Gary’s Parries 16/07/06

July 16, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | Gary's Parries | 67 Comments | |

Gary's ParriesThis week’s Gary’s Parries topics are:

1. Digital Dust Problem 100x Worse Than Film
2. A Little Bit Rock ‘N’ Roll

Introducing this week’s Gary’s Parries column. Everything you always wanted to know about digital cameras, but were afraid to ask. No question too difficult, or too easy. As a Senior Principal Software Engineer, and a former Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems, as well as a recording studio owner/operator, inventor, and now, a digital camera enthusiast, GARY has more digital camera knowledge in his entire brain than most people have in their little finger. In the unlikely event that GARY would not know the answer to your question, he will answer it anyway, true to the spirit of the word “Parries”, a fencing term which, in this context, implies “cleverly evasive answers”. So let your imagination run wild. Email all your nagging digital camera questions to: , and then, En Garde!

You may also attach to your email an ORIGINAL PHOTO of your choosing. A preview of the photo will be displayed with your question, and a full-sized version will be just a click away. No personal information will be published with your question unless you specifically include it in the text or attached photo of your email, which may be further edited for grammar, content, or other reasons.


Dear Gary,

I’m just about to purchase my first digital SLR, but after researching a bit, have heard a little about static electricity build up. I’ve been told that this can lead to dust and other charged particles adhering to the CCD when you change lenses. Can you please tell me of your experiences with this and any thoughts on combating it?

Gregory Heap
Sydney, Australia

*** ANSWER 1

Gregory, my advice to you would depend on your level of “still” photography expertise. There are two possible scenarios: (1) you are a professional/semi-professional with a need for high-end equipment to support your photographic endeavors; or (2) you are a hobbyist/enthusiast who strives for high quality images and appreciates equipment that can produce the desired results.

In the first scenario, you would likely have been using 35mm film SLRs for quite some time; however, after much resistance and procrastination, you have finally decided to take the plunge into the world of digital photography, albeit not without some kicking and screaming. As an SLR owner, you have already been exposed to the problem of static electricity as caused by the motion of the camera’s lens mirror flipping up and down or by the motion of film winding through its body, both of which are further exacerbated by the use of its continuous shooting mode. You are also aware of the dust problems that static electricity can cause, and the pictures that can be ruined as a result of dust adhering to the film. Well brace yourself, Gregory. With digital SLRs, the dust problem is 100x worse than with film. Now hold that thought.

In the second scenario, you may have been using one or more digicams up to this point, but now feel that you are ready to step up to a DSLR. If that is the case, my advice to you is, don’t. Instead, go with a high-end digicam or bridge camera, depending on your needs. The photographic images will not be quite as good as a DSLR, but they will be perfectly acceptable for non-professional applications. And the good news is that these cameras are getting better all the time.

Returning to the first scenario, that of a film SLR user transitioning to digital, why do I say that the digital dust problem is 100x worse than film? After all, you open a camera many more times to change film than you do to change lenses. You would think that film SLRs are, for that reason, much more susceptible to acquiring dust than digital SLRs … and technically, you would be right. However, the problem in not how much dust gets into the camera, but what it does once it enters.

Think about it. What happens when dust gets into the chamber of a film vs. digital SLR? There are only two places that dust can collect where it would be visible in the final image, (a) on the lens, and (b) on the film/image sensor. However, dust that has collected on the lens will be only ‘slightly’ visible in the final image due to the distance between the dust and the image plane, which allows light to circumvent such dust, thereby dispersing its shadow. Conversely, dust adhering to the film/image sensor will be ‘highly’ visible in the final image since there is no way for light to circumvent it.

So far, the film and digital SLR dust problems seem quite comparable. For both, the biggest problem is dust collecting on the image plane surface, whether that be film or an image sensor. However, when dust gets on film, it ruins the picture, but then the film is advanced to a clean frame. When dust gets on an image sensor, it ruins each and every image until the sensor is cleaned. Therein lies the problem.

Cleaning a DSLR’s image sensor can be a nightmare. It is nothing like cleaning its mirror or lens. It can ruin the mirror, it can ruin the shutter, it can ruin the sensor, and it can cause repairs that will cost nearly as much as a new camera. That is because, in order to gain access to the image sensor, you must first stow the mirror in the up position and hold the shutter open, both under the camera’s own power. If at any time during the cleaning process the camera should lose power, the mirror and shutter will be released and come collapsing down on any brush or swab you have inserted into the chamber. And that is in addition to all the damage you can do just by using improper brushes, swabs, air propellants, cleaning solutions, or procedures.

You might say to yourself, well, I don’t really need to insert anything ‘into’ the chamber; rather, I can just use an air blower from ‘outside’ the chamber to dislodge the dust particles. Guess again. Due to the effects of humidity and image sensor heat, dust particles can become stuck on the image sensor, so much so that only very aggressive swabbing will remove them, much like the bugs on a windshield. And even if some of the dust particles were actually loose enough to be dislodged from the image sensor by the airflow, the static charge of the image sensor will attract them right back to it again. Gregory, you can’t win.

That is why camera companies recommend that, if your image sensor shows dust, you should have it cleaned ONLY by an authorized service representative, for which you will be charged a nominal fee of around $30 to $50. But it gets worse. Even after your camera is serviced, there is no guarantee that the image sensor will be dust free.

At this point, you are probably saying to yourself, okay, I’ll just buy the best all-purpose lens I can find and NEVER take it off. That may work, but then again, it may not. There have been numerous reports of image sensors with dust straight from the factory. There have also been reports of dust entering the camera through the zoom barrel of the lens.

Gregory, unless you really need a DSLR, go with one of the high-end digicams, either a compact or bridge camera depending on your intended use. If you absolutely must have a DSLR, get a single all-purpose lens, and never remove it, but be sure to check your images for sensor dust from the factory. If you absolutely cannot live with just one lens, then you will just have to do the best you can, take your chances, and join the club. :)

P.S. The Olympus EVOLT and Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 cameras have ultra-sonic vibrating CCDs to shake off their dust particles. This vibration can be activated either manually, or automatically (on power-up for the EVOLTs, on power-down for the Alpha). I have not personally tried these cameras so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. But thinking back to the bugs on a windshield analogy, how effective would a vibrating windshield be? Still every little bit helps.

P.S.S. The Sony Alpha also has an anti-static coating applied to its low-pass filter mounted in front of the image sensor. (On all DSLRs, a low-pass filter seals the image sensor from dust contamination, and this is actually where the dust accumulates.) Canon applies an anti-static charge to its image sensors to ward off dust. Nikon’s Capture software has a feature for removing sensor dust in image post-processing.)

P.P.S.S. You might also avoid shooting in dust storms like the one in the photo. :)

[Note: Here is a link to the PBase website, which has some excellent tips for removing dust from image sensors. Here is a link to the Austin American - Statesman website showing photos of some excellent Dust Art :). – Ed.]


