Posts Tagged ‘Nikon’

Nikon Camera GPS Patent Application

October 31, 2009

The Nikon Rumours web site collects information on patent applications Nikon has made. Here’s a recent post.

Searching patents is a good way to look at what companies are up to as they have to disclose quite a lot of information, albeit in legal jargon.

But patents are also about companies claiming technology territory and building a stock they can cross-license with others. And of course just because a company has a patent on something it does not mean they will make a product using it. Not soon, maybe not ever.

Having said that, Nikon filed an application recently for an integration of a GPS-enabled camera with digital maps. Here’s one of the images from the application:

The text of the patent is at the US Patent & Trademark Office site here. It’s application number is 20090268047.

I mention this one because it looks like Nikon is thinking the same way I was when I lamented here that my camera can show me where I am, but I am still lost. It’s some evidence that Nikon is continuing to invest in GPS enabled cameras. That’s good news.

Nikon Coolpix P6000 Review

September 15, 2009
My P6000

My P6000

Like the camera itself, I’m a bit slow but I found a full review of the Nikon Coolpix P6000 here.

Dpreview.com did not do a full review. It was included in their Christmas 2008 “Prosumer” Group Test.

In summary the reviewer listed the following Pros and Cons for the camera:

Pro

  • RAW format
  • Excellent handling and ergonomics
  • Strong image quality at low ISOs
  • Sharp Nikon lens with useful zoom range
  • Pocketable size and weight
  • Color controls
  • Optical viewfinder
  • No separate battery charger (charge in camera)

Con

  • Relatively high price
  • Auto focus average to slow
  • Menu interface slow
  • Slow card write speed/small buffer
  • No live histogram
  • Lens relatively slow f/5.9 at 112mm
  • Manual focus is imprecise
  • Hot shoe only works with Nikon Speedlites
  • Ethernet only for Nikon’s Web site

I generally agree with the reviewer – it’s a good camera in many ways but hard to get enthused about. If it wasn’t for the GPS I would be very disappointed. I suspect Nikon restricted it to avoid competition with their DSLR range.

I am monitoring the Nikon Rumours site for news of the P7000, but there’s nothing new yet.

I Don’t Understand Google

September 11, 2009

Does anybody?

What I mean is that many of the web searches that come to this blog are for the Nikon Coolpix P7000. I know nothing about this camera. All I did was link to the page on nikonrumors.com and hardly added any information.

Yet my post comes ABOVE nikonrumors.com in the Google listing. The top choice is link farm in the Philippines. Second is another Nikon related site. I am third!

I think this shows the limitations of Google’s automated system. A human would detect the link farm and the fact that my blog merely reports facts posted elsewhere.

Google isn’t intelligent. Not even close.

If I look tomorrow it will probably have changed.

While I am thinking of Google I forgot to mention that whatever I alter in my Google account my Google searches always go to google.co.th in the Thai language rather than Google.com in English. It’s trying to be clever and failing. I want English!

For that reason I have set my default search engine to yahoo.co.uk. Yahoo does not try to second-guess me.

Nikon P7000 Rumours

September 8, 2009

Just as I thought, rumours are starting to fly about a new Nikon Coolpix P7000 to replace the P6000.

There is a site devoted to Nikon Rumours with a page for the possible P7000 here.

My favourite review and news site, Dpreview.com, has a policy about revealing information while it’s embargoed by the manufacturer. As a result they get early access to new products so they can publish hands-on details as soon as the embargo is lifted. But they are often frustrated by the number of leaks that can only have come from the manufacturer’s employees. See their self-described rant about it here.

It’s often hard to do the right thing.

Other Work on Nikon D-Lighting

August 9, 2009

I found this blog entry where a photographer looked at Active and vanilla D-Lighting more scientifically than I. See here. He used a Nikon SLR and concluded that there is value in D-Lighting: something you cannot do in Photoshop.

Unfortunately Val & Easa have not updated their blog since June 2008. I will try leaving a comment thanking them anyway.

I wonder how many ‘orphan’ blogs are on the Internet – those that haven’t been updated for over a year yet remain available.

Nikon’s ACTIVE D-Lighting

August 9, 2009
Nikon Coolpix P6000 Active D-Lighting Comparison

Nikon Coolpix P6000 Active D-Lighting Comparison

Now I’ve sorted out the difference between Active D-Lighting on the Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera (and other Nikon cameras) and the plain D-Lighting, I thought I would try a comparison of the former.

I took a picture using each setting: Low, Normal, High and Off. I thought the scene covered a wide range of tones from highlights to shadows.

Like yesterday’s comparison with post-processed D-Lighting (in camera) I made one file with the four pictures and their histograms from Lightroom.

I cannot see a major difference between the pictures: certainly not enough to warrant the extra processing time incurred on the slow camera. I think I could get comparable results with a Curves adjustment in Photoshop.

