Sunday, January 21, 2007

Car Show Blahs

I shot last year's car show in January and got so many shots I did 5 posts full of pictures. This car show was something of a letdown. There were hardly any concept cars... just mostly showroom cars and some unexciting classics.

BTW... that first shot of the Jaguar hood ornament was done not with my little Fuji F30, but with my Nikon D200 and my new 18-200mm VR lens. The VR (vibration reduction) lenses allow the camera to shoot at lower shutter speeds without camera-shake blur. The hood ornament photo was shot at 1/45th of a second at 135mm and I easily got a good sharp image without using a tripod. A rule of thumb has always been that you need a shutter speed "equal to" the focal length. For instance, if you are shooting a 200mm lens you'd need a shutter speed of 1/200th second... or if you were using a 28mm lens, you'd need a shutter speed of 1/30th second to get a sharp image. I've always found this rule of thumb to be pretty accurate. Using the VR lens, I can usually shoot with 2 or 3 stops lower shutter speed than before.

I've been testing this lens and I'm really happy with it. The huge focal length range of 18mm to 200mm means that I'll be changing lenses much less often. I'll miss fewer shots that require quick reactions because I won't have to change lenses in the middle of shooting. It also means less dust inside the camera and less dust falling on my sensor. Cleaning the sensor is a real pain.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rick, 2 quick questions:

1. Is Nikon's VR technology the same thing as Canon's IS (image stabilization)?

2. What do you use to clean your sensor?

Robert said...

I really like the subtle tones on these pictures, Rick.

I have a Canon IS lens (24-105) and also appreciate the gain by being able to extend the exposure. Only of any use, of course, if the target is still!

Rick Lee said...

Yes, Nikon VR is like Canon IS. I assume they work the same way, but I'm not sure. The Nikon lenses have tiny motors in them to move the lens elements to compensate for camera shake. As Robert said, it doesn't help with subject movement! I can hold the camera rock steady at 1/10th of a second, but if a person turns their head at that instant... blurrrr.

Regarding sensor cleaning, I actually sent my first pro digital camera back to the Fuji repair shop to have the sensor cleaned after a few months of use. I knew that this was no long-term answer! We couldn't be sending our cameras out like this all the time. The sensors need cleaning much too often. Of course, if you never change lenses you might not need to, but for most people, sensor dust (which makes little dark spots on your image) just accumulates. It's much more obvious at small f-stops. You might not notice the dust at f4 but at f22 it's real obvious. Most pros (including me) use Photographic Solutions (brand) Sensor Swabs... with the Eclipse Solution. (go to Amazon and search "Photographic Solutions"). I have a buddy who calls the swabs "Pricey Wipes". They are very pricey, but whaddya gonna do? Don't try wiping your sensor with just anything! Read your camera manual carefully to learn how to open the shutter and mirror to expose the sensor. This is real delicate work and you could ruin your camera very easily.

Anonymous said...

I can't tell how well it works, what with having nothing to compare it against, but my Olympus E-500 shakes the sensor at start-up to supposedly shake off any dust.

It might work, it might not, but it does come at the cost of a 2 second start-up time, which can be an annoyance under situations where I'm in a real hurry to get a shot.

Rick Lee said...

Dave... I've heard of that and another anti-dust technology that blows some ionized wind (or something) over the sensor.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick,

Yeah, I ordered the Sensor Swabs and Eclipse last week. They were pricey to be sure, but I can't stand having to "heal" the sky in all of my high f-stop photos any more.

Glad to hear they work as advertised. From what I understand, they guarantee no sensor damage if you use the Swab, so that's some peace of mind.