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What's New: June - September 2006
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30 September 2006, Saturday

NEW: RescuePRO 3.0 Image Recovery Software

NEW: SanDisk Extreme IV Faster than fast? Do I care? read:

NEW: Memory Card Shootout How fast is fast enough? Is CF better than SD?

28 September 2006, Thursday

NEW: Nikon D200 v.2.0 Firmware (free) for Mac and Windows.

NEW: Nikon D60 First rumors, coming for Christmas.

Moon and Palms

Moon and Palms, Old Town San Diego, 27 September 2006. Made with my SD700 rested on a fence.

27 September 2006, Wednesday

NEW: Color Management is for Wimps Leave it alone and get great color!

NEW: Bird Photography Completely re-written for digital.

Nikon and Canon introduced nothing new at Photokina.

26 September 2006, Tuesday

NEW: Hot Pixels

NEW: Determining Nikon Total Shutter Actuations

Updated my master Nikon Index.

24 September 2006, Monday

NEW: Seitz 6x17 Digital Camera

23 September 2006, Saturday

NEW: Nikon D80 / D200 / D70 / Canon 20D / 30D Noise and Resolution Shootout!

21 September 2006, Thursday

NEW: The Radial Resolution Target You'll want to read this to understand my upcoming D80 / D200 / D70/ 20D / 30D shootout.

20 September 2006, Wednesday

NEW: Why VR and IS Matter with examples!

18 September 2006, Monday

NEW: Comparison of Nikon Lens Bokeh

I did that in the process of completing my 18-135mm review. Also lots more added to my D80 review.

16 September 2006, Saturday

NEW: Canon SD800 IS.

15 September 2006, Friday

NEW: Making Great B/W Images in Photoshop.

NEW: D200 vs D80

Added lots more to my D80 page. I decided to highlight in red what I add each day. I'll set the page back to black each day as I start adding more in red. I hope this helps you read as fast as I can get results.

14 September 2006, Thursday

NEW: Why Your Wife Wants You to Buy A Fancy New Camera (for men only)

Dear Readers: Thanks to those of you who replied on how you prefer my long review pages to be organized. The vote was 32 for long pages, and 13 for many short pages. Thus I'll keep pages long, but do have to split them when they get too ridiculously long because of technical constraints.

Added much more data to my Nikon 18-135mm page, and even more is coming.

Measured and published distortion figures for the 18-135mm and Canon SD700. Also measured it for two more Canon lenses not yet published.

Added more observations and examples on color and exposure to my D80 page.

13 September 2006, Wednesday

NEW: Canon SD700: King of the Compacts! This is what's in my pocket today, and results of course in a change to the what's in my bag page.

NEW: Canon SD550 detailed review and tips.

NEW: Casio EX-Z70 review.

NEW: Index page for Casio Camera Reviews.

12 September 2006, Tuesday

My D80 and 18-135mm arrived. Read and see my actual updated results.

06 September 2006, Odin's Day

NEW: Swedish version of Why Pros Share Everything.

05 September 2006, Tuesday

Added a section explaining how to get perfect focus in all your sports sequence shots with Nikons.

NEW: Free Polaroid Dust Filter Plug-In

NEW: French version of Why Pros Share Everything.

NEW: French version of Nikon F2AS review.

04 September 2006, Labor Day, Monday

Updated D80 page. I should have mine in my hands later this week.

NEW: Russian translation of Bad Reviews are Good.

NEW: Chinese translation of Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter.

03 September 2006, Sunday

NEW: Finnish Translation of Why Pros Share Everything

01 September 2006, Friday

NEW: Stock, Event and Wedding Print Sales - Simplified

31 August 2006, Thursday

NEW: My Complete D200 User's Guide

Reviews say: "....Spend a few weeks with the camera, watch the video several times, even buy the field guide.....Then sit down with a cup of coffee and read Mr. Rockwell's recently completed owner's manual - after 2 good passes, you'll be ready to call yourself an expert!"

"....It's like asking what time it is and somebody actually tells you - without having to spend days trying to figure out how to build a watch!"


Whew! It took me two months to write it because the D200's menus are so disorganized compared to the D70.

