CMCM

Lives in United States Sierra Nevadas of Northern California, United States
Joined on Dec 11, 2017
About me:

CURRENT CAMERAS
Nikon D7500
Nikon D700
Nikon D5600
Nikon P950
Canon G7XII

LENSES
Sigma 100-400 f5.6-6.3 DG OS HSM C - Critter Lens #1
Nikkor AF-P 70-300 f/4.6-63.G ED VR - Critter Lens #2
Nikkor AF-S 18-300 f/3.5-6.3G ED VR
Nikkor AF-P 10-20 AF-P f/4.5-5.6
Nikkor AF-S Micro 40mm f/2.8G
Nikon AF-P 18-55 f.3.5-5.6G VR
Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DXII 11-16 f/2.8
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X M100 AF Pro D
Nikon AF-S 24-85 f3.5-4.5 G ED VR
Nikon AF-S 16-35 f/4G ED VR
Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye

OCCASIONAL COMPACTS FOR FUN
Fujifilm X-30 (from 2016)
Canon S95 (from 2010)

OLD RETIRED STUFF
Nikkor AF-S 18-70 f/3.5-4.5G ED (from 2004)
Nikon D70s (from 2004)

OLD BUT STILL GOOD 1980's MANUAL FOCUS & EARLY AF LENSES
All from my Nikon F3 film camera days

Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AIS
Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS
Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI
Nikkor 55mm f2.8 AIS macro
Nikkor 85mm f2.0 AI
Nikkor 28-85 f3.5-4.5 AIS macro
Nikkor 80-200 f4.5 N AI

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB100 (fantastic tripod!!)
Sirui Monopod + Manfrotto 234RC head
Software: Luminar 4, Affinity Pro, Photoshop CS6 (sometimes)

