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Marcus Rowland

Marcus Rowland

Member Since 19 Feb 2017
Offline Last Active Apr 11 2024 01:39 PM

#87423 Yes, that's a Moon

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 01 March 2024 - 04:05 AM

My Xmas present to myself this year was a new long lens, a Sigma APO 170-500 f5-6.3 AF. Despite generally horrible weather in London yesterday it turned out to be a fairly clear night, and I turned it on the moon, the first time I've seen it really clearly this year. This is the first lens I've had that can actually autofocus on the moon, which is a great time-saver, though I had to set the shutter speed manually and bracket a lot, since metering really doesn't work that well on small bright objects on a black background.

The three photos show the moon at 175mm, at 500mm, and at 500mm with a 2x converter - I didn't think this would work, and I did have to focus manually, but the results are slightly better than simply blowing up the 500mm image. All pictures are the full frame (APS-c size) in my D7000.


full-sized image link - https://live.staticf...cfdd62c_o_d.jpg


full size image here - https://live.staticf...70cb0ae_o_d.jpg


full-sized image here - https://live.staticf...739d699_o_d.jpg

#86689 Some Sigma Acquisitions

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 06 January 2024 - 01:24 PM

My Xmas present to myself this year was a Sigma APO 170-500mm f5-6.5 zoom - got it with case and hood for £130. This is the version that uses the original AF "motor in camera" autofocus and has no stabilization, but I really can't justify the cost of something more modern at the moment - it's replacing my old Vivitar Series 1 100-500mm f5.6-8 AI so it's a big improvement as it is. Unfortunately the weather has been lousy since I got it so I've only taken a couple of test shots so far, a couple of them showing why a tripod is a good idea with a long lens in poor light...




So I've also been dithering about buying a macro lens, and a couple of days ago missed a Micro Nikkor 60mm at £90 that sold before I made my mind up to get it. Tonight I found a second-hand Sigma EX 50/2.8 macro lens on a charity's web site. I leapt at it and got the lens for £36.94 including an extra £5 donation and postage. The Sigma has some very good reviews, so I'm very pleased. I think it's the same as this one

This seems to be the version designed primarily for 35mm bodies, but that's a plus if I ever go the full format route.

Assuming that everything's OK I'll try to post reviews of both when the weather's a bit better.

#85017 D50 replacement that won't break the bank?

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 17 September 2023 - 05:09 PM

Welcome mcdoug.


Yes, it’s an old thread but perhaps Marcus will tell us what he eventually replaced his D50 with.


The D50 is quite cheap on the second hand market here in the UK, but there are other options.

Wonder what your budget is?


I have two DX cameras, D3300 & D3200 which I use regularly. I’m trying to stop myself buying a D7200, but the price is still high for these – perhaps £350 - £400 from a dealer with warranty.


Wonder if you can find someone local to you to borrow another AF-s lens to quantify the problem you have with D50 / lens?

As I said earlier in the thread, I replaced my D50 with a D90. Still lots around, not incredibly expensive, and retains compatibility with the earlier AF lenses.


I eventually changed up to a D7000 because they still support the even older AI lenses, and I own a couple and like not having to mess around with guesstimating every shot, but that's not something most people need.


I'm currently thinking about going full-frame but there's no urgency about it - I'll probably go for a D610 if I eventually take the plunge. Just not the D600, judging by its reputation!

#80906 Monochrome Monday, Oct 17 2022

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 17 October 2022 - 10:40 AM

Technically this is a colour image, but you would have to look hard to find anything that isn't shades of grey. Vivitar Series 1 100-500mm at 500mm with x2 Jessop teleconverter on D7000, 1/400th f11, hand held, taken on 6th October.




Full-sized image here



#80747 Separating stuck filters

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 04 October 2022 - 06:59 PM

I've found a simple technique for separating filters that are stuck together, or remove them from a lens, which works a lot better than the round grip things that are sold for the job. You need some extra filters of the size you're trying to separate, and some strong tape - I found that carpet tape works very well, and peels off easily once you're done. The basis for this is that it's very hard to grip a single filter tightly enough to shift it, but if you can extend the part you can grip it becomes a lot easier.


Screw a couple of filters into the front of the filter you want to remove, but DON'T tighten them fully. Do the same at the back if you're trying to separate loose filters - that isn't possible if you're removing filters from a lens, of course.


Get a strip of strong tape which is at least as long as the circumference of the filters, and wrap it round the filter mounts, so that the tape is sticking strongly to all of the mounts but NOT the filter glass, making sure NOT to overlap the parts you're trying to separate. Repeat at the back if you're separating filters that aren't attached to a lens. Once you've done this you should be able to grip the stack of filters and turn it with enough force to overcome the friction that's causing the problem.


