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May 2007 News
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New Baby Ryan Rockwell. Cute photos with tech data.

 

30 May 2007, Wednesday

News: Adorama had the Nikon Nikon 18-200mm in stock! (click that link to see it). I wish this wasn't news, and of course they'll probably sell out in a day, but everyone asks me, so there it is. I'd get the USA version, not the gray market, since for something this complex I'd like the 5-year Nikon USA warranty. That's the version I bought myself. See also How to Get the Nikon 18-200mm.

NEW: Italian version of What is Photography?

News or hoax: Images that appear to be a slick-sheet for a Nikon 100-500mm f/4-5.6 VR-III have been circulating around. It seems realisitic, but suspicious is the linear (in millimeters) spacing of focal lengths along the zoom ring. Lenses usually have spacing in equal percentage steps (logarithmic in millimeters), which meand that if this were real I'd hope the middle of the ring should be a little longer than 200mm, not 300mm. If this lens is real and designed the way it's been shown, it will be very difficult to zoom precisely between 100mm and 200mm. I'd love to reproduce the image I've been sent, but don't have any clearance since it didn't come via legitimate press channels. It looks CG (our movie term for "Computer Generated. It may or may not be real. Time will tell.

NEW: Because Your Camera Doesn't Matter, for the past 8 years I deliberately haven't mislead people by listing what cameras I've used for the images on my Gallery pages.

Since in these past 8 years I've added many pages explain what does and doesn't matter in photography, today I added basic tech data to all the images on my Gallery pages since so many people ask.

I'm impressed at how many weird cameras and techniques I used to capture what I did. Sadly I think I've grown so lazy with digital that I'd probably never have the initiative to create work like this again.

As you'll see, most of my gallery images were shot on big film (4x5" and medium format), not digital. I used crappy cameras, like my old Crown Graphic from the 1940s and lenses from the 1950s.

Most of those shots were created and added to my site in 2001 before digital cameras were anything with which serious photographers wasted their time. I started this site in 1999 when digital photography meant a film scanner and an Epson printer. Large format film scanners are still the best way to create a digital image, and thank goodness there are far better ways to make brilliant prints today, to my taste anyway.

24 May 2007, Thursday

NEW: What is Photography? It's funny how I've been working on this site for eight years, and only today was inspired to write this. It's important. I also updated my Camera Recommendations page a little.

Casio EX-Z1200

Casio EX-Z1200

Casio EX-Z1200

News: Casio announced a 12MP pocket camera, the EX-Z1200. It has real image stabilization, a 3x zoom, an MSRP of $399. The best feature is that it also comes in black. Resolution doesn't matter; I shoot most of my cameras set down to their 6 MP modes anyway. It's got a fatter than usual 1/1.7" CCD which will help the noise levels. Native resolution is 4,000 x 3,000 pixels. It seems very similar to all the other excellent Casio cameras I've reviewed. I haven't tried the EX-Z1200 yet. I do love the 7x zoom EX-V7 I used recently. See the complete Casio EX-Z1200 press release and specifications.

Addition: I added my latest experience with microfiber towels to Lens, Filter and CCD Cleaning. The good news is a one-dollar microfiber towel from the auto parts store works better than all the fancy chemicals I used to use for cleaning lenses!

22 May 2007, Tuesday

Observation: The more I use Google, the better they get. I moved a few blocks, and updating all my magazine subscriptions I see that even when I can't find the hidden address change page on a magazine's poorly designed website, Googling "[name of magazine] change of address" just gets me there. Geesh.

Religious Observation: I had some ranting here, which became What is Photography?

Clarification: How do I know how many shots I made on my cameras? Easy: I always have my file numbering set to "increment," so shot DSC_5678.jpg is shot # 5,678. When it gets to 9999.jpg and resets to 0001.JPG, I know I hit ten grand. My SD700 is at IMG_1589.jpg, meaning I've made 11,589 shots on it. Some Nikons also encode this into a secret spot in every JPG which is often legible with some Mac software, regardless of how you have your file numbering preferences set.

21 May 2007, Monday

Observation: I just passed 10,000 exposures on my D40. Of course it still works and looks like new.

l made 750 shots of my baby and family this weekend, and of course my D40's battery meter still read 2/3 full after all that. The only lens I used or needed was my Nikon 18-200mm VR. (My 18-55mm kit lens is great, but I wanted a longer lens for head shots.)

