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Oklahoma Wolf 03-26-2013 12:01 PM

2013 Photography Upgrade Thread
Thought I would start out Mr. Fuji's retirement party with a special thread. As many of you might have seen in the Rosewill Tachyon review thread, I've chosen this year to start getting a little more serious with the review images. This includes upgrades to both lighting and camera gear. The Fuji S700 is getting a little old, and it's never been that great of a camera due to lens distortion issues. Last year, the pop up flash broke and I figured the writing is probably on the wall for him.

Started things off yesterday by picking up some of the new lighting gear. I'm not rich, so I picked up two 500W halogen work lights for $11 each. At that price, I almost bought two more. I wanted them on stands, but for the money they cost I figured I'll just MacGyver something.

Most of my money's going into the new camera, which will be the Nikon D7000. If something happens and I can't afford it anymore I'll go down to the D5100 instead. The lens purchase will follow... still undecided on that. I've got it narrowed down to a Nikon 50mm 1.8D with a set of extension tubes or a Nikon 40mm Micro.

Other various plans include moving the photography table out of my office into the home theater where there is more space. Lighting was terrible there, which is why I never did it before, but the new work lights should take care of that. Especially if I go back and get more of them. Also planning a light tent purchase at some point after the camera and lens purchases have been made.

This will likely end up being the single most expensive upgrade to my review methodology since I started working here at Be sure to tell everyone who will listen to come and read our reviews... more traffic is always nice and helps us pay the bills :D

c_hegge 03-26-2013 06:35 PM

Nice. That sure beats my lighting solution (Only do reviews on a bright sunny day and open all of the windows)


Originally Posted by Oklahoma Wolf (Post 97158)
I wanted them on stands, but for the money they cost I figured I'll just MacGyver something.

Oh yeah!!! Post what you come up with. I love ghetto modding.

Oklahoma Wolf 03-26-2013 08:02 PM

Heh - my modding may just amount to bouncing the light off my drop ceiling in there. We'll see.

I'm just glad my tax refund this year is allowing me the camera I really want. Even if I have to save up for the lens yet. If I were merely buying one for the site, I'd probably just save money and go with the 5100 anyway. But there are other factors to consider. If I'm buying a DSLR, it's going to get well used ;)

Oklahoma Wolf 03-29-2013 08:32 PM

Got my new photography area set up today. There's a lot more space here than there was in the office.

Definitely need to work on placement of the lights... the one on the cabinet is ok where it is, but I need something on the other side for the other light. Will figure something out, I'm sure. Yeah, I could have gotten the ones on stands, but they were 3x the money these were.

Oklahoma Wolf 03-30-2013 01:54 PM

Put the lights to use today for an upcoming Allpar article. I should have done this a long time ago. It's very nice to be able to use the S700 on ISO 200 with decent shutter speeds.

Again, very happy the camera has the ability to customize white balance... I don't think it knows what to do with these lights on auto mode.

Here's the setup. Made myself a light stand out of two computer cases. I'll go buy a shelf next time I'm in town - I need more PSU review sample storage space anyway. Need to take those guards back off the lights - they make shadows I hate.

And one of the pictures for the article. IIRC this is f3.5, ISO 200, shutter 1/50. Manual white balance, no flash.

Oklahoma Wolf 04-02-2013 10:28 PM

It's done. After much soul searching over the D7000, worrying myself to death over where to get it and how to get it when I don't even trust Paypal transactions that large, I decided to pull the trigger on the D5100 instead.

I would have driven myself crazy trying to get the D7000 and all the lenses I wanted to run with it. The body itself would have drained my bank account, and I never was very sure about when I could start getting lenses for it. So, its little brother came home with me. I only found one D7000 body in the whole city, and it would have cost me everything I had. I could have done the kit at Future Shop in about two weeks, but then I'd have nothing left for anything else.

So I drove to Alberta this morning, and went to Future Shop. They didn't have the D5100 body only - all they had were kits. So I bought one. Their price was $599... I had them price match the lowest price in Canada I could find ($550), and they beat it by about five bucks. As soon as they did that, I went and got a $40 bag to go with it and still came out ahead of their initial $599 price.

Mr. Fuji is now officially retired. He got this picture, but won't be getting too many more. I cannot wait to play with this thing... it goes right to work on review images starting tomorrow morning.

c_hegge 04-02-2013 11:05 PM

Nice. Sure beats my ageing Pentax camera.

Oklahoma Wolf 04-02-2013 11:53 PM

Thanks. Spent the whole trip there worrying about them running out of these before I could get one. I was ready to go with the D5200 if I couldn't do this one.

Turns out I didn't have to worry... they had four of the D5100 kits and two D7000 kits. I think they had fewer D5200s than this one, honestly.

Couldn't wait for the battery to charge. I slapped Mr. Fuji's 2GB SD card in there, fired it up in auto mode, and took a picture of my 40" Toshiba on one of my HD channels. I'll be darned if it didn't absolutely nail the image, even with the flash firing. It did overexpose just a touch, but that's ok. I won't be in auto mode all that often. Got a 16GB card coming... probably won't do much in RAW until that gets here.

Also picked up a third 500W halogen work light. At eleven bucks each, I just had to. Got a higher quality white bedsheet to throw on the photography table as well ;)

Next step is to get the TN panel Samsung off my main rig and replace it with an MVA BenQ. Need something a little better suited for image editing. Then... lenses, lenses, lenses. Maybe some other things, too.

ferky 04-14-2013 05:53 PM

If you're open for suggestions ... I'd really recommend an external flash - it does wonders without all that light accessories. I've tried those halogen work lights and wasn't too happy with the results (not to mention generated residual heat).

Here are some pics recently shot in the middle of the night with only usual ceiling (wolfram) light, Canon 650D and one Canon 430EX SpeedLite:

No PhotoShop and no additional equipment was used except the one mention above.

Oklahoma Wolf 04-14-2013 06:35 PM

Those lights do heat up a room...

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