Saturday, December 31, 2011


Trying out my new camera

I really love my Nikon D200 camera and the quality of photos that I get from it. I have half a dozen different lenses, a special flash unit that works with it and some other features that make it a wonderful system. BUT, it is large and heavy to carry around so I find it tends to sit at home on a shelf unless I know that I will specifically want it to take photos, so then take it along. Sometimes I'll even take an extra lens or the flash unit, too.

So, I saw an ad on TV for a new Nikon camera, the Nikon 1, that looked good, offers some of the features of the D200 (interchangeable lenses, view finder, etc) plus a lot of things that the D200 will not do. I looked into it and found that Nikon had sale prices on the lenses that go with it that would be in effect until the end of the year. I hadn't yet bought myself a Christmas present, so went ahead and ordered the basic camera that comes with a 10 to 30mm zoom lens ($50 off on the sale) and a 30 to 110mm lens ($100 off!) from They came last Thursday- the UPS guy came with it about 11:00am. I put the battery on to charge and Pat & I went out to lunch, with the quick start direction sheet.

When we got home, the battery was fully charged so I put the unit together, found an empty SD memory card, took a picture of Pat & one of our cats, Peewee
First Nikon 1 photo
and I headed off to my local Starbucks to read the owners book, drink a mocha and learn about my new toy.

I decided to start out with it just letting it handle its own settings so took a couple of photos of one of our barista's while sitting at my table drinking my mocha and reading
Unedited our Starbucks
This photo is totally unchanged from when it came out of the camera except to reduce its pixel count to upload to Flickr and I think the camera did a very good job on setting the best white balance, exposure and focus.

By the time I headed home at almost 17:00 it was getting dark and the homes in our park had begun turning on their outside Christmas lights. I thought that would be a good test of the automatic settings, plus it was raining so there should be some pretty good reflections on the wet pavement. Here are a couple of those shots, again with very little correcting of the image after it came from the camera.
LME Christmas lights 1

LME Christmas lights 2

Yesterday we went to lunch with a good friend over to La Conner, Washington. La Conner is a quaint little village on a waterway that separates Fidalgo Island from the mainland and the restaurant we went to is right on that water way. I left Pat & Barbara to place my order with theirs and went outside onto the dock to take some photos. It was a crisp, windy but sunny winter day and although it was shortly after noon, the sun in the winter this far north is waaaaay to the south in the sky so even at noon we don't have that terrible directly overhead lighting that you tend to worry about while taking photos around noon. I am just including one photo that looks across the waterway toward the Indian Reservation but I think it shows what the little camera is capable of in delivering landscape photos.
Winter scene in La Conner

My lovely bride and I have a habit of going out to breakfast together on Saturday mornings and I have been carrying this little toy along so of course used it to take a picture of Patti B as she sat across the table from me.
Patti B on New Years Eve morning
There has been no image changing here, other than a very slight darkening of the image so it is almost as it came from the camera. There is a fireplace to her left providing some lighting and the lighting in this part of the restaurant is what I'd call cozy comfortable (not real bright) but the camera seems to have handled it very well.

I like the Nikon 1. There are two models, the V1 with a viewfinder and a 3" monitor screen. When you put your eye to the viewfinder, the monitor turns off. The other model (L1) just has the monitor screen. In my experience, those monitors are harder to use especially in bright light, so I spent a little more money and got the one with the viewfinder. So far I've only played with the standard lens which goes from a slight wide angle view at 10mm to a slight telephoto view at 30mm. The aspect ratio to compare to a lens length on a standard 35mm camera is 2.7, so the "normal" image size would be with this at about 18.5mm. Shorter than that would be considered a wide angle view, longer a telephoto view. At the higher 30mm setting (81mm on a 35mm camera) it is about the perfect length for people portraits. Oh, and the camera will take HD level video with sound and even has a connector for an external microphone for the audio. Some day I will get brave and give that a try but for now, I am having a lot of fun learning how to use it to take still photos.

I hope everyone who reads this had a good Christmas and will follow with a Happy New Year. Pat & I don't like to go very far from home on New Year's Eve but will be going to a party here in our park with the Singles Group. We went to events with them before we were married and they keep telling us to please continue coming as they consider us to be alumni.

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Those are really good photos and looks like you have a good camera there. I like the skin tones as that's the real failure of many cameras.
Looks like you have a great new camera Dick! It's awesome that your singles group still want to keep you and Pat a part of them. Happy 2012!
Seems I always decide to drop by at the best times. This time it’s the new camera. Although I am a Nikon D80 owner, I was not familiar with the new Nikon 1. Thanks for sharing the info and especially the photographs. Look forward to some others.

I, like you, don’t particularly enjoy lugging around the heavy D80 including a little extra equipment. But all the choices you have available with both function and equipment with a camera like that put you between the proverbial rock and a hard place I suppose.

I’ve used the little Panasonic Lumix camera for some years as a light, carry-around camera. I have really been pleased with the quality of photos for the most part. But probably not unlike you, I always have my eyes open for something I think might do a little better.
Great photos, Dad!

Clean and crisp with good color and lighting. Suprising quality for a "point and shoot" camera. How about a photo of the camera or an image of this from the web so we can view what you're using? I just had to purchase a larger SD card for my Nikon D80 as I had taken 140 photos at two scenes and ran out of media space! Had to go and dump my 2 GB disk to a CDR and return to the scene to continue taking photos! Argh!!
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