Don's Pages

Saturday, 29 January 2011

My Beautiful Granddaughter: Aminata

She's cute, cuddly, hugable, funny, fun, fantastic, happy, joyful, jumping, laughing, strong willed, independent and I love her (can you tell?) LOL

Click to view larger.
I captured this whilst she was playing on her wheelie horse, which she really enjoys. Especially when Pappa is pushing her.

Camera Nikon D700 with 28-300mm Nikon Lense.
ISO 320, 1/60th second at f/5.0, flash did fire. SB800 camera flash with diffuser cap.

She is such a joy to photograph and always seems to pull a smile at just the right time. She also loves looking at the pictures on the back of the camera afterwards.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Awesome Phase One IQ Series Digital Backs

Review: Imagine being able to capture a picture with the amazing new Phase One IQ Series Digital Backs?

  • Could this be the camera of your dreams?
  • Imagine being able to use one of these?
  • What would you shoot?
Scroll down to the bottom to embeded youtube video. You'll see professional photographers giving their opinion of the camera.

I've always been impressed with these cameras, but they are sooooo expensive, would I ever be justified in parting with so much precious cash for one of these?

Image Size
What size would you be able to print out with such a high resolution? I know that I can already print really BIG pictures with my Nikon D700's 12meg res, but just imagine how big they'd be from 80megs. Why do we need all that resolution in a camera. They tell us it's for the amazing detail, but if you look closely you can get great detail already from relatively fewer megapixel cameras. However, I've never tried one yet, so I'll reserve my judgement and perhaps I'll have a go at the next Photography Exhibition.

Here's the specs and latest video links. I'd love to have a go just to see what it's like, however, unless a miracle happens I don't think I'd be able to justify spending so much on a new camera outfit. I'd need new lenses and they're not cheap for these beauties. I've heard people say that it's a bit like internet access, once you've tried broadband / cable speeds you'd never want to go back to dial-up internet again. It may be the same with medium format cameras like the Phase One and the megga IQ Series Digital Backs.

How long would it take to process these huge images? And how big will we need our hard-drives to be? I've already got two terrabites that are half full of images from my D700, but I can see one of these cameras with 80MB backs filling it up in no time at all. Now that would be even more money I'd have to spend to accommodate such large files.

What about Photoshop? will it become sluggish, slow and tardy? I'm sure the processing will take ages with these mega huge images. Would that mean I'd also need to purchase a new super-processing computer too? I'm sure it would.

Let's see what the manufacturers of the Phase One tell us of the benefits though.

They Key benefits of The Awesome Phase One IQ Series Digital Backs (they say) include; Ultimate image quality with 80, 60.5 or 40 megapixel resolution (man, that's really big).
  • 3.2'' high resolution display with 1.15 megapixel (That would be great to see).
  • Touch screen display to zoom, pan and browse images (My Nikon is already great at doing this, and fast too, but I'd like to have a go).
  • Sensor+ technology for faster workflow and higher ISO sensitivity. (I wonder just how fast they will be at going through such huge files?).
Check out the introductory videos on Youtube.

The Phase One IQ Series Digital Backs in Action.
Stefan Kapfer puts it through it's paces in this great video.

More Specifications of the Phase One IQ Series Digital Backs

Fastest validation of correct focus with Focus Mask

No need to zoom anymore to validate your focus. The IQ series backs are designed to display a colored semi-transparent mask on top of the preview to show which parts of the image are in focus. It's extremely useful to validate depth-of-field and get instant feedback about whether a shot is perfectly focused or not.

Fastest untethered capture

The IQ180 digital back has memory card interface capable of moving data faster than any current memory cards can deliver. In practice this means that with the fastest CompactFlash cards you can continue to capture images until your card is full without experiencing any slowdown in performance.

12.5 f-stops dynamic range

Reproduce scenes with extreme tonal differences and details in one shot from the 12.5 f-stops dynamic range

Optimized image quality with Capture One 6

Capture One 6 is a professional RAW converter and image editing software. It contains all the essential tools and high-end performance in one package to enable you to capture, organize, edit, share and print images in a fast, flexible and efficient workflow. Capture One 6 has been optimized for shooting with The Phase One IQ digital backs.

Vertical and horizontal capture guidance

The IQ180 digital back has vertical and horizontal capture guidance available to help you align your shots perfectly from the start, so the need for postproduction is minimized.

Better compatibility with 645DF camera

Compatibility with the Phase One 645DF camera has been improved over previous digital backs. For instance the power state of the back can now be controlled directly from the camera.

Integrated battery charger

The integrated battery charger ensures that the battery is charged when you're shooting tethered, offering you more versatility in your shooting. The IQ series of backs are always ready to be used untethered.


Entirely built of 100% machined aircraft grade aluminum for highest quality black chrome finish. Stronger than any other digital back. Black chrome metal surface and LCD cover glass are extremely scratch resistant. All electronic connectors and ports are protected with automatic retracting hatches or rubber covers.


With the IQ series of backs you can now personalize your camera with your own background image, splash screen, or logo.

Service & support

You can choose various service levels for the IQ series digital backs, e.g. a value-added option which includes a life-time (5 year) warranty, a free loaner unit during repair and other options. Phase One offers 365 days round the clock support delivered on-line and backed up by dedicated partners and a global support team.

Conclusion: The all new Phase One IQ Series Digital Backs really do sound and look terrific. However, will I ever get one? That's a great question, because I never thought I'd own anything like the magnificent Nikon D700, which is an awesome camera. I started out with a Fuji 5m Finepix, but where will I end up? The new generations of Nikon Cameras are getting better all the time. Take a look at the specs of the Nikon D7000 by Ken Rockwell, the Nikon King. He is over the moon with it.

What could I do with one of these awesome digital backs?... mmmmmm I'll have to think long, long and hard... I'm sure my wife would want to have a say too:-) After all, buying a camera that could cost quarter of a house here in London is a really big investment. One really important question: Will owning one of these improve my photography?
Somehow, I don't think it will, but the quality might just jump up a notch or two:-) LOL

I'll let you know what I think and feel once I've had a play with one of these beauties.

What do you think folks?

Review: Phase One IQ Digital Backs.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Portraits of Amelia in the Woods.

This is my granddaughter Amelia. We went for a walk in Tehidy Woods in Cornwall (Not far from the Golf Course). This is one of our family favourite spots. There are lovely walks around man-made lakes which have an amazing assortment of wildlife. I tried taking some shots of swans but they didn't turn out that well (any tips on swan photography would be greatly appreciated).
The pictures of Amelia; I really liked the way the sun was sparkling in places in the woods and tried to capture this in her face. She's a delightful child and loves posing for the camera. Of course she always wants to look on the screen to see what's been captured. After visiting Tehidy we then went down to the beach for a paddle along the water's edge. Amelia ran strait into the sea with all her clothes on, we didn't have a change of clothes in the car either. She hadn't been to the seaside for ages and was just sooooo excited.

Camera: Nikon D700 with 70-200mm f/2.8 VR11 Lense.

Amelia climbing trees

Climbing again

Sitting Prety
Hope you enjoy these and you can view more pics of Amelia and my other Grandchildren here.

Don't Forget: Take a camera with you wherever you go, even if it's just a point and shoot or a mobile phone and use them every day. Practice, Practice, Practice! The more you shoot, little and often, the better a photographer you will become. And may God go with you too. Don.

Fuji FinePix HS20 – the ultimate all-in-one just got better

FinePix HS20 – the ultimate all-in-one just got better.
Click camera for larger view.

I had an old Fuji FinePix camera back in 2001-05, it was a five Megapixel beauty. Thinking back, it was the great experience I had with that camera that got my creative juices flowing for photography all over again. Now I use a DSLR (Nikon D40x and D700), but I'm really tempted to get hold of this latest offering from Fuji. Reading all the specs from the manufactureres (and the various review sites that just seem to copy them), and the leaps they've made in technological design, it does sound very impressive.

I love innovation and this FinePix would be far in advance of my old one, I'd really love the tilting screen too. However.....

My question is: Could the fuji guys produce a superzoom with such a great range that can really exhibit quality images?

However, I think I'll wait! We need to think hard when spending our hard earned precious resources, and things look like they are going to get tougher this year with all the cut-backs, price rises, inflation and fuel duty notching up the cost of motoring. We may just have to tighten our belts and dream of what could have been in 2011:-(), but then again, perhaps not. 

Before parting with any cash, I'll read / watch the hands-on reviews rather than just relying on what the manufacturers tell us. 

If you are interested in the New Fuji click here: Fuji FinePix HS20

Click  for a higher resolution image

Here's a Snippet of some of the Information from Fuji's site.
Record-breaking, innovative, versatile; the new Fujifilm FinePix HS20 is all this and so much more. Replacing the multiple award-winning FinePix HS10, this latest addition to the range of Fujifilm bridge cameras represents the perfect picture taking solution for photographers who want the specification and picture quality of an SLR without the heavy camera bag and huge dent in their bank balance. With a class-leading feature set that includes a brand new EXR CMOS sensor, high speed continuous shooting capability, improved user interface, versatile video functions, 30x zoom lens and a 16 megapixel resolution, the HS20 sets new standards in bridge camera functionality and performance.
Imagine being able to go from 24mm to 720mm with one lense?

Question: Could a super-zoom lense like this really be able to produce quality pictures? Let's wait and see. I'll be posting some review links here soon.

So keep watching. Until then, keep up with the photography.
Remember the best camera is the one you have with you at the time. You may just catch something special.  

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Kelley and Josiah

Kelley came around to have my daughter colour her hair RED.
Hahaha, Red Heads are the best... LOL.

Afterwards I asked if I could capture a few shots of her and she readily agreed.
Josiah is a wonderful boy full of life and the joy of it. He also just adores his mummy as you can see for these pics.

 Camera Settings: Nikon D700 with 28-30mm Nikon Lense. ISO 200, 1/60th sec, f/5.3, 112mm, bounce flash off white ceiling.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

World's Largest SDXC Card 128GB Lexar

Imagine it, a card for you camera that's sooooo big you could record a whole movie length video. Well it has arrived in the form of the newest 128GB model from Lexar.

It's aimed at Photographers who shoot so many high resolution pics or HD Video.

Marvellous how technology moves on, it wasn't so long ago that a 64MB card was going great guns:-) Now think, 128GB that's just amazing.

It's estimated to cost about £500.00... Seems an aweful lot of money. But one good thing for people like me who don't shoot much video, it will bring the price of ordinary cards down even further. Who knows I may even be able to fork out for a 16GB card soon.

Here's the Blurb from Lexar's Website

Professional-Level Speed and Capacity for Capturing High-Quality Images and HD Video

The premium Lexar® Professional 133x SDXC™ card is designed for sustained, rapid-fire picture taking and full-motion HD video. It provides high-capacity, high-speed performance, with a minimum guaranteed speed of 133x (20MB/s)*—great for capturing high-quality images and extended lengths of HD video with your SDXC-compatible DSLR camera.** The Lexar Professional SDXC card is available in 64GB and 128GB capacities.

Get the Most Out of Your Memory Card

Professional-Level Speed, Capacity, and Performance. Maximize the power of your high-megapixel DSLR or Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens (MIL) camera, HD camcorder, or high-end point-and-shoot camera with the Lexar Professional 133x SDXC card. Designed for performance, this high-speed, Class 10 card is an excellent choice for sustained, rapid-fire shooting using the burst-mode feature of your camera. It also gives you the power to capture up to a full 48 hours of stunning 1080p HD video with your SDXC-compatible camera—all on a single 128GB card. What’s more, the card helps to dramatically accelerate workflow by providing quick transfer of images and video from your camera to computer.
Includes Valuable Downloadable Software. The Lexar Professional 133x SDXC card includes the latest version of award-winning Lexar Image Rescue® software. Image Rescue 4 provides reliable recovery of most photo and video files, even if they’ve been erased or the card has been corrupted.***
Exceptional Performance, Reliability, and Compatibility. The Lexar team works with major camera manufacturers to ensure all Lexar memory cards are compatible with their digital cameras—from the simplest to the most complex. The cards are also tested in the Lexar Quality Labs, facilities with more than 800 digital cameras and memory card devices, to further ensure compatibility and performance. And all Lexar Professional cards come with a limited lifetime warranty and a free, dedicated customer support line. Designed with professional photographers and video enthusiasts in mind, the Lexar Professional 133x SDXC card provides impressive high-speed performance, improved workflow, and valuable software.
Lexar offers a comprehensive line of innovative, award-winning memory products in several categories, including memory cards, card readers, DRAM, USB flash drives, and portable backup drives. With so many options, it’s easy to find the right Lexar solution to fit your needs.
Lexar. When Memory Matters.™

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