Monday, 14 November 2016

The magic of superzoom

The morning was fine and sunny, good conditions to put the new Nikon Coolpix P900 camera and its zoom lens to the test. Below: lens set at 24mm (35mm equivalent, 16mm on a DX camera). This is wider than the kit lens supplied with my DX-format D3300 or the fixed focal-length wide-angle lens on my DX-format Coolpix A.

Now, from the same spot - zoom right in, all the way, to 2000mm to catch the middle of the clock face on the Palace of Culture. Bet you didn't know there was a syrenka on it! Each of the four faces is 6.3m in diameter.

This remarkable photo, below, taken from my office is amazing. In the far distance, nine and half kilometres away, the church of Divine Mercy, in Ząbki, like a surging white wave. In the middle distance, the raw red brick and black roof lying before it is the church of St Barnabas the Apostle, still unfinished; seven and half kilometres from my office. In the foreground is the spire that rises from the middle of the crest of the roof of St Florian's cathedral, Praga Północ; it is two and half kilometres from my office. Note the heat haze shimmer, despite the fact the temperature was a mere 6C. On a clearer day, should be able to see to the horizon.

(Interestingly, there's yet another church that lies directly on this line, except it's not tall enough to be seen, the church of the Mother of God of Lourdes, on ul. Szwedzka.) In the left foreground are the balustrades around the roof of the Zachęta art gallery facing ul. Burschego. Four churches perfectly aligned along a straight line - something for Arthur 'Ley Line' Watkins. The lens is zoomed out to its fullest extent - the equivalent of 2000mm on a 35mm (or full-frame) camera.

Below: looking due east, we see first the twin spires of the Holy Cross church, between which stands the 300m-high chimney of the Kawęczyn heat plant, just over nine kilometres from my office. To the right, the single 90m-high tower of the Most Świętokrzyski bridge.

Like the next photo, below, the lens was only moderately zoomed out, yet still at the extreme end of most zoom lenses' range. Here's the church of All Saints in the foreground, the TPSA building behind it (now re-named Spektrum Tower).

And finally - today's supermoon. Despite the milky film of cloud in the way, the result is staggering. This is uncropped, at 1800mm equivalent (zoomed out fully, the moon could barely fit in the frame).

Taken at 1/40th (!!!) of a second at f6.3, with my elbows resting on the balcony. The thin clouds meant I could not get the same degree of crispness of the shots below...

Below: 1/800th of a second at f8. Zoomed in tighter, also on the Coolpix P900.

Below: taken on larger (DX) format sensor with left 300mm (450mm equivalent) on D3300 and its 24 megapixel sensor, and right 400mm (600mm equivalent) on D80 and its 12 megapixel sensor.

Having said that, both were taken on entirely cloudless days (for more about these photos and lunar photography, see this post.)

This time four years ago:
Welcome to Lemmingrad

This time six years ago:
Dream highway

This time seven years ago:
The Days are Marching

This time nine years ago:
First snow, 2007


dr Marcin said...

Hi Mike,

I just read Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision ("W Kadrze: Rozważania na temat wyobraźni fotografa"), by David duChemin,,385.html Marvelous book describing more artistic side of photography than being a technical manual. Seeing on the yours pics I constantly find many of his advices. The Polish edition of that book is unavailable, try to find English one. You will enjoy very much.

All the very best.

Anonymous said...

You are verging on the cusp of evil by promoting this wondrous machine. Amazon is offering a 0.01% discount on its pound price of 499.99.

Yikes! - it can only get worse.

PS - Are you Fillon friendly? Or more Juppé?