70) you'll need to change it back to the sub command dial, as the G lenses don't have rings on the lenses to turn.

Regards,
Chris

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Manuel aperture speed and size setting with auto ISO is bomb! At least it's good for noobs like me.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in my film SLR days my Pentax took a hit right on the front of the lens, and the glass broke. Destroyed.

Or rather, the Tiffen or Hoya filter broke, cracked like a starburst from the impact point out to the metal ring. The secondary impact dented the outer rim of metal.

The lens itself? Zero damage. Nada, none, zip. Replace filter, carry on.

If I was shooting hyper-critical (meaning someone paying me many thousands of dollars, or never to be duplicated once-in-a-lifetime ultimate shots) photos, I would probably take a filter off. And when that particular shoot was done, before I left the shoot, I would put the filter back on.

If you make your living off getting that last 1/10,000 of a percent closer to photographic perfection, then probably you can afford to break a lens or two. I would rather not.

But this advice is worth what you paid...

Scott

2:38 PM  
Blogger Laughingdog said...

Pretty much, yeah. When you disengage the autofocus, either on the lens or on the camera body, you're turning off the circuit that powers the focusing motor. That's all. When you turn the manual-focusing ring, you're manually turning the focusing motor in the lens. That takes a little more muscle power than on an old fashioned "everything's manual" lens.

That's definitely not a given for all AF lenses. I've been using the kit 18-105 lens that came with my D90, and it's very easy to manually focus. However, the old 50mm F1.8 AF that came with my dad's old F4004 is a pain in the butt to manually focus.

I'm a little jealous at your find. My Nikon 4004S is starting to lose plastic pieces from age. I've been liking the D-700 but can afford the D-300.
If you're looking at new cameras, I'd really have to recommend going with the D40 or D90 Nikons. The D40 is more than adequate for normal needs. The D90 is functionally a lot like getting a D-300 sensor in a lighter, but less durable, body.

The lens quality plays a much bigger role in getting good pictures than the camera. I just look at my D90 body as another disposable back to the Nikon lenses I already have (granted, my last "disposable" back was a F4004 as well). I do plan, with the exception of the kit lens, to avoid DX lenses like the plague. As much as is practical, I like to stick to lenses that will work on ANY Nikon, not just ones with DX sensors.

1:06 AM  

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