I managed to take apart a stack of twenty or so 49mm filters that way, all stuck together in twos and threes, having wasted way too much time trying to separate them with the plastic filter grippy things. Hope that this is useful to someone.

#79324 Another Flypast - The Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 30 June 2022 - 03:02 PM

I see the WW2 commemorative flight more often than the other aircraft in this flypast because they usually do a flypast on the Queen's birthday and need to get the slower aircraft out of the way fast after they've flown over Buckingham Palace - they curve off north on a route that goes more or less over my house, which is 4km WNW of the palace, so if I remember it's going to happen I try to get out onto the roof and take some pictures. Unfortunately the other aircraft fly much further south from my point of view, and they're rarely visible because the view is blocked other buildings, trees, etc.


This is one I took with my old D90 in 2018 which I'm pretty sure was from the roof - not 100% sure because I somehow managed not to include any buildings or trees that would confirm the location, which isn't easy given they're only visible for about 20-30 seconds.




Full size here


  • Ron likes this

#79073 Another Flypast - The Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 11 June 2022 - 06:26 PM

Apologies, I forgot to post advance warning of this one - it was on June 2nd. Not as big as the RAF anniversary a while ago, but included aircraft from the other services. Pictures were again taken from from the South side of the Thames near Waterloo Station, unfortunately not as good a vantage point as last time.










More here (link to flickr) - https://tinyurl.com/t25bvseu

#76500 For Those Having A Bad Day...My Year Long Christmas Gift To All!

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 31 December 2021 - 01:19 PM

Sorry, forgot to post my card before Xmas

https://www.dropbox....s 2021.pdf?dl=0

Print the two pages back to back with short edge collation for best results.

The original illustration is here

https://ia600703.us.... 1915-12-25.jpg

Merry Whatever and a Happier New Year!

#75699 Curious to know if anyone has had issues from lasers

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 05 November 2021 - 02:49 PM

It's fairly unlikely - unless the ruler has a mirror-smooth surface the reflected light will no longer be coherent, so the main problem will be prolonged exposure to a bright pinpoint light, with a lot less energy than sunlight etc.


One thing that may help is using a polarizer - laser light is always polarized, so you may be able to get rid of most of the light that's still coherent and just see the scattered light which is a lot less damaging. A ruler that has a matt white surface might also help.


Hope this helps.

#75671 Got the First Stab Today

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 01 November 2021 - 04:52 PM

Had the AZ shots in February and May, and a booster shot on Thursday. The AZ shots were relatively painless, the booster was Pfeizer and had me feeling a bit sick for most of the weekend. Apparently the reason for that is that it makes antibodies a lot faster than the other injections, which is good from the point of view of protection, not so good from the point of view of feeling like crap for a while.

  • Ron likes this

#74020 AF Nikkor 28-100mm f1:3.5-5.6G - Sample Photos

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 27 June 2021 - 07:03 PM

Sorry - forgot to link to the test photos I took with this lens on a D90




Some examples (size reduced)













#73843 Partial eclipse 10/6/2021 UK

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 10 June 2021 - 01:05 PM

Wonderful - a few days of nice weather then we get stuffed when the eclipse comes along...

#73842 Partial Eclipse 10th June 21

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 10 June 2021 - 01:04 PM

London got glimpses of this through fairly heavy clouds - I managed to take a few pictures from a little before noon onward, using my D7000 and 100-500mm Vivitar zoom with a piece of reflective mylar to filter out enough light to keep things safe-ish.


Pictures are here




Here's the first one, reduced in size a bit, to give you an idea of what they're mostly like.



#72558 Thermal Imaging

Posted by Marcus Rowland on 12 March 2021 - 07:54 PM

For my birthday I treated myself to a basic thermal imaging camera, the FLIR One, a little module which plugs into an iPhone. It takes a lowish-resolution thermal image (60x80) and superimposes the colour onto a 480x600 visible light image. It finally turned up earlier this week and I've been amusing myself with some fairly simple photography. A couple of examples:


View from the back of my flat (the white blob in the sky is the sun)




Heat plume above a candle flame




Plant on a window sill with cold glass




I'm still learning its capabilities, eventually I want to try stitching images etc. At the moment I don't think I'll eventually be going for higher resolution gear, but it's interested me enough that I'll be keeping it. An album here, I will probably be adding more in due course:




Anyone else using this technology?

#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.