Archive for the ‘Nikon P6000’ Category

Dying Battery?

December 30, 2009

The batteries on my Nikon Coolpix P6000 have developed an annoying habit. They both die without warning. Up until last week the camera showed a “low battery” icon on its screen when the battery was about 75% discharged. then it shut down gracefully at maybe 1% charge with a message on the screen “The battery is exhausted”.

I guess the batteries have aged and they go to zero without enough time for the camera’s firmware to react.

I still get about 300 shots per battery. That’s with the LCD on all the time and the GPS active. So it is annoying and not disabling.

I wish Nikon put a battery status indicator on the display all the time – not only when the charge is depleted.

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A Trip to the River

December 21, 2009

I got up too late to go to the seaside on Sunday. I did the next best thing and took the Skytrain to the river. The Chao Phraya River runs through Bangkok and is the coolest place to be on a hot day. Today wasn’t especially hot but the river breezes were still welcome.

I took the best river bargain available – a 3 Baht (about ten US cents) passenger ferry ride from Central Pier (Saphan Taksin Skytrain Station) to Thonburi side. I got great views of the river and the hi-so hotels on both sides. I’d forgotten how big the Shangri-La Hotel is.

The light was fading when I came back on the ferry. I was going to walk back over the bridge but I was lazy. I got this shot of one of the Chao Phraya River Express boats docking at the pier next to ours. My little Nikon Coolpix P6000 did a nice job and I think it is good example of “filling the frame”.

Chao Phraya River Ferry
I like the warm tones.

Asoke Market, Bangkok

December 15, 2009

When I wrote about the Terminal 21 construction project on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok I mentioned that there’s still an old market that has not been demolished to make way for the development.

Asoke Market could disappear at any time. So I stopped by on Monday afternoon to take some pictures.

Asoke Market

Asoke Market Sign in Thai, English & Chinese

Asoke Market

Inside Asoke Market. Note the cat

Asoke Market

Fruit Shop

Asoke Market

Dry Goods

Asoke Market

Hardware

I decided they looked best in black & white so I used Lightroom’s tools to render what I think is a pleasing, high contrast picture.The Nikon Coolpix P6000 did a good job with the lens set at its widest setting.

This is one of the few spots in “new” Bangkok where Buddhist monks come in the early morning to receive alms from devout people. Vendors set up to sell food for the gifts. All sorts of people including sleepy bar girls, taxi drivers and businesspeople on their way to work stop here. They receive a few words of blessing in return for their donation. I don’t think the monks will come when there’s a Starbucks on the corner. In the afternoon the market is quieter – the monks return to their temple before noon.

I have not taken pictures of the alms-giving. I am very cautious about taking pictures of monks and the donation is a spiritual moment. I don’t think my lens would be welcome, although Thai people would be too polite to say anything.

HD Video & Digital Cameras – Dpreview.com

December 11, 2009

Beginner's guide to HD video

http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Guides/hd_beginners_guide_01.htm

I have written before that I am not a video person. But this is a very useful and timely beginner’s guide to the video capabilities of the latest cameras. Shooting video is one of the reasons I may buy a Canon EOS-7D next year. I want to learn the technology. If the EOS-7D’s video is good enough for many professionals it is good enough for me.

My Nikon Coolpix P6000 has some very basic video capability. I have used it occasionally but it is not impressive.

With the inclusion of video on so many cameras now it is surely becoming an imperative for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to support it. At least for import and metadata purposes. It is infuriating that Lightroom 2 ignores it completely and refuses to even import a thumbnail.

Jeff Friedl attempted to address this with a Video Asset Management plugin but he was limited by Lightroom’s architecture and it is not a good solution. I tried it and deleted it.

I wonder how the Lightroom team view the video challenge? I don’t think there is anything about it in the Lightroom 3 Beta release.

If I was a Lightroom product manager I would want to keep the product’s focus on still photography but I would:

  1. Allow users to import video files to the Lightroom catalog. Indeed I think Lightroom should import all files and provide at least basic indexing for them. Leaving files un-imported is unforgivable.
  2. Provide thumbnails in Grid View at least.
  3. Allow users to add metadata in the same way as for still photos. If they cannot embed the metadata as XMP blocks in the video file then store it in sidecar files as they do for RAW pictures.
  4. Don’t address video editing in Lightroom 3. Instead allow users to edit the video by linking to the user’s selected video editor in the same way they link to Photoshop or another photo editor today. This would also make the Lightroom team friends with the Adobe Premiere team.
  5. It’s probably easy to display the video using a standard plugin.

