Nikkor 85mm f2.8D PC-E Micro lens

I’ve been thinking about getting the Nikkor 85mm f2.8D PC-E Micro lens for sometime now. Playing with tilt shift is something that I have wanted to try. So with Nikon doing a 10% discount on DSLR lenses until the end of September 2020, I thought why not take the opportunity.

As this is a Micro lens it made sense for me to trade in my Nikkor 105mm f2.8G VR lens. The only reason why I was keeping it was for the Micro function since I also have the Nikkor 105mm f1.4E lens in my camera bag.

Thanks goes to London Camera Exchange for supplying it to me. I was thinking that it might take ages to turn up but I paid for it yesterday and picked it up today.

Really looking forward to using this lens and learning what is possible with it.

Down memory lane

I was watching this YouTube video by photographer Matt Irwin about the cameras he has owned during his career.

Fascinating the cameras he had and the reasons why he got them.

So what is my list of cameras that have shaped my career?

Well, the first camera I can remember using, when I was a child, was a Minolta 35mm film camera with a 50mm lens. I can’t remember what model it was but what I realised years later was that the lens was stuck wide open. This really confused me at the time as I never got a shoot that had a deep depth of field.

I stuck with the Minolta brand when I started earning money by getting a second body. Again I can’t remember which one and now has since long gone.

It must have been a year or two later when I seriously started getting into photography with the hope of it turning into a job that I purchased a Nikon F301 film camera. And as it was during the film days, it was essential to have a second body for when you either ran out of 36 frames or wanted a different ISO or colour/black & white, so a Nikon F501 was also purchased.

My next film camera was the Nikon F90x followed by an upgrade to the Nikon F4s. And this turned out to be my last film camera.

The first ever digital camera I got was the Nikon Coolpix 950 at the turn of the century. It wasn’t very good. But to be able to transmit pictures without having to process and scan film was an amazing thing to do when using dial up internet.

This led to me owning a Nikon D1 and later adding a D1H to the mix.

My employer then purchased a Nikon D2H and when it was time to upgrade decided to move to the Canon system. And even today I am using a variety of Canon bodies.

For my personal use I purchased the full frame Nikon D3 which is arguably when Nikon moved from making digital cameras that were sub par to top of the game.

I then added the Fuji XE-1 and then the Nikon D850 to my collection.

Counting up the cameras I had over the years, it isn’t really all that many. I have always believed in getting better lenses over having the latest camera. Lenses you keep but cameras you don’t.

I am certain that my camera collection would be different if my employer didn’t start to supply me with equipment. Certainly been fun going down this memory lane.

BlackBerry 5G

I’m a big fan of the BlackBerry phone and was really glad to hear today that they will be making a 5G version of the phone.

A lot of people had written off the BlackBerry phone when it was announced that the licensing agreement with TCL would end. I was even worried that it would be the end. But I held on to hope that there was no official confirmation that production would cease.

So today is a very good news day.

Nikon D6

I really don’t understand the number of online reviews in which Nikon’s D6 camera is given the thumbs down. Is it a bad camera? No. So what is the problem these reviewers have with it?

The way I see it is that this camera was not designed with these reviewers in mind so they have to give it a one star. Saying that the D6 will be that last camera Nikon will make in this range you have to ask the question what camera will the photographers use who need a go any where, any environment, sand, snow, floods and with no repair centre in sight? A camera that the photographer knows will just work in the most extreme circumstances.

If 2020 was a normal year, this camera would have shown its true value during the Tokyo Olympics and not be judged by social media content creators who want you to view their channels.

This camera is all about moving the file as soon as the shutter is pressed to the front page of a newspaper. It is not the camera for attaching to a selfie stick to do your weekly video blog on. It is not the camera to show off to your friends. Each Nikon D6 expects to have a really hard life.

There will be a time in a few years when there will be plenty of second hand Nikon D6 bodies for sale. I’m pretty sure that most of them will be close to their maximum shutter life and if they could talk, have plenty of stories to tell.

