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Found 2 results

  1. Guest

    Montenegro 2014

    ...
  2. Yesterday my Nikon repair tech spent a good number of hours disassembling my Nikon D40X in order to retrieve the special-cut Baader U filter inside it (courtesy Vivek Iyer). Then, a brand new D3200 was the non-cooperative host for a filter transplant. These cameras are not really designed with such in-depth surgery in mind so getting into the camera takes time and patience. The D40X has been one of the cornerstones for my UV work for several years now. Humble and low-end as it might appear, it has proven itself under rough field work where other items have failed. True the handling is an acquired taste as advanced photography obviously wasn't a target for its control layout, but once you get the hang of it not hard either. Since all my lenses for UV are CPU-modified and so are extension rings and bellows units, the little D40X accepted them without ever questioning their Nikkorish origin. The camera has the Baader U 2" inside so visual viewing through the finder is present, this makes it easy to use the camera for hand-held close-ups with the SB-140 flash. For the last year or so, the D40X has been joined by a Panasonic GH-2 for UV photography. The Panasonic costs more but is more cheaply built and thus cannot take the same level of beating. I'm already on body #2. Despite this small drawback, the GH-2 offers much better "UV w/b" (this can be reliably done in-camera) and can do UV video fairly well under natural light conditions. The video footage does not need additional colour correction since the balance is correct straight off the camera. The 16 MPix sensor of the GH-2 gives slightly better UV detail than the D40X with the latter having "merely" 10 MPix; however, dynamic range is more restricted and noise tends to enter earlier than what the maker's pamphlets promise. The biggest problem with the GH-2 is that it is awkward to use for indoor studio setups unless you can shine a constant UV light onto the subjects and using such light sources introduces a lot of issues on their own. Thus I preferred the D40X, but then the pixel count might be on the low side for some applications. I noticed the D3200 with 24 MPix as a candidate for replacing the D40X, ad recently availed myself of a sample at a very low price to give it a try. The D3200 has inherited many of the control features of the D40X and share its physical dimensions so clearly aims for the same market segment. Still there are noteworthy improvements such as Liveview, HD video, and GPS support in addition to the increase from 10 to 24 MPix. They both use the same IR Remote (ML-L3) but the D3200 has an additional receiver for IR on its rear side. Battery technology is, as usual these days, different, meaning even more chargers to bring on a trip. I picked up the camera this morning and haven't had time to play it in depth, but from what I see so far, results are promising and in particular, images have that silky coherence that the GH-2 often had trouble to reproduce. Colours are, as expected, very reddish straight off the camera, so profiling is required. For now I'm using a tweaked D40X profile but will try to make a separate one for the D3200 when time permits. UV response seems to be on the same level as the GH-2 and using Liveview for focusing even on a dull, rainy October day was not a problem. Haven't tried UV video yet, but since colours will be off, I probably reserve the GH-2 for future UV video work. Here is a Bidens ferulifolia from today's test shots. The UV-Nikkor was set to f/11, ISO 400, with a single SB-140 unit at 40-50 cm distance. Captures using Liveview, by the way. With my Broncolor studio flashes, f/16-f/22 at 100 ISO for closeups was easily achieved with the flash output reduced to 50%. Thus the modified D3200 ranks amongst the most UV-responsive cameras used by me. First, to underscore you cannot, or rather should not, use images run straight off the camera, here is the jpg the D3200 produces, Second, a properly processed NEF to show the camera indeed has the same UV characteristics as the GH-2 (with w/b set in-camera for UV) or the D40X (profiled).
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