Maybe you could answer this off-topic question. Last week I heard “Sea of Heartbreak”, that classic Don Gibson song, BUT, it wasn’t his version. It was a bit more Rock ‘n’ Roll. For the life of me, I can’t find out who may have done it. By any chance, could you tell me the version that was possibly, maybe, better than the original? Getting some CDs ready for our annual trip to Kyushu later this summer, and kinda like this song. Much thanks!

Semper Fi,
Nick and Family

*** ANSWER 2

Because of their distinctive voices, I’m sure you would have recognized any version of the song sung by Johnny Cash, The Everly Brothers, Loretta Lynn, or Charlie Pride. The only version I know that is “a little bit Rock ‘n’ Roll” is by Jimmy Buffet, and features George Strait on vocal accompaniment.

Here is a link to CD Universe’s 30-second audio clip of “Sea Of Heartbreak” by Jimmy Buffet. In case that’s not the one you heard, here is their Complete Selection of “Sea Of Heartbreak” Versions by Various Artists. Click on any version to get to its audio clip. My favorites were Johnny Cash, Eddie Spaghetti, Rumbleseat, and the very Elvis sounding Robert Gordon.

P.S. Great spot for a family picnic, and an exceptionally nice spot to shoot. Your LX1 did an excellent job with the image details and color, but I had a real tough time removing what appeared to be large blotches in the sky. Was that the infamous LX1 image sensor noise?

[Column photo “The Photographer” by Brenda LaFleur of Brenda LaFleur Photography.]

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#1 nick in japan

#2..Thanks for the research, I should have given you more info, the movie I was watching was "Heartbreak Ridge" and this song was featured. After going to the internet I dicovered that the credit to the song was given to Don Gibson III, as the singer. I guess Don Gibson and Don Gibson III, are one-in-the-same, altho the version in the movie doesn't sound like other versions I have heard by Mr. Gibson. I want to say that Ronnie McDowell's sound most exihibts what I heard in the movie!
We old folks have a lessening of sound recognition, so it could have been Don Gibson all along!
Thank you for your help!
Those "large blotches in the sky" were clouds in the distance, noise sometimes does strange things!
I didn't expect you to use this shot, the crow in the background was eating MY sandwiches, while the family is busy enjoying their lunch, life is just a memory, sometimes better than other times!

6:13 am - Sunday, July 16, 2006

#2 Gary's Parries

I would not have guessed clouds. :)

As for the song, there were many versions of it by Don Gibson at that
website. Maybe one of them was the one used in the movie. If it used
the complete song, you could just buy the DVD at that website ($8).

11:38 am - Sunday, July 16, 2006

#3 nick in japan

Yep, Taepodong missle clouds! That is the Sea of Japan at Masuda, about 4 km. south of the city. A nice view of the N. Korea's launches. The radio stations there are overwhelmingly of Korean broadcasts, skipped across the water, very strange. No Don Gibson there, for sure!
Not to worry tho, as long as the Prime Minister of Japan doesn't visit Graceland again, I doubt if the ruler of N. Korea will get upset again!

12:04 pm - Sunday, July 16, 2006

#4 Gary's Parries

If you get any missile photos, send them to Gary's Parries (but don't
use your LX1 :)). "Thank you. Thank you very much."

12:37 pm - Sunday, July 16, 2006

#5 Zoltan

On the issue of DSLR sensor dust:
I have an Olympus E-1 DSLR. Have had it for almost 1.5 years, 17 months to be precise, and despite having changed lenses innumerable times, I have not had any sensor dust problem so far. So I can confirm that the Supersonic Wave Filter, a.k.a. the SSWF, works.

The Sony Alpha DSLR is new, and therefore nobody has had extended experience with it. The UK professional photographer David Kilpatrick, who has had a chance to test the Alpha 100 in a desert, says Sony's anti-dust system works. have, on the other hand, found it to appear "less effective than the one from Olympus." At any rate, Sony employ a different solution to Olympus: they don't have an SSWF that can vibrate at a very high frequency - instead, they vibrate the CCD itself, and I am kind of doubtful they can vibrate it fast enough.

Link to Mr Kilpatrick's DPReview post
Link to's Alpha 100 review

There are lots of reasons to pick a DSLR over a fixed-lens digicam, and not just image quality. The versatility of interchangeable lenses, from ultra-wides to super-telephotos, is one such reason. The true optical TTL viewfinder is another one. Fast autofocus is yet another one. I agree you need to assess your photographic needs. It might turn out so that you will be more content with a fixed-lens EVF camera, but you might end up deciding that you actually do need an SLR. In that case, either buy one that is outfitted with a Supersonic Wave Filter [that is, an Olympus E-1/E-300/E-500/E-330 or the new Panasonic] or, as Gary suggests, get one with an all-in-one ultrazoom lens so you will never have to change lenses. Be aware though, that in the latter case, you are foregoing the joy of using ultra-wides, true flat-field macros etc., and are making a compromise on optical quality too. If you are taking this latter route nonetheless, the Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6VR is said to be the best ultrazoom lens in the DSLR world, which of course means that in this case your best choice will be a Nikon DSLR [or a Fuji that takes Nikkor optics].

12:33 pm - Friday, July 21, 2006

#6 nick in japan

Thank you Zoltan, great info!
I think alot of folks are awaiting the Panasonic review, and this information will only increase their hopes that Panasonic will be a better system than Sony.
Lens adapters are relatively cheap and plentiful, allowing our beloved existing lenses to be used easily on the Panasonic 4/3rds mount!

1:08 pm - Friday, July 21, 2006

#7 Gary's Parries

Zoltan, good point about the Olympus SSWF possibly being a more
effective vibrator than the Sony Alpha CCD. Also, glad to hear that it
is doing the job with your camera. Here's a link to Patrick Singleton's
review of the Olympus EVOLT E-300 at DigitalCameraInfo. He didn't
have such good luck. He specifically notes the SSWF was unable to
shake off some of the larger dust particles, and the camera also has
a cleaning mode which opens the shutter allowing users to manually
blow the dust away.

But I think you summed it up best. If you don't need a DSLR, go with
a fixed-lens camera.

Nick, thanks for pointing out another camera with the SSWF feature,
namely, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1.

4:23 pm - Friday, July 21, 2006

#8 nick in japan

"Gnawing at the bit", so to speak, about reviews on the L1!
Zoltan eluded to the Panasonic DMC L1 in the middle of his last paragraph, he, too, may be interested in the camera.
The Panasonic ad for the L1 has been in the front window of the camera shop for 3 weeks, reminding me constantly of it's pending arrival, no info on the LX-2 price/delivery yet, either!

11:13 pm - Friday, July 21, 2006

#9 Zoltan

Yes I did mention the new Panny DSLR as a camera that also has a Supersonic Wave Filter.

