Monday, April 30, 2012

F770EXR Review – Part 14 – Astrophotography with a compact camera?

Yes. And very good images, too.

There was some high ice crystal in the air this evening, but I got back from the gym close to midnight and thought it was a good time to try to capture the moon, since the camera must be sent back tomorrow. Sadly, the Stockholm trip and my severe computer problems cut the review short. However, I am convinced that this is an excellent camera. It seems to avoid most of the F550’s problems while adding reach and excellent stabilization. Who can complain …

So … the moon. I set the camera up on a cheap tripod and placed it on my driveway. The moon was in the western sky so I had to shoot down the street with the camera bathed in street lamp output. It seems to have been ok, though.

F770EXR  100iso
500mm  Manual
f/5.3  1/160

The detail is magnificent. You can see the Appenine mountains along the right side of Mare Imbrium and you can see many craters in crystal clarity.

But that’s not the main event. I ran the extremely popular “Planets” application on my iPhone to find Saturn, and it was only a few degrees away from the moon in the Southern sky. I adjusted the exposure and then tried to figure out how to get focus on Saturn.

I ended up focusing on the moon and holding the half press while searching for Saturn with the camera. This is a real trick, since you have to line it up by eye and then hunt up and down to get the right height. When I saw it appear in the LCD I would lock down the height and then release the shutter. Amazingly, I got adequate images. But really tiny, so I was forced to increase the size using step ladder technique – repeated bicubic interpolation (more like extrapolation) at 10%. This is known to preserve a lot of detail.

And now, without further ado …

F770EXR 800iso
500mm Manual
f/5.3 1/25


WOW! That blew my fricken mind. I took this camera out of my pocket, and it shot a credible image of Saturn!!! Yeah, it’s just the shape … but that’s not so easy. I’ve shot it many times and in 3 shots, I nailed this with the F770EXR.

Problems

The LCD was just awful for shooting the moon. Far too bright. So overly glowing that I could see no detail when it was in focus. So I spent minutes trying to get it to focus when it was always in focus. Finally, I just blasted off a shot and it was perfect! I didn’t even use the timer. I then shot once more with the timer, but the one you see published above is the first one. (I shot only two.)

For Saturn, the toughest issue is the lack of the ability to lock infinity focus. Or hyperfocal distance. The latter would be even more useful. Anyway, it worked by focusing on the moon first. But what to do on a moonless night :-) ?

Conclusion

I must admit to being amazed at the quality this camera can pull off with this stuff. The F550 was not in this league, and I presume that this is mainly the reach. But some of it might be the more efficient sensor as well. Unfortunately, I don’t really have the time to test them head to head on this one. No contest, though, as really distant objects need super long reach.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back from Stockholm …

image

I hate that.

Anyway, I’ll be processing images over the next few days or even a week and will post as I find stuff worthy of interest from the F770EXR. The camera handled beautifully over the 5 days of the trip and I killed two batteries in the process of shooting a lot of video and quite a few images. I ran the GPS pretty much all the time, which is less hard on batteries than the F550EXR version and more effective to boot.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

F770EXR – A walk in old Stockholm …

Just thought I’d show this image of the statue of Gustavus Adolfus, one of Sweden’s greatest military leaders – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustavus_Adolphus_of_Sweden.

In it you will see the moon and above it Venus. Just a nice juxtaposition of these three elements. This is the JPEG, I plan on publishing it from RAW later on.

DSCF0457

I think you’ll agree that this is a decent image for one taken at dusk at 800iso. The RAW will, of course, allow me to deal better with the noise.

Monday, April 23, 2012

F770EXR Review -- Part 13 -- The magnificent zoom ...


Somewhere Over The English Channel
So there I was after less than 2 hours of sleep on the trans Altlantic flight to Frankfurt in the way to Stockholm and I notice a jet way below us. We were tracking for quite a while and the contrails started to form pretty strongly, so I thought I'd take a shot of the little fella.

If you want to know where we were, we had just crossed the coastline of England north of Dover and were over the English Channel.



Now remember that this is a strong crop of a shot taken and a sharp angle through multi-layer glass and / or plexiglass that is rather blurry on a good day. And yet I can read the logo. I did not even know that easyJet existed before I saw this image at 100%.

So the F770EXR's reach is just wicked for a camera you can pull out of your pocket. Seriously.

