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Thread: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Hello all,

    My thanks to Guy Mancuso for inviting me to join here. We know each other from the Alt DSLR thread at FM. Guy and I were involved at one point in testing the prototype BrightScreen for the Leica R9/DMR combo, and I tested the prototype for the Canon 5D. All water under the bridge now, of course.

    I have sold all my Leica glass, and the R9/DMR. Currently I am using a D200 with all the ZFs except the 85/1.4, and hanging on to a D2Hs as a backup until the new camera arrives.

    I gave a D3 on order, as well as the 14-24/2.8 and the 24–70/2.8. I have the 80–200/2.8 and, with the ZFs, that pretty much exhausts my needs, lens and focal length-wise, for my shooting assignments. I follow the Robert Capa dictum in this regard...

    I am looking forward to new Zeiss ZF glass, and—frankly—I can't wait to get the D3. "Only" 12Mp, but what pixels. The high ISO performance looks incredible, and I very much like Nikon's flash system. And, personally, I feel Nikon's pro body ergonomics are better for me, for fit and layout.

    My work varies from architecture to products, with occasional corporate portraiture to leaven the mix. Last assignment was for John Deere, shooting forest harvesting equipment on location and in action, and I have just returned from Vancouver (where I was running a workshop) and shooting a Pilates studio interior for the owner, and some images of stretching exercises using the students there for my next book.

    As soon as the next book is finished, I will book on the next workshop GM and colleagues are running—I look forward to sharing a beer and stories with people I have never met, but nonetheless feel close to.

    Thanks to all for setting this forum up.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Hi Kit, great to see you over here!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Kit glad you got the honor of breaking our Nikon section in. Look forward to further reports on the D3 and D300 camera's that are hitting the streets. On paper they look really nice in many ways.


    BTW great to see you here my friend.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Super Duper
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Hi Kit, please relate your experiences with this camera when you get it.

    I've decided to hold back on getting the Canon 1DsMKIII when it becomes available, and am seriously looking to a Nikon D3 for my wedding photography. I have a Hasselblad H3D for high resolution work ... so 12 meg., full frame sounds perfect for my documentary wedding images. Probably only need a fast general Nikon zoom ... and a couple of ZF primes. I'll keep all the Canon stuff just in case they make the next leapfrog step : -)

    I assume the D3 has focus confirmation in viewfinder when using the Zeiss F mount glass ... right?

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Hi,
    Is this the introductory thread? I guess so.

    I'm Jorgen, a photographer and graphic designer living in Bangkok, making a living (more or less) from industrial and product photography, using a Fuji S3 with an assortment of Nikkor lenses. Although the upgrade to a D3 seems to be an obvious choice, the cost level in this part of the world makes investments very critical. Because of that, I may end up with a D300, at least for the time being.

    I also do travel photography within the region, with an Olympus E-1 (smaller kit, more rugged, fantastic lenses, particularly the wide-angles) that will be upgraded to an E-3 as soon as possible.

    This forum is a great initiative. For a while, I was worried that Guy should take all his knowledge and his great spirit with him and ride into the Leica-forum sunset, never to return again. Reading his threads about the DMR and later the M8, has been an enormous learning experience. I guess there's a Leica out there in the future for me, hopefully earlier rather than later

    Jorgen

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Hi Jorgen glad you made it over here and welcome. Invite some of your Nikon friends over and enjoy yourself. We all want to hear about the D300 and the D3. They both sound very positive to the market. Thanks for the nice comment about me and honestly i am trying to reinvent my life and make teaching much more important part of my life, i honestly need my own forum to do that. i just need to drive if you know what i mean and Jack is a amazing partner in our workshops and forums so maybe i will get through this mid -life stuff on with a new direction.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hi Kit, please relate your experiences with this camera when you get it.

    I've decided to hold back on getting the Canon 1DsMKIII when it becomes available, and am seriously looking to a Nikon D3 for my wedding photography. I have a Hasselblad H3D for high resolution work ... so 12 meg., full frame sounds perfect for my documentary wedding images. Probably only need a fast general Nikon zoom ... and a couple of ZF primes. I'll keep all the Canon stuff just in case they make the next leapfrog step : -)

    I assume the D3 has focus confirmation in viewfinder when using the Zeiss F mount glass ... right?
    Marc, I thought I had the spec sheet but I cannot locate it; I will post the information once it is found.
    Son
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    New here and have posted on the "small sensor thread"
    I'm awaiting the D3/300 and lenses as after 10 years with Canon I'm changing back.
    Last Nikon I had was the F4.
    My work is in Film and TV stills and almost always have to work in very low light, so I firstly, I just fancied a change and secondly, The D3 seems to tick all my boxes. No gripes with Canon at all but this seems to be a good time to make the move.
    I did fondle one for a few minutes here in London last week and it did feel as if you had more direct control, rather than via the menus as with the Canons.
    I see some of you use Ziess optics, are they easy to use on the Nikons and do they make much difference ?

