Category Archives: Photography

Updated – Nikon: And Then There Were Three APS-Cs

Chizai Watch listed five more Nikon design patents on the 17th. Two were APS-C Z mount cameras, one was a full frame Z mount camera (which I’ll talk about at the end), one was a Coolpix A series camera (similar to the A1000) and one was a Coolpix B series camera.

Of the two APS-C Z mount cameras, one was a new design, while the other patented a different part of one of the cameras looked at earlier, specifically the one I called Zb. It also included better line drawings and 3D images of it.

Nikon appears to be developing at least three different APS-C Z mount cameras. I marked up the designs for each of them and will talk about their similarities and differences.

I am not the only person to think there was a reason the Z6 and Z7 were identified with the numbers they have. Nikon compares them to the D750 and D850, respectively. Which means there are likely six other DSLRs that will have a mirrorless equivalent. I believe the three designs we know of are the Z1, Z2 and Z3 models. According to Nikon Rumors the first APS-C camera will be the Z50.

SensorF-mountZ-mount
Full FrameD5

D850Z7

D750Z6

D610
APS-CD500

D7500Z3

D5600Z2

D3500Z1

Z1

The Z1 is the design for application D2018-15568 filed on August 23rd, 2019 (2019.8.23).

This camera is rather thin with only the lens mount and grip jutting out. The grip is shorter than the other two cameras. It is a stills only camera with no way to record video. It has a tilt screen, popup flash and likely a popup EVF. It has few controls and is limited to an on/off switch/shutter release button, a mode dial with and Lv Switch (as seen on the D3500), front and back dials, menu button, picture view button and multi selector for scrolling through the menu and pictures. I identified the different components below:

I marked the location of the flash and EVF where I think they should be. It is possible that the flash and EVF are swapped with the EVF in a range finder position. Likely the Lv switch is used to popup the EVF.

I am not able to find where a user adds the memory card. It could be in the compartment I noted in the front view or it could be in the battery compartment as is done on some Canon waterproof point and shoot cameras. It seems unlikely, but it could be that Nikon decided to not have a memory card and instead is using non-upgradable memory inside the camera.

Should the compartment I mentioned not hold a memory card, it probably holds any ports the camera has. Considering the size it probably has USB and HDMI ports.

I find it interesting that there aren’t controls to zoom into/out of the photos the user has taken or delete them. That seems to be a feature of all three cameras and points to a touch screen that allows pinch to zoom and has an onscreen icon to delete a photo or allows swipe to delete.

Z2

The Z2 is the design for application D2018-15566 filed on August 23rd, 2019 (2019.8.23).

This camera is a stills/video camera with a tilt screen, popup flash and likely a popup EVF. It has more controls than the Z1 and adds buttons for exposure compensation, ISO, recoding movies on the top and AF-ON, release mode and another (info maybe) buttons on the back. It also has a built-in microphone and likely a mic-in jack. I identified the different components below:

My comments about the Z1’s flash, EVF, side compartment and tilt screen apply to the Z2 as well. Considering that I think the Z2 is the D5600 equivalent, I am surprised that it does not have a screen that flips out and can rotate 180 degrees. It could have a screen that flips forward over the top of the camera as the Sony APS-C cameras do or over the bottom of the camera as the Nikon a1000 does. Neither is an ideal design as it would interfere with a microphone/flash mounted on the hot shoe or prevent a user from using a tripod.

Z3

The Z3 is the design for application D2018-15573 filed on July 13th, 2018 (2018.7.13).

The Z3 has a similar set of features and controls to Z2 except that it lacks the popup flash, popup EVF and microphone. I identified the different components below:

I find it hard to believe that Nikon would create a mirrorless camera that is equivalent to the D7500 without an EVF. Like the Canon M6, I expect Nikon will have an EVF that a user can slide into the hot shoe. However, I believe that this EVF will look more like the EVF on the Z6/7 and will have its own hot shoe to allow a user to attach a flash. The recessed area on either side of the hot shoe as well as the fact that the top of the camera tapers inward toward the front would help to keep an EVF in place.

I do not believe that this camera is the Z4 (D500 equivalent) since I expect that body would be more like the Z6/Z7 with its greater number of controls and weatherproofing. I also expect that if any APS-C mirrorless camera is going to get a stabilized sensor, it is the Z4.

