Saturday, May 12, 2012

Playing with a New Toy!

I got a new telephoto lens this week, and since TQ & I had decided to skip boating today in favor of taking the dogs out to Floyd Bennett Field's "Back 40" hiking area, I decided to take it along for a test drive.

Here are the first pictures. Sebago Sailing Committee folks will particularly enjoy that I started with the Sebago Canoe Club's Spring Regatta (although they probably would've liked us to be out there - sorry guys, next time maybe!). They were at Carnarsie Pier, we were on the north shore of Mill Basin, I zoomed all the way to 200x and although I don't think I'll be printing them for my little hallway "gallery", they're...well, a little over 3x better than I could've done before (max zoom WAS 45X).

Mill Basin Bridge

This was funny - I just took these because it was a sailboat, but it turned out to be our friends John and Vicky, taking out the Mischief for their first spring sail:

A pair of geese who were very annoyed that we were on their beach, kept giving us the stinkeye until they finally decided to go to the beach on the other side of the old building we were next to:

Hot dogs, cooling off:

This was funny - Bella didn't realize that this old piece of flotation wasn't stationary until a wake tossed it just as she walked past it. She spooked, then made a verrrry cautious approach -

And, as a warm-up for tomorrow, when I'm going to take the camera either to Canarsie Pol or the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (depends on what time I get going) to try to take some actual pictures of birds (which is what I mostly wanted the telephoto lens for), I took a couple of pictures of some of the models that were being flown today. Couldn't get the jet, too fast, and centering sort of just didn't happen, but I was able to catch some half-decent shots
So, a fun afternoon of getting used to the zoom. Wish I'd had it in time for the the shuttle, but when I went shopping the night before the guys at Adorama were friendly, helpful, and told me that if I could wait a week, I could get a great deal - guys at J&R had pretty much mentally checked out by the time I got there, 15 minutes before closing - so between that & a fact that a friend used to work for them until they laid him off in a pretty awful way, I decided to wait for the deal. Think I might be able to have some fun with it! :


O Docker said...

You done good.

I've been collecting digital cameras over the past few years - from everyday point-and-shoots to a semi-serious SLR - and I got the same camera you have about a year and a half ago.

I think this new class of 'mirrorless micro 4/3' camera is a huge breakthrough. They provide very nearly the image quality of the bulkier reflex models in a package that's far easier to travel with - even with an extra lens or two.

The pix of the sailboat, geese, and dogs look great.

Tillerman said...

Half the time I don't know what the hell the O Docker is talking about.

bonnie said...

And who would want that to change?


life is good.

Tillerman said...

I really want to be a better photographer but then someone says 'mirrorless micro 4/3' and I realize that the unknown unknowns exceed the known unknowns by an order of magnitude.

John Edward Harris said...

Thanks for taking our pix,the only ones we have of us on the boat with the whole boat in the picture. Our next Saturday sail will probably be June2. Do you and TQ want to join us?

bonnie said...

Tillerman, now that you mention it, I don't know what the hell the O Docker is talking about this time either. Mirrorless whaaaa?

Now I'll have to go research.

John, thanks for the offer, I'll have to check with TQ - he sometimes ends up working Saturdays too. 7 day work weeks suck.

bonnie said...

And John, you're welcome. I'm glad you mentioned on the Sebago group that you went out - I can actually make out "Mischief" when I blow up the picture of you motoring but I wouldn't have thought to check if you hadn't said something. That it was you and Vicky was a bonus!

O Docker said...

Oops. Sorry for getting all geeky on you.

One of the things camera makers never mention in their ads is the size of the sensor that captures the image, but it's probably the single most important factor in the quality of image a digital camera produces.

Unlike some things in life, size really does matter. Most point and shoot cameras have little girly-man sensors. The big, macho SLR's have huge, impressive sensors, and the cameras built around them have to be much bigger, too.

The 'four thirds' sized sensor was introduced by Panasonic and Olympus a few years ago as a compromise between the two - it's about halfway in between - but the image quality is much closer to the big, manly SLR's than to the girly point and shoot cameras.

Then they found a way to take out the mirror that SLR's have always needed and that let them make the cameras even smaller - so they became micro four thirds and viola!

Oops. Sorry for getting all geeky on you.

Buck said...

I bought a G1 too! What lens did you get? I've been thinking I'd buy the adapter for my ancient but beautiful Minolta MC lenses... But I keep wavering!

bonnie said...

O Docker, no apology necessary & certainly not 2! I was actually going to go look that up tonight. All credit for the camera choice goes to TQ, who got it for me for Christmas 2010 - I still haven't learned to use it in anything but automatic mode but I really can see the difference between the pictures I take with the Panasonic & the ones I take with the Pentax.

Pentax is still great for tucking in the lifejacket pocket for pix on the water (plus it does video - if the G-1 does video I haven't figured out how yet - plus the macro mode goes in closer than I've been able to get with the G-1, although there might be a lens for that, too) so I'm sure not putting that little toy up on e-bay yet - but the Panasonic was a fantastic gift.

Actually it was funny, when I went to get the lens, the salesman started by asking me what kind of camera I had and I initially melded the 2 into a "Pentasonic". He cracked up.

Buck, I got a Panasonic 45-200 that's selling for very low prices these days - I'd gone to a local camera store looking for one the day before the Space Shuttle was coming into town and they didn't have any in stock but they said if I waited a week I could get one for $200. When I went back, they actually had a demo model in what looked, to my untutored eye, like factory condition for $175.

I'd gone to another shop after the 1st one but they were 15 minutes from closing time & the clerks had already clocked out mentally, were all chatting with each other and didn't even look at me as I came in & started squinting at the price tags in the cases. Rather than bother people who were apparently just done for the day, I decided to gamble on getting the $200 one in a week. I say "gamble" because I was skeptical of the price, it just seemed too good to be true, but I mentioned it on Facebook and another photographer friend said that Panasonic had re-priced those to move because they have a new lens that they're going to start pushing instead. Guy also mentioned that the old lens was a very good one for what it was (45-200 wouldn't cut it for a serious wildlife photographer, but I'm not that serious), the new one hadn't had such reviews & that it was definitely worth heading back to the first store at the time they'd said the lenses would be coming in.

Think I'm glad I did.

Buck said...

Thanks Bonnie - the last time I looked, the price on that lens was more like $350, which made me hesitate. Now that the lens is cheaper, maybe I can convince She Who Must Be Obeyed that I could really use a new lens :-) Especially since I got the camera at half price when Panasonic introduced their newer models.

It does pretty well on P, but you really have fun on M!

bonnie said...

You're welcome!

I got mine at Adorama; the photographer who told me why it was so cheap mentioned B&H and if you just want to go online, Amazon's got it at the $199 price.

bonnie said...

D'OH! John, I don't know where my head was when I said I'd check w/TQ, etc etc...I am accompanying my friend Capri on a swim from the Battery in Manhattan to Sandy Hook, NJ on June 2!