But I personally am not thinking about buying one, for a number of reasons: the retro design means retro ergonomics and I am not fond of that, the Live View is kind of pointless without an articulated LCD, the bulk and housebrick-like shape of the body is not appealing to me, and finally, it appears to only come bundled with the Leica 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 OIS lens, and I am already covered for that focal length range by my Zuiko Digital 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5

I am actually quite satisfied with my E-1; the few niggles I have mostly concern image playback rather than the actual photographic functions, so if I decide to buy a new DSLR it will probably be the E-1 replacement (E-2 or E-3 or whatever it will be called) that is rumoured for photokina this year.

9:31 am - Monday, July 24, 2006

#10 nick in japan

The new L1 comes minus one of the modes that the 330 has too. Body only would be my choice if it "pans-out", so to speak.

9:36 am - Monday, July 24, 2006

#11 Ryan

I just skimmed through the answer on dust, but I didn't see any mention of turning the camera off while switching lenses. I know that Nikon suggests this, as having the power on produces static electricity that can attract dust.

4:37 pm - Monday, July 24, 2006

#12 Gary's Parries

Agreed, Ryan. There are a whole list of things you can do to "minimize"
dust when changing lenses. This column, however, was focused on the
fact that, "whatever" you do, you'll invariably come to a situation where
dust has entered the chamber, visibly settled on the image sensor, and
will not come off with simple air movement. Then what?

4:58 pm - Monday, July 24, 2006

#13 nick in japan

Owning a DSLR is like owning a new car, preventive maintenance is mandantory! Some folks are talented enough to keep their car in tip-top shape by themselves, but there are times when the maintenance is best left to professionals that have the right tools, enviroment and back-up to get the job done. Alloting monies for a professional cleaning every year, or so, depending on how you shoot, is smart, real smart.
Would I recommend a back-yard mechanic to play with my camera, no-way! Canon, Nikon and others have service centers that are staffed by folks that do it RIGHT!
A clean camera is a happy camera!

11:34 pm - Monday, July 24, 2006

#14 Heath

G'day. I happen to be researching the various versions of Sea Of Heartbreak by the original artiste, Don Gibson. I have several mp3 copies of THREE versions by Don Gibson, but I cannot find the CDs on which these three versions are on. I can email these 3 versions to anyone who can help me identify the CDs each of these version is on.

4:33 am - Friday, September 28, 2007

#15 Gary's Parries

Heath, you are absolutely correct about the 3 versions. They are on
the following CDs, for which I have included the links to CD Universe
so that you can listen to the Sea Of Heartbreak track on each.

1. Oh Boy Classics Presents Don Gibson

2. Mr. Lonesome

3. RCA Country Legends

Good luck, good listening, and good shooting. :)

5:09 pm - Friday, September 28, 2007

#16 Heath

I am shopping for a new Digital SLT after my Nikon Coolpix 5700 broke down.

If I could, I would get 3 digicams:

CANON EOS 400D Enthusiast kit (with 17-85mm);
Panasonic DMC-FZ18 (equivalent 28-504mm);
Panasonic DMC-TZ3 (28mm-280mm; wide angled; 10X OP ZOOM)

But I have to settle for one. I understand these are all NOT full frame sensors digicams, and the CANON is a Digital SLR, unlike the other two, compact digicams.

The ONLY drawback, common to all 3 is not having a flip out LCD that allows self portrait (passport photos) which I had on my damaged Nikon Coolpix 5700.

I enjoy mostly landscape photograhpy (have zero technical expertise, but have knack for "composition").

Until I get a full frame sensor Digital SLR like the CANON 5D, which of the 3 above would be the best compromise? Is the EAS400D lens "WIDER" than the Panasonic DMC-FZ18? Wide angle would be perfect for landscape.

1:15 pm - Wednesday, October 10, 2007

#17 Gary's Parries

Heath, this is a difficult question to answer, mainly because the three
camera models you mentioned are of entirely different camera types,
SLR, bridge, and compact. It's a bit like asking which of the following
houses of worship you should attend, Temple Beth Judah, Church of
Jesus Christ, or Wat Thai Buddhist Temple. First you have to decide
what religion you wish to pursue.

You did mention that your ultimate goal is to upgrade to a full-frame
SLR such as the Canon EOS 5D. If that is the case, then the Canon
EOS 400D is your logical choice, as any EF (not EF-S) lens you buy
will be compatible with a 5D, which means you will definitely want to
avoid the 400D's EF-S 17-85mm kit lens. The biggest drawback of a
400D is the limited zoom range of its kit lens (28-135mm when using
the 400D's 1.6x crop factor), as compared to the 28-504mm and the
28-280mm zoom ranges of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 and the
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3, respectively, and as compared to the 35
to 280 mm zoom range of your Nikon Coolpix 5700.

On the other hand, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 has all the zoom
range you'll ever need. The biggest drawback of an FZ18 is its high
image sensor noise, due to the small size of its 1/2.5" image sensor,
as compared to the APS-C image sensor of a Canon EOS 400D and
the 2/3" image sensor of your Nikon Coolpix 5700.

On the other hand, as the image quality of the higher-end compacts
approaches that of SLRs, many SLR users have resorted to carrying
a high-end compact with them at all times, so the purchase of such a
compact camera now would not be a waste of money. While I do not
recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 for this purpose, mainly
due to the small size of its 1/2.35" image sensor, a Canon PowerShot
G9 with its 1/1.8" image sensor would make an ideal SLR companion,
although admittedly, its 35-210mm zoom range is not as good as the

On the other hand, if it's self-portraits you want, the Canon PowerShot
A650 IS has a flip-out & twist LCD screen, and it's a great little camera.

Hope that helps. :-)

7:14 am - Thursday, October 11, 2007

#18 Mark Goldstein

(Posted on behalf of Heath)

Thanks Gary for giving me all the various explanations. Makes alot of sense to me. I agree about the Lumix DMC TZ3 since what it can do, the FZ18 does better - more pixels, more zoom, and same wide angle.

Until I eventually buy the EOS 5D, I will buy the EOS400D and probably the Panosonic DMC FZ18. The latter has a "tilt up" LCD which I haven't seen and do not know whether that will allow self portrait for passport pics.

From my readings lately, it is said that a serious, "real" photography use "fixed" zoom/telephoto lens rather than the "flexible zooms" found on the ultra zoom. Of course the drawback with using single lens (with a Digital SLR) is having to lug around heavy lenses (and lens for full frame sensors are even bigger).

My Nikon Coolpix 5700, now almost 4 years old, and outdated technology, is damaged and I cannot decide whether I should have it fixed. It might cost several hundred dollars to repair it especially if its lens is damaged. It also cost $70.00 just to get a repair quote. Can I email you a jpg taken with the damaged Coolpix? You might be able to tell straight away whether the problem lies in the lens. I dropped the camera with its lens still protruding, onto the car passenger seat last week. It must have hit at the "wrong" angle, and shattered the lens inside - no cracks on the lens from the outside.

