Happy Halloween πŸŽƒ

It’s Halloween 2018! I thought it’d be a good time to see the “Monster” inside. Sorry for the silliness! πŸ˜€

“Samir Abu Aruba” He’s a nice enough guy but don’t get him angry or he might go ballistic on ya haha! Shot this with a Nikon D1 2.6mp and I’m not sure what I did to funk it up πŸ™‚

“The Camera Monster” This must be the real me haha πŸ™‚

 

“Send In The Clowns” πŸ™‚

Happy Halloween! Have fun and stay safe folks! πŸ™‚

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PhotoPlus 2018 Quick Observations

I attended the annual PDN PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention center in New York City last week.

Just to get it out of the way so you’re not disappointed, I am NOT doing a full throttle report on everything I saw.

It may be bad for some but it’s good for me because I simply was not all that excited by the latest and greatest gear!

Ok, I’ll admit, I enjoyed trying out the new. Nikon Z and Canon R series full frame mirrorless cameras. But unlike in 2013 when I saw the Sony A7R for the first time, I did not feel the need to want to have them. Wow, am I free? πŸ™‚

Ok again, lenses such as the HUGE 58mm f/0.95 Noct Nikkor (above) for the new Z Mirrorless system was exciting to see but now I say…Samster, even if you could afford it (which you can’t!) would you ever carry that thing out in the real world 😊

I thought mirrorless was about making things smaller and more compact. Perhaps it’s not possible to make a full frame lens that fast and make it smaller but I just think the big two Camera Legends Canon and Nikon are still obsessed with BIG as ever.

Anyway back to everything. I mean, I’m not going to lie. I loved it all, but now I feel it’s all for YOU to try. Not me. I think I, and perhaps some of you too, I’m at the point of gear exhaustion.

And I’m thinking realistically. What, really, is the Nikon Z or Canon R going to do for me that I couldn’t do with my “old” A7R?

By far, my favorite moment was catching up with my good man, the great Louis Mendes. If you don’t know, Lou is famous for shooting and selling portraits in the streets of NYC with a Speed Graphic large format camera.

In the past he used packfilm such as the discontinued Fuji FP series, but as a sign of the times (and because you know I’m interested in this stuff!) I found out that Mr. Mendes is now shooting with Instax Wide!! I can now say packfilm is officially DEAD if Lou stopped shooting it!

No he hasn’t given up his Speed Graphic for one of those horrible Instax monsters. He had his modified to take the Instax Wide film. It appears to me to be one of those hard to find, discontinued Belair Instax Wide backs.

It also seems he had a couple of acolytes with him learning the craft from the master.

The last shot is for all of you to see what you missed out on! Everybody loves a beautiful model! Is it ok if I call her “Sweet Sexy?” If not I’ll take it back 😊

Anyway that’s it for today. If any of you were there I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment!

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Photo Of The Day: β€œThe Apple Tree” Lomo β€˜Instant Wide Camera And “Film Is Cheap”

Well it’s that time of the year. You’ve probably seen a bit of this recently but here’s one more.

It’s apple picking time! And if you haven’t picked your apples yet, maybe it’s time to go before the season is over.

They say the apple is a perfect fruit in many ways. Nutrients, fiber, etc. However, I’ve always thought…isn’t this the fruit that God tried to forbid Adam & Eve from eating? If so, is there something God knows about it that us mere mortals don’t? Is there magic in it? Is it a sin today to eat apples? Don’t mind me, just food for thought!

I used a Lomography ‘Instant Wide with the standard 90mm f/8 and Fuji Instax Wide for this shot.

Here’s more food for thought. It may be a “sin” for me to say this, but even though I love instant photography, especially for its organic nature, it has always been a “supplemental” form of photography for me.

The images usually don’t deliver the same technical quality as 35mm, medium format or heck even modern digital. And that’s part of the charm I guess, but does it have to be this way?

And don’t get me started on the cost of Instant film! Back in the day I always heard people say something like “Keep shooting. Film is cheap!”

And my answer always was (and still is)…Film’s cheap but it ain’t THAT cheap! πŸ˜€

When you factor in the cost of development, the time required to process the images, the possibility of having to do reshoots…No, it ain’t that cheap!

However, as many of you will agree results from film is usually most satisfying in a way that’s hard to duplicate digitally.

