things

In the field with the D2H

Went to the suburb of Shanghai this weekend to shoot some flowers in the annual Peach Blossom Festival. Firstly, the festival is a typical modern chinese attraction, in summary, slightly boring, and manufactured for tourists. Armed with prime lenses: 50mm f1.8D, 20mm f2.8D, 35mm f1.4AIS and 105mm f2.5AIS, I set about testing out the performance on the D2H. I used only the 50 and 105mm. 50mm for the wider shot (would be better with the 35 or 20mm but I dont like the corner performance on the 20mm, even on a D2H, and the wide shots were not good today because there were too much clutter in the background). Autofocus was quick and snappy on the D2H, however needs a quick eye stable footing as with large aperture and close focus, a few cm of body movement would throw the flower out of focus. I'ved tried the usual focus when pressing the shutter button halfway style, and the focus only when pressing the Auto Focus-ON button, and I think I'm torn between the two. The first way is a little simpler to remember since I'm a little more used to it, but I do think that for some cases, AF-ON is the way to go. At least you just focus once and then once you press the shutter it just snaps. Sometimes you could focus first and then a breeze sets in and you wait a few seconds for the wind to stop, and then just snap. I found that it also helps to set the D2H to snap whether its in focus or not. The number of setting for just releasing the shutter is mind boggling! But slowly I'm getting used to it.

Manual focus on close up flowers were not that good however. I threw away almost 50% of the shots for being out of focus. Just slightly. Using f2.5 to isolate the background and with strong winds, it was not that easy to shoot with AIS lenses. The bright and large view finder on the D2H helped, but still requires some luck when you release the shutter. Luck because if the flower or you moved a little during the shot, it will be out of focus. Obviously shots which requires focusing out to infinity were amazing with the 105mm f2.5 AIS. Now I understand why its rated as a good lens almost everywhere its reviewed.

Battery life: Brought a second battery for the shot, and I never had to use it. After the trip, I had 3% more battery life on the 3 year old EN-EL4 battery, after shooting about 500+ shots and with a lot of LCD usage. Amazing. I want to see if I can run all the way to 0% before swapping the new battery. But have been very impressed by the camera so far. Also helps being able to squeeze 400+ NEF pictures with fine JPEGs into a 2Gb card! 4Mpix is good enough, but if I can get my hands on a D2X at the same price as this D2H, I don't mind.

Welcome D2H to the family!

Finally went back to digital photography. Didn't fall for the tricks of the industry and get something with the most number of megapixels. The last thing I'd want to do is to have mega megapixels, and have large RAW files that's taking forever to process. So this morning went for the first time to Nakano station on the west of Tokyo and found that Fujiya (www.fujiya-camera.co.jp) still has a D2H left. On their website search it seemed as though the D2h was already sold out a few days before. There were a few D2Hs but they cost twice as much at 230k Yen. So D2H it was.

First checked the auto exposure  since D2H were quite famous for failing exposure meters. Tried the 8fps continuous shot as well. Tried just about all features I can think of just to make sure its a good sample. Nothing to be concerned about, I'd even rank it 8-9 out of 10 in terms of condition. Only complain I have is the smell of cigarrette reeking out of the camera. Obviously used by a chain smoker before. Put the first few pictures thru Opanda EXIF viewer and noticed there were 36k shutter clicks on the camera so far. Not that bad for 3 years. Not low, but not high as well considering its a pro level camera. Will be fooling with it soon, and so far the AIS lens compatibility seems quite perfect.

Fujifilm F30 Firmware 1.02

Upgraded the firmware on the Fujifilm last night. Not sure if there's a difference yet but it seems that there are a lot of forum posting that complains about corrupted images, and how its fixed by Firmware 1.02. The one that came with the camera was 1.01. The upgrade was relatively painless, and no settings are reseted by flashing the firmware, which I was quite afraid of, especially when the numbering of the photos goes back to 1 from the 600+ that we have right now. If that happens I'll have duplicate photos with the same number. But luckily it was all good after the upgrade. So... as I mentioned, 600+ photos so far. and its an amazing camera. Like most websites have said, when you take it in the open with bright lights and large contrasts, you'll see purple fringing... but I see that with most point and shoot as well. Its just a small annoyance. But the low light performance is just great. The ISO3200 shots are ok at 5R or 4R printouts, just don't do 100% zoom or else it looks blotchy. But this allows you to take without flash even indoors, shown by the pict the wife took in the Opera Garnier in Paris, where even with a flash you can't illuminate the end of the large hall. With the Fuji F30 you get a ISO3200 shot that has just the right amount of detail left. I'm sure with a pro shooter steady hand and some support you'd be able to take it at ISO800 or 1600, but... 3200 will do.

Love the camera.

New camera... Fujifilm F30

Ok, its about to be replaced by the F31fd, but I think its a good camera and a good replacement for my five year old Canon S30, which is good still after all these years but too big heavy and complicated for the wife to use. So, I received my new Fuji F30 today. At first glance it looked simpler... much simpler, most of the functions are moved into software compared to the S30, the most obvious being the scene modes... but I dont use them so I wouldn't know if it makes any difference. Lets see how good this camera is after a few weeks of usage.