captpackrat: (Camera)
December of 2013 I bought my first interchangable lens digital camera, a Samsung NX2000.  With my substational tax return the next spring, I invested in a number of lenses for this camera, purchasing 10, 30, 45, 60 and 85mm prime lenses and a 12-24mm zoom lens to go with the 20-50mm and 50-200mm zoom kit lenses.

The NX2000 was considered one of Samsung's entry level cameras, and while it was a nice camera, it lacked some important features that I had relied on with previous cameras, such as a viewfinder.  Samsung also produced mid-range and high-end cameras that use the same lenses, so I was considering an upgrade in the future.

And then my SO bought me an NX1 for Christmas!



This is Samsung's first foray into a professional camera, and in developing it, they had their sights set clearly on the high-end full frame market.  The sensor is still APS-C, but it's the first large sensor that uses Back Side Illumination (BSI), a design that boosts light sensitivity by about 30%.  The sensor is equipped with over 200 autofocus points, more than most full-frame cameras, making the NX1 among the fastest focusing cameras available.  It's one of the few cameras currently capable of shooting 4K UHD video.  They also equipped it with a CPU derrived from one of Samsung's flagship smartphones, enabling an incredible 15 frames per second shooting RAW+JPEG!.  This image processor also gives the NX1 the fastest electronic viewfinder ever equipped on a camera, with a mere 5 ms lag, faster than the human eye can detect.  And they didn't slouch on the build quality, either; this is one of the heaviest and sturdiest mirrorless cameras ever made.  It's ergonomically well designed, it feels really good in the hand and the controls are about the most intuitive and best laid out I've ever seen.



I've added the vertical grip, which makes it much easier to hold the camera sideways.  The grip adds a second set of controls including two command dials, AF ON, AEL and EV buttons and an additional shutter button.  It also provides a second battery, doubling the number of shots per charge up to 1000, and the extra weight helps stablize the camera.



I'm very impressed with the light sensitivity of this camera.  This is a photo of the Great Nebula of Orion, taken with just the NX1 and an 85mm f/1.4 prime lens.



The autofocus is really amazing.  I wasn't planning on shooting a rabbit in mid-flight, I just swung around and hit the shutter as the bunny darted past.  Caught her in mid-hop!  None of my previous cameras could do this.



I'm hoping to buy two of Samsung's newest lenses soon, a 16-50mm f/2.0-2.8 zoom and a 50-150mm f/2.8 zoom.  While I have lenses in these ranges, they are significantly slower, f/3.5-5.6 for my 20-50mm and f/4.0-5.6 for my 50-200mm.
captpackrat: (Camera)
(Oh my God!  He's actually posting something!)

My grandfather was an amateur photographer from way back.  He had all kinds of interesting equipment and at one point even had his own darkroom.  He gave me most of my early equipment and encouraged my interest in photography.

I was given my very first camera when I was about 8 years old.  It was a Kodak Instamatic X-15, the last Instamatic model sold in the US.  It had a single element plastic 43mm f/11 fixed focus lens and a fixed 1/90 second shutter.  It could use Magicube flashcubes, which were a pain in the butt.  It used the 126 film cartridges which produced a distinctive square print.  The camera was prone to miswinding, leading to weird double-exposures if you weren't careful.  I took a number of photos with this camera, but they've all disappeared.

When I was 13 I received a Vivitar Tele 815.  It had a built-in flash (no more flashcubes!  Yay!) and two fixed focus lenses, 24mm and 48mm, both f/5.6, which you selected by sliding a switch.  It used the more common 110 cartridges, which produced a more typical rectangular print but had smaller negatives.  I've only been able to find one print from this camera, a photo I took of Yosemite.

My grandfather also gave me a Minox III "spy camera", but it used a bizarre 8mm film cartridge that was extremely difficult to find and even harder to have developed, so I was never able to do anything with it.

When I was in high school my grandfather gave me his old Canon AE-1 SLR.  It was a real 35mm SLR with a 50mm normal prime lens, but the exposure meter was broken, so he also gave me a hand-held light meter.  I could still use the camera with manual exposure by getting a reading with the hand meter and selecting the appropriate settings.  It was a pain in the butt to use, but it was a great camera otherwise.  It taught me a lot about gauging exposure by eye and the effects of shutter speed and aperture.  I think my grandfather gave me a defective camera on purpose, to teach me to not rely on fancy automatic features.

