Nikon D800 Autofocus Test Setup

Nikon D800 Contrast and Phase Detect Autofocus Testing

[box type="info"]Update April 1, 2013: Testing after the second repair attempt by Nikon is now online here: https://photokaz.com/2013/04/nikon-d800-autofocus-repair-testing-the-sequel/[/box]

[box type="info"]Update January 20, 2013: Initial testing showed changes to the focus performance and I thought the slight softness in some shots could be fixed with fine tuning.  After more testing, I could not get consistently sharp results from fine tuning. I had to set my fine tuning for the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens to +20 and that still didn't result in good performance.  My AFS 50mm f/1.8 and AFD 80-200 f/2.8 lenses also had to have +20 of fine tuning.  I dropped off my camera and the three lenses with Nikon last week, told them the problems and said I wanted everything repaired.  I will once again post my results when I get the camera back.[/box]

[box type="info"] Update August 23, 2012: I finally had a chance to do some critical tests of my fixed Nikon D800. I can say that Nikon did fix the problem (still to be tested), I have posted updated test charts here.[/box]

[box type="info"] Update July 30, 2012: Picked up my D800 in Richmond today. I did some 'off the cuff' testing, hand held without a test chart. It seems to be fixed though I won't know for sure until I set up a proper test procedure again. I won't have time to do that until next week but will test again and post my results.[/box]

[box type="info"] Update July 20, 2012: Nikon has confirmed that the camera arrived in Toronto. They provided a service order number and a link to check the status, unfortunately the page is 'under construction'.  I hope that means it is just offline for a fix as I haven't visited the page before.[/box]

[box type="info"] Update July 18, 2012: I dropped off my D800 at the Nikon repair center in Vancouver (Richmond) along with my test results. They said that the high end bodies get shipped to Toronto, and I'll be without the camera for two to three weeks. Not fun, but worth it if they can fix the issue. If it comes back the same or worse I won't be too happy about it.[/box]

After reading several posts about the 'left autofocus point' problems of the Nikon D800, I decided to test my own camera to see if it needed repair.  Thom Hogan outlined a test method in his July 16, 2012 post and I decided to follow that method to test my camera, with a change.  Initially, I developed a test target as per Thom's suggestion but it led to problems so I did a second round of testing with the classic Siemens star.

Some notes about the camera and test

  • I have a camera purchased in Canada, it was very early in the release cycle so call it an 'early run' camera.
  • I used two lenses for the test, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G and Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8.
  • I have not made any changes to auto focus fine tune.
  • I used a Really Right Stuff TVC-33 carbon fiber tripod and BH-55 ball head to hold the camera.
  • All exposures shot in RAW, converted to jpg to display here but no sharpening, lens correction, etc. was added.  I only changed white balance and exposure to more easily compare things.  I also cropped to make comparison easier.  Everything managed with Adobe Lightroom 4.
  • The lenses did not have any filters installed.
  • Camera had distortion control turned off.
  • Shot at the widest aperture (f/1.8 for the 50mm and f/2.8 for the 24-70) and ISO 100.  The 24-70mm was shot at 24mm.
  • Camera was leveled using the built in leveling tool and a three-way hot shoe level.
  • The camera (sensor plane) was about 6.5' from the wall.
The notations used may be confusing, but work for me to keep track of what I'm shooting.  I used Live View to manually focus and autofocus.
LV M - L : This means Live View, manual focus, left sensor.
LV AF - C : Live View, autofocus, center
VF AF - R : viewfinder (phase detect) autofocus, right sensor.
For each lens, there are 9 images.
LV M (L/C/R)
LV AF (L/C/R)
VF AF (L/C/R)
I repeated the viewfinder AF tests several times, posted two samples.
I hope that makes sense.   Below are the results of the testing.

Test Results - 50mm f/1.8G

 

Top row is Live View manual focus, second row is Live View AF, and last two rows are viewfinder phase detect AF.  The 50mm does show less detail in the left AF sensor.  Note, bigger versions of these test images are below, this is just a summary.

Nikon D800 50mm f/1.8 AF test

Test Results - 24mm f/2.8G

 

The 24mm lens shows a much more severe left AF issue.

