Ottawa 589 - A rail blog looking for a tagline



/ 2


Prisoner of my camera system

26th March 2017

After the premature death of my last camera I had to go out and get a new one.  There were three replacement choices which were under consideration: Canon Full Frame dSLR (For its 5x macro lens), Sony Mirror Less (For its low light performance and weight), and Nikon Full Frame dSLR (For its resolution and focus performance).

In the end, I went with Nikon because it was the cheapest alternative (since I could reuse most of my glass).  My old camera had a crop sensor, but most of my recently acquired lenses were full frame (FX).  The only FX lens that I was missing was a wide angle (11mm-16mm).  In a pinch, I’ll just use the DX lens on the FX body and just take the hit with respect to the resolution.

With the new body, there is much to learn.  Right now my learning is centred around the auto-focus system and getting to know the ISO performance boundaries.   The new camera has many new focus modes that the old camera did not, so quite a bit of time is spent trying to figure out which mode is best for the varying movement and lighting conditions.  The other major area of change is learning the cameras ISO performance (and figuring our what I can get away with).  My old camera has an upper bound of ISO around 800 – 1000.  Anything north of 1000 was to grainy to be saved through LightRoom.

In Ottawa, the best way to be able to shoot many trains in a short time frame is to go for the O-Train (I ended up eeking out sometime this weekend to take some VIAs since I’m a sucker for them).  So far, the results are positive to unsure.  On the positive side, the autofocusing ability on it is amazing.  On my old cameras the focus was ok most of the time, but only really nailed it 25% of the time.  This camera has good almost all of the time, and nails it about 75% of the time (I expect that number to improve once I figure out the focus modes).  Another plus is that the ISO performance is usable up to 1600.  While zooming in, I’ve found that the appears to be a fair amount of noise in the mid range ISOs that appears to be a bit noisier than my old camera between 640 – 800.  I’m unsure if it is just high noise or if it is just a results of the much higher pixel density.

Daylight High Speed Shutter

Really wish I had taken this from the same angle, same lens, and the same lighting.

Left old, right new

Motion Blur

On the shot below, this is one where my old camera “Nailed” the focus.  The new camera did a good job getting the focus here as well, even in the challenging conditions with the huge snowflakes falling.

Left old, right new

…Running Extra…

Have anyone out there spent time doing lens calibration?  Has anyone seen this make a difference in their image sharpness?


  • Steve Boyko
    Posted at 9:41 pm 2017-03-26
    Steve Boyko
    Reply Author

    Congratulations on your new camera! It’s a learning experience but I think it will be a net positive. I’d love to upgrade my camera body but I think I’ll be waiting until it dies.

    I’ve never done lens calibration but from what I understand, it doesn’t make a huge difference.

    • DaveM
      Posted at 10:01 pm 2017-03-26
      Reply Author

      Hi Steve,

      I was in the same boat about upgrading my body. I’d been wanting to do it for the past year, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend money to replace a perfectly functioning body. That said, sometimes you catch a lucky break, and you end up being able to buy a new body. 🙂

      I think that you may be right on the lens calibration. I also question the value of it as well after doing it. I bought some software to help me do it. You USB connect your camera to the computer, setup the target, light it properly, then let it run. On my first run, it produce a setting of +13 (range is -20 to +20) and a shnazy report with a before and after picture. I could see a difference on the first report, so I thought, wow this is great. I then decided to run it a second time (in the same setting, location, etc) and it produced a different number (+8) and I didn’t see any noticeable difference on the report. I would have thought that it would have returned the same value (or close there to). Anyways, I’ll probably try it again in 6 months to see if it returns a different set of values.