Friday, February 19, 2010

D700 My Journey with a New system, by Ross Hamamura Photographer

"D700 My Journey" ...

More Test images in the Gallery for this blog at

1/1/2010, just sharing my Test shots (thoughts and Info) with the Full Frame Nikon D700 two(2) , 70-200 f2.8 VR II , 24-70 f2.8 , and sb900's , (Canon 500D Close Up lens for close focus with the 70-200 VR II). Shooting over a month after switching to FF Nikon. I am impressed.
Even More so with the new Nano coat lens. fyi: the 70-200 f2.8 VR II is a wow lens, it's making me shoot more and more with it. :) ...
I "try" not to get tooo attached to camera bodys (because you "know" something new is coming lol. It's a digital world, and I am a digital guy :)
But, shhhh ... between you and me ... this D700 will go down in History as a "Classic" game changing FF body for the price. :) just my opinion, though. ...
update: 2/1/10 this D700 is changing the way I shoot , and having me adjust to the "New Normal" of high iso shooting :)

Probably have shot some of the slowest shutter speeds with this 70-200 f2.8 VR lens "Ever" (Look at my slow shutter, dark /night Bible / book shot at iso6400, yes that's not a typo ... iso6400 ! ).
1/15, f2.8, 200mm Handheld

Now, I am waiting for a 24-70 f2.8 VR II lol ...

* Second shot is a 100% crop of the above image

Interesting "Summery" of 70-200 f2.8 VR II features and MFD (Mimimum Focus Distance) Focus Breathing issue on this thread

Note: a Thread issue on the "first" ship 70-200 VR II's (On the article it says there s/n is 200104xx ... mine is a USA version (5-year warrantee) US200093xx (note the US in front of the s/n) from B&H on the "First" shipment. ... and does NOT have the issue ... just a little dust (very little), on the edges, which I hear is normal for this, when you shoot a flash light down it) Link:

new SLRgear Reveiw on the 70-200 f2.8 VR II pretty much sums up how I feel (FF test is also there) ..

imho, the 70-200 f2.8 VRII Nano coat is the first FF zoom lens in this focal range that "really" shoots wide open SHARP! (yes, the 24-70 f2.8 is very good too, but that's a wide, and the newer 14-24 f2.8 is imho better) ...

01/10/2010 Hand Held "Close Focus" shot, used a Canon 500D Close Up lens, @ 18" aprox. , note 1/50, iso1600, at 200mm, on the new 70-200mm f2.8 VR II, it was in a dark room and I used two sb900's ... p.s. even with the Close up lens I had to crop in half way ... Yes, at Minimum focus Distance (MFD) there is marked Focus Breathing @ 200mm ( this new lens is not at 200mm, more like 160mm, but not such a bad thing either ... would it be better if it was 200mm at 200 , Yes, BUT, I would "rather" have sharpness if I had to choose) ... * UpDate: Note: the Focus Breathing at 200mm is ONLY when focused at 30 feet or closer, anything focused farther will be at 200mm ...
what's funny is both the 24-70 and the 70-200 with the 500D Close Focus lens has about the same size subject image (at MFD, and fully zoomed), but the 70-200 VR II has VR II which helps hand held close ups, and I think it's sharper too (VR II ON or OFF)

1/14/2009 update on the New TC 20 III , made to be a perfect combo for this lens and the New f2.8 Nano coat VR II lens ... Post from someone that has the TC20 III and the 70-200 f2.8 VR II ... along with the D3, D3s, D3x , wow!

2/8/2010 two new Nikon lens "officially shipping" AF-S NIKKOR
24mm f/1.4G ED, from site: "Compelling wide-angle perspective combined with an ultra-fast f/1.4 aperture serves the needs of demanding professionals in exacting conditions."
Nkkor 24mm f1.4G-ED LINK
Blog from Bob Krist who shot the AD/promo images for Nikon ... and had this lens before anyone knew about it.
Bob Krist Nkkor 24mm Blog LINK
This is my kinda lens, but not sure if I want to carry "more" lens with me .. when I already have 24mm @ f2.8 lol

AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, from site: "High-performance wide-angle zoom features Nano Crystal Coat and VR image stabilization for dramatically sharper still images and video capture."
Nkkor 16-35mm f4G ED VR LINK

* it's interesting how they "mention" VR "and" Video capture , hmmmmm. Still waiting for that 24-70 f2.8 VR II :)

2/8/2010 Josh told me that Hawaii Photo Rentals ... will have to rent the new 300mm f2.8 VRII and the new TC20 III soon wow! (they already have the 400mm f2.8 , and other assorted Nikon gear, and lighting ... trust me, this is good to know) ... one of the major benifits for me switching to Nikon is D700/sb900 support, talking Lens and the newest Lighting gear. When you need something (or your gear is out to service), it's good to know you can rent.