10:40 am - Friday, October 12, 2007

#19 Gary's Parries

Heath, you are more than welcome to submit a JPEG; however, I still
would not feel comfortable advising you based solely on that whether
to have your camera repaired. I would suggest asking Nikon the cost
of having the lens replaced, and then taking a look at to
see what is available in a used Nikon Coolpix 5700.

The LCD on the FZ18 does not 'physically' tilt up; rather, it has a High
Angle LCD Mode that allows you to hold the camera above your head
while shooting.

If you are considering buying a new camera and you can wait until the
PMA show in January, many new camera models will be announced at
that time.

Also, you mentioned buying 2 cameras, a Canon 400D and Panasonic
FZ18. If you go that route, I think one of them should be a pocketable
camera, for maximum flexibility (just not the TZ3 :)).

Good luck with your decision.

3:32 pm - Saturday, October 13, 2007

#20 Heath

CANON EOS 400D with Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 USM IS Image Stabilized Autofocus Zoom Lens (CN17_85USM)

Panasonic Lumix DMCFZ18 Camera with 18X Optical and 28mm wide angle

For landscapes, which of the above lens have the wider angle (ignoring one is a DSLR with 10mp, & the other a compact with 8mp). In EF-S 17-85, does the first numer, i.e. 17mm denote how wide a lens is? The lower this number, the wider the resulting picture taken?

The Canon lens above is part of the "enthusiast" kit available for that camera.

I enjoy shooting landscapes and wildlife most of all.

P.S. I have yet to buy my two cameras.

It cost me AUD80 to fix my old Nikon Coolpix 5700 - the CCD was "serviced" - mwhatever that means!

8:55 am - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#21 Zoltán


the 17-85mm is the focal length range of the lens. The angle of view of the lens depends on the focal length AND the size of the sensor (and on subject distance as well, but to a lesser degree than on the other two factors). When comparing lenses made for the same sensor format, the lens with the shorter focal length will give a wider view.

But as sensor sizes vary wildly, knowing the focal length only will not tell you how wide a lens is. The actual focal length range of the DMC-FZ18 is 4.6-82.8mm, which may lead you into believing that it goes wider than the 17-85mm lens of the Canon kit, but this is false. The sensor in the FZ18 is much smaller than the one in the 400D.

The huge differences in sensor size is why the concept of 35mm film equivalency has been coined. The equivalent or "effective" focal length of a lens answers the question, "what focal-length lens would I have to mount on a 35mm film camera in order to have the same angle of view as this lens on the specific camera I am considering"?

The diagonal of the sensor in the FZ18 is 6.1 times shorter than that of a frame of 35mm film, whereas the diagonal of the 400D's sensor is only 1.6 times shorter. So in order to get the equivalent, or "effective" focal length you have to multiply the actual focal length of the FZ18's lens by 6.1, and that of the Canon lens by 1.6.

This will tell you that the FZ18's lens has an "effective" focal length range of 28-504mm, whereas the Canon lens has an "effective" focal length range of 27-136mm. Remember, these are not actual focal lengths, and serve only comparison purposes. For these values can now be directly compared. Since we said that for comparable lenses, the shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view, we can establish that the Canon lens goes a little wider than the Panasonic, as 27mm is shorter than 28, but the difference is not going to be huge. Both would be pretty fine for landscape, actually.

On the other hand, there is a huge difference at the long end, 504mm (effective) versus 136mm (effective). This renders the FZ18 much more useful for wildlife. In order to get the same reach for the 400D, you would have to buy a second lens.

3:24 pm - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#22 Gary's Parries

Excellent answer, Zoltán. Since you provided a lot of information, I
will merely emphasize to Heath the following.

For your purposes, Heath, you really only need be concerned with
the equivalent focal range of the lenses, which is 28-135mm for the
Canon EF-S/400D combo and 28-504mm for an FZ18. A lower first
number provides a wider angle of view, but in this case, both lenses
provide the same wide angle view.

Good luck with your decision.

5:31 pm - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#23 Heath

THANKS for the comments above on 28mm wide angled lens.

I have just bought the Panasonic Lumix FZ 18 which has 28mm and 18X Optical. Do I have to do anything to ensure all my pics are in 28mm wide angled format? My old digicam is Nikon Coolpix which has 35mm at the "short end".

In April I plan to buy the new Canon 12mp, EOS 450D - slots in between 400D & 40D.Until then, I am going to shoot till the cows come home with the FZ 18.

Can someone explain the jpg concept? I know it deniotes compression. The Lumix FZ 18 sports 8MP, and the highest resolution pic is still in jpg format - i.e. compressed. How can it be "compressed" at the highest 8MP resolution?


11:30 am - Monday, February 4, 2008

#24 Gary's Parries

Heath, from your question, it sounds like you are confusing the term
'wide-angle' lens with a 'widescreen' format aspect ratio. The reason
I say this is because the FZ18 has an incredible !!! 28-504mm zoom
range, and I doubt you would ever want to "ensure all my pics are in
28mm wide angled format," meaning you would always be using the
camera fully zoomed out at 28mm and never use that incredibly long
reach of 504mm. If that were the case, you would be much better off
with a 28mm 'fixed lens' camera such as the Sigma DP1 or Ricoh GR
Digital II.

You can ensure that your FZ18 always records in widescreen format
by selecting its 16:9 (rather than the default 4:3) aspect ratio from the
[REC] mode menu. All this does is chop about a million pixels from the
top and bottom of the image you would normally see at the default 4:3
aspect ratio. You can also set the FZ18 to play back on a widescreen
TV by selecting the 16:9 aspect ratio in the [SETUP] menu.

As to your question about JPEG (i.e., jpg) compression, the resulting
smaller file size is set independently of image resolution. You can set
the FZ18 to its maximum image resolution of 8mp (only 6mp for 16:9
aspect ratio due to the 1mp that is chopped off the top and bottom of
the image) by selecting the 8M (6M in 16:9 aspect ratio) Picture Size
in the [REC] mode menu. You can then independently set the file size
by selecting the Fine Quality (low JPEG compression) or the Standard
Quality (high JPEG compression) in the [REC] mode menu.

Regardless of the Quality setting, the image resolution will still be 8mp
(6mp for 16:9 aspect ratio); however, Fine Quality setting will produce
that resolution with far fewer image artifacts than Standard Quality, at
the expense of a larger file size due to its lower JPEG compression.

Hope that helps, Heath. Now forget about all this technical stuff and go
out and shoot some great pictures with what is easily considered to be
the most versatile digicam on the market.

Just don't try putting it in your pocket. :)

6:29 pm - Monday, February 4, 2008

#25 Heath

THANKS for the comments above about wide-angled 28mm format. I have shot 10,885 pics so far!

The cops might arrest me one of these days. I carry my digicam with me in the car. I hop in and out of the car, or shot from my driver's position, at traffic stops!

HELP HELP HELP. How do I keep my horizon HORIZONTAL, and not sloping either left or right? Many a fine landscape I have taken have been wrecked my sloping horizon - eg. today, some of my sea horizons are sloping!

