Feb 28, 2012

Nikon D7000 Review

In the past month or so i've been quite curious about the prospect of adopting a Nikon D7000 to the camera bodies I currently own.  My main reasoning was to have the ability to shoot high quality video.  Secondary has been the thought of moving towards a lighter camera body.

First some thoughts on the weights of camera bodies.  I normally shoot with a D700 which weighs in at 995 grams or more than two pounds.  A year or two back i regularly added the MB-D10 battery grip to the body which added another 290 grams.  Throw in a couple batteries in camera body and grip and we're up another 150 grams.  Total weight for a D700, grip and batteries would be about 1435 grams or almost a staggering 3 lbs without any lens attached!  Let's add a 3 pound 70-200 f2.8 VR and an SB-900 flash with batteries and we're up in the 8 pound range!  Lift that 8 pounds to your eye a couple thousand times and you have a typical wedding day.

Last summer took me in another direction.  Most weekends i photographed two weddings which meant i had to minimize fatigue as best as i could.   I started the summer by stripping the grip from the D700. Next i used primes wherever i could, mostly a 35mm f2 and an 85mm f1.8.  This netted me a couple of benefits.  I was able to use flash less due to the lenses letting in a stop more light than the f2.8 zooms but it also eliminated between 1-2 pounds depending on what zoom i would have used.  My wrists loved the combinations!

John Alteen of Altronics Ltd. on Broadway in Corner Brook was kind enough to borrow me his D7000 for a few days to assess if this camera body would be worthwhile as part of my kit.  With 5 or 6 days behind the camera i really started to feel what this little black beauty was capable of.

Video on this camera is stunning.  It shoots full high definition video at 24 fps which renders a very cinematic feel.  Unfortunately unlike the Canon 7D it does not do 60 fps at 720P.  Thankfully it does have the ability to set exposure manually, which would be beneficial for what i have in mind.  It also does full time AF with face detection but do be prepared for noise from the autofocus system if you use the camera to record sound.

I took the camera to a local hot spot for birds to test the video with my Nikkor 500mm f4 VR super telephoto.  Even with the 1.7X teleconverter the video kicks ass.  Check it out....




With a ton of birds flying all about me it was just was well to test the AF tracking ability when shooting stills.  Here i got another pleasant surprise!  The autofocus on this camera to me is just as responsive and tracks just as well as the D300 or D700!

Here are a few stills from the session.








Image quality is quite good from a DX sized sensor.  It trumps the D300 by a stop or so at equivalent ISO.  800 was about as far as i wanted to push my D300 and even then IQ wasn't all that great.  I didn't hesitate to push the D7000 to ISO 1600 to get the shutter speeds necessary (1/1600 +) to get sharp birds in flight.  There was a little chroma and luminance noise but both cleaned up well in Lightroom 4 Beta.

One area where this camera does suffer is the buffer depth meaning how many images the camera can take and store on internal memory before it writes the images to the memory card.   With only eleven images deep as compared to the D300's thirteen and a slower write speed which is possibly due to larger file sizes (D300 12 MP vs. D7000 16 MP) one has to be more selective when shooting bursts.   To minimize buffer issues there are multiple courses of action one should take.  The use of a fast memory SD card would be very beneficial.  Shooting peak action would be a good approach to take.  If you shoot RAW setting the camera to shoot in 12 bit will also allow faster write times.  I also choose to shoot with noise reduction off as it slowed down both my D300 and D700 write times.  To be honest i don't know if it made a difference on the D7000 or not but with a workflow based in Lightroom i'm really not concerned with noise reduction in camera and always turn it off regardless of what camera body i'm using.  Once these actions are implemented the buffer depth is less of an issue than it appears to be intially.

So we have a camera that shoots great video, has great autofocus and image quality is darn good for a DX sensor, all in a lightweight body.

Sounds like i just might add another camera to the collection!






RONiN photography (Scott Grant) offers print and image sales, print service, photographic and post processing instruction for both groups and private individuals.  Photography services include weddings, engagement sessions, people and pet photos, corporate events and so on.

If you or someone you know are looking for a wedding photographer for 2012 time is running short!  I'm getting heavily booked so please call or email to reserve your wedding day!  I'm also taking bookings for 2013 and beyond.

If you would like to contact me please do so at scott@roninphoto.ca or call at (709) 639-5335.  I'm located in Steady Brook, on the west coast of Newfoundland, in Canada.

Visit me on facebook at RONiN photography.

I also have a ton of images of all kinds on Flickr.

If you would like to learn more about RONiN photography please visit www.roninphoto.ca.



Bird Porn!!!





American Oystercatchers on the beaches of Fort Desoto in Florida. 

