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Marcus Rowland

Marcus Rowland

Member Since 19 Feb 2017
Offline Last Active Jun 28 2020 02:29 PM

#68089 Dragonfly - Kensington Gardens 28/5/2020

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 29 May 2020 - 12:21 PM

Nice resting dragonfly, not quite as clear as I'd like because I was testing a lens that has slight fungus




Nikon D7000, Sigma 75-300 4.5-5.6 AF-APO


Later - reliably informed this is a damselfly, not a dragonfly. Thought it looked a bit small. My bad.

#65071 Going Wide

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 28 October 2019 - 04:39 PM

I've been playing with some seriously silly photographic kit recently, stuff that starts with the idea of wide angle and takes it up to 11 or more.


The first is a Cinemascope projector conversion lens mounted as a wide angle converter on an SLR. This works, except that you need a slightly long lens to start with - I ended up using a Helios 44-4 58mm Russian lens, anything shorter had cropped corners in the final image, and something even longer might have been better. I used a Canon Eos 400D because I don't have a good prime lens for Nikon in that focal length and the Helios would have needed a converter with a corrective lens; also because my Nikon weighs a lot more and is a lot more valuable, and I didn't want to risk hanging it onto an assembly of stepping rings etc... Unfortunately it's a bit of a pig to work with - you really need a tripod, the converter weighs more than a kilo, and with the camera, the lens, etc. you end up carrying about 5kg of kit. It's also very slow because for each shot you need to adjust the camera lens and the converter, and with this lens I had to bracket speed (because the lens has no connection to the camera's metering system), you have to keep everything dead level or there's distortion, etc. etc. I took 9 photos in the time it usually takes me for 50 or more when I'm testing something more conventional. Here's one:




The rest of this batch are here:


The other one is fairly low-tech; a Lomography Spinner 360º 35mm camera, which takes incredibly wide negatives on 35mm film - the whole camera whizzes round with the film pulled past the lens as it goes. You get 8-9 photos on a 36-exposure roll, and if you aren't doing your own processing it soon gets seriously expensive. And Snappy Snaps etc. really don't want to have anything to do with scanning or printing them! Ideally you're supposed to include the sprockets in pictures since they're exposed, but in practice (after messing around with my flatbed scanner and getting nowhere, it's just way too low resolution) I ended up having to convert the images in my crappy slide scanner, which really didn't want to know about anything larger than a 35mm frame, then assemble the images using stitching software. It's a bit of a pain, especially if you haven't worked with film in umpteen years and are a bit cack-handed... Some interesting results, but there was a reason I switched to digital and this really hasn't changed my mind! This is actually more or less the same scene as the first, if you look carefully:




The rest of the spinner photos are here:


I'm probably not going to be keeping this kit but it was fun to play with.


Apologies if you see this more than once, I've posted something similar to the Pentax forums and will also be posting to the Canon forums.

#65070 Shutter speed testing software

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 28 October 2019 - 04:26 PM

Well, I got this from Erick a week or so ago and it's proving very useful, though I've only tested a couple of cameras so far. The choice of sensors is good, and ease of use is much better than the smartphone software - once you've set the camera up you just keep firing the shutter and reading or saving the results. So far I've tested a Praktica body that was a little slow on most of its shutter range (but for some reason dead right on 1/30th and 1/60th) and a Voigtlander Brilliant TLR that is fast on most of its shutter range, though only about 15% or so. The one thing that annoys me slightly is that the buttons on the control box are really small and fiddly, and the labels are small and difficult to read in dim light. It's not a huge problem, but my eyesight is far from perfect and it could be better.


I really recommend this if you're testing a lot of cameras - much better than running test films etc.!

#61698 Nikon D7000 - Sample Photos and Specs

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 17 April 2019 - 10:29 PM

Test of a Tamron 28-300 on a D7000, testing the camera as much as the lens



#61595 Body recommendations?

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 11 April 2019 - 01:00 PM

Delivered by courier today, which is pretty good service, and working well. One snag - the 18-55 turns out to be an AF-P one, and is not supported by D7000! I'm assuming it's OK, but I have no way to test it, it won't even focus manually on anything as old as either of my bodies. Fortunately I have another 18-55 which I very rarely use, so it's no big deal. I've asked the vendor for either a replacement lens or a partial refund, we'll see what happens.

#61557 Body recommendations?

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 10 April 2019 - 07:13 AM

Well - looks like I got lucky, hopefully. Just bought a D7000 on line with 18-55 for £200. Fingers firmly crossed that it arrives intact and working properly, but the seller is a company I've bought from before and I know they're OK about returns.