In college I got tired of having to screw around with the hand-held meter and bought a Ricoh KR-5 35mm SLR.  It was a clone of the venerable Pentax K-1000.  It was full manual with an LED light meter inside the viewfinder.  I bought 4 KA lenses for this camera, a Samyang 18-28mm f/4.0-4.5 wide angle zoom, a Ricoh 35mm-70mm f/3.5-4.5 mid-range macro-focusing zoom, a Vivitar 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom, and a Ricoh 50mm f/1.7 standard prime.  I also had a Vivitar 2x macro-focusing teleconverter, which let me reach out to 420mm, though with the loss of several f-stops.  Although it had a light meter, the camera was still completely manual; you had to set the shutter speed and aperture for each shot using the meter as a guide.

The Ricoh remained my primary camera for almost 15 years until I bought my first digital camera, a Pentax Optio A30.  It was a 10MP 1/1.8" CCD compact with a 38-114mm equivalent f/2.8-5.4 zoom lens.  It had excellent macro capabilities, better than any of the cameras I had afterwards until my DSLM.  It also had a fairly large sensor for a compact.  I used to carry it around in my pocket all the time until the screen broke a couple years ago.

In 2008 I bought two cameras.  The first was a Panasonic TZ-5, a 9MP 1/2.33" CCD compact with a 28-280mm equivalent f/3.3-4.9 zoom lens.  Although it is considered a compact, it was more than double the thickness of the A30; I couldn't carry it in my pocket, so I attached a small case to the strap of my netbook messenger bag.  I still carry this camera with me whenever I take my bag.  It's still vastly superior to any phone camera and has decent zoom.

The second camera I bought in 2008 was a Panasonic FZ-18, an 8MP 1/2.5" CCD bridge camera with a massive 28-504mm equivalent f/2.8-4.2 super zoom lens.  This was my primary camera until just recently.  Despite being 6 years old, and comparatively low resolution, it has a zoom comparable to my current DSLM with its longest lens.  Like an SLR, it can shoot in RAW format and has full PASM capability.  This is the camera I used to shoot many of my rabbit photos.

As nice as the FZ-18 was, by 2013 it was beginning to show its age, and with a crop factor of 5.6, it was lacking a bit in the quality department.  Just before Christmas Costco started selling the Samsung NX2000.  It had better specs than the similar Canon EOS-M and was a lot cheaper, so I bought it.  It's a 20MP APS-C DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless, similar to a DSLR, but without the bulky reflex mirror & pentaprism).  The kit came with a compact 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 mid-range zoom, a 50-200mm f/4-5.6 OIS telephoto zoom lens and an external pop-up flash.  I've since bought 6 other lenses, a 12-24mm f/4-5.6 wide-angle zoom, 10mm f/3.5 fisheye prime, 30mm f/1.2 standard prime, 45mm f/1.8[T6] 2D/3D telephoto prime, 60mm f/2.8 macro-focusing OIS telephoto prime, and an 85mm f/1.4 telephoto prime.  My favorite lens is the 85mm, which has a magnificent DOF.  However, I usually leave the 30mm lens on the camera when I put it away; it's the smallest and lightest lens I own, it's a standard lens (i.e. no magnification) so it's good for quick snapshots and it's simpler and faster to use than the mid-range zoom (precisely because it has no zoom) and has a 2-1/3 f-stop wider aperture (f/2.0 vs f/4.5).  The camera has the ability to connect to my Samsung phone so I can use it as a remote viewfinder or to upload pictures.

Now I'm looking at upgrading to the Samsung NX30 or NX1.  The latter will be Samsung's first professional-level camera, but I'm not sure if pushing an APS-C sensor to 28MP is a good idea.  It's also got a professional-level price tag, $1200.  The NX30 is Samsung's current high-end offering and is nearly half the expected price of the NX1.  It uses the same 20MP APS-C sensor as the NX2000 (entry level) and NX300 (mid-range) cameras, but has a proper viewfinder (the NX2000 has no viewfinder at all, just the screen), a higher-resolution rotating screen, integrated pop-up flash (freeing the hot shoe for accessories), faster shutter, faster drive and faster hybrid autofocus.  Which ever one I decide on will be able to use all my existing NX lenses.
captpackrat: (MLP Big Macintosh plush)


Heehee!
captpackrat: (First Place)
First Place:
It's A Bunniful Morning (digital painting)
I'd Give It All Up For Love
Squirrel Posing
Avenue C Railroad Bridge

Second Place:
Handful of Baby Bunny

Third Place:
Wishing
Goat Kissies
captpackrat: (Farm)
You're allowed to submit a maximum of 1 image per lot, per class and no more than 6 images total.  There are three classes, Color, Black & White and Modified Image, and there are 8 lots within each class.  Since the majority of my pictures are of animals, picking just two (one color, one B&W) was extremely difficult.  It was also hard to pick photos for the other classes, since the non-animal photos I take are much fewer than the animal pics.