I am currently using the Intelligent Mode to take my pics. Once I get more technically-savvy, I will start using the manual mode.

Has anyone tested the 12 megapixel CANON EOS 450D?

12:34 pm - Friday, February 29, 2008

#26 Gary's Parries

Heath, sounds like you are having a lot of fun. Just glad you're not shooting
WHILE you are driving. :)

I have not tested the Canon EOS 450D, but it looks to be another great one
in the Canon line. The 450D has a new PictBridge, which adds the feature of
correcting the horizon before printing. Not sure if this just straightens it or if
it will also change the slope.

If just the former, then there are numerous photo processing programs you
can purchase that will rotate a photo by any amount, and some of the more
advanced programs will also straighten horizontal and vertical lines. For the
Mac, there is GraphicConverter, and for the Mac and PC, there is PhotoShop.

Another option is to switch to a camera that offers the feature of on-demand
grid lines in the viewfinder, such as the Nikon D70, and other higher models,
which allows you to line up the horizon before snapping the shot.

One final option, and I think this is the 'best' one, is to keep an auto-leveling
tripod attached to your camera at all times. :)

Good luck with your decision, and happy shooting !!!

P.S. I am sure Mark will be reviewing the Canon EOS 450D very soon for the
PhotographyBLOG website.

10:22 pm - Friday, February 29, 2008

#27 Heath

Thanks for the tripod suggestion. I was hoping you wouldn't suggest that, LOL. I have a Veibon tripod, but lugging a tripod with a digicam that doesn't fit into the pocket is too much of a chore. The feature in D70 should be standard on all cameras!

I use the "squares" (I think they are face detection frames) to get some sense of "horizontal grid", eg. 3 such small "squares", in a straight line helps. But these squares don't usually line up in this manner for me to get the "straight line"!

I have shot some pics while driving too, but only in crawling traffic!

1:57 am - Saturday, March 1, 2008

#28 Heath


After using the Panasonic Lumix DZ18, and getting very frustrated with its inability to cope with indoor low light photography (due to the typicsal small sensor of point & shoot, I am about to buy one of the above 2 DSLR.

Initially, I will be using it for indoor photography. I want crisp, exceptionally sharp pictures taken indoor - inside a grocery store, whatever store. I work for a major Consumer product company, and I take photos of merchandise display, and shelving (of merchandise) inside stores (part of my job).

I will be buying a prime lens (cheaper, value for money, and a good way to self-teach photography. What is the best prime lens to buy, for WHERE (inside a store, and the focal length required to take pics of shelving, displ;ays etc) I will be using it - standing in front of shelving, or floor standing display, and taking picHope to get an answer soon as I want to buy the camera this weekend.

I want to use the camera for landscapes too. Have done a look on online research but cannot decide on the camera. The video function is not a decisive factor.



2:12 pm - Friday, July 10, 2009

#29 Gary's Parries

Whether you choose the Nikon D700 for its class-leading high ISO performance
and somewhat better shooting performance, or the Canon EOS 5D Mark II for its
higher image resolution, with nearly as good ISO performance, you really cannot
go wrong with either camera. If HD video were a consideration, then your choice
would be obvious, but since you say it is not ...

Just about any lens you put on one of these cameras will work great, and higher
price generally means better image quality. But if you are looking to save a few
bucks, a prime lens is not a bad way to go, and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
is an excellent lens for low-light, indoor shooting, providing high image quality
and a lightweight, compact design at a very reasonable price.

The Nikon equivalent of this lens would be the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S, or the
less expensive, but just as good, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-D, if you don't mind its
less-refined auto-focus system.

Tough call on which camera would be best. Let me know what you decide. :-)

Happy shooting,

12:50 am - Sunday, July 12, 2009

#30 Heath

Thanks. I will buy it online by tonite. But I am having nightmares - just when I thoght I will go for Canon, I change my mind to Nikon! There is no difference to total price of lens & body for the 2 brands!

I also read yesterday alll the DSLRS coming out of Nikon, which include D700x, which has 28mp, & HD!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM= AUD515;
5D MK ii= 3144.00
Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S=AUD760.00;

LAST QUESTION; Who makes better primes?

1:06 am - Sunday, July 12, 2009

#31 GARYs Parries

I've always been partial to Canon, but that D700 'x' with its 24.5 mp image sensor
and 1080p HD video would be hard to beat.


1:24 am - Sunday, July 12, 2009

#32 Heath

Taken the plunge! Paid for Nikon D700. But haven't bought lens yet. How do you use a prime?/ I am anxious about the fidgeting to focus, or does it have AF?/

9:51 pm - Sunday, July 12, 2009

#33 GARYs Parries

Excellent choice, Heath.

If you are nervous about fidgety focusing, then I would get the 'AF-S' version of
the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 prime. It costs a bit more than the 'AF-D' version, but has
a more advanced auto-focusing mechanism.

A prime works just like any other lens, except that it requires more walking. :-)

7:19 am - Monday, July 13, 2009

#34 Heath

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Just bought the above. I will not be having lunch for the next 2 years after buying a D700, and this lens all on he same day!

Some tips, please. What do I do with the lens when I get it? "Screw" it on to D700? How different is using a DSLR like D700 to using a Panasonic FZ18? I will be pointing and shooting with a D700, yet there is much more I have to do. What is that extra I have to do to take great quality pics?

1:29 pm - Monday, July 13, 2009

#35 GARYs Parries

As meals go, lunches are highly overrated anyway. :-)

Rather than give you instructions on how to mount your lens (it is very important that
you read the instructions that came with the camera), I will just give you a few don'ts.
Don't force it, don't over tighten it, don't touch the glass, and don't mount your lens in
a dust storm (like the one shown in the photo of Question #1 at the top of this page).

As for using your camera, you are going to find that it is much easier to use than your
Panasonic, mainly because it is much smaller and lighter. Just make sure it is set on
P (Programmed Auto) Mode and start shooting. Because the camera has such great
high ISO capabilities, you will hardly ever need to use its Priority or Manual modes.

Remember, those modes are not for actual use. They are just for bragging rights. :-)

Also, due to the lens' compact size and short focal length, you will not have to worry
about camera shake one bit, which will certainly come in handy when you are weak
from not eating lunch. :-)

There is, however, one thing you will have to be concerned with now, that was not a
problem with your Panasonic, namely, be careful not block the lens with your fingers
(something that was hardly possible with the long length of your Panasonic lens).

That's about all there is to it. Good luck, Heath, and happy shooting.

8:37 pm - Monday, July 13, 2009

#36 Heath

I bought the D700 a day before the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, but I will receive the lens before the camera! What am I to do with a lens without the camera?

10:25 am - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#37 GARYs Parries

If it were me, I would get a neck strap for it, and carry it around wherever I went. :-)

7:26 pm - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#38 Heath

"As for using your camera, you are going to find that it is much easier to use than your
Panasonic, mainly because it is much smaller and lighter..."

