Super Moon……….Super Clouds!

The Moon is coming the Moon is coming……..sounds a little like Chicken Little and The Sky is falling, The Sky is falling; doesn’t it. There was a lot of hype over this particular Super Moon, but it really was not all that spectacular. If you read this post by Gary Hart, he explains it all quite well, he also has some magnificent photos. I on the other hand got nothing!

Melbourne put on it’s usual charm for a celestial event and had complete cloud cover 😦 . We all shuffled off to various spots around Melbourne, but did not get much at all. I did manage to get some lovely shots of the City Skyline (the plan was to get shots of the city in silhouette as the Super Moon rose above it). All I got was a Super Cargo Ship, Super Clouds (there was a glow through the cloud). Oh and I briefly saw the moon through a break in the clouds on the way home, honestly it really didn’t look that big??????????

Even The Age newspaper took a few shots of my group (I’m am just out of shot) and called it a #SuperFizzer. Moth was asked to comment for the paper and they took his name and number, I doubt that they called this morning for an update and photos hahahahaha! Poor Hubby his first 5 minutes of fame and he got nothing. Oh well there is still another 2 nights to grab something (maybe) and then there is always next month, it will only be slightly smaller.

Til next time, happy snapping and good luck with your moon pics….

~ Julz

 

 

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 – Lens Review

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A few weeks back I got a new Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 lens for my Birthday, there are several reasons why I bought it, even though I did put it off for quite a while trying to decide if it was a good buy and ‘right’ for me.

I already have a 50mm Prime lens that I adore, so do I really need a 35mm? The answer in short is Yes. I predominantly use my 50mm for still life & portraits, or I would use more often for portraits, but on a cropped sensor frame I just can’t get back far enough in the studio to get full body shots with the 50mm, or even much more than a head shot. So I invariably have to switch to another lens, mainly my 18-55mm. Now 18mm is too wide, but I have noticed that 95% of my shots in the studio sit at around 35mm. I adore the sharp focus of my 50mm and the F/1.8 aperture, so logic dictates I would love the 35mm……….and I do.

So why this lens? I could get the Upmarket Nikon 35mm F/1.4 or the Sigma Art 35mm lens, which I have actually tried and thought was quite good too, but they are both over AUD$2,000.00. I cannot justify that kind or money. If the specs of my 50mm AF-S lens are fabulous for me, again logic dictates the 35mm would be good too…..and it is.

Now fixed or prime lenses are not for everyone, I can truly understand the lure of a zoom, and a dedicated wide angle, I have a 18-200mm and a 10-24mm I use when travelling, but they are big, bulky and heavy. They are not the same as using a Prime lens, I knew that from the first time I used one…….but it does take a bit of getting used to, as you need to move yourself and not just the lens. You can be limited but at the same time it is strangely liberating. I truly ‘feel’ more creative with a prime.

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Nikon 35mm Prime

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Nikon 35mm Prime

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Brilliant for Expansions shots as well – this is approx 9 shot expansion – 35mm

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Shot with Sigma 35mm Art Lens

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Nikon 50mm prime

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Nikon 35mm Prime

So how do I rate a relatively cheap (AUD$200.00) lens? I love it, great for portraits, head shots and full body shots.

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Nikon 35mm Prime

Would I prefer the (F/1.4)  AUD$2,000.00 possibly, but what I saved on that lens also bought my new strobe light kit…………but more on that another time!

~ Julz

A deconstructed rose…

What started as a bit of playing around with Desley in a workshop has turned into a bit of a thing; for both of us. The whole deconstructed flower study, it is of great interest to cut things up and see what we find. It’s also Macro time, I’m slowly getting used to the whole Manual Focus thing on my lens, but still not quite as steady as I would like, tripod next time.

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Well that is it for this flower, I took a few more shots and then off to the bin……seems a pity, but after an hour or so under lights, they are not happy………cutting them up doesn’t help either!

~ Julz

Lens Review – 18 – 55mm Nikon Kit Lens

I guess it would be remiss of me to not at least mention this little guy. This is the Kit lens which came with my first DSLR the Nikon D5300. It is a good sturdy serviceable lens. It’s lightweight and actually takes quite a lovely picture. Some people have given kit lenses a bad rap over the years, but it actually a pretty decent lens, especially for starting out and other agree Ken Rockwell gives it a great review.

I should use it more than I do, but when my go-to-lens is 18-200mm I get more range out of it.  It is Lightweight and compact, and retractable AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G It features improved optical performance, Vibration Reduction (VR) function and a minimum focus distance of 0.25 m/0.8 ft.

More specs can be found here.I am pretty sure (due the age of them) the following gallery were taken on this lens…it’s the only lens I owned prior to Christmas 2014.

I really should get it out more often, especially for Portraits, it really is a nice lens.

Til next time, happy snapping……..