NEW: Examples of White Balance Settings

29 August 2006, Tuesday

NEW: Getting Great Battery Life

28 August 2006, Monday

NEW: Olympus XA and XA2

26 August 2006, Saturday

NEW: Bad Reviews are Good

NEW: Be Yourself

24 August 2006, Thursday

NEW: Nikon D200 Image Quality Setting Comparisons

This is important. Want to see what different JPG or NEF settings really look like? Have a look. I wrote this while working on my upcoming complete D200 users guide (coming soon here, free!)

23 August 2006, Wednesday

NEW: Canon Rebel XTi

NEW: Romanian Translation of What Makes a Great Camera

22 August 2006, Tuesday

NEW: Russian Version of What Makes a Great Camera.

NEW: Bulgarian Translation of Why Pros Share Everything.

I don't make this up. Different people sent me each of these!

I also got a Canon 20D and a 30D for review, whopee!

21 August 2006, Monday

New firmware out for the Casio EX-Z850.

NEW: Photo Contest: Casio and the National Park Foundation are sponsoring a photo contest. See here for details. It runs through the rest of 2006.

Scams are popping up in more and more ads on most photography websites. I added more language on my How to Buy page about how to identify them.

16 August 2006, Wednesday

NEW: What Makes a Great Camera

15 August 2006, Tuesday

Added a little more data to AFS 70 - 300 mm VR

Added a link to Michael Johnson's great B/W photography.

NEW: Romanian Translation of Why Pros Share Everything They Know     

14 August 2006, Monday

Updated How to Photograph Birds.

NEW: Canon vs. Nikon

Added observations that the D80 lacks in-viewfinder ISO indications and a link to the USA Users Manual on my D80 page.

NEW: Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter - in Vietnamese!

12 August 2006, Saturday

NEW: Airline Travel

11 August 2006, Friday

NEW: Product Photography

NEW: Selecting the Sharpest Aperture

Fixed link to AFS 18 - 135 mm, whoops!

NEW: Russian Translation of Why Pros Share Everything.

10 August 2006, Thursday

NEW: AFS 18 - 135 mm

NEW: AFS 70 - 300 mm VR

NEW: Huge Comparision of 50mm Lenses

NEW: Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 for Nikon

NEW: Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 non-AI

09 August 2006, Wednesday

NEW: Introduction of the Nikon D80.

08 August 2006, Tuesday

50mm comparison almost complete. Tying up loose ends and links.

07 August 2006, Monday

Trying to complete the Great 50mm Comparison before the D80 is announced on Wednesday. Ignoring eMail until next week.

06 August 2006, Sunday

I added to why your camera doesn't matter that the only reason I have a huge lens with me on my home page is so I don't have to say "photographer" or "photography." The lens makes it obvious much quicker than words. That's what visual communication is all about: thinking long and hard to make your point clearly and quickly. I haven't used that huge lens in years.

05 August 2006, Saturday

NEW: Nikon F2AS

Note to Manhattanites: keep your eyes peeled for my brothers and friends hiking the entire length of The City today. I did it last year. I was too occupied working on my upcoming 50mm comparison to make it into the city today.

04 August 2006, Friday

Added link to the $20 professional B+W 72 -> 77mm stepping ring I use on my 18 - 200 VR and 28mm f/1.4 lenses. This lets them take my standard 77mm filters, and saves me from having to buy a second set in 72mm. You can get it here. It used to be a special order and I didn't link to it; now I see it as a regular order.

Formatting a zillion shots for comparison in my Great 50mm Lens Shoot-Out (under construction)

03 August 2006, Thor's Day

Added new lens photos to Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI test page (working on the big comparison).

NEW: Historical Guide to All Nikon DSLRs

02 August 2006, Wednesday

Added a section on keeping your eyes open at How to Make Great Photos.

Added a critical component, the Target Disc Mode, to my explanation of How I Do Downloads in the Field. I presumed you all knew what this is, and without it you'll have a much harder time shooting away from your main computer.

Added studio shots of my Nikon FA and 28mm f/2.8 AI-s to replace the crummy five-year-old hand-held shots I had been using on their reviews.

Trying to hide from email long enough to complete the Great 50mm Shootout.

01 August 2006, Tuesday

Updated Night Photography for digital cameras and added an example.

31 July 2006, Monday

Small revisions to various pages, including the Nikon D80.

27 July 2006, Thursday

Completed Casio EX-Z850 review.

Mostly done with Casio EX-Z1000 review.