How can a D700 be smaller & lighter than my Panasonic FZ18? (Now where can I find a "straight face" smiley?). Does D700 come with lens and neck strap?

8:04 pm - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#39 GARYs Parries

I was hoping to break it to you gently. Better not be skipping any lunches. You're
going to need your strength.

8:29 pm - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#40 Heath

Please comment on this lens ... read about it a few eeeks ago.

9:44 pm - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#41 Heath

Received the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
in a gold-plated box (I mean gold colored box). I paid AUD717.00 for it. My Panasonix FZ18 cost AUD480.00.

The only disappointment is that it is Made In China instead of Japan!

5:06 am - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

#42 GARYs Parries

Regarding those excellent Zeiss prime lenses you asked about, all MANUAL FOCUS.

4:29 am - Thursday, July 16, 2009

#43 Heath

Is there a way to auto emboss all my pics taken with Nikon D700,with the words "Nikon D700", so that it appears (inconspiciously) in the bottom right hand corner of all my pics?

It's a way to brag about my D700! LOL

3:08 pm - Saturday, July 18, 2009

#44 Heath

HELP. 1st pics with D700 came out worse than ones from Panasonic FZ18! My ISO was fixed @ 200. Now changed to auto ISO.

I have read, and googled, but cannot get to "view" my scenes (frame my pictures)from the monitor like I can with FZ18! I have set it to hand held Live View. The only time the monitor lights up is when I press "MENU". I am begining to feel like a bozo being forced to frame my pics through the viewfinder!

It's such a heavy camera compared to point & shoot.

1:31 pm - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#45 GARYs Parries

The Nikon D700 has one of the best Live View implementations of any dSLR; however,
unlike a point-and-shoot, it does take a bit of getting use to, as is with any sophisticated
piece of equipment.

Once you've set the D700 mode dial to LV (Live View), you need to activate the LCD by
pressing the shutter release button once. Then you can use, either manual focus, or AF
in the 'hand-held' or 'tripod' mode, as you have already discovered.

Regarding the weight of the camera, don't think of it as a 'heavy' camera. Think of it as a
'solid' camera. :-)

3:59 pm - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#46 Heath

After almost a week of shooting with the D700, I can see it is every bit as good as it is touted to be. Alas, due to my lack of photography skills with a DSLR, it has been frustrating - ALL my pics have "soft" edges, unlike the crisp, crystal clear images on any of the D700 reviews! In terms of crispness of images, it is only on par or worse, with the Panasonic FZ18! The ONLY thing about a full frame (have never owned a DX format), DSLR is the density of colors. Set to VIVID, the colors produced by D700 are stunning. Maybe there is such a setting on the FZ18.

One of the shots yesterday, was taken in front of a convenience store, on a University campus. My composition was of the store front display, as well as the student popyulation (who happened to be in store). Using a Prime Lens, I have to step back, to frame my pic. That was all fine, until people started walking past, in front of me and my D700. I ended up with pics with focussed background (displays, and people), and blurred people (walking by in fromnt of my D700)in the FOREground!The camera was set to "C", Continuous focussing, and so this should not have happened!

Some of my pics (99% indoors) are blurred just the way they come out of my small-sensor FZ18! WHY? It is set to AUTO ISO, and so it should be adjusting to the optimum ISO! I have one of the best Nikon Prime lens that is supposed to be fast, sharp, and execellent in virtual darkness. It isn't showing those qualities!

VIRTUAL HORIZON - don't see its use if it can't be superimposed on the framed pic!

Another annoying thing with a DSLR is pressing the shutter buttor. I have NO idea when it will actually take the pic. It is HIT & MISS. Press halfway down, Live View, appears on monitor. Pressed again, all the way down, and it might click to capture the shot.

I have set AF to only take pic if framed pic is in focus. Is above problem to do with this setting?

Lastly, the graininess (whether ISO 200 default or higher) could be due to my PC monitor, SONY Trintorn G420, haing troubled handling 12 megapixel jpgs!

Which is the best book to self teach in the basics of photography?

8:20 am - Saturday, July 25, 2009

#47 GARYs Parries

Heath, your last comment covers a lot. Let's pick one problem for now, and we can
tackle the others later. Let's start with the unfocused foreground you described.

Having the background in focus, with the foreground out of focus, is a dSLR 'feature'
rather than a 'problem'. The larger the image sensor, the better this feature will work.
As you have seen, the feature is working quite well on your Nikon D700, and not so
well on your Panasonic FZ18. :-)

The feature is called bokeh. It is the ability of a camera to put one plane of an image
in focus while putting all other points in front of or behind that plane out of focus. The
more wide open the lens, the more pronounced this effect will be. The effect is useful
for isolating the subject of your composition and making that subject stand out, which
is particularly useful for MERCHANDISE DISPLAY (ring any bells).

People buy full-frame cameras such as a D700 specifically for their bokeh capability;
however, depending on the specifics of a shot, that effect may not always be desired.
Fortunately, it can be easily defeated by closing down your lens. The more you close
down the lens (higher f-number = smaller aperture), the greater its depth-of-field, and
the less pronounced the bokeh effect will be. It's that simple.

Give it a try. And don't be afraid to manually raise your ISO so that you can close the
lens down even more. Fortunately, the D700's high ISO settings are VERY USABLE.

4:27 pm - Sunday, July 26, 2009

#48 Heath

After at least 200 shots in the last 3 weeks, I am non plussed. The D700 is an awesome camera, but every shot, bar one, is blurry, soft-edged, and worse than my average shot from Panasonic FZ18!

I have set it to auto ISO, and auto focus. I view my framed shot through the monitor (does it matter what diopter setting it is?. Twice, the pics came out dark - underexposed!) That happened when the background of my subject (Wrigley Chewing gum counter stand), was venetian blinds, and morning sun! When I shot from one side of the pic, that problem went away.

What do I do to CLOSE the lens down? Another frustration is the "virtual horizon"! How do you activate it so that you can use it for a framed shot? Not much use to have to exit a framed shot, and activate the virtual horizon when you don't have the framed scene superimposed on it!

It's a prime lens, and a very well recommended one at that. So there is no need for "VR"? Correct?

12:05 pm - Thursday, August 13, 2009

#49 GARYs Parries

Sounds like you've been busy. Unless you have a faulty camera, you should be able
to achieve shots better than your FZ18 every time. How are you viewing your images
to determine their softness? It is a known fact that 'noisy' images (such as those from
an FZ18) will be interpreted by your brain to have greater sharpness than equivalent
images with less noise (such as those from your D700).

To close down your lens, you will want to use the 'Aperture-Priority Auto' mode, which
automatically calculates the correct shutter speed based on your lens opening, which
you will want to close down as much as possible to achieve the largest depth-of-field,
which will yield the crispest photo. Remember, the higher the f-stop number, the more
closed down the lens. the crisper the photo.