If all goes well I'll be selling on my D90 in a couple of weeks.

#61310 Another Lens, Another Phase of the Moon

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 28 March 2019 - 07:36 PM

I picked up a Vivitar Series 1 100-500mm f5.6-8 at a car boot sale. Cost me £15, I think it's going to replace my cheapo 500mm as my main long lens - can't believe that a zoom is giving better results than a prime lens, but the series 1 lenses weren't cheap and it's still in very good condition so I suppose it's possible. This is cropped from the full frame on a D90. 1/800 f16, 500mm.





#58485 Flickr Changes

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 08 November 2018 - 01:17 PM

Thanks - like others, I have no objection in principle to paying for this, I know how much web space costs from my own site, and running something like Flickr can't be cheap. My problem is mainly the speed of the change, it feels like they're trying to rush people into it without giving them a lot of time to explore other options. What I really want to avoid is a situation where they get people locked in then start ramping up the price dramatically.


Incidentally, if you can find any way of justifying your picture as being of scientific or academic interest etc. it's very easy to upload images to Wikimedia Commons and link to them - for example, I have a lot of pictures of railway construction and of an industrial archaeological excavation there, and have used them in several blog entries etc. The down side is that you have to use copyright terms that let anyone use the images in Wikipedia and elsewhere, not a problem for me but some might find it restrictive. For example, this picture of a coot shows its feet unusually clearly:




This isn't actually used in Wikipedia at all, but it could be if they wanted to.

#58301 RAF 100th Anniversary Fly Past - London, July 10th

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 28 October 2018 - 04:50 AM

It was the RFC, the army's Royal Flying Corps, and the Navy's RNAS, Royal Navy Air Service, for most of WW1. They merged and became a separate service on 1st April 1918.

#56357 RAF 100th Anniversary Fly Past - London, July 10th

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 23 July 2018 - 03:47 PM

Sorry, forgot to link to my photos from this event



#55984 RAF 100th Anniversary Fly Past - London, July 10th

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 28 June 2018 - 02:03 PM

There's a more or less unique photo op coming up - the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force on July 10th, which will include a 100-aircraft flypast over central London. There's also going to be a parade at Buckingham Palace but you're unlikely to be able to get near it if you're not present or former RAF personnel.

More details here:




I will have to find a good vantage point for this - I didn't see as much as I would have liked for the Queen's birthday earlier this month, too many tall trees near my house, though I did get this, the Battle of Britain commemorative flight:



#54654 AF Nikkor 28-100mm f1:3.5-5.6G - Sample Photos

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 25 March 2018 - 12:18 PM

This is a 1990s(?) kit lens designed for 35mm SLRs but also usable on digital cameras that support the older type of autofocus mechanism.Controls are minimal, just a zoom ring and a tiny ridge just behind the filter mount for manual focus. Since it's a G lens there is no aperture control. There is no distance indication on the lens.Silver and black versions were available.

Click here to view the lens

#54111 Samyang 8mm f3.5

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 21 February 2018 - 04:32 PM

Finally got it today - somehow it was sent without any postage on it, so the post office naturally held it until it was paid. What I think happened is that he handed it to the post office counter clerk who logged it in as a tracked package but didn't actually stick the postage label onto the package. It's a bit incompetent but I got it in the end.


Needless to say the weather was lousy, but I took it to the park and tried it out on some familiar landmarks such as the Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial.




Sometimes the curving effect is very surreal, a bit like Inception etc.




There's no chip so my camera doesn't meter with it fitted, but I'm used to guesstimating exposure and only had a couple of duds, and on a digital camera a trial photo or two isn't much of a problem. My initial thoughts are that this will be fantastic in areas with interesting architecture etc., and that I really ought to carry another, longer lens when I use it, since it's a very specialised optic and isn't much use for general photography.


The full album is here

#53943 Samyang 8mm f3.5

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 08 February 2018 - 06:25 PM

I think it's the first version, at that price I wasn't too worried either way.


Those are nice pictures - hope I can manage something anywhere near as good.

#53940 Samyang 8mm f3.5

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 08 February 2018 - 02:48 PM

Just got a Nikon-fit Samyang 8mm f3.5 on eBay - got lucky with an auction, got it for just over £100 including postage. Keeping my fingers crossed that it'll arrive safe and be OK.


Not sure yet if I'll keep it or sell it on, I'll have a good play with it first and see what the results are like. I think London is probably a good place for a lens like that, lots of fun architecture etc., so unless it's a real dog I'll probably keep it.


Anyone here had a play with one on a D90? Or any other Nikon for that matter?