Feb 20, 2012

Jibfest 2012 Marble Mountian

For something a little different yesterday i checked out the 2012 Jibfest, a snowboard competition, held at Marble Mountain.  

I would have had much more variety of photos from the event but i sh!t the bed in several ways.  

I was having a hard time trying to come up with interesting images for numerous sorry ass reasons and after an hour or more of shooting i decided to use very limited focus to make the riders 'pop'.  Unfortunately the two lenses i use for this purpose are the slowest SOB's to focus leaving me having to prefocus and nail the photo as the rider passed through the plane of focus...not a good way to get a ton of usable images!

Second, the night before i had all my gear ready to rock when i got the call that the contest was cancelled.  Silly me took my spare battery and popped it into another camera i had just purchased for testing purposes.  Fast forward 12 hours and i'm standing on the hill shooting the riders wondering how the hell i was gonna get an afternoon our of the 1/2 battery i had in the camera while my spare sat at home in the new camera!  Needless to say with a little necessary chimping my battery bit the bullet very premature.

Third, as this was a contest many of the riders were spinning on and off rails.   That might score high with the judges but it doesn't make for good photos! 

So with all the sorry excuses i have for bad photos/lack of variety out of the way here is a taste of what happened at the 2012 Jibfest held at Marble Mountain!








































I couldn't tell you who won as i was smoozing with some folks i haven't seen in a long long time.

Maybe Spicycaesar will have the results?  Go check em out!

I also got to have a little chat with Mike and Steve from Magine snowboards.  They are a Newfoundland based snowboard company looking to bust into the market.  I predict great things in the future for Magine!  Support local!

Thanks so much for looking!





RONiN photography (Scott Grant) offers print and image sales, print service, photographic and post processing instruction for both groups and private individuals.  Photography services include weddings, engagement sessions, people and pet photos, corporate events and so on.

If you or someone you know are looking for a wedding photographer for 2012 time is running short!  I'm getting heavily booked so please call or email to reserve your wedding day!  I'm also taking bookings for 2013 and beyond.

If you would like to contact me please do so at scott@roninphoto.ca or call at (709) 639-5335.  I'm located in Steady Brook, on the west coast of Newfoundland, in Canada.

Visit me on facebook at RONiN photography.

I also have a ton of images of all kinds on Flickr.

If you would like to learn more about RONiN photography please visit www.roninphoto.ca.

Feb 19, 2012

Brown Pelican in Last Light



Brown Pelican in Last Light.  Fort DeSoto, Florida.  Nikon D700, 500mm f4 VR and 1.4X Teleconverter.

Feb 16, 2012

The Hunter


Reddish Egret Hunting the Waters of Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.  Sanibel Island, Florida.  D300 with Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.

Feb 15, 2012

Feb 14, 2012

Lonely Out Here


Lonely Out Here.  Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  Sanibel Island, Florida.  Nikon D300 with Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.

Feb 13, 2012

Pretty in Pink



Roseatte Spoonbill in Last Light, Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.  Sanibel Island, FL.  Taken with D300, Nikkor 500mm VR and 1.4X Teleconverter.

Feb 3, 2012

The Woods at Woodale

A good friend and myself headed to central Newfoundland to find the woodland caribou heard that has been hanging out around some farmers fields.

We left for the 2.5 hour drive before dawn and had found the caribou reasonably early in the morning.  Unfortunately the only good photo opportunity we had was brought to a slamming fault by noon.

We spent the majority of the afternoon doing our best to get some photographs but really didn't fare well.

This was my favourite image from the day and there are no mammals in sight!





This image was taken with a Nikon D300, 500mm f4 VR and 1.4X teleconverter.  It was converted to black and white and toned with Silver Efex Pro 2.

Feb 1, 2012

Laura and Paul's Wedding in Corner Brook

Laura and Paul's wedding was one of two back to back weddings i photographed on the last two days of 2011.

I hope you enjoy the 100+ photos from their wedding!
















































































































RONiN photography (Scott Grant) offers print and image sales, print service, photographic and post processing instruction for both groups and private individuals.  Photography services include weddings, engagement sessions, people and pet photos, corporate events and so on.

If you or someone you know are looking for a wedding photographer for 2012 time is running short!  I'm getting heavily booked so please call or email to reserve your wedding day!  I'm also taking bookings for 2013 and beyond.

If you would like to contact me please do so at scott@roninphoto.ca or call at (709) 639-5335.  I'm located in Steady Brook, on the west coast of Newfoundland, in Canada.

Visit me on facebook at RONiN photography.

I also have a ton of images of all kinds on Flickr.

If you would like to learn more about RONiN photography please visit www.roninphoto.ca.