Note: The image was cropped and edited in Picasa 3, as I am nowhere near my main computer right now. This post was written on the main Blogger web editor. It's not bad, but I do prefer Windows Essentials Writer for the level of control it offers.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finally got around to replacing the digitizing screen on the iPhone 3G …

I showed the shattered glass a while ago, and I ordered the replacement screen at that time. It arrived in a week and I found that it did not include the sticky stuff that holds the screen to the plastic frame that holds the LED panel.

So … I ordered that a month later from a separate vendor on eBay in Canada and received that about a week later. I waited again for a long time because I know what a hassle this job is, but I finally decided to tackle it this evening.

Nikon D7000 + Tamron 28-75 2.8D  5000iso  f/2.8  1/320

You can see the plastic frame closest to the edge of the mat.

Nikon D7000 + Tamron 28-75 2.8D  3200iso  f/5.6  1/30

It has the excellent 3M sticky bits on it waiting to have the treated cardboard barrier removed for the glass. The new digitizer is still in the bubble wrap sitting below the old smashed digitizer. Just beyond the main case.

Nikon D7000 + Tamron 28-75 2.8D 3200iso f/5.6 1/125

The steel dish you see in the foreground is magnetic. These are available in dollar stores for a couple of bucks and you really want one of these to catch all the tiny screws that would be otherwise lost.

Nikon D7000 + Tamron 28-75 2.8D 3200iso f/5.6 1/30

The various tools occupying the rest of the place mat are those that I have received over the last few years rebuilding various iPods and iPhones. The plastic tools are rib spreaders case tools for separating the case from the plastic holder for the LED screen and digitizer.

My favorite tool is the suction cup. I got two of these form various sources and they work great to get the digitizer / led screen assembly out of the case once the two tiny screws are removed.

I also recommend that you keep a laptop next to you so you can review the procedure as you go. I watched as I went, rewinding off and on. I can tell you form bitter experience that you want to be slow and careful and do what they do on the video. No brain farts and no assumptions, else you will brick the LED or the phone itself.

Anyway, to make a long story short(er), I assembled it all and it would not come on. Shit! So I took the top assembly out again and did this another 10 times. Along the way, I noted that the phone was actually on, since the silence switch buzzed as normal. But that does not help when you cannot see anything.

After finally deciding that the wiring was perfect, I fully assembled the phone one more time and looked up a video on hard reset. (Again with the handy laptop.) I watched the young lady go through the motions (hold the power button and the home button together for 6 to 10 seconds.) And when I tried it on the phone, I got the Apple logo! Dang if it didn’t work.

Nikon D7000 + Tamron 28-75 2.8D 3200iso f/5.6 1/25

And as you can see, it synchronizes perfectly. The “no sim” on the top left of the screen forced me to remove it and reseat it again. The network came right up when I did that.

So … don’t be afraid. Order the parts from eBay vendors (of course you should always check their ratings) and you too can have what feels exactly like a brand new phone once more. For reasons I do not understand, the phone is fast again. I’m betting that the broken digitizer was flooding it with spurious signals off and on.

Anyway, I’m thrilled. My iPhoenix rises one more time …

Saturday, April 21, 2012

5D MkIII versus D800 versus D7000 – Has Canon lost the plot?

I must admit to being very impressed with the initial DPReview high ISO images from the 5D MkIII when they were first posted. I was wondering how Nikon could compete with that. But now that I have processed a 6400 ISO low light image from the D800 and seen the DXOMark scores from the Canon, I’m starting to wonder if Canon has lost the plot somehow …

Basically, the DXOMark scores show that the MkIII is very slightly better than the MkII, it seems stuck back in the last decade. To really see what is what, I thought I would write one of my puff pieces analyzing the MkIII against the D800 and for a bit of fun, the D7000. Which is the only dSLR I own right now.

No doubt some will be shocked to see how far ahead Nikon has pulled in sensor technology with the D800. The undisputed king of the sensor scores. But what will be even more shocking is how close the D7000 and the 5D MkIII are in overall sensor score.

image

That’s just not right. Here’s a question: Should a wedding photographer in a sunny climate use the 5D MkIII for the outdoor shots, or a D800? And if said wedding photographer cannot afford the D800, perhaps the D7000? After all, dynamic range rules when the white dress and black tux are standing side by side in blazing sunlight. Note how I presumed that the Nikons are the right choice. YMMV, especially if you like white lenses. Note, though, that the Surgeon General says that excessive use of white lenses can shrink your genitalia over time.

