Category Archives: Still photography

Using the Minolta 58mm f/1.4 lens on a Nikon 1 J1 camera

I like experimenting and using “non-standard” camera configurations. In a world of full frame DSLRs, I tend to use little sensors because its more challenging. Or something!

Here, I shot a couple of test shots (JPEG mode, not RAW) using a Minolta f/1.4 58mm prime lens. Both photos were taken using an MD mount to Nikon 1 mount adapter on the Nikon 1 J1 (10 megapixel) camera with a 1″ sensor. Both photos are shot with the aperture set to f/2.0; at f/1.4 the lens is very soft, typical of most older lenses when used wide open. For a portrait shot where soft focus may be desired, f/1.4 is okay, but for other shots the softness is distracting. At f/2.0 and smaller apertures (f2.8, f4 especially) the lens gets really sharp.

Each of these photos was resized to 1/2 the original for uploading to my blog site.

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Learning to “see in 3D” to improve 2D photos

As a 3D stereographer, I am always aware of the 3D space in front of me. And when shooting 2D, I often wish I was shooting 3D!

The key idea, in this linked column, is that by learning to see in 3D, we can improve our 2D photos. You might think “seeing in 3D” is obvious – after all we see a 3D world around us. But truly, as 3D photographers know, learning to see in 3D is a technique all unto itself.

About negative space, looking 3D and some other things.

Source: About negative space, looking 3D and some other things. By Dirk Dom – STEVE HUFF PHOTOS

The demographics of camera users

The author, at the link below, notes that those under 30 predominately use their smart phone to take photos.

Older travelers use compact point and shoot cameras, and middle aged and older often shoot with higher end DSLRs.

One thing I noticed on my trip to the UK , specifically London, was the abundance of cameras.

Source: Cameras, Cameras, Everywhere | Garden Walk Garden Talk

A recent Nikon item said that 55% of their DSLR sales are now going to consumers upgrading from smart phones.

My observations are in line with those of the linked article. I noticed this summer an increase in the number of travelers using an actual camera, rather than a smart phone. “Bridge cameras” – which look a bit like DSLRs but have a built-in, non-interchangeable lens, are popular.

The market is shifting a bit back towards real cameras. My hunch is many consumers will start out with larger cameras but eventually retreat to smaller cameras as they find the size and weight becomes cumbersome.

I suspect the 1″ cameras, with excellent image quality and good low light performance, may be the sweet spot for size, quality and convenience.

As the next blog post notes, post processing software is enabling small cameras to begin to rival their big cousins’ features. Software tools today provide high quality noise reduction, enabling small sensor cameras to work more like big sensors, and software tricks can even simulate bokeh.

Noise Reduction using Neat Image

I took the following photo using a Nikon 1 V2, 1″ sensor camera, at ISO 800. This is a big enlargement of a tiny section of a photo of a Titan II rocket launcher (from underneath). This was a very dark location, in the basement of the Evergreen Aviation Museum building.

I processed this image using Neat Image 8, the latest version of the Neat Image noise reduction software. You can see the remarkable improvement from the original, at left, to the noise reduced version, at right.

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Today’s noise reduction software enables even small sensor cameras to produce remarkable results in low light.

Noise reduction is built in to Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, and Lightroom, RAW Therapee, Affinity Photo, and nearly all image editing software today.

3rd party tools are available in the Google NIK Collection (Dfine2 tool), and the Noise Ninja “community edition” or commercial edition.

Each noise reduction software applies its own methods for noise reduction. You may find that some programs work better on some types of photos than others. I have used Neat Image 7 for a long time and just began using Neat Image 8. For most photos, I just use Lightroom and a combination of “Masking” and Noise Reduction. But for tougher photos or those where I want the best result, I generally turn to Neat Image.

Original Image, after Neat Image processing, and then re-compressed using Mac Preview to 55% to keep the size under 2 MB for upload (in other words, this is a moderate lossy compression version).

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