I love my D40, and I shot with it all weekend instead of lugging my heavier D80 or D200 which sit in the same drawer. The D200 would have needed a spare battery for that many shots, while with my D40 I made sure I charged it the night before and knew I couldn't kill it in a day. I prefer the rear-LCD display of my D40 over the older cameras' obsolete (film-era) split-personality displays on the top and back of the cameras.

I have to giggle when people write me to ask if a used D1X with 6,000 shots on the meter has any life left. I've made 30,000 shots on my D70 and 12,000 shots on my Canon SD700 pocket camera and they also work like new.

I've never bothered installing the new D40 firmware that came out in January 2007; I'm too busy shooting. See also Reading Nikon Total Shutter Actuations in EXIF Data.

NEW: German version of How to Make Great Photographs.

17 May 2007, Thursday

NEW: Canon USA Spring Rebates. What's really new is that they are instant rebates: no more clipping and mailing! Whoo Hoo!

NEW: Ukrainian version of Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter. I wonder if I'm getting the message across - it's now in twelve languages!

20 May 2007, Sunday

I've never used them, but so many readers warn me against them that another reader sent me this link to BBB actions against ExpressCameras. If you've had problems with them, this might help you resolve them.

17 May 2007, Thursday

NEW: Canon USA Spring Rebates. What's really new is that they are instant rebates: no more clipping and mailing! Whoo Hoo!

NEW: Ukrainian version of Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter. I wonder if I'm getting the message across - it's now in twelve languages!

Additions: I added a new source of bellows to my Where to Find Camera Bellows, and added the guy who sent me that suggestion, Peter De Smidt, to my list of great artisits' websites.

16 May 2007, Wednesday

Addition: I added a D40 Lens Compatibility table to my Nikon D40 Performance page. My D40 works fine with my manual focus lenses, if I don't mind guessing at exposure and focusing by hand (which I do).

Observation: I just got the latest copy of my favorite Outdoor Photographer magazine (June, 2007), and as usual, the magazine only talks about digital cameras and software, yet the cover and first three full-page showcase images are all shot on film. Moreso, three out of these four images, including the cover, are shot on 4x5" film. I've only gotten as far as Dewitt Jones' column, so can't vouch for the rest of the issue.

This is why we all need to have our guard up reading commercial media: it's all about making us want to buy new digital gear (profitable to the advertisers), and not about making better pictures through honing your skills or using far better, old, used 4x5" film gear. I'm amazed (and happy) that OP continues to use film images for showcasing instead of images made by the digital gear they push. I'm also happy they continue to credit the images to film gear.

How come no one ever asks me about where to find the Toyo, Wista, Tachihara or Linhof cameras or Fujinon, Rodenstock or Schneider lenses that are used to make the real outdoor photos? Probably because these photographers are out shooting and producing, not staying at home worrying about what digital camera to buy. See my 4x5" page for more.

15 May 2007, Tuesday

NEW: Sensor Dirt: Solved in 2007.

NEW: Korean version of The Importance of Timing.

News: Canon has announced a replacement for my favorite SD700, the SD850 coming in July, 2007. See my thoughts on my SD700 page.

News: DPReview just got sold to Amazon. Fear not, I'm not for sale and KenRockwell.com remains a one-man website done because I enjoy it. Everything, every photo and every keystroke, is done by me with only one concern: is what I'm writing in your long-term best interests for helping you make better photos?

Why do you think my pages still look so hokey after all these years? It's just me banging away at my keyboard. I couldn't care less how much money I bring in from ads and donations so long as it's enough to keep my wife from sending me back out to find a real job.

I thought DPReview was bigger, but they only get 7,000,000 readers each month, many of whom are just reading the forums. I get 1,500,000 readers each month (triple the circulation of Popular Photography magazine) without trying, and you're all reading real content.

OK, OK, everyone wants to know my take. I love Amazon and pay my $70 a year just for their expedited shipping. I buy everything from my soap to cameras and mousepads from them if I can. I also look at DPReview when I want to read about what an idiot I am in their forums or want to look up specs on an old camera or see some dry tech comparisons between small samples of very similar cameras. These are all good operations. DPReview is also a great place because they provide a one-stop shop to look up everyone's press releases, gauging by how often you people send me a link to a new camera and it's to DPReview's copy of the manufacturer's press release and not to the camera maker's own site with the same info.