NEW: How to Use Histograms. I also added illustrations to Color Histograms.

NEW: Nikon D80 first look.

A new lens may be a VR 18 - 70mm or more likely a 28 - 135. Neither is that exciting; the 18 - 200 VR is still the best lens, period.

26 July 2006, Wednesday

NEW: Perfect Exposures with Large-Format Cameras

25 July 2006, Tuesday

Will the new Nikon lens be the 9mm f/2.8 G AF-S, or might it be a new 16 - 40mm f/4 AF-S for the not yet announced double-frame D3X? I say double-frame as we Hollywood folks refer to the old 35mm still format, which uses two frames of movie film. The DX sensor is about the same as cine film.

20 July 2006, Thursday

NEW: New Nikon DSLR to be announced on August 9th, 2006. See a teaser here. It's 10.2 MP DSLR based on the D70 and will be priced between the D70s and the D200. It won't be available for a while, heck, no one seems to be able to get the D200 or 18 - 200 VR lens that were announced last November. The new camera will be called the D60, D65, D75. D80, D90 or D120. Nikon sends me no secrets, so please let me know what leaks you find. The D200 will remain my camera for it's toughness, but for less money the new camera will have the same image quality, some new features and probably better battery life. There is probably a new lens coming, too.

XML feed Does this work? I'm clueless about this stuff. If it doesn't work and if you have suggestions, please let me know. That feed is supposed to feed you when I update this page. Your best info is of course to come to this page, not the feed which comes from someplace beyond my comprehension. Yes, I have an engineering degree, but no, I'd rather not have to use it and prefer to keep writing about photography. I owe you all a huge comparison review of 50mm lenses as soon as I can format it all.

19 July 2006, Wednesday

Updated the red-letter Best lens for ... suggestions on my Nikon Lenses page.

NEW: Why Pros Share Everything They Know

18 July 2006, Tuesday

Wiley E. Coyote super genius plan: I think I figured out how to accept automated monthly donations. This website exists and continues to grow due to contributions from a small percentage of big-hearted readers.

NEW: Downloads in the Field. How do I keep shooting in the field without needing twenty CF cards and not having access to my computer?

17 July 2006, Monday

Added this link to my film vs. digital page. It's another person's page showing how much detail is still left on film that today's under $50,000 scanners don't pick up.

NEW: Waarom je camera er niet toe doet, which is Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter, in Dutch.

Just got hold of a 10 MP Casio EX-Z1000 credit card camera for review.

15 July 2006, Saturday

Added section towards the bottom on why it's OK to have a two-year hole in your resumé on my How to Go Pro page.

14 Juillet, Le Jour de la Bastille, 2006, Friday

Added that the average annual salary of photographers is $25,000 and added a section on education and photo schools to How to Become a Professional Photographer.

I need to hide out for a week or two and write and format my 50mm lens comparison.

13 July 2006, Thursday

NEW: How to Become a Professional Photographer

NEW: What Makes a Professional Camera

NEW: Why Photography Isn't a Profession

Added two critical business books to my books page in preparation for upcoming pages on how to turn professional.

Photo Club meeting tonight! If you're in San Diego, come to the Zoo for our monthly free meeting. All are welcome. Stop reading about photography and come join us and get out shooting. See SDPhotoClub.com for more.

12 July 2006, Wednesday

Added a trick for automatically positioning © notices in images on my How to Use Photoshop page.

10 July 2006, Monday

NEW: Correct Digital Exposure and Do Nikons Underexpose?

My "Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter" article garners critical acclaim here and here from noted LA paparazzo Chris Weeks. (caution: mature language.)

Dell makes the news for a couple of exploding laptops while Apple users keep turning out more photos. It was even in the New York Times.

07 July 2006, Friday

Completed principal photography for the Great 50mm Lens Comparison.

In 2007 I predict that this date, a Saturday, will be the biggest day ever for weddings. I almost delayed my own wedding to get married a year from now. If you haven't booked your own wedding, you're probably out of luck. Why? The date a year from today is both a Saturday, and the date is 7/7/7.

Added this funny example of the foolishness of taking photo advice from strangers online. I added it to my "Two Kinds of Photographers" page. In case you're unfamiliar with the art world, the Edward Steichen photo analyzed second from the bottom sold for three million dollars in Februray, 2006!