The only times you would need to use VR would be if you are shooting at high zoom,
which is not the case with a 50mm prime, or if you are shooing at low shutter speeds
(below 1/60 of a second) which may be the case if you are closing down your lens. If
the camera is selecting a shutter speed below 1/60, then either: (1) put more light on
the subject; (2) open up your lens a bit by choosing a slightly lower f-stop number; or
(3) choose a slightly higher ISO setting.

One more thing. If your chewing gum is moving around on the stand, then even VR
won't help. :-)

Let's see if the 'Aperture-Priority Auto' mode solves the problem.

9:47 pm - Friday, August 14, 2009

#50 Heath

<<Let's see if the 'Aperture-Priority Auto' mode solves the problem.>>

Already set to "C", i.e. continuous focus. Took hundreds of pics in last 3 days. Only one came out crisp & clear - a shot of a dimly lit motel room where I stayed.

Toggle the "Info" button on bottom back of camera, and the grid lines, or virtual horizon is superimposed on the monitor. Horizontal orientation is momentary depedning on steadiness of one's hands. It might be horizontal at one moment, but by the time you press the shutter (the fact of pressing the shutter button moves the camera, and it loses its horizontal orientaion), you have lost the horizontalness! How do you "lock" in a horizontal position?

When taking landscapes, isn't the focus at infinity? If so, how do you focus? I think my blurry pics has something to do with focussing even though the framed shots I see on the monitor are sharp.

The pics from a D7oo is much bigger than those from a Panasonic Lumix FZ18 due to sensor size.I guess a pic from a Canon EOS 500D will be in-between these two extremes.

1:00 am - Saturday, August 22, 2009

#51 GARYs Parries

Heath, you're assuming that the problem is focus related. I'm assuming that it is a
depth-of-field problem, which is entirely different. The continuous-focus mode you
speak of is unrelated to depth-of-field.

Let's try a little experiment. Go into the canned food isle of a well-lit grocery store
and stand about 1m from the left side of the isle while facing down the isle. I have
tried to illustrate this in the diagram below but I am not sure how well the diagram
will display on your screen due to spacing and formatting issues. If a 'smiley' face
appears in the diagram, then you know it didn't work. :-)

____ | <--- 3m ---> |
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO --- (right side of isle)

With your camera in the Auto mode (actually it is the Programmed Auto mode), ISO
set to 200, and AF-ON, stand at point P, aim your camera at can X located 3m down
the isle from point P, and take the shot.

Now switch from Programmed Auto to Shutter-Priority Auto mode, adjust the shutter
speed on your camera to 1/60 seconds, set your ISO to 800, and repeat the shot. Be
sure to hold the camera as steady as possible for this second shot.

At home, compare the two images on your monitor. If the second shot appears to be
more crisp than the first shot, then your problem is definitely that your 'depth-of-field'
is too narrow, which is a trait of large image sensors. To increase your depth-of-field,
you need to use a higher f-stop, which can be accomplished in Shutter-Priority Mode
as described above.

Let me know your results.

11:24 pm - Saturday, August 22, 2009

#52 Heath Teoh

<<<<Now switch from Programmed Auto to Shutter-Priority Auto mode, adjust the shutter
speed on your camera to 1/60 seconds, set your ISO to 800, and repeat the shot. Be
sure to hold the camera as steady as possible for this second shot.>>>>>

****** 60 F3.2s iso auto800(360)******

[NOTE: To LEFT of above caption in viewfinder & control panel, is an icon rectangle with dot in center of it]

>> Camera on auto ISO, but have over ridden it by selecting 800

>> “iso auto800(360)” as above is “fixed” and doesn’t change when I rotate main control dial which changes the “60” value;

>> Does the “60” value refer to shutter speed?

>> “F3.2” changes when I change the “60” value

6:33 am - Sunday, August 23, 2009

#53 Heath Teoh

The sharpest pic I took from the 300, over the past 3 days, has the following info:

F: f3.2
Exposure: 1/40sec
ISO: 1000
Exposure Bias: 0
Focal length: 50mm (well, it's a 50mm prime)

Metering: SPOT [Is this a PROBLEM]

This was a dimly-lit motel bedroom where the brightest light source came from the light at head of bed! I took shots of the tables, and bed, and only one came up sharp!

7:07 am - Sunday, August 23, 2009

#54 Heath Teoh

<<<<<The virtual horizon tool shows a simulated level, to help with aligning your camera. It displays on the LCD, as shown below, and through the viewfinder using using the exposure compensation axis. While it's a nice touch, it's not very precise, and goes away as soon as you half press the shutter button.>>>;-Handling.htm

Well, looks like my beef with the Virtual Horizon is well founded! You can't lock it in, and as soon as you press the shutter, whether halfway, or fully, you cannot be sure it is still horizontal, and chances are, the act of depressing the shutter, is enough movement, to lose the horizontal orientation that was there fleetingly!

7:39 am - Sunday, August 23, 2009

#55 GARYs Parries

I will assume that you were able to get into the Shutter-Priority Auto mode. If so, you
will see an 'S' in the upper left corner of your Control Panel.

But you are still in ISO 'Auto' mode. To set ISO manually, you need to hold down the
ISO button while rotating the main command dial. If set manually, the 'Auto' indicator
will disappear.

Once you are in Shutter-Priority Auto mode, with shutter speed set to 1/60 seconds
(indicated by 60 in the Control Panel) and ISO set manually to 800, you will see the
f-stop go much higher than F3.2, which is what you want for a crisper image. Ideally
you would want F16, but to get it you may have to go to a brighter grocery store isle,
or increase your ISO above 800, or decrease your shutter speed below 1/60 second
and use a tripod.

We're getting there ... slowly, but surely.

5:49 pm - Sunday, August 23, 2009

#56 Heath

The D700 is at this stage, an extreme disappointment. Currently ALL pics, whilst look fine throught the viewfinder, come out BLACK. It has steadily progressed from dark, to darker, to darkest, to pitch black. I have reset to factory default settings but I still get totally black pics (i.e. all pics, come out totally black)

In the past 2 weeks, I took over 30Gb of pics using both the D700, & Panasonic Lumix FZ18. The cheap cmaera was able to take focussed pics from a speeding Amtrak train, or a speeding car. THe D700 absolutely could not. The only way to take good pics (and that happened only 50% of the time), was to stand perfectly still. any motion and the D700 was unable to autofocus even though it is set to AF. How can a cheap camera outperform a $4K D700 when it comes to AF speed?

The D700 may have great reviews but the user has to spend 100s of hours learning how to use it. I will have to buy the D700 for Dummies book.

The virtual horizon, in practice is useless unless a tripod is used.

9:56 am - Thursday, October 22, 2009

#57 GARYs Parries

I hear you, Heath, and I can relate to your frustration. The D700 is a professional
camera, and it will outperform the FZ18 in every respect, but only if you invest the
time to learn its fine points.