That should not be a lot of work. Good for the tick sheet!

It will still be a while before you see anything from the Frugal Bangkok Photographer on You Tube.

Mini Tripod

December 2, 2009

I was disappointed with the quality of the picture I took of Thanksgiving Dinner. A slow lens and not much light overwhelmed the image stabilization of my Nikon Coolpix P6000. That’s why I did not post a picture to Flickr and only put a small version on this blog.

 

Mini Tripod

Michael Willems suggested that I can try a mini tabletop tripod. I have one but I’d forgotten about it. Thai camera stores give away some cheap accessories when you buy a camera: I got the mini tripod and a flimsy case when I purchased my old Sony DSC-W35.

 

I dug it out and took it with me to lunch today: Delifrance at Central Lat Phrao. It’s small enough to stick in a back pocket – and thus small enough to lose easily.

Here’s a picture of my sandwich lunch:
Lunch at Delifrance
It’s definitely sharper than my handheld efforts. I used the closeup setting on the camera and the two-second self timer. I even got a somewhat blurred background sans Photoshop.

The angle is too low for plated meals and I had to be careful to keep the tripod level. Each leg can be bent independently.

That was a good free experiment. I’ll continue to take it with me and maybe I’ll get better at using it.

Always Something to Photograph in Bangkok

December 1, 2009

Thai Gamer Festival @ MBK
On Sunday I went to the Siam Square area of Bangkok. A friend had posted photos of a motorcycle show and I wanted to get my own pictures.

Unfortunately Saturday must have been the last day. There were no bikers – just cars in the car park outside the Hard Rock Cafe. I wandered randomly down the road and came to MBK Center. There was a Thai Gamer Festival taking place.

No Thai event is worth the name without “pretties” promoting the latest and greatest. And part of their duties include posing prettily for photographers. They are always charming and photogenic.

I posted a few pictures to Flickr here. I thought the young woman above was particularly good. I am not a gamer so I have no idea what she was promoting.

I took my Canon EOS-30D with me with my “Nifty Fifty” 50mm lens. It works well as a general purpose lens despite being “compact macro”. As always after using the sluggish Nikon Coolpix P6000 it was so good to go out with a camera that takes a photograph the moment you press the shutter release – not (seemingly) several seconds later.

Of course I paid a price in weight around my neck – but the 50mm lens is quite light. And I paid a price later as I had to geotag all the pictures manually. But it was worth it for the speed and flexibility of the DSLR design and implementation.

So when I feel low it is good for me to go out with a camera. There is always something interesting happening in Bangkok, even if it isn’t what I expected. And a smile from a beautiful woman is always cheering to the soul.

Thai Gamer Festival

Thai Gamer Festival

The festival is over now, but I bet there’s something equally interesting in its place or close by.

Poppy Appeal in Bangkok

November 16, 2009

Queen Victoria Pub, Sukhumvit Soi 23
I was pleased to see this collection box for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in the Queen Victoria English Pub on Sukhumvit Soi 23, Bangkok on Saturday night.

As expected, few Thai people knew the reason I was wearing my poppy. One person said she’d seen an Australian man with a poppy but it was a different shape.

I was pleased with the Museum mode on the Nikon Coolpix P6000 combined with its Image Stabilization. It’s 1/5 of a second at F2.7, ISO400 and I think it looks good as a web picture. The noise really shows up in areas of uniform colour like a sky. In this picture with different textures it is not apparent sans pixel peeping.

The automatic white balance did a good job of rendering the ambience of the pub too. So I’m not always critical of the Nikon’s quality!

Note : I put the location of this post as the pub.

Program Mode Assignment

November 7, 2009
Hua Lamphong Station

Hua Lamphong Station

Michael Willems set another assignment on his blog here. This was to do a day’s photo shooting entirely in Program Mode:

Here’s an interesting assignment for pros, emerging pros and enthusiasts: Shoot in Program mode for a day.

That way, for once you are not thinking about Aperture, DoF, drag, motion blur, and such. For one day, you will be thinking about your subjects, instead of about technology. And this makes some sense. One famous wedding pro even shoots in “P”mode, I am told.

I went to my favourite Bangkok location for photography: Hua Lamphong Railway Station during a quiet weekday afternoon.