06 July 2006, Thursday

NEW: How to Fix Unsharp Images

NEW: Diffraction

NEW: Bayer Interpolation

These two pages are sections of my upcoming "Why Aren't My Images Sharp" section.

03 July 2006, Monday

Added clarification about buying from bona-fide, but unauthorized, dealers and eBay, on my "Warranties" page (towards bottom) and my "How to Get an 18 - 200 VR" page. Hint: you probably have no valid warranty, even if you get sealed boxes, receipts and blank warranty cards.

01 July 2006, Saturday

Added a reference to a Manhattan art gallery show selling 13 x 19" prints made with just a D70 for $650 to my "It's Not Your Camera" and "Megapixel Myth" Pages. There are plenty of shows selling shots from Holgas for a lot more money, just that those folks don't tell me about it. Holgas sell for $14.95, brand new, here. You can see an award-winning shot made with a Holga hanging in Washington, D.C.'s Hemicycle Gallery of the Corcoran Museum of Art in their 2006 Eyes of History competition of the White House News Photographers Association here.

NEW: Extended Warranties.

NEW: Goodwill Warranties.

28 June 2006, Wednesday

THANKS everyone! I now have a brand new Zeiss ZF 50mm f/1.4 (2006) and used Nikkor 50mm non-AI (1969), 50mm f/1.4 AF-D (Chinese, 2005) and f/1.8 AF (c. 1987) all on loan. I also had a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI (c. 1980) show up as an outright donation from Bruce from Southeast Texas! Except for the non-AI lens, which won't mount on my D200, I should have a complete comparison coming soon. I'll throw in my 18 - 200 VR and 55mm AI-s Micro so I can have a six-way comparison.

I'll have to dust off my 1979 F2AS to do anything with the non-AI lens from 1969. Film results are much tougher to share. I hate scanning and many of the subtleties we want to compare are lost in the process anyway.

Many thanks for your generosity in the name of science!

I predict most of the 1.4 lenses will perform almost identically optically, since the designs change very little over the six decades spanned (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.) All of these are multi-coated except the pre-AI lens from 1969. We'll see.

27 June 2006, Tuesday

NEW: The Expodisc.

26 June 2006, Monday

50mm Shootout: Thanks to the generosity of my readers I have a Zeiss 50mm, manual and autofocus Nikkor 50mm f/1.4s and a 50mm AF f/1.8 either here or headed my way to compare. I envision in a couple of weeks I'll have a complete shoot out, with examples, of the Zeiss, the Nikkor 50mms and the 18-200 VR and my 55mm Micro lenses posted. Whoo hoo! I'm as curious as all of you: I never see the results myself until I lay them all out as I did on my wide zoom test pages. I'll be testing these all on my D200. I'll also test them on film, but those results aren't as easy or as relevant to share online as the digital results are.

RSS Feed: I'm soliciting help. I would like this page to reformat itself automatically every day into an additional RSS feed for people who prefer that. I'm on Dreamweaver 8 on Mac. I can't write code since that would take away from writing new articles. Spending an additional ten minutes each day updating an RSS page t would be bad, since that ten minutes otherwise is spent adding real content.

Added a section on focus malfunctions with my 18-200VR (Hint: it was pilot error!)

Analyzed an actual example of a scamulent email sent to me by a reader on my How to Buy page.

25 June 2006, Sunday

Someone asked, so I added what camera strap I use to my "What's in My Bag" page. It's a Tamrac N-25 in black neoprene. I've used the same strap for over a decade; It's held many different cameras over the years. I never use the strap that comes with a camera. I leave it wrapped up in the box for when I sell the camera, and I certainly wouldn't wear anything with a camera brand on it. I use a razor blade to remove the strap maker's logo, too.

23 June 2006, Friday

Updated Nikkor 18 - 55mm distortion figures with more precise data.

Added paragraphs on dark cloths and focus loupes at the end of my 4x5 and Tachihara pages.

22 June 2006, Thursday

NEW: Two new workshops at which I'll be instructing.

NEW: D3X rumor photos.

