Z9 First Thoughts…

What a beast! I could leave it at that, but I won’t.

The Z9 is physically no bigger than the Z6ll with the MB-N11 battery grip, but the fact that the extra grip format is part of the body actually makes it more comfortable to hold.

The battery door has a lock on it which prevents it opening (like it so often does on the Z6/Z7 ) and quite apart from the fact that it’s not as easy to open as on the Dn series DSLRs (D3, D4 etc.) it’s not something that’s going to be opened during a shoot, so this is fine by me.

The rubber surround for the eyepiece is now locked on, which is a small, but particularly usefull point in my opinion – after having lost a number of these things!

The playback button has migrated to the bottom right of the rear body – excellent move IMHO as I can now visualise a shot in the viewfinder without having to use two hands to 1: hold the camera and 2: press the button. This is particularly useful in a circus configuration as there are more often than not, a paying public sitting behind me who will be distracted if I take the camera away from my face to check an exposure.

The virtual horizon can now be attributed to any of the Fn buttons (and there are now 4 programmable Fn buttons, plus up to two more on certain lenses) – this used not to be the case on the Z6/Z7 and as I quite like to know if I’m ‘level’ this is a good thing.

The built-in GPS is a great idea (finally!) as while it’s not terribly useful in a concert hall, out and about doing landscape work it’s nice to think that the GPS data will at last be recorded without calling on external devices (And yes, I know Snapbridge sort of works by linking to a smartphone, but sometimes the GPS data shows a marked delay which means even after moving a certain distance, the inital coordinates are still being used.) Time will tell if this is more reliable.

Another blast from the past is the two-button card format, sadly lacking from the consumer grade camera bodies like the Z6/Z7 – this is vital, in my book, and such a pain to have to go through menus to do such a simple thing.

Going back to the original ‘Shooting Banks‘ (U1-U3 in the Z6/Z7 ) is also nice -although, despite my initial hesitations, I was actually getting used to being able to change setups simply by turning a dial rather than delving into menus… This can also be attributed to an Fn button, so changing banks is a piece of cake now.

The fact that the camera has no physical shutter makes it a very silent beast indeed – and adding a setting to cut all the external bleeps and indicators was a very good move for me at least. (I manage to achieve this on previous bodies, element by element – thankfully saved into a Un memory location) Well done – but it seems odd that they had to ‘include’ a shutter sound for people to select! I’m more than happy to have a silent camera.

And now there’s the 3D tracking / auto focus which is stunning – testing this is underway but it’s looking very promising. With quick and fast moving performers, this will hopefully come into it’s own. Watch this space.

One final thought regarding memory cards. CFexpress cards are actually cheaper and faster than their XQD equivalents due to licensing the format – the new format is also considerable faster to read and write to – so this is a good thing, however don’t be fooled by the REALLY cheap cards like PERGEAR as there’s a simple reason why they are so cheap – they are not as FAST. A quick comparison between two different manufacturers

Pergear Light 128Gb. 99€. Sustained write – 200 MBs

ProGrade Cobalt 160Gb. 200€ Sustained write – 1500 MBs

This is where the difference is – and if you’re hoping to do video in 8k you’ll need all the write speed you can get.

Big Day Today…

…my Z9 is on it’s way (13.09.2022)

UPDATE: 12.10.2022

I’m now officially a member of the NIKON Z9 owners club!

(Many thanks to Numeriphot (Toulouse) and Nikon Professional Services)

Sadly no-one really knows how long this will take to actually get here, but my pro dealer thinks we’re into the final month.

Makes one think of cats and hot tin roofs….

Annual Kardashian Rant

The Kardashian family, you know the tribe with the combined intelligence of a felt hat, always manage to annoy me, in or our of the news.

So what has Kim « arse the size of Texas » Kardashian done that’s so note worthy recently? Farted? Her sisters would probably bottle that and make another billion…

Er…she went to a launch party for another one of the tribe who is launching more cosmetics for sad, lost people who can’t decide for themselves.

And this is news? Well it seems to be for the Daily Mail – but then whenever has journalism ever got in the way of a few (identical) photos and mind boggling spelling mistakes?

