Not all memory cards are created equal

I have mentioned before that there is a lot of difference between different memory cards.

The SD cards, cheap but easy to break, and do fail on writes occasionally causing lost work. Note after you have downloaded the photos, and have backed them up, format the card in camera. Then before use format again. If the format takes longer then usually your likely to soon have issues.

CF cards use a different technology, are much more robust and are less likely to fail but still take precautions, and make a note of when you bought a card and how much it has been used. Refresh old cards, also it is often better to use a couple of smaller cards than one big card.

So the reason for this post is I see Delkin are about to release a new version of their Black series CFexpress card, which can write faster than a Nikon Z9 can write. So no more buffer issues if you like shooting at 20fps or more. I currently use Delkin Black CFexpress cards myself.

Trying things out

There is a new community resource opened near to us. An old smoke house that on the ground flour is a plain white brick well lit space, and a dark plain brick walled basement with no light.

Its available to hire for a nominal fee for local Yoga, Pilates groups, knitting and sewing clubs etc. It also makes an interesting space for photography.

So what to do, well I booked a local well known model Girl On Fire for the day and as well as shooting some local lifestyle shots for both are portfolios in coffee shops and around the local village, we spend a few hours seeing what we could produce in this space.

We had a lot of fun and created some great pictures, I’ll definitely be trying this out again.

Colour Science

Jessica Lee, Nikon D800 Digital SLR

All cameras today are excellent whether you shoot Canon, Sony, Nikon or Fuji. All the leading cameras now can produce very clean 14 bit (or more for medium format). This allows great potential for post production and editing. With a colour checker and custom profile you can really get the colours accurate or colour graded exactly how you want.

Lydia, Nikon Z7

I know a number of portrait photographers who at the end of the session hand the jpegs out of camera to their client. With the right lighting, and knowing your camera you can get exactly the output you want. Many of these use Canon 1D and they love the out of camera jpegs.

Fuji is famous for their film simulations, if you liked one of their films then they have a simulation to match.

Hasselblad and Nikon tend to go for a more neutral look, I myself shoot a neutral flat profile with Nikon but have a number of Adobe Lightroom presets I have created to add the colour grading I like.

Leica M10

I know many users just love the Nikon colour science and the look out of camera.

If you want a particular look I suggest you have a look at your in camera settings, even cameras with limited profiles allow customisation so you can set things up as you like. Have a play and learn.

Maternity Shoots

Kate

Maternity shoots are always fun, I have done a few in the past for ladies who have never been in front of a photographer before, its always important to remember the small talk and concentrate on building a relationship with the person, I often have the future father present to give support and if I can persuade them to take part as well.

Fair testing and reviews

Watching the initial viewpoints of the new Nikon Z9 has led to some controversy.

The first one is the small buffer, only 30 shots before the buffer fills in lossless compressed RAW. That video was from a reviewer who only had slow XQD card. Another reviewer who had a faster CFExpress card got 90 shots. So a big controversy was generated over nothing. Next year when the next gen CFExpress cards come out this will not be an issue for people who need that performance, but that seed has been sown in peoples mind and will hurt Nikon.

Some of these initial reviews have been big events organised by Nikon, the camera getting passed from reviewer to reviewer. One video I saw, the reviewer was getting a good hit rate for focus on birds in flight but it some times struggled to initial get focus. Towards the end of the video the reviewer mentions that the focus had been setup oddly, not on animal or auto, so later he reset it and now the camera was focusing and getting that initial lock straight away. Someone watching the first half of the video would get a very different impression of the focus abilities then someone who watched all the video.

Some of the better videos have been with Nikon Ambassadors, some who have had the camera for nearly three months and really gotten to grips with the features. The problem with videos from these people is can you believe them? They are chosen by Nikon and would not want to hurt the hand that feeds them so to speak.

I think with any camera its better to wait until everything is finalised on the camera (these were pre-production models with early firmware), and a reviewer that can spend some time learning the ins and outs of the camera. The release of the Z9 by Nikon has been handled fairly well, much better then the Z6 an Z7 which had very early firmware and still were not focusing very well, this was fixed and then revolutionised with firmware v2 and v3.

Too many hobbies – Music

I like many people have too many hobbies. Not only that but they all some to want all my free cash. If I had one hobby life would be much easier. My main daybjob is an IT Engineer; that’s my main income, but messing around with computers is also a hobby. My second job and second income is that of a Photographer; Portraits, Portfolios, Weddings and commercial business portraits but its also a hobby.

I love travelling to lovely areas to take landscape photographs, using a mix of equipment including film, small, medium and large format.

I also have a small watch collection, mid tier pieces like SINN, unique pieces like British watchmaker FEARs; with my love of tech there is also an Apple Watch.

Watch Macro with Profoto A10

I have a fountain pen collection from low end Kaweco and TWSBI to higher end Pelikan and Montblanc and my love of coffee could also be called a hobby, I have brewers from Kalita, Chemex and Aeropress and a mid range espresso machine, and believe me once you get into espresso at home it really does become a crazy hobby, and you start buying custom, distribution tools, porta filters etc.

Lastly my love of music, I used to play the guitar, and now play banjo and piano (badly), but enjoy it. I also love listening to music. From popular opera, Beethoven, and Mozart, to pop like the recent Taylor Swift like her Evermore Album, Lana Del Rey, and most 1980’s pop, like the Communards, Duran Duran, Eurythmics and country and folk like Edwina Hayes, Ashley McBryde and even Sheryl Crow.

How do I listen to my music. Well when on the go, its an iPhone and Apple EarPods, its not hifi but its good enough. Sat at my desk in the company office, I may use a higher in ear sennheiser headphones, sometimes with an external battery DAC like the Cord Mojo. I have detailed how I listen in my office at home, A usb out of my desktop Mac, to a Schiit DAC and pre-amp then either to a pair of higher end Meze over ear headphones or my Ruark active speakers.

In the lounge I have may main hifi.

Its a low-end system I have had since my student days, with for now a days a basic Denon amp and a pair of Celestion DL4 stand mount speakers.

Its now fronted by a decent CD player, and a DAC being fed by an old iPad acting as a Roon Ready end point to stream to.

At some point I want to upgrade all of this starting with a dedicated streamer/dac and new speakers. If I was being sensible I should get something like a pair of Kev LS50 Meta’s, but part of me wants a nice set of floor standers but would they be too much for that room.

As always things will have to wait, I have a new studio flash to buy but I keep looking and investigating. As I said at the start – too many hobbies and they all seem to cost too much money.

a Walk through Lincoln with a pretty Model

I am now the proud owner of a Nikon Z7. I managed to get an amazing deal on so now to practice with it before I use it professionally.

Old Wood, Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S

I spent a while taking snapshots round the village, setting up the controls as I wanted then spent a Monday walking round Lincoln taking shots around the castle and cathedral.

Once I had a good feel for the camera I then spent some time developing some Lightroom presets to process the images.

Street Fashion, Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S

So now time to put the camera through its paces. I messaged a few models and the lovely Casey came forward to spend a cold Saturday, walking around Lincoln with me.

Casey at Usher Art Gallery. Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S

We got some good images and I have to say despite what you may hear on social media, the autofocus is excellent.