Nikon D800 24-70mm f/2.8 AF test

This is a tedious exercise to both shoot and post.  I did it twice as my first test chart didn't yield useful results.  My D800 does suffer from the left autofocus problem when using phase detect autofocus with the two lenses I tested.  It will need to go to Nikon to get repaired.

Here is my test setup, in case anyone is curious.

 

 

 

 

Nikon D800 Autofocus Test Setup

 

Here are the full test patterns and should be in the same order shown above.


If you want to download the test chart I used, you can do so here.
Siemens Star Focus Test Chart


Siwash Rock At Sunset : 2012-07-06

Siwash Rock at Sunset

 

I was waiting for a nice sunny day in Vancouver as I wanted to get out to photograph Siwash Rock. This basalt stack is the only one of it's kind in the Vancouver area, and I wanted to catch it when high tide was at or near sunset.  This is an HDR image created from several exposures.

Siwash Rock At Sunset : 2012-07-06

And a shot I took with my iPhone 4S as my D800 was taking the 7 bracketed shots for my HDR above.

iPhone Siwash Rock D800

 

And a few more shots from that evening including some fun with a neutral density filter for longer exposures.

Vancouver : Siwash Rock Long Exposure B&W : 2012-07-06

Vancouver : Siwash Rock Long Exposure Color : 2012-07-06

Vancouver : Siwash Rock Sunset : 2012-07-06


UBC Botanical Garden Yellow Lily

UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research

Last weekend, my wife and I paid a visit to the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research (at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver).  Despite having lived in Vancouver a combined 35 years it was the first visit for both of us.  We were very fortunate because one of the volunteers, Dana, took us for a private tour as no one else was there for a tour when we arrived.  He spent several hours with us, taking us first on the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, which is a series of bridges and platforms in the trees.  It's a bit wobbly, but fun at the same time.  Also, you get an interesting view from up there that you don't often see.  The canopy system is hung from the trees but is done in such a way that it doesn't harm the tree, it's rather amazing actually and the only one of its kind in Canada.

UBC Botanical Garden Tree Top Walk

UBC Botanical Garden 1

UBC Botanical Garden Feet

UBC Botanical Garden Katie in the trees

UBC Botanical Garden Tree Top Walk

 

There are a lot of vines in the garden, from all over the world.

UBC Botanical Garden Vine

UBC Botanical Garden Vine

 

It's not all plants and flowers.

UBC Botanical Garden Mushroom

 

Though there are a lot of beautiful flowers as well.

UBC Botanical Garden Flowers

UBC Botanical Garden Borrage

UBC Botanical Garden Flower Mosaic

UBC Botanical Garden Yellow Lily

 

They also have a big garden with all kinds of edible things.

UBC Botanical Garden Yummy

 

Including the most interesting way to grow fruit.  These trees are trained to grow at an angle and only have branches in one plane.  Because of the angle, the tree bears fruit much sooner than they would otherwise.  Also, they are very easy to pick being no more than six feet high, some only a foot with branches parallel to the ground.  I wish I remember what this growing style was, if you know please leave a message in the comments below.

UPDATE: The technique of training trees in this manner is called Espalier (thanks to Wendy Cutler!).

UBC Botanical Garden Fruit trees

UBC Botanical Garden Fruit trees 2

 

In one section, they have plants from all of the continents including a lot of desert varieties.  Apparently there are fire ants too, though I didn't see any.

UBC Botanical Garden Fire Ants

UBC Botanical Garden Chicks and Hens

UBC Botanical Garden Burrs

UBC Botanical Garden Carpet

UBC Botanical Garden Cactus in Bloom

UBC Botanical Garden Flower

UBC Botanical Garden Crocosmia in Bloom

 

There is also a section of the garden dedicated to plants used in the medical field.  This sundial is in the middle, accurate though doesn't adjust well for daylight savings time :)

UBC Botanical Garden Sundial in the medical garden

 

We found this interesting bee hive, which was a temporary art installation.  The solar panels provide energy to open and close it daily.

UBC Botanical Garden Bee Hive Fine Art

 

Finally, there is a fantastic water fountain the garden located in the amphitheatre.  It was designed by William Pye who installs these amazing water sculptures all over the world.  I'll have to go back to get more photographs.

