One of Imogen’s friends, who is also doing photography in sixth form, posted that she is saving for a camera. Specifically a Canon 5D. In keeping with the tradition of Canon/Nikon rivalry I considered posted that auto correct had changed ‘Nikon xxx’ to ‘Canon 5D’.

I set about researching equivalent models in the Nikon range. The nearest I found is the D800. The criteria I used to judge ‘similar’ were sensor size and price. But the more I read, the more I think that at this price point, Canon has the better camera.

The Nikon is cheaper and has a higher resolution (36Mp) sensor, so surely it’s the better camera? Well, maybe for some uses, but I feel it fails in two respects, both a direct result of going for a high pixel density.

Because the sensor elements are smaller they are less sensitive. The ISO equivalent range is therefore shorter than the Canon and at the high end noise becomes an issue. Second, because there are more pixels, the processing engine has to work with more data. This reduces the frame rate to 4 frames per second.

I then did some reading around the current Nikon DSLR range. I have a D300, the current incarnation of which is the D300S. It’s the only DX model (ACP size sensor) that Nikon have in their “professional” range. Professional seems to equate to similar electronics to the base FX model, but with a smaller sensor.

I continue to be very pleased with this camera. It’s capable of 6 frames per second, 8 with the external battery pack. Reading through the technical specifications of the current range the only camera that I’d consider replacing it with is the D4. This is unlikely to happen any time soon as it’s Nikon’s flagship model and costs around £4,300!

Wet Dogs

Sunday was a lovely day. I woke a little before seven, saw it was fine and went out to take photographs. I ended up going to Hardcastle Crags, near Hebden Bridge. I was very pleased that I did.

Slow splash #1As I got to Gibson Mill I found three ladies out with their dogs. The dogs were having a wonderful time playing in the stream. They kindly allowed me to take photos of the dogs, which I did and how. In a little under ten minutes I took 201 shots, JPEGs, equating to approximately 1Gb of data.

This gave me a chance to experiment with the continuous shooting mode and focus tracking features of the D300. It was a sunny morning and I was using my 85mm 1.8, so speed wasn’t a problem. Thing is, I had no idea what shutter speed I should use.

Looking back at the photos I see had selected shutter priority and started at 1/40th of a second. This gave a good effect in this photo, but it doesn’t freeze the droplets. I tried 1/100 of a second and must have checked the results on the camera as I very quickly changed the ISO rating to 800 and set shutter speed to 1/800th. This forced a wide open aperture and did a pretty good job, as illustrated here.

Retrieval #3The main splash isn’t frozen but the droplets above the dog contrast nicely with the darkness of the stream. This gives the shot action.

I was also very pleased with speed of my camera. I checked the times of one sequence and found six shots within a second.

One final lesson is to always zip your camera bag shut. I did and was glad that I had. Inquisitive wet dogs really don’t mind what gets wet :-)