The SONY or Nikon Answer and What We Can Learn … Checking Sharpness at 100% « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The SONY or Nikon Answer and What We Can Learn … Checking Sharpness at 100%

What’s Up?

I had too much fun down by the lake this morning when my favorite pair of cranes walked right up to me with both of their chicks. I’ve been swimming most every day, most recently about 60 lengths (with 44 to the mile). I swim very slowly. 🙂

I have been having a ton of fun the last few days reconnecting with some of my Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity brothers. That precipitated by the recent death of Bob (Fat) Marcus who was a year younger than the great guys in my pledge class. Condolences to Bob’s wife Jamie and the rest of the folks who miss his smile.

I was glad to learn that Daniel Tishman will be joining six others on the DeSoto IPT — that leaves one slot open. And I was glad to learn of the sale of John Johnson’s Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, perhaps my favorite ever super-telephoto.

Lakeland In-the-Field Morning Sessions

If you would like to join me in Lakeland for a morning of great photography next week — I am free this Friday, March 15 — please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three. photographers/session.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $250.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $350.00

Saturday Cheap Gatorland Sessions

Join me at Gatorland this Saturday to learn a ton. If you are interested please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $200.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $300.00
Full day with the working lunch: $400.00.

IPT Updates

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 1. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 8. This trip is a go. Co-leader with more than 6 participants: Peter Kes.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.



BIRDS AS ART

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Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Important Used Gear Note

All sales include insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Recent Used Gear Sales Rocking!

Multiple IPT veteran John Johnson sold a Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Lens in excellent plus to near-mint condition for the BAA record low price of $7499.00 in early March.
John Bowden sold a Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS lens in near-mint condition for $798 (was) $848.00 in early March.
Karl Schneck sold a Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II USM zoom lens (the new 1-4) in excellent condition for $1,299.00 in early March.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F in like-new condition for $699.00 (was 799.00) in early March.
John M Wright sold his Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS lens in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $488.00 in early March.
Errol Bellon sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 G VRII N-ED Lens lens in new condition for a very fair $1125.00 (was $1296.95).
John Bowden sold his Sony a7R III mirrorless camera in mint condition (only 136 actuations!) for $2298.00 one day after it was listed.
Dick Bernard sold his Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens (the new 1-4) in excellent condition (with an original 1.4X TC) for a BAA record-low-by-far $1,198.00 about 30 seconds after it was listed.
John Bowden sold his Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens in like-new condition for $998.00 the first day it was listed.
I sold my barely used (shutter count 16,263) Nikon D5 in excellent to near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $4,496.95 (was $5,496.95) and my Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens in excellent plus condition for only $1,499.00 (was $1799.00), both in late February 2019.
John M Wright also sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in near mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $488.00and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR body in near-mint condition with 28,567 shutter actuations for $1999.00 in mid-February.
I sold my Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens in pretty close to near-mint condition along with the the RRS Collar Foot Package for a silly low $1099.00.
Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Paul Reinstein sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $6,599.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon D850 DSLR for $2699.00 just days after listing it in early February.
I sold my Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II in near-mint condition for a BAA record low price of $299.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $10,996.95 his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens in like-new condition for $475.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens in like-new condition for $910.00, and his Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in excellent condition for $385.00 all within a day of listing them in early February.

Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Todd Koudelka is offering a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent to near-mint condition for the BIRDS AS ART record-low price of $6499.00. Photos are available upon request. The sale includes the lens trunk with two keys, the front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap and the trunk strap, the original canon box, and insured Fed-Ex Ground shipment to the lower 48 US states only.

It is best to contact Todd via e-mail or by cell phone from 7-9pm Central time: 1- 608-577-5375.

The 500 f/4 super telephoto lenses have long been the world’s most popular for birds,nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. Canon’s Series II version is light, fast, super-sharp, and produces amazing images with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. The 500 II is relatively small, easily hand holdable for some folks, and is much easier travel with, focuses closer than, and costs a lot less than the 600 II. Lastly, and you might find this amazing, the magnification for the 500 II is the same as it is for the 600 II: .15X. How is that possible? Magnification is calculated at the minimum focusing distance of the lens — 12.14 feet (3.7 meters) for the 500 II and 14.77 feet (4.5 meters) for the 600 II. Simply put, the 500 II focuses more than two feet closer than the 600 II. The seller for the last one that sold here had five calls the first day; the first four folks quibbled on price. The fifth one jumped right on it … Please do not tarry if you are seriously interested in Todd’s lens as it too should sell almost instantly. Or not. As the 500 II goes for $8999 new you will be getting a pretty much new lens while saving $2500.00! I loved my 500 II. artie

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Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

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Image #1: Sandhill Crane chick vertical head and shoulders portrait

This image was sharpened for the web with Unsharp Mask at 110, 0.3, 0.

The SONY or Nikon ? Answer and What We Can Learn …

In the recent A Pleasant Surprise! And SONY or Nikon? blog post here, I asked folks to let us know whether they thought each image was created with a Sony rig or with a Nikon rig. Folks had greatly different opinions …

The fact is that both were created with my Nikon gear. My good BPN friend Joe Przybyla (say priz-BY-luh) wrote:

Hey Artie, prove me wrong again but I say Image #1 is Sony and Image #2 is Nikon. The detail and color in Image #2 look better. As you know I shoot Nikon and Image #2 looks like what I regularly post process.