Moving on …

The SNR measurements are actually pretty close. The 5D MkIII is ever so slightly worse than the D800, with the D7000 trailing by about 1.33 stops for most of the range., Amazingly consistent curves.

image

Dynamic Range is where things really start to rock and roll. The Canon is completely outclassed by both Nikons. Shame on Canon for that. It’s 2012, not 2009.

image‘The Canon is still a half stop behind the D800 at 1600 ISO and only pulls ahead of the D7000 by 1600 ISO.

The last two graphs show the tonal range being neck-and-neck, although the D800 is slightly ahead most of the way; and the final graph shows the color sensitivity being basically tied again, but this time with the D7000.

image

In conclusion, I’m just surprised that Canon appears to have chosen to rev the old sensor technology again instead of cranking out a stronger technology for this generation. Nikon has had the undisputed low light crown for quite some time.

Disclaimer: Canon makes excellent cameras. There is nothing wrong with them, especially if you already own a bunch of compatible lenses and accessories. I would not presume to say that they are bad cameras in any way, shape or form. But … I would take a Nikon body over a Canon body any day of the week, and these numbers show that it's not just the ergonomics any more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

And the Liberals wonder why they were decimated in the last election …

image

Hopefully the next leader will not be so unappealing. I, for one, am ready to see a Trudeau at the helm once again …

By the way, Queen Elizabeth’s 86th birthday comes up tomorrow. Long live the Queen!

F770EXR Review – Part 12 – A blast from the past as I compare it to the F70EXR

The F70EXR was the long zoom that started this family. The F200EXR was, of course, the first EXR camera, but it’s sensor died on the vine, something that continues to be lamented by many.

The F70’s passing is also lamented since the 1/2” sensor it debuted at 10Mp was changed in the very next camera (F80EXR) to 12Mp and then two cameras later (F550EXR) to 16Mp. The F70 is lamented because it clearly had better image quality at high ISO than the F80 and the F300, the F80’s successor and the F550’s predecessor.

But with the F550EXR came RAW shooting. And the F770 has that too. So let’s compare the first and the latest and see how far this 1/2” sensor has come.

I am going to give the F70EXR the benefit here by downsizing the F770 to match. The difference in resolution is too much in my opinion for the F70 to stand a chance at higher resolutions. And let’s face it, the 5Mp at M size makes a decent 8x10 without any effort, so most people would be more than satisfied with that resolution.

So … the first image. F770EXR in JPEG with custom white balance under that aeful blue LED desk lamp I’ve been using lately.

f770EXR JPEG  400iso  f/4  1/40  -1ev

Frankly, I think that’s kind of excellent, especially when you consider the awful light. The F770 has really nailed the colors, although there is a tendency in Fuji land to spike reds up to dark orange as has been noted by others.

A note on exposures. Each camera was allowed to choose its own exposure. The F770 chose 400 ISO while the F70 chose 800 ISO. This probably reflects quite accurately their relative stabilization abilities.

Now the F70EXR JPEG.

f70exr JPEG  800iso  f/4.5  1/70  -1ev

Note also that the aperture is slower. The F770EXR has the same range as the F550, which is f/3.5 going up to f/6 and then dropping to f/5.3 at the longest focal length. The F70 is similar, but because it ends at a much shorter 280mm (from the 500mm of the F770) it moves up earlier relatively speaking.

The firs thing you notice about the image is that Fuji had much less saturation on Provia at that time. This is actually a more realistic rendering of the colors on the subject, but it is not as punchy, and we know that consumers demand punchy images.

The F80EXR had much punchier images. The F300 tamed that a bit, and the F550 and F770 have struck a great balance in my opinion.

And finally … the RAF image.

This is even less saturated than the F70 image, by intent. I like to tame the colors and tones and I love to open shadows. This represents a pretty accurate rendering of the scene, which sits about a foot from my face as I type this. (Seriously.)

But wait … there’s more. The crops from all three …

click an image to see full size

The RAF version does show more fine, low-contrast details. I also prefer its red center of the wool thingy. But the punchiness of the JPEG is seductive. For general use I think it looks just great. And the F70 holds its own as well. Very nice for 800 ISO.


conclusion

So have we come far at all? These three images are slightly different takes on the same scene and there is nothing really wrong with any of them. And it is an axiom that any camera can shoot a web image decently. (That’s not actually true, as some brands still suck badly at high ISO. But most can handle ISO 400 and even ISO 800 these days.)

