Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nikon D90 SDK hack and liveview image captures

So I downloaded Nikon's camera control SDK code, and built a sample program. Its pretty cool!

It allows one to set/reset pretty much all the menu items that one can do with the on camera menu system.

The one interesting test I did was to fetch liveview images off the camera by setting different zoom ratios in sequence.. so I was saving what would be shown on the rear LCD directly onto my computer. The results matched with earlier observations that the D90 firmware interpolates from a very low resolution buffer image when zooming in: to me that low res size seems to be 640x480 pixels. Here are the actual dumped files, in increasing zoom ratio, from 1X, 2X, 3.3X, 5X, 6.6X (max allowed on camera), and 10X (only allowed via SDK):







As can be seen, its a simple interpolation mechanism.. most probably a bilinear one.. that causes the zoomed in images to look jaggy upon zooming in. This is almost like a total digital zoom, with the source image being only 640x480 pixels. Imagine making 100 pixels (10x10) out of a single one in increments! So out of other things, one of the reasons for D300 being pricier than a D90 would be this: in D300, the zoomed in image in live view doesnt look so badly interpolated.

Here is a related thread if anyone is interested. I wonder if it does Nikon any good to have such poor interpolation scheme from a 640x480 buffer. For everything else, its such a fantastic camera. But then nothing is perfect in this world, is it? :-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nikon D90 Low light images

We just got back from the California Disneyland.

I got so many keepers. But I was most surprised by D90's performance in low light. We were in this show about Aladdin. The stage was only partially and intermittently lit, and we were sitting in the balcony. I couldnt use the 50mm 1.8 since I needed to zoom in. So all these pics are from the 18-105mm at f/5.6 I believe at max zoom with VR ON and very high ISOs.. between 2800 and 3200. The complete collection can be found here if you are interested.

Most of these are 100% crops since the zoom reach was not enough to get to individual characters so I had to crop them. To my relatively inexperienced eyes, these look like decently noise-suppressed images.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nikon D90 Low light test

I just did a simple test to see how Nikon D90 does in low light. The following are links to 100% crops from the scene on the left.

The Camera: Nikon D90
The lens: Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 VR
Tripod: Yes
Lighting: Two fluoroscent bulbs behind the camera, low light, at night.

The objectives were two fold:

[1] See how worse it is to use in-camera JPEGs versus NEFs for low light

[2] See how well does the in-camera noise removal work.

As labeled, the first image in each row is from raw (NEF), second one is JPEG from the camera without any noise removal, and third one is with in-camera normal noise removal enabled. (You will have to click on the individual image sections below to goto to the full 100% crop images to see the differences. The blog editor downsizes them to fit in the limited space here).

ISO 400 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO 800 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO 1600 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO 3200 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO HI1.0 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

If you would like to see some real life examples, please follow this link.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nikon D90 Street Photography Challenge

If you own a Nikon D90, and are willing to participate in a Street Photography challenge, here is your chance!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Nikon D90 Pictures VIII

Review: Nikon D90 Digital SLR Camera

Nikon D90 HD Video 0004 [External Ownership]

This is the movie that inspires me everyday. Good job steamdata!

Nikon D90 HD Video 0002

Nikon D90 HD Video 0003

Nikon D90 HD Video 0001

The Nikon D90 Challenge

The Nikon D90 Best Pictures Challenge Group has been created to host recurring challenges for pictures taken using a Nikon D90. The aim is to collect the very best of pictures taken using a Nikon D90 digital slr camera. The voting process is interactive as the users (You) are the ones who will choose a winner.

Please visit the group's website to learn more.

Let the best one win!