My initial concern is that DPReview will now have the same slant as magazines, which is to increase revenues as much as possible. In this case, my concern is that Amazon wants you to buy as much stuff as possible. The commercial media (magazines, radio, newspapers, TV, commercial Internet etc.) is driven at every level to drive you to buy more stuff. My reviews, like today's Dirt article, are all about not buying stuff and paying attention to clearer seeing as the path to making better images.

I'd be careful, since everything about it will subtly be bent to drive you to want to create better photos through spending money, instead of through patience and developing your powers of observation. I doubt you'll ever see new reviews of obsolete products, like my reviews of my Nikon F2AS, Olympus XA, Brooks Veriwides and Schneider lenses from 1955 on commercial websites.

Now you know why I seem to have some bent on having money flow in from my website, but also why I don't care if you buy anything or not. So long as my wife doesn't make me go get a real job again to support our family, I'm happy!

Observation: My Nikon D40 is so smart that if I shoot before the flash recycles, presuming I have Auto ISO activated, my D40 automatically pulls the ISO up to 1,600 (or as needed) to get the one frame where the flash doesn't fire. Wow: it shoots the whole sequence at ISO 200, and the one frame with a flash misfire due to shooting before it recycled shoots at ISO 1,600 as I wanted.

Photoshop CS3: I haven't tried it yet, but a reader sent me some excellent examples from Photomerge inside CS3 which looked great. Supposedly it matched colors and brightnesses perfectly, which earlier versions didn't. Earlier versions didn't predistort either, I'm unsure about CS3. Here's an example of what happens when software doesn't match between inconsistent images:

Aviara

Visible stitch lines. (Canon Photostitch, Canon 5D files.)

14 May 2007, Monday

NEW: Spring 2007 Camera Guide. Everyone keeps asking, so here's exactly what I suggest today.

12 May 2007, Saturday

NEUE: German Translation of How to Get Great Colors (Danke Herr Nimz.)

Aha! I've been familiar with pixels since 1973, and just learned that they were invented by Russell Kirsch in 1957. Russell also admits that that the square pixels he invented weren't the best way to represent images, even though that's how almost all our digital stuff today operates.

11 May 2007, Friday

People keep asking about the prices they see at expresscameras.com. I've never used them, but since their prices are too good to be true, check that link to see what others who have used them think at resellerratings.com. I have a huge page about this stuff at How to Buy Photo Gear. All because a place seems to pop up all too often in web searches doesn't mean it's a good place. Caveat Emptor, especially on the internet.

05 May 2007, Saturday

In case you missed the news, Google just introduced another free life-changing service. Call (800) GOOG-411 and it will look up any business number for you, purely by voice, and connect you, for free.

It's life-changing because it's faster and easier to call (800) GOOG-411 than to look up and dial the number myself! Not only that, but yes, it connects your call, for free! It's fast, and you never have to hit any buttons, wait on hold, listen to any ads and it understands my voice and odd California place names like "Encinitas" perfectly.

Like Google, it just works and gives you what you want, free. Hasta la vista, Microsoft! Did I say free enough times? (800) GOOG-411 connects you to anyplace in the USA for free, so long as it's a business, and no, there are no ads. Too good to be true? Yip, just like the internet - free.

Added a link to another reason I'm not a fan of Windows computers. It's all about the support - Macs all come free with installation CDs so this never happens, even if you had to endure crappy customer service, which you don't. This problem happened to my wife's Dell and she was dead for three months!

04 May 2007, Friday

I had a link to a good place with the Nikon 18-200mm in-stock earlier today, but they sold out in a few minutes. My pal Nathan got one there today. This lens is so hard to get I have a separate Where to Get a Nikon 18-200mm page.

Bowing to popular demand, I ordered a copy of Lightroom to try for real.

03 May 2007, Thursday

I added an example of noise reduction using Grain Surgery.

02 May 2007, Wednesday

NOUVEAU: Added a French version of Why Your Camera Doesn't Matter. (Merci Franck!)

 

What Was New in:

April 2007

March 2007

January and February 2007

2006 November - December (includes birth of Ryan Rockwell)

2006 October - November (includes photos from a trip to NY)

2006 June - September

2006 Jan - May

2005

 

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