Saturday, November 1, 2008
First 10 days with my D90 DSLR
After many years of delayed gratification, the question I ask myself is: how did it turn out? Has it lived up to my expectation? Did it suddenly make me into a great photographer, producing pictures like those on my favourite online albums? I think the short answer to those questions is: a great camera to a photographer is like a great instrument to a musician. It is capable of producing great works but only in the right hands. My hands are not trained yet for producing professional work, but with the right tool now I can work towards that.
The greatest experience with the D90 is the freedom to shoot in any light without using a flash or a tripod. The above picture was shot at 1/30s speed (which would normally require a tripod), and at ISO 5000 (boosted), which is not possible on a digicam. The D90's in-built noise reduction did a wonderful smoothening job on the picture, and the D-Lighting feature gave it the nice details you see in the shadow. Apart from this picture, I have lots and lots of fun shooting in the dim lights and still getting decent looking pictures.
As for the lens, the wider angle lens (27mm equivalent on 35mm camera) needed some getting used to. I kept getting slanted buildings and wide-faced portraits when I am not careful. The maximum zoom of about 6x is indeed sufficient for me, without weighing me down with unnecessarily long zoom. I had been able to carry the camera for one whole day at the Derby yesterday, without feeling that it was any heavier than my old Sony F717. The 18-105mm kit lens was indeed a good choice for me, although I initially wondered if I should have gone for the 18-200mm lens.
Features on the D90 that I am excited about and will use most:
- the selectable auto ISO can boost up ISO when light is too dim
- very small aperture setting for maximum depth of field (constrained me before)
- very capable and easy to use manual focus
- high speed continuous shooting
The video capturing mode did just what I expected it to do. Nothing more to it. I have not planned on doing lots of video shots, but it is there when I need it. Same for live view. I don't use it very much because due to design constraints of the pentaprism in a DSLR, the focusing is slow. It is not difficult to adapt to shooting through the viewfinder, although I miss the ability to composed shots using a fully articulated LCD. (Panasonic and Sony are breaking grounds that will eventually see high quality, non-TTL viewing that will allow use of articulated LCD on a DSLR)
My first 10 days in short: Carried the camera almost very day. Loved it. Still trying to produce pictures like those I admire in my favourite online albums.