Here are the photos I submitted:


Squirrel Posing, 11x14
Class 1 (Color), Lot 1 (Animals)


Handful of Baby Bunny, 8x10
Class 2 (B&W), Lot 1 (Animals)


Goat Kissies, 4x6
Class 1, Lot 3 (Photojournalism)


Wishing, 8x10
Class 1, Lot 5 (Still Life)


I'd Give It All Up For Love, 8x10
Class 1, Lot 6 (Architecture)


Avenue C Railroad Bridge, 16x20
Class 2, Lot 6 (Architecture)


The squirrel and railroad bridge pictures I had printed at Costco on poster board ($10 and $15, respectively), since I think those are my best chance at winning.  The others I printed on inkjet photo paper and mounted on foam board.  That was rather a pain in the ass, but I saved a lot of money (my cost, about 60 cents each).

The baby bunny pic I applied a blue filter and converted to B&W.  This made the skin on my hands look much rougher, which I thought contrasts nicely with the soft bunny.

The railroad bridge photo I ran through an IR filter, which did a much better job than just a simple B&W conversion.  IR helped make the leaves on the trees to stand out, rather than turn dark as ordinary B&W would do.

2D 3D

May. 21st, 2009 02:19 pm
captpackrat: (Camera)
A most unusual method of making an image appear in 3D:   http://lala.cursivebuildings.com/tagged/reaching/page/2
Brings new meaning to the name Flickr.
captpackrat: (Camera)
captpackrat: (Bunnies - Say Love)
This afternoon I saw a CUTE little bunny nibbling grass outside the kitchen window. I grabbed my camera and carefully opened the kitchen door, poked my head and the camera out, zoomed in and took a picture. Then the sheep came over, bleating as loud as they could begging for treats, scaring the poor bunny away.

Click on the pictures to see them at full size.




This one is at 100% zoom. You can actually see the reflection of the house and the trees in the rabbit's eye! I love this camera!

captpackrat: (Nosey)
You may have noticed I've been posting a lot more photos the past couple weeks.  That's because I finally got around to buying a decent digital camera.

So if there's anything you'd like to see pictures of, just let me know!
captpackrat: (Nosey)
Clicky Clicky!

(And this image is only 40% the resolution of the original!)
captpackrat: (Hiding in the plants)
The farmers in the area have started harvesting. The fields surrounding this place were picked clean yesterday. I took some pictures with my good camera, now I just need to develop the film. I hope they came out, my 200mm lens seems to have sustained some damage and wasn't focusing quite right (I had to hold the focus at less than infinity even for distant objects).

I was rather surprised at just how fast they can scoop up a field. They were clearing away about an acre every minute or so.

When I arrived here, this house was surrounded by vast expanses of green soybeans, corn and alfalfa. Now it looks like an atomic bomb went off. There's nothing but devastation as far as the eye can see. The farmers vacuumed up every trace of plantlife in the field, so it looks like a desert. Doesn't help any that the trees are losing their leaves as well. Of course, in a few months, they'll replant the fields, and a few months after that everything will be lush and green again.

Gnus

Oct. 9th, 2006 04:00 am
captpackrat: (TIME:  In Rod We Trust)
My SO hasn't lost his job, but he really wants to quit.  Apparently the company he works for hired some suits, and their games of office politics are interfering in his ability to do his job.  They've also pretty much declined to offer him any sort of advancement, despite his qualifications and despite the fact he works 50-60 hour weeks without claiming overtime.  So while I'm hunting for a job, I'll be keeping an eye out for one for him to apply to.

I've been having some mild eye pain the past 3 mornings.  Not as bad as the horrible, claw-my-eyes-out kind of pain I've had in the past, but enough to wake me up and keep me from going back to sleep.  I'm more than half-way through the supply of Doxycycline the eye doctor prescribed, and I really can't afford the money to go back to him AND buy another supply of drugs.  I'm going to resume taking the steroid drops for the remainder of the month, hopefully the two will work better than just the pills.  (Taking steroid eye drops for too long can increase the risk of infection.)

Finally got around to buying some film.  I wasn't expecting much from Wal*Mart, but I was really surprised just how small their film selection has become.  They only had about a dozen different kinds of film, and only 1 variety of ISO 100, my preferred speed.  They had more ISO 400 film than anything else.  It's a shame that digital cameras are replacing film.  Sure, they're more convenient and cheaper in the long run, but film has greater permenance.   I wonder how many parents are going to regret not using film 20 or 30 years from now when their hard drives have failed and their CD's are unreadable.

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Captain Packrat

December 2015

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