Daily Photo – What I’m Shooting

Camera Equipment
Every once in awhile I throw a few pictures of camera equipment online.  For some reason these pictures end up being extremely popular on the photo sharing website I use.  In fact, my second most popular photograph on the site in terms of views is simply a picture of my previous camera, a couple lenses, and a flash sitting in a camera bag.  I guess people really like to look at pictures of cameras.  So what am I shooting these days?

Bodies:

  • Nikon D90 – Upgraded from a D40, no regrets.
  • Nikon FM2(n) – Getting more and more use, I try to develop a roll of film every two weeks.

Lenses:

  • Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 – On the D90 most of the time, my general lens.
  • Nikkor 55-200 f/4-5.6 VR – Used when I’m  lurking around the recreational hiking trail near my house shooting butterflies.
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 – When it’s too dark for the Tamron or I need optimal sharpness I use this.
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 – On the FM2 at all times.
  • Nikkor 28-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 – Included with the FM2, besides a few practice shots I don’t use this lens.

Others:

  • SB-600 Speedlight – I should be using this a lot more than I currently do, especially considering I have all the accessories to get my flash off my camera.
  • An inexpensive tripod [I should have saved up for a better one], Lowepro Fastpack 250, a small Jenova shoulder bag, Ebay Triggers, sync cables, light stand, reversible umbrella, SanDisk Ultra II SDHC cards

Nikon D90 announced


Roughly two years after the D80 was announced Nikon announces the D90 to the world. The D90 inherits a few advanced features from Nikon’s pro-line as well as user friendly features from their entry model DSLRs.
Key Features include:

  • 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS imaging sensor: Coupled with Nikon’s EXPEED image processing technologies and NIKKOR optics
  • Continuous shooting as fast as 4.5 frames-per-second: Combined with fast 0.15ms power-up and split-second 65ms shooting lag
  • D-Movie Mode—Cinematic 24fps HD with sound: Record cinematic-quality movie clips at up to 720p HD (1280 x 720 pixels) in Motion JPEG format
  • Low noise ISO sensitivity from 200 to 3200 [100-6400 on Lo1 and Hi1]
  • 3-inch super-density 920,000-dot color LCD monitor: High resolution with a 170-degree wide-angle viewing
  • Built-in image sensor cleaning
  • 11-point AF system with Face Priority
  • One-button Live View
  • Nikon 3D Color Matrix Metering II with Scene Recognition System
  • GPS geo-tagging: GP-1 GPS unit (optional) provides automatic real-time geo-tagging

Nikon D90 Press Release
Digital Photography Review’s hands on preview

Having borrowed so much from Nikon’s professional line I immediately became tempted to upgrade.  At $999.95 US for the body who wouldn’t be?  Then, reality slowly crept in and I began to think about the images I have produced using my D40.  I throw a lot of images on Flickr on any given week.  Out of those I would rate a handful as great.  I really don’t know if owning a D90 would make those mountains of images that I feel are average better or those handful I think are great magically become spectacular.  There is a certain satisfaction in working hard to create something wonderful without burning a hole in your budget in the process.

I’ll try posting a photo a day for two weeks.  Some of these photos may be ones already buried deep in my photostream, while others either taken by Cathy or myself on our recent trip back to Michigan.  They’ll be posted because I like them for some reason, maybe you will too.  Hopefully they won’t be so awful that I’m removed from your feed reader as a result.

The Nikon D60 [a D40x with Dust Control]

Nikon announced a new model to replace their entry-level D40x [which discontinued production in December 2007]. The D40x was really only a megapixel improvement over the original D40 to put a model in the price gap that existed between the D40 and the D80.

The D60 is a 10.2-Megapixel camera and its kit comes bundled with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization Lens [a step up from previous kits which had lens that lacked Vibration Reduction].

One feature the camera packs that the D40 and D40x lack is Nikon’s Active Dust Reduction System with Airflow Control to help the model compete with other companies who have entry level cameras with this feature.

A couple noticeable drawbacks that weren’t improved upon on the D40(x) that may be a turn off for buyers: The camera still has 3 focus points and lacks an internal AF motor [although given the target audience, this probably isn’t considered a drawback].

All in all it appears to be a great camera for anyone making the jump from a point-and-shoot camera. As an entry-level model, it is nothing to trade your current DSLR for.

While they were at it, they also announced three new lenses to their line: The AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, the AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED, and the PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED.

D40 Blog

Butterfly

Byasa polyeuctes termessus, 大紅紋鳳蝶

I recently stumbled across a blog devoted to the Nikon D40 and D40xThis post has a slew of links organized by topic that a some of my readers may find helpful.

Hiking in the Dakeng Scenic Area

Dakeng Scenic Area

The weekend was one of those rare 2-day weekends because my students were busy at their regular school making up the day they missed on account of the holiday. It feels great to say, “Have a nice weekend” to my boss on Friday evening instead of on Saturday morning. We woke up early on Sunday morning to avoid the midday heat and headed towards the Dakeng Scenic Area [大坑風景區] in Taichung [台中].
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