Initial Thoughts On Using My New Nikon D750

After thinking about it for 3 years I finally bought a full frame Nikon D750 camera.  When I looked at new DSLRs just over three years ago I went to a camera shop and had them put the Nikon D5500, Fuji XT1, Olympus OMD EM5 II, and Nikon D750 on the counter.  I went for the D5500 as I had been using a D3200 for two years and got very good images from it and no repairs.  The D5500 added new features including a very useful touch screen.  I checked out the Fuji as many reviewers were talking about it having a very high quality body with direct dials on it to make the most important adjustments.  I looked at the Olympus because I have been the happy owner of several Olympus cameras since 1980 and really liked the brand.  I looked at the Nikon D750 as I had been shooting full frame film for many years and liked the perspective of that size image capture media.

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Nikon D750 & 50mm f1.4

The D5500, Fuji, and Olympus all were about the same size and felt like they weighed about the same in the hand.  The Nikon D750 was a lot bigger and a lot heavier, and critically, would have been much more money than in my budget at the time for a new camera once lenses were included.  The Olympus had a smaller sensor than I wanted.  The Fuji was nice but not smaller or lighter than the D5500 and would have been a lot more expensive for me to buy with lenses than the Nikon D5500.  At the time I thought that if money was not a problem I would have bought the D750.

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D750 and Lightroom Monochrome B&W setting

So after three years I had the bug to buy a new camera before our summer motorhome trip this year.  I bought a Sony compact last year that fits in my pocket and gives me great results that are a step up from my iPhone X.  So I thought, why not try a Sony full frame.  I rented an A7rIII and Zeiss 58mm f1.8.  I got some really great files from that rental.  I would have stepped down to the A7iii though as the file size from the R were just bigger than what I want/ need.  I did not find the A7 comfortable in my hand. I did like the size of the body.  But when you add lenses much of the time it is the same size as a DSLR.  The Zeiss 58 f1.8 is much bigger /longer than the Nikon 50mm f1.4 and costs more than twice as much.  And there is the Sony menu system.  I have used it through all of my 4 Sony compact cameras.  I find the Nikon menus & controls easier to use.

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D750

I very rarely take video and when I do I use my iPhone.  My main reason for wanting EVF is to avoid blown highlights.  But Nikon offers an exposure setting that auto reads for highlights and avoids blowing them.  DP review and many others place the Nikon D750 and Sony A7iii about the same in overall quality.  So why did I get the Nikon?  I just could not pass up the deal and I am very happy with Nikon.  I still very much like my D5500 after three years.  I still think it is the best camera in it’s category.  It is so easy to use compared to my Sony compact.  It just does not fit in my pocket.

The deal.  Nikon sent me an email offering me the D750 plus battery grip plus 24-120 f4 lens for 2 grand.  The Sony A7 body was 2 grand.  And the Sony 24-105 f4 is $1,300.  So if you don’t count the grip and only the lens and body the 750 is $1,300 less.  But I bought a 50mm f1.4 from Nikon for $369 (refurbished) and I did get the grip.  The 750 was about 40% less than the Sony comparable package.  Now I have had it for a week.  I made a good choice.  What is the single thing I like the best about the Nikon deal, the grip I would have never bought if it was not free.  It makes it so convenient to go to portrait mode and has and extra set of controls and one of those easy adjusters for setting focus.  What is the thing I like the least, the size and weight up from the D5500.  But the Sony A7iii would not have been smaller with the 24-105 on it and would have been just 8 oz lighter.  Plus after a week I am kinda used to the heavier weight.  Yesterday I went hiking with the 750 and used a Peak snap connector on my backpack strap.  The size was fine.

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D750

So what do I like about the D750 so far.  It gives great images, fast.  No waiting for focus or anything else on this camera.  The files come up looking really good and the jpegs too. I usually shoot raw, but tried using raw + fine jpegs.  I ended up using mostly jpegs of the photos I have taken so far.  I tried editing the raws in LR Classic and ended up about the same place between the finished raw and jpeg files.  The focus set on auto just seems to find the subject 9 times out of ten.  If it does not I just center and reposition.  I have been experimenting with the exposure.  The no-overexpose setting works about 80% of the time.  Bracketing and using LR to merge works well too.  I very quickly just set this camera on manual (not manual focus) on the top dial and used the two wheels to adjust f-stop and speed.  The individual buttons are faster than the touch screen on the D5500, but not by much.  I very much like two adjust wheels.  Makes using manual a breeze.  And I love love the big viewfinder.