UBC Botanical Garden Fountain Reflection


Vancouver Shelter Dogs : 2012-07-14: Fluffy Giant 1

Shelter Dogs July 14 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I’m happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.


Wordpress Jetpack Carousel Test: Shelter Dogs 2012

Testing Wordpress Carousel V2 (Jetpack)

I didn't use the first version of Carousel for photo galleries on this blog, but the new and improved version seems worthy of a look.  It has some great features, as outlined at this blog post, and something I'm testing in this post for myself.

Some of the features I really like:

  • Ability to leave comments on individual photos.
  • Ability to link directly to an image within a post.
  • EXIF data displayed for each photo.
  • Apple Retina support.  May not be needed that much right now but pixel density will be increasing in displays so this is a handy feature.  Also, users of some of the new Apple products can take advantage of the added resolution.
Overall, a nice update to the Carousel feature and something I'll be using a lot more on this blog now.  Good work team!

 

 

 


Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 6

Birds At Acadia Beach in Vancouver, BC

Took a short walk with my dogs on Acadia Beach today.  The best time for birds, especially Great Blue Herons, seems to be on the rising tide early in the morning.  The Herons like to walk around in the shallow water and pick off smelt and other small fish who are too dumb to notice a three foot tall bird.

I didn't get any stellar shots today but did see a Bald Eagle, a few Great Blue Herons, Geese, and a few of the usual suspects as well.   Overall, a fun day and always nice when an eagle is around.  The birds were quite far away so these are crops from much bigger images shot with the Nikon D800 and 80-200 f/2.8D lens.  In cases like this, a longer lens would sure be nice.  If an updated 80-400mm VR becomes available I may be tempted to sell the current zoom and go for the bigger reach.  Teleconverters do not work with the 80-200.  There was also a strong backlight so I had to dial up the shadow recovery introducing some noise.

I definitely got some better shots when I went to Brackendale to shoot the Bald Eagles with a borrowed 400mm f/2.8.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 5

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 4

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 1

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 3

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 6

 

Impressive talons on this guy, wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of those.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Bald Eagle 7

 

The geese didn't seem to care that a top predator was in the area.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Geese

 

The heron also went about his business catching fish.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Great Blue Heron
I even managed to catch a crow in flight.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Crow Landing

 

The image above was rescued from a very underexposed shot.  The screenshot below shows the impressive dynamic range of the Nikon D800 which allowed me to recover the shadows and save the image, if only for web use.

Acadia-Beach : 2012-07-10 : Nikon D800 Shadow Recovery In Lightroom 4

 


Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 4

Shelter Dogs June 27 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I'm happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.

Another black lab, likely a mix.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Black Lab

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Black Lab

 

A hyper but very cute little puppy.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Crazy Puppy

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppy 1

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppy 2

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppy 3

 

This old guy really liked getting some attention.  Hopefully he finds a home.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Old guy

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Old guy

 

A young and playful dog, likely pit/shepherd mix.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Pittie Mix

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Pittie Mix 2

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Pittie Mix 3

 

More puppies! Awesome little dogs, friendly and playful.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies 2

 

They seemed to like my hat

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies Hat

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies Skunk Eye

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Puppies Feet

 

And a Jack Russel Terrier. Couldn't decide if she wanted to play or just get some rubs.

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 3

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 2

Shelter Dogs for Adoption : 2012-06-27 : Jack Russel Terrier 4


Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 1

Shelter Dogs June 23 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I'm happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here.

There were a few new faces on my most recent visit, some great dogs.  I started off with a cute beagle, very friendly and loves to play.  When he runs his ears flap around like he is trying to fly :)

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 3

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 4

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Beagle 5

 

Next up was this fluffy little Maltese who constantly tried to climb into my lap.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Fluffy 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Fluffy 1

 

Then I met this young boxer.  He just vibrates with excitement when you play with him.  Awesome dog.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Boxer (Ripple) 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Boxer (Ripple) 3

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Boxer (Ripple) 2

 

There were two puppies to play with too.Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy 2 Tug

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Puppy Run

 

This young girl took some work, was more interested in the dogs around her than getting photos taken.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Brownie

 

A black lab likely won't last long down there, always popular.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Black Lab 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Black Lab 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Black Lab dog house
We put some of the dogs together, they had a great time.  The beagle has so much energy, can play for hours.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 2

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 1

 

But the tables were turned on the little guy when we put him in with the boxer.  Oh crap, I'm out of here!

