Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A little bit of Parkour (Free Running)

Some of you may not know but I am... or used to be very much into Parkour,  I was one of the founders of a Edinburgh parkour group/get-to-gether/forum etc called ED-PK.  We gnerally jumped around the city of Edinburgh and got pretty damn fit and strong while doing it.

Recently I started going back to the gymnastics class that we used to go to on the weekends. I went back just for some fitness and fun. and boy is adult gymnastics FUN! 

Anyway this page is just a collection of the videos i have made over the previous years regarding parkour and gymnastics in Edinburgh and with a nod and a wink to making more and more cinematic versions of the current crop of traceurs flowing round Edinburghs streets.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Flower photography Tip: Metering and exposure differences

Think I need a better title for the video and the blog post, any suggestions?

My new photography book. click below

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Nikon D700 Review

Its a bit late I know but here is the review of the Nikon D700

The Nikon D700 is a Full frame camera meaning it has a much larger sensor than the models lower down the range. Its sensor is considered to be the same as a 35mm film camera The dimensions of the sensor are 24x36mm while the AP-C size sensor cameras such as the Nikon D300s or D7000 have a sensor measuring 16x24mm.

The D700 with its larger sensor could have had more pixels but instead Nikon decided to stay with what it perceives to be its optimum resolution vs image quality setting and has kept the number of Mega Pixels at 12. This means that each pixel itself is physically larger than that of a cropped sensor camera or a higher density megapixel camera. This larger pixel size means the sensor can gather more light and supposedly therefor more data. Meaning you get richer detail, a greater dynamic range and more accurate colours. This I shall test soon.

There is also debate, that having more megapixels does not yield increases in definition. Yes more megapixels gives a larger image but the definition and detail in an image is largely set from the performance of the lens and it is unclear if many lenses from any DSLR maker is able to get the top resolution out of their lenses yet.

There is a reason why digital Medium format camera makers charge several thousands for even their most simple lenses (check out Mamiya and Hasselblad H4d-31 costing £9000 for a camera and 80mm (budget camera))

And this may also explain why there is a Nikon 24mm f/1.4 lens that cost almost £2000, because it can get super high resolution like that afforded by the Nikon D3x

The sensor is the same as that which was found in the Nikon D3 but in a body that resembled that of the Nikon D300, making it a much lighter camera than its big brother. It also meant it had a pop up flash to work as a commander unit for triggering off your other off camera flashes and a second battery grip could be added to increase the number of shots that could be taken in one charge and also increase the FPS.

So a quick review of this camera will tell you it is:

Just like the Nikon D300 but with a much better sensor and about half as expensive again.


The same as the Nikon D3 but much cheaper and in a D300 style body.

Right so lets go "pros and cons, compare and contrast" and forget about the cost at the moment. So here goes, this is the D700 compared to 3 other Professional rated Cameras , the D300, the D3 and the Canon 5D mark 2)

Nikon D700 vs D300

larger sensor = for same FOV camera must be closer, creating shallower depth of field.
Higher max iso 25,000 (compared to 6400)
Much better high ISO handling.
Added level of D-LIGHTING (auto)
Vignette control settings
Can shoot at 5 and 8 fps in 14 bit raw
larger eyepiece for better composing
eyepiece shutter (to cut out external light leaks during long exposures)
virtual horizon feature

More lens vignetting visible from the larger sensor
Slower top end FPS when no extra batter pack attached (5 vs 6)
Tiny bit heavier

same size (almost)
same number of focal points,
same top end FPS (with extra battery pack and AA batteries inserted)
Same resolution
Same lens support
Same live view
Same sensor cleaning
Same CLS compatability,
Same lens compatability
Same 3inch lcd display screen
Same CF memory card use.
Same 5 stops exposure compensation
Same brilliantly strong and weather sealed body

Nikon D700 vs Nikon D3

Smaller and lighter body.
Sensor cleaner,
virtual horizon feature added
pop up flash for use as commander (or fill flash but I doubt anyone would use it for that)

