A closer look at the Nikon Coolpix P900 #dpreview

If you are a blogger or a #socialmedialite, or just an enthusiastic photographer, Nikon has a really great camera for you – it is not a toy. Enter Coolpix P900.

It is king of the bridge cameras. A bridge camera bridges the gap between compacts and DSLR’s, nowadays also mirrorless cameras. It can do all the settings such as shutter speed, time value, aperture, white balance, etc., yet the lens is not removable. Instead, one like this offers 24-2000mm equicvalent to a 35mm camera. That is with optical zoom, add digital and it grows to 8000mm. Crazy. 

It sports NFC which allows for wireless connection affording the user easy photo sharing but also limited remote control via smartphones or tablets. Furthermore, it has built-in GPS. 

It isn’t ecactly cheap but presently can be had at around ten thousand South African Rand or roughly US$ 770.

If you, like I do, love cameras, take a good read at:

https://m.dpreview.com/articles/2417488569/a-closer-look-at-the-nikon-coolpix-p900-megazoom

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Laziness to Read

I traveled across South Africa six or seven times, lost count, really. I took a few thousand photos, wrote twelve or fifteen articles, posted to Facebook with descriptions. Only for a reader to ask me to explain what he is seeing. 

You have to take photos to explain what you are writing about and then write to tell what the photos are about. 

This is a map of the southern part of the Cape Peninsula

The Cape Peninsula is a stretch of land flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on either side. The bay on the southeastern side is called False Bay. The southern reaches thins out and is called the South or Southern Peninsula, aka Deep South. 

Just because people are lazy to read and even find memes “complicated.” Mankind really isn’t gaining intellect at an alarming rate. 

Choosing the right Camera – Travel & Wildlife

Doing a bit of travel blogging and promoting tourism quickly taught me to go prepared. I always stand amazed at how quickly an opportunity arises, albeit rather unexpected. Perhaps, the old adage rings true: ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

There is a place called Dyer Island more or less two thirds of the way between Cape Town and the southernmost tip of Africa, Agulhas, where Indian and Atlantic oceans do meet. Dyer Island is where Jacques Cousteau used to spend much time, researching sharks, from his vessel Nautilus. I happened to have spent a fair share of my fifty-odd years in that neck of the woods and personally know some of the shark ticklers. I also know two of the first ever shark spotters. On April 9, 2017, the unthinkable happened in the least expected of places – St James, Cape Town. Twice on that Sunday afternoon did we see a shark breach the surface between 600-800m offshore. Don’t ask me for photo’s as I only had a little compact with me, not capable of capturing such action instantly at that range.

Some time ago, I had stalked fallow deer and came quite close to them, same as gnu (wildebeest.) As I visited a dusty region, I did not want to switch lenses at all, lest there would be dust ingress. A DSLR camera isn’t designed to transport the land you are treading upon. Fitted with a Canon EF 18-55mm lens, I was hopelessly under equipped for my task. Video of the fallow deer reminds of twelve mice jumping a fence.

If you are a frequent traveler in Africa or similar environments, best advice is to invest in a decent camera which is sealed, by design and manufacture, against weather and the environment. Extensive research brought me to a great solution in the form of Canon’s EOS 80D combined with a Canon 28-300mm L EF IS lens, offering weather and environment sealing, same as the camera. It allows for close-up shots as well as reaching far enough to capture most of the wildlife. Of course, a teleconverter aka lens doubler can be added, with a Polaroid filter to complete the package. This setup will afford the photographer a perfect solution for at least 95% of the time, with much of the remainder an agreeable compromise. Using a decent tripod is strongly recommended for super zoom shots and cinematography.

Said 80D also is an excellent video camera, at entry professional level for the cinematographer. Being weather sealed and of greater performance, it beats its nearest competition by a fair margin. It can also shoot up to around 960 still images on one battery charge, Its only downside is its use of an APS-C sensor, not a full frame. Then again, it has NFC & WiFi, making it ideal as it can also be controlled via a smartphone or tablet.

There is a much cheaper solution, as this bundle can easily set you back around R60k. A Canon Powershot SX60 will cost around R6k and offer super zoom of 18-1265mm, offering fantastic wide angle capability while that faraway little springbok can be turned into eyebiltong with ease, yet there is a catch! Also weather sealed and therefore won’t melt if a few raindrops comes in contact with it.

Middle ground is found in the incredible Nikon P900 with some 2,000mm focal length. A bridge camera that really just does it all. 

You get what you pay for – compact cameras sport small sensor chips, same as smartphones. Trouble starts the moment that you venture beyond Instagram and want to print, especially for publishing purposes. You will soon find that no camera can even come close to the quality a good DSLR offers.

My lay advice would be to buy the camera body that suits your needs the best, but invest in the best glass that you can buy. Canon’s L-series lenses are known to be especially crisp and effective even in low light conditions. They have an alternative to the 28-300mm, the 100-400mm which has a wider scope at zoom but then you will need to live with a more restricted short end.

Non-branded lenses may be okay but they lose some functionality in live mode.

Finally, I own a Canon Powershot A810 compact, basically a toy, yet it packs a lot of punch. It is utterly reliable and almost unbelievably tough, in that it had fallen twice now and was soaked by the frisky waves of the Atlantic ocean. I bought it used at R450 (about USD35) and fitted my own Sandisk 16GB SD card. It even takes reasonable video at FHD resolution.

Happy clicking!

Data Security – Travel Photography

On my very first trip on the world’s most awarded luxury train, The Blue Train of South Africa, the almost new Strontium microSD card failed in my camera. I lost some 100+ photographs, very much needed for my upcoming blog posts. I am not the only one who suffered as I frequently learn about the plight of others.

A solution to those who can afford it:

  • A camera with wireless networking ability, plus
  • A portable wireless hard drive, plus
  • A laptop, tablet or Smartphone with a large microSD card

The camera will upload automatically to the wireless portable hard drive which, in turn, can make instant backup copies to a portable device as mentioned. This is one way to ensure that you retain your data should either of these devices fail.

I would still suggest a second portable backup device such a portable USB hard drive, where data can be backed up after every day’s work has been completed.

Finally, digital photo formats are going to change so much in future that your typical BMP/JPG/PNG/GIF/TIFF files won’t be read by newer devices. it would be best to print your photos in hard copy as well!

It ain’t easy, eh?

#DSLR Learning to Shoot

So I borrowed the Canon 700D from my friend again. Here are a few photos taken as follows:

  • Flowers photographed with nifty fifty lens at close-up setting or Tv 1/10 ISO 100
  • All other shots with 75-300 kit lens, Tv 1/160 ISO 100

The ship in the photo is the Gulden Leeuw from Kampen, Nederland.  This Dutch vessel was built in 1937 and arrived in CapeTown a few days ago. I was lucky seeing it enter the harbour and coming alongside to her mooring right in front of the beautiful Table Bay Hotel.

Gulden Leeuw with the Cape Wheel in the backdrop

The golden lion mascot

Oscar the Seal in front of Table Bay Hotel

VW Beetle still in high demand locally. Ancient stuff!

Eurocopter coming in to land

Sugarbush protea. Notice the bees.

White rose with a darling pose

Stokroos

ShosholozaMeyl train – South Africa. Canon 700D 18-55mm on automatic settings.

PremierClasse Train also 700D on auto, 18-55mm lens

Comments are welcome, constructive criticism on each and every photo is invited, provided your level of proficiency warrants that. 

General comments are also welcome, of course! I love showing you around my world.

Oh, this is me at work. Photo taken with a US$45 Android phone.