Entries in nikon d90 (38)


Photo of the week - June 18, 2013

The Hillbenders at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, May 17, 2013. Nikon D90 with 135mm lens @ f/2. More pictures (in color) from this album here.


Photo of the week - June 11, 2013

Chad Graves and Mark Cassidy of the Hillbenders at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, May 17, 2013. Nikon D90 with 135mm lens @ f/2. More pictures (in color) from this album here.


Photo of the week - June 4, 2013

Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, May 16, 2013. Nikon D90 with 70-300mm VR @ f/5.3. More pictures (in color) from this album here.


Philadelphia Cycling Classic - June 2, 2013

These are all shot with my Nikon D90 and 70-300mm VR lens, and processed in Snapseed on a Mac. See images from past races here: 2010 | 2011


Photo(s) of the week - May 28, 2013

Tim O'Brien and Bryan Sutton of Hot Rize at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, May 18, 2013. Nikon D90 with 135mm DC @ f/2, ISO 2000. More pictures (in color) from this album here.


Nikon DSLR system: My rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated

Last week I noted how I hadn't used my Nikon D90 and lenses in many moons, in favor of the Fuji X-Pro1 and three excellent prime lenses (18mm, 35mm, and 60mm). Is the Nikon system on it's way out? Not so fast! (April 2014: see update here)

Larry Sparks (70-300mm VR @300mm, f/5.6)Having just returned from a weekend of music and photography at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, the D90 was awesome, capturing most of the images in my album from the gathering. While I've primarily been shooting with the X-Pro1 at concerts recently, in many ways that's a function of the discreteness of the Fuji when paired with one of the prime lenses in the system. At the festival I was able to wander around shooting with whatever camera I wanted without attracting my attention since there were tons of other photographers there. My D90 with 70-300mm VR lens was relatively small compared to gripped bodies with 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses I saw and I fit in with all the casual shooters with prosumer bodies and kit zooms.


For daytime shooting, the 70-300mm VR lens worked like a champ. Sometimes the images it produces seem a bit washed out, but that's usually fixable in post-processing. But the range it offers for outdoor shooting was just about perfect. Once the sun went down I switched to my 135mm f/2 DC, which is becoming one of my favorites on both the D90 and adapted on the X-Pro1. It's nice and compact and produces awesome images. One of these days when I when the lottery I'll pick up a 70-200mm f/2.8, but for now I like my kit.

Since I don't see myself abandoning the SLR platform and moving exlusively to the Fuji stytem, here's what I want in a future Nikon body: 

  • As much I'm tempted to upgrade to a full-frame body, I like the extra reach of a crop-sensor system. I could always go with a high-resolution camera like a D800 and crop when needed, but that seems like overkill, and generally I'm not so interested in the huge files that the D800 outputs. Plus I'm somewhat invested in DX lenses, primarily with my Tokina 11-16mm (my favorite!) and 10.5mm fisheye.
  • Speaking of lenses, any future Nikon I get needs to have an in-body motor, since three of my favorite lenses are the older-type that don't have in-lens focusing motors (just for review, those three are the Tokina 11-16mm, Nikon 10.5mm fisheye, and 135mm f/2 DC).
  • Improved high-ISO performance. I like shooting concerts and other low-light situations.
  • I don't care about video capabilities, but I know that this is probably something that all future DSLRs will include. Hopefully Nikon will at least keep the video functionality out of of the way and won't go overboard and make it a central feature of the camera.
  • This seems like the mythical D400 which has been hotly anticipated by Nikon shooters.

Love for the Fuji X system

Ever since getting my Fuji X-Pro1 last July (along with the x100 the previous fall), I've hardly touched my Nikon D90. Although I did use it extensively in Amsterdam, Germany and Austria, and Italy last June, since the arrival of the X-Pro1 my Nikon gear has been largely dormant. Why I've bonded with the X-Pro1: 

  • Size and weight. This is the obvious benefit. The X-Pro1 body is smaller and lighter, as are the lenses. It's awesome for travel.
  • Discreteness. Similar to the size and weight advantage, but having more to do with others' responses (or lack thereof) to me shooting with the X-Pro1. This is even a bigger deal for me than the actual size of the camera. In particular, I've taken it to a few concerts recently and have shot from my seat with excellent results (see here, here, and here). My guess is that an usher would have stopped me if it was my D90 because it looks "too professional." 
  • Manual controls. Selecting shutter speed with a dial? Check. Setting the aperture by turning a ring on the lens? Check. A dial for exposure compensation? Check. I love the old-school controls.
  • Adapted lenses. I dig that I can use my Nikon lenses with it. In particular, I figured that my 10.5mm fisheye would be really useful; the 135mm f/2 is surprisingly good too. I like manual focusing; if Fuji implements focus peaking or some other way of confirming focus, the X-system will be awesome.
  • The optical viewfinder. I love the OVF, especially with the 35mm lens, because you can see outside of the framelines to get a better sense of the scene. As much as I love the OVF, the electronic viewfinder is growing on me, having used it a lot recently with the 60mm lens and adapted Nikon 135mm.

