The D200 can do either or both,
JPEG and/or RAW files for each shot
So far, I've stayed with JPEGs (though always in fine quality), because
I know and vaguely understand that compression format's files — and because
until today I didn't have any software
open RAW (Nikon calls them NEF).
The people across the street in my neighborhood
can get DSL, but I cannot. In major thunderstorms, the lights go out on this
the street and four blocks around, but not the other side of this same street.
bothers me, but what can I do? Download slow. It took a little more than
two-and-a-half hours to download one variety of Nikon
that will let me delve into the RAW realm. I hope.
I'm excited about the possibility, but I'm waiting
till Mercury goes direct and stays there (after March 25) a while
before I load and upgrade (I downloaded both files) that software and begin
NEF. That should be intersting, but so far, all of this has
1/30 @ f/2.8 iso250 FF
The red-brown tone of all these shots is compliments of the D200's auto
too warm under incandescent and tugsten lighting,
like at Anna's,
but here it's kinda nice in these photos, so far, so what the hell...
Future lenses include — very probably — an 18-70mm
AF (autofocus) zoom, although I'd rather have the 18-200 VR (vibration reduction)
lens that is not likely to be available before Anna's daughter's
wedding. I have only vaguely considered an additional flash unit (there's
a weak one that pops up from the camera). Weddings can be flash fests, but
I try to avoid those blasts and have done without them often.
Somebody else will shoot the reception.
The 18-70 would be a great little lens for that
event and for dealing with art shows and receptions and much of the shooting
at the lake, except following birds through the air, up or down. I wish
it were VR,
am not, but I've read enough lens tests that I am sure it will serve me
That 18-70mm zoom range will encompass the focal
lengths of all my old Nikon lenses except my longish 180mm telephoto, but
it's not a macro (good for getting in really close) — like bottles flowers
and bugs. It will, however, focus very fast and render very sharp images,
the new photos on this page.
Feet Up and Laid Back 1/8 @ f/8 iso
1600 FF HH CWA
After that, I'm not sure what I should/will get.
I love shooting birds up close and in flight, and althogh the 180 lets me
do some of that, it would be nice to be able to zoom not quite so telephoto
and a lot more. From my online research, I've gathered that
the Nikkor 80-400mm VR zoom is superbly sharp, except when used with a tripod,
and I hate those contraptions.
The VR will help me hand hold that lens down to
about 1/8th of a second, but it won't reach out and make pelicans or turtles
or people or anything else hold still that long. And supposedly, it won't
help me pan a fast-moving subject, like a projectile pelican. I do look forward
able to get in really close when they're lined up on the sandbar, however.
And I'd expect it to let me sneak up on people
in public and maybe even in performance situations. When I published the
underground newspapers Dallas NOTES and HOOKA, I used to shoot a lot of rock
and roll. When I worked at and later co-published Texas JAZZ, I photographed
a lot of really famous and amazingly great jazzers, so I suspect I'll want
to do more of that, once I'm more properly equipped.
Billy Joe Shaver at Dan's Silverleaf November
1/15 @ f/2.2 iso 400 50% crop
HH pattern metering
shot taken with Son F707 zoom lens.]
The last musician I shot on stage was Billy
Joe Shaver at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton. I got mixed results, tending toward
digitally noisy and overly red flash and non-flash shots with my Sony F707,
which allowed me increase the iso only to 400, and by that lofty speed, everything
was rendered soft, fuzzy and replete with grain-like digital noise.
Dan's lighting is terrible, dominated by bright
red neon left of the stage and piercing spots. Bobby got us great seats right
up front, but it was still out of reach of the tiny Sony zoom and tinier
At first, I told the friends we were with that
I hadn't got anything good. What I had not got was anything great. Good was
in its usual abundance, but I remembered shooting Tri-X black and white film
and getting amazing results of Janis Joplin through a piano and
of Jimi Hendrix the year they both died, and lots other rock stars in the
Billy Joe Shaver - Big Grin ©2005 by J R
Compton. All Rights Reserved.
1/80 @ f/3.5 iso 100 80% crop
HH on-camera flash
The Billy Joe pix each required at least an hour
of careful post-production and color correcting before they were presentable.
I think a Nikkor 80-400mm VR
zoom would have let me get close enough in that situation,
even when Billy Joe stepped back from the mike. And the D200 would
let me up the iso to 1600 or more, although 5-800 might have been
right and not looked like a sandstorm of digital noise. Plus, RAW files
are supposed to be easier to color-correct. I think...
I don't know what the D200 on-camera flash could
have done, although it's metered, so I wouldn't have wasted so many shots
guessing at the right exposure. Björn,
my online photo hero, threatened to pour super glue in the D200's popup flash,
and close it forever, but the test camera
wasn't his. I
suspect I can live with its puny guide numbers, since I avoid using
flash and far prefer natural or ambient light.
Right now, I can only imagine getting up close
and personal with my pelks, egrets or herons at White Rock. I have in mind
and beak-to-beak personal-space invasions of their privacy and not having
to scare egrets into the sky just to get feather details, but that is an
expensive lens, costing about $1,500 with a USA Warranty, somewhat
Now that I'm thinking about it, for a Billy Joe
setup in a dark nightclub with dreadful colors bouncing about, bright
spotlights and strange shadows, my trusty 180mm 2.8 might have been just
almost, except for the ability to reframe by zooming, and VR would
have let me hand-hold shots a lot slower when he stepped back out of the
spotlight or when he was talking with people in the street before the
show. That hefty lens' big, f/2.8 max aperture
brighter than the 80-400's long-end f/5.6.
Bat Girl Blur 1/60 @ f/2.8 iso
1600 FF HH CWA
not even close to focus with my elderly 35mm f/1.4 lens
I've also been thinking about picking up the very
inexpensive, only about $100, 50mm 1.8 formerly 'normal,' now slightly telephoto
lens for informal portraits and shooting art. That focal length would be
somewhere in the high middle of the 18-70 zoom, but much brighter, so I'm
not sure. The 1.8 lets in about 4x the light, so that would be a big help
in low and natural light.
But I'll take this lens quest one step at at time,
much as I have been with my old stable of last-century, manual focus ones
this far. Feel my way around the 18-70 before I get too excited about the
next big purchase. It will be amazing just to have anything zooming and focusing
quicker than I can worry about it. I may warm
considerably to that wide to medium tele span.
Anna Trying Not to Grin 1/80
@ f/2 iso1600
FF HH aperture-priority CWA
Sometimes a little softness in a lens is a nice thing.
Every once-in-a-while while I was shooting at
Anna's last night, I'd manage to get something in focus with that old 35mm
1.4 lens. Here, it's her eyes. That, her bangs, glasses frame and
smile are the only things in this photograph that are sharp.
And here, at least, that's enough. It's plenty.
If photographers can get a subject's eyes in focus, and those eyes
have a bit of sparkle, reflection or a glint of highlight, many people seeing
assume the photograph is in focus, even if nothing else is. I have not always
been above scribing a negative on a people-shot just to get that look.
so destructive if I miss. This image had zero post-production. It's all real.
This is the best photograph I've taken of
this lady yet. I even like the too bright and busy background, in a vagluely
environmental portrait kind of way. She was trying
hard not to giggle at having her picture taken, so I'll be photographing
her a lot more in future, wear her down so I can photographically peek deeper
into her soul.
Total images expended, so far = 2,772
shots above taken with the Nikon 35mm 1.4 manual focus lens.]