3/29/2010 update Hawaii Photo Rentals:
Nikon shipment has arrived.

Nikon 24mm PC-E f3.5
Nikon 2.0TCE III
Nikon 300mm f2.8 VR II
Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro-Planar
Nikon 85mm f1.8 AF

We also have more copies of

Nikon 24-70 f2.8
Nikon 10-24 DX

Expected to get the following soon

Nikon 600mm f4 AF-S VR
Nikon 24mm f1.4 AF-S
Nikon 500mm f4 AF-S VR

Here's a LINK to the photographer that shot the SI Super Bowl cover shot ... D3 ... I found it interesting in that he does not do only sports ... and actually shoots some things I would do ... but , of course his shoots are a LOT Cool-er. lol duh :) ... ( just sharing some of my web-surfing )

Keeping with the Sports theme: here is a quote from Rob Galbraith ... on a Test of the Canon 1d IV vs Nikon D3s
"The D3S is an awesome basketball autofocus camera. From a higher level position with an AF-S VR NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED or AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR on the front, we've shot games with the D3S (and D3 and D700) where the camera refuses to miss. From court level, with the new AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II attached, the number of in-focus frames has been higher than we've achieved with any other camera/lens combo ever. The EOS-1D Mark IV isn't in the same league as the D3S for this sport."
To read full article go to link :

My personal experience with the 70-200 f2.8 VRII + D700 combo ... the focus is VERY accurate and fast ... IF I get a soft shot with this lens, a look at the shutter speed, always showed I shot it at too slow of a shutter speed for the subject or action (my user error, except:we are not counting the Drag shutter portraits I do lol). (Ok, can you tell yet that I am "really" impressed with this lens?) ... my advice, don't waste your time with legacy lens in the New Digital age. For Nikon , maximum perfomace means the New Nano coat VRII lens imho (as with the ver III of the TC's) ... So, I don't care what many say about the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 and how great it is , imho a New 24-70 f2.8 VR II is what is needed.

imho, the FF lens world is changing (another reason for my switch)

This might not be new , but I discovered it today ... a Promo web AD about the new D3s I found interesting (p.s. did you notice that more and more AD's are being shot for the Web?, I have :) ... got more jobs in the past 12 months that had web output in mind, it's a digital world lol) ... looks like Nikon has moved up the useable iso about 2 stops (vs D3/D700 , which was arguably already the leader) , and there is video examples there (from the D3s) ... there is some amazing images at "above" iso 12,800 ... on this site, & has exif info. ... hmmmm a D700s coming? how cool would that be? (like I said, bodys are a moving target, in digital lol)
Nikon D3s Presents: Baryshnikov by Seliger LINK

2/14/10 talking about the D3s and it's video and High iso ability ... this Rock Climing video with the D3s is awesome
AND, there is also a "behind the scenes" U tube on it ... which is interesting.
Well, here's a little personal note ... I shot on the top of the Sheriton Waikiki for the "Over the Edge" event they had ... as they repel'd off the side of one of the tallest Hotels in Waikiki (first time I took out the D700 + 24-70 f2.8 on an event , and also used a AB ring flash strobe, which turned out to be the perfect tool for this event) ... So, I had this crazy idea that as I repelled down I could take a few shots (note: it was my first time ever - repel) ... long story, short ... my images $ucked ... this is "not" as easy as it looks! LOL

1/10/10 Joe McNally likes the D3x ... his blog on "The Monster of a Camera"

Have a gut feeling the next "level" of Nikon camera will be a MIX of the D3s and the D3x ... a Fast camera , that does High iso well ... with more Pixels than 18mp.
That's my bet .... :) (and probably what I should wait for as my next body lol)

2/18/10 For those that wanted to know my favorite D700 camera set up settings. :)
This is "evolving" but here you go:
* First: and most importantly I put ALL my favorite D700 camera "Menu" items on the ... "My menu" , menu (did I say that correct?) ... this stops me from having to dig deep into the confusing list of menu items (so, now I have no clue where they are in the real menus lol)
* I LIST them in my must used order ... currently
* Second: and very important for me ... I tweak/customize some of the wheels and buttons to work better for "me". I will start with that, because it is the most used tweak on a shoot.