I would say that, for simplistic web shooting the F70 is more than enough camera for anyone. But I like the RAW abilities in the F550 and the F770’s reach is magnificent. It’s long telephoto macro is superb for flower shooting. So I would go F770 for an enthusiast who doesn’t mind exploring RAW processing. Lightroom is cheap and support is coming (and is here if you try the trick – http://kimletkeman.blogspot.ca/2012/04/automated-raf-exif-hack-for-those-who.html -- hint: also check the comments.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rogers Internet continues to be the Ultimate

I’ve been having some issues with computer performance this morning so I thought I‘d run a test on http://speedtest.net … and the Internet is definitely not my problem.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

F770EXR Review – Part 11 – Large versus Medium Image Size

Here I test large and medium JPEGs against each other so you can see what to expect when shooting JPEGs at either size. To recap why you might want to follow my recommended settings, which are P mode, M size, DR400 and the lowest useful ISO (I shoot Auto ISO 3200 and let the camera choose), the combination of M size and DR400 allows the camera to protect the highlights against up to two stops of overexposure. This is nothing to sneeze at.

But there are always people who just cannot tolerate shooting at 8Mp when there is a 16Mp mode. It gives them the feeling that they have much more room to crop (while this is true from a resolution perspective, in fact from a detail perspective the advantage is not so clear) and that the details will be finer and more clear.

I ran this test in the evening by available desktop lighting, so there is a wicked blue cast over everything. Here is why:

The LED strip light that I use for my keyboard is pretty blue in color and it makes this all too blue. But for the purposes of this test, white balance is pretty much irrelevant.

Because of the harshness of these point sources of light, I reduced the exposure and then pulled it up for the crops a bit to make the details stand out better. But the following pair of images are as exposed, JPEG out of camera with no tweaks. Oops … one small lie there – I normalized the brightness and contrast as best I could with a curve on the M size image.

f770exr  100iso  f/13  1/2  M4:3  DR400

f770exr  100iso  f/13  L4:3  DR100

So far they look about identical, right? So if you are shooting mainly for web, there is no question that M size’s advantages outweigh any perceived resolution advantage.

But what about enlargements?

Well, I have two answers:

1) 8Mp makes excellent 8x10 prints and good quality enlargements up to 13x19, the largest that most people can print at home on special large format printers. So the number of people that actually need more than 8Mp is vanishingly small. Note: I said need, not want. For more info, see http://www.bythom.com/printsizes.htm

2) For those incredibly few who want to print larger than 13x19 from a 1/2” sensor in a vacation compact (have you submitted yourselves for drug testing?), the value of 16Mp over 12Mp depends entirely on the acuity of the 16Mp. And this is the rub with EXR cameras, even the vaunted X10. They just do not measure up to their full potential.

This is pretty easy to test. Just shoot at both sizes, upsize the 8Mp image to 16Mp to match, and then compare crops of highly details areas. And what to we see?

Remember to click on the image to see it full sized. You may have to click again to expand it in your browser (the + cursor in magnifying glass is a solid hint) …

All of which leads up to compare the large (top) image with the upsized medium (bottom) image. Remember that the bottom ones do not have contrast normalization, so they suffer a bit from lack of depth. That is fairly obvious, but does not constitute a difference in details.

In fact, there is a smaller area circled in a fine red line on the top and bottom feather crops where the L version has distorted the edges sufficiently to create false detail. Almost like moirĂ©. This is the common issue with the Fuji JPEG engine and L sized images. Fine, low contrast details are sometimes mistaken for noise and mangled a bit. The M size binning increases the granularity of the smallest low contrast details, thus rendering them with greater acuity. It’s extremely subtle in the F550 and beyond, but it is visible if you know what to look for.

Anyway, suffice it to say that there is no significant advantage in details here. And remember that this is shown at 100ppi, whereas printing this image will generally be done at 300ppi for 8x10 or 184ppi for 13x19. In both cases, even less likely to see a difference.

