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Wellington Wedding and Portrait Photographer | Kent Photography | Kent Photography Blog: May 2009

May 30, 2009

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 Portrait Test

Nikon 85mm f/1.4, known to be one of the best portrait lens by Nikon. This lens has a nine bladed diaphragm which is capable of producing some stunning bokeh. I took a few shots at f/1.4 – f/2.

I had no problem with the lens, it autofocus pretty fast, however the focus was abit slow to respond when I was shooting into the sun., but this is normal. The weight of the lens didn’t seem to bother me, unlike the 70-200mm f/2.8 which I need to take a break every 15mins

The lens lives up to its critiques with exceptional sharpness and amazing bokeh. Check out the images below.

85mm @ f/2

This was shot during sunset. The flare and the colour of the light make the image more dramatic.

85mm @ f/2

I love shooting with flare. This was shot directly in front of the sun, the flare is well controlled.

85mm @ f/1.4

Cropped from image above. The 9 bladed diaphragm gives a superb circular bokeh. The image looks sharp even at f/1.4


Nikon 85mm f/1.4 test shots

@ f/1.4

@ f/2

@ f/2

@ f/2

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May 27, 2009

Nikon 85mm f/1.4

Nikon 85mm f/1.4 - known to be one of the very best lens by Nikon in terms of sharpness and bokeh. I have finally received it after about a month of wait.

It is quiet a bit bigger and heavier than the 50mm, but with a much better build quality.


The front glass element is huge


Test shot straight out of the camera, ISO 1600 @f/2

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May 26, 2009

Waitaki Valley Trip – Day 3 Highlights

The 3 days trip came to an end so quickly. The last leg of the trip had us travelling from Twizel to Christchurch. We had a quick lunch at Lake Tekapo, then visited Tekapo A and B power stations before motoring to Christchurch.

One thing I have learned from this trip is to wear a pair of photo gloves if taking landscape in winter.

The most important is to enjoy the trip, even thou I have probably missed a dozen of good photo opportunities in this trip.

Twizel skyline

High rise riverbank

Southern Alps

Lake Tekapo

Church of the Good Shepherd

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May 25, 2009

Waitaki Valley Trip – Day 2 Highlights

Day 2 of the trip sees us travelling north in the early morning from Oamaru to Twizel. Along the way, we visited several hydro power stations. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted it to be, this is not a photography trip and I was unable to capture some of the spectacular views. I have probably missed a dozen of good shots due to the tight schedule.

A capture of the Southern light early in the morning

As we keeping driving up north, we are getting closer to the snow mountains far ahead

We spent most of day 2 at Waitaki, Aviemore and Benmore power stations.

Spectacular view around transmission tower

The spilling continues at many Hydro stations.

Hydro station spilling

At the end of day, we continued the trip travelling north and ended the night at Twizel.

Southern Twilight

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May 24, 2009

Waitaki Valley Trip – Day 1 Highlights

After a night at Dunedin, the next day we headed out to the Macraes gold mine, but on the way the snow was getting heavier and we were feared that we might get stuck in the snow, so we decided to skip it.

Plenty of snow on the way

We continued the trip to Waitaki Power Station, passing thru Oamaru where we will be staying for the night.

On the way, we drove passed a mountain of Limestone

Also we passed the Takiroa rock art site

When we arrived at the Waitaki power station, first thing we noticed is the spilling. The spilling could fill an Olympic pool in 4 secs.

High rise of the river near Waitaki Power Station

At the end of the day, we headed back to Oamaru for the night.

Looking out to the Blue Penguin Colony

Oamaru township

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May 22, 2009

Waitaki Valley Trip - Road Updates III

Day 3 - Twizel - Christchurch
We continue our trip heading towards Christchurch. No problem with the weather today, except it is freezingly cold (feels like -5C). We stopped at Ohau and then at Lake Tekapo for lunch before motoring to Christchurch.
Here is an image taken at Ohau spillway
Road updates

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May 21, 2009

Waitaki Valley Trip - Road Updates II

Day 2 - Oamaru - Twizel
I am now at Twizel. The weather is much better today. It was abit chilly, but sunny in the morning, then became cloudy in the afternoon. We drove up of the Waitaki river which passes several hydropower stations, Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki. Spectucular views of the water spills at the three stations. Also snow mountains in the background along the way.
Road updates

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May 20, 2009

Waitaki Valley Trip - Road Updates

Currently I am on a Waitaki Valley road trip. Photography gear brought to this trip were
Nikon D700+MB-D10
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.4
Filters and Monopod

Day 1 - @ Dunedin - Oamaru
The weather has been hectic... Rain, frost, snow, hail, sun ........
We had to bypass some places due to road closure caused by the snow.
Road updates

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May 19, 2009

2009 March for Jesus

This year’s March for Jesus was held at Wellington Chinese Baptist Church. The evangelistic meeting was organised by the four Chinese churches in Wellington. I had the opportunity to capture the night.

Images taken with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 + 1.4x Teleconverter

Most images were taken at ISO3200, ~1/20s-1/60s. Monopod was used to allow such slow shutter speed.

During rehearsal….

