Just another Saturday morning. A new (to me) camera. Swim practice. Some shop worn rationalizations.

We'll start with the swim and get that out of the way first. The wind was blasting in twenty to thirty mile per hour gusts and the temperatures were hovering around fifty degrees this morning when I made my way to the pool. I was moving slowly after our anniversary celebration last night. But I woke up quickly when I hit the water and started moving. After a long mile warm up we did a set that went like this:

Swim 3x100's (25 yards butterfly+75 yards freestyle) on 1:40 intervals.

Swim 4x25's butterfly

Swim 3x100's (50 backstroke+50 freestyle) same interval

Swim 4x25's backstroke

Swim 3x100's (25 breast stroke+75 free) same interval

Swim 4x25's breast stroke (with a double pull out off the wall).

Swim 3x100's (50 fast freestyle + 50 fast "over kick" freestyle) same interval

Swim 4x25 freestyle sprints

followed by a "pyramid" that went: 

200 yards pull > 150 yards pull > 100 yards sprint swim > 50 yards sprint swim > 2x25 sprints
> 50 yards fly > 100 yards choice stroke >150 yards pull > 200 yards pull. 

We moved pretty quickly in our lane and didn't have much time to hang on the wall and chat. I was sore by the end of the hour and a half but I'm not sure how much I should blame on that second glass of Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon I had at dinner last night. 

My swim goal for the year is to be able to swim a 100 yard freestyle back under one minute. We'll see how it goes.... I really need to work on my turns. 

Camera errata: I've revisited the images here during the week, they were made in 2008 with a combination of cameras, including a Fuji S5 and a Nikon D300. The ones on display here are from the Nikon. I continue to be amazed at how well the image stand up (technically) ten years later! The tipping point for me was when I came across the images I shot in West Palm Beach in the same year with the same camera. Once I saw the color and detail in those images I decided to go ahead and commit to acquiring the clean D300S I remarked about a few days ago. At less than $300 I rationalized that I'd bought more expensive filters. The camera comes with about 25k actuations, two batteries and a Nikon charger. I picked it up midday yesterday and intend to put it through its paces on a walk this afternoon (I really need the exercise?). 

Surprise Lens arrival: In somewhat related news, I went out to check the mail yesterday and found a box addressed to me from a VSL reader named, Stephen. I carefully slit the tape and opened the box to find a wonderfully well preserved Nikon Series E 36-72mm f3.5 zoom lens! There was a nice note as well. I love lenses in this range and have found all the Series E lenses to be optically great. The cherry on top of the whipped cream is the fact that the lens is par focal (doesn't shift focus as you zoom) which also makes it a great candidate for video!!! The lens hasn't been off the D300S since it showed up. It will be part of my afternoon test.


So, in the last month we've picked up a D2XS, a D300S, a D700 and a D800e; as well as an assortment of lenses. I'm labeling this "Old School Digital Photography Nostalgia Month" and will be reviewing each of these cameras in depth. What can I tell you right now? If you want good, competitive shooting tools from yesteryear the top two candidates right now are the D700 (for low light) and the D800e for just about anything else (still the best low light, full frame Nikon high density camera, according to DXO --- even better than the D850!). If you are a Nikon shooter and don't already have one a 24-120mm f4.0 VR is a good, all around work lens. So far, nothing over $1,000 bucks.... 

The rationalization: I started with the premise that the lower density, bigger pixel cameras might have a different/better look to the color and general acuity characteristics for files coming out of those cameras. I started buying older cameras in order to test this out. Most are available for a song... We already had many older Nikon lenses sitting around the studio. My blog will start a run on all this older gear and I'll be able to sell it at an obscene profit (seriously, probably not....). 

We've been slow around here this month, work wise, but next month promises to be non-stop with some out of town work, some out of country work, a trip to a college graduation in NY and some parental support for some minor surgery (time for someone's pacemaker replacement-- HIPAA laws prevent naming names...). Stay tuned for more exciting camera news from previous decades.....

And don't slack on that exercise program! You know you want to look great for bikini season (smile emoticon implied). 


Roger Jones said...

Nice work out. Since retirement I have more time to work out. It gives me the quit time I need to think about my next camera/software purchase or move. although I do miss the 0530 morning work outs in the desert and my runs at 6000 feet elevation. I live in a wetter climate now. Your right about the older cameras and lenses, they're great, and the new software makes them even better. There again a D200 without a AA filter is wonderful. The Sigma's with the Foveon are Leica quality with positive film.

Great images. You do have a talent for people shots, but I guess you know that, right??


Don Karner said...

Thank you for sharing this guitar porn! I love that mahogany topped Martin in the first picture. Oh yeah, the photography comments were good too! Have a great day.

ODL Designs said...

Argh. Must start getting back into shape...

I don't think it is the pixel size otherwise the D700 would have much nicer files than the D800. I honestly think it is the chase for higher iso performance.

I would love a 40mp AA free m43rds camera with a base ISO of 25 maxing out at 1600.

Anonymous said...

A couple of nice petit old Nikkor AI/S zooms include the 28-50/3.5, much smaller than the pj 25-50. There’s the 50-135/3.5 (decent wide open), and the renowned 75-150/3.5 series e. A company callled Legacy to Digital in the USA will also chip them to make them AI-P (& CLA if you have the budget), or you can buy chipped direct from them. Note, I receive no benefit, financial or otherwise from mentioning them. Just a happy customer.
Not THAT Ross Cameron

Carlo Santin said...

Agree on the series E lenses. I have a few of them and they are wonderful. If you can find the 100mm 2.8 series E you'll love it. Very compact. Such a good lens on the 12mp Nikon bodies.

DennisF said...

This is an interesting journey you are on. I have fond memories of a relatively small, light-weight body with large pixels that make beautiful files. I parted ways when I thought I had too many bodies and have regretted it many times. If you can get by the needless but harmless retro styling the Nikon df is beauty.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to explain, for some years, that I see special and desirable color qualities in images from my Canon 10D which I attribute to the relatively large pixel size. I usually get a smirk in reply. But I know I just can't duplicate the same thing with my newer Canon DSLR. It's interesting to see a generalization.

David said...

Kirk, have you ever tried the 24-85mm vr lens that came out with the d600?
If so how does the 24-120mm compare to it? I have the smaller 24-85, but hear so many good and bad things about the 24-120. Was wondering which you would prefer if owned both.
Thanks, David

Jim Atyeo said...

I too am a fan of larger pixel's, not quantity of pixels. Some of my best images have been taken with the big pixel camera's. Like the D700 and Canon's 1D MKIII and IV.
The famous analogy of the 5 gal. bucket vs. 1 gal and a teacup, which holds the most liquid. I think this is the same with of light. A 11 micron pixel is a bit better than a 4 or 5 micron pixel.

Chris Klug said...

I used to read your blog every day about four years ago. Then, for reasons past understanding, stopped. A software startup in Europe probably intervened. But, just before that move, I had discovered Nikon glass; specifically older manual focus Nikon glass, which I loved. I still shoot film, so I bought an F100 and an FM3a. All good. Last fall, I started shooting again seriously and decided that I wanted a digital Nikon for those occasions when I needed same, instead of my Fuji X-T1. I just loved the 'feel' of Nikon bodies in my hand, especially the F100. The price was right and I bought a D750, which I love. Much better in my hand than my older Canon digital gear, and the image quality is lovely. I returned to your blog and your insight into Nikon gear is, needless to say, right up my alley at this point. It just seems to me the ability to have at one's disposal ALL THOSE LENSES for both my film desires and my digital desires seems to me to be the way to go. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.