So this is a pretty decent eBay product shot, isn't it? Camera's a bit dirty. Close enough for government work, as we used to say in D.C. You can read the serial number.
I have a bunch of schtuff to list (schtuff—that's a technical term) on eBay, and I wanted to shoot it with the D800. But I don't have a macro or a long lens for it.
So check out what I did...
...Just shot it with the 28mm and cropped. Instant digital zoom.
And the crop was too big—I had to reduce the image size. I could have stood twice as far away.
(Lighting is one umbrella at camera left.)
ADDENDUM: The camera is a Nikkormat (a.k.a. "Nikkomat," in Japan) FT3, manufactured for just a short period of time in 1977 while the then-new FM was being readied for sale. It was thus the last of the Nikkormats, Nikon's traditional (but always somewhat confusing to the public) name for its sturdy no-nonsense workhorse cameras just below the F line. (Many pros, especially beginning pros, preferred two Nikkormats to one F.) The FT3 was the only Nikkormat that accepted Auto-Indexing (AI) lenses. As with many old Nikkormats, the meter on this one no longer works. Otherwise it's still fully functional. The FT3 also has the distinction of having the shortest production run of any Nikon SLR (I believe—I'd have to ask Stephen Gandy to be sure).
It's actually fairly analogous to the D800/E—it was the top of Nikon's amateur camera line, but one tier below its flagship pro cameras, just like the D800 is.
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A book of interest today:
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Pascal Jappy: "I am sooo jealous, I'm never reading your blog again. Not until tomorrow at least!"
Manuel: "Amazing shot. No moiré whatsoever ;-) "
ault: "Camera's a bit dirty??? I had thought that mine were moderately clean. It appears they are not."
Mike replies: Well, it's clean for real life. But look at the right-hand side of the top plate and you'll see what I mean. That's a light coating of grime that could easily be spruced up a bit.
As any tabletop photographer can tell you, lots of things show up in a product shot that sometimes aren't even visible to the eye unless you look carefully. Small-object photographers spend a lot of time getting things scrupulously clean in order to photograph them.
This used to be a lot more of a problem before you could spot with a click of the mouse. Of course, in eBay product shots, you have to be very careful what you spot out—you have to make sure it's something that's actually removable from the camera. There are times when I'm about to spot a white mark off a camera when I have to go back down to the basement and check that the white spot is actually a speck of dust that can be brushed off the camera itself. Cleaning up a photo of a object for sale if the object itself can't be cleaned would be deceptive. It's usually a lot easier—still—just to make sure the thing is clean before you take its picture.
David Aspinall: "Congrats on your purchase but it just reinforces what for me is one of the problems of the digital age...Too much choice Too much money Too much in-built redundancy. The old Nikon will still be going long after the D800 is in a recycling bin."
Mike replies: Gasp.
Pavel: "That old Nikon is as beautiful as any sculpture and always potentially more useful too. If only to sit on a shelf that faithful servant should not be cast down like this, publicly and on fleabay of all fates, in the heat of your infatuation with the new. You will be sorry Mike! And I will use my 'toldyouso' emoticon on you, mercilessly, when you soon realize your terrible mistake! (As a man of your passion, intellect, good taste and good grammar undoubtedly will.) I know you would not sell a good book once you've thumbed through it! You've upended my faith in the known universe! By the way...umm ....how much ya askin'?"
Soeren Engelbrecht: "Nice, Mike. I'm constantly bewondered by seeing people—or even camera shops—trying to sell very expensive camera stuff and not being able to make a decent picture of it :-) They put their double-digit MP compact into 'macro mode' (which is often optimised for wide angle), move within two inches of the object, and then downsample to 0.8 MP or whatever they need. The result: weird perspective distortion—and often heavy barrel distortion, too. I'd definitely buy something from you, though :-) "
Mike replies: As the kids say now, "I know, right?"
The other thing that used to "bewonder" me is how often camera companies will put example photos in their brochures that either don't show off the qualities of the equipment or that have some obvious flaw. An old Contax brochure had an example picture, made with a Zeiss lens, that had obvious camera shake...and the caption talked about the sharpness of the lens.
It was later explained to me that often the U.S. importing arm of the camera company is responsible for the brochure, and just sends one of its tech reps out to snag a few sample pictures—and some of them just aren't terribly good photographers. You can see the same distinctions sometimes in digital review sites—the "sample" pictures from site to site, or even among different reviewers on the same site, can vary pretty widely in style and skill.