So once again, there really is not enough difference to shoot the L size on an EXR camera. And there is some risk for JPEG shooters of mangling the low contrast fine details in L size, even at low ISO. So why bother …


conclusion

Shoot M size at DR400 for most of your shooting. If you want more punch in your images, experiment with film modes or even better (MUCH better), consider processing your images in an editor like Lightroom 4. It’s so cheap now that there is little excuse for not getting the best out of your photography.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

F770EXR Review – Part 10 – Macro closest focusing distance …

I was very impressed with the F300EXR’s hybrid AF, which got it extremely close to the subject in macro mode. The F550EXR gave up the hybrid AF and could not focus as closely. But the F770EXR, despite its rather normal AF system, is able to get to 17mm from the surface of the lens.

Not too bad.

Here’s the F770 doing its thing … I had a brain fart when I set the ISO to 100 and then change the mode dial to M mode. That reset ISO to what was last used in M mode, which was 3200 ISO from the ISO ladder the other day.

The F770EXR has adopted memory of macro mode across power cycles, and self-timer settings form shot to shot, two great conveniences (although macro mode across power cycles can catch you out as well.)

So why not add the option to have a single ISO setting instead of storing it by mode? It’s not like this is a dSLR or some other advanced kit. It’s a vacation lens, and when I switch modes I don’t want key settings like ISO to change on me.

Anyway, that’s why this image was shot at 3200 ISO and not 100 ISO. I lit it with a bright blue LED desk lamp and then used the JPEG, correcting white balance in ACR7. Thus, there is a lot of grain, which I did not bother to address.

F770exr  3200iso  f/10  1/13  25mm  macro mode  focus distance 17mm (measured)

I think that’s a pretty nice performance for such high ISO on a 1/2” sensor. The CA along the top edge was probably wildly enhanced by the very close very bright LEDs that were already blue, so don’t get too excited about the amount. Still, this lens has shown the tendency to add a touch of CA to bright edges, so watch your exposures.

F770EXR Review – Part 9 – Start up and Shut down (on and off) speeds versus the F550EXR, and let’s compare the flash mechanisms …

This camera not only has a nicer body and more features than the F550EXR, but it also has faster start up and shut down speeds, which is of real practical value in a vacation camera.

The flash mechanism is also smoother. The flash does not open unless you press the button on the F770EXR. On the F550EXR, the flash always opens and you must explicitly hold it down or push it down to get it out of the way. When you decide you want the flash, you then have to get a finger nail underneath the edge to pry it up again. Can you say CLUNKY?

When you are done, both flashes are pushed back down. The F770 flexes a bit so you need to have some leverage to make sure you can guide it down.

The video tells the tale.

For those who are wondering, this video was shot in a room with covered windows in late afternoon at high ISO on a D7000 with Tamron 28-75 2.8D set at 2.8 (manual focus.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

F770EXR Review – Part 8 – First video at 1080p

In part 3, I walked to the local pond from the office at lunch for a few shots of the geese. Along the way, I shot some video here and there and at the end I got a nice video of mating pairs of geese jockeying for territory. Lots of head bobbing and squawking :-)

What I have discovered so far is that the F770EXR holds focus better at 1080p than did the F550EXR, which had to be shot at 720p to get usable video. But … Fuji giveth and they taketh away … the center AF trick of capturing still images to reestablish sharp focus at the long end no longer works. The images don’t interrupt the video any more, but because of that they don’t stimulate a refocus.

Which leaves us with continuous AF. And as I said … it works much better than the F550EXR, but still hunts too often. It is basically pretty crude when compared with Sony and Panny and Canon. Although I’d like to shoot all of these long zooms under similar circumstances to back that with real evidence.

Anyway … few cameras can be hand held reasonably well at 500mm, so I suppose one has to live with a few faults.

Have a look at the video … I added some background music because it is otherwise a little dull (deadly boring to be more accurate :-) … watch for the little turtle sunning itself on the traffic cone … and the band on the leg of the feeding goose. Cool details from 100 feet away … 500mm is not something to sneeze at.

Impressive young kids’ band … Rammstein Sonne cover …

Haven’t seen anything quite like this before. Found it on my friend Petra’s Facebook page and had to pass it along.

If you watch this on YouTube, you can have a peek at their cover of the Beatles’ Love Me Do

F770EXR Review – Part 7 – How to process your F770EXR RAF files in Adobe CS6 with ACR7

I got up early this morning and popped outside to grab some shots of my neighbour’s garden. He has Narcissus (Daffodils) in full bloom with Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) just coming into bloom.

I use one of these images to show you how to take advantage of the script I documented yesterday, in a short video:

As of this writing, it is still being processed. Since it is full HD, it might take a little while. Be patient.