As for that old “Film is cheap” slogan, I know they were mostly referring to standard 35mm or 120 film and not really instant film. As you know, Instant Film is NOT a financially cheap form of photography!

That said, I don’t always find instant prints all that satisfying. Even when sharp, the details are not all that apparent unless you’re using a loupe to look for them. A lot has to do with the cameras and lenses themselves I guess. Many are cheap, plastic cameras with cheap, plastic lenses.

Many instant cameras such as the Lomo I used here rely on guesstimating focus and that’s part of the reason why the lenses are so slow like f/8 it f/12, so that the majority of the time images could be decently sharp. The slow lenses also help keep costs down but also forces you to use flash or a tripod in low lighting conditions.

I’m still waiting for someone to come out with a high quality Instax Wide Camera with a decently fast lens for $500 or under. I’m thinking I’ll probably wait an eternity for that one! 😊

Even worse, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fuji discontinues Instax Wide film before that happens.

Mind you I know about the high quality Instant Cameras of yore such as the Polaroid 600se or the Polaroid 180 that I reviewed here a couple of years ago. As you might know, I loved those Camera Legends but with the end of packfilm they’re just living on borrowed time. What I’d like to see is someone come out with a great Instant Wide Camera with a great lens for the masses.

It may be a hard sell, but I’d bet if someone could make ten of them and sell them for $500 each, they’d all sell out.

I like the concept of Mint’s TL70, the TLR that takes Instax Mini film but I’m just not a big fan of those tiny card sized prints. I want BIG baby, BIG prints!!

Ah well, I’ll just keep dreaming cause I know it’s not going to happen any time soon. I know it won’t! PS: Sometimes I like tempting fate by saying this stuff so I can be proven wrong and get my dream instant camera sooner πŸ™‚

If someone comes out with that killer Instax Wide Camera I’m all for it. I just realized I didn’t say enough about the Lomo used in this article! It’s a decent enough camera at a good price point, I’ll probably review it someday. It’s just not the instant camera I’ve been dreaming of. Ah anyway, sorry for my rambling today I thank you all for reading one man’s random thoughts 😊

Photo Of The Day: “Saturday In The Park” Mamiya 6 75mm 3.5 G Lens

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“Saturday In The Park” 2016. Mamiya 6, 75mm f/3.5 Mamiya G lens, Kodak T-Max 400 in D76 developer.

In my effort to be more active for you good people, here’s a shot and short article for today. Shot with a Mamiya 6 and 75mm f/3.5 Sekor. I actually shot this a couple of years ago before I sold the camera. It was in Central Park.

Speaking of “Saturday In The Park” I recently saw a CNN documentary which I think is a couple of years old, on one of America’s oldest and greatest pop/rock bands, Chicago. I loved their stuff from the 70s and 80s although admittedly they went into the “soft rock” category with the rise of (then) lead singer Peter Cetera, not that it’s a bad thing mind you.

I always thought the band broke up because of Cetera and his ever growing star in the 80s. But now I’m not so sure it was really a case of someone getting a big head or whether he and the band could just no longer get along.

Just like another great 80s band Journey, I’ll always associate Cetera’s voice with Chicago just as I associate Steve Perry with Journey.

Anyway, I’m drifting off course! Music just happens to be my other passion. I especially like rock and popular music from the 50s through the 90s. Not much for music after that πŸ˜€

The Mamiya 6 is a Camera Legend. I had a complete outfit in 2009 including the body, 75mm f/3.5, 50mm f/4, and 150mm f/4.5 telephoto. I started selling off the lenses first, then the camera and 75mm because I wasn’t using it enough and needed funds for other things. You know the deal 😊

I’ve always thought of giving the Mamiya 6 a formal write-up on these pages and I’m sure I’ll get to it one of these days, but I’m not sure I could write enough to do it justice. It’s a fantastic medium format rangefinder. In fact, if I had the funds I could easily talk myself into it again!

If you look at the photo, you’ll notice some blotches, most notably on the bottom right, a result of my imperfect developing. Not making any excuses, but many people actually do not mind, and some even “want” these imperfectons these days! Don’t believe me? You should see what people are liking on Instagram! I guess it’s part of what people today consider a part of that “film look.”

