Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nikon D80

Uschi poses for his close-up.

Well we finally broke down and bought a DSLR, a Nikon D80, what a camera! We went with Nikon because we already had several quality lenses from the film era and because the D80 received very good reviews from online pros and friends. It has so many functions and gives a knowledgeable user the ability to control just about every aspect of taking a picture. We have a lot to learn, but right off the top; the lack of shutter lag, image colors and quality, and flexibility are definite steps up from our little good quality point and shoot. It arrived yesterday and we took a series of pictures in full Auto mode and 100 ISO, just to start playing around with it. Most of the pictures we took didn't come out that great, we had focus, depth of field, exposure, and lighting issues, but we are working at it. Today will just be some of the better shots, even if they aren't totally in focus or lit well. We did get some facial expressions and body positions that we haven't been able to capture, until now.

to go outside.

The brothers watched birds
as their fur ruffled in the wind.

Tanj explored,

Uschi watched.

Tanj came crying,...

but enjoyed the woods.

Back inside Uschi wanted attention,

and found the Da Bird.

Tanj on his perch.

Uschi after his feathers.

T watches Uschi play.

Lean muscular Tanji.

Uschi looking fit.

T working out on the wheel.

T is tired of all this.

Handsome Uschi.

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Anonymous said...

That wheel shot is AWESOME! LOOK at that gait! Wow!

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or are these new pictures a little grainier (is that a word)? I looked at yesterday's post and today's get my fix of picture ideas for our own Bengal, Thelonius (Theo) and yesterday's seem more crisp. Do you post process your pictures using some software program?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the graininess. It looks grainy (sp?) in the small pictures on the blog. But if you click on the picture and view the picture full size, it is much more clear. I think.

Anonymous said...

Lavs, I actually LOVE pictures that have different degrees of depth of field. The picture of Tanj walking outside for example, I love that Tanj is in focus and the ground away from him is less in focus - it draws attention to your subject. I actually TRY to get pictures like that.

I see so much more detail and colors in the D80 pictures, but maybe that's just my biased opinion ;)

Anyway, I just started clicking on Auto when I first got it too - it's good to just get a feel for the camera.

Love the pictures so far! Woot!

Tanj,Uschi&Vladi said...

Thank you all so much for your comments.

I agree, the first pictures with the D80 do appear a bit grainier than the pictures from the point and shoot. At the same time I see a greater depth or something (“hyper” colors and details/contrasts?) in the D80 pictures. I think what we are seeing as “graininess” is a lack of focused depth of field, under exposure, and also some of the pictures posted are just plain out of focus to begin with. The light was a bit low, but that is a constant battle, and we don't know what we are doing yet so we were shooting in “Auto” mode the camera was attempting to do everything. The aperture was probably wide open on our good f2.8 and f1.8 lenses, which gives a very narrow focus depth.

For example, in the last picture of Uschi, his face was just about in focus, to my eye, but by the time you get to the focal plane of his chest, focus is already gone. The fast ISO, shutter speed, and minimal shutter lag is nice with the DSLR, but we need to learn how to take the shots with a higher f-stop to get more focused depth of field. The picture of Uschi crying was taken about 15 feet away with a flash and a Nikkor f2.8, 105mm macro, under low light. So, the camera was pushed to limits not accessible with our point and shoot. There is a lot to learn about using a DSLR camera, so I think these issues will be taken care of with greater user skill development. Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto [S]; Aperture Priority Auto [A], will become our friends rapidly.

All shots were taken at the factory default ISO setting of 100, similar to 100 speed film. So in low light the camera was forced to use a large aperture (small #). I remember using 100 speed film, back in the day, because that was suppose to give the highest quality pictures, but for me, the shots regularly came out grainy. I got better overall results using 400 speed film. This camera has ISO settings from 100-1600+, but the faster the ISO (larger #) the more artifacts will be seen in the photos. My goal will be to shoot in the <600 ISO range.

These shots were taken in “Fine jpg” mode and “Large” which should give the highest resolution non-“RAW” picture. So, we might also be seeing lots of extra pixel data and greater contrast between small details, which are normally blurred together with the lower resolution images from the point and shoot.

I’ve also learned that the monitor you are viewing the blog with greatly changes what you see. The blog looks totally different on my 20” CRT monitor from Lesley’s 21” LCD and her little 10” laptop. The colors are completely different and the pictures seem to have a bit different focus and color saturation.

The point and shoot is very nice on many levels however. If nothing else, it is small, light, easy. It certainly has its place, and we will continue to use it.

All of our blog-photos take a pass through Photoshop. We basically just crop and resize to 10” on longest side at 72dpi to get the image size down to approx 100kb for the blog. We also do very minor “edits”, just to clean contrasts and such up sometimes. We do not do major alteration/manipulations.