CMCM's current gear

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Fujifilm X30
Nikon Coolpix P950
Super great little pocket/purse sized camera, and a welcome update to my older S95 from 2010. The 1" sensor pairs with a 24-100 zoom that is a pretty nice range, and the bright f/1.8-2.8 lens is superb in very low light, allowing you to shoot in dim interiors without flash. Nice tilt touchscreen and menu changes are quick and easy with all menu functions available on the touchscreen. Very solid, high quality build and just a pleasure to shoot with. It produces very nice photos overall. With the available long shutter speeds and f/1.8 lens, I even did some very nice looking astrophotography and Milky Way shots with it. I just wish it had a viewfinder...
This is a truly wonderful camera with unmatched ergonomics in this class of camera, there's nothing else like it. When you see it, you just want to handle it and look at it. Gorgeous thing. Lots of topside control, fairly good menu system that is easy to use. Wonderful EVF, which was one of this camera's big selling points. Nice tilt screen if you need that. Manual zoom on the 28-112 lens, which is great.. You twist the lens to the 28mm point to turn it on and off, which is also unique. The lens takes 40mm filters, which are hard to find. This 12mp camera produces beautiful photos as long as you keep ISO fairly low (400 or under is best). The film simulations unique to Fuji are fun, and there are some interesting scene modes including a built-in panorama mode. It's too bad that Fuji never further updated this beautiful, capable camera, so after the X10,20,30 Fuji axed this wonderful family of cameras. A real loss, and those who still own the camera love the thing. It still has a big fan base (as do the X-10 and X-20), and if you can find a used one, it often sells for more than it did new. Go figure.
I've wanted to replace my P900 for awhile now. The new P950 has a lot of important improvements, and while I haven't had it long, the image quality and sharpness is greatly improved. The new EVF is like the one on the P1000, and is a hundred times better than the one on the P900, which was like looking through a small tunnel. I may have more to say after I've used the P950 for awhile. But so far, so good.
Nikon D5600
Nikon D700
Nikon D7500
This was the first new DSLR I'd bought since my D70s in 2005. Going from the D70s to the D5600 was amazing, just a different world of shooting and capability. This really is a fantastic little camera...emphasis on little, because it's very compact and when paired with the AFP 18-55 lens, it's a small package that can fit easily into a lot of small bags and seems to weigh almost nothing. In Nikon's DSLR line, its LCD screen is unique. It's fully articulating and a fully functional touchscreen that is so quick and easy it's a joy to use. No other Nikon camera has a touchscreen like this one! The menus are also unique to this model. There are fewer top controls on this camera (EV on top), so most changes such as ISO etc. must be accessed via the back touchscreen. In general, that's not a problem and I actually liked using this camera very much. BUT....I liked and should have bought the D7500 instead, because this D5600 didn't quite do everything I wanted it to do and in the way I wanted to shoot. However, I really love this little Nikon and I've found some other side uses for it, such as using my 40mm micro lens plus slide copy adapter to easily digitize all my old slides! A big negative is that the 5600 can't meter the old AIS lenses. It's fun to use, a great camera to be lazy and shoot in Auto or P mode, but it has its limits. Good beginner camera, more than anything.
I decided to use my "new" D700 for several months before I commented on it. The verdict is in: I absolutely love it. I got it primarily so I could use my old 1980s Nikkor manual focus AIS lenses on it in their full frame glory. This was an experimental purchase so I could see what I thought of FX cameras, and the price of a few hundred for a mint condition D700 with only 12,000 clicks on it was simply too tempting to resist for a camera that was introduced with a list price of $3K. I wanted to see what all the original fuss was about. Despite being 11 years old, the camera and its menus and functions are simply NOT feeling that dated. Much is the same as on my newer D7500, for example. There was no learning curve to using it, everything was completely familiar and in the right places. I use this camera mostly for landscapes and scenic shots, but I have really come to love the quality of the images and color produced by this particular sensor from this point in Nikon's digital evolution. There is some sort of "je ne sais quoi" about the images that sets it apart from all my other cameras. I also love the form factor of this admittedly large, heavy beast. And all those buttons and controls on the outside for quick changes....fabulous and so much nicer than menu diving. It's solid and heavy, but easy to handle, very well made, and a complete joy to use. Dare I say it....it has become my favorite camera of all. I don't mind that it lacks video, and 11 years after its introduction, it remains a superb stills camera. The 12 MP are more than enough, thank you, and the files are quite manageable compared to today's high MP cameras. I barely crop my photos and I don't print poster size prints, so 12MP 100% satisfactory, I don't want or need more. I won't ever be parting with this camera.
I upgraded to this camera from the D5600, which is a wonderful little camera. It just didn't do everything I wanted it to do. The D7500 is WONDERFUL in every way, it's hard to know where to start. It's a good size....large enough to work well with larger/heavier lenses, yet smaller and more compact than my old D70s, and quite light in weight. The topside controls are excellent, I can find everything I need very quickly. The build quality is top notch. I like to shoot birds in flight, and this camera is fast! I debated between the D7500 and the D500, and while I liked certain special features on the D500, I couldn't justify the much higher price. Also, the D500 lacks a flash, which I really wanted to have available as I don't like to carry around separate flash units. The D7500 has a more than large enough buffer, and its 8 fps rate is plenty fast. Most of the time, even shooting birds, I don't need or want that many fps. The 54 focus points (with 15 cross type points) is fast and efficient, and I have to wonder if the D500's 154 points are that much better. The D7500 includes the Group AF like the D500, and that mode is useful for BIFS. The viewfinder is excellent, and the LCD touchscreen is bright and clear. The tilt screen is nice to have, although I haven't needed to use it much. Overall, I really have no complaints about this camera, which I can say really is the most amazing camera I've ever had and I'd give it 10 stars if I could! The more I use it, the more I like it! CON: It won't meter with the manual AI-S lenses. Why did Nikon remove the metering lever? And I kind of wish it did have two card slots....so I could direct RAW shots to one, jpegs to the other.
Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR
Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VR
Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm F2.8
This tiny, lightweight little lens came in a kit with my D7500. Otherwise, I probably would never have bought it since I don't really need this focal length due to owning two other lenses with longer ranges. After using it a few times I can say it's a surprisingly good lens, with fast autofocus and good color. Putting this lens with a D5600 is a small, very lightweight pairing. And did I say this lens is small?? However, I find the 18-55 range too limited and I rarely use this lens at all, although when I do play around with it, I'm often surprised by how clear and sharp it is. Worth keeping.