Back in the day, I don’t remember people loving imperfect pictures all that much, but since this shot is imperfect…ok, I’m cool with it! πŸ™‚

I’ve always said and it’s worth repeating that T-Max 400 is a beautiful film that develops best in T-Max Developer. As I did not have any T-Max Developer on hand, I decided to take my chances with D76.

I’ve noticed that when in D76, the T-Max will have a tendency to produce streaks and blotches. Sometimes I get lucky and get a clean set, but T-Max 400 seems more finicky than other films and results with T-Max Developer are consistently smooth.

Well, that’s it for this morning. Oh one more thing, these are not all my kids! πŸ˜€

The Nikon D700 Revisited…The Ten Years Later Review

The Nikon D700 is a 12.1 megapixel, full frame Digital SLR released by Nikon in July 2008. Today, we will look back on the D700. I will share with you my impressions on its image quality, performance and its impact on the world of photography.

AS A CAMERA

There’s a lot of pages with all the specs but I’ll just list a few key features. The camera has a 12.1 megapixel full frame sensor. The shutter speed range is 30 seconds to 1/8000 plus Bulb. Flash synch at 1/250. It has a native ISO range of 200-6400 plus 100-25600 via boost.

My war-torn 200K plus D700 still kickin’ it! πŸ™‚

The D700 also has Live View but it’s first generation and it shows. It looks a little jittery and if you move it around there’s an apparent lag, but once on target it works fine.

The camera is capable of 5fps on its own and 8fps with optional grip. The camera uses the Nikon EN-EL3e battery.

The D700 is a pro quality DSLR and for all practical purposes is a more compact Nikon D3. There are slight differences between the D700 and D3 to be sure, but image quality is exactly the same as they both use the same sensor.

The D700 arrived on the market at a lower price than the D3, increasing its appeal and affordability to both professionals and enthusiasts alike.

TIMELINE

In 2007, Nikon released the D3, a professional 12.1 megapixel DSLR, and its first full frame digital camera. Their previous kingpin was the D2X/D2Xs a with its 12.4 megapixel APS-C sensor.

After years of stating that they would not make a full frame DSLR, and getting their hardcore base to rally around that, Nikon surprised everyone with the release of the D3.

In my opinion, the Nikon D3 is the camera that saved Nikon and brought it back, alive and kicking butt into the second phase of the digital revolution. But that’s a topic for another review. Today, we are talking about the D700.

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“Time Out” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Baby gets into a hair pulling moment as a result of having to take “time out” πŸ™‚

MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE D700

I got my first D700 in July of 2008. Rarely do I get a camera in the same month it was released. So how did I come upon the D700? Simple, just like many of you, I climbed the ladder of camera ownership!

And what does that mean? Well, before the D700 I was using a 12.3mp Nikon D300 which was released with the D3 in 2007.

I was perfectly fine with the D300. In fact, I was impressed with its performance and the fact that it was APS-C didn’t bother me. I read about Nikon’s reasoning as to to why they were not going to make a full frame camera and even though I thought they were just in denial or just making excuses for why they wouldn’t make one, I accepted it.

Then the D3 came out and I was surprised and happy they made a full frame DSLR, but I just couldn’t afford the hefty $4999 price tag, even though the price was well in line with professional cameras of the time. So I was resigned and content to stay with the D300 as I already had a full frame Canon EOS 5D Classic.

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Gear Lustin’ in 2008! My two main digital cameras in 2008, the Canon EOS 5D Classic and the Nikon D700, seem to have come full circle in 2018!

In comes the photo forums…

As I’ve said here before, I was on the forums just like you guys! Photo.net, Rangefinderforum, Fredmiranda.com, etc.

I won’t say which one, but near the end of July of 2008, I saw a fellow forum member advertise a new D700 he had just gotten and wanted to sell for whatever reason. At over $2000, it was still a hard sell for me financially, but the fellow said he was willing to take a “D300 plus cash.” Hot dog! Bang! This might be my opportunity so I PM’d the guy and since he was local, all the better.

So I go and see the guy. We had some cool camera talk, checked out the cameras, and we had a deal. I handed over the D300 plus a little cash and I walked out with a near new D700! I hate to say it, but I said to myself…wow, Samster, somehow you managed to do it again! πŸ™‚

Anyway, the love was short lived as I used the same ladder to climb up to a D3 in 2009 when G.A.S. attacked! I sold my D700 and eventually the D3 too.