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    One and a half year ago I tried the D200 with a couple of ZF lenses, but I had huge problems with the viewfinder.
    There was a substantial mismatch between what the screen + viewfinder were telling me and what the green confirmation light was telling me.
    When I saw a sharp view in the viewfinder the confirmation light wasn't at all lightening.
    And when the confirmation light showed up, the image in the viewfinder wasn't at all sharp.
    But worst of all, none of the two signals were to believe.
    The D200 wasn't designed for manual focusing, so there was no "snap" sharpness in the viewfinder when focus was right. The deapth of field was far too wide to get any snap with the build in screen.
    I liked the ZF optics, but at that time I couldn't find a satisfying camera solution for the lenses, so I ended up selling the D200.
    Now I am very interested in the positive news about the D300 viewfinder that Ray Harms tell us about in the "AI-S" pancake + nokton thread. And I expect the larger D3 viewfinder will be a lot better for the manual focus purpose. http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=174
    I hope Kit Laughlin will chime in on this very soon. He has nearly all the ZF lenses and I know he has ordered the D3 to shoot those lenses.

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    As I said in the AIS pancake thread, I am using the new Voightlander 40 2.0 asph pancake with my new D300. I did a shoot at a party where the light was very low and I had some serious focusing issues. However I was not using the focus confirmation light because frankly after a year shooting M8's I just forgot about it. Ray was kind enough to point this out to me so I went back and did some low light shooting paying very close attention to the FC lamp. All of the shots were extremely crisp as a result. Also understand that the D300 does not have as good a viewfinder as the D3 so the D3 should be even better and yes it also has the FC lamp.

    Just some initial impressions. I have done no serious testing as yet.

    Woody

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    I hope this tip on the focus confirmation light helps you guys. It works for me up to a 50mm lens (cropped FOV of 75) perfectly. However, it was not sensitive enough to nail the 85 1.4 lens under 2 meters of distance.

    Best,

    Ray

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Hello All, and esp. Hello to Guy and Jack. This will be a great forum, I believe, and the user's interface is the best yet, bar none.

    I will be brief today; two reasons. One is that I am on a deadline to have a book finished (with hundreds of BW photos, new text and new illustrations) by end Feb. Time is tight.

    Two, the D3 arrives tomorrow; I have had the D3300 for a week now. Initial thoughts re. D300:

    MF with any of the ZFs is difficult. The 100/2 makro has a paper-thin DOF at ƒ2, as everyone knows: you have to nail focus to make this baby sing. When you do (about 1/10, right now) the bokeh is extraordinary, and the colours saturated. It makes images that trigger the "Wow" factor.

    1/10 is nowhere good enough for someone making money out of images.

    Jim Lakey (BrightScreen) has his ProScreens waiting—I asked him not to fit them to the new cameras (he is my camera dealer, too; highly recommended). I buy retail BTW, so am not in his pocket. Point is I wanted to be able to compare the standard focussing screen with the Brightscreen. This I will do, but after I have settled in with both new bodies.

    But (and there's always a but) the D300 has some interesting focussing issues with AF, too. I am going to test more today, but my razor sharp wide open 80–200/2.8 is soft on the D300. No amount of fine tuning AF (all the way from +20 to -20 can get that lens sharp on that body. I honestly thought I was losing it yesterday after trying to get it sharp—so I pulled it off the D300, and put it back on the D200.

    10/10 perfectly sharp images resulted, wide open, same setup.

    So, two points here: one is to remind everyone that the AF and MF systems in these new cameras are separate systems. One, the other, or both, can be off. The D300 cannot AF accurately with this lens, and MF (via the standard focussing screen) is not good enough for me.

    After some retesting today with other zooms that from experience with the D200 (which, thank god, I kept) I know are sharp, I will decide whether to send the body back to Jim and ask him to send it back to Nikon under warranty or repair.

    I had this once before, with an S5 Pro: when I sent that back (MF, in this case was way out) the mirrorbox was so far out of spec the factory just replaced it. I have said this before, but it is worth repeating: QC, these days, is about the percentage of product that gets returned, rather than what might happen in the factory.