Less battery life
Slower top end FPS (5 vs 9) or (8 with extra battery pac vs 11 in cropped mode)
Only 1 CF memory card slot
less rugged body (possibly)

Same number of focal points,
Same resolution
Same ISO ability
Same lens support
Same live view
Same CLS compatability,
Same 3inch lcd display screen
Same CF memory card use.
Same 5 stops exposure compensation
Same lens compatability

Compared to the rival Canon (5D mark 2)

Onboard pop up flash for off camera flash control
Nikon CLS system
Easier to reach High iso settings
Many more Focal points (51 vs 9)
Faster FPS (5 or 8 vs Canon 3.9fps)
Potentially better high iso performance
can accept aps-c size lenses
virtual horizon function

Less Megapixels 12 vs 21
a little heavier (tiny amount)
a little more expensive
Canon cameras can accept Nikon lenses via a simple adapter (NIkon can't accept canon lenses)

both have dust reduction sensor shakes
both about to be replaced soon.


I fricking love this camera. But I do also own a Canon (550D) for when i want to shoot videos. The options this camera gives me with regards to lenses and iso and also its fast FPS means that for me it is great for wedding photography and sports, Not something you would normally have side by side.

If i was a landscape photographer I would go with the canon and also get the most expensive lenses possible to get the detail out of the monster 21megapixel sensor, Also for portraits and studio work, the pop up flash and the ease of use of the Nikon with its CLS and also its 'easy to access' 5 stop exposure compensation makes it a win for me.

Is it worth £2000


is it worth £1500 (second hand)

Oh hell yes

Is the canon 5D mark 2 worth £2000

yes (as long as you are getting the most out of it and shooting video as well)

My new photography book. click below

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Black Rapid RS DR-1 camera strap

Officially my worst video ever!

WOW, hold on, did I just kill someones baby? Wait. no, I just didn't give the 'all loving' promotion video that people wanted for their expensive black rapid camera straps.

I can't believe the level of response regarding this video of the first 5 minutes with the black rapid DR-1 strap. It is like i have just spat in their faces.

The black rapid community is a fierce community. I am shocked by such out poring distaste for the simple video, here is a summary: Comments such as.

you shouldn't be doing this
I hope this is a joke.
i am terribly disappointed in this video
this is unfortunately your worst video ever
dom i like your videos but this one makes you look stupid
not the best review, at least have an open mind before trying something
the fro is going to have a melt down
you sound like a negative old man who doesn't like progress
anyone remember the good old days when Dom wasn't so negative,
this is your first video that gets a thumbs down from me

Over 110 comments in the first 24 hours and over a thousand views.47 likes and 38 dislikes. This STRAP has really got some people emotional.

I'll admit I am coming into this review from a slightly pessimistic view point, partly because i am shocked by the price £135 for an advanced version of something you get for free seems like a heck of a lot to pay. I have to seriously justify spending what would be 2-3 days wages for something that I already have and have been given for free when i bought my camera and been using for years with no complaint. £135 to me is a lot of money If for you it is your weekly pocket money then hey don't bother reading this just go and buy it, I am sure it will be good for your neck and shoulders...

More detail and video after the break

I am also coming from the point of view where I have read a number of reviews and the camera strap gets top marks and lots of love and praise, almost universally…. I am suspicious, yet i shall be open minded to having this thing blow my mind in terms of its comfort and its ability to aid me in my shooting. Will I be like all the other reviewers and in the end be giving this a 5 out of 5 rating?

Is this going to be a professional tool or an amateur gimmick?

SO yes I am a little pessimistic, rather that, and be pleasantly surprised than falsely perceive greatness and promote something which in the end turns out to be an expensive waste of money, and thus make me look like an ass. If the price wasn't so high I would be coming in at a much more optimistic level.

At the moment the way I feel about the Black rapid strap is that I am not really sure it serves much purpose for the way I shoot. I suspect it would be better for those who walk around all day with cameras around their neck (not sure who does that though apart from tourists).

