My New Pride & Joy

Two weekends ago I did something I didn’t think possible. I paid off all of my credit cards. I paid off all of my student loans, years early even! And after all of that I still had money burning a hole in my pocket. How much money? Well… let’s just say enough for me to pay cash for a few new toys.

First I picked up the big guy. A brand new Nikon D810. For the last six years I’ve been shooting with a Nikon D700 and I’ve loved it. This camera changed the way I shot photos and put me ahead of almost everyone in my photography courses with the incredibly powerful sensor and ability to capture such dynamic range. It is what allowed me to make the images I made with the awesome subtly that became my style.  Continue reading

Nikon D600 Rumor (amazing)

So while I wait to scrape together $3,000 to buy a Nikon D800 to replace my Nikon D700, a rumor rolls out about another Nikon 100 series camera. This would be the absolute perfect camera for most serious photographers looking for their first pro-level camera. Oh and it will supposedly be released at half the price of the Nikon D800. I’ll take two!

This would be Nikon’s very formidable competitor to the Canon 7D, with a few tricks up its sleeve, namely the full-frame sensor. Of course it comes three years late to the game. To my knowledge, Nikon never really made a camera to compete with Canon’s affordable, almost professional, Canon 7D.

At $1,700 and great 1080p video and tons of fancy features. Sure Nikon put out the Nikon D7000 a year later, but comparing on price alone, the Canon 7D at a $600 premium, was in a class of its own. There are over a dozen rumored features from Nikon Rumors but I’ll share the highlights here. Check out their posts for more up to date information. Continue reading

The Hasselblad CFV-50 is Sexy

 

I love my Nikon D700 but if given the chance to use the Hasselblad CFV-50, I’d drop my Nikon like a bad habit.

Compatible with virtually all existing V-System Cameras and featuring a 50 megapixel sensor that is twice the size of even the best full frame 35mm DSLRs, the CFV-50 allows you to keep both the design and functionality of our classic V-System cameras while at the same time gaining access to a range of advanced features unavailable to film cameras, such as our proprietary DAC lens correction technology to correct for distortion, aberration, and vignetting, and the Hasselblad Natural Color Solution, which guarantees accurate colors straight out of the box.

This camera isn’t just a technical marvel, it is beautiful. Quite possibly the sexiest digital camera I have ever seen.

AND I WANT IT!

The Hasselblad CVF-50 digital back on a classic Hasselblad body. That my friends is photography heaven. The only possible competition might be the Better Light Super 10K-HS 4×5 digital back on a field camera…

And actually, if you’re willing to buy me either of these camera systems, go ahead and buy me both? Just think of what I could do with either of these…

I’m in the New York Times!

Well, not me, but a photo of mine.

One of our ventures, Globalpoint, was written up in the New York Times Technology section today. The freaking New York Times! Major hats off to Michael Urban, who is highlighted in the article, for working so hard to create such an awesome product/technology and matching that effort with getting the exposure that resulted in this article.

The article highlights the trend in measuring sentiment through the social web and how this information is being used in not just political campaigns, but really all sorts of campaigns. I know we use sentiment analysis for all sorts of projects and ad campaigns. The information you get from these sorts of tools can be light years more informative and real than what you may get from a focus group or cold call survey.

Of course, there are natural biases and difficulties in fully understanding the sentiment in a medium not known for its ability to evoke tone, but the technology is definitely promising! Companies like ViralHeat, ThinkUp, Radian6 and more have all put their hat  in the ring in this burgeoning research sector.

“We’re not necessarily seeking to replace — immediately, in 2012 — the traditional mechanism. But it’s got to have a seat at the table,” said Michael Urban, who worked on several Republican campaigns and on polling for Mr. Hancock’s political consultancy, before starting Globalpoint, a start-up that develops sentiment analysis tools for use in politics.

I lucked out in that the New York Times needed someone to take the picture for the article and I was given the honor of taking on the task. I recruited the help of Amy and Krissy as my lighting grips and shot this photo.

For the shot I used my Nikon D700, Nikon F1.8 50mm, SB800 flash corded to my camera and fired through a 52″ pop-out diffuser. Really simple one light setup but it worked! I’m really pleased with the image and the quality of light.

What do you think?

One of the best parts for me is that I actually got a byline! It’s not an easy feat getting credit in any newspaper, much less one as venerable as the New York Times!

So totally check out the article online or in print. It’s on page B4, above the fold for today’s edition, November 1, 2010. And if you can spare a copy for me… I’d love to have a few for my portfolio and family. Thanks!

Nikon D700 ISO Experiments

My friend Zack (@zackluye) just got the new, beautiful, Canon 7D.  This thing takes the most incredible video you ever did see, for under $2k!  It got me all in a mess.  I have this amazing Nikon D700 which has the insides of a Nikon D3 with a smaller outside.  Yeah it’s missing some of the features of the D3 but it also has a few that the D3 doesn’t have.  In the end, it takes identical photos as the D3, same chip, same processor, same images.