When you think her step father actually had to change sex to escape the family, it really makes one wonder…

Unbeknown to these idiots there are actually far more important things going on in the world – a serious number of countries are having record droughts, and or wild fires. There’s a war going on in Ukraine. Everyone everywhere seems to be striking for more cash.

But don’t worry, the spotlight will be dragged back onto these losers (sadly) and we’ll all be subject to more ridiculous goings-on.

As Kenny Everet (bless him) used to say « All in the best possible taste » – miss him – at least he had talent.

« Meghan Markle would still be a D-list celebrity if she had not married a prince »

Quoted from Angela Levin in an article in the the Daily Mail.

Can’t anybody do something about this person? The only thing she seems to be good at is whining about how hard it is to be what she wanted from the outset – being married to a prince.

The entire world seems to owe her something, but I’m not sure what exactly, and frankly Angela Levins headline is the closest thing to the truth I’ve read in a while.

She whines about a fire in her childs bedroom – which when researched, turns out to be a slightly smoking electic heater which was turned off and dealt with.

She has strong concerns about wasting natural ressources, and them proceeds to jet around the place in private aircraft, burning fuel at astonishing rates.

It seems she was an actress at some point – most people have never seen the series she appeared in, or would want to, but this has put her in good stead to preach to people in her blog, on her podcasts etc. Interestingly the latest diatribe (from ‘Archetypes’ her Netflix money earner) has been almost universaly panned by the intelligent press.

Let’s hope it has a similar effect on her.

Instameet – Château de Cassaigne

Tomorrow, July the 26th, year of our lord 2022 I’ve been invited to participate in an Instameet at the Chateau of Cassaigne in the South West of France.

I’ve been invited by the tourist office at Condom who, from time to time, create little ‘experiences’ for their devoted (lol) followers/contributers – of which I am one. We shall have a tour of the Chateau, meet a local theatrical group, and watch a performance which will be staged infant of the château.

The reason I’m getting sticky knickers is that I’m finally going to meet photographic royalty (well, in these parts at least) !! Yes, one of the other people invited is no less than Matthiew Rhinestone – and if I quote from his Instagram profile, you’ll understand why he is such an important guest and that this is such an important occasion :

« Award-winning Photographer – architecture, landscape, travel and location weddings worldwide. iPhoneography…
10 Internationally acclaimed books…

My lord, what am I going to do? Should I tart myself up, have a haircut (but which one?) ?

Does one bow in his presence? Curtsey perhaps? Is it actually worth me taking a camera, or even going there??

I’ll keep you posted…

Low light camera settings

The original article was written for the Z9 but in fact can be applied to any of the Z6/7 series camera link

Thom Hogan recently published a short response to people having problems with focussing in low-light – the link is above.

The interesting part is this: people very rarely play with the ‘Picture Control’ (Menu Camera, Set Picture Control) as, like me, they probably don’t understand what it does, despite Nikons explications.

Thom Hogan was trying to figure out why some of his readers seemed to have a lot more problems than him in focusing in low-light, and on further investigation came to the conclusion that this could be influenced by the Picture Control setting. He – possibly the only human to actually A: know what it means, and B: being someone who fiddles with EVERY setting (Thanx Thom) suggests moving from ‘Auto’ to ‘Neutral’ with an increased Sharpness value (default is 2) – I’m trying 6.

Remember to click OK after selecting your sharpness value, and if you want to store the values in one of the 3 presets, do that immediately afterwards or the setting will revert to the default.

Home Movies

A couple of times a year I visit a FLICKR feed of an English guy living in the Gers – principally to make myself feel better – it rarely fails.

My most recent visit coincided (it seems) with the uploading of an umpteenth « Home Video » which I’m sure is all very hi-tech and interesting blah blah – I don’t actually know as I was put off by the first 5 seconds of « lets look off camera to see what’s on my (badly positioned) monitor to see if the camera has actually started recording yet »

It would be wonderful, from a viewers point of view, if these prolific video makers were to discover EDITING SOFTWARE

In case you’re not yet aware, EDITING SOFTWARE allows one to cut the boring bits from a video (and yes, I realise, for some this would mean 98% of the film…) like « oh shit I’m going to sneeze » through the occasional fart, to « let’s look off camera… » etc. Get my drift?

