All photos taken with Nikon P610.
All sorts of things continue to go wrong here, the latest being my computer becoming erratic in function. Gee, twelve years old and rebuilt once and it seems to be having hardware difficulties. Unfortunately I can’t replace it because A). I’m not made of money and computers are just one example of things that have shot up obscenely in price and B). everything that is available (and a lot isn’t) is pretty much junk anyway, and not just because they have Win10/11 on them.
That’s all as may be. I mean; we’re having food shortages here again, the COVID numbers are increasing (12 dead one day, 15 the next), weather is still trying to murder everyone by switching between thaw and melt so there’s ice everywhere, and my wife is still stuck in England for the foreseeable future (things have to stabilize before she comes home and there’s no sign of it happening in either country).
Wow, what fun eh?
I’m even having trouble finishing the lens test series as a result of all this craziness.
In the mean time, let’s just look at some pretty pictures out of the venerable Nikon.
We’ll see how things go the next few days. Although I can’t really plan even a day ahead because the forecast is hit-or-miss and the edicts from On High are random and often confusing. For now I’ll go with the cats’ take on things and sleep as much as possible.
All kinds of things going on here, including wood harvesting, bad weather, and an utterly useless national election that wasted a huge amount of money for no reason whatsoever.
Not much photography though, for the reasons previously explained.
Here are some bird pictures left over from when I could take pictures.
Above taken with the Nikon P610.
Taken with the Pentax K100D.
Taken with the Lumix ZS60, believe it or not.
Taken with the Olympus E410.
Once again, I am cheated out of the ability to add to or subtract from my equipment stocks. I thought of buying a proper adaptor for the one FD mount lens I have, but I paid <$30 for the lens (with shipping) and can’t justify paying >$30 for the adaptor. It just doesn’t make sense.
It also doesn’t make sense that ego-Bay keeps sending me e-mails about items I’ve looked at when I can’t even sign in to delete the account. Talk about intractable stupidity!
It snowed Sunday night.
Enough to make the birds complain on Monday morning.
And to cause some trouble for humans as well:
I got a notice about test results which told me my doctor had the results. How does that help, exactly?
Wednesday they are shutting off our power all day for “equipment upgrades”. I’m an engineer; I will simply tie in the generator and keep going. I don’t know what everyone else is expected to do.
I think I have succeeded in advancing my Master Plan, which was really unexpected.
More news as it develops.
Plus a few random photography remarks.
I missed a few shots this past week (including a marmot) as it is impossible to grab a camera and turn it on and frame up the subject and take the picture while you’re driving down the road. Even if the road is a gravel logging path and you’re only doing 10 KPH at best. I did manage to stop upon hearing a rat-a-tat-tat noise in some dead birch trees, thinking it was a woodpecker. I spotted something red moving in the viewfinder and clicked, waiting to figure out what it was until later. It was this:
This image was shot with the Canon T100 using the 55-250mm zoom at full extension. (This is a 640×480 view cropped from the full frame, not reduced.) With the crop factor this works out to about 400mm on a 135 camera. Why the Canon? Why not the famous Nikon P610? A couple of reasons. First, the Canon ‘fires up’ quicker; turn the dial and it’s ready (the Nikon works its way through some motor gymnastics before it’s ready). Second, the Canon’s optical finder is easier for me to see through. This is getting to be a problem, especially when trying to spot small subjects like birds in the distance.
Which brings us to point number three: optical and digital zooming. The Nikon can outdo the Canon optically by a factor of over 3X (1440mm vs. 400mm). This is because it has a smaller “2.3” sensor (which also reduces its effectiveness in low light). But the Canon has a slight edge in MP of about 12% so it’s better at post-shoot digital zooming. This has lead me to the decision that a T7 with its 24MP sensor would be even better for me – 50% better you might say. So in a weird way post-shoot digital zooming helps make up for my failing eyesight. Something to think about as the Nikon keeps producing out-of-focus pictures due to the loose lens (no, I can not tell if the image is in focus in the finder of any camer: I am dependent on autofocus and depth-of-field).
Now here’s a tiny butterfly. Not being a lepidopterist I don’t know what kind.
These were taken with the Fuji F80 EXR, of all things. Not really the camera for the job but it did it fairly well. The first shot is full frame, the second digitally zoomed (as is the third). You may notice a colour shift between the two shots as the camera tried to come to grips with the scene. The second image is somewhat washed out in the dried grass but the colour is better on the butterfly.
Now here’s what the Nikon did with a much larger version of what looks like the same butterfly (the first one was perhaps an inch long, the second closer to three inches):
The Nikon has utterly failed to focus a couple of times, usually when the lens is pointing down (which is telling). Here’s a shot that shows the motor-driven lens isn’t as quick as it should be. Look for the bird.
Of course if the subject will sit still, it’s fine:
Or if the conditions are right and you don’t need maximum magnification on one small object far off in the distance:
And back to the Canon for a combination of maximum optical zoom with a bit of digital as well:
A discussion elsewhere about zoom lenses and whether or not you need them reminded me of an old movie camera I used to have: the Kodak Medallion 8. It took 8mm cartridge film, and had a 3 lens turret that allowed you to switch between wide-angle, normal, and telephoto just by pivoting the lens elements around (not while shooting of course). A cheap version of a zoom, and easier than changing the whole lens!
The difficulty with spotting a subject at the ‘normal’ focal length of your eye and then getting a camera fixed on it with a telephoto lens is sometimes aggravating. Being able to spot it with the zoom at wide/normal and then twisting a ring to close in on it is much better. Motor zooms are slow for moving subjects like birds. Sometimes even the fastest autofocus and shutter release is slow; birds can be really, really quick!
But I can see where if I continue shooting wildlife I would stay with the medium-to-long manual zoom lens, quick center-spot autofocus, optical finder, and as many pixels as possible to facilitate post-shoot digital zooming. This is not the best combination for everyone, of course; I just like shooting wildlife and that’s mostly best done from a distance. Even butterflies are reluctant to hold still while you move in closer.
Addendum: Since writing this I came across another blog wherein the author made a statement along the lines of “like many people I like the effect of limited depth-of-field”. Am I the last person on Earth who wants sharpness in photos? Yes sometimes it’s nice to blur the background, but not always! And if the whole of the subject isn’t sharp … well to me it just looks like someone did a bad job photographing it.
Shutting up now. Do what you like.