I got the D700 again in 2016 when I noticed an unusually low price online. And the prices continue to fall making this a great time to try one! If you’re interested I’ll list the trending prices down below.

IMAGE QUALITY

In my opinion, the Nikon D700 is capable of superb image quality, especially at lower ISOs.

What I liked…

“Apples” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and by having the same 12.1mp sensor, the D700 offers the same excellent image quality as its big daddy D3.

Rich colors and tones. A certain depth to the images that might be attributed to the sensor, the processing, etc. I can’t say for sure what it is, but I call it theΒ Magic Sensor.

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“Red, Green & Gold” 2008. Nikon D700, 110mm f/2 Zeiss Planar via adapter.

There’s also a pleasing balance of sharpness and smoothness to the images which make it perfect for portraits and people photography, one of my favorite forms of photography.

Of course, if you’re a landscape shooter you’d probably be better off with a higher resolution camera but you didn’t need me to tell you that! πŸ™‚

THE MAGIC SENSOR

I call the D3/D700 sensor the “Magic Sensor” because it just seems to bring images to life. I used to think it was just the full frame sensor, but now ten years later I know it is not, or at least not exclusively a result of the sensor alone but I sure believe the full frame sensor is a factor.

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“Magic” 2016. Nikon D700, 60mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s “Magic Sensor” seem to bring everything to life. Well, a happy smiling baby helps I guess! πŸ™‚

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“Uh Oh It’s Magic!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. The 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor already offers decent bokeh but a full frame sensor takes it a step further making f/1.8 look even smoother.

There are cameras I have used in today’s world, such as the mirrorless Olympus OM-D EM-5 that also seem to provide similar, rich and colorful images despite the much smaller sensor.

So perhaps it’s a combination of sensor plus whatever processing the camera is doing to the images. Perhaps it’s just how far we have come in digital camera technology that some mirrorless cameras can achieve a full frame “look” that I have not seen in first generation mirrorless cameras.

I know what you’re thinking…it’s all in the lenses! That’s partially true, but in this case I’m not just talking about bokeh or shallow depth of field. Just the whole image, everything in it.

In these two cameras, the magic is comparable both in Jpeg and RAW.

PERFORMANCE

The D700 offers speedy and accurate AF as would be expected from what is essentially a D3 in smaller form. The Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module with 51 AF points is more than enough to handle almost anything even today, in my opinion.

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“Gimme A Break” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF Nikkor.

The 12.1mp sensor might seem small in today’s world, but if you’re not shooting detailed landscapes or billboards for some ad campaign you’re going to be fine with the resolution. The sensor in my opinion is particularly well suited to portrait and people photography but is also well suited to street or any other kind of photography you might aspire to.

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“Shoot!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Thoth” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. A NYC Central Park mythical figure named “Thoth.” Considering this tricky lighting, the D700 Matrix metering fared well giving a usable exposure that would look even better with a little work.

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The joy of taking pictures is contagious! Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. Just look at the woman’s hair and skin. The D700 offers just the right balance of sharp and smooth.

The D700 is fine with modern AF-S lenses but is also “old school” in the fact that it can drive those old AF lenses that need to be screw driven like, for example, the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D lens.

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“The Kid’s American” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mmf f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s fast AF caught this young man before he ran off, which was a split second later πŸ™‚

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“Toto” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Granny Love” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

The large and clear 95% coverage viewfinder also make it a good choice for using those wonderful old AI Nikkors. Do NOT use it with Non AI lenses or you may damage the camera and/or the lenses.

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“Noon” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor.

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“Night Buddy” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS, ISO 3200. The D700 does an excellent job at the “high” ISO of 3200.

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“Smile!” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor.

Because of the superb image quality and the ability to comfortably use manual focus lenses, I view this camera today as sort of a Poor Man’s DF but without the ability to use Non AI lenses.

BOTTOM LINE

The Nikon D700 took the legend of the Nikon D3 to the masses and became a Camera Legend in its own right.

The D700 gave more Nikon users a chance to see what full frame digital was all about and in doing so, hooked users in with excellent imaging capabilities in a strong, robust body.

Even today in 2018, with all the full frame cameras Nikon has put out since 2008, the D700 is still highly regarded and is considered a digital camera classic.

If your goal is to capture great pictures and you’re not interested in 4K video, focus peaking, and whatever else today’s cameras offer, then the Nikon D700 will still deliver the goods and is one of the two cheapest full frame bodies you can get today.