The topic of the night

Pastor Ng

@280mm DX mode, equivalent to 420mm


May 16, 2009

Hyperfocal Distance for Landscape

From wiki
Hyperfocal Distance is the closest distance at which a lens can be focused while keeping objects at infinity acceptably sharp; that is, the focus distance with the maximum depth of field.
So you can set the focus to hyperfocal distance (using appropriate aperture and focal length), then everything from half of the hyperfocal distance out to infinity will be acceptably sharp. Now you can snap away without thinking about where to focus but still achieve maximum DOF.
I love to use this technique when I am taking landscape.
Below is an example - a panorama image of Lyall Bay. I set the focus to the hyperfocal distance with AE lock and took a series of images to create this panorama. I did not need to re-focus, so it was fairly quick to take a bunch of images and all images will have the same DOF. I also had the focus decoupled from the shutter (AF-ON). This gives me instant control of AF-C, AF-S and MF modes without changing any settings.

The lens used for this image was Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, based on the below Hyperfocal Distance chart, for focal length =24mm (x-axis) and an aperture of f/8, the hyperfocal distance is about 8 feet (y-axis). That means if I set my focus to 8 feet, I can expect everything from about 4 feet – infinity will be of acceptable focus. I could achieve even sharper image by stopping down to say f/11.
Alternatively, If I focus on the rocks on the right hand side (about 100 feet away), the DOF would only be 7.3ft – infinity instead of 4 ft to infinity (area with acceptable focus will be ~3ft less).

Traditionally, lenses are marked with DOF scale (the numbers above the screws), so you can easily set the focus to the hyperfocal distance by aligning the infinity to the corresponding f-number. However this DOF scale can only be found on older lenses such as this older model of Nikon 20mm f/2.8 AiS.

The newer model of the same lens Nikon 20mm f/2.8 AFD, only has a simplified DOF scale (the scale beneath )

For the newer Nikon AFS lenses such as the 24-70mm f/2.8, the DOF scale has been scrapped. I had to label my own DOF scale, but it is hard to label the DOF scale in detail due to the lack of distance information on the ring.

Lastly, example of hyperfocal focusing
Focused at the mountains
Focused at hyperfocal distance


May 12, 2009

Seatoun Bay Animated GIF

Animated gif compiled with 10 images handheld.

Colour depressed to 64 to reduce size ~ 1MB.

Give it some time to load :D


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May 10, 2009

Wish List

A number of friends has asked me what have I got in mind for my next purchase. Obviously there are so many interesting gear out there. Today I took a bit of time to look at what I need want and will start ordering in a few days.

Actually I have ordered quite a few items already, but they are all in back order. They are:

Nikon 20mm f/2.8

Nikon 85mm f/1.4

Nikon Magnifying Eyepiece DK-17M

Nikon Rubber Eyecup DK-19

Kenko Extension Tube Set

Lowepro Vertex 200 AW

Other items that I am still making my mind up are:

Travelling Tripod – Manfrotto 190XB + 484RC2 Ball head

Travelling Monopod – Manfrotto 776YB

Small backpack – Lowepro Flipside 200

Belt System – Haven’t looked at it yet

Hand Strap or Neck Strap – Not sure yet

Items that I might or might not get:

Macro – Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR

Fisheye – Nikon 16mm f/2.8

Filters - ND and GND

Items that I hope to have at some stage:

Nikon 135mm f/2 DC

Nikon 200mm f/2

Nikon 200-400mm f/4

Nikon 300mm f/2.8

Nikon 400mm f/2.8

Nikon Wireless Transmitter WT-4

More Nikon SB-900

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May 9, 2009

My Rough Autofocus Test

All lenses can inherently be affected by front or back focus problems. Out of the blue, I was a bit curious whether my lenses have such problems and I don’t have a test chart handy, so I did a very rough autofocus test of my own. Proper test charts can be found on the net.

The lenses I tested were Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and Nikon 50mm f/1.4.

The settings used were ISO200, f/2.8, 50mm, ~1/80s. I also had the D700 on the Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod to minimise camera shake.

I had the camera at about 45 degree from the test card and then autofocused on the right edge of the grey bar (the red box shows where my focus was - a feature from ViewNX).

To inspect the focus, I zoomed to 100% of the image and checked the focus and Depth of Field (DOF). Below are 100% crop of the test shots.

100% crop - Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 50mm, f/2.8

100% crop - Nikon 50mm f/1.4 @ 50mm, f/2.8

From what I can see, the focus of both test shots were pretty much where I focused (indicated by the red box), sharing about the same DOF to the front and back of the focus plane.

While I probably will do the test again with a proper test chart, for the time being, I will leave the camera without any AF tuning.

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May 7, 2009

Wide Angle 14mm, 20mm & 24mm Comparison

These images were taken at the Old St. Paul’s using Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8.

All numbers are referred to FF format (35mm).

Ultra wide angle @14mm, picture angle on FF is 114 degree. At 114 degree, this is actually wider than the angle of view of human eyes. Perspective distortion becomes an issue at such a wide angle. As I recalled, this image is wider than what my eyes saw at the time.

Ultra wide angle @20mm, picture angle on FF is 94 degree. This is pretty much the same angle of view as human eyes, except human eyes have a magnification that is equivalent to a focal length of about 43mm and aperture of f/2 - f/3.4 (max) to f/8 – f/11(min).

Wide angle @24mm, picture angle on FF is 84 degree. This is a typical focal length seen in many standard zoom lenses such as Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and Canon 24-105mm f/4.


Ever happened to you that an image you captured looked so different to what you see? Try taking a panorama using a 35mm or 50mm (with AE lock) to cover an angle of view of about 94 degree. This should mimick what our eyes see. Alternatively, shoot at 20mm, but pay attention to the distortion.

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