Before I went out the front to cross the street to my neighbour’s yard, I opened my back patio door and grabbed a quick shot from 35 feet away of the Forsythia, which is still blooming to beat the band. The 500mm lens if very useful for this …

f770exr  100iso  f/5.3  1/90  500mm

Note that the shutter speed continues to be really slow, causing difficulty to grab crisp images. But this one turned out all right.

The next image was shot at full zoom, trying to throw the plants just behind into a bit of soft focus. It worked ok.

f770exr  100iso  f/5.3  1/140

The next image is shot zoomed out again. Still at 100 ISO. I think the F770EXR is mocking me now.

f770exr  100iso  f/6  1/110

I next focus on the Muscari and find that there are bees arriving. Great big ones too. I wait while a bee finishes its meal on one bloom and transfers to the next. The shutter response on the F series is certainly fast enough to capture the moment.

f770exr  320iso  f/5.3  1/125

I get as close as I can with the lens only a cm or two from the bee. This is the one truly crisp image of the bees. The JPEG version first and the RAF version second.

f770exr  200iso  f/3.5  1/170

After doing the video, I actually tried a third version, again from the RAF. I tried getting the distortion correction closer to the JPEG. Turns out that the real difference is that the JPEG engine scales up the image a bit more, effectively cropping it a bit. Obviously, they fear the deep corners of this lens.

Note that I also masked out the light colored tops of the Muscari. I really like that look.

They have a really nice stand of Narcissus … I cannot resist the wider view.

f770exr  100iso  f/3.5  1/180

After that, I pop back across the street to my own yard and photograph the logs I have sitting against the garage. Remnants from my long lost diseased Ash tree. The moss has taken over.

f770exr  100iso  f/3.5  1/60 

f770exr  100iso  f/3.5  1/70


Conclusion

The lack of an actual test makes the conclusion a bit superfluous. But I will say that the JPEGs from the F770EXR are really good. The RAW, of course, is still me preference. But I could live with the JPEGs if I had to.

I hope you found the video useful if you are trying to process your RAF files in Adobe software. The trick should be redundant soon enough, but we’re a full three months away from the next update, so you’ll need to do the hack for that long if you want to take advantage of RAW headroom and tonality.

One other point: I find that the new compensation for sunlight on the LCD does not work. It is much too bright all the time. The camera is much more pleasant to use with that switched off. YMMV.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

An automated RAF EXIF hack for those who want to use Lightroom or ACR with their F770EXR (or any other unsupported model)

I got tired of dicking around in the free HxD hex editor (also here) to modify every RAF file by hand. So I found an open source keyboard recorder called AutoHotKey and wrote a script for it. This script creates and saves a second copy whose name is tagged with “_f550EXIF” …

Now, I drag the RAF file and drop it onto this script sitting on my desktop. And it just runs. So cool.

;
; AutoHotkey Version: 1.x
; Language:       English
; Platform:       Win9x/NT
; Author:         A.N.Other <myemail@nowhere.com>
;
; Script Function:
;    Template script (you can customize this template by editing "ShellNew\Template.ahk" in your Windows folder)
;

#NoEnv  ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
SendMode Input  ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir%  ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.


PARM = %1%
Run "C:\Program Files (x86)\HxD\HxD.exe" %1%
Sleep 100
Send {Alt}sr
Send F770
Send {Tab}
Send F550
Send {Alt}a
Sleep 100
Send {Tab}
Send {Tab}
Send {Tab}
Send {Tab}
Send {Tab}
Send {Tab}
Send {Tab}
Send {Enter}
Sleep 40
Send {Enter}
Send {Alt}fa
Sleep 200
Send {Ctrl}x
Sleep 20
Send %PARM%
Sleep 10
Send {End}
Sleep 10
Send {Left}{Left}{Left}{Left}
Sleep 20
Send _550exif
Sleep 50
Send {Enter}
Sleep 200
WinClose HxD

The timing of the GUI for this editor is really tricky. On my machine, it works fine when I drop from explorer. When I drop from Bridge, it goes wonky and writes over top the original, but I have it save a backup in that case, so the original is still available.

Anyway, try at your own risk. Start with a backup copy of the RAF and see how that works for you. Tweak the timings until you get reliable conversions. This makes life so much easier :-)

By the way … paste it into a notepad window and name the file with the ahk extension. As in …

image

Good luck … and remember that there is no warranty, either expressed or implied and you use this hack at your own risk.