However, I am concerned about my experimental technique. I tried to ensure that neither Lightroom nor Photoshop processed the work the camera did. I wanted to show the pictures with only the camera’s processing. I am not sure if in the ‘printing’ process where I put each of the four images in a single JPEG file Lightroom tried to be helpful.

I have seen that when Lightroom imports files that I have exposure bracketed. It tries to adjust them to the same exposure, adding up to 4EV in the process. In this case ‘No! Please leave it alone!”

Nikon’s D-Lighting

August 8, 2009

Nikon Coolpix P6000 D-Lighting Comparison

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 allows you to apply “D-Lighting” to pictures you’ve taken using an editing tool in the camera’s firmware.

To quote Nikon:

D-Lighting can be used to create copies with enhanced brightness and contrast, brightening dark potions of the picture. Enhanced copies are stored as separate files.

(Nikon Coolpix P6000 User Manual (English) page 68).

The camera replaced the first letter D of the file name with a F, so DSCN1234.jpg becomes FSCN1234.jpg.

The camera only lets you make one copy so you can only try a single setting.

There are three levels of D-Lighting: High, Normal and Low. I thought I would try to compare the different levels in a fair way.

I selected a picture that seemed well-exposed. It is the “Office Depot” store on Sukhumvit Road at Phrom Phong.

I applied the three levels of D-Lighting to the picture and imported them to Lightroom without making any develop adjustments. I then printed the three copies and the original to a single JPG file. I added the Histogram as produced by Lightroom to the picture.

I am not enough of an expert in describing the colour characteristics of pictures to explain the differences between the D-Lighting settings. Suffice to say that I think the picture looks best as it was shot, with no D-Lighting applied.

What do you think?

Note

In my extensive research for this post (Googling “D-Lighting”) I find that Nikon use the term in two ways:

  • Active D-Lighting is extra processing the camera applies while taking the picture, trying to extend its dynamic range.
  • Just plain D-Lighting is the effect applied in the camera’s firmware after taking the shot.

My Nikon Coolpix P6000 supports both, as do many Nikon DSLR cameras. I am talking about the post-shooting variety here. I should do some comparisons of Active D-Lighting too.

Here is another photographer’s comparison of Active and Normal D-Lighting.

One blog entry I read said that Active D-Lighting slows down image processing and does not make much difference in the real world. The P6000 is slow. Anything I can do to speed it up will be a blessing.

AC Adapter

June 19, 2009

AC Adapter & Battery Charger

My Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera came supplied with an AC Adapter. It didn’t come with a battery charger. Of course the AC Adapter charges the battery in the camera and you can also use it for unlimited tethered shooting. (Note that you cannot shoot and recharge the battery at the same time.)

I have not seen a camera packaged like this before. Is it normal for Nikon cameras? It isn’t just for the Thai market – the Dpreview.com review mentions it.

I think this is most inconvenient and I wonder why Nikon did it. If my battery runs down I cannot take my camera far from a power point until it has recharged the battery. I bought a second battery so I have a backup. The big screen and the GPS unit drink power and I read somewhere the battery is an old design.

I suppose Nikon’s thinking is that with one battery you may as well charge it in the camera. The issue only arises if you have more than one. That and doubtless an AC adapter is cheaper to manufacture than a battery charger. It’s an example of what I perceive as satang-pinching by Nikon.

I asked the Nikon dealer where I purchased the camera (in MBK Centre, Bangkok) if i could buy a separate charger. he said Nikon produce one but he didn’t have one in stock.

Next time I went to Panthip Plaza I bought a third-party no-name battery charger. It works fine and now I am happy.

When I come home with my camera I always plug it in and re-charge the battery. I only use the no-name charger if I had to change batteries while I was out.

I know Nikon warns about using third party chargers. I am suspicious of such warnings for chargers are such a high-profit item for the company. I am a little scared the no-name charger will malfunction, over-heat and explode but I am bearing that risk. Of all the risks in my life this is a tiny one.

My purchase process for the charger was a bit of a  re-education. I went to an official Nikon dealer in Panthip and asked if they had a real Nikon charger. The salesman said no, but he could get me a no-name one for 1,000 baht. I asked how much the Nikon charger was. He went all vague on me and said ‘a lot more’ and he did not know when they would get one.

I said ok to the no-name charger. He took me to a shop right next door and said something to the effect of ‘charge this water-buffalo 1,000 baht for a Nikon battery charger and pay me my cut later’. I am sure if I had had the sense to go there alone I would have got it far cheaper.

I am usually alert to this kind of thing, especially in Panthip, but that day I let my guard down. I wanted the charger and I wanted to go home (my feet ached as I had walked from Siam Square) so I paid the 1,000. But I had a little sour taste in my mouth: I consciously avoided Panthip for my next electronics purchase as a fine to them.