Things the Nikon still does better:

  1. Long telephoto lenses. I have the Nikon 70-300mm lens; I don't use it much, but it's nice to have that flexibility when the situation calls for it. The forthcoming Fuji 55-200mm should cover this, so disadvantage #1 will been moot soon. And a ~135mm fast prime would have me opening my wallet in a heartbeat.
  2. A super-wide zoom. My favorite lens on my Nikon system (especially for travel) is the Tokina 11-16mm. With the Fuji platform, the only lens in that range is the lauded 14mm 2.8. It's apparently a spectacular lens, but is it wide enough? I do shoot the Tokina at 11mm quite a bit; but also at 16mm (about 75% of my shots with that lens are at one end or the other). There's also a 12mm lens coming from Zeiss soon; maybe that will suit me? Both the 12mm and 14mm lenses are pricy too. If it's optically excellent, the 10-24mm that's coming at the end of the year probably is the best fit for me (even though it's likely to be expensive too. But that means waiting! Basically, overcoming disadvantage #2 just requires a bit of patience or committing to either the Zeiss 12mm or Fuji 14mm. Update: Decided to go with the Fuji 14mm, and will think about the 10-24mm zoom when it comes out...
  3. Macro. Yes, the Fuji 60mm does allow close focusing, but it's not as long as other macro lenses (like my Nikon 105mm). And it's EVF only. Then again, see the argument about size and weight above. The Nikon 105mm micro is not a small lens. And if I want to manually focus, I can use the Nikon 105mm lens with the Fuji with an adapter.
  4. Speed. Quibbles #1 and #2 above are all well on their way towards being addressed with the growth in the number of lenses available. The one place (at least for me) where Fuji lags behind SLR systems if in shooting fast-action sports. I don't do a lot of this, but as a cycling fan, I like to shoot bike races when I can (see here and here).

What's next: 

  • Zooms: I have the 55-200mm lens on preorder (update: now arrived); my fingers are crossed that it will arrive before we leave for vacation, although right now I have it shipping to my parents' house so I can get it while I'm there. And I really want the upcoming 10-24mm offering, but that's not due until the end of 2013 and sits behind a couple of other lenses in Fuji's "roadmap." As much as the 18-55 "kit" lens is appealing, I'll probably hold off on that one. Update: This last sentence turned out to be untrue.
  • I'm trying hard to resist the 14mm lens, even though it get rave reviews. Ditto with the promising Zeiss 12mm, although if the distortion is limited with this one, it would be tempting. Update: Resistance is futile. The 14mm is on its way...
  • The 56mm 1.2 is interesting. I've been using the 60mm macro for shooting a concerts, but the two extra stops of the yet-to-be-released 56mm lens is attractive. Update: It is great!
  • There are 23mm and 27mm lenses on the Fuji roadmap but at this point I'm less interested in those (at least while I have the x100). Update (12/7/13): Found a great deal on the 27mm pancake lens, so that's on the way...
  • I'm thankful that Apple is now supporting RAW files from the X-Pro1!

Photo of the week - August 7, 2012

Ruhpolding, Germany. Nikon 10.5mm fisheye @ f/13 on a Nikon D90. Processed with Snapseed on an iPad.


Photo of the week - July 31, 2012

Obersee Lake, Germany. Nikon 10.5mm fisheye @ f/9 on a Nikon D90. Processed
(very minimally...just a bit of cropping) with Snapseed on an iPad.


Photo of the week - July 24, 2012

St. Bartholomew's Church on Königsee Lake, Germany. Tokina 11-16mm @ 16mm f/5 on a Nikon D90. Processed with Snapseed on an iPad.


Photo of the week - July 17, 2012

Amsterdam. Nikon 50mm @ f/16, 1/20 sec., on a D90. Processed with Snapseed on an iPad


Photo of the week - July 10, 2012

Positano, Italy. Nikon 18-105mm DX VR @105mm f/5.6, on a D90. Processed with Snapseed on an iPad.


Photo of the week - July 3, 2012

Naples, Italy. Nikon 18-105mm DX VR @ 105mm f/5.6, on a D90. Processed with Snapseed on an iPad.


Travel photography gear, recap

We’ve been back from Europe for almost a week, and I’ve had time to reflect on how my photography and computing gear performed. Before the trip I mused about the gear I was planning on bringing here and here.

Atlas at the Archeological Museum in Naples (50mm lens on a Nikon D90; click to embiggen).Across the three weeks I took more than 2200 photos (about 30GB). My 64GB iPad had enough storage for all the pictures, but that’s with a minimal amount of movies/music loaded (although a lot of apps). For a longer trip, storage would be a problem. My planned strategy of uploading photos from the iPad to Dropbox worked okay when there was a good internet connection, but took a long time (i.e., had to let it upload overnight). Given the limited internet access in some of the smaller hotels and B&Bs, it would be a problem if I had to rely on this. But overall I didn’t miss having a laptop at all. Traveling with the iPad is great.