Might be worth a try…this said, I’m pretty certain that most of these efforts are not aimed at an audience, per se, more an exercise in self flattery. Practice makes perfect…

Late May, Déclic, blindness etc.

The marathon Déclic has come and gone – great success, even if I say so myself (well, as it was I who organised pretty much everything, I think I’m allowed to pat myself on the shouler…)

51 people signed up, down on our usual 80+ but par for the course with the post-Covid situation etc. We had a lovely warm day, the participants enjoyed the food I had layed on – all in all a good year. The jury sits on the 1st of June – we’ll see what we can drag out of them this year…

Had a quick look over on FLICKR and noticed a chap who I used to know (over near St Clar in the Gers) has bought himself a Nikon Z7ll – now his FLICKR feed is overun with dross of a slightly higher pixel density, but sadly no increase in visual quality, and it got me thinking – I asked myself why the 3 or four of his harem, sorry, followers seemed to think this bloke is the bees knees?

And then it dawned on me – and frankly I have to admit I’m sad that I didn’t think of doing the same thing myself – his pictures are in braille – his followers are BLIND! I had previously realised he must have been playing to a visually handicapped audience, but I hadn’t twigged the fundamental reason.

What a marvellous technique – and I really must congratulate DT for his perspicacity – people with physical handicaps really do get a rotten deal in the long run, and I think this is a wonderful initiative – well done!

I sometimes read the Daily Mail…

…well to be honest, I actually look at the pictures – journalists for the Daily Mail don’t actually understand spelling or punctuation, or reality in fact so this is not a broad sheet that can be ‘read’.

‘Reading’ the Daily Mail is akin to skipping through the Beano – but frankly the Beano was more ‘real’ than a lot which is published in the ‘Mail…

At the moment of writing the Covid pandemic is not over, we have a war in Ukraine which looks like expanding outwards into Europe and the Daily Mail publish an article about an air-head called Kyley Jenner (one of the Kardashians it seems) who named her recently born son Wolf, but has now changed her mind.

Already things suggest that she, and the rest of her clan, have a similar number of brain cells to a golf ball, and are collectively as intelligent as a pea…

But what makes this SO interesting to the tabloid reading British public? I admit I was pissed when ‘Boris’ and his idiot government took the UK out of Europe – but I’m having second thoughts – I’m actually PLEASED I don’t count as one of the UK’s statistics – who wants to be involved with a group of bottom feeders that consider women with monumental arses more important/interesting/newsworthy than what is REALLY going on in the world around us?

Not I.

I’m Back (again said Nora…)

…with a monumental crash! (« Noisy Nora » by Rosemary Wells – one of my kids favourite night-time reads)

Yes – it’s been a while but I’ve been busy, and as no-one really reads this nonsense I’ve sort of let it slide a bit. But today there’s NEWS

The twelfth edition of our Marathon Photo is scheduled for the 21st of May – sign up from today (And no, it’s not an April fool…)

Couple of other odds and sods from recent press/media articles:

Will Smith got pissed off with a comedian making comments about his wife, so he decided to get up on stage in the middle of the OSCARs ceremony in Hollywood, and slap the comedian. Two schools of though on this, according to the press – 1: you agree with W.Smith, or 2: you don’t and in addition, think his Oscar award should be taken back.

I have to say I think the second option is by far the most reasonable – W.Smith thinks he’s God and can get away with anything – I don’t (and visibly I am not alone)

Closer to home (in that it involves a photographer) here’s a report from the wonderful US of A.

Shealah CRAIGHEAD spent the last 4 years as one of the leading photographers in the White House photographers ‘pool’ following rent-a-slob TRUMP everywhere he went on official business. Apparently they got on well and she was able to produce many images of the man. When he left office, she negociated a book deal with a publisher to create a book of her images during the Trump precidency. She was given a sizeable advance on the book, and Trump agreed to write the foreword in exhange for some of the cash.

The images she produced are all in the public domain (and on FLICKR) and some bright spark suggested to Trump that HE should publish his own photo book using the same images. So he did – and apparently has made up to $20 million dollars on sales already.

Nice slap in the face for the person actually producing the work….more proof that Trump REALLY is a consumate arsehole and should be jailed, for nothing less than just being himself.

I’m off back to sleep…..