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 3

 

Make a move sucker...

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 4

 

Oh crap, I guess that's the move.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Chase 5
Better hide in here for a bit. (No beagles were harmed in the making of these photos :) )

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Hide

 

And some of the bunnies currently available.

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Bunny 1

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Bunny 3

Shelter Dogs : 2012-06-23 : Bunny 2

 

And finally, when I got home I decided to get a few shots of my own dogs.  Jammie will always sit for the camera, a good and obedient dog.

Jammie mouth

 

Cedric is an old and grumpy guy, wanted no part of it.

Cedric does not care


Garden Bee: 2012-06-20 : Focus Stack with Zerene Stacker (105mm f/2.8 VR Micro)

Nikon D800 Macro and Focus Stack

When I was mowing the lawn, I came across a bee in the grass. I'm not sure what type of bee it is, but it could be one of the solitary ground dwelling types that can be found here. One of the wings was much shorter than the other and I don't think it could fly. I put the bee in a safe place and took a few shots. The shots were taken with a Nikon D800 and AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. I have another set of photos shot with the 105mm here (lower light, hand-held).

Update: I found out this isn't a bee after all, but a hoverfly (Narcissus fly).  It mimics bees as a defense against predators.  Very cool.

This shot is a single image converted from RAW but cropped from a much bigger frame. ISO 360, 1/125 second shutter at f/9.
Garden Bee : 2012-06-20 : Single Image with 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro

I also took a few more images focus stacked them with Zerene Stacker, turned out better than I expected considering this is also a significant crop.

Garden Bee: 2012-06-20 : Focus Stack with Zerene Stacker (105mm f/2.8 VR Micro)

And a flower I shot shortly after, also a single image converted from RAW.

Flower : 2012-06-20 : Single Image with 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro

 

And an image I shot previously.  The detail when shooting the D800 with this lens is just great.

D800 Test Image - flowers


Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 2

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2012

Some shots from the 2012 Vancouver RioTinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  Saturday, June 16th was an absolutely miserable day with solid rain all day.  I didn't even go down to the event as sitting in the rain watching is not much fun.  Sunday was much nicer, and I did get out to watch the racing and take a few photos.

 

Heading out to race

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Team Too

Racing

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Racing 2

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 7

One of the racers, a dragon boat team, and me.

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Bob, the team, and me

Concord Pacific Flying Dragons One and Too (processed in the style of "300")

Dragon Boat Festival: 2012-06-17 : Group : 300 Style

 

The Gong Show that is the Guts and Glory race.  16 teams race 4 legs of 500m, which means they need to make a three turns.  These boats, with 22 people, don't turn on a dime and the turns are where the action is.  A lot of fun to watch.

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 2

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 3

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 4

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 5

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Guts and Glory Race 6

 

Looks like the geese are enjoying the racing too.

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Geese like the show

 

The Hastings Street Band providing entertainment for the fans.

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Hastings Street Band

Dragon Boat Festival : 2012-06-17 : Tuba

 

I also found a very cool video, shot by the steersman for team "Kai Ikaika" of Portland, Oregon, winners of the 2012 Guts and Glory race. Looks like an exciting race.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxyRqJ8Xmhk


Image Resize Resolution Irrelevant for Web Original File

Image Resolution Irrelevant for Web Display

I often see tutorials on the web about proper image resizing for the web, I actually found a few when looking for info related to my previous post on image compression.  All of these tutorials preach the '72 ppi' mantra saying that computer monitors can't display more than 72 ppi so setting this higher creates bigger images and is wasteful.  I'm not sure where this all started, but it's nonsense.  This page has some useful info and worth a read for another explanation.  What I'll demonstrate here is how this setting has absolutely no influence on images displayed in your browser.  This ppi (pixels per inch) setting only matters when you print your images.

