Photography & Cinematography 101
- Test Shots with Nikon D4s
My new main work camera arrived day before yesterday. After shooting Canon cameras for the past 5 years I've decided to make a move back to Nikon.
Yesterday, while setting up the large volume of custom options for the camera a very rare rain storm with heavy downpour happened upon my neighborhood.
California is experiencing a record drought, so this was a very good omen for the beginnings of my relationship with one of the most important tools I use to make a living.
I slapped my favorite lens - an 80-200 f/2.8 ED IF Nikkor on my new D4s and stood in my living room and shot through the front window of my house.
The D4s has a new feature (new to me) which I'll call Manual Priority - LOL - being that the various "Priority" settings have traditionally meant that you choose either shutter speed or aperture (2/3 of the variables that control exposure) and the camera automatically adjusts the other to get you the best normalized exposure.
In the days of film - before digital took over the world - ISO was a fixed variable. The ISO rating of the film stock you were using was the ISO - it was determined by the light-fastness of the stock and not something you could adjust without changing film.
Since the latest generation of super-DSLR cameras have ridiculous ISO ratings - this one boasts 408,600 - that's right - four hundred eight thousand, six hundred ISO - something that in the world of film is so incomprehensible... sorry - I digress. The latest gen of DSLRs have enough range to allow ISO to become a legitimate VARIABLE in the Shutter Speed/Aperture/ISO formula where it has always been the one fixed component in the past.
By choosing "AUTO ISO" in manual mode you allow the camera to shift ISO on the fly, meaning you don't need to worry about the light meter and exposure. Set your desired aperture, set your desired shutter speed - and go!
I had just finished reading the chapter in the 476 page manual that came with my camera (and that's not a 30 page manual that's presented in several languages - all of it is one language) about AUTO ISO mode and decided to give it a shot.
I set the aperture at 2.8 - wide open - and I set the lens for 200mm - full zoom.
I set the shutter speed for 1/8000 of a second.
In normal shooting conditions with my Canon this would result in images that were so under-exposed they'd be nearly devoid of any visible data.
But not THIS camera. Oh no. For the first time in my career as a cinematographer/commercial photographer I caught rain drops in natural light frozen in the air. I've done this with the assistance of lights to back light the drops and add enough scene luminance to allow for short exposures - but this camera - on the fly, with little thought - just blew my mind.
I shot in RAW - 14-bit Lossless Compression mode - auto white balance - what you see in these images is what the camera shot. No adjustments (other than sizing and adding my water-mark).
I'm in love. This camera and I are going to have a lot of fun together!