    I feel that the AF system is out of whack; a +20 AF fine tune gets it *close*, but no banana. More testing today.

    And while it is over in your part of the world, I will ask Jim to fit a Proscreen and to calibrate MF, once the AF is up to scratch.

    There is a lot to like about the D300: the extra stop in low light (but honestly, the results here really are a reflection of Nikon's new NR algorithms; the camera is not much better than the D200 if the NR is turned off—and I believe that some NR happens even if NR is set to "OFF", above 800 ISO), the new Info button that puts all major shooting parameters on the LCD (at last!), and the AF fine tuning—if the body is in spec.

    The LCD is incredible, and shows you the closest thing to an on-screen view. Definitely good enough to check focus (although remarks above re. focus were made after seeing images on screen).

    The control surfaces are better laid out (especially Playback), the finder is cleaner, and you get the option of 14 bit NEFs. I will leave it to others to test whether there is any visual value in prints via this option.

    That's all for now; possibly more later. I should have the D3 by midday tomorrow, my time. The D3 is the camera I have been waiting for since the "digital revolution" hit us. 12Mp is enough for everything I do, whether for print or web, and many here will recognise this reworking of an old adage: "it's not the number of pixels that counts, it's the quality of the pixels. Let's see.

    I forgot to mention: if the AF system is out of spec, you can't rely on the focus confirmation light....

    Guy, does this take you back to the R9/DMR?


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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Kit, thank you so much for this structured and elaborated report of yours. Exactly what I personally needed to qualify my own decisions about maybe giving it another try with my AI-S and ZF manual focus lenses.
    I am looking forward to hear more about your experiences with the manual focus ability of the D3 viewfinder too. I suppose we can expect it to be significantly better (as long as the focus system isn't off).

  14. #14
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Hello all,

    My thanks to Guy Mancuso for inviting me to join here. We know each other from the Alt DSLR thread at FM. Guy and I were involved at one point in testing the prototype BrightScreen for the Leica R9/DMR combo, and I tested the prototype for the Canon 5D. All water under the bridge now, of course.

    I have sold all my Leica glass, and the R9/DMR. Currently I am using a D200 with all the ZFs except the 85/1.4, and hanging on to a D2Hs as a backup until the new camera arrives.

    I gave a D3 on order, as well as the 14-24/2.8 and the 24–70/2.8. I have the 80–200/2.8 and, with the ZFs, that pretty much exhausts my needs, lens and focal length-wise, for my shooting assignments. I follow the Robert Capa dictum in this regard...

    I am looking forward to new Zeiss ZF glass, and—frankly—I can't wait to get the D3. "Only" 12Mp, but what pixels. The high ISO performance looks incredible, and I very much like Nikon's flash system. And, personally, I feel Nikon's pro body ergonomics are better for me, for fit and layout.

    My work varies from architecture to products, with occasional corporate portraiture to leaven the mix. Last assignment was for John Deere, shooting forest harvesting equipment on location and in action, and I have just returned from Vancouver (where I was running a workshop) and shooting a Pilates studio interior for the owner, and some images of stretching exercises using the students there for my next book.

    As soon as the next book is finished, I will book on the next workshop GM and colleagues are running—I look forward to sharing a beer and stories with people I have never met, but nonetheless feel close to.

    Thanks to all for setting this forum up.
    Hiya Kit,

    That really does seem to be one of the great combos in DSLRs right now: the D3 or D300 and Zeiss lenses. I think about that for myself (for non-RF work).

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Last edited by Sean_Reid; 9th December 2007 at 09:18.

  15. #15
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    BTW, the other camera that works very well with (and is fully coupled with) the Zeiss SLR lenses is the ($600 with rebate !) Pentax K10D. It's actually quite a good little body for Zeiss lenses.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Kit,

    Once you get your body sorted out for focus issues, I think the D300 will surprise you in how much it is improved over the D200 in terms of focus.

    With the D200, I had to change out my screen to the 13mm microprism screen from Brightscreen or I just missed too many shots with the ZF lenses.

    On the D300, it is is easier to see on the screen and the focus confirmation light works very well for me on the 35 and 50 focal lengths. I get optimal focus when going from close to far at the moment the light turns solid.

    I have the new 24-70 2.8, 105 2.8 VR Macro, and 70-200 2.8 VR for autofocus Nikon lenses. These all focus perfectly on my body and are very sharp. Hopefully Nikon will sort your body out quickly.

