Putting the camera through its paces

Recently my mom cleaned out her garage, and what did she find? My old dusty piano trophies from teenage days! I always wondered what happened to those…

Anyway, they were a perfect opportunity to try out my new camera because 1) I like the colors 2) they are relatively small to photograph and 3) they don’t move — unlike my children. 🙂 And also I want to get rid of clutter so I can clear out our house after I take some pictures.

I tried taking pictures with my old camera (Nikon D50) first. Here’s what it looked like on auto mode. (These are all unretouched photos.)

Oh dear. All blurry. That’s because it was too dark for the camera to do really well, so the camera used a slow shutter speed. I tried again, this time propping it on a guitar case on the ground. (The trophy was sitting on the ground.) This gave the camera some stability to reduce the shake.

Much better! However, contrast is not too great. The black background looks a little greyish.

I tried out manual settings. I couldn’t even take a picture. The camera wouldn’t focus at all because there wasn’t enough light. So much for that idea.

Now, onto the new camera (Nikon D700, a semi-pro camera).

Look at that difference! The black looks so rich and the color is much more accurate than the previous camera. It is also a lot sharper. And it focuses just like that! This was pretty much using the auto settings from the camera.

Here’s how the photo looks after some retouching of the RAW image — straightened out the image, darkened the blacks, increased contrast, brought down the highlights so you can see more detail, retouched out some of the dust (the background was my knit wrap I wear all the time!). It just took a minute or two. I could do more work to bring out the writing on the plate and things like that, but this was just for demonstration purposes to show the difference.

Wow, that is a lovely picture, if I say so myself… er… except for the dust. The trophy is so old the dust was embedded into it — wouldn’t come off when I tried to wipe it! Uh… I guess that’s the bad side about having a camera that picks up so much detail… hmm… didn’t think of that earlier…

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

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  1. Carmen Lin - September 22, 2010

    I did not have time to clean those trophies for you. If I had the time, I would have to use a wet cloth to clean flat areas and use an old toothbrush to clean rough areas. Most dusts will come off by proper cleaning.

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