Archive for the ‘Camera’ Category

My new Tamron is now sick.

A few days ago, it started to develop a strange behaviour, the lens is not focusing when i press my button half way, even with dial set to auto focus, it just wont move. Initially i thougth was the camera, but the camera work alright, i can change from P to A, S or M without issue, only the lens that is not focusing.

I had also removed the battery grip, hoping it will help, but the same thing happened. The lens just wont focus.


Finally…. i know it was a tough decision but i believe i had choosen the correct one.

At the beginning, I had to choose between Nikon SB900, Metz 58AF or Nissin Di866, took me a while to think through all my options and asking myself what I were looking for and where I am heading with this. After weeks of soul searching and googling, I know this much is true.

1) I really wanted to learn more about strobe & studio lightning. Not that I dont like having a Tamron 90mm f2.8 by my side but I should explore my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 before i made another lens purchase.

2) Getting a SB900 will be awesome since I can make full use of Nikon CLS system, but hold on… D5000 doesnt have a master build-in into the pop up flash. If I have a SB900, how do I trigger? I would need a wireless trigger or trigger using optical trigger (another flash). And if i spend RM1.6k buying a flash that can only be trigger using optical trigger (assume that I dont want to spend more on a pocketwizard or phottix Aster), it kinda sucks right? A wireless trigger will be more flexible and does not relly on line of sight to trigger the second flash.

3)Fine, then get SB600 and Phottix Aster and do wireless trigger….technically, SB600 is lower in power when compare to Nissin Di622, again it make no sense to get a SB600 if i need more power …

4)If you compare Di866 with Metz 58AF, Di866 is slightly more powerful in Guide # 60m at 105mm compare to 58mm at 105mm(Metz) and although Metz 58AF’s features are slightly better, will that worth paying additional RM600~RM700…i dont think so.

Di866 side to side comparison with my old Nissin Di622

Nissin Di866 has a colour digital screen

Nissin Di866 come with a sub-flash that can be activated when the head are set to bounce position.


* Usable camera : CANON digital camera, NIKON digital camera
* Guide Number (ISO100) : 60m, 198ft. (105mm), 40m, 132ft. (35mm)
* Focal length Coverage : 24~105mm (18mm with wide angle diffuser)
* Power Source : 4 x AA battery
* Recycle Time : 0.1-5.5 sec. (Alkaline, NiMH)
* Number of Flashes : 150-1500 times
* Flash Duration : Manual mode 1/300 (Full Power) , TTL mode 1/300-1/30000 sec.
* Energy Saving : Auto power off  Off, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60 mins
Stand-by mode  30 sec.
Display off  Display screen switch off
* Color Temperature : 5600K
* Flash Power Control System : Full Auto  E-TTL, E-TTL II (for Canon), i-TTL (for Nikon), Ev compensation adjustment on camera
TTL  E-TTL, E-TTL II (for Canon), i-TTL (for Nikon), [Advanced] Ev compensation, Manual zoom, Sub-flash allowed
Auto Aperture Flash  F1.4-F16 (ISO100), 1/3 Ev steps, [Advanced] Manual zoom, Sub-flash allowed
Manual Power  Full-1/128, 1/3Ev steps, [Advanced] Manual zoom, Sub-flash allowed
Multi-flash  Frequency-90Hz, 1-90 times, Power 1/8-1/128
* Wireless Remote flash Slave:
Slave  Digital Slave / Film & Studio Slave, [Advanced] Sub-Flash Allowed
Wireless TTL  Master / Remote, 4 Channels,  3 Groups (A, B, C), Modes: Off/ TTL/ Manual, TTL Flash Ratio Adjustable
* Ev Compensation on flash : -0.3 – +3.0, 1/3Ev steps
* My TTL setting :  -0.3 – +3.0, 1/3Ev steps
* Bounce Function : Upward 90 degree, Left 90 degree, Right 180 degree
* Sub-flash: Manual Full – 1/8, 1Ev steps
* FE/FV Lock : [FEL] OR [*] Button for Canon, [AE-L] OR [AF-L] for Nikon
* Rear curtain sync. : Yes
* High speed sync. : Yes
* Red eye reduction mode for Nikon: Yes
* Slow sync. mode for Nikon: Yes
* Red eye reduction mode + Slow sync. mode for Nikon : Yes
* AF assist light distance : 0.7-10m
* Operation Control mode : Color Display (Auto Rotation)
* Firmware Upadate Terminal : USB
* X terminal : Yes
* External power pack socket : Nissin Power Pack PS-300, Canon original pack, Nikon original pack (except Nikon SD-9)
* Accessories : Soft Pouch, Flash Stand with Tripod screw
* Dimension : 134 x 74 x 110 mm
* Weight : 380gr. w/o battery

Apart from getting this, I am getting a Phottix Aster, a couple of receivers, light stands & umbrella. I will not get any softbox for this moment due to budget and secondly, umbrella give a wider area coverage when you bounce the light. Softbox has to wait…Further more, I still have my DIY Beauty Dish that i half complete, maybe its time to whip them out and make some modification.

Here’s a video on Umbrella vs Softbox….enjoyed.

