Friday, May 31, 2013

Does the D7100 Have a Banding Problem?

Every new Nikon seems to be afflicted by a number of maladies, either real or perceived. With the D200, it was highlight banding, very real. With the D80, it was the hot matrix meter, gain very real. The D7000 had it's issues with focus inconsistency, and that was partly real and partly perceived. And then we have the banding issue with the D7100...

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Survey of Used Nikon Prices on Craigslist Across the US

This is a rundown of Craigslist asking prices for Nikon bodies and lenses across the US for May 2013. There aren't any surprises, but some prices are trending down. If you are buying or selling used Nikon camera equipment, hopefully this will help you determine your target price.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Grow Orchids (And Photograph Them as Well)

Taking a breaking from photo-blogging for this weekend, but not photos.  Regular visitors to this site will notice that there are a set of orchids by the side of my desk that appear in various stages of bloom throughout the year. Though horticulture is something that runs in my family, I came into orchids quite by accident. I've stuck with them because they are easy to care for. Yes, you heard, me: easy to care for.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Comparison of Decent Cameras Under $600: Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic

If you follow photography forums, you might come to the conclusion that the average mom and pop camera buyer doesn't know beans about photography, and don't know what they need in a camera. Granted, most people aren't that blunt about it, but forums are stuffed with enthusiasts who are more invested in the art of photography than others. I would posit that mom and pop shooters actually do know what they want: they want good pictures that won't require a too much of a learning curve to produce, and they don't want to spend more than they have to. I would argue that that such a goal is a more specific expression of "knowing what you want" than "wants low ISO 6400 noise"; the first want is about achieving a goal, the second is a want for the sake of wanting. 

In terms of price, $600 USD seems to be a bit of a dividing line for DSLR's and mirrorless cameras. Retailers will generally not let the price of any given camera to fall below $500 unless it is fairly obsolete, where as a price range between $500-$599 tends to give consumers the comfort of not over-spending on a camera that might be too over-featured for them. Most photography enthusiasts are interested in the high end in the way that most teenage boys know the specs of the Ferrari 458 but couldn't give you an opinion between  the Chevy Cruze or the Hyundai Elantra. But like the plebian compact cars, a good portion of the industry unit volume is with the lower end of the scale. For the average person, $600 is already a fairly large expense, and spending the same again for a lens would be a stretch. I'm not talking about not being able to afford a nicer camera, I'm talking about the fat middle of the market where people's priorities are different from the enthusiast crowd. Why spend $600 on a camera that you will use every other weekend when you could get spend it on a TV that you would use all the time? The conversation usually goes something like this:

Average Joe:  
"I just want a camera that takes good pictures and is easy to use."

"It's not that simple; upgrade your lenses, shoot RAW, buy Lightroom..."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thoughts on Adobe Creative Cloud and the Demise of Creative Suite as We Know It

In just one day, the photographic community has been stirred into an uproar over Adobe's announcement to no longer develop stand-alone Creative Suite as we know it and instead move to the cloud-based subscription service that is Creative Cloud. Their response today on DPReview did nothing to quell the furor.
DPReview: "How do you justify the price increase to photographers?" 

Winston Hendrickson:"Last year we actually cut the price of Lightroom in half in order to open it up to a broader market of photographers."

That little answer sums up a lot about what is angering people about the intended change in direction. For all practical purposes, Adobe is instituting a price increase despite incentives to lure in early adopters, as the annual rental costs for Creative Cloud will be higher than what the typical upgrade costs of the traditional Creative Suite user. Their non-answer is an answer in itself. A good marketing message would have been either"It's not a price increase and here's why" or "The price is going up and here's what you are getting for it." By not answering the question directly, Hendrikson has all but confirmed that in Adobe's own mind, it's a price increase and by creating the non-sequitor comparison to Lightroom, they're implicetly telling you that you are probably not the CS user that they are looking for. In other words, Adobe is transitioning the hobbyist and casual professional market towards Lightroom and away from Photoshop.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Does the Nikon D7100 Have More High ISO Noise Than the D5200?

Rather than make you read through a long lead-up, I'll cut right to the chase. The answer is yes. At higher ISO's, you will see more noise on the Nikon D7100 than the D5200. You might guess (or may have come to the conclusion) that the differences doesn't matter, but the reasons why are fairly interesting.