    This is a photo that I posted on LUF for another purpose, but it was taken under 1 meter of distance with 50 ZF 2.0 Macro on the D300 at ISO 3200, f5.6, 1/40s and hand held using the focus confirmation light. The file was the 14bit uncompressed, processed at default in ACR and then just resized & converted to sRGB for the web. I'm really enjoying this new camera.

    Best,

    Ray

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Hello All, and esp. Hello to Guy and Jack. This will be a great forum, I believe, and the user's interface is the best yet, bar none.

    I will be brief today; two reasons. One is that I am on a deadline to have a book finished (with hundreds of BW photos, new text and new illustrations) by end Feb. Time is tight.

    Two, the D3 arrives tomorrow; I have had the D3300 for a week now. Initial thoughts re. D300:

    MF with any of the ZFs is difficult. The 100/2 makro has a paper-thin DOF at ƒ2, as everyone knows: you have to nail focus to make this baby sing. When you do (about 1/10, right now) the bokeh is extraordinary, and the colours saturated. It makes images that trigger the "Wow" factor.

    1/10 is nowhere good enough for someone making money out of images.

    Jim Lakey (BrightScreen) has his ProScreens waiting—I asked him not to fit them to the new cameras (he is my camera dealer, too; highly recommended). I buy retail BTW, so am not in his pocket. Point is I wanted to be able to compare the standard focussing screen with the Brightscreen. This I will do, but after I have settled in with both new bodies.

    But (and there's always a but) the D300 has some interesting focussing issues with AF, too. I am going to test more today, but my razor sharp wide open 80–200/2.8 is soft on the D300. No amount of fine tuning AF (all the way from +20 to -20 can get that lens sharp on that body. I honestly thought I was losing it yesterday after trying to get it sharp—so I pulled it off the D300, and put it back on the D200.

    10/10 perfectly sharp images resulted, wide open, same setup.

    So, two points here: one is to remind everyone that the AF and MF systems in these new cameras are separate systems. One, the other, or both, can be off. The D300 cannot AF accurately with this lens, and MF (via the standard focussing screen) is not good enough for me.

    After some retesting today with other zooms that from experience with the D200 (which, thank god, I kept) I know are sharp, I will decide whether to send the body back to Jim and ask him to send it back to Nikon under warranty or repair.

    I had this once before, with an S5 Pro: when I sent that back (MF, in this case was way out) the mirrorbox was so far out of spec the factory just replaced it. I have said this before, but it is worth repeating: QC, these days, is about the percentage of product that gets returned, rather than what might happen in the factory.

    I feel that the AF system is out of whack; a +20 AF fine tune gets it *close*, but no banana. More testing today.

    And while it is over in your part of the world, I will ask Jim to fit a Proscreen and to calibrate MF, once the AF is up to scratch.

    There is a lot to like about the D300: the extra stop in low light (but honestly, the results here really are a reflection of Nikon's new NR algorithms; the camera is not much better than the D200 if the NR is turned off—and I believe that some NR happens even if NR is set to "OFF", above 800 ISO), the new Info button that puts all major shooting parameters on the LCD (at last!), and the AF fine tuning—if the body is in spec.

    The LCD is incredible, and shows you the closest thing to an on-screen view. Definitely good enough to check focus (although remarks above re. focus were made after seeing images on screen).

    The control surfaces are better laid out (especially Playback), the finder is cleaner, and you get the option of 14 bit NEFs. I will leave it to others to test whether there is any visual value in prints via this option.

    That's all for now; possibly more later. I should have the D3 by midday tomorrow, my time. The D3 is the camera I have been waiting for since the "digital revolution" hit us. 12Mp is enough for everything I do, whether for print or web, and many here will recognise this reworking of an old adage: "it's not the number of pixels that counts, it's the quality of the pixels. Let's see.

    I forgot to mention: if the AF system is out of spec, you can't rely on the focus confirmation light....

    Guy, does this take you back to the R9/DMR?

    Kit
    Sorry to hear about your focus issues. I suspect the AF and the FC light issues are related.

    My copy of the D300 has as close to perfert autofocus as I could ask for and likewise a colleague of mine who just got his. Thus I suspect you have a faulty camera and this is not a design issue but the sample size here is too small to draw conclusions.
    Woody

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Ray, thanks for that, and I definitely will do more and practise more with the ZFs on this body before sending it back. Nice shot of the M8!

    Hello Woody,

    Yes, FC light and AF use the same light path and focussing system. More on the 80–200/2.8 situation.

