A Rookie Mistake. I Make It Every Year. Beware the Air Conditioning...

Was the Nikon 24-120 a bit soft....?

Naw. I just made a rookie mistake. I spent the morning is the JW Marriott Hotel documenting various parts of the Freescale Semiconductor FTF show and I (like most Texans) luxuriated in the arctic quality air conditioning. It's been rainy for, like, 5,000 days straight and now that Summer is heating up it's humidity soup outside. I walked around in the 60 degree (f) air conditioning enjoying the minus 15% humidity in the lushly carpeted hallways of this new hotel and then, when I stepped out of the hotel with my camera on a monopod, slung over my shoulder, the front element of my camera's lens condensed over like a cold can of Lone Star beer on a blazing hot day. For a few minutes the condensation was as thick and opaque as a lens cap but left alone for ten minutes it began to clear. 

I took the image above, of the Computer Science Corporation building, to remind me of what happens to the gear with sudden changes in temperatures and atmospheric wetness. I did resist the temptation to swab at it with a shirt tail or old piece of burlap.....

I'm sure people want to know how I liked the Nikon 24-120mm lens so here goes: Don't try to use this lens for anything with straight lines while shooting raw unless you are certain that you'll be using the latest revision of Lightroom or Photoshop with the included lens profile for this item. The uncorrected distortion is almost psychedelic. One click makes the lens as straight and true as a German macro lens. The combination of the software and the high inherent sharpness of the lens is a good team and I was well served. The nano crystal lens coating seems miraculous and resisted any flare; even when pointed directly into spot lights.

Have you noticed that there is a panel within the basic lens correction menu in Lightroom that gives you auto corrections for vertical perspective and other kinds of geometric user errors? It's called "Upright" and it is suggested that you first enable profile corrections and then choose from: auto, level (yes, it levels things in your image), vertical (one dimension) and full. 

So maybe you tilted your camera backwards to get in the top of a sign you are photographing. Now the sign keystones. One click on the "auto" correction gets you back to normal straight lines. I used this control set 226 times today to make small but noticeable corrections to files of signage, decor and room shots. It was fun, quick, efficient and charming. Much, much faster than trying to do the same thing manually with "transform."

You probably already knew it was there. I am a slow learner...


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  2. I did a lot of business in Fiji between 2005 and 2010, I learned to ask for a room above ground, so I could leave my camera on the balcony in a sealed plastic bag, I still got caught out, from time to time.

    Now, when the press pack invaded the hotel, in advance of the military coup, late 2006.... Those guys were real pros. They simply lived without air conditioning, leaving the door their doors to the balconies open 24/7.

  3. In future, I must endeavour to comment sans wine....

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  5. Naw. It's more fun when you are already having fun.

  6. I bought my D800E just after it was available for pre-order, and I added the 24-120 a week later.

    First card out of the camera and I was ready to return it, until I did all the clicks in Lightroom and love happened.

    Love came again with the 16-35 f4, these three amigos are the most used of my Nikon kit.

    I worry sometimes that with the lens profile and upright applied I am losing resolution, what do you think?

  7. Hi Richard, With the amount of resolution tucked into the D800E I'd say it's okay to lose a time amount in the edges. We'll probably never miss it. And I also love the lens now.

  8. With all the humidity a step out of the vehicle's nice cool AC into the warm damp will fog about anything.(my glasses) Funny when I lived up north it was the opposite. Shoot in the cold and you had to protect your camera from the warm heat inside the house or the same thing would happen.

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  10. I have run into this issue, especially going from AC in the car to the outside. What is the proper technique to avoid it? Keep the camera in the trunk instead of the cab of the car? Thank you, Dave

  11. The worst is central Florida (Orlando) starting around April. I drive to a location with my gear carefully stowed in its bag with bags of desiccant. When I arrive and step out of my air-conditioned car, my glasses instantly fog over. Just like the gear in my bag would if I pull it out. So I wait until my glasses clear up, and open the bag to let the temperature equalize. When my glasses clear then I can pull out my gear and get to work. In the summer I arrive a half-hour early before I get started so that everything is clear before I use it. The worst time is July/August in the mornings.

  12. Good heavens. I also had not discovered that little feast of automated lens corrections. My life has changed.


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