This is the newest AFP DX -VR lens, and it's surprisingly wonderful. It's light as a feather, easy to use, and sharp end to end. Focus is extremely fast, so this lens works well for shooting moving things such as flying birds or moving animals. The biggest negative is that it doesn't have a VR switch on it, forcing you to go into camera menus to turn VR on and off. The mount is plastic, but if you are reasonably careful it really shouldn't be a problem. Amazingly low price for the optical quality you get. It's sharp end to end. CON: No VR switch, so VR must be turned on and off via the menus. Annoying.
This is a wonderful and affordable little DX macro lens, f/2.8 so it's pretty fast, and it's very sharp with beautiful, vibrant colors. As a general use lens, the 40mm of course is 60mm equivalent on a crop sensor camera, but it's a nice sharp lens and good for portraits as well. The lens has a distance scale, M/A-M switch, and a focus limiter switch to set full or limit to 0.2m. It weighs almost nothing. The low price is fantastic, too! Probably the biggest negative for macro shooting is how very close the lens will be to the little subject. Clearly a longer macro such as 100mm would be much better so you can get more distance. BONUS USE...this particular lens works perfectly with the Nikon ES-1 slide copier adapter on a DX camera, and no additional extensions are needed. You just attach the slide copier directly to the lens! The ES-1 write-ups don't ever mention that it works with the 40mm lens for some reason.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G ED VR
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR
Nice lens, fairly small and light in weight (very similar to the 18-140 or 16-80 in terms of size). It needed a trip back to Nikon to tweak the sharpness from about 225 to 300, but now it's sharp through the whole range. I like having this range as a general purpose lens, and I do find all of the focal lengths useful and nice to have in one lens. The AF is not the fastest out there, but it's generally fine although you do hear it working, it's not silent. The lens has a lock switch to prevent lens creep when walking around, a VR on and off switch, and a M/A and M focus switch. Overall, it's a good lens and with fine tuning at Nikon it's nicely sharp.
This is the excellent, better than average kit lens that came with my 6mp Nikon D70s in 2004, and despite a lack of VR (which I don't miss), it's still a great lens on today's higher megapixel cameras. Fast AF, very sharp end to end, no chromatic aberration or distortion, and a fairly fast f/3.5-4.5 lens. Surprisingly compact and lightweight, smaller than the current 16-80. This lens does quite well with both my 24mp D5600 and 21mp D7500. In a photo store recently, I did identical comparison shots with the newer 16-80 lens and the 18-70 looked as good as the 16-80, you couldn't tell the difference. It's the proverbial "tack sharp" from 18 to 70, there is no weak point to the zoom range. However, I hardly ever use it now, preferring my 18-300.
Fabulous lens for my D700 and shooting landscapes. Sharp sharp sharp, great contrast, as wonderful as I hoped it would be. This is a lens I'll never part with.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR
Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye
This has turned out to be a wonderfully sharp lens with excellent contrast and color. I use it mainly on my D700, but it's also nice on my D7500 as a 36-128. For a full frame lens, it's surprisingly lightweight and compact. One of my favorite lenses now and a good all purpose walk-around lens.
My new favorite lens for sure! Sharp as a tack at all points in the zoom range, quick focus that locks on quite well when tracking a subject (BIFS in particular), beautiful vibrant color, great contrast. It came with the Sigma dock, which can be used to update the lens firmware, to set up some custom focus functions and to to focus adjust if necessary (my copy of this lens didn't need it!). The two custom settings are nice to have, but the lens is so perfect out of the box I haven't needed to adjust any focus...so that's a good thing. It may be heavier than some lenses, but it's quite easy to hand hold and a lens tripod foot is not needed. I tested this lens against the Tamron 100-400 and preferred this one. It has a very nice lens hood, too! No complaints at all, and I did I say I love using this lens?
Fun lens to play with, but not sure how to rate it yet. I'm using it only on my FX camera, the D700. It works well, seems nice and sharp, AF works quickly enough. It's a very small, lightweight lens. I found a used one at such a low price I couldn't resist. Limited use lens, but again, it's fun.
Tokina AT-X Pro 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II
Adobe Photoshop CS6
I got this specifically for macro, although it is also a very good portrait length lens. I reviewed several Macro lenses, from Nikon, Sigma and Tamron, but I liked this $349 lens the best. Like my Tokina 11-16, it has the push-pull action for switching from AF to MF. Some people complain about it, but it's a feature I rather like. For macro shooting the MF ring is excellent and precise. This lens can go to f/45 for better depth of field desired in macro shooting. Sharp sharp sharp, with beautiful color. The consistently 5-star enthusiastic reviews for this lens tell the story of its superb optical quality. And at half or even a third the price of the other similar range macro lenses I tested, what's not to like! There is no VR, but I don't think I miss it.
This unbelievably affordable (dare I say "cheap"?) lens turned out to be a pleasant surprise because it is very nicely and solidly made, and the photos it takes are crisp, clear and very sharp. Contrast is good and the color is beautiful. There is little to no distortion at the 11mm end, which was a nice surprise. Bought as a special purpose astrophotography lens for its wide DX angle and speed, it's perfect: it's the widest DX lens you can get with a constant f/2.8. You can also shoot interiors in very low light and the 2.8 makes the scene look as bright as daylight, so this lens will get a lot more use than I originally thought. It's heavier than Nikon's 10-20 AFP lens, but still not all that heavy and it works beautifully with both my Nikon D5600 and D7500. I've found the AF to be very quick, and I like the push-pull ring to change from MF to AF. Great lens and highly rated by users, which is why I chose this more limited version over the newer 11-20 that has come out. If you get it on sale, it's a very good buy.
I've been using Photoshop since Version 1 in the early 1990s. I was forced to learn it for my business, and over the years since PS1 I've upgraded to most, but not all versions ending with CS6 that I still use. It does most of what I want to do in my business, but as of late, it has forced me to keep my 2010 iMac going as El Capitan is the last OS it will work properly with. If I get a newer computer, I will be forced into renting Photoshop, something I resist doing. I do like Photoshop best of all the programs, probably because I've used it so long it is like an old shoe, very comfortable and I don't have to think about anything. I've recently acquired both Luminar and Affinity Photo for more fancy and up to date personal editing with all the bells and whistles that CS6 doesn't have.
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Apple iPad Pro
Great phone, what can I say, after all it's an Apple! And the cameras (there are two) on this particular model are pretty amazing. No complaints at all, this phone always works and works well, and I definitely appreciate the larger screen on this one. Great great phone that I'll be keeping for a long time.
I had an iPad mini, but replaced it with this one for a larger screen. The retina display is great, and it's another great prouct from Apple.
Other gear:
  • Luminar 4
  • Nikon 20mm f2.8 AIS