    I shot an interclub club gymnastic comp last night, informally, as another test of the AF capabilities and their interaction with the D300, and tried out two more lenses, too. The images from the 80–200 are usable, but none is really sharp. I did not take the D200 body with me (silly in retrospect) but I may have another opportunity to shoot that same lens/body combination (80–200/2.8 on D300, as well as D200) and (if Fortune smiles) the 80–200/2.8 on the D3, as well.

    The 80–200/2.8 may be misleading me as to focus accuracy and sharpness because it just may be that the test setup is too close to its minimum focussing distance—and I may be misinterpreting what I see in the images. I think back-to-back with the same lens on the different body will show what's really going on once and for all.

    I shot a cat with the D300/ZF 100/2 and although the hit rate is higher than day 1, still low. I think that for my eyes (well, right eye!), an MF focussing aid will be necessary. If I do return the camera to Brightscreen, I will ask Jim to install (and calibrate) the MF system to the new screen.

    I also shot with an older lens, the AF 60/2.8 micro Nikkor D—and the AF system on the D300 with that lens is very sharp, even wide open (and these lenses are not really sharp until ƒ5.6–8).

    So the upshot of all this is that I am unsure of what's really going on. Once I have the D3 and D200 back on that location and shoot them alongside each other, I will have more to post. cheers to all, KL

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Further to the D300 AF focussing problems I reported:

    I spent all morning testing all my AF primes and zooms. All focus perfectly on the D300 today—including the 80–200/2.8. I really don't understand my initial experiences; I used the same setup re. tripod, refocussing, and re-testing after running though the AF Fine Tuning control from full (+20 to -20) though intermediate settings. Today, all lenses performed just fine, and the fine tuning move the zone of critical focus as expected.

    A number of possibilities suggest themselves: that I may have been too close to the minimum focussing distance of this zoom, and that confounded the adjustments; that the target (red metre markings on a steel rule) were insufficiently contrasty, even though I was using the centre AF point, and focus hunted between subsequent exposures; or that the contacts were not perfectly clean.

    Today, I used a different target at a slightly greater distance, and it seems to work just fine. All the other lenses were considerably sharper, though, so there may be an underlying problem with that lens are near focussing distances. On a John Deere job recently (shooting harvesting machinery in the forests, working), some of the images they liked the best were shot on that lens, but at 50–75 yards away, and wide open.

    When the D3 arrives, I will try that lens on all three bodies on the same location, and perhaps I will know more then. Cheers, kl

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Kit,

    Glad to hear that the AF is working fine now. How is the MF confirmation light working with the Zeiss lenses? Mine works great at 50 and wider, but I never could nail focus on the 85 1.4 at 1.4 or 2.0 consistently enough to keep it.

    Best,

    Ray

  21. #21
    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Yesterday, Jim Lakey confirmed that he had the BL-3 battery caps in stock, and he is sending that with the new 24/3.5 TS, and a Brightscreen (Proscreen) for the D3 for me to test. I am excited! I am very much looking forward to trying the ZF lenses on the D3 (I just have not had time in the last five months) and the Proscreen is just a great reason to play.

    All this new stuff will arrive while I am in another city (book shoot and a workshop in the same city) so will have to wait, but if I like it, then I will get one for the D300, too, but send the body to Jim for fitting, testing and calibration. Even when AF-ing, I like the way the huge centre microprism goes completely clear as it focusses, just another confirmation.

    I sold that 80-200 and the new owner loves it. I replaced it with the 70–200 VR, and the TC 1.4 II extender. Both work fine on both bodies—my testing setup may simply have been at the minimum focussing distance and I was confusing the results. cheers, kl

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Kit, is it easy for the user to change the screen on the D3, I thought it was built in and that you needed a bit more advanced camera surgery to change it ?

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Piece of cake: pull clip, remove and swap screen, close clip. Had to do it in the field last week (very dusty). Takes seconds. Cheers, KL

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    whoa, thanks Kit, I'm surprised to hear this, never saw that in the specifications when the camera was announced and released. In my mind a very important detail.
    But with the D300 it ain't quite that simple, right ?

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    Re: First post in the Nikon Forum and introducing myself

    Kit,

    I'll be very interested in what difference the focusing screen actually makes on the D3. I find the D3 much easier to manual focus than the D300. I have no issue manual focusing anything up to 50mm on either camera, but found the 85/1.4 difficult with the factory screen.

    When I had the D200, I had one of Jim's screens with the split image and microprism collar. However, I did not like the split center when using autofocus lenses. I often also moved slightly to use the microprism collar when focusing if there were no straight lines to split. I guess this means that maybe I should have tried the 13mm microprism only spot.

    Please let me know if it improves your focusing ability any on the D3.

    Best,

    Ray

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