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Episode 16


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Episode 16

8 May 2009 8:02PM   Views : 336 Unique : 287

My reasons for abandoning Pentax amounted to more than a simple focussing issue. Having made the decision to move into the professional arena (and if possible, do it on my own terms) I sat down and thought long and hard about what I will (and can) take on and what I need to do to achieve the level of technical proficiency that would raise the standard of my work and, more importantly, improve my consistency. I have been greatly encouraged by a number of people whose faith in me will, I hope, not prove ill-founded and needless to say I also got plenty of advice about what gear I would need. My first reaction was that all I needed was to get my K10D fixed (for use as a back-up) and splash out on a K20D as my main workhorse. It was then that I started considering the alternatives and it soon became clear that there were other systems better suited to my needs. I know it's not about the gear but in a way, it really is, especially when you're working with it day in and day out.

I'll be the first to admit that my photographic technique is flawed. Deeply flawed. I have over 25 years experience and yet I work in such a spontaneous way that most of what I can remember gets shoved aside within the first five minutes of a shoot and instead I'm looking for something...else. And so it's back to school for a while as I force myself to work harder at applying the rules. Basically, I need more useable shots. a lot more.

So, if I'm going to be re-learning stuff I tried to convince myself I'd never need I figured it was time for some new gear Smile There is much to be said for making a clean break and having a fresh start. I'd already decided to stay with a cropped sensor but I wanted the option of an upgrade to full-frame in a year or two. Which meant I wanted full-frame lenses from the get go. I had no trouble settling on the Nikon D300 but lenses were tricky. In the end eBay came to my rescue and I managed to grab the three I most wanted: an old 20-35mm f2.8, a 60mm Macro (or Micro as Nikon will have it) and an 80-200mm f2.8. The macro lens is a bit of an oddity perhaps but I've found they make excellent portrait lenses and my wife shoots lots of small stuff she finds on the ground so she can use it too Smile

It would perhaps have been less daunting if my first shoot with the new camera had been with a model I had worked with already (Holly or Ruby for example) but instead it was with a model who was only in this country for a week before flying back to Norway. Gulp. Well, I did the best I could and learned a most valuable lesson. Image stabilisation is no a good thing for someone like me but part of my brain becomes convinced that it will result in sharper photos. And so, with both the KM 7D and the Pentax I was frequently shooting at anything from 1/30th to 1/4 second. What the Image stabiliser doesn't do is stop the subject from moving and I encourage models to keep moving rather than hold static poses. As soon as I began using the D300, as unfamiliar as I was with it, I was looking at the numbers. I was trusting the high ISO performance and fixing the shutter at no less than 1/60th. Suddenly I was trusting the camera but in a different way. I was trying to hold it better because I knew there was no IS. So I was back to working in a more considered way. I intend to build on that over the coming months and spurred on by the likes of Joe McNally cannot wait to venture out with some lights because, you know, I really have got to do something about shooting in crap light 50% of the time.

Was there a point to all this? Well, if there was, I've forgotten it now!

Tags: Nikon Mcnally New camera D300 Crap light


riprap007 16 1.6k 37 England
9 May 2009 2:36PM
a whole new world indeed. I agree about the macro lenses making good portrait lens, surprised that you haven't gone for a 50mm 1.8 though, even better and cheaper. good luck and work hard, that way you have more luck!
xanda 16 244 2 United Kingdom
9 May 2009 6:34PM
Thank you. I shall indeed be getting a 50mm f1.8 in addition to the macro. When my wife feels up to going out with a camera she'll probably pinch the macro off me anyway! Given how cheap the 50mm lenses are (and they're FX), it's a no brainer. Cheers Smile

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