ALTERNATIVES

The main alternative for the Nikon D700 is the 12.8mp Canon EOS-5D Classic. As someone who has used both extensively, I can say with confidence that you can’t go wrong with either! But if you really want me to nitpick, here’s what I have experienced with these two Camera Legend cameras.

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“Brother 700” 2008. Nikon D700, 45mm f/2.8P Nikkor. The Nikon D700 does well with manual focus lenses such as the 45P seen here which is why the Brother calls it the “Poor Man’s DF” πŸ™‚

The 5D images appear somewhat sharper, but the D700 has richer tones and colors. The D700 body is much more refined, feeling like a more mature product, as it should be for a camera from 2008 versus a camera from 2005. Autofocus is faster on the D700 as should be expected.

The D700 does better at higher ISOs. Images hold up better though I don’t mind the grit and “grain” of the 5D Classic images at IS0 3200.

At low ISOs, both cameras still deliver superb results showing that back as far as 2005 digital cameras were already awesome!

Again, if you’re invested in the Nikon system or the Canon system, that should be your main consideration and not the cameras themselves. Both cameras rock!

AVAILABILITY AND WHERE TO BUY

If you’re looking for the Nikon D700 (or the 5D Classic) this is a great time to pick one up! The D700 is plentiful on the used market so you shouldn’t have a problem getting one.

Prices for the D700 are trending now at $400-700 depending on condition, package, etc.I say just get the cheapest one you can as long as you buy from a dealer you can trust.

I’ve heard about the below $300 D700 bodies, but as of today, they are rare and most likely beater bodies. Average seems to be $450-525 USD for ones in good to excellent condition. If you’re going above $600, I would seriously consider one of the newer bodies, ie, D600, D610, or even the D3 of which prices have come down significantly in the past couple of years.

I got my latest one in 2016 for under $400. It was in cosmetically Good condition. Little did I know it had over 200K shots on it! But, knock on wood, two years later and a few thousand shots later she’s still shooting unlike myΒ bought NEW in 2012Β Olympus OM-D EM-5 which kicked the bucket last year at approximately 5K
shots.

The cheapest D700 bodies would probably be found on eBay (Direct D700 Link)

Alternatively, here’s your Canon 5D Classic link on eBay (Direct 5D Classic Link)

Another good place to find both is our trusted affiliate Here.

Thanks for reading and I’d be glad to hear from any fellow D700 owners!

Photo Of The Day: β€œApples” Nikon D700

The image above was shot with a Nikon D700 and 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. This is not a gear posting however. It’s what I call a “Life” posting 😊

Friend, it’s that time of the year again! Time to pick them apples 🍎

This is the time when the “empire” state and the “Big Apple” really live up to their names 😊

The kids enjoyed picking them apples and so did I but I wondered, considering the “fill as you can” bag cost us more than what I could get at the local store, it may be a little fresher but is it really any better? 😊

Not sure but I did enjoy the apples! If you have an apple farm near you, time to go before it’s to late guys! Happy Sunday!

YouTube Video Update: The Canon EOS-1 Film Camera

The Canon EOS-1 from 1989 is a modern day Camera Legend that had a titanic effect on the world of photography and camera design.

Just giving you guys an update that I have just uploaded a companion video for our 2015 review of the Canon EOS-1 film camera review. I will be moving it to update that review at a later time. I’ve cut off some of the intro here but it’s still a long video so if you have the time, grab a cup of coffee and a donut and indulge in a little camera geekery πŸ™‚

I think it’s been slightly understated by many writers, but to me the Canon EOS-1 is among the most important and influential cameras of the past 50 years, easily as influential to cameras of the 90s and up until today, as the Nikon F was influential to cameras of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The way Canon gelled the use of buttons, dials, and wheels and implemented custom functions to personalize the camera to suit one’s individual tastes is something seen on nearly all serious cameras today. In 1989, the EOS-1 was one of the few cameras that had all these things together in one package.

Anyway, YouTube is a tough nut to crack. You don’t know what people will like! People love reaction videos, watching people eat, watching people pick pimples, etc, etc πŸ™‚

But slowly, I’ll just keep adding videos as I can for all you hardcore camera lovers! Thanks for watching and I’ll see you guys soon!

-Sam