Zeiss 50 mm f/1.4 ZF

COMING: I'm testing a Zeiss 50 mm f/1.4 ZF. Does anyone in San Diego have a Nikkor 50mm I can borrow against which to compare it? I'll take anything: f/1.8 or f/1.4, manual or autofocus. (beggars can't be choosers.) I got rid of all my 50mm lenses 10 years ago. Let me know and we can get together and compare. I do have two 55mm micros. Right now I'm comparing the 50mm (standard lens of the 1960s and 1970s) to today's standard, my 18 - 200 VR.

Sneak peak: the ZF is as sharp as my zooms on a D200 at the same apertures. It's NOT any sharper. Of course the ZF is much faster at f/1.4. The ZF is very sharp at f/2.8, but has low contrast at f/1.4 due to spherical aberration, typical of f/1.4 lenses. The ZF has high resolution at f/1.4, but low contrast. The sharp image is veiled beneath a softer layer of spherical aberration, looking like a perfect soft-focus effect.

I prefer the mechanics of the Nikkor lenses: the ZF only has a metal focus ring (round, not even scalloped) and feels like a Tokina from the 1960s, before rubber focus rings were introduced. Focus isn't as smooth as the Nikkor manual lenses. Thus, unless it outdoes the Nikkors at large apertures, I prefer an old Nikkor 50 to the ZF.

Remember the ZFs are manual focus AI-s lenses, which are pretty pointless today for digital. These manual focus AI-s lenses went obsolete 20 years ago when Nikon introduced compatible AF lenses. I'd much rather use a new made-in-China AF lens over a manual one.

AF is important, and the ZF lenses have NO autofocus ability. You have to tweak them by hand and hope the yellow focus confirmation light lights up in the finder when you wander into focus. A D200 doesn't even tell you which way to turn the ring! Metering works OK on D200 and D2X, and is almost useless on D70/ D50 since the light meters won't work!

20 June 2006, Tuesday

NEW: Reader Alson van der Meulen of The Netherlands redid my distortion renderings of digital superwide lenses using PTLens and posted the results here. I sent him a CD of my original test shots and he did the processing using PTLens.

NEW: Ken Lee was kind enough to create and send me a Favicon, which is that little black and yellow dot you now see next to my name when you save my page as a favorite. Whoo hoo! A minor technical detail, but something which had always escaped me. Thanks Ken!

NEW: I finally got to posting the snapshots from my Hike Across Manhattan, New York City, that I made last summer. Ho hum photos, but a fun trip. I posted them primarily to share with my hiking buddies.

COMING: I'm working on the ultimate "How to Use the D200" guide, which I'll post here just as I did for the D70 and D50, free for the reading online. Also I need to create an RSS feed for those who asked. Let me know if you can help me learn how to do an RSS feed.

16 June 2006, Friday

Clarified that my How to Buy page only applies from my experience as an American. Good dealers in the USA may or may not sell outside the USA, and them not taking a credit card from Romania doesn't mean the dealer is a fraud. Dealers get hit on all the time from people outside the USA with phony credit cards, so they are rightfully wary.

NEW: baby boy on the way in December. We're looking for name suggestions, especially strong German, Norse, English, Irish, Scottish or Viking names.

Baby Butt Sonogram

Yes, the Rockwellian "say it like it is" applies to baby butts. It's a butt, not a fundament or other euphemism.

11 June 2006, Sunday

NEW: Sony A100. My thoughts for all of you who who've been asking.

Added explanation of Perspective Control (PC) lenses to my Nikon Lens Technology page. I can't believe I forgot this! PC lenses were relevant when I first wrote that page in 1999, but PhotoShop's Lens Distortion Correction filter has obsoleted these klunky lenses, except for the tilt feature.

Added lens suggestions for shooting sports on my sports page in addition to the link that was already there.

06 June 2006, Tuesday

Updated and simplified scams on my How to Buy page. Easy answer: if they don't take credit cards, they are almost always a fraud.

05 June 2006, Monday

NEW: Nikon D2Xs analysis

04 June 2006, Sunday

NEW: Returns and Warranties

Added a link to Apple's page about viruses to my Why Pros Use Mac page.

Apple and I wonder why people put up with computer problems like viruses. Most people would dump cars that stopped running in the middle of driving, VCRs that stopped in the middle of a show or a phone that didn't connect to people we call, so why do people put up with computer problems? Because of Microsoft's skill at brainwashing people to accept it as normal. It's not!

Daily Updates Jan - May 2006

Daily Updates from 2005




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