year or so ago I acquired a Nikon 990 digital camera and thought a few of my tests
and thoughts would be of interest. I first did a comparison between an image shot
direct with the 990 and a tranny shot with an F4 and Nikkor lens. Both were hand
held and were of a similar focal length. Then came a Dimage 7 followed by a Dimage A!. The Nikons D70, D200 and recently the D300 came next. The Casio F1 followed and then a Nikon P500. Latest are a Nex7 and a Fuji S1. You will find links to them at the bottom of the page
is the 990 image reduced for the web from its original 2048 x 1536 size.
original Sensia tranny was scanned in at 3249 x 2325 and rescaled in PS .
is a section of the scanned tranny shot with the SLR
is a section of the digital camera shot
Nikon 990 was pretty good in comparison with the trannies and I did about ten
examples another of which is below. I blew up a section of the original digital
image in Photoshop to give you some idea of its potential.
Not a straight
shot of the fruit but using the 990 to copy a tranny. The lightsource was an old
enlarger colour head turned upside down. The 990 was put onto a copy stand and
the image linked to a colour monitor for viewing. A 35mm slide is placed over
the lightsource and the 990 focussed to give a 1-1 copy. I have even gone closer
to enlarge sections of a 35mm slide. So the 990 does a fair job of an all-round
scanner. The image on the left was printed upto A3.
close-up is a section enlarged in Photoshop from a 30 meg file produced from the
Genuine Fractals plug-in.
are great with the 990 and its ability to focus so close to objects is more than
useful. Here are two shots I took in the garden to illustrate the point. Both
are using available light and are hand held.
You may have noticed
that the image on the left is not quite like the original.The background on the
original is too distracting so I selected the backgound in photoshop and used
gaussian blue to obtain a more pleasant image. Both images blow upoto A3 and you
can even go bigger if you use the Genuine Fractals plug-in for Photoshop.
One problem you
may come across when using the 990 in bright sunlight is the inability to see
the image in the LCD screen as the optical viewfinder is not going to be all that
accurate for close-ups. To get over the problem a very useful accessory -Xtend-a
-View Pro comes into its own. This is a x2 magnifier and shade which can be temporarily
fixed to the LCD by velcro .Details from
http://www.eagleeyeuk.com. Its a bit tricky to get used to at first as it
magnifies the texture on the LCD. It is certainly useful when using convertors
which block the optical viewfinder.
Recently I attended
the unveiling of a blue plaque at his birth place in Hale, Cheshire to George
Rodger one of the co-founders of Magnum. As you can see the weather was pretty
awful but the 990 came through with flying colours.
Mrs Rodger is unveiling the plaque at 145 Hale Road, Altringham. On the right
David Hurn of Magnum who had travelled from Cardiff for the occasion addressed
the invited guests.
images taken with the 990 taken from Tower Bridge, London patched together in
area of photography I have become hooked on recently is 'time lapse'. Up until
recently unless you have been able to afford an expensive camera capable of taking
one frame every second or so - and for many thousands of seconds it is beyond
the reach of ordinary mortals!. Even the latest pro-am video cameras seem to have
ommitted the time lapse feature from their specifications. My old Sony HI-8 did
have some facilities but never down to individual frames and my experiments with
it lacked the smoothness I wanted to achieve. Now this has changed.
the Nikon 990 with settings of 640 x 480 and low compression JPG's and pressing
the exposure button every 5 seconds I was able to get about 650 images from a
64 meg card. Using Adobe After Effects I then imported the set of JPG's and ended
up with a remarkable cloud time lapse sequence. You could probably use some other
Video editing package such as Premiere -as long as it can export to AVI or Quicktime.
To get it to play on the slowest computer I had to put the images through a Photoshop
Action script reducing the size to 320 x 240.
Now I have started to use an
interesting device from the States -the DigiSnap (http://www.Harbortronics.com)
It is a tiny gizmo that is linked to the 990 with a USB to serial lead. It can
remotely control the zoom on the lens and set in progress a time lapse sequence.
Ideally to get a really smooth cloud sequence a frame rate of 1 every 2 or 3 seconds
is best, but I have now done several with the DigiSnap that look pretty cool.
As the clouds did not have much detail for jpeg compression I managed once to
get 1950 shots from a 64 meg card at about 15 shots per minute.
This test sequence
was shot on the 990 using a 64 meg card.
The 1283 images were shot at 640
x 480 high compression JPG (file size about 40kb each). The 990 was controlled
by the DigiSnap. The images were loaded into After Effects and rendered out in
various sizes.The best quality AVI was some 576 megs. The AVI here was reduced
to 160 x 120 (high qual) using the indeo5.10 codec. File size now 780 KB
was a longer test sequence -1616 pictures at 640 x 480 on the 64 meg card, the
990 again being controlled by the DigiSnap.The uncompressed AVI was about 1.3
gigs but this version at 160 x 120 is 838 KB (Indio 5.10 Codec 50% compression)
over 500 pictures in this test sequence. The original images reduced in After
Effects and saved using the Indio 5.1 Codec.File size is 791 KB
have used the 990 for shooting pictures at Man City home games and you can view
the images at
Because of its wider focal length range lens the Dimage 7 took over for
soccer pics for a while -see citykeegan.htm
Now it's the D300