Could I make that any plainer Smile

F770EXR Review – Part 6 – Lime Kiln Trail

I was looking forward to finally seeing the ruins of the old Lime Kiln, so I decided that today was the day and drove over to the trail head with the F770EXR and a fresh battery taken directly from my charger.

As I was leaving, I chatted with Nick for a few minutes … he was out enjoying the fresh air :-)

f770exr  100iso  f/3.5  1/120  -1/3ev  RAF

I processed that from the RAF, as I did a few other sin this series. But the JPEGs were fine for many of the images. Even this one looked ok on the built in JPEG. Lots of detail, although the tones are less subtle.

And just before I leave, I must capture today’s state of the Lilac buds. Coming along beautifully. This cam is brilliant for flowers at 500mm.

f770exr  100iso  f/5.3  1/100 –1/3ev

Note the slow shutter speed. Stabilization works pretty well, when you consider that 500mm is 2.25 stops above the shutter speed at 1/focal length.

So finally I am off to the Lime Kiln Trail.

The parking lot is tiny for this trail … next time I’ll just park out on the highway I think. The first thing you notice when you arrive is that the trail is cut out of a long patch of woods and swamp. The canopy effect for the early part is rather beautiful. Almost like those Magnolias in classic scenes of the South … perhaps when the trees are in full leaf.

F770exr 100iso f/5.3 1/20 -1/3ev

Note the extremely slow shutter speed there. Brain fart. I shot this entire series on a very dull afternoon with the ISO pinned at 100. The softness of this image serves me right …

At this point I’m going to stop popping the EXIF info under the images. Most are pretty similar with shutter going up and down depending on the thickness of the trees.

There is a bird house near the trail head. No idea why, as there are surely more than one breeding pair in these woods. Rendered in B&W for the crappy skies …

A sharper image as I proceed don the trail. This camera sure captures fine details. It’s quite stunning.

The trail is lined for a ways with what I believe are Birch trees. Could also be Poplar … online sources are very unhelpful in trying to figure out the differences.

The woods thin a bit for a while.

The JPEGs I was processing ended up coming out a bit dark and rich looking, but I don’t mind that look on a dull day. Here, I encounter the first bridge over the swamp.

Here, I noticed this really interesting tree with very light leaves. Must really stand out in the summer. We’ll see …

I accidentally uploaded it in full size, so some of you will be happy for a close inspection (you know who you are.) The top, bottom and right edges are perfect. The left edge is uniformly slightly blurred in a narrow band on the edge. All in all, a good lens.

That one appears rather “crispy” looking when downsized by the web itself. You’ll need to click on it to look at it.

One section looks like it’s been heavily logged. No idea what they did this for … perhaps just to let in some light.

Approaching an open area of swamp with a very long bridge.

As I approached the bridge, I stopped to photograph a squirrel who was trying to hide from me.

This bridge goes for a while.

And I arrive at the first of two sites for the old Lime Kiln. This site has a huge stone foundation and nothing else. There is a squirrel munching away on seeds or something that has been left by someone who was no doubt photographing these fellows. I take advantage …

Still getting shutter speeds around 1/105 … tough to get really crisp images. Brain fart still intact.

I catch a really sharp image here.

And at this moment, my battery shockingly packs it in. Having taken it from the charger, I can only speculate that I had it in backwards :-) … so I don’t proceed further down the trail to see the main ruins of the kiln. That would be a waste … instead I head back.

After a while, I turn the camera on again and shoot the roots in the trail.

The camera died a moment or two later again. But while it was on, it read 2/3 full for several minutes. Another Fuji quirk. The battery meter lies. It read full when I put in the obviously empty battery before I left the house. It managed to ruin my look at the Lime Kiln ruins. Thanks Fuji.

As I approach the trail head, the shaping of the entrance becomes really obvious. This is pretty cool stuff. And look how well the EXR technology handles the transition to brightly lit from dark canopy. By this time, the clouds had thinned considerably and the sun peeked out just a few moments after I left.

I realized for a moment that I had not shot a single macro image. Probably because nothing is yet alive this early in the spring. But I just had to rectify the omission, so I shot some bark. Very clean rendering too …


Conclusion

Not much to say, really. The range is awesome for someone like me, who really values subject isolation. The sharpness is excellent. I will be busting out the second copy soon to compare them head to head. And of course it is a joy to hold and shoot. The body is much more refined than the F550, which itself was nice.