When displaying images online, think in terms of pixels and forget about ppi.

This is the image I chose to work with, already exported and visible on my site.  It has image dimensions 1920x1366 and a file size of 112 KB.  I'm going to resize this image twice with two different image resolutions.

Image Resize Resolution Irrelevant for Web Original File

 

First, using these settings in photosho.  Notice the 72 ppi, the 'industry standard' and 'correct' way of doing things.  Anything more or less would just be wrong.

Image Resize Resolution Irrelevant for Web - Resize Options 1

The resize options create a file that is 55 KB in size and looks like this:

Image Resize Resolution Irrelevant for Web - Result 1

Now you can say that Wordpress is changing the dimensions, etc.  If you think I'm doing something odd here just look at the file on it's own in your browser window: link to image.

Now I'm going to resize the original image again, this time with a different setting for ppi but the same image dimensions.

Image Resize Resolution Irrelevant for Web - Resize Options 1

7200 ppi? You can't do that!  It will create a huge image and take forever to download for my users.  It won't look right in my browser.  This goes against everything I have learned.  Well, the options above create an image that is also 55 KB in size and looks like this:

Image Resize Resolution Irrelevant for Web - Result 1

Again, if you think Wordpress is doing something odd feel free to view the image directly: image link.

As you can see, the ppi setting in the image resize dialog is irrelevant for web display.  It doesn't change your file size or how the image is displayed in the browser.  I urge you to try this yourself and help end this 72 ppi myth that is so prevalent on the internet.


Lightroom export jpeg quality 30

Image Compression Shootout: Lightroom, Photoshop, JPEGmini, and Smush.it

Using the smallest images possible while preserving quality is important because small images load faster.  If your site visitors have to wait a long time for your site and images to load they are likely to just move on.  There are several methods of reducing the size of your images, here I compare four different methods, though there are certainly other methods (software).  I use Adobe Lightroom 4.2 for most of my image management and editing, with some work in Adobe Photoshop CS5 for some extra editing when needed.   To reduce the size of my images I most often used JPEGmini but then stumbled across a WordPress plugin called Smush.it, which is an easy way to tie in the web service from Yahoo.  Since there is a Wordpress plugin that can automatically shrink your images as you upload them, it seemed like the ideal solution to my compression workflow as it was easy and integrated into the website.  I decided to do a quick and rather non-scientific test between Lightroom, Photoshop, JPEGmini, and Smush.it to see which would work the best for me.

I took one of my photos and exported it from Lightroom with jpeg quality at 85, color space sRGB, and width on the long edge 1600.  This might be a common way people export photos for posting online and it was my 'control'.  The image size is 643 KB, which is certainly not small.  This is the image (click for full size).

Lightroom export jpeg quality 85
Running this image through Smush.it, it gets compressed down to 553 KB, which is a minor savings.  Note, the Wordpress plugin and Smush.it website produce the same results, in case you were wondering.

Lightroom export jpeg quality 85 with smushit

However, running the same control image though the JPEG mini site results in an image that is only 234 KB, which is a substantial savings in size over the control and, as promised, no reduction in image quality.

Lightroom export jpeg 85 with jpegmini

Next, I tried the Photoshop "Save for Web & Devices" option using "JPEG Medium" which was the default.  It was also set to JPEG quality 30, optimized, resize to 1600, quality bicubic.  The result is a file size only 111 KB in size which still looks excellent despite the low JPEG quality setting.

Photoshop save to web jpeg medium
So it looks like Photoshop's export option may be the best of the bunch so far, but I decided to do a bit more.  I exported a few more samples from Lightroom, at JPEG quality 50 which results in a file of 187 KB in size and a slight reduction in quality compared to the Photoshop export which is even smaller.  Note that the differences are relatively minor, but present.  Best if you can toggle between two images quickly as I was doing on my screen.

I also exported from Lightroom using JPEG quality 30, though I'm not sure if this is directly equivalent to the Photoshop JPEG quality setting.  If so, Photoshop's export and resize algorithm must be better than the one in Lightroom.  This option yields a file size of 129 KB, which is still bigger than Photoshop's and not as good in terms of quality.