So right now I am very happy with my purchase.  The files do seem a bit better than the D5500.  Even when I do a lot of cropping the result is fine.  So not getting a camera with 40+ megapixels seems the right choice.  If Nikon was introducing their mirrorless at the end of the summer I would likely have held off, but a year till next Spring was too long to wait.  If Nikon blows me away with a mirrorless that has normal size lenses (normal Nikon size), does not break the bank (Leica style), and comes with reasonable size files and not huge ones, then I might spring for one of those when they come out next spring.

So how does this affect my fondness for film.  It does not.  The only thing I am going to change with this summers trip is to only take one camera (besides cell phone) on each day and not a film and digital.  Last time I took film and larger digital cameras most of the time to compare shots.  That is done and now I need to concentrate on working with the tool in hand to make the best composition.

Final comment.  Right now I still think my Olympus OM2n and the Nikons from the 1980’s like the FE were a better design than what we have today.  I would like to buy an Olympus full frame digital that had a body the size of the OM2n and lenses the same size as the ones I have from the 1980’s.  Why is it only Leica seems to get this?  If my budget would stretch to a Leica M10 and 50m Summicron?  Well one can hope.

Simple – Does My MacBook Pro work better than My Two Windows Laptops?

Yes.

Even though MicroSoft and Windows have greatly improved their OS system in the last few years if you need to get work done now, and do not want to wait the Mac is far, and I mean far superior.

I have used MicroSoft OS systems since Windows DOS and Windows 95.  I have used a Mac computer for just over five years.  When you turn on the MacBook it is ready to go very quickly with no problems, ever.  With Windows since W95 and even with my newest Windows 10 systems, the answer is, maybe.  If I use any of my two Windows computers or my wife’s two Windows computers every day and leave them on most of the day they are reliable and have few problems.  But if you don’t use your Windows computer every day and let it sit for a week, many times you are exposed to update “hell” for hours.  I have not used my newest Windows computer for a week.  I turned it on 4 1/2 hours ago to update my Lightroom backup.  Even though I used it a week ago and had everything up to date when I turned it off, it now has been futzing around for 4 1/2 hours doing, who knows what.  It still is not working past a crawl speed.  This is common when I don’t run either of the Windows boxes every day.

Many things work better on a Windows computer, but as far as going on and being ready to run fast, reliably, there is no comparison, Mac all the way.

Update 24 hours later.  I finally got Lightroom to open and run on my Windows computer.  It took about 5 hours from when I first turned it on.  Even this morning 24 hours later the thing is still posting updates.

Update 8 days later.  I have used my PC laptop most days since I first put out this post 8 days ago.  It is working far better than the first two days but still is posting updates almost every time I shut the computer down or restart.  So at this point I see no reason to change my original view.

 

iPhone X Close Up Photography Issues

I have had an iPhone X since last fall.  It has an excellent camera system both hardware and software for most situations.  This time in the area where I live we have a super abundance of flowers and I take lots of shots of my yard flowers, public gardens, and wild flowers.  Using the iPhone X for this can be frustrating.  It is certainly possible to get excellent shots with sharp focus and good color rendition.

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iPhone X using adobe camera app and raw (dng)
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iPhone X using apple’s camera app and jpeg edited in Apple Photos
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iPhone X using Adobe camera app and raw (dng) edited in Lightroom
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iPhone X using Apple’s camera app, jpeg, and Apple Photos to edit.

These were all taken in the late afternoon, but not all on the same day.  When using the Adobe camera app I activated the zebras to avoid any overexposure.  With the Apple camera app you just have to guess on exposure.  I usually turn down the exposure as Apple shows you in their camera videos.  These photos show that things can work out well with this camera.  But I have to say that many times the results are poor.  The Adobe camera app has a much harder time focusing using the longer lens on this camera than with the wide angle.  And the Adobe app has a great deal of difficulty in bright mid day sun.  Why?  I have no idea.

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iPhone X using Adobe camera app with flower bud out of focus.
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iPhone X using Apple Camera

The Apple camera app does seem to have more difficulty during mid day bright sun to focus too, but not as bad as Adobe.  The issue with using the Apple camera app that comes with the phone is that the Apple software sometimes smears the heck out of the finished image file.

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Apple iPhone X using Apple’s camera app and Apple Photos to edit.

This flower was too bright so I turned down the exposure.  When I brought it back up in Apple Photos the computer smeared the image significantly.

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iPhone X using Apple Camera app, import into Lightroom CC

You can tone down the noise reduction smearing some by importing the photo into Lightroom CC and doing the edit there.  But there is still some of the smearing issue, just less.

So what is my solution?  Right now the most reliable solution is to use my DSLR during the day for better focus and raw output.  That camera has no problems with getting good focus in any sun conditions.  I am also thinking about finding another raw camera app for the iPhone X and giving that a try.  I suspect that the reason the Adobe app does not focus as well as it should is that Adobe has just not tweaked their software as well as they should have for the iPhone X.