Google Map

I used the Nikon Coolpix P6000 set on “P”. I’ve taken over a thousand pictures (1,249 according to Lightroom) at Hua Lamphong over the last year. I decided to try and take a slightly different approach from my normal documentary and panoramic shots.

I put another constraint on myself. I set the camera’s ISO sensitivity to “Fixed Range Auto: 64-200”. That means it will never use more than ISO 200. That way I avoided the excessive noise I see at ISO 400 and above. In the station it was always using ISO 200 and many times the calculated shutter speed was too low for a decent shot, even with an image stabilized lens.

The station has many details that are straight out of the 1930s. A lot of the motive power seems that old too – but it’s more from the 1970s and 80s.

I also took some “street” shots of workers and passengers. I passed a train about to depart. Every window framed a character dying to be photographed.

One thing I noted was that the uniformed railway staff were shy about being photographed. Maybe that’s because of the recent controversy about safety and labour unrest. Everyone was friendly and I didn’t push it when people were unwilling to be photographed.

On the other hand an old cleaning lady who spoke not a word of English was eager to see a picture of her jumping nimbly from a moving train holding a big trash bag. Sadly the photo wasn’t in focus. Darn program mode!

The sun was already sinking in the sky and a lot of the shots of the trains were not usable as I would have had to use some exposure compensation. But closeups and details were fine.

I posted the best pictures to an album on PicasaWeb:

http://picasaweb.google.com/ian.fuller/ProgramModeAssignment#

Let me know what you think.

Night Shooting at Bangkok Hua Lamphong Station

October 30, 2009

It was pouring with rain when I got back to my local subway station Thailand Cultural Centre on Wednesday evening. Rather than getting soaked walking home I returned to the subway and took the next train to the end of the line: Hua Lamphong Station. I knew I could get to the station itself without getting wet. I have a monthly pass so it didn’t cost the Frugal Bangkok Photographer a satang.

I only had my Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera with me so I took a load of pictures on its “high ISO” setting – which meant it set the speed to 1600 ASA in the dark station.

There’s quite a lot of activity in the station in the evenings and many overnight trains depart between 8pm and 11pm for routes to the north and east.

Here’s a gallery of some of the photos I took. As expected they are extremely noisy. And I know that unattractive electronic noise does not equal attractive film grain. Still, the photos have a certain atmospheric appeal.

The white balance was way off in all the pictures because of the strange lighting. But Lightroom was good at correcting my JPEG pictures if I could find something that I knew was a neutral colour.

You can click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture.

Beautiful Bangkok Morning

October 25, 2009

Bangkok Morning from the Apartment
It’s a lovely Sunday morning in Bangkok. The sky is clear and it isn’t too hot or humid. I took some photos out of the window using the Nikon Coolpix P6000’s “Landscape” mode. That reminded me on a minor annoyance in Lightroom 2. I wanted to see if Adobe have fixed it in the Lightroom 3 Beta.

No, they haven’t, but it probably isn’t their fault.


With my Canon EOS-30D, if I take a photo in one of the camera’s preset modes: “Action/Sports”, “Closeup”, “Landscape” or “Portrait” this setting shows up in the “Exposure Program” field of the EXIF information as displayed in Lightroom.

But Lightroom 2 and 3 Beta both show Exposure Program Normal for the Nikon Coolpix P6000.

I assume this is because Nikon store this information in a non-standard format and Adobe don’t extract it from the file.

I checked my old Canon EOS-300D in Landscape mode. Lightroom 2 does not display an EXIF Exposure Program setting at all.

That may mean that the storage of this information in the EXIF is not standard and Adobe made a special case for the EOS-30D.

I tried searching my pictures for those taken in Landscape mode using Lightroom’s filters. It isn’t a standard filter and it does not work if I set up a text filter on “Searchable Metadata” or “Searchable EXIF” for the string “Landscape”. that’s a bit inconvenient. I’d like to be able to do that.

I tried it in both version 2 and version 3 with the same result. The fact that Adobe use the term “searchable” implies that some EXIF (and IPTC) fields are not searchable.

The problem is obviously not simple. My current guess is that “Exposure Program” is an enumerated type rather than a string and each manufacturer encodes it differently.

I know “serious photographers” don’t use these scene modes at all. On Canon cameras, for example, you cannot shoot in Raw if you use a programmed mode. I am a pragmatist. I’ll use whatever it takes to get the picture I want. I do draw the line at what I think are silly modes like “Food“.