Lightroom export jpeg quality 30

I also tried exporting from Lightroom using quality settings of 65, 60, and 55 and running all of those through JPEGmini to see if I can get smaller results than Photoshop but I couldn't.  A Lightroom export at 60 processed via JPEG mini was still 172 KB which is a significant difference over the 111 KB file that Photoshop produced.  For Lightroom to match Photoshop in terms of file size, I had to export the file with JPEG quality set to 20.  At that point there is a noticeable drop in quality.

You may also be wondering, why not use the Photoshop export then ALSO run it through JPEGmini or Smush.it.  I did that and Smush.it could do no better so it left the file intact.  JPEGmini reduced the 111 KB file to 104 KB, which is not enough savings to make the effort worthwhile.

CONCLUSIONS

  • Smush.it is not worthwhile, it really doesn't compress the images enough.  Also, the plugin timed out several times when I was trying to use it and the site is slow.  Also, the bulk compression for your Media library doesn't work, it timed out on me several times after only compressing a few images.  I'm not planning to use it and have removed to plugin from my Wordpress install.
  • JPEGmini does an impressive job of reducing the file sizes of images exported with a relatively high quality.  If you don't have Photoshop or find the export dialog or workflow cumbersome JPEG mini is a viable option.  It certainly warrants use over no compression or optimization at all.  It also does a good job of batch processing images, so you can upload a pile of them and download a zip file of your optimized files.  Fast and efficient, and what I have done for many of the images on this site.
  • Lightroom can get decent file sizes, but simply via JPEG compression settings.  If image size is important, it won't do a good job on it's own.  I would export a JPG with a quality setting somewhere between 60 and 85, then run the resulting image through JPEGmini.  You will optimize the image enough that it makes the extra step worth it.
  • Photoshop does the best job, at least in this limited test.  I suppose the most expensive option in this test should be doing the best job.  It seems that Adobe have created a very capable and powerful image export option here, use it for the smallest sizes while preserving quality.  If you have Photoshop, use it.  My only potential issue may be the workflow, though I need to do more testing with it.  JPEGmini makes it easy to process large batches of images.  Photoshop does have an automation/batch system, I'll have to give it a try to see if it will be as fast as the Lightroom/JPEGmini combo.

 

BEST: Photoshop Save for Web & Devices.  No other optimization needed.

GOOD: Lightroom export with JPEGmini optimization.

CRAP: Smush.it.  Not worthwhile for any images.

 

If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment and I'll follow up.

 


5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

The Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine

My friend Eli and I attended the Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine held at the Whip Restaurant.  It is a fundraiser that features live bands, a barbecue, local vendors, and vintage and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Proceeds support the Canadian Cancer Society.  We have attended the event for the last few years and it's always fun.  There were a few new cars this year, including a late 60's Charger and a late 60's Camaro which are both near the top of my favorites list.

On our way out of the house, Eli noticed a rainbow around the sun.  More info about this in my previous post, but it was very cool and not a common sight.
Vancouver Sun Dog

 

And shots of the cars.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Very cool old Volvo.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

The most popular attraction as not the cars, girls, band, or food.  It was a pug in a side car :)
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Everyone was stopping to take photos.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

There were some cool bikes down there too.
5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

 

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Guard dog on duty.

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)

Mr. Grumpy Pants.

5th Annual East Van Show and Shine at the Whip Restaurant (Vancouver, BC. May 27, 2012)


Vancouver Sun Dog

Vancouver Sun Halo

Yesterday, on my way to the East Van Show and Shine, my friend Eli pointed out a circular rainbow around the sun.  Not something you see every day, and since we both had our cameras we took some photos.  Someone suggested that this phenomenon is called a sun dog or sundog (Wikipedia), but I think it is actually a sun halo.  A sun dog is a 'mock sun', or a bright point of light similar to the sun.  I this case, it's a complete circular halo around the sun and looks like a rainbow. There are some references to these things here and here.

Vancouver Sun Dog

Update (May 29):  After posting on a forum, it turns out this phenomenon is called  a sun halo.  It is seen when thin cirrus clouds are present high in the atmosphere on a sunny day.  Light refracts off ice crystals and creates the effect.  More info here: 22° halo at Wikipedia, NASA.


Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Shelter Dogs May 11 2012

Another trip to Vancouver Animal Control to photograph dogs.  Photos from previous visits can be seen here.  As always, you can see the animals available for adoption from this shelter by visiting their PetFinder page or just drop in at the shelter.

First up, this young pit bull who is a bit chunky but loves to play.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pit Bull

I had to visit the puppies again, they are great dogs and won't last long.  Previous photos of these little guys are here.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Puppies

A playful and very cute Pomeranian.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Call of the wild

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - Pomeranian

And a German Shepherd who was more interested in napping in the grass than having her photo taken.

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

Vancouver Animal Control - Shelter Dogs - 2012-05-11 - German Shepherd

 

 


Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Another visit to the Vancouver Aquarium

I have had a membership at the Vancouver Aquarium for the last few years and I like to visit often.  It's a great place to just walk around and relax.  I almost always see something new and different.  I like to bring my camera, you never know what you will see.

Don't bug me, I'm crabby

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Best buds, Gus and Ollie, hyacinth macaws

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01

Vancouver Aquarium - 2012-05-01


Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint in Vancouver

What a great day for some dragon boat racing.  Since my wife is on a team, I went down to take some photos and enjoy the nice weather.  Spring Sprint is a warm up to the big Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, which is in mid June.   The boats are smaller, only 10 paddlers instead of the usual 20 and the distance is substantially shorter as well.  Still fun to watch, especially when you can soak up the sun after the miserable April showers.

The races are held in False Creek with downtown Vancouver as the backdrop.  Hard to find a nicer venue than this.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

The staging area is right beside Science World.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Some shots of the action.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

 

 

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Organized chaos.

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12

Dragon Boat Spring Sprint - Vancouver, BC - 2012-05-12


Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

A Walk on Wreck Beach, Vancouver, BC

I don't always take my camera when I'm out walking the dogs, but since the D800 is new I decided to bring it along today. I was using the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR lens, which I love. All shots hand held, so may not be critically sharp especially when shooting in the shady areas. It's still too early in the year, and too cold, for the nudies to be out so I had the beach to myself.

This is one of my dogs, Jammie.  She is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, small but thinks she is a big dog.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

You see some interesting critters when you start getting close

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

I have also been playing around with black and white images more and more.  The D800 captures so much detail and has so much dynamic range you can really get great effects with b&w.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

This was a bit random, looks like someone brought it to the beach and stuck it in the sand.  I didn't see these growing anywhere.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

The horror! Actually they are rather cute, as long as they don't decide to set up shop in my back yard.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

And the fern somewhat reminds me of the furry caterpillars.

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

 

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR

Wreck Beach Vancouver 2012-05-08 Nikon D800 Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR


Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs May 5 2012

Another set of dogs from Vancouver Animal Control, you can see others here.  As always, you can see the animals available for adoption from this shelter by visiting their PetFinder page or just drop in at the shelter.

The three puppies on this page are very cute and friendly, they all tried to crawl into my lap as I was taking photos.  They have the most amazing crystal blue eyes I have ever seen!  But first, this young German Shepherd.  Playful and energetic, loves to play fetch.

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Now the puppies!

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

 

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control

Shelter Dogs 2012-05-05 Vancouver Animal Control
For anyone curious, this was the fist time I shot dogs at the shelter with my Nikon D800. I used the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens but I think next time I'll try a 50mm f/1.8 prime. Overall, I have some learning to do with the focus system of the D800 but it is producing great images.


Nikon D800 with 105mm f/2.8 VR lens - pollen popping flower

Poppin' Pollen

Yesterday I noticed what I thought was smoke in the kitchen but had no idea where it was coming from. As I was looking around, I saw that a flower on the counter was shooting out pollen. I have never seen anything like this, so I had to grab my camera and shoot a short video. I have never seen anything like this!

I'm assuming this is not a common sight, otherwise I would have seen it myself before (we have a lot of plants) or I would have seen it somewhere online. Regardless, I had to capture it on video so others would not think I'm crazy :)

Shot with the Nikon D800, 1080p, 105mm f/2.8 VR lens.  View the HD video on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahIrYtJjMpU