Category Archives: Montclair NJ

Where I live

D800 Diary – Iris at the Presby Gardens

After waiting months on Amazon’s D800 pre-order queue, I gave up. I called up Central Camera in Chicago, paid in full, and got my camera in 10 days. They had delivered my D100 and D200 very quickly when they launched, and I should have stuck with them from the start of the D800 madness.

I’ve only had the camera for a few days, but I can tell already it’s going to be outstanding. I happened to be near the Presby Iris Gardens in Montclair on Sunday. Unfortunately, i was not prepared to shoot, and I didn’t have all of the gear I would normally bring… just the D800 and 50mm f1.2. It was mid day, and the sun was harsh… and to add to my troubles, I had been shooting the camera indoors, and I forgot I had set to +2/3 exposure… not a good idea with flowers that can easily over expose.

Later that night, I fired up LightRoom 4 for the first time to go through the shots and see what I could salvage. To my surprise, I only had a few shots that were really blown… the metering on the camera was spot on, and my highlights went just to the edge of being lost.

I was really on the fence with the D800. For a part-timer like myself, its a big investment. I don’t print larger than 12×18 usually, so I really don’t need 36 megapixel raw files filling my hard drive. Before the D800 announcement, I was actually debating going “all in” with the m4/3 system. The GF-1 has been a great camera, and so much easier to lug around.

If I had found a new D700 in stock at its new “bargain” price… I probably would have settled ( read the sarcasm there please ) for it. My D200 was over 6 years old, and I hope that the D800 will give me a little future proofing than the D700 would.

So here are my D800 First Impressions :

  • It’s big and not quite as heavy as I expected.
  • There are about 7249 settings to go through in the menus, but once you go through them and set the camera up the way you like, most can be left alone.
  • Everything that I read about online that I should worry about… motion blur at the pixel level, how poorly my old lenses will work with the camera, my outer left focus point needing factory adjustment, and how angry my wife will be when she finds out how much it cost ***, have been non issues… so far.
  • I need to buy a whole bunch of new hard drives… my 1.5tb raid array will be full sooner than expected.
  • If it gets lost or stolen… I am going to be *very* unhappy.
  • Holy cow! If you are on the fence, and can afford it… get one!

*** This issue was partially alleviated by the sale of an image… but since I have not received the check yet, it may still be a problem.

The D800 has to be the most talked about camera in the history of the internets. Nikon handled the release like NJ Transit handles on time departures. If the train doors close, and the train moves 3 feet from its original position, it has “departed”. The camera seem to be shipping to more users based on my scientific analysis of the hundreds of “I got my D800” threads on DPReview. Based on the “Did anyone get their D800E yet?” threads, it looks like the E model is still hard to come by.

Coming from a an old D200 to the D800 is a real treat. The raw files are “meaty” and I think I heard them laughing “Thats all you got?” as I was tweaking them. It’s more than just the epic number of pixels… its the color and quality that impresses.

So in conclusion… Woot! I got a D friggin’ 800!

Cherry Blossoms at Brookdale Park

– Brookdale Park Cherry Blossom –

The wind and rain killed my chances of going to see the Branchbrook Park Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend. I did get to stop by Brookdale Park in Montclair which has about 4 Cherry trees in bloom. This was one of the better images, taken with the GF1 and 20mm. I used an ND filter so I could shoot with the lens at f/1.7 to get the nice shallow depth of field. I like the monotone pastel color and the contrast on either side of the blossom in focus.