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D70 observations and questions

 
 
B.A.S.
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      04-19-2004
Just got back from a trip west (California) with a D70 I picked up right
before leaving, along with the Nikkor 24-85 G AF-S zoom.

I'm coming from the manual focus Contax SLR world, where I loved the
optics and ergonomics, but with eyesight and arthritis issues, wanted to
make the belated move to auto-focus. Tired of scanning slides and negs,
I also took the opportunity to go digital.

I didn't really get a good chance to put the camera through its paces on
this trip, as I had the whole family in tow. I would have liked to do a
lot of tripod work in the early and late hours (landscapes), but was
unable to.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the mostly-snapshot results (the matrix
metering worked surprisingly well, as did the AF). but had a few (mostly
minor) observations/issues:

- The rubber viewfinder piece pops off too easily. I found it on the
floor of the car once - glad it happened there and not in the field.

- The plastic LCD protector is made out of very soft, easily scratched
plastic - mine is already abraded, apparently from scraping against
shirt buttons. Of course this is easily replaced, but irritating
nonetheless. I was hoping to leave it on for non-critical work, but I
can hardly see through it at this point.

- Regardless of image content, the frames-left counter is way off when
shooting RAW images. Fortunately, it is almost exactly off by a factor
of 2:1, so you just double the shots-remaining value displayed to
determine how many you've got left on a CF card. On my 512MB CF card, it
reads 43 when freshly formatted, but actually yields 75 to 80 RAW
NEF+Basic JPG images. Is Nikon not factoring in the compression that is
going on? A firmware update should resolve this...

- I turned off sharpening in the camera, figuring I'd do it later in the
Nikon Editor. The images are so soft with no sharpening applied,
however, that you always have to immediately apply it upon going into
the editor, so I will probably turn it on in the camera, at least for
snapshooting. Has anyone evaluated whether the sharpening done in Nikon
Editor is directly equivalent to what the camera will do internally, or
is it better/worse? Are there external plugins for Photoshop which will
do a better job than either? The Nikon Editor sharpening looks pretty
good to me, compared to the Unsharp Mask filter in my old PS 5.5.

- I can't figure out how to get the camera to number images in a manner
that is not reset to 1 when a different CF card is inserted (I'd like
unique image numbers in perpetuity, regardless of whether a new CF card
is inserted, or the card is reformatted, etc.). My old Coolpix 950 did
this, but the D70 apparently can't?

- I wasn't thrilled to discover Nikon Capture 4 came in a demo form with
the camera - have to shell out another $100 for the real thing. It is
really cool, though, especially for time lapse photography .

Regarding the 24-85 Nikkor lens:

- Upon return from my trip I noticed the 24-85 has a lot of dust visible
on the internal elements. I doubt it got there during the limited use
the lens received on this trip (I neglected to look the lens over
closely before leaving on the trip - I assume it was there to begin
with). Should I complain to B&H or Nikon about this, or is this normal
with this grade of lens? I certainly never had this problem with Zeiss
optics, some of which cost less than this lens...

- The lens also has some sort of black, non-reflective metal (?) mask
around the outside perimeter of the front element, which is already
puckered in two places. I'm not sure if I caught the edge with the lens
cap when putting it on a couple of times, or if the lens came that way.
Either way, doesn't bode too well for the long term. I would expect a
bit more durable construction in this area (where lens caps and filters
are regularly in the vicinity). The plastic barrel doesn't bother me,
but this aspect does.

I was going to buy the 12-24 Nikkor, which has had pretty good reviews
for DSLR use. But I'm concerned that if the build quality is similar, I
won't be pleased after shelling out $1K for it...

Cheers,

B.A.S.
 
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Michael Schnell
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      04-19-2004
>- I wasn't thrilled to discover Nikon Capture 4 came in a demo form with the
>camera - have to shell out another $100 for the real thing. It is really
>cool, though, especially for time lapse photography .


You might want to try Thumps Plus 2000 instead. You'll get much more value
for your money. The newest version reads D70 RAW and saves them in any
format desired (I'd suggest JP2, as here the 12 Bit dynamic is preserved
while saving most of the disk space.)

-Michael




 
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Yves Deweerdt
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      04-19-2004

> - Regardless of image content, the frames-left counter is way off when
> shooting RAW images. Fortunately, it is almost exactly off by a factor
> of 2:1, so you just double the shots-remaining value displayed to
> determine how many you've got left on a CF card. On my 512MB CF card, it
> reads 43 when freshly formatted, but actually yields 75 to 80 RAW
> NEF+Basic JPG images. Is Nikon not factoring in the compression that is
> going on? A firmware update should resolve this...
>


If I'm not mistaken the camera stores 12 bits per pixel
resulting in 3000 * 2008 * 12 /8 = 9036000 bytes per image add some
header information and it is about 9MB for a RAW image.
To calculate the number of pictures it can store, it counts this full
9MB per image.
As it is doing a lossless compression of which the compression ratio is
not known up front and depends heavily on the image content, this is the
only figure that can be calculated. However the compression ratio is
most of the time about 45% (with the images I take ) so you can make
your own estimate of how many pictures you can take...
It is just a matter of personal taste on what number you want to see on
the screen... I like it better this way, it indicates that I can make
at least as many pictures as shown on the screen, no matter how much
space you have left on the memorycard. This gives a stronger indication
if you are running low on space...
So I don't think it should be "resolved", because this is not actually a
problem. Maybe they can make it selectable, conservative vs progressive
read out
But don't complain if the last shot you plan to make doesn't fit on the
card any more because it jumped from 2 to go to full

kind regards,

Yves

 
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B.A.S.
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      04-19-2004
Michael Schnell wrote:

>>- I wasn't thrilled to discover Nikon Capture 4 came in a demo form with the
>>camera - have to shell out another $100 for the real thing. It is really
>>cool, though, especially for time lapse photography .