Test #1 : Comparing my kit lens with Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 II

ok, here’s some experiment i did with the new lens. I wanted to compare the sharpness between my Nikkor kit lens (18-55mm f3.5-5.6) with Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 II lens.

background: My D5000 was set up on a tripod and to maintain the same distance, I had only remove and replace with the lens when shooting. ASA 200, camera set to ‘A’ priority and no Photoshop. Set up near a natural light (window).

from the above pictures, one can make a conclusion that with both lens open at f5.6, both picture show almost the same sharpness, i even have problem trying to tell which pic is the sharpest!  There are only 2 visual differents

1) the bokeh produced by Tamron is slightly overexposed on the high contrast area.

2)the picture are slightly brighter compare to the kit lens Nikkor 18-55mm.

Test # 2: testing out the f-stop

on this 2nd test, using Tamron 17-50mm, I took 3 shots of the same object using different f-stop at 50mm. Here’s the finding:

1) @ f2.8- again, the high contrast area on the face has lost some details. Due to the limited depth of field, any object beyond that are blurred thus results in a lost of details (the 2nd figurine on the right)

2) @ f5.6 – we can see the background bokeh is showing more details as well as the details in the right-hand figurine.

Test # 3 : wide angle test

shooting using Tamron (pic on the left) , again we are seeing some lost of detail in the highlight area (background) and the image seems to be slightly softer when compare to Nikkor lens

Btw, those figurines are of New Zealand All Black. I collected these when i was a student in Otago, New Zealand. The one on the right is Christian Cullen and i cant recall the other one 🙂

Finally? Yes, it was a difficult decision, took me many many sleepless night trying to decide which is the suitable lens for my next investment. Finally, i had chosen to go with this lens and here are the reasons why:

  • at 17-50, (27-80 full frame), i get closer to my subject and also allow me to include the interaction between  the subject and the entities surround it. This is very crucial during a wedding actual day.
  • although 18-200 is available to a DX camera, those affordable are not fast lens. In a low light situation, i prefer to shoot the scene using a fast lens with some fill-in flash and not using the flash to light up the scene.
  • this lens are sharper & more accurate than Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 and has less known issues. Reviews claimed Tamron focusing speed are much better than Sigma 18-50mm.
  • why not the latest version with VR/VC? well… I wont pay extra RM400~RM500 for the latest one. Addtional to that, reviews claimed the latest lens with VR/VC has some back-focus issue and also due to VR/VC features, the focus is slightly slower.
  • with the aperture open at constant f2.8, i can shoot a scene at higher shutter speed thus allow me to capture and freeze the action. At lower f stop, such as 15s and below, the image will appear to be blur.

so what will happen to my Nikkor 35mm f1.8? This is still a great lens and i will still rely on it to take some great portraiture. The ability to stop down to f1.8 means having the option to have extra 3 or 4 stops from f2.8 could proof valuable in time. The 35mm produces a much better/ smoother bokeh when compare to Tamron 17-50.

Last but not least, many of my shots was produced using this 35mm lens.

here’s the specs:

Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD ASPHERICAL [IF]
Model Name A16
Focal Length 17-50mm [same FOV as a 27-80 zoom would have on a full frame camera]
Maximum Aperture f2.8
Minimum Aperture f32
Angle of View 78° 45′ – 31° 11′ (APS-C size equivalent)
Lens Construction 16 elements in 13 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 0.27m (10.6″) (Over the entire zoom range)
Maximum Mag. Ratio 1:4.5 (at f=50mm MFD 0.27m)
Filter Diameter 67mm
Overall Length 81.7mm (3.2″) *
Maximum Diameter 74.0mm (2.9″)
Weight 434 grams (15.3oz.) *
Diaphragm Blades 7 blades (Circular aperture)
Standard Accessory Flower-shaped Lens Hood

Test shots coming up soon! I will compare my Nikkor kit lens against the new Tamron lens.

I am currently looking around for a fast lens to replace my kit lens.

There are 2 choices here since Nikkor is just way too costly for me and will totally blow away mine budget away. So it will be either Tamron or Sigma.

Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR DI-II VC (Vibration Compensation) here & old one here. The new series comes with VC for nikon and seems to be one of cheapest around at this build quality. Overall, Tamron received a better review compare to Sigm 18-50 for its superior sharpness even at wide open. The only know issue with Tamron is the “back/front focus problem” many had talked about.

Both lens are around selling price of RM2K.

Construction 14 Groups/ 19 Elements
Diaphragm: 7 blades
Angle of view 78° at 45′ – 31° at 11′, (APS-C size equivalent)
F stop range 2.8- 32
Closest Focusing Distance 11.4in. (0.29m)
Maximum Magnification 1:4.8
Filter Size 72mm
Dimensions (Length x Diameter) 94.5 x D 79.6 mm / 3.7″ x 3.13″
Weight 20.15 oz / 570g appx.

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC here

With a slower focus speed when compare to Tamron, Sigma is also well know for its paint peeling issue.

Lens Construction 15 Elements in 13 Groups
Angle of View 76.5 – 31.7 degrees (Sigma SD format)
Number of Diaphragm Blades 7 Blades
Minimum Aperture F22
Minimum Focusing Distance 20cm/7.9 in.
Maximum Magnification 1:3
Filter Size Diameter 72mm
Dimensions Diameter 79mm X Length 85.3mm
3.1 in. X 3.4 in.
Weight 535g/18.9 oz
Corresponding AF Mounts NIKON