Processing photos on the iPad was better than I expected (all of the the photos posted in my albums from this trip were done on the iPad). I used the Snapseed app for the majority of the editing, although iPhoto was useful for some touch-ups since Snapseed doesn’t have a clone tool. My only complaint about Snapseed is a minor gripe about the black and white conversion tool, compared to Silver Efex (both Snapseed and Silver Efex are made by Nik): the filters in Snapseed aren’t adjustable like they are in Silver Efex. They are either on or off, and can’t be tweaked. But other than that, I’m really happy with the quality of the edits from Snapseed. 

The view from Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria (Tokina 11-16mm on a Nikon D90; click to embiggen).

In terms of lenses, the Tokina 11-16mm was used a lot on my D90. Other than the distortion and proneness to flaring, this is a perfect lens for the sort of travel photography I do. My guess is that 50-65% of my best pictures from the trip were with this lens. The second most used lens, at least in Amsterdam, was the 50mm f/1.4, although I ended up not using it wide open that much. But it was a good length for photographing the cyclists and architectural details around the city. I really only used the 105mm micro at the Amsterdam Botanical Gardens and Zoo, but it was great for that day. I’m wondering if a good combination/compromise would have been to pick up the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 macro and leave both the 50mm and 105mm lenses at home, but that $550 was probably better spent elsewhere. As anticipated, I only used the 10.5mm fisheye for a few shots. 

At the World Press Photo show at Oude Kerk in Amsterdam (Fuji x100; click to embiggen).The only time I really needed telephoto reach was on the Amalfi Coast leg of the trip; I was lucky to have access to the 18-105 lens that originally came with my D90, and is now on Jen’s camera. I ended up borrowing it from her a lot. It’s making me rethink not having a zoom lens to travel with. Maybe pairing the 11-16mm with a 24-70mm f/2.8 would be a good (but heavy) combination.

I used the Fuji x100 a good deal in Amsterdam, when I was traveling by myself and had plenty of time and flexibility to walk around to get the shots I wanted (especially since I was on my feet a lot, so it was refreshing to carry a minimal amount of gear from for a few hours a day). But in Italy I shot almost exclusively with my D90 given the range of the Tokina 11-16mm and Nikon 18-105mm combo.


Photo of the week - March 12, 2012

Nikon 105mm VR micro @ f/3, 1/160, on a Nikon D90.


Photo of the week - February 21, 2012

My friend Catherine with her husband Barak.


Photo of the week - January 17, 2012

Nikon 50mm @ f/1.4, on a Nikon D90. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - December 27, 2011

His second Christmas. Tokina 11-16mm DX @ f2.8, 1/50, on a Nikon D90. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - November 15, 2011

Japanese maple. Nikon 50mm @ f/1.4, 1/800, on a Nikon D90. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


X100 vs. V1 vs. ???

My photography gear includes a Nikon D90 and FM3a and a collection of nice Nikon lenses. I love carrying the FM3a (with a 40mm or 50mm lens) around for casual shooting as a "have everywhere" camera but the convenience of digital is attractive. On the other hand, the D90 fits my needs perfectly and has an ideal set of features for me, but it's too big to carry around everywhere (although I don't mind carrying it, with a bag of lenses, when photography is a primary activity). Options for an "everywhere" camera? I admit I haven't actually had my hands on any of these cameras (since the Fuji is always out of stock and the V1 hasn't been released yet) and I'm just thinking through options (i.e., this isn't a review; it's me thinking out loud about if/what I want).

Fuji X100

Upsides: Good, simple controls; a fast lens; groovy retro styling; the relatively large sensor.

Downsides: I've read that the focus system is a bit slow; not sure how I feel about a fixed-lens (I like that it's a prime lens, but will it be limiting to not be able to swap out for other lenses?).

Nikon V1

Upsides: Compact, with (in the future) a system of small lenses; some interesting new technologies; using my other Nikon lenses with an adaptor...the 35mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.4 are interesting possibilities.

Downsides: Relatively small sensor...I'm not as worried about the image quality, but the limited ability to have a really shallow depth of field is a bit of a concern; lack of buttons/knobs for key controls, instead having to dig around menus.

A micro 4/3rds system camera

I admittedly don't know a a lot about these systems; is there a small m4/3 camera with a viewfinder and good manual controls? Do I want to invest in another lens system (admittedly, the V1 would lead down this path as well)?

*   *   * 

Probably the best solution would be a Leica M9 with a handful of lenses. But I'd have to sell a kidney and all of my guitars to go this route!




Update (10/7/11): I decided on the X100; the two downsides (slow[?] focus and fixed lens) are fine given that if I want to shoot sports or carry a kit of lenses I'll take my D90. The appeal of the X100 is that it complements my Nikon system; I shouldn't expect it to have all the same features in a smaller package.

The X100 is hard to find, at least at it's list price...Given it's scarcity (non-reputible) on-line retailers seem to be jacking up the price and it's backordered at all the places I like to shop (both on-line and locally). But Crutchfield seems to have just received a shipment, and one is on its way to me!