I normally use a camera bag, either a shoulder back or a full on ruck sack. If i have the full rucksack on I usually have a tripod in there and although some have mentioned that you can now get a tripod adapted bolt so that you don't have to take the black rapid fastener off it still sounds like a Phaff.

If I have my shoulder bag with me i usually always put the camera back in the bag, to save it from accidentally bashing off the ground if i go down to tie a shoe lace or if i am getting into my car i can just throw it on the passenger seat with no worries, it is nice and padded you see.

I suspect if i am getting in and out of a car (as i do regularly if shooting a running event) having to unclip the cameras from the strap and place them on the seat beside me in the car would take up valuable time and become annoying. Or do i just sling them up so they are both sitting in my lap as i drive to the next shooting spot?

I have been told that this version the double strap is good for wedding photographers. And at a wedding I do shoot with 2 cameras all the time, so maybe here is where it will come in handy. I have a wedding in the next week so will try it out there.

However again. At a wedding I may be shooting with 2 cameras but i am usually taking about 4 lenses, and a tripod (rarely used now at weddings) and several flashes cleaning cloths and piles of business cards and extra batteries. The flashes wont be used all the time so they will be in the camera bag for the most part as will the other 2 lenses. will this mean that I will have my double strap and a camera ruck sack on my back….

lenses taken will be the 70-200, the 28-75, the 11-16mm the 50mm (and the fish eye on the odd occasion).

Also I worry if having my camera and say the big 70-200mm lens hanging down at my hip area, there is the danger of it bashing off some wall, or door or guests chair as i walk around, this would make a sound, disturb the guests and have me swear loudly, possibly.

Also I will need to figure out if this really fits well under a suit jacket

Video coming soon

Because at any wedding i shoot I am dressed smartly, in my shirt and jacket and I don't want to start looking like i have some strange shoulder growths from the shoulder straps. This will all be tested out soon.

My other slight worry is that with the cameras hanging upside down this means that the battery compartment is facing up towards the sky and thus the falling rain.

Using the Nikon D300, D700 or D3 I have no worry at all in shooting with these cameras in the pouring rain (provided they have a good weather sealed lens such as the 70-200) but the battery seal area is what i would consider the weakest point of the water/weather sealing. This may just be me worrying too much, but it is not something i want to find out.

I kinda get the impression that If i was shooting a sports match, say a football game and I was standing outside near the pitch for the length of the game and also going on the pitch to shoot the players at the end of the match, where i may need very quick access to two different lenses for different types of shots. etc then this item would really hold up its worth. open space, long instances of standing, and no time to open a camera bag.

My analogy is that this strap is like a straight jacket is to a pair of hand cuffs.
Hand cuff and straight jackets both restrain someone, but a straight jacket is more comfortable, more expensive, more restraining but also a lot more complicated and cumbersome , and looks bad ass.

The black rapid compared to your free strap, is indeed more comfortable, more secure but much more complicated and cumbersome, much more expensive and looks…. depending on your taste, more bad ass.

But do we need to put every criminal in a hannibal style straight jacket?

Here is the link to the amazon page selling black rapids

As you can see it has now been discounted to under £100, but it is still saying its RRP is £135
This is what I cant understand. is why would someone pay 2 days wages worth for a strap for their camera when they already get one for FREE when they buy one.  So this is my quest, to figure out what is making this thing so f-good to get the type of reviews you see on the product pages, (check the link above)
however i do like this video a lot 

Now Here is part 2

my 'review' is based on my 'view' of the product otherwise it is just a demonstration

My new photography book. click below

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Shooting the Confusion is Sex Poster with Gamma Ray Dali

This was shot with the Nikon D700 and the old school lens the 20mm f2.8 AIS lens.
I used 3 Nikon SB-900s, one with a red gel, and one shooting into an umbrella just to camera left.
Camera settings were
1/250th of a second (max sync speed)
f/8 -f/11
Flashes on 1/2 or full power
Iso 200 (base iso)

Some of you will remember Gamma from this shoot with the Orbis ring flash. (and the blog link here)

If you want to know more about Confusion is Sex click this link

My new photography book. click below