A Photographic Journal

A Photographic Journal

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back On The Line

I’m back from the North Country and going through my images. Hopefully I can post a few here in fairly short order. I learned a lot about the D700 on this trip and want to share that information as well. A week-long trip like the one I just completed makes me yearn for a DMD camera even more. The Online Photographer has a hands-on review of Canon’s new G-10 by Edward Taylor here. Is it a DMD? If not, it’s a step in the right direction. What with Micro Four Thirds on the horizon I think we’ll get there yet. In the meantime, I am still intrigued by the Leica D-Lux 4. I’ll get a chance to see one next weekend and give you a full report. I also hope to snag an interview with the Leica rep.

Speaking of the Nikon D700, The Online Photographer has kindly published my hands-on report here. My thanks to Mike Johnston for offering me space on his highly respected blog. Given my recent week-long experience with the D700 I would like to respond to some of those who commented and revise some of the opinions expressed in that article.

In the T.O.P. article I wrote a bit about Nikon’s Picture Controls and its in-camera processor, the Expeed. Apparently many of Mike’s readers (a sophisticated bunch) do not appreciate JPEGs or in-camera processing. I still do not understand why someone would spend $3000 on a digital camera and not take advantage of all the features that it has to offer. You can get a good film camera and a great lens for much less. That said, I only shoot JPEGs for family photos. For everything else, I shoot RAW. In addition, I no longer use Nikon’s Picture Controls and I never did on the D700. I did fool around with them on my D3. Now I set the Picture Control at Landscape (this needs to be downloaded from Nikon’s website) to tweak what I see on the LCD and leave it alone. Finally, as for the ISO 25,500 images, I must presume that the commentator did not see the resulting images. I did. I like grain too, but there is a distinct difference in my mind between grain and pixilation. As for “art” I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.

After spending a solid week with the D700 I still think that it is a fantastic camera. I was frustrated by its performance one night when I was attempting to shoot the Moon behind the pines. I just could not get the exposure right. Finally, after many minutes of adjusting settings and some help from a friend I got some decent exposures. Nevertheless, the Moon is still blown out. I have tried correcting it in Lightroom to no avail. In retrospect, I should have used the “sunny 16 rule” and shot manually.

The D700 is no lightweight. As I suspected, it got pretty heavy on those up and down trails. Nevertheless, I found that mounted correctly on a tripod I could carry it respectable distances.

As I stated, the Autofocus system is rather complex. I found that there is no “one size fits all” approach and I needed to adjust as appropriate. The same goes for exposure. Don’t just rely on Matrix metering.

A couple of parting shots. Concerning the D700, DP Review has now published their review and, as I anticipated, it got a Highly Recommended rating. Read the rest of their in-depth review here. Finally, while I was on the North Shore last week, I had the pleasure of meeting photographer Travis Novitsky whom I have written about previously. Travis’s day job is as a Park Ranger at Grand Portage State Park on the Minnesota/Canadian border. Travis was kind enough to share some of his new work with us and, as usual, I was blown away. Check out his latest work here. He also directed us to a stunning location that we would have missed otherwise. Thanks, Travis!

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