>
>
> You might want to try Thumps Plus 2000 instead. You'll get much more value
> for your money. The newest version reads D70 RAW and saves them in any
> format desired (I'd suggest JP2, as here the 12 Bit dynamic is preserved
> while saving most of the disk space.)
>
> -Michael
>
>
>
>

Is this different than Thumbs Plus Pro version 6? Just tried the v6 SP1
Beta 5 version of Thumbs Plus, and it has virtually no support for NEF
files, and costs $90...

B.A.S.
 
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Stanley Krute
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      04-19-2004
Hello Yves

> As it is doing a lossless compression


Actually, the D70 Compressed NEF format
is NOT lossless. For further info, see the paragraph
beginning "The Compressed NEF format is the
only one ...", about halfway down in
Thom Hogan's thorough review, which is here:

http://bythom.com/D70REVIEW.HTM

Regards,

Stan


 
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Peter Lawrence
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      04-20-2004
"Stanley Krute" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<NlUgc.1945$(E-Mail Removed)>...
>
> Hello Yves
>
> > As it is doing a lossless compression

>
> Actually, the D70 Compressed NEF format
> is NOT lossless. For further info, see the paragraph
> beginning "The Compressed NEF format is the
> only one ...", about halfway down in
> Thom Hogan's thorough review, which is here:
>
> http://bythom.com/D70REVIEW.HTM
>
> Regards,
>
> Stan


Well, according to Nikon, its compressed NEF format is a LOSSLESS
compression format, contradicting Thom Hogan's assertion to the
contrary. I couldn't find anywhere on Mr. Hogan's web site any
references about where he got the contrary information. Maybe he
misinterpreted a Nikon white paper he read regarding Nikon's new NEF
compressed format. Who knows, but Nikon states the opposite on its
web sites.

From Nikon USA's D70 web-site:
http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php...roductNr=25214

Storage System: Compressed NEF (RAW): 12-bit lossless compression, ...

- Peter
 
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Eugene Kaplounovski
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-20-2004
"B.A.S." <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<SiSgc.42792$(E-Mail Removed) om>...
> Just got back from a trip west (California) with a D70 I picked up right
> before leaving, along with the Nikkor 24-85 G AF-S zoom.
>
>
> - I can't figure out how to get the camera to number images in a manner
> that is not reset to 1 when a different CF card is inserted (I'd like
> unique image numbers in perpetuity, regardless of whether a new CF card
> is inserted, or the card is reformatted, etc.). My old Coolpix 950 did
> this, but the D70 apparently can't?
> Cheers,
>
> B.A.S.


Go to setup menu (wrench symbol) and change File No. Seq. to ON.

Regards,
Eugene
 
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B.A.S.
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      04-20-2004
Eugene Kaplounovski wrote:
> "B.A.S." <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<SiSgc.42792$(E-Mail Removed) om>...
>
>>Just got back from a trip west (California) with a D70 I picked up right
>>before leaving, along with the Nikkor 24-85 G AF-S zoom.
>>
>>
>>- I can't figure out how to get the camera to number images in a manner
>>that is not reset to 1 when a different CF card is inserted (I'd like
>>unique image numbers in perpetuity, regardless of whether a new CF card
>>is inserted, or the card is reformatted, etc.). My old Coolpix 950 did
>>this, but the D70 apparently can't?
>>Cheers,
>>
>>B.A.S.

>
>
> Go to setup menu (wrench symbol) and change File No. Seq. to ON.
>
> Regards,
> Eugene


Thanks - I had seen that parameter in the manual when perusing it, but
for some reason didn't process the utility of it. I think I'm suffering
from option overload ...

B.A.S.
 
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Yves Deweerdt
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      04-20-2004
Peter Lawrence wrote:
> "Stanley Krute" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<NlUgc.1945$(E-Mail Removed)>...
>
>>Hello Yves
>>
>>
>>>As it is doing a lossless compression

>>
>>Actually, the D70 Compressed NEF format
>>is NOT lossless. For further info, see the paragraph
>>beginning "The Compressed NEF format is the
>>only one ...", about halfway down in
>>Thom Hogan's thorough review, which is here:
>>
>> http://bythom.com/D70REVIEW.HTM
>>
>>Regards,
>>
>>Stan

>
>
> Well, according to Nikon, its compressed NEF format is a LOSSLESS
> compression format, contradicting Thom Hogan's assertion to the
> contrary. I couldn't find anywhere on Mr. Hogan's web site any
> references about where he got the contrary information. Maybe he
> misinterpreted a Nikon white paper he read regarding Nikon's new NEF
> compressed format. Who knows, but Nikon states the opposite on its
> web sites.
>
> From Nikon USA's D70 web-site:
> http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php...roductNr=25214
>
> Storage System: Compressed NEF (RAW): 12-bit lossless compression, ...
>
> - Peter


Thanks Peter,
I knew I had read it on the Nikon website somewhere

And somehow, when it comes to technical details I believe the
information by the manufacturer better than the information of a reviewer...
The practical information and how the camera performs, that is what I
want to hear from a reviewer though, not from the marketing people of
the manufacturer

kind regards,

Yves

 
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Michael Schnell
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      04-25-2004
I'm using SP1 Beta 5. It loads my D100 compressed NEF pictures fine,
displays the EXIF information correctly. Same with the JP2 format storing
and loading.

I tested some D70 pictures I found in the Internet and did not see any
problems. AFAIK, in the Cerious beta newsgroup there are some D70 owners
that did more tests on the D70 NEFs.

-Michael




 
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