My thoughts on the iPad Pro

I thought I’d share my thoughts on the newly announced iPad Pro. I like the option of using a stylus…errr pencil. This positions the Pro as a laptop-replacement device; however, iOS just doesn’t handle massive amounts of files efficiently. You need to be able to natively connect a 2TB portable USB drive or at least an SD card and have the iPad read directly from the storage without requiring you to first copy the files to the device. For that, iOS needs a real file system. Read more

RAW vs JPEG…the big decision

As I get more serious about photography, I’ve been doing some soul searching on whether I should start shooting in RAW instead of only JPEG. There are tons of discussions (arguments?) on the subject, but I’m not convinced by just the “pros” use RAW and “amateurs” use JPEG mantra. Nothing I read truly convinced me that I should switch or stay. As such, I decided to analyze things in my own way and come to my own conclusion. Read more

Francesca’s – Fredericksburg, TX – Taking my 35mm f/1.8 for a spin

I am absolutely LOVING my new 35mm f/1.8 lens on my D7000! There was only one fleeting moment when I saw a jack rabbit in a field that I missed my zoom. I’m so used to framing my shots in camera that it will take a while before it becomes natural to think “crop” not “zoom.” It’s a major change in mindset. However, I think I’m totally comfortable in just using that lens for nearly all my photography. It’s funny cuz its by far the cheapest lens I have. Read more

Full Frame, Cropped Sensor and Depth of Field for Dummies…like me

I was ready to dump my Nikon D7000 for a full-frame Nikon D750 just so I could live the dream of shallow depth of field and creamy bokeh. Yes, I had drunk the Kool-Aid and fallen for the overly simplistic mantra that to get that effect, I had to have a full-frame camera. However, as I researched the widely discussed and hotly debated topic: depth of field, I learned some interesting things. The most important thing I learned is perhaps it’s the lens not so much the camera that matters.

Note: This post is mostly for me to document my novice understanding of this topic, but perhaps it may help others who are also bewildered by the whole discussion. I will be overly simplistic, but that is the best way to begin to understand complex things and I am, self-admittedly, only beginning. However, there will be math involved ;-) Read more

My new toy: Sony RX100 II Digital Camera

After tons of research, I finally decided on the Sony DSC-RX100 II (aka RX100M2)  for my second camera. I just got tired of not having my DSLR and getting less-than-satisfying photos from my iPhone 5, particularly in low-light. My two must-have features were: 1) pocketable; and 2) decent shallow depth of field. The RX100 II hits both those marks.

Runner-ups included the Canon S120 and the Panasonic LX7, but the Sony just seemed to be a tad better at shallow DOF. I also considered the Panasonic GM1, but the versatility of interchangeable lens was actually a negative for me.

Flickr feed for some photos taken with the Sony DSC-RX100 II

Nikon D7000, my new toy

I’ve been looking for a new hobby for a very long time and I don’t know why it never occurred to me, but photography is perfect; it’s just the right combination of tech and outdoors.

I wanted to get an entry-level prosumer DSLR and narrowed it down to the Canon 60D and the Nikon D7000. I really liked the 60D’s articulated screen, but in the end, the D7000 just seemed to be more professional and higher quality, albeit slightly higher in price. Choosing your first DSLR is really an important decision since it sets the path for all your future lens purchases–there, unfortunately, is no standard in the lens mounts.

I wanted a do-it-all lens to start out and splurged on the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens. I was also looking at the Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 II DC OS HSM Lens, but the slightly better aperture and supposedly quickly focusing of the Nikon lens gave it the nod. I figured why skimp on the only lens I’ll have for a while. I also toyed with the idea of a used lens and even found an open-box one, but for my first set-up, I wanted everything to be new. (Yeah, I’m a bit spoiled :-)

I’m pretty excited! The last serious camera I owned was a Pentax 35mm SLR many years ago. Developing film always seemed to limit my use of that camera, so now with the digital SLR, I’ve got no excuses. I’m really looking forward to learning this beast and getting good at operating all of the features. It’s damn complicated compared to my old 35mm that’s for sure.

I also put a lot of thought into what camera bag I wanted. I wanted something light and not cumbersome. It had to hold my D7000 with zoom lens attached and also have enough space for a second lens and some extra goodies. I didn’t want a backpack because you have to take those off to get to stuff and I didn’t want just a regular shoulder type. What appealed to me was the slings. I suppose it’s partially due to their generally non-symmetrical design. I’m always attracted to things like that.

I was nearly decided on the Case Logic SLRC-205 SLR Camera Sling, but ended up going with the Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag. It just seemed to look less like a camera bag and had a softer less cumbersome look. The Case Logic is probably more functional, but the Lowepro is cooler and coolness counts!

So far, I’ve only skimmed though the D7000 manual and played with the features a bit. I’ve got the PDF of the manual on my iPhone and I plan to take the D7000 for a spin tomorrow out in the Hill Country!