Top Views

The top view of the Z1 shows the lack of a microphone, since it is a stills only camera, the likely popup flash and EVF as well as a shorter hot shoe. There seems to be space so I am not sure why the hot shoe is so short.

The top view of the Z2 shows that the body and grip are clearly wider than the Z1. The microphone is clearly visible.

In the Z3, the recessed area around the hot shoe is quite clear and shows the V shape that would help hold an EVF. The lack of a microphone is clear.

Bottom

Looking at the bottom, the Z1 clearly has a smaller battery than the two other cameras. That fits with the fact it is a stills only camera. Strangely there does not appear to be a tripod mount which seems very strange and undesirable.

The Z2 and Z3 clearly have larger batteries than the Z1. Also, neither appears to have a tripod mount. None of the other design patents are missing a tripod mount. I really hope that is just an oversight in the design document.

Commonalities

Nikon is trying to standardize its mirrorless cameras in a way it hasn’t its DSLRs. The Z6 and Z7 are identical except for their sensors and software (ISO/focus points).

With the addition of these APS-C mirrorless cameras, it looks like all Z mount cameras will have the same two function buttons in the exact same place next to the mount. Additionally, all three APS-C cameras have two grip dials: front and back. Standardizing feel and usability will help retain customers.

Nikon has acknowledged that fixed screens are a thing of the past and going forward, all Nikon mirrorless ILCs will have at least tilt screens. This change makes sense since tilt screens make it easier to see the screen in sunny conditions or see the screen while taking a picture on a different axes. It is a convenience feature that mobile phones are unlikely to have, especially as they get thinner.

Nikon is clearly learning from Sony and by embracing standardization, will hopefully better retain customers and reduce the cost of manufacturing its cameras.

Differences

The Z1, Z2 and Z3 are clearly geared toward different users.

The Z1 is a stills only camera that can be used easily to get better pictures than a mobile phone will give you. I am not convinced that removing the ability to take videos is a good idea, but it certainly simplifies the camera and leaves video to a user’s mobile phone.

The Z2 is a Z1+ which will suit advanced beginners. Some might see the Z3 as a lesser Z2 since it lacks a built in microphone, flash and EVF. I expect that what it lacks in such features will be made up for with a better sensor (maybe stabilized?) and software. I also expect the external EVF will be much better than the internal one in the Z1 & Z2. Those who need them can always purchase an external flash or microphone.

So about that Z4

… or is it a Z5? There is another design patents to consider. It also came out on the 17th. That one is for a body like the Z6/Z7 and looks mostly similar to the one I mentioned at the end of my last article. Mostly similar…

The mount is slightly curved when compared to the earlier design (and the Z6/Z7). Seems strange to file a design patent for such a change if it isn’t another camera. I noted the differences below:

Have fun speculating.

Kristin Hersh Electric Trio Photographs

I finally got around to edit the photos I took of the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio concert at ONCE in June.

I ended up using two lenses I already had: an 18-35mm and a 105mm, one f/1.8 and the other f/2.8. The 18-35mm didn’t work in the end and I used the 105mm for most of the photographs. Using burst mode, I took over 700 photos, which did help with the editing and it took a bit to cull them down to the 25 I felt were good enough.

All photographs are CC BY-SA 3.0, except for Kristin Hersh, Fred Abong, Rob Ahlers and ONCE Somerville who can use them however they wish.

Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert
Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert

You can find all 25 in this album:

Kristen Hersh Electric Trio

Alice in Wonderland Jr.

The Somerville Musical Theater production of Alice in Wonderland was this summer. This production is organized by the Somerville Arts Council.

Here are some of the better pictures I took. The full album with higher resolution images is also available.

I tried using my Sigma 105mm macro lens at f/4.0. The ISO was higher than I would like and there were far too many blurry photographs. Hopefully the clarity correction in Lightroom helped them.

Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019

I was in the back of the theater when some of the performers appeared prior to coming back on to stage via the aisles. This gave me an opportunity to get some silhouettes of the performers.

Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019
Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019

Not the last supper:

Alice in Wonderland Somerville Musical Theater Program 2019

Updated: New Nikon Mirrorless Camera Designs Appear

Nikon Rumors posted pictures from chizai-watch (translated) of a new Nikon mirrorless camera design, probably an APS-C camera. What is more interesting is that there are two other cameras registered on the same day: another APS-C camera without an EVF (translated) and a camera that looks much like the Z6/Z7 full frame camera (translated), but doesn’t indicate whether the sensor is full frame or APS-C.

The other APS-C camera (which I’ll call Za) is missing two dotted squares with curved front corners on either side of the shoe that are on the APS-C camera that Nikon Rumors mentioned (which I will call Zb). Update: Just noticed that camera Za is also missing the microphone next to the top dial in camera Zb.

Za Top View

Zb Top View (note the two dotted squares with curved front corners on either side of the shoe)

Za Front View

Zb Front View

Za Back View

Zb Back View

Not sure what the dotted squares are intended to be, though guesses are:

  • a small digital display as with the Z6/Z7
  • popup flash
  • popup EVF

Looking at the back view for both cameras, there is a port between the hot shoe and the top dial for both cameras that could be a port for an EVF that also hooks into the hot shoe. Just to the left of the hot shoe in the Zb is an rectangle with rounded corners. Could be a port of some kind.

Za Back View

Zb Back View

Both cameras have:

  • the same button layout
  • top dial
  • front grip dial
  • back grip dial
  • two function keys as in the Z6/7
  • tilt out screen which, without the EVF, could rotate upwards ala Sony-series cameras
  • one compartment for the memory card(s)

Both cameras seem to lack compartments for:

  • USB port
  • HDMI port
  • Audio in port
  • Headphone port

It is possible that the USB port is hidden in the memory card compartment.

Above the memory card compartment is a rectangular shape that could contain access to a USB port and/or audio in port:

It seems unlikely that one of the two dotted squares with curved front corners on either side of the shoe in camera Zb slides out to reveal such ports, but it is possible.

The third camera looks very much like the Z6/7 and might be just the Z6/Z7:

The design does not indicate what size sensor it uses. It could be anything from the Z6/7, the rumored high megapixel Z8, a lower end full frame Z5 or a high end APS-C Z4.

If it is a new camera and considering that the Z6/7 have the same body, it would make sense for Nikon to use the same body for the full frame/high end APS-C camera bodies. The Z8 might be a stretch if only because of the greater heat such a sensor generates. Keeping the number of distinct bodies to a minimum would help Nikon keep costs down especially with declining camera sales.

Thinking Ahead

I am going to be at the Kristen Hersh Electric Trio concert at ONCE later in the month and I need to decide what lens to bring.

I have two square posters of the cover art from the Throwing Muses Hips & Makers album that I have framed and which I want to hang with the above picture of Tanya Donelly (I realize she isn’t on the album, we do with what we have) and a new picture of Kristen Hersh.

Kristin Hersh - Hips and Makers.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

I photographed the Tanya Donelly concert there back in 2016 and I looked at the focal length, f-stop, shutter speed and ISO setting of the photographs I shared:

Tanya Donelly 9/30/2016 ONCE Somerville Concert

I used my Nikon 55-300mm and tended to take pictures from the back or the front sides. Most of the pictures I shared had a focal length of between 55mm and 120 mm. Must suffered from slow shutter speeds and high ISO settings.

I need to use a faster lens to get the shutter speed up and ISO down for sharper pictures. I have two possibilities. One is a wide angle zoom lens outside of the range of focal lengths I used. The other is a telephoto prime within the range of focal lengths I used. Neither is ideal and having to swap between them would be a pain. Another possibility would be to rent a fast zoom lens.

I may go to another show at ONCE before and test our how my lenses work, as well as try some composition ideas, before deciding which option to choose.

Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular Exhibit

Last weekend we visited the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, specifically to see the Gender Bending Fashion exhibit. We also visited the Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular exhibit which is at the MFA until June 19, 2019. The Gender Bending Fashion exhibit, which I will post pictures from later in the week, ends on August 25, 2019.

