Unedited "Nikon" E-mail

A friend of mine recently purchased a Nikon D60 kit, and came to me and asked about photography tips and ideas. This is my unedited response...

Here are a few basic pointers:

1. Most people tend to set it to "A" (Aperture) mode. That way, you'll be changing the f-stop (the f/4.5, f/22, etc) with your thumb. Notice
how it affects your shutter speed though. The smaller the f-stop, the bigger the "hole" and the faster the lens. "Fast lenses" are considered to be f/2.8 or less, and they cost much more.

2. The other reason why a smaller f-number is so expensive is because of the awesome bokeh (bokay, not boka [it's Japanese]). It's basically
the blurriness of the background. The smaller the f-number, the shallower the depth of field, which makes focusing really important. Shallow depth of fields make the subject pop from the background. You're probably used the a point and shoot which has a huge depth of field, meaning everything will be in focus no matter how hard you try (because of the small sensor size more than anything else). Example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usumbs/2928331506/in/set-72157607890358270/

3. Shutter speed is basically x, where 1/x is in seconds. A shutter speed of 500 is plenty fast, shooting at 1/500 seconds, etc. Pay attention to your focal length. As a rule of thumb, you don't want to be shooting less than 1/(focal length) as your shutter speed. So if you're zoomed all the way out to 200 mm, you don't want to shoot slower than 1/200 sec or 200. This is a simple way to avoid camera shake.

4. For a D60, I'd recommend staying within the ISO range of 100 to 400. It isn't much, but it's usable. Anything beyond 400 will get you a lot of grain. ISO is basically sensitivity of the sensor. The higher it is, the more sensitive. The higher it is, the more noise you're going to get. Sometimes, it has a nice effect. Most times, it doesn't. The higher end models D3 ($7000+) can shoot without noise up to 32000 ISO. It's a different generation of stuff. Pretty amazing.

5. For lenses, Nikon uses DX to mean crop body, for digital. Older lenses, or more "pro" lenses don't have the DX, meaning it's a full-frame lens. For camera bodies, they are crop-body be default, and are full-frame cameras with FX. Full-frame is real 35 mm and is simply awesome. bodies cost more. lenses cost more. and you get real focal length as printed on the lens. For a DX lens, if you zoom in to 200 mm, at a 35 mm equivalent, it is 200mm x 1.5 = 300mm (where 1.5 is the crop factor of your camera body). Canon is typically 1.6. If you apply a full frame lens at 200mm on your DX, you'll get 300 mm also. But.... if you throw a DX lens on a FX body, you'll get problems. Because the sensor is so much bigger in the FX, the DX lens is smaller and you'll get a black "border" around your photos. Do you see what I mean? DX is cheaper if you're not looking for full frame but it won't work on the FX bodies. Full-frame lenses work on all.

6. For the D40 and D60, you'll want to look out for AF-S lenses. These are the newer lenses with the focusing motor built-into the lens. This is because the D40 and D60 cannot control it from the body. D300, D3, etc, higher end ones, can focus with lenses without these motors. It kind of sucks because older lenses that are AF rather than AF-S can't automatically focus on the D40 or D60. You can still use it, but only with manual focusing. And manual focusing sucks... for casual shooting. It's useful sometimes.

7. Nice choice with the Nikon. What kind of things are you interested in shooting? And any particular lens are you looking to buy in the future?

8. Click some ads:

9. http://kenrockwell.com/ This guy is crazy, and I don't think he's a good photographer at all. He has a lot to say and he is very controversial online. Don't take anything he says as opinion seriously, but you can learn something from this guy. http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/index.htm I think he is a jerk and most people online don't like him (says he's a quack).

(Do you have a photos page or site I can follow?)

Please excuse my writing. I do not want to proofread it or fix capitalizations.

Good luck. Write back.

Day 8 at Work

With my system still not set up for real work, I started in AutoCAD again. (Last year, I drew a car, which took a good week of practice. Today, I started and completed a drawing of my TI-30XIIS.

It was supposed to be on a 1:1 scale, but somewhere in the drawing of it, I messed up (not like you'll be able to tell anyway). Not to shabby if I may say so myself. A total of about 4 hours, maybe.

Summer 2009 To-Do List

Lists are always good. These are on the list:

1. Basketball.
2. Tennis.
3. Pool.
4. Ping Pong.

5. Mathematica.
6. TI-89 Manual.
7. AutoCAD.
8. Photoshop CS4.
9. Matlab.

10. Intro to Linguistics.
11. Intro to Wines.

12. Personal Reading.
13. Engineerography Blog.
14. USuMBS.com Blog.


Today, I updated USuMBS.com to version 20090523. I finally moved away from the black and added some of the blue that makes up my USuMBS logo. I have also made a few additions and refinements throughout. I hadn't planned on this, but now that I've got the site back online (hosting it on my own server space this time), it was a good time for some cleaning up.


I started inputing into my calendar a list of what I accomplished day to day. That way, I can feel at least a little accomplished as my body and mind deteriorates over the commute and at work.

Today, I started reading the Linguistics textbook and I installed Mathematica.


Last final Thursday night. Saying metaphorical good-byes and packing by Friday. Leaving by noon on Saturday.


Our Highlander in Google Maps

Last week, while studying for (more like staring at) my physics final, I had decided to amuse myself with Google Maps.

I was haphazardly clicking around Google Maps and arrived at a Street View near my house. To my surprise, I saw a Toyota Highlander that looked awfully similar to our family car. It was also green. Upon a closer view, I noticed it was actually our car. The blurry license plate number looks familiar. It's kind of scary to be photographed, but it is also kind of really cool. Haha.

Unfortunately, if you keep on following the car, you'll notice a discontinuity. The Google van had pulled to the side, apparently.

(Also note, that movie theater-turned-Bingo joint on the right side of the intersection is now a Walgreens as of last year.)

Link: Google Maps

Taglines for Spring 2009 Finals

The Schedule:

05/07/2009 PHYS 2214 9:00 am
05/08/2009 CS 2110 2:00 pm
05/11/2009 ECE 2100 9:00 am
05/14/2009 ENGRD 2700 7:00 pm

"Tudyings hysicsp"
"Javorcism: ridding my body of Java and code"
"My Friend, Mr. Op-Amp"
"Tea & Pee Tests"

Last Time Before the New Year

Yesternight ended the last time I will be doing homework in the lounge area of Cook. Thank you, Taylor. Thank you, Hans. Thank you, Stephen. For an interesting semester, to say the least.

Today is the last day of class for me. I don't feel particularly excited about it, but it isn't particularly sad to think about either. In any case, let the festivities begin with Slope Day 2009 [in the rain and thunderstorm]. Soon, it will be time to take life by the horns again. But for now, there is this raging bull (call it "Finals") and it is best to cleanly get out of its way.

I realize I haven't been posting as frequently as I have been in the recent past, but then I wouldn't like to take blame that work and life got in the way of things. Even Engineerography.com has been reduced in production somewhat. I expect to pick this up soon ... this summer ... while at work.