For casual use you are much better off with a simpler camera like the FZ18, which
does a fairly decent job in all respects, just not a professional job. You seem like a
determined individual and I have no doubt that, in time, you will master your D700.

Just not sure how much time. :-)

Have you considered taking a hands-on photography course? Sometimes that can
more helpful than trying to learn from a book.

Good luck with your photographic endeavors.


4:51 pm - Thursday, October 22, 2009

#58 Heath

Oh, YES, I will master the D700. I am googling for tuition classes! But first some basics - lately ALL my pics have become darker and darker, until finally 2 days ago, all pics turned out just BLACK. But yesterday, I took outdoor pics and they turned out fine. BUT indoor pics, set to auto ISO, stioll are BLACK! What am I missing?

While in Dallas, last week, my camera fogged up - going from air-con indoors, to a hot humid outdoor. I immediately went back indoors, and the camera stayed there. ANY likely damage to camera?

11:05 pm - Friday, October 23, 2009

#59 Heath

DOn't get me wrong but the D700 can handle indoor photography BETTER than the FZ18. You can tell by the "noise" in the pics of the respective cameras. The D700 also has better dynamic range in its colors. Point & Shoot colors tend to be washed out, with blown out hioghlights - can't handle bright skies.

11:07 pm - Friday, October 23, 2009

#60 GARYs Parries

Difficult to tell from your description what is going wrong. Is the camera mode set to
Programmed Auto? What ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed values were selected? Did
you remember to remove the lens cap? :-)

Condensation is never a good thing, but it is unlikely that one time will hurt anything.
In the future, just before going out put the camera in a ziploc bag and remove the air
before sealing it. Leave it sealed until the camera acclimates to the outside air temp.

It sounds like you appreciate what the camera 'can' do, now you just have to get it to
do it.

5:34 pm - Saturday, October 24, 2009

#61 Heath

Lens cap isn't on when I take pics. The view on the viewfinder (via monitor) looks fine, but the pics keeps turning out totally black!
OK I have just "fixed" the "black photo syndrome!
WAS: S Shutter Priority Mode 6400 Lo
NOW: P Lo F1.4

I LOST all my Dallas by night pics due to this!

Can you please enlighten my stupidity and ignoprance on this? What did I do? I have NO idea! y my next trip in less than a year, I will be brandishing the D700 like a ... well iPod(??)!

10:16 am - Tuesday, October 27, 2009

#62 Heath

BTW, why can't the lens cap of the D700 be fixed to the camera like a Panasonic FZ18 lenscap. I am terrified of losing the lens cap?

Is there a resonably priced wide angled VR lens for D700? I have the prime AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.4. Something that is wide angled as well as having a short zoom.

10:43 am - Tuesday, October 27, 2009

#63 GARYs Parries

Glad to hear it wasn't the lens cap. :-)

In Shutter-Priority mode, you select the shutter speed manually, and the camera
selects the correct aperture value for the current lighting. The camera must have
been set for a very fast shutter speed, and the camera could not find an aperture
large enough to handle indoor lighting.

You really need to read your camera manual a few more times, or better yet, sign
up for a hands-on photography course before your next big trip.

For a couple of bucks you can buy a cord that attaches the lens cap to the camera
so it can't get lost.

Since you already have a great 50mm prime lens, a logical choice for wide-angle
zoom would be the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S. It's a bit on the expensive side, but
it is money well spent.

6:36 pm - Thursday, October 29, 2009

#64 Heath

"A smaller aperture is used along with a 28mm wideangle lens to achieve the objective(max DOF)."

One of the frustrations using the Nikon D700 with the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.4. is having to choose between a blurred background, or a blurred foreground (limited DOF). With the Panasonic FZ18, it automatically kept details of both foreground & background (esp useful for landscapes). Then I read the above quote. Does it mean that a Prime Lens will not give a maximum depth of field?

This is the 1st thing I have to master with the D700 as ALL my US pics from last trip suffered from the compromise I had to make – not good for a landscape type pic!

1:57 pm - Friday, December 4, 2009

#65 GARYs Parries

Heath, good to see that you are reading !!! :-)

With ANY lens, regardless of whether it is prime or zoom, it is a simple matter to achieve
maximum DOF. Just close the lens down (i.e., smaller aperture) as much as possible for
your given lighting situation. This can be accomplished with any of the camera's manual
or priority modes (just not its auto mode).

Give it a try.


2:37 pm - Saturday, December 5, 2009

#66 Heath

GRRRRRRR. The Nikon 50mm 1.4 is great especially in near darkness hand held photography! But its DOF is driving me nuts. Unlike a P&S, that gives a good DOF, this lens on a 700 either focuses on the foreground, or the background, but not BOTH!!!! The Panasonic Lumix can focus on BOTH! For e.g. I am taking a pic in a grocery store ... my (AWESOME) display is in the bacjground; the competitor's stand is in the foreground. I took 7 shots. Every shot had its focus on the foreground which is opposite to what I want! How do I control that the focus to be foreground or background>

I hear the Nikon 24mm 1.4 is a great lens for handhelf lowlight, street photography. But its price tag means I will have to print money on my laser printer to buy it. But I won't be "free" to be taking great pics wiuth it but rather sitting in a cell somewhere, taking pics of 4 empty walls!~

How can you describe the difference between these lens for wide angled, indoor use:

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S
Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR
Nikon 20mm f/2.8 AF(cheapest @ $550)
nikkor 24mm f 1.4g af-s (most expensive @ almost $3,000)
Nikon 14mm f2.8D ED 

Probably I would narrow my choice down to the first two. Please describe the difference in its capability and its suitability of handheld indoor fluoroscent lighting photography.

I notice my night photography of the same scene produces different color tones - some have a nice reddish blush, while others have pitch blackness with the street or flood lights lighting up parts of the scene. I like the reddish tint better. Please explain these color effects. Thanks. :)

2:53 pm - Friday, June 4, 2010


JUST BOUGHT: Nikon AF-NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8 D
HAS: Nikon 50MM f1.4 with D700
Apart from its wider angle of view, and larger fstop (meaning relatively slower in low light), what other practical difference can I expect from the abgove lens I have just bought?

While the 50mm f1.4 was awesome in extreme lowlight photography - distant car headlights appear as distinct dots, it had paper thin DOF. When I increased the aperture to increase DOF, my shots of the same landscape with distant car leadlights were disappointing - the lights appeared as long flashes of lights, and I didn't notice any increase in DOF!

I considered long and hard the following:

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S
Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR
Nikon 20mm f/2.8 AF(cheapest @ $550)
nikkor 24mm f 1.4g af-s Nikon 14mm f2.8D ED

After reading reviews, weight considerations, and useful angle of view for landscape, I decided on the 24mm f2.8. Its size and weight are the main attractions along with satisfactory optics as per reviews I read. The price is a bonus.

If I use this lens for the same night landscape that I have been using with the 50mm f1.4, what difference do I expect to encounter?

12:37 pm - Monday, June 28, 2010