-Julz

 

Tech Talk – Nikon 18-200mm Lens Review

I guess I would be remiss if I did not review my Go-To-Lens my Nikon 18-200mm (f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VRII, DX) Zoom. I must admit I use it all the time, more than any other lens, including my Nifty 50. It has had a hard life and has needed to be repaired once, it has not been quite the same since and gives me grief with a continuous dirty sensor.

 

Key Features

  • Offers broad 18 – 200mm focal range for use in a variety of situations, equivalent to a 27-300 lens in 35mm format
  • Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization
  • Vibration Reduction, engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens, enables handheld shooting at up to 4 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, assuring dramatically sharper still images and video capture.
  • Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) offers superb color reproduction while minimizing ghosting and flare.
  • Delivers a high-level optical performance designed exclusively for use with Nikon DX digital format.
  • Enables focusing from as close as 50cm (20 in.) from the subject through its entire focal range.
  • Flower-shaped lens hood (HB-35) provides greatly reduced stray light.
  • 11x zoom coverage offers a perfect compact and lightweight “one lens” solution.
  • Two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass and three aspherical lens elements minimize chromatic aberration, astigmatism and other forms of distortion, while ensuring high resolution and contrast.
  • Incorporates a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) allows for fast, quiet focusing.
  • Employs a 7-blade rounded diaphragm opening that achieves a natural blur for out-of-focus elements.
  • M/A mode for rapid switching between auto focus (A) and manual focus (M) operation.

 – Nikon Store

Pros – 

Broad range from 18 -200mm I can use in almost any situation, great for Portraits and landscapes, as well as everything in between.

Beautiful Bokeh, handles sun flare beautifully, nice sharp pictures, although I don’t think it is quite as sharp as it was before being dropped and repaired, 😦

Handles low light really well and is quick and easy to use. Is also super fast to focus.

Good F/stop for a telephoto zoom f/3.5 – f/5.6

Cons – 

It’s heavy, heavier than the new compact 18-300mm Nikon have brought out.

It needs to be locked in place as I find it moves in and out when be carried (Although it’s possibly a issue since being dropped).

Whenever I use this lens a lot I seem to have trouble with a dirty sensor. I have read online that seems to be a recurring theme on these lenses (or possibly again, from being dropped). In saying that before it was dropped and I used it on my D5300, I never had an issue with a dirty lens……..and even now Moth (using the 18-300mm) has no issue with a dirty lens? So is it my lens, the D7100 or a combination? Not sure, but it is incredibly frustrating.

It’s not a 300mm! Mind you even as nice as the extra 100mm is on the 300mm, sometimes it’s not enough either. But you have to ask yourself, where is my limit? I could spend a huge lump of cash and go 600-750mm but then I would have to carry it, have you felt the weight of those? Arrgghh, no thanks! The wide angle is nice (18mm), but my Sigma 10-24mm does a really nice job with a wide angle. Again, it’s more kit to carry.

Conclusion – 

Love it or hate it, it is my work horse, it has been dropped a few times now (so bad, I know), it still works fine, it’s just not quite as sharp as it was. But the whole dirty sensor thing is doing my head in. If I do end up replacing it, I will most probably go for the new 18-300mm compact, as quite frankly it is smaller and lighter and does not cost that much more………..and it takes a gorgeous photo. In sating that I am completely comfortable with this lens, like an old pair of shoes. I may update eventually, but for now it remains my Go-to-Lens.

Til next time, happy snapping………

-Julz

 

Tech Talk – Tamron 90mm Macro Lens Review

90mm Tamron

90mm Tamron

A little while ago I bought a Tamron 90mm Macro lens, an early Christmas Present (yes Moth got a new lens too! But that’s another post), and as much as I was excited to get it and use it, I really have not had much of a chance to do anything with it! So I carved out some time recently to spend with my new little friend, although he really isn’t that little!

At 405g (14oz) and 9.7mm (3.8″) it’s not that little. It has 9 diaphragm blades and f/2.8 (macro 1:1), so it is quite a jump from my 50mm prime (I still love my nifty 50!)………. I really wanted something that would create a lovely bokeh effect (9 blade diaphragm is supposedly very good for this), and something I can shoot my flowers and things with, not so much bugs (not really a bug person), but I also like random textures, rusted nails sticking out of wood, that sort of thing.  You can get  all the specs here from Tamron. It is supposed to be the lightest 90mm lens on the market (at the time of purchase, [Canon 600g, the Sigma 450g]). add that to the weight of my D7100 and it’s fairly hefty!

I know when shooting macro, you are better off to use a tripod, but honestly I often find it a pain, as I am down low, or on a really strange angle, which I cannot get the tripod at. Tripod is OK for still life type shots, but for the everyday shots I am OK with out the tripod…………….unless I want to attempt a stacked shot. I find it is also really nice for portraits (well of the dog anyway 🙂 )I find it is a little soft, not as crisp as my Nikon 50mm, I have found that with some lenses (Sigma and Tamron) where as with the Nikons, they are all super sharp. I don’t mind, perhaps I need to play with the manual focus a little more?

til next time, happy snapping…………..

-Julz