My friend David Peak felt the opposite was true: My thoughts are the first image is out of the Nikon and the second from your Sony.

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Image #2: Sandhill Crane chick stretching near-wing

This image was sharpened for the web with Unsharp Mask at 110, 0.3, 0.

My Thoughts

Obviously I knew that both were made with my Nikon 600mm and a D850. Image #1 with the TC-14E at 850mm, Image #2 with the bare lens at 600mm. I knew that the second image was sharper than the first in part because of the wider depth-of-field that came with the shorter focal length for image #2 and the fact that the bird was farther away … So, any perceived differences in color were just that, perceived. To my eye they looked exactly like images made with the same camera body. That said, differences in post processing and the variability of Auto White Balance can lead to very different looking images as far as color goes.

Read on for my surprising comments on image sharpness.

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Image #1: unsharpened 100% crop

Image #1 Sharpness

This is an unsharpened 100% crop from the (properly unsharpened) master TIFF file. Working at 100% I cropped to 1200 X 800 pixels. The image is presented here at 800 wide. You can click on the image to see a larger version.

This image is nowhere near sharp. It is not even close. Note the lack of fine feather detail (FFD) and the soft, detail-less appearance of the eye skin. I attribute the lack of sharpness to the dirty drop-in filter. What can we learn here? Even unsharp images can look decent for web viewing. And be sure to clean the drop-on filters of your big lenses regularly.

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Image #2: unsharpened 100% crop

Image #2 Sharpness

This is an unsharpened 100% crop from the (properly unsharpened) master TIFF file. Again, working at 100% I cropped to 1200 X 800 pixels. The image is presented here at 800 wide. You can click on the image to see a larger version.

This one is somewhat sharper than Image #1 but the focus was not spot on. The image at 100% is not razor sharp. Again, note the lack of fine detail in the eye skin and the surrounding feathers. Again, I attribute the lack of sharpness to the dirty drop-in filter in the 600 VR. What can we learn here? Same as above: even unsharp images can look decent for web viewing and be sure to clean the drop-on filters of your big lenses regularly.

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Image #3: with the same Nikon 600 and the same D850 after the drop-in filter in the 600 VR was cleaned

After the Drop-In Filter Was Cleaned

This is an unsharpened crop of an image that I made on Tuesday morning with the Nikon 600 and the D850 after the drop-in filter was cleaned. After you click on this image compare the fine feather detail with the fine feather detail in Image #2. After cleaning the drop-in filter I focus-fine tuned the 600 with and without the TC-E14 with both of my D850 bodies …

Viewing at 100%

In Photo Mechanic, with my Nikon NEF and Canon CR2 files, I hit Command + Z with the cursor on the spot I want to see enlarged and then Z again to get back to full screen. With my SONY files and their unfortunately small embedded JPEGs, I go to Capture One” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Capture One and use the Loupe tool to view at 100%. Both the size of the zoom and the magnification are adjustable. For a screen capture showing the C-1 Loupe click here.

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Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

Help Support the Blog

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To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

5 comments to The SONY or Nikon Answer and What We Can Learn … Checking Sharpness at 100%

  • avatar Charles Foye

    Good morning from Cumberland Md.. I’m a landscape and nature photographer. I’m shooting Canon 7D ll and a 5Ds. All my lenses Canon L series. My go to lens is 28/300 3.5. but for wildlife I take my 28/300, 300 2.8 and my older but dependable 500 4.5. I always take my 1.4 lll and my 2.0 ll. Oh yes good tripod with gimbal head. I just started to shooting using both extension tubes together taking my 500mm on my 7D out to 2260mm, it does a good jot for the shots with the birds out on the lake. The biggest drawback is you must shot in very good light and it takes it to f11. What I’m looking for help editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. I would also love to participate in one of your classes.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Teleconverters or extenders; Extension tubes are different. With the 2X on the very old 500mm f/4.5 you need to focus manually …

      Here is some excellent advice.

      For converting your RAW files and processing them in Photoshop I strongly recommend The Current Workflow e-Guide, aka, Digital Basics II. Order that here.. Click on the IPT tab on the tool bar at the top of each page for the schedule of Instructional Photo-Tours, i.e., my classes. See my e-mail for additional suggestions for improving. with love, artie

  • avatar George Cottay

    For me, observations like this are both valuable and misleading. Camera bodies and lens selection do make a difference. It seems to me that given any decent camera the human still makes the crucial difference.

    Which is the better animal protein, beef or chicken? For me, it all depends on the cook and the dinner guests. If chef Artie were to cook with a generic FujiFilm FinePix I suspect most of the guests would be wowed by the dishes he offered. The difference between an Vulcan range and a Garland may well count for the chef but by the time the dishes hit the table the humans involved make all the difference.

    If the chef were obligated to start with a hot plate that could make a difference, but most all modern cameras as much better than than a hot plate. For me, it’s an Arthur Morris image with the Canon/Nikon/Sony?BrandX of minor concern.

  • Hey Artie, I was half right. Interesting blog post, makes my 76 year old neurons work.

    Be safe and well my friend.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for being a good sport Joe. I am starting to work on our Middle of Florida Photography Site Guide today. 🙂

      with love, artie