CMCM's wish list

Sorted by most recently added.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR
Nikon Coolpix P1000

CMCM's previous gear

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS (Digital IXUS 850 IS / IXY Digital 900 IS)
Nikon Coolpix 950
Nikon Coolpix 5000
An early digital compact, and one I used for a long time. It had a crummy little almost prehistoric viewfinder, but after this camera all the manufacturers started to eliminate viewfinders entirely, which is why I kept this camera for so long. Tiny almot microscopic little sensor, but it produced OK photos for the era.
An early early digital camera, revolutionary and advanced for its time. Primitive by today's standards. It had an optional wide angle adapter that was useful but which partly blocked the viewfinder view. I paid $1,000 for this puppy because I needed it in my business. I was never terribly fond of it, though. I still have it and it still works. Not that I ever want to use it!
I barely remember owning this camera, but I do remember not liking it much. Image quality was.....shall I say, "Lacking". It was unimpressive in an era when all digital cameras were unimpressive.
Olympus D-500L
Canon PowerShot SD960 IS / Digital IXUS 110 IS
Canon PowerShot S95
One of the earliest digital cameras. It was better than a lot of the cameras out at the time I got it (about 1997??), but my memory of it was horrible DR, it badly underexposed, and it was kind of lousy overall. I never liked it and have no idea when or how I disposed of it. Wish I'd kept it for amusement as I now enjoy looking at the old technology.
Still have it, it still works, but I never liked it all that much. The SD800 was better.
After years of not so great or appealing digital cameras, in 2010 the S95 piqued my interest because it had a fast lens that performed well in low light, and a lot of manual adjustments that previous compacts didn't have. I always wished it had a viewfinder. I took a lot of photos with this camera as I used it for 6 years until I got a Fujifilm X-30. I got some nice photos with it despite its small sensor, and it excelled at sunsets for some reason.
Nikon D70s
I got this when it came out in 2004, packaged with the wonderful 18-70 f/3.5-4.5 lens. At that time, this was a great and amazing camera, all 6 MP of it! The tiny little LCD on the back is laughable by today's standards, and was fairly useless to evaluate a shot, so chimping was almost useless on this camera! No video capability either, not that I cared. The menu system was very very basic.
Other gear:
  • Hasselblad 1600f + Ektar 80mm f/2.8 (1949)
  • Kiron 28-105 macro f/3.2-4.5
  • Leica Z2X (Film)
  • Nikkor 28-85 f/3.5-4.5 macro
  • Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AIS
  • Nikkor 80-200 f/4.5 AIS
  • Nikkor 85mm f/2.0 AIS
  • Nikon F3 HP
  • Nikon N8008
  • Tokina 24-40 f/2.8
  • Vivitar 28-200 f/3.5-5.3