Nikon D600

I am done…

…with all that tinkering. Yes, I just sold my Nikon D600 with 50/1.8 G and 85/1.8 G lenses. There were few reasons why I did it.

First, I was really going to suffocate in the camera menus trying to figure out endless AF possibilities and also other camera adjustments. I was never happy with my current adjustments. Enough is enough.

Second, full frame is nice but usually I had to stop down quite much to get subjects both eyes sharp. And stopping down in low light situations means you have to use flash (which I do not like to use) or use high ISOs. It seems that APS-C sensor would be perfect for me. Nice shallow DoF but not so tricky to achieve sharp shots.

Third, I hate to change lenses. I really hate that. Actually, after buying 85mm lens I was solely using it. So, it seems that I do not need an interchangeable lens camera.

Fourth, it is a big beast. I am into smaller cameras. I really can’t understand when I will realize this. I hopefully have now realized it.

So, what is going to happen next. One part of the answer to this question is ready. I will order Fuji X100S immediately it will be available. I loved my late X100. I know I will love X100S much more. Another part of the answer is not so clear. Will I need another new camera for casual shooting? Small capable zoom compact maybe? Sony RX100?

And I am keeping my Sigma DP2 Merrill. It is so nice to own peculiar things which will surprise you very positively now and then.

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I used AUTO Mode! Do not tell anybody…

I have been somehow struggling with my Nikon D600. It feels very good but has really many options to tinker, too. Sometimes I am buried into the menus and changing things up and down, left and right. After all that mess I think that I have found perfect options for my shooting…

And I shoot lousy pics. And I tinker more… Less-lousy pics. Tinker more. Even lousier results.

After all this I thought that maybe I would need somekind of additional advice besides the camera manual. I was in process to look after some D600 ebooks from the web. I found Rob Sylvan’s eBook and decided to try it out. I was immediately quite delighted about it because it is written from the photography point of view. Not so technical but giving nice hints to really use D600. There are of course many things I already know but this book made me turn the mode switch to AUTO. AUTO! I do not even remember when I have used that mode previous time.

I shot few pics in AUTO. When I reviewed them from camera’s LCD I was surprised. They were good. Actually really good. I was looking around me if anybody sees that I am in AUTO. My sons did not comment on that and also our dogs were cool with that too. Then that eBook revealed to me that there is flash-off AUTO mode too. Wow, I really did not even realize that before. Available light AUTO! Had to test that too. Nice!

Because of this eBook, I think I am going to keep my D600. I love full frame and I was already thinking about Sony RX1. But I already have a FF camera. I just have to learn to use it properly. And that damned AUTO mode gave me extra boost to learn more.

First days with Nikon D600

As some of you may know I have switched my Fuji X-Pro1 set for Nikon D600 and two lenses, Nikkor 50mm and 85mm 1:1.8 G. I am very pleased that I did this exchange. I have been missing full frame after selling my 5D Mk II but most of all I was missing proper and fast auto focus with X-Pro1. Now, with D600, I have those both and I am happy.

I got D600 last Saturday and have been learning to use it since that. I have never had any kind of a Nikon camera before so I had to learn its buttons etc. I have to say that the learning curve have been quite low for me. No big things there.

Learning Nikon’s AF system have taken some time though. I have tested all of its AF possibilities and now I have found a system which suits me well. I use continuous-servo AF (AF-C) almost exclusively. With AF-C I utilize back-button focusing and I have assigned AF-ON to AE-L/AF-L button at the back of the camera ( I feel that the camera is most secure in this way in my hands even if I have to squeeze my thumb in because I am a left-eye shooter). This is a good system because I am able to keep camera in AF-C all the time and still get single AF by pushing AF-ON button and releasing it. After that I can recompose the shot if needed. If I keep AF-ON depressed all the time the camera will continuously track the subject. In this system I do not have to change the AF mode to get single or continuous servo AF. For AF area I mainly use 9-point dynamic area which works nicely also in dim lighting conditions. Single AF point is a good option when shooting e.g. close-ups. Because I have assigned AE-L button for activating AF I assigned AE-L to Fn button (front side of the camera) and spot metering to Preview button (also on the front side). Now I can use spot metering with exposure lock conveniently and fast if I need them.

The camera is really focusing fast even in dim indoor lighting. No more focus hunting! I really suffered about it with X-Pro1. I think that a proper AF is one of the main things in a camera. At least then if you want to shoot any moving subjects.

More of my Nikon D600 thoughts later on.

X-Pro1 vs. D600 – Part II

This is not a review. This is only my reasoning and ponderings. See previous post of this same topic below.

I just went through almost all my Canon 5D Mk II shots taken with 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 lenses. And that was a wonderful tour. So many shots with great memories. But also so many great shots technically. Quite many “action” shots of our sons and dogs too. At the moment I am not able to take that kind of action shots with my present cameras.

I went to mirrorless cameras because of their portability. And I felt that they have very nice IQ in the same small package. This is totally true. They have very nice IQ indeed. But is that IQ achieved in the photographic situations I am in? Low light and fast moving children and dogs. Short answer is no. This is of course only for my present cameras – Fuji X-Pro1 and Sigma DP2 Merrill.

Now I am in the process to decide if I should exchange my X-Pro1 to full frame Nikon D600. After going through my earlier own FF shots it seems that I should.

I chose mirrorless cameras because of the portability. But I am actually not carrying my cameras that much around. I am basically indoors or outdoors at our home or near vicinity of it. I really realize it now. Not much lugging around. When I carry my cameras I usually have to use a camera bag when I am not shooting because of children and dogs around me all the time. Otherwise there may be some damage happening. I have one small bag which is very good for DP2 Merrill but X-Pro1 will not fit in. For X-Pro1 (with XF 35 and XF 60 lenses) I use the same bag I was earlier using for 5D Mk II. And that’s not a big bag anyways. Nikon D600 with 50/1.8 (this lens is offered in the exchange) and 85/1.8 (this I would buy later on; it has quite reasonable price and very good IQ) lenses would fit confortably in that bag.

If I want to shoot those child/dog action shots again I need better AF than I am having at the moment. D600 would solve that problem. I would also like to have a good auto ISO system with nice ISO performance. D600 has that.

Those 5D Mk II shots were actually blowing my mind when I went through them. D600 is better camera than 5D Mk II in many areas. AF and ISO performance is better. Those linked to full frame would be nice combination for the shooting I am doing. I like shallow DoF and nice bokeh.

Later on I may add a quality compact in my arsenal. Sony RX100 would be nice one. Solves that lugging thing.

Should I go for a full frame Nikon?

I have been offered to exchange my Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 35mm and XF 60mm lenses for Nikon D600 with AF-S 50mm f/1.8 G lens. I have read many very positive reviews about Nikon D600 and I have to admit that I have been somehow missing full frame after selling my Canon 5D Mk II.

Nikon has a faster AF, better auto ISO (and good ISO performance up to 6400), decent RAW support in LR, and of course the FF. But it is bigger camera than X-Pro1. I have the brand new Sigma DP2 Merrill which is quite pocketable so I'm not sure if I need two small cameras ( X-Pro1 is not a pocketable camera anyways).

These are so tricky decisions every time! There is one big thing though. I take quite a lot of shots of my family and they are never still objects. 🙂 Faster AF (and less hunting one) would be a big asset.

Your opinions on this would be highly appreciated!