1) f9 reverse rotation = ON: so the comp wheels work in the right direction, * Change main/sub = ON ... both these changes helps me in my most used mode "A" Aperture priority ... allows me to change the Aperture with the BACK wheel ( I like changing the Aperture while my finger is on the shutter ) , and EV comp with a press of the EV button and BACK wheel. OR I can EV comp with the Front wheel (with no EV button press ... needs a b4 change)
* Menus and playback = ON
2) f2 Multi selector center Button : one of my most used feature ... * Shooting Mode = Reset to bring back my AF point to the Center quickly , * Playback Mode = Zoom so on a "automatic" Review on the LCD after each shot , I can quickly / easily Zoom in to 100 % aprox on the shot , this also keeps it in Review mode , and not shut off. (of course you need to Turn ON "Image Review" in the Playback Menu as well)
* another Big Trick in this menu is to set Playback mode>Zoom on/off>MEDIOUM MAGNIFICATION (which is about 100%) ... you can also in playback with this center button zoom trick , roll thru your shots at this zoom , cool when you want to compare two seq. shots.
3) f4 Photo info/playback ... Info at Up/Down , and Playback Left/Right ... in Photo Playback this allows me to quickly scroll thru my Fav Info OR go back and forth on my images.
4) Relates to above : in the Playback Menu ... "Display mode" ... I have Focus point, Highlights checked
5) Have the Focus mode selector switch to S (single shot) , and the top left dial to CL (set at 5fps) ... caution: whenever you take the D700/D3 out of your bag , check this Focus mode selector - You will thank me latter. This switch moves sometimes.
6) Metering Selector to "3D color Matrix II" ... fancy for Matrix ... and adjust all my comps with that in mind. The D700 Matrix Metering is very consistent and predictable ... and that is the most you can ask for, imho. I will put myself down as Loving it, so I use it all (most ) of the time. Well, whenever I can. :)
7) AF area mode selector : Dynamic Area AF ... Very Fast AF/Accurate, and great in Low Light. I am super happy with the AF on the D700 and the new f2.8 lens.
8) d4 CL mode shooting speed 5fps (CL is my default setting) (CH is 8fps) ... If, you are the Focus and recompose type ... this will create problems for you, because after each shot in CL the D700 does re-focus , so your AF point needs to be above your subject.
9) e1 Flash sync speed 1/320s (Auto FP) ... so anything above 1/250 is auto HSS Flash
10) f1 switch : both , so on a right move of the light switch BOTH the back LCD and the top lights up , so I can to a quick check on the settings via a large 3" LCD
11) f11 No memory card = Lock ... no memory card , no shooting ... note: default is unlock (not a good thing)
12) f12 Reverse indicators to - 0 + ... logical for me
13) a1 AF-C priority selection : Release + Focus
14) b4 Easy exposure compensation = ON ... this let's me comp the EV in A using the front wheel (this in combo with my other settings)
15) in the Set Up Menu , LCD Brightness set to -2 ... this will give you a more True Brightness of your shot on the LCD ... listed this last , but is very important imho

Now, on to my Favorite "MY MENU" choices: (IF, you leave it on My Menu ... the Menu button quickly goes back to it. "My Menu" on the D700 has eliminated my need to ever go into the regular menus :)

1) e3 Flash cntrl for built-in Flash ... Which actually has the controls for Flash Commander Mode CLS , Love it, Use it.
2) ISO sensitivity settings ... auto ISO is a great feature , but you just have to be careful with it. I probably change this the most ... with my default at ... base iso200 top end iso6400 ... and the shutter at what I can handhold for the Shoot/Lens. This is best when the conditions are changing fast. Shadow and Bright as you turn.
3) e2 Flash shutter speed ... my default is 1/30 but that changes.
4) a8 AF point selection ... when speed in selection is important I use 11 point
5) a3 Dynamic AF area ... 9 pr 21 depending on things around target
6) a5 AF activation .. I need this then I want to lock a AF in MF ... then I turn AF-ON only. Something I do often.
7) a9 Built-in AF assist illuminator ... so I can quickly turn off and ON
8) c3 Self-Timer delay ... let's me set the sec ... can use this instead of a remote shutter
9) Active D-Lighting ... allows me to turn Off an ON ... because it does affect how you expose in A mode , and therefore underexposes the RAW file (and can create a slightly more noisy file). (I shoot RAW) ... but, even in RAW D-Lighting ON shows you better (via the imbedded JPG) what can be done with the RAW file, and fyi LR v2.6 at default DNG LR import is very close to the D-Lighting JPG but less noisy imho.
10) Focus tracking with lock-on ... this is for AF-C shooting if you need to change
11) Long exp. NR
12) Multiple exposure
* I also have Shooting Menu and Custom setting BANK listed ... but, have not really used this much yet.
So, there it is ... IF, you have any improvements ... or something I left out , that would be important to use ... let me know.

There is more Test shots on the EOH site
... but, here's a product AD I shot with the D700 + 24-70 f2.8 combo for Hawaiian Airlines last month. It will be for web and Print. Side note: notice the US passport on the bottom version of the product shot of the bag ... It's mine! lol ... I first wanted to use those Hawaiian Airlines Ticket Jackets, and found out they no longer used them , "at all" , WoW (now, I am dating myself again , & I have been using e-tickets) ... at first they was not going to use this (passport version), because they only have a few International flights (I thought it was a "small" way of saying flight bag) ... , but I guess they did use it anyway :).

No comments: