Morning After the Rain with a Nikon 1 J5

Click on any image to view all in gallery mode.

I am still being amazed about the little Nikon 1 J5 which I used for these test images.  It is light-weight and small.  It has a great tilting LCD which I used when I sat the camera on the floor, and to keep from needing to bend so much for the leaf and flower pictures.  It focuses fast and has great resolution as you can see in the picture of the flying bird.  I made that image at a focal length of 30 mm which is the maximum zoom of the lens I have.  That picture is a crop that has been resized up for displaying here.  I am now really wondering what I could do with the CX 30 – 110 mm lens.  That would be a maximum of an effective 297 mm focal length.  I have never found such long lenses of much use on cameras without a view finder since it is too hard to hold the camera and lens still for focusing, etc.

After this morning’s test shots I’m now thinking about getting the CX 30 – 110 mm zoom lens and try it before I decide to try anymore cameras.  I would really like to try the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 lens on the Nikon 1 V3, but they are too expensive.  If you are curious about what can be done with the CX 70 – 300 mm lens take a look at the article comparing David and Goliath, and look at Tom Stirr’s web site.

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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Comparison of Canon vs. Nikon vs. Leica

I decided to make a limited real-world comparison of my Canon 70D with the 24mm lens vs. the Nikon 1 J5 with the 10 – 30mm lens vs. the Leica X2 with its 24mm lens.  This is a comparison of the results that I got with different sensors and lenses, and how they choose settings in program mode.    I was comparing the 20MP APS sensor in the Canon to the 21MP one-inch sensor in the Nikon to the 16MP APS sensor in the Leica.  In addition, I made all the images hand-held since I rarely use a tripod.  Was it a fair comparison?  Probably not, but I needed to see how they compared so that I had a better feeling of what to use when and where; as well as whether I really need three cameras.

The following images were taken outside on an overcast day, but fairly bright with no strong shadows.  The compositions are slightly different due to the different focal lengths or changes made during vertical corrections: but they are full size, uncropped.  All of the images were taken in raw format and then processed in LR6.  I made no changes to the Adobe standard settings except that I did use the lens profiles and used the auto vertical correction on each.  All were also focused using the center focus point on the white gazebo in the center.  I will let you decide whether the advantages of the higher priced Canon and Leica with their larger sensors and greater size and prime lenses are worth it relative to the smaller Nikon 1 J5 with the kit zoom lens … at least for displays such as this on the web.

Did you figure out which was which?  150626-101407 was the Leica which chose ISO=100, f/5.6, and 1/640 sec.  150626-101345 was the Nikon which choose ISO=160, f/4.2, and 1/800 sec.  150626-101316 was the Canon which choose ISO=100, f/8, and 1/250 sec.  If you click on one of the images you will shift to gallery mode where they will be larger.  You can also pick a larger size to review them closer.

After looking at the above images, I decided that I needed to use a more demanding situation, so I switched to indoors.  I wanted to see how they performed in lower mixed lighting where they would have to crank up the ISO settings.  The following show what I got with the three systems.

As I expected, this was a tougher situation and the differences were more striking.  150626-104639 was the Nikon which used ISO=2800, f/4, and 1/60 sec.  150626-104702 was the Canon which used ISO=2500, f/3.2, and 1/125 sec.  150626-104753 was the Leica which used ISO=640, f/2.8, and 1/30 sec.  If you looked closely you saw that the Leica image was blurred due to camera motion.  I started to retake it but didn’t since it taught me a valuable lesson.  I can’t rely on the auto settings for the Leica and I need to probably shoot in manual or shutter mode to ensure that I always have a fast enough shutter speed; but that slows me down.  I also went back and checked the Canon settings and saw that I had the shutter speed set to 1/125 sec for the floor when deciding to adjust the ISO.  Maybe that wasn’t fair but I can’t make that setting with the Leica.  The Nikon lens was the only one with image stabilization.

The color balance of the Canon was probably closer to the actual colors, but if I had adjusted the WB, I would have corrected that on all three.  The differences in WB and exposures can be easily adjusted in LR6, but the camera settings, etc. can’t be changed after the fact.

There are other factors to consider such as ergonomics, ease of adjusting controls, how sturdy they are, ease of carrying, weight, etc. which are all relative to the usability of these cameras; but, I was surprised by the image quality of the Nikon 1 J5.  The small size of the camera and lenses is a big plus for it in my view, but the size also works against it in some ways.  It doesn’t have a large enough or suitable hand-grip and I occasionally find that I have accidentally changed something.

Primarily, this comparison has caused me to focus more on the usability of cameras and less on their image quality.  That means that my quest isn’t over.  I still find that the Canon 70D is the best compromise I have tried so far, even though it is too large and heavy.  My search is still on.  In addition to finding a camera that I can easily take with me and handle and shoot with one hand, I am still looking for that one camera that is the best compromise for what I need for my photography.  I still have the option of just using my Canon 70D with lighter-weight, smaller prime lenses; but I would prefer something even easier to carry and hold.  I might try the Sony A6000 next.

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Photography


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On the Street with Nikon 1 J5

I made a quick trip to town in between the rain drops.  I need to spend more time but these gave me a quick feel for how the J5 performs for me on the streets.  No problems so far, especially considering that the last two images were taken through the car window.

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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Hanover PA, Photography


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Nikon 1 J5 … my New Love?

I might have a new love … a Nikon 1 J5.  I still have a lot of work to do before I decide to keep it, but so far it has surprised me in a good way.  The J5 with the 10 – 30mm lens is small and easy to carry and shoot with one hand, except for zooming.  I am finding more latitude in processing the 20 MP images of the one-inch sensor than I expected, and if this result continues, my plan is for it to replace all of my smaller cameras.

I charged the battery last evening and then took these pictures on a walk this morning.  Most of these images were taken at the maximum zoom of 30mm (effective 81mm).  Only the picture of the doll (taken inside at ISO 2500) and the wider view of the lilies were at the widest zoom of 10mm (effective 27mm).

This camera is not as good as my Canon 70D so my intention is to use the 70D for my more critical photography.  I ordered the J5 with the intention to try it as a walk-about and drive-about camera with an effective 50mm prime lens.  But, since I don’t believe in love at first sight, I will not know if I will keep it or how I might use it until I have tried it for a while.

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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Lighter Weight Photography Solutions

On my morning walk I only took a 50mm lens for my camera, but I still managed to get these images.  I managed to prepare these views by using a lot of cropping and resizing … but it worked.  The fly was small and the ducks were really too far away, but I wanted to see what I could achieve.

I wasn’t using a longer zoom lens since I was trying to “go light” and take pictures with one hand.  My back and legs were giving me trouble and I was walking with a cane in my left hand while I used a sling strap to carry the camera.  I turned the camera on and set the aperture at f/2.8 with auto ISO when I left the house; therefore, all I had to do to take a picture was raise the camera up to my eye and push the shutter button.  The Canon 70D with the 50mm lens is light enough that I can manage it with one hand.  It really isn’t light in weight but is manageable with the good handgrip.

Using my biggest and best camera with prime lenses is a way to reduce the weight to a minimum.  I use my 24mm pancake lens as well as the 50mm lens to be able to get quality images and reduce the weight; but, I have something else I plan to try.  I have ordered a Nikon 1 J5 camera to see what I can do with it.  The camera and lenses for it are very small and light in weight, but it only has a one-inch sensor.  I want to see if the smaller size and lighter weight off-set the loss in image quality (IQ).  I am assuming that it will have lower IQ, but the only way to evaluate the trade-off is try if for a period of time and see what I can do with its raw images.

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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Neighbor’s Flowers

Don’t forget to click on a picture and view them all in gallery mode.

I made these pictures in one neighbor’s yard yesterday in a very short period.  I threw a non-flower image into the set so the neighbor would recognize that I made them from her yard.

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Daylight Decreasing


We have turned the corner and the amount of daylight is decreasing daily now.  I took the above picture last night at 9:18pm.  As far as photography goes, I’m looking forward to fewer hours of daylight.  It will make it easier for me to make pictures on either side of the sunrises and sunsets.  I also prefer to make pictures when the sun is low and shadows are long and this will be the case for more of the days.   My only concerns are that shorter days will happen very slowly, meaning that I will need to be patient while waiting for better conditions … and then there is also the problem of the days getting colder.  I don’t like colder.

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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