Here are a number of Frida Kahlo‘s paintings the exhibit displayed such as Two Women (Salvadora and Herminia) – 1928:

Two Women (Salvadora and Herminia) - Frida Kahlo 1928

Self-Portrait with Hummingbird and Thorn Necklace – 1940

Self-Portrait with Hummingbird and Thorn Necklace - Frida Kahlo 1940

Still Life with Parrot and Fruit – 1951

Still Life with Parrot and Fruit - Frida Kahlo 1951

Girl with Death Mask (She Plays Alone) – 1938

Girl with a Death Mask (She Plays Alone) - Frida Kahlo 1938

The Suicide of Dorothy Hale – 1939

The Suicide of Dorothy Hale - Frida Kahlo 1939

The exhibit displayed works of her contemporaries as well such as this painting by María Izquierdo: Cupboard – 1947

Cupboard - María Izquierdo 1947

Gabriel Fernández Ledesma: Girl – 1925

Girl - Gabriel Fernández Ledesma 1925

There were personal items of Frida Kahlo’s as well as articles of clothing that matched those she wore:

Blouse (huipit) - Front
Shawl (rebozo) - Front

Photo of a photo of her pain medicine:

Frida Kahlo's pain medicine

Finally, on the way out I came across this Picasso:

Standing Figure - Pablo Picasso 1908

Or if you want it without the frame:

Standing Figure - Pablo Picasso 1908

My whole photo album of the exhibit including a few pictures that are not displayed here:

Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular

I alternated f-stops between f/1.8 and f/5.6. In general, f/3.5 to f/4 is probably ideal considering the circumstances of limited time in front of each work of art and lighting conditions.

LBJ (DDG-1002) Christening

I attended the christening of the USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) at Bath Iron Works in Maine. The LBJ is the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer. It was christened by Johnson’s daughters, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson and a variety of public officials, both civilian and military, spoke.

USS Lyndon B. Johnson Christening

Manufacturing each ship costs over $4 billion. $12 billion dollars was spent on R&D for the class. Originally 30 were planned.

USS Lyndon B. Johnson Christening

It has two specially designed 155mm cannons that were designed to attack land targets in support of amphibious landings. However, since the cost of each shell is $1 million, the Navy has decided not to procure this ammunition leaving the ships without any way to use their cannons. The Navy is looking for a new future for the three ships.

USS Lyndon B. Johnson Christening

The bow uses a tumblehome design that adds to the stealthy quality of the ship…

USS Lyndon B. Johnson Christening

…as does the shape of the superstructure.

USS Lyndon B. Johnson Christening

They are still working on the LBJ and it is expected to be at Bath Iron Works for at least another year. At least four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers were in various stages of construction with the Daniel Inouye the furthest along. The production process is quite modular.

The ceremony was live streamed and is available on-line. You can also view larger versions of my photos.

MoS Butterflies

In early April, we went to the Museum of Science. There we visited the Butterfly Garden.

Here are the pictures I am most pleased with. Some were very patient, others weren’t. Focus on the patient ones and play with your f-stop and composition. A decent macro lens can really help, but oh how the depth of field can be thin if your f-stop is to small. A place like the Butterfly Garden, which has a decent amount of light, helps.

Butterfly @ Museum of Science
Butterfly @ Museum of Science
Butterfly @ Museum of Science
Butterfly @ Museum of Science
Butterfly @ Museum of Science

Several Random Photos

Usually when I am going to/from work, I don’t take my camera, but rely on my mobile phone to capture things I run into in my travels. I cannot say any of them are good, but the more times I get to play with composing photos, the better I’ll get hopefully. Enjoy!

Inspiring hope and fear

My aim was to capture the graffiti on the ground with the wall art. The people in the top left were a bonus. It would be a more compelling composition if I had captured the backs of the people closer to the graffiti on the ground.

Inspiring hope and fear

Abandoned gloves

With Spring upon us, someone discarded their gloves in an office stairwell. I decided to play with the perspective.

Abandoned gloves

Shadow within a shadow

The harsh morning light, seen in the top right, reflected off of the glass building behind me to cast me in shadow within the shadow of the building in front of me.

Shadow within a shadow

Reflections in Glass and Wood

Another photograph playing with reflected light. I liked the way the light reflected off the glass window as well as off the wooden counter and then off the glass window.

Reflections in Glass and Wood

All rolled up with nowhere to go

A job left undone.

All rolled up with nowhere to go