I went to Internet to read about the 7D, the Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D700, D3, D3X and D3S and, to my surprise, I left happy.  I was expecting to read that the 5D and 7D have lower image quality than the D700 but shoot amazing video. Got that.

The Canon 5D Mark II has a full frame sensor but doesn’t handle low light nearly as well as my D700 but shoots at a higher megapixel and does video.  The Canon 7D has the same problem but is aggravated by a smaller sensor so even more noise.  But again, the video? Glorious.

I was expecting to hear that the D3, D3X and D3S all take better pictures than my D700.  NOPE!  While the D3X and D3S take arguably better pictures, there are caveats.

The Nikon D3X has a 24mp sensor that would allow me to print my photos even larger than my current (20×30 inches) which I would love.  But it’s low light performance is ranked below my D700 and it costs three times as much (or something like that.)

The Nikon D3S has the same size sensor but ISO sensitivity up to like a babillion. Basically it can shoot in the dark and still get great photos.  At ISO 12,800 the image looks like ISO 6400!  Incredible.

So, after shooting a weekend full of concerts and artists and having to deal with extremely low lighting situations, I decided to run a little ISO test. So check out the image below, click to view it a little larger, there will be a download link for the full size image if you really feel the need for that.

Nikon D700 ISO Experiment

Nikon D700 ISO Experiment click to download the (almost) full resolution image.

I wish I had my Nikon D80 with me right now to run the same test. I’m pretty sure it’s ISO 800 looks like the Nikon D700 at ISO 3200.  The results here are pretty impressive to me and it makes me feel just that much better about my purchase.  It will be a year in January. What shall we do for my Nikon D700 anniversary?!

And as far as shooting HD video? I’ll just keep experimenting with my Kodak Zi8 until I’ve grown up into something better.  Really do hope Nikon comes out with a DSLR that shoots video that competes with the Canon equivalents, with a full frame sensor and doesn’t cost a fortune

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The 300 Megapixel Enigma

I just love my Nikon D700, if that wasn’t already evident through my last post. With this new camera I plan to take my photography to an entirely different level and with time and a whole lot of sweat, hopefully I’ll get into Stanford or Yale for a masters in photography.

Meanwhile I’ll be plugging along, taking pictures for pleasure, money and class.

One picture I took for pleasure, and sold for cash, and had commented on today by Iron Fist is titled Shades.

It was one of the first pictures I took with my new Nikon D700. I took it when I was in St. Louis with Karen (@ok2baprincess) at a loft-warming party.

And, until today, it seemed like a normal picture because until today, I had never tried to print it.

When I did, something strange happened. I had to decrease the size of the image by 75% to get it to fit on the A3 paper I was using. Typically I have to decrease the image by ~2-10%.

I went back to the Image Size window in Photoshop CS4 to see what was up.

At 360dpi, standard printing DPI for me, the image was at 21,000 pixels wide! That’s roughly five times larger than it normally would be.

What was really crazy to me was the fact that this wasn’t the first time the Nikon D700 had put out a 21,280x14140px image that clocked in at 1.2gb. It had happened just a couple of nights earlier when I was printing pictures for my photo critique, from a different computer.

So I guess I’m just asking you for your thoughts. How could this happen? I’m not complaining, the pictures still look super sharp and print just marvelously. But if I can get a camera to shoot at 300mp every time, well then hell yeah I want it to shoot that way every time.

Well, every time as long as the image isn’t terribly noisy.

Any theories on why this is happening? Thanks friends.


Nikon D700 beats $32,000+ Cameras

Isn’t it wonderful when you find out that the “steal” you got turns out to be more of a heist?

Such is the case with my Nikon D700. Not only did I get it, brand new from an authorized dealer, for about $1,000 off retail price, turns out it’s better than a Leaf Aptus75S… which costs about $32,000.

Oh, did I mention that you still have to buy the $7-15,000 camera to use the Leaf Aptus75S?

Check out the stats here from DxOLabs

My camera wins over the latest and greatest Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and the Leaf Aptus75S in…

  • Sensor quality
  • Low light ISO (noise)
  • Price
  • Pixel Pitch
  • ISO Latitude
  • Frame rate

And out of the three metrics where the Leaf Aptus75S wins, two of them are only by a hair.

Now, I will say that the Leaf digital backs are amazing and I’d definitely love to have one but if I can get similar and/or better performance with a more portable camera at a more affordable price, I’ll take it.

I’d much rather have a Nikon D700 in my bag than be stuck lugging around a heavy, and extremely pricey, medium format digital camera. If I ever want to make those stunning 20+ megapixel pictures, I’d probably be just fine with a Nikon D3x… Which, by the way, wipes the floor with the Leaf Aptus75S!

Oh happy day.


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