Nikon Speedlights

One of the reasons why I moved away from using my Nikon Speedlights was that I was always getting inconsistent colours in the pictures. You would take one frame and without changing anything the colour would be off.

Now that I have a colour meter I can actually see that the flash gun was putting out very different temperatures each time it went off.

As you can see it is not just by a little bit but by a lot.

Doing the same test with the Profoto B10 the temperature was very close to each other. So it wasn’t something that I was doing wrong.

I do wonder if Nikon have now fixed the problem in the latest Speedlights. In reality I probably won’t find out for myself if they have as I don’t have the spare cash to get a unit to test.

Wish list – July 2020

It hasn’t been easy to think what equipment I would get in July 2020 if money was no object. This list isn’t about kit just for the sake of it but, in my opinion, what is the top of the range equipment that I would use every day.

I would love to have is an Zeiss Otus f1.4 55mm or an Zeiss Otus f1.4 85mm lens. How great would it be to have some fantastic glass in my camera bag.

If I have to be honest, the Nikon Z series cameras don’t really rock my boat. There isn’t anything in the Fuji line up either which I think wow I must have that.

I would probably spend the money on lighting equipment but I’m not sure what I would get. What looks good on paper sometimes just doesn’t feel right for me. So my quest continues.

21 July 2020 Just figured out how much it would cost to buy a set of three dedolight DLED Turbo Series 7 bi-colour lights with the D-Tap options. The three light mains kit is about £5,000 and the V lock batteries, charger and DC ballast for the lights is about another £5,000. This would definitely be on my list if money was no object.

Sekonic C-700R

You may have noticed that I’ve been learning about the theory of colour and to help me understand what colour the light is around me and how it effects the objects it falls on, I got myself a Sekonic C-700R.

This little box of tricks reads precisely what colour the light is. It is so precise that it is used in the film and photographic world to recreate the exact lighting on shoots if there is a need to re-shoot on a different day.

I have been learning how subtle variation in lighting can be. And lighting is one of the foundations of modern photography and cinematography. Some have even said this is more important than knowing what the latest camera or lens is.

How a camera sees colour and how we see colour is very different. Being able to use this difference for creative ends looks very simple at first glance. But the more you look into it, the more you realise what a powerful tool this can be.

Just watch how the light changes in this music video at 0:35. It goes from a cool blue to a warm yellow.

Right now my new toy is sitting in “quarantine” so I won’t be able to play with it for a few days. Once I do I will provide an update.

How times have changed

Today I migrated from Tumblr to a WordPress.com site. And during that process of weeding out the posts that I didn’t want over here I was reminded of one of my early ramblings.

It was about a website dedicated to image editing. And you can read it here.

I don’t know when Fiverr was created since I wrote the post about Repixl in 2013, but it does go to show how fast things change. I wonder if in another six years what services will be around if you want to outsource your image editing.

Colour theory

Found these YouTube videos that are worth watching if you want to understand the science of colour and those technical charts.

Profoto AirX

Yesterday Profoto announced AirX. I’m still not 100% sure what it is as the press release and launch videos talk about using your phone to take pictures but don’t explain if the technology is in the flash or in the app on the phone.

A week or so ago I got a survey from Profoto asking me how much I used my phone for shooting. I can’t say that I use my phone very much at all in combination with my lighting kit. It might just be me, but if I’m going to be taking a load of lighting gear then I’m damn sure going to pack a camera and not just rely on my phone.

The thing that worries me about Profoto’s path down the mobile route is that there are so many other options better suited for the phone. Take for example their C1 range. Why get a C1 Plus when you can do so much more with an Aputure MC RGBWW LED Light

As the Profoto app for iPhone and the firmware update are free, it isn’t any great loss for the photographer who decides to use it.

I haven’t downloaded the app, so can’t tell you if it gives you the freedom to do any post production work. I know some photographers love editing their images. Spending time in the “darkroom” is what they enjoy. Will this be any good for